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Boomer Banks is a fashion designer, adult film performer and sexual health advocate. In March, he participated in a panel conversation entitled, “Gay Sex: A Raw Conversation” hosted by Hornet, the world’s premier gay social network and parent company of this site. We wanted to hear more from him, so we continued the conversation one-on-one.
There’s an entire industry devoted to adult entertainment that has sex without condoms. You still wear condoms in some of your scenes. How and why do condoms impact your work?
I traditionally have participated in condom porn, not as a judgment on a behavior but as a work choice. Porn is work and as our industry evolves. I’ve so far taken the approach of caution in my work environment. My work has been about selling sexy regardless if I’m wearing a condom or a tiara.
Many of us have encountered stigma around the sex we have as gay and bi men. What do you think are the best ways to deal with that kind of stigma?
I find I get more stigmatized about the type of sex I have on camera… using condoms seems to be more of a “Why are you doing that?” — than anything I do personally. I am a very assertive, dominant presence. I personally just speak up about my wants and needs. I do understand that it’s not how everyone is, but communication is key.
Men often have difficulty communicating what they want sexually. What’s your strategy?
Difficulty is an understatement. But if you’re direct and consistent, you usually get directness and consistency back. And when you don’t, it weeds out the bullshit.
You must get lots of sexually charged messages and interactions online. Considering the fact that guys are do forward online, why do you think it’s still so hard for guys to speak openly and directly about the sex that interests them offline?
The digital world is a vacation from the real world. When people are on vacation, they get to pretend to be something other than what they are. They feel more liberated and tend to be more aggressive. The vacation doesn’t make you confront the politeness we get from real world human interaction. It isn’t anyone’s fault or even the fault of the internet. It does make living and interacting in the real world that much hotter.
You’re a prominent and successful performer of color in the adult industry; have you ever encountered any issues over your ethnicity?
I have many times, so I don’t take it personally… who and when isn’t in my control. What I can control is how I deal. I do what I can to minimize how it affects me instead of allowing a moment of insensitivity to fill the room.
Of course, there are limits but I set those limits and deal with people and situations personally rather than publicly. Sometimes people legit don’t know [that they’re being offensive] and that is where we can really make a difference. I am a man of color yes, I am a lot of things that make me Boomer. I have made a difference by using my method, but I feel like it’s time to step it up and be more vocal.
Men still regularly say they feel stigmatized for preferring condomless sex. What are some ways we can destigmatize sex without condoms?
The interesting thing is that there’s stigma around both. We look at condomless sex as dirty and taboo and condom sex as boring and untrusting. What we need more of is an understanding about why we are turned on by things. An honest understanding. No more PC bullshit and no more blanket generalizations.
Sex comes packaged with all this play of power, danger, intimacy and play. We need to talk to ourselves about what we want. If you don’t come out to yourself about your wants, we’ll never be able to communicate honestly with our partners.