A few years hence, historians will look back to 2015 and declare that sometime during that year, gay condom pornography just sort of petered out. By next September, you'll be hard pressed to find condoms in gay porn, and by the end of 2016, there will a few condom fetish sites (I mean, yeah, there ARE some sexy things you can do with condoms), but that will be it. It all has to do with Neg+Prep; it's happening right now and bareback sex and by extension, porn, won't be the same. Hey, it's still sex, and nobody's complaining, and maybe such discussion will become merely academic. But..along with the condom fetish, there will be more dedicated poz bareback fetish sites, and there will still be chasers and gifters, and conversion parties will become more acknowledged and maybe typical, and the poz bareback cult will intensify, but I'll leave that discussion for another time.
So, the Condom Era lasted from 1989 until 2015 and at that era's dawn, I was a big Falcon Videos fan, and I remember big stars like Jeff Stryker crossing over from bareback (the term didn't even exist then!) to condom, but a lot of big names from the Pre-Condom Era already had their tickets punched for the Big Nowhere. They had been dropping off since the mid-80's, and let me tell you youngins out there, them was creepy times...you gotta remember they were still trying to figure out what the hell AIDS was, much less working on a test or medications. But enough about that for now...the Pre-Condom Era produced some really great stars who will live on forever, thanks to video...and I just can't help thinking: oh what Paul Morris could have done with Chad Douglas, Jon King, Kevin Williams or Chris Burns. Shit! The mind boggles.
So we watched the old Falcon stuff all through the Condom Era, and were aware of names like Rob Cryston but didn't much care. ChiChi LaRue became a millionairess without any help from me. By the mid-90's, things began to change. The advent of new drugs changed life expectations, lifestyles and sex. The Bareback Era started somewhere around late 1997, I would say, with a couple of fisting videos directed by Steven Scarborough and videographed by Michael McKey. I just checked Scarborough's videography on a couple websites where he's credited on about a hundred videos, and Depth Charge I & II are not listed. I could be wrong about giving Scarborough credit, or maybe the politically-correct powers-that-be deleted both Depth Charges. Anyway...both videos were (just about) exclusively barefisting, with a little bit of bareback fucking and one pearl of cum that somehow made it through the editing. Now Plain Wrapped video had been releasing fetish and fisting videos for a while, but wrapped is wright; it was all condom. Depth Charge was bare fisting, deep and real, and we were shocked.
Then Michael McKey, based in Phoenix, produced a few of his own videos; the production values and qualities were superb but his cast of players, all friends and ordinary guys, ranged from semi-hot to butt ugly. Most of them would qualify as bears today (a few were downright obese), but that term was not widely in use in 1998. Cigar fetishist Titpig became the first bareback star to an audience craving more. Around the same time, Bill Gardner and John Singleton, professional cinematographers based out of Palm Springs, started Hot Desert Knights with a video called 'Bareback Buddies' and a guy in San Francisco named Paul Morris produced a little VHS tape entitled 'Raunch Lunch,' featuring a performer with my favorite nom de porn of all time...Wyatt Trash.
It was all shocking to me, based on the climate of the times, but I had been living an insular life for a few years, having unknowingly converted, losing weight, sleeping 12 hours a day, falling asleep at my computer, and not interested in sex...finally ending up in the emergency room (collapsing at work!), then living on a weird schedule of nine pills a day, and abstaining from sex all together, thinking I was just plain gonna die. I just wanted to get through the year and not embarrass my family with an AIDS-related death. It was 1997, a transitional year, and a lot of us were fucked up mentally.
Bareback sex was totally, inarguably and positively taboo. If you indulged in barebacking you were signing your death lease for a condo in the deepest reaches of Hades. It was ignorant, irresponsible and immoral. Barebackers were fucked up shitheads who didn't give a damn. They were ballin' down the highway, a one-way road to Hell. Hell. Hell. Hell. You're gonna die a miserable death and you're gonna end up in goddamned Hell!
So. Escape to video.
Imagine the shock of watching for the first time, Paul Morris' second video, Breed Me, when a dude works his ass with a dildo, and a torrent of sticky, slimy, messy cum just flows out for about five minutes. No sound except the tolling of bells...like at a funeral. Death. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, etc. We were all going to hell, together.
You know the rest. The early porn characters were our sex life by proxy, then an inspiration, then as we gained confidence, role models. Dick Kraver, Mac Curtis, Big Ken, Billy Boyd, Tom Shannon, Will West, Chad Adams, Ray Butler, names that now sound pre-historic. Dawson was still a few years down the trail. Websites were still pretty basic, if they existed at all. And you couldn't buy these videos at the porn shop. I ordered my first TIM video from an ad in one of the many amateur 'zines circulating then, and it came back by mail order. Then Paul would send us a notice of the next video through the mail with a self-addressed stamped (if you can imagine that!!) envelope to his mail drop on Market Street. And of course we ordered them as they came out and eagerly awaited the next. There was an underground aspect to all of this. Barebackers were shameful, nasty, dirty guys and keeping it hush.
Well, I and millions of others are still here. I resumed by sex life in 2000...that's how long it took for me to overcome the fear of barebacking, from '97 to double aught, well, just 3 years...some guys still haven't come to grips with it. Neg+Prep will change all that, too. In the meantime, thanks Paul, Mike, Bill (r.i.p.), and John, for 17 years of adventure, inspiration, exploration and a lot of really hot sex!!