Tom Daley
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Porn Panic!

Porn Panic!

1026 PORN PANIC O3 X390 (JEREMY LUCIDO) | ADVOCATE.COM

A Hard-core Industry Forced to Get HarderAs consumers turn away from traditional porn, professional content producers are increasingly catering to niche audiences with edgier, kinkier product. Michael Lucas, whose recently released titles include Piss! and Farts! says, “There are literally hundreds of thousands of vanilla gay movies that have been produced over the past 40 years. People are definitely getting bored with the same action.”

The demand for hard-core content has widespread effects, many of them negative. Studios have a hard time competing with the raunchiest amateurs because many of their billing providers, like CCBill and Visa, prohibit certain content. “I don’t know how Michael Lucas is getting away with [water sports],” says Bill Gardner, cofounder of Hot Desert Knights. “If Visa finds out, they’ll shut his site down in a heartbeat.”

The demand for extreme fetish also has caused models to have to choose between participating in undesirable sexual scenarios or going without work altogether. Nowhere is this more evident -- and more controversial -- than in the world of bareback porn.

“Bareback? I don’t even consider that a fetish anymore, it’s become so big,” says the owner of one Los Angeles gay video rental store.

Many in the industry, like Chi Chi LaRue, believe they have a moral obligation to produce videos that depict only safe sex. But others say there are economic drawbacks to featuring only safe-sex scenes. “As a small company, I am forced by distributors to shoot bareback content,” says Tyler Reed, who owns the one-man operation USA Jock Studio. “Unless you have extremely high-quality models, sets, and so forth, distributors won’t even touch the safe content anymore.”

But haven’t the majority of studios publicly stated that they shoot only safe-sex porn? Tyler sighs. “Don’t think for a second that these huge companies promoting safe product lines don’t also have their hands in the bareback action somewhere -- a hidden wing of a conglomerate or some bareback website,” he says. “Bareback sells two-to-one, guaranteed. And if you put the word ‘bareback’ in the title, you’re looking at three-to-one.”

The Murky Crystal BallI concluded each interview by asking people to predict what the gay porn industry would look like in three years. After a deep, collective sigh, most everyone agreed on two things: First, the convergence of Internet and television will effectively kill the DVD. Second, the marketplace will be much, much smaller. “In 1930 there were over 200 American car companies,” says Jesse Kiehl, CEO of Fierce Dog Media. “Now there are barely three. Expect a similar thing to happen to porn.”

Many in the industry believe that new technologies will shape the orgasmic wave of the future, and their companies are racing to provide mobile content so people can take their porn on the road. To compete with the reality of amateurs, more and more porn stars are following the lead of Brent Corrigan and Michael Lucas by offering fans minute-by-minute updates about every (excruciating) detail of their private lives. “Look at Paris Hilton,” Lucas says. “She’s an open book. People have seen everything from her vagina to her dumb-ass behavior, and I don’t see any other reason why she’s become so famous.”

Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, which lobbies for the adult entertainment business, insists that cooperation from lawmakers is essential. “In California, the legislature just approved a budget that provides a tax credit to mainstream Hollywood because of difficulties it’s having with everything from the economy to piracy. Our industry is suffering from the exact same issues, and yet the legislature is constantly trying to impose additional burdens on our industry. It’s going to be up to your readers who are consumers of adult entertainment to speak up.”

And while it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect anyone to come rushing to the aid of the adult entertainment industry, these companies’ failure will likely affect more than just your libido. Gay porn studios have been very generous in their support of LGBT and HIV service organizations. Last year Titan Media alone donated more than $100,000 to such groups, and though many companies are reticent to discuss specific figures regarding charitable donations, Titan is not alone in its support of gay organizations. And of course, porn has a specific place in our collective development. “[Gay pornography] is a huge part of our culture,” J.C. Adams says. “For many of us, porn was our first exposure to male intimacy and porn stars were the only openly gay or bi men that we saw or heard of.”

But for the gays of the Google generation -- some of whom brought their boyfriends to the prom -- pornography serves a singular purpose, and in so doing, neither evokes nostalgia nor warrants respect. As the next crop of teenagers becomes old enough to buy porn, it seems less and less likely that they will be interested in doing so.

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