Hurrah, another excuse for a gratuitous picture of Mason Wyler.  Regular blog readers will know I’ve long found Mason a fascinating figure in the gay porn world (who is coincidentally as hot as a hot curry with extra hot hot stuff on a hot day).  He was said to be a fan of bareback sex, then he was diagnosed as HIV positive, and came out as positive and also celebrated his sluttyness and fondness of bareback sex.  He also confirmed post being diagnosed as HIV+ that he still (dun. dun. dun) enjoyed bareback sex.

For many gay and sexuality activists, it would have been less offensive to have literally crapped in their ears (I’m excluding Scat enthusiasts for the purposes of this discussion).  Mason’s career appeared to take something of a nose-dive with his exclusive porn contract being cancelled.  His career, people thought, was already in decline and HIV was the final bug in the coffin.   Mason himself declared his career over, and despite a brief ‘come back’ appearing in a bareback film (yes, he’s positive) declared it to be a one-off.  Nonetheless, his continued web profile suggests someone still looking for a porn career.  He’s also completing degree studies in Texas (destroying the old adage ‘cute but stupid’) so he packs a lot in (as it were).

Pour into this my ongoing criticism of mainstream ‘gay’ media for ignoring the nuances of bareback sex, and you’ll see why I was pleasantly surprised to see Mason Wyler gracing the pages of the new January issue of GT (Gay Times) magazine.

John Marrs deserves credit for a piece which dispassionately explores the issues (although it’s stillv try cautious).  The subheading for the piece declared: ‘Being diagnosed HIV+ once meant the abrupt end of a career in gay porn but not any longer.  More and more studios are now willing to use actors with the virus – as long as it’s kept quiet’.  The suggestion is that had Mason kept his mouth shut (in a non cock gobbling way) then he would have been OK.  Because the world knows he’s HIV+, he’s finished as far as a career in porn is concerned…or is he?  Moreover, the article acknowledges that US bareback studio Hot Desert Knights does use openly HIV+ performers.  So too does fellow US bareback studio, Treasure Island Media (TIM), but these porn bad boys puzzlingly go unmentioned in the piece.  Whether that’s GT or Wyler not wanting an a article in which he’s linked to Treasure Island Media and their brand of proud barebacking is a question unanswered but very much in my mind.  Unlike Hot Desert Knights bareback offerings, TIM’s porn is also available from Prowler – see here.

The one large pull-out quote in the piece suggests an article of traditional GT style: ‘It’s a disease you can’t blame anybody else but yourself for getting.  Being a gay man, and one who has bareback sex on a regular basis, I guess it was inevitable’.  Although the quote is from Mason, Wyler also indicates that whilst he still has bareback sex, it’s only with HIV+ folks (really Mason? Do you ask for evidence?) but he is aware of the risks, saying: “I only hook up with people who are HIV+ but I still don’t use condoms…there are doctors who say that’s dangerous because of different strains of HIV but there are other that don’t agree.  I know there are more risks of getting other diseases or STIs.”

Mason further supports his poz only guy policy (or, I would suggest, guys who say they are poz) through praise for bareback: “Anyway, if they re HIV negative, I’m turned off.  I associate negative people with using condoms and as horrible as that sounds, I still don’t like using them if I’m the bottom – which is 99 per cent of the time.  In my mind and my body I can tell the difference between condoms and bareback.”  Yes folks, he can tell the difference.  This one of those great statements that so many know from their own sexual experiences to be true but is one of the un-utterables of the bareback debate.

Unusually, the article doesn’t follow that ‘admission’ up with a moralising paragraph, bitchy one line or scary stat/link to death etc.  In fact, the piece notes a survey of 100 gay porn stars by The Sword website which discovered 30% were either HIV+ or didn’t know their status and the article neither suggests this is a good or bad thing.

So, we have some media coverage for Mason in the UK (who would only want this for cash and/or a boost to his porn career – it doesn’t count for degree credit I’m guessing), but more importantly this is – I think – the first time that a ‘mainstream’ gay magazine like GT has adopted a neutral approach on the issue of bareback sex – allowing someone to effectively say they’d rather be HIV positive than have to use condoms because you can tell the difference – and continues to engage in bareback sex whilst HIV+.

The willingness of companies such as Millivres Prowler (the company behind GT and Diva magazines along with the popular Prowler stores) to sell bareback DVDs/material whilst condemning it has long smacked of hypocrisy but this more open and honest article suggests a move towards a more open and honest debate about bareback sex and the apparently inseparable issue of HIV transmission and policy.  That GT put this in an issue sent to subscribers in the week of World AIDS Day makes it all the more staggering.  Well done GT, but I fear I’ll be among the few cheering this development.