MENUMENU

How bisexual men in porn are stigmatized

Men.com's Tarzan XXX parody

Screengrab via nguyễn huỳnh/YouTube

HIV fearmongering is keeping bisexual men from getting work.

From our friends at

BY ELIEL CRUZ

Peter Pounder didn’t have sex with men until porn. Peter had been performing solo on cam sites until he accepted an invitation to do a shoot with Mormon Boyz and Mormon Girls, a porn studio that specializes in creating fantasy videos about the Mormon faith.

Although having an experience with a friend as a teenager, Peter hadn’t fully processed his bisexuality. But after performing oral and anal, both as a top and as a bottom, for porn he found he enjoyed the sex with men. Accepting his bisexuality came naturally to him. The same wasn’t true for those in the porn industry.

“Someone thought I was only doing it for money and it pissed me off. It’s not for the money. It was pissing me off cause I’m bisexual,” Peter said, pointing out the Kinsey scale as well as the differences in romantic and sexual attraction. “Some people think I just do ‘gay for pay’ or they tell me that eventually, I’ll find out I’m ‘just a gay boy,’” Peter said about the reactions from those in the porn industry. “There’s shit. I didn’t realize in the beginning there would be as much shit. When I tried to join one agency, I remember everything was going good until they found out a studio who won’t use crossover talent — they won’t even not just use the model, they wouldn’t use the agency.”

The straight porn industry set up is similar to that of the fashion industry. There are agencies that represent certain models who are then shopped to studios. The term “crossover” is used to describe bisexual porn stars who “crossover” from gay and straight porn studios. Some, mostly straight, porn studios won’t use crossover male talent.

“I went out to shoot for a gay and straight porn studio once but wasn’t able to shoot the straight scene because the agent for the female talent had a problem. I couldn’t do what I was scheduled to do because the agent had an issue and they had to work around it. He had an issue with crossover talent. The girl said ‘I don’t care, I’ve dated bisexual guys in my personal life,’ but she wasn’t able to shoot the scene with me because of her agent.”

The crux of the issue for agencies and studios with crossover talent is sexually transmitted infections, namely HIV. “I recently tweeted kind of snarky, but I recently got blacklisted by a big agency. It’s happened three times,” Lance Hart a bisexual pornstar who specializes in kink and fetish porn — S&M, superhero cosplay, foot fetish, and pegging — told INTO.

“An email goes out from an agency to everyone they know, ‘Blacklist Lance Hart, he’s a crossover,’ and they put out a bunch of evidence of me having gay sex and straight sex.”

Neither Lance or Peter had issues with finding work in the gay porn industry. Besides some biphobia from gay studios and performers, in which they weren’t believed for their bisexuality, they’ve still been booked. It’s straight porn agencies that are worried that bisexual men are going to infect their female talent with HIV. Despite the rigorous STI and HIV testing all adult performers are required to do, there is a stigma around bisexual men. Some studios are going as far as blacklisting them from the industry.

“I’ve never had a conversation with anyone that’s been like, ‘You’re crossover, that’s dangerous. You’re bringing aids from gay into straight porn.’ No one has ever told me that to my face,” Lance said explaining the stigmatization of bisexual male talent in porn. “However, people have said ‘I can work with you, but I can’t do fluid exchange because I’m scared I’ll never book work again.’ Because there are people who think AIDS comes from gay people.”

Stigmatization of bisexual men as being carriers of HIV stems back to the peak of the AIDS epidemic. When the disease first took hold, it did primarily in gay men. But as the disease spread to women, bisexual men were vilified as carriers. This stigmatization is unwarranted. In an editorial in 2016, HIV Plus magazine dispelled this prevalent misconception with proof the data didn’t support it.

The stigmatization can also cause what it is trying to avoid. Studies have shown when bisexual men are stigmatized for their sexuality, especially bisexual men of color, they’re at a higher risk for STI and HIV contraction due to this biphobia. This should not be an issue in an industry that tests vigorously for STIs and HIV — yet the stigma prevails.

“The solution seems to be to understand where they’re coming from and then subtly bring up the facts. As opposed to yell at them for being homophobes,” Lance, who is on Truvada, says he is open with his scene partners to walk them through any questions they may have. He also advocates for other porn stars who do straight porn to get on Truvada.

As more crossover talent come into the industry, some porn studios have taken advantage of it by beginning to do more bisexual-specific porn. For example, fetish studio Evil Angel has begun to release more scenes that include bisexual talent. Blacklisting emails, Lance claims, have only gotten him more work with studios who had previously not heard of him and are wanting to hire crossover talent.

Still, Lance speaks out, in tweets and in blog posts on his website, not for himself but for others.“I’m more worried about the guys who are at suicide risk,” Lance said. “Like people who are really in trouble because they don’t know how to tell the world who they are. Or they’re getting shut down by the world because of who they are. That’s the issue.”

*Names used in this piece are stage names and not their legal names*

This story originally appeared on Into and has been republished with permission.