Scroll To Top

A New Kind of Gay Adult Film: Sex With a Message

UEFU

Porn dialogue and storylines aren’t usually memorable, but Undetectable Equals Fucking Untransmittable isn’t your average hard-core film. Written, starring, and conceived by British adult star Kayden Gray, UEFU is a hybrid public service announcement and gay romantic dramedy that just happens to feature full-on gay sex.

Gray released the two-part movie in February on his JustForFans page for free, with the intention of educating as many as possible on U=U, the concept that people with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load by taking antiretroviral therapy cannot sexually transmit the virus to others. The movie follows Gray — basically playing himself — hooking up with a newly out man, played by fellow adult film star Bishop Black. The movie’s first half, subtitled “Dirty?,” mostly follows the porn playbook for the first two-thirds; two guys text on Grindr, meet at Gray’s apartment, and get down to business. After the, um, climax, the story gets more complicated once the men discover a condom slipped off Gray. Repeating a question he asked during texting, Black’s character inquires if his lover is “clean,” something that clearly irritates Gray, who is HIV-positive in the film and in real life.

After Gray discloses his status, Black grows panicky and accusatory, angrily asking why Gray didn’t announce he was HIV-positive earlier.

“There’s nothing to tell. Because it’s fine, you’re safe,” Gray’s character says, struggling to keep his cool. When Black’s character asks if he has AIDS, Gray’s character responds, “No, no. I’m undetectable.”

PSA

Menacing internal voices hissing homophobic statements about HIV bounce around the head of Black’s character, who promptly storms out of the apartment. It isn’t until Black is on a lonely London street that an email from Impulse Group — a real-life organization Gray is affiliated with that aims to help gay men make informed health decisions — changes his perception. RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio, who just happens to emblazon Black’s T-shirt, appears in an explainer video that pops up on Black’s phone, hilariously yet accurately describing the realities of U=U. Black’s character returns to Gray’s apartment, and a touching conversation occurs about HIV stigma and disclosure as well as the pressures gay and bi men face during dating and hooking up.

“[UEFU] is based on many, many situations I’ve experienced and people I know,” Gray says. “One thing that is unusual about this scenario is that I have a bad-ass drag queen who has my back, appearing out of nowhere as a notification. What are the odds, right?

“That’s a fantasy I’ve always dreamt of; someone could explain it to this person, who I didn’t maybe have the courage to tell. It’s not usually a broken condom that makes me talk about [U=U], but I eventually want to talk about it. I wouldn’t necessarily think it was appropriate or have the time or courage to say it in advance, so eventually, I wanted to make things right. I don’t really think I owe this to anyone, but I try to educate people.”

PSA

The post-sex discussion in UEFU also includes Gray’s character explaining how the word “clean” is triggering for people with HIV. If someone without HIV is clean, what does that make someone with the virus?

“The only logical antonym to clean is ‘dirty,’” Gray says. “A lot of people have an image of what good means and clean means. We use those words to say, ‘I’m not a whore. I’m not having that much sex, so I wouldn’t have HIV.’ We operate with these very basic, stock images, not through any fault of our own, because we haven’t been educated to do otherwise…. In your formative years, you absorb information very well; then when you’re an adult, with the fear and stigma that prevails around HIV, you’re resistant to alternative information. There’s a lot of shaming around sex; it’s been going on forever. I think we like this clear idea of what someone is and we use HIV status to make a judgment on who that person is.”

UEFU’s second “episode” is a happy epilogue, where Black’s character has released his ignorance and lustily embraces a sexual escapade with Gray’s character. After the encounter, the men are shown comfortable and happy, able to revel in their satisfaction in a way they were denied previously because of shame and fear; it’s more romcom ending than the nonverbal heaving and heavy breathing that usually close out most porn movies.

PSA

Produced by erotic filmmaking company altShift and made in conjunction with Jose Ramos of Impulse Group, UEFU is a passion project of Gray, who learned of the U=U concept not long after his HIV diagnosis eight years ago.

“Cut to 2017, I came out about my status and that was a very pivotal moment and I finally started processing and healing from my diagnosis,” Gray says. “I ended up at an Impulse summit in 2018 and someone from New York, from Impulse, suggested we do a porn together. I started thinking about how that would go but it was an exciting idea and then sometime later, I ended up writing it myself, along with the collaboration and support of Impulse and Jose Ramos.”

Gray lauds Del Rio’s participation, saying the high-profile drag queen refused payment for their participation. Black was initially going to play a role only in the film’s second episode, but his role was changed and expanded after a different adult film actor booked for the first half dropped out four days before the shoot. While speaking about your HIV diagnosis or being part of an HIV-themed project carries risks even for gay porn performers like Gray — who describes being blacklisted from some studios after coming out about his status — it’s even more complicated for crossover performers like Black who appear in both queer and straight films.

Awareness of U=U is “not in a good state in the straight porn industry — they still treat it as a gay plague,” Gray says, adding that Black “has it harder because of that [ignorance] from the straight industry.”

UEFU could be a blueprint for future films that combine messaging with sex. It’s easy to see porn movies that seamlessly incorporate conversations on consent, chem hookups, sex work, and sexual racism.

“Mainstream porn can be really good, but we all have learned behaviors from it. I suppose you can argue it’s the responsibility of the consumer to know better, that it’s a fantasy, but to be honest, how many people do know better when they watch porn at a young age?” Gray asks.

Gray seems buoyed by his first foray into screenwriting and producing, with plans to film new public service announcements about U=U and PrEP that will appear before any of his condomless sex scenes. A matter-of-fact realist, Gray knows his hard-core work will always receive more attention than any informational messages he puts out to the world. With UEFU, he may have found the perfect recipe for delivering some of his life lessons to the public.

“Even if you do an interview about a porn, it’s never going to get as much traction, interest, or demand as the porn itself,” Gray says. “I discovered when I started working as an activist, working for Impulse, there’s no comparison between the interest porn gets and the activism I’ve done…. The only way to dive into that is to put it into porn.”

Watch UEFU at Gray’s JustforFans page (JustFor.fans/KaydenGrayXXX) or on his Twitter page (@KaydenGrayXXX).

From our Sponsors

READER COMMENTS ()