Bareback (sex): Wikis


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Bareback is a slang term to describe acts of unprotected sex (i.e. sexual penetration without the use of a condom).[1] The origin of the term is by an analogy to riding a horse without a saddle. Bareback (sex) has recently come to describe all forms of unprotected penetration, Anal, Oral and Vaginal.[citation needed]



Before the invention of Birth control pills, this slang term was used to describe heterosexual intercourse without a condom. Such practice carried an increased chance of pregnancy.

Claimed resurgence

The resurgence of barebacking in first-world gay communities during the 1990s has been a frequent topic for gay columnists and editorialists in The Advocate, Genre magazine, and Out magazine.[2][citation needed] An article in the online resource The Body lists no fewer than 22 reasons as to why barebacking has become increasingly acceptable in the gay community.[3] The following list includes some of the points made by The Body, but goes beyond it in drawing on some more recent research:

  • "Some men no longer fear AIDS."[3] In other words, the advent and relatively noticeable success of protease inhibitors and other drugs for treating HIV infections have changed the perception of HIV infection from an untreatable terminal illness to a treatable chronic malady similar to diabetes or epilepsy.
  • There is a decreasing effectiveness of health education messages in the gay community, a kind of condom fatigue: "Some men are so sick of hearing about HIV/AIDS that they just ignore the whole issue."[3]
  • Individuals under the influence of drugs, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, are less likely to be concerned over potential hazards of their behavior.
  • "It has been suggested that barebacking is a form of rebellion."[3] Along the lines of this suggestion, some recent academic work has argued that barebacking is a way to reach for transcendence, to overcome the boredom of everyday average life in our hyper-rationalized society.[4]
  • Online solicitation services for barebacking partners have led to an increase in the practice.[5]
  • Some gay men seem to feel that using condoms is "unnatural." For example, in a trailer of the Rockafellaz Entertainment video "Raw Rods 2," released in 2008, a scene of two men having unprotected anal intercourse is accompanied by the caption, "We do it like God intended us to."[6]

Homosexual pornographic films

Bareback gay pornography used to be available only in older, "pre-condom" films from the 1970s and early 1980s. AIDS-awareness became mainstream in the U.S. in 1985 with the death of Rock Hudson who remained mostly closeted about his sexuality until his death.[7][8] While the causes and prevention of the diseases that make up HIV/AIDS remained mystifying, gay male and swinger culture created and adopted safer sex practices including condom use. Since the 1990s, an increasing number of studios have been devoted to the production of new films featuring men engaging in unsafe sex.[9] For example, San Francisco-based studio Treasure Island Media, whose work focuses in this area, has produced bareback films since 1999. Other companies that do so include SEVP and Eurocreme. Mainstream gay pornographic studios such as Kristen Bjorn Productions have featured the occasional bareback scene like in "El Rancho" between performers who are real-life partners. Other studios like Falcon Entertainment have also reissued older pre-condom films.[10]

Some bareback pornography studios say that they do not inquire whether their models are HIV positive, but assume that they are infected. For example, Hot Desert Knights (HDK) was one of the studios that initially operated on the assumption that all of their bareback models were HIV positive.[11] However, in February 2008 HDK announced that it would begin testing its models for HIV and engage in a process of "sero-sorting", which match HIV-positive performers with other HIV-positive performers, and negative with negative. Critics suggest that sero-sorting may not prevent the development of a multi-strain "supervirus."[12] By contrast, Bel Ami is one of the studios that claimed from the beginning to test their bareback models for HIV before allowing them to participate in condom-free scenes. A notice on the Bel Ami website states: "all our performers are regularly tested for the presence of HIV or other communicable diseases."[13]

Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation was formed to promote and facilitate STD testing and safety precautions among pornographic film actors.

Heterosexual bareback

Barebacking is gaining popularity in the swinging arena, where organizers frequently offer a vetting service for members to reduce the risk of STDs.[citation needed]

Fluid bonding

Fluid bonding refers to unprotected sex in longterm relationships. The relationships can be either monogamous or polyfidelitous.[14][15]


In the sex trade, the willingness to bareback is a selling point for sex workers to their clients, despite the increased risks. The term "girlfriend experience" (GFE) was coined to denote an encounter between a prostitute and a client that could be considered "a real relationship for the moment with a sincere woman who apparently enjoys the experience, not just mechanical sex. It should not, however, be implied that the GFE automatically includes barebacking; to do so may result in denial of commercial sex services. "[16]

Similarily Pornstar Experience (PSE) often also consists of unprotected sex imitating scenarios commonly found in adult films.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Partridge, Eric; Dalzell, Tom; Victor, Terry (2006), The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: A-I (reprint ed.), Taylor & Francis, p. 92, ISBN 9780415259378,, "Bareback - to engage in sex without a condom." 
  2. ^ Finlayson, Iain (21 June 1998). "The Human Condition: Johnny be good". The Independent. "Whatever happened to that condom moment? 'Bareback', or unprotected, sex is still practised by up to a third of gay men - because, despite the dangers, it feels liberated, sensuous and like one in the eye for 'sex police'" 
  3. ^ a b c d See Rick Sowadsky, "Barebacking in the Gay Community," The Body (May, 1999).
  4. ^ Holmes, Dave; O'Byrne, Patrick; Gastaldo, Denise (2006), "Raw Sex as Limit Experience: A Foucauldian Analysis of Unsafe Anal Sex between Men" (in EN), Social Theory & Health (Palgrave Macmillan) 4.4: 319-333, ISSN 14778211, OCLC 366722101  and Martin, James (2006), "Transcendence Among Gay Men: Implications for HIV Prevention", Sexualities (Sage Publications) 9.2: 214-235, ISSN 13634607, OCLC 441346802 
  5. ^ Horvath, Keith J; Beadnell, Blair; Bowen, Anne M (2006), "Sensation Seeking as a Moderator of Internet Use on Sexual Risk Taking Among Men Who Have Sex With Men", Sexuality Research & Social Policy (University of California Press) 3.4: 77-90, ISSN 15536610, OCLC 357815326 
  6. ^ The trailer can be seen at the Cocostore.
  7. ^ Michael Binyon (03 October 1985). "Aids victim Rock Hudson dies in his sleep aged 59". The Times: p. 1. 
  8. ^ Rock Hudson: His Story; 1986 biography by Hudson and Sara Davidson.
  9. ^ Holt, Madeleine (4 March 2008). "HIV scandal in gay porn industry". BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  10. ^ "Bareback Classics" (FVS 301) is an example of such a re-issue by Falcon.
  11. ^ J. C. Adams, "The Adams Report: The GayVN Awards Show Highlights" (2002), quotes Jackson Price, the then director of casting for HDK, as saying, "we assume everyone is positive," and as implying that HDK did not require disclosure of any model's HIV status. (This report no longer appears to be available online.)
  12. ^ See "Bareback Studio Begins HIV Testing," The Sword (February 7, 2008).
  13. ^ (archive)
  14. ^ "FLUID BONDING" 2005. Pega Ren
  15. ^ "Polyamory 101" by Cherie L. Ve Ard and Franklin Veaux. ©2003, 2005 Xero
  16. ^ "Discussion of GFE and Old Dave's Response," Sexwork Cyber Resource Center. Also see "Why do so many men pay for sexworkers even with legal risks in the US? The sought after GFE ('Girl Friend Experience')," Sexwork Cyber Resource Center.
  17. ^ Oh My Net Glossary

Further reading


  • Hogarth, Louise; Hitzel, Doug (DVD video), The gift, Dream Out Loud Productions, OCLC 55743841,, "The Gift documents the phenomenon of deliberate HIV infection. The film follows the stories of two ”bug chasers” who sought out ”the gift” of HIV infection. Also interviewed are AIDS activist and author, Walt Odets, PhD, and HIV+ and HIV- men. The film explores the normalization and glamorization of HIV/AIDS and discusses the isolation and division caused by HIV status in the gay community." 

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