One of the most controversial figures in the porn industry, 27-year-old Mason Wyler shook things up again when the HIV-positive performer announced this month that he was appearing in two bareback scenes with Owen Hawk and Brandon Hawk — porn stars and boyfriends who are also HIV-positive. The reason for Wyler's decision was that he simply wanted to have sex with the pair and that working with HIV-negative actors, bareback or not, often incites fear in them. His announcement on his blog (NSFW link here) was articulate, but was it sensible? Speaking from his home in Houston, Wyler elaborated his thoughts on the matter and the state of safe sex in porn.
The Advocate: What has reaction been to your post?
Mason Wyler: I wouldn’t say it’s been universally positive — everyone has an opinion — it’s a wide gamut of responses. For the most part it’s been positive. Obviously, most people who would go to WylerNation are fans.
Isn’t there danger involved in HIV-positive people having unprotected sex together?
I’m sure there is. I think right now the focus on HIV is safe sex [in regard to preventing HIV]; that’s where most of the resources in terms of education goes. So there hasn’t been that much education or information out there in terms of what the possibilities are for HIV-positive people having unprotected sex with one another. I think the last thing I really heard was the super HIV strain where a handful of guys in New York City progressed from HIV to AIDS very rapidly. But from what I read, it wasn’t entirely conclusive that they got multiple strains and that it accelerated the progression. From what I heard, those people were also involved in heavy drug use, and that obviously takes a toll on your immune system.
So was reinfection of another HIV strain a concern to you?
It was a slight concern. Not really. I mean, if it was a major concern, I wouldn’t have done it.
You wrote that part of the reason you filmed with the Hawks was that filming with people who are HIV-negative is uncomfortable. Can you elaborate?
I actually haven’t had the experience of working with someone who I knew for sure was HIV-negative and they knew for sure I was HIV-positive. As soon as I tested positive, I stopped filming. The studio that my website is under pretty much just immediately transferred me over to Web cam shows only — solos only. My experience with [filming with HIV-negative people] is just from chatting with other models who are negative and have kind of hinted that they wouldn’t be too comfortable working with me. So, obviously, if they’re not comfortable, I’m not going to be comfortable. That’s where it kind of started, and it set in that there is a chance that I could spread it to someone who’s negative. I wouldn’t want to cause someone direct harm or be at fault. I wouldn’t want to pose that risk on somebody — even though condoms are 99% foolproof, there’s still a chance.
worked in porn for six years and see it as a form of entertainment; I
think most people do too. I don’t know many people who buy porn to learn
about sex; people buy sex to masturbate. It’s not our place to try to
inform people. If that’s something that a porn model or studio wants to
take on and spend money and effort doing that, that’s great, but I don’t
think it’s our responsibility to do that — just like I don’t think
video games are to blame for violence or movies are to be blamed for
murders. It’s entertainment.
Work has dried up since you announced you’re HIV-positive, according to
you. Would you consider working for or creating an HIV-positive
Probably not. I do know of other porn models who are
positive, and there’s plenty of reason why my work has trickled and they
continue to work. I went full force and did a ton of work at a very fast
pace, so I kind of flooded the market, whereas more models do it at a
slow and steady pace. On top of that, in terms of the online blogging
and magazine community that caters to gay porn, I’ve been in the
headlines quite a few times for ridiculous things, so that might have
turned a lot of people off to me. I’m not sure I would want to create a
studio based solely on the fact that everyone who works for it is
HIV-positive. I would like to be a part of taking the stigma away from
HIV-positive people and showing they still can have a sex life, but I’m
not certain I'm the right person to do that.
You often say you like what you do. Do you think that’s true for most adult performers?
people who are openly gay, or accept they are gay, in gay porn, I think
a lot of them do enjoy it. I can’t speak for the people who claim to be
gay for pay.
What are you future plans?
I don’t really
know. I would say I still have my contract [with Next Door Studios] and
I fully intend to meet all the responsibilities of that contract until
it’s over. And I have a few shoots coming up, so we’ll see.