I am starting from the assumption that every person has a sexual identity. That identity is usually heterosexual, or some variation on that theme. In ten percent or so, the identity is skewed toward same-sex eroticism. While we all mature at different rates, it is safe to assume that by the age of eighteen, most of us are prepared to experience sexual interest, if not actual sexual activity.
Now, until we reach the age of eighteen, we are exposed constantly with a set of images, belifs, experiences, and values which support a majority of us in our development. Just as a young bird learns to fly by watching, trying, and ultimately succeeding or failing, a young human being learns what is going to be expected of him when he reaches maturity by watching the behavior of the people who surround him.
In the case of a heterosexual, the emergence of sexual identity is like the answer to a question that has been asked of him his entire life. He observes people in his family, in literature, on television, and everywhere around him engaging in the natural behavior of the heterosexual. The men pair off with the women, they engage in courtship, they form relationships, they create families with children, and they pursue the protections and opportunities afforded to heterosexuals.
In the case of a homosexual, maturity arrives as a slap in the face. All of the urges and inclinations of the heterosexual are present, but they are directed away from the presumed "correct" target, and toward members of the same gender. His upbringing has not prepared the young homosexual for desires which are at cross purposes to the direction society has laid out for him. Beyond the guilt, hopelessness, and fear this disorienting situation creates, there is also a basic confusion.
Who am I sexually if I am not straight?
Society has a bunch of ready answer for this question as well. A lot of these answers disagree with each other, and take views ranging from support to vilification for people with homosexual inclinations. Even if a homosexual person is fortunate enough to find himself in a community where he has access to positive gay role models, often the assimilationist aspects of gay society downplay their own sexuality in order to gain more acceptance from the broader community. That serves a purpose politically and economically, but it denies a basic truth about homosexuality: The only unifying factor among gay people is their sexual attraction to people of the same gender.
You can't spell homosexual without sex. The ignorance and intolerance of society as a whole may have contributed to the necessary evolution of a gay culture which extends into all areas of a gay person's life. But in the end, it is the sexuality, not the culture, which makes us gay.
Which brings me back to pornography. There is only one art form which focuses exclusively on the one identifying factor which distinguishes the homosexual, and that art form is adult entertainment, erotica, or pornography. When a confused homosexual first emerges from the bosom of his straight family, his straight church, his straight school, his straight workplace, and his straight social life, often the first signpost pointing the way to healthy self-acceptance comes in the form of a random exposure to a latent (or blatent) homoerotic image.
It is these images which provide the key, and the clue, to the existence of a completely hidden dimension of sexual reality, where the emerging homosexual's most secret and private inclinations are not only permitted, but encouraged and praised. This is a far cry from the pressure to conform and hide that aspect of his identity, and it can come as a welcome alternative to self-doubt and even self-destruction.
There have been arguments about the comparisons to be made between racial minorities and minorities of sexual orientation. One difference which must be addresses is the fact that there is very rarely any family or genetic link on which a homosexual can rely. In the vast landscape of sexual identity, the homosexual is almost always born isolated from others like him, surrounded by people who cannot recognize and may not even admit the validity of his own identity. The earlier this identity becomes apparent, the harder this can be.
The sexual dialogue in modern America is still an underground phenomenon. To a certain extent, it needs to remain that way in order to keep our children from being exposed to these issues before they are mature enough to deal with them. This is one reason why I am a staunch supporter of keeping all adult materials out of the hands of minors. These issues will come to the surface soon enough, and our children need to develop a strong sense of their own identities before being challenged to face their sexuality head-on.
That sexual dialogue needs to include gay porn. Apart from teaching the mechanics of gay sex, and the critical education needed about safer sex practices, gay porn provides a tiny sliver of evidence that we are not alone. And if it is out there, the human spirit will find it.
After you get to the set, one of the first things you need to consider is how well your personal comfort and safety are bring looked after. In most situations, the kind of comfort I'm talking about has less to do with fresh pineapple chunks on a catering cart, and more to do with having plenty of paper towels and warm places to sit between shots. And when it comes to safety, we all know about the importance of avoiding STD's, but there are other considerations.
Most porn sets will not be equipped like a hollywood movie. As often as not, the filming takes place in an adapted home or private location not ideally suited to the needs of a crew, cast, director, and all their equipment. Sometimes, the most comfortable place on the set is actually out in front of the camera, where it has to al least look comfortable for the sake of the audience.
There are a couple of things you can do to make sure you have everything you need, regardless of how the set is managed. First, bring along a towel or a robe. You may be called upon to get on and off the set fully naked at a moment's notice, and the ambient room temperature when you're not under the hot lights could be a nasty shock if you don't have something nice to slip into. In that same regard, a pair of slippers or flip-flops can be very helpful, especially if your scene is being shot in a basement or a warehouse with cement floors.
Bring a bottle of water with you. It is a pretty common courtesy for most directors to provide the performers as well as the crew with water. Dehydration shows up clearly and unpleasantly on camera. Anyone who has seen it ruin a hard day's shoot once won't want to let it happen again. Bring a personal bottle, and keep it with your belongings so you can get to it quickly and identify it easily.
It needs to be mentioned here that a porn set is a very bad place to be using any sort of alcohol or mind-altering substance. If you feel that you need something artificial to relax you enough to go ahead with the shoot, perhaps this is not the industry for you. You need to be in complete command of all your faculties during a shoot. Similarly, you should never accept any prescription medications which were not prescribed specifically for you. If you feel you need performance enhancing medicines, consult your personal physician. ( Don't worry, they've heard it all before! )
If you want to keep track of your time, bring an inexpensive watch, and leave it with your belongings off the set. When you go back to get a drink or put on your robe, you can check the time. Directors generally prefer not to be distracted by performers who are glancing at the clock during a shoot. It can bring down the energy of a scene, and it challenges the authority of the director. If you have an appointment you need to get to after the shoot, let the director know in advance, and then accept that the information has been communicated.
It may sound silly, but one of the most important things you can do on a porn set is wash your hands frequently. In practical terms, the hands are where most of us pick up most of the germs which infect us on a day to day basis. Although a lot of the work on a porn set involves touching, licking, and penetrating other people's bodies, most of the parts being inserted and accepted rarely come in contact with anything but the inside of a person's clothing. However, often those parts have been recently fondled by hands which may have been holding handrails on the bus, handling money, shopping, or anything else we do that exposes us to the myriad diseases in the world. Keep your hands clean, and suggest that your fellow performers do the same.
When it comes to safer sex, there are a few theories about what makes the most sense. On most straight porn sets, performers must demonstrate that they have been tested for the major infectious STD's on a regular basis before being allowed on the set. On most gay porn sets, condoms are the rule. On many fetish sets, there is actually no release of bodily fluids, and therefore the sex portrayed in inherently safe.
In any case, the exchange of bodily fluids is always a matter of clear concern for the performers and the producers. If you feel strongly about one method or another, make your feeling clear to the director before coming to the set, so proper accommodations can be made. You owe it to yourself and your fans to learn everything you need to know about safety when having sex with multiple partners.
Remember, your safety and comfort are your concern. You have reason to expect that these matters will be taken into consideration, but it is prudent to assume responsibility for the minimal standards you require.