Saturday, December 07, 2013

FOOD PORN: A Fresh Perspective on Safer Sex

by Allen Yu 

Don’t worry, no fruits or vegetables were harmed in the making of this video.

FOOD PORN, the latest content offering from LoveYourself, is sure to cause a stir in the community: whether for its unconventional take on protection, its abuse of still life, or just that hot guy fondling the produce.

Wear it. Wet it. Better safe when horny.

Although conceptualized as a promotional video for condom-and-lubricant-use, LoveYourself is ditching the messaging strategies that have traditionally dominated the safer sex space, and pushing the envelope with its own innovative approach. This willingness to buck the trend shouldn't come as any surprise, given that LoveYourself has always had a track record of reinventing how HIV issues are advocated for, with viral hits like FLY LoveYourself: How to Have Sex and Avoid HIV and the groundbreaking Project 'Indulge'.

FOOD PORN isn't any different. Integrating lubricants into its core message contrasts noticeably with earlier, exclusively condom-focused safer sex promotion efforts (this is a big deal: it's little-known that water-based lubricants prevent condom breakage and minimize tearing on the anal mucosa, making penetrative sex safer). Older interventions just didn't seem to get how important sensation was to the quality of the sexual experience  a good insight when trying to understand why exactly people keep having unprotected sex.

Since it’s the experience that matters, LoveYourself has put that front and center: FOOD PORN basically speaks to the desire in all of us to have really awesome sex. Is there a bigger turn-off for tops than pulling out to find poop on the peen? Is there anything more terrifying for bottoms than having bowel movements while bonking?

Though depicted euphemistically, the message FOOD PORN drives home is clear: sh*t happens, but don't let it mess your thang. Save yourself the trouble: slip on a condom, and lube up. Better safe when horny!

The release of FOOD PORN is especially timely given the kind of sex MSM are having today: in late November, the news that unprotected sex had risen by almost a fifth among US MSMs throughout 2005 to 2011 (even higher among those who didn't know their HIV status) had federal health officials spooked. This rise was predictably accompanied by a similar jump in new HIV infections (22%), after almost a decade of decline. Those stats tell us that we need to revisit the kinds of insights we draw about sexual behavior between men, as well as the conversations we build around safer sex.

FOOD PORN simply wouldn't have been possible without the expert direction and production of Jedd Rommel (he's a big supporter of LoveYourself), the abs talents of Cosmo Hunk Victor Sy (who clearly puts the “porn” in FOOD PORN), food styling by Edge Joaquin, make-up by Jackie Seballos, camerawork by Jan Tristan Pandy, and the generosity of PNGOC and ISEAN-Hivos. Oh, and those fruits and vegetables who were totally not harmed in the making of this video. Kinda.