Staying Negative aims to emotionally engage, inspire and facilitate imagination in sexual health practices. The campaign profiles the real life stories of gay, bisexual and trans men who have sex with men (MSM). Men talk about all aspects of their life from coming out, relationships, sexuality and a broad range of other topics. While HIV and safe sex is an important part of all stories, it is not the exclusive focus.
Prior HIV prevention campaigns have traditionally focused on providing gay men with information that will encourage them to adopt safe sex behaviours. In reality, safe sex practices are influenced by a whole range of environmental and cultural factors. The campaign also provides an opportunity for HIV positive men to talk about their lives and discuss how their strategies to staying HIV negative were not successful. We understand that there is more than one way practice safe sex and adopt healthcare seeking behaviours, so let's be creative about it!
There are no real criteria for participants other than that they are MSM and happy to have their stories appear as part of the campaign. In addition to the personal stories, the website provides information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health, relationships and broad of the other relevant topics including domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and depression.
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I grew up in the south west of France in a small country town called Cognac (like the alcohol). I was a very happy little child and had a good childhood. I have a sister and when we were very young our parents divorced, which is never easy for children. After my parents divorced, I didn’t really see my father very often. As a teenager I was very introverted and I was very lonely. I spent most of my time in school on my own. I didn’t have many friends. It was a very little town so I didn’t have many opportunities to meet people. I was very feminine as well and I was very artistic. So I was a very sensitive child and very lonely. I had my cats and that was it. I was afraid of boys but I was attracted at the same time. I realised I was gay around 12 or 13 years old, but because I was so shy I didn’t want to talk to boys, I was too afraid. I was also getting picked on at school so I would try to make myself invisible by blending with my surroundings. I tried to be as discreet as I could because I was afraid that people could see my sexuality. I didn’t want people to know that I was gay or sensitive so I would stay away from people. I think I was also afraid of myself. So when I was with my family I was in a good atmosphere but when I went to school it felt like a trapped atmosphere. I didn’t really have much personality at that time.
So at home it was me, my mum and my sister. We had a good relationship when I was growing up, which continues today. My father was very absent. I stopped seeing him completely when I was 18 years old. We didn’t have a fight or anything, just I moved to Paris and he stayed in the same town. My mother and father didn’t get along so we decided not to see him again. He has his own life and I don’t even know what he’s doing now, but that’s fine.
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I studied when I was eighteen at a fashion school in Paris and then started working in the fashion industry. I did drawing and couture and I did many little jobs in fashion like sewing brands onto clothes, I was an assistant of course. I stopped because in this field you have to take a lot of time to reach a certain level so it’s kind of complicated because I didn’t want to be an assistant for such a long time. I wasn’t patient enough, maybe I was too immature. I don’t think I was ready for that, so I stopped. I did good things as an assistant and I got good experience with photographers and stylists, but I decided to do something else. So I took a year off while I was thinking about doing something else. I was a bit lost.
When I took a year off from the fashion industry I did a few odd jobs like bartending as well as a strip show.
I was experimenting with my body more then I used to. I didn’t really have a sexual life before and I wanted to prove to myself that I could have a sexual image.
I had my first sexual experience when I was 19 years old and six months later I told my mother and my sister. I was strong in myself and I just said it very frankly. They were okay with it. I don’t think my father knows. I don’t see him anymore so I don’t know. I think he knows what I am doing because some school friends found me in a magazine, so I guess he knows too.
I tried to have sex with a girl once when I was in my early twenties. We started to have sex but I stopped ten minutes into it. I knew what I wanted. I liked men. I’m not bisexual I’m gay. So I said “We should stop now” she was disappointed but she knew I was gay already so it was ok.
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The guy was very cute. He was my age. He was a beautiful guy. He’d had sex before but it was my first time. So I wasn’t at ease at all. It was bad. I was very uncomfortable and it was a very short experience. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I was a top or a bottom. He tried to fuck me. I didn’t really like it, it was painful. I tried to fuck him and I couldn’t get hard. It was horrible. I didn’t feel good within myself, I didn’t feel good about my appearance and I didn’t feel good about my body. After that I didn’t do anything with guys for about 6 months.
I think the next time I tried was also bad. I never really had any good sexual experiences while I wasn’t going to the gym, looking after my body and feeling good about myself. I was not a very sexual guy before and didn’t have a lot of sex in my earlier life. I used to have sex like once a month or once every 2 months. I didn’t go out much so I didn’t really meet people. Up until I was 24 I would say I was a good boy.
I started going to the gym when I was 23 years old because I decided to change. It took me about 2 years to be really defined and to see a change in my body. Then of course I wanted to be bigger and bigger and bigger.
I made a lot of friends when I was at the fashion school as well as from gym and bartending. I began socialising more and having more friends and hanging out with gay friends and girl friends who were aware of my sexuality. Right now I have a good mix of friends. I have both gay and straight friends, men and women as well as single and couples. They know what I’m doing of course but friends also change with the times. You have friends for a few years and then you don’t see them for a bit and then they come back. I’m not so lonely now but I don’t go out so much.
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I got into porn I think around 2005 when I was discovered on Gaydar. I had some pictures on Gaydar and someone saw me, a French company. So I did three French movies for them and a couple of magazines and then I was discovered by Raging Stallion in the USA.
I started in 2005 and 6 months later I was travelling to America to shoot my first US porn movie.
I did one year with Raging Stallion and then I signed with Titan.
I told my family what I do. Actually, they were more okay with me being gay than with the porn thing. When you do porn it’s almost like coming out again. I think it’s even more violent to someone because they can see it. You show your sexuality. If I was a parent I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t tell my mother at first. I just left to go to the USA for a few months and she guessed. She sent me an email saying “Are you sure you’re okay? What are you doing there?” I was making up stories and telling her I was doing some bartending and she didn’t believe me. She guessed something like that was going on and said “Are you doing porn?” So when I came back from the USA I told her. She was not very happy. They haven’t seen any of my videos. I forbid her from watching them. It would be horrible and embarrassing for me. I think she would hate to see that. Even my friends have never seen anything. I refuse to show them.
Sometimes I think when someone is doing porn at a certain point I was thinking that I didn’t have anything else to do. For me, I was undecided about my professional life. I was kind of lost for some reason. I was asking myself if I should continue in the fashion industry or not. I think I did porn because I was desperate and thought that it was the easiest way to do something physical without thinking too much. Doing porn is going beyond a limit, it was a big deal for me ...there was no return. I think you really have to be in an extreme state of mind to take this decision and you are probably a bit lost. For me porn is not a real job, it’s more like a performance or something. It may turn out to be something more serious at the end.
I became famous when I went to the USA and started my career there. I guess once you’re famous in the USA your famous everywhere. I started to feel like everyone was looking at me, which is very confusing because people who don’t know me look at me because of my tattoo. So sometimes I don’t know if they recognise me or if they’re staring at my tattoo.
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It’s an unforgivable industry. Every industry, the porn industry, the movie industry, or the fashion industry it is the same. There’s nothing worse or nothing better, you have good people and you have bad people. I’m not disappointed by this industry. I wasn’t so young when I started - I was 25.
However, I wasn’t really ready for such success, so I was kind of naive with some different choices I made. I never planned for any success. I just did what I had to do and it was more for the experience.
Time went really fast, a career is very overwhelming. Actually in America they were very, very helpful and they promote you very well and try to make you feel the best while you work. So overall it’s very good so I don’t have anything to complain about. I can’t complain. I’m French so I have a different background and culture; I was not someone that forecasted the strong image that I have today. I wasn’t thinking about my career, like a lot of young Americans I know who are more into planning something... I know guys from Los Angeles or SF, California that are evolving in this Porn Career thing even without being in the business. Porn is something more integrated in the US gay world, more than in Europe, and for my part, porn culture is not very strong in my country, I had no knowledge of that. I’m not an American living in the USA, I’m a French man who lives in Paris but who works in the USA. So at the end of it all I’m still a Parisian so maybe that makes a difference. If I was an American from the USA maybe my career would have been different.
I started going out around 2001 and by 2004 I was going out a lot. However, when I started getting famous things got a little bit complicated. You can’t go out in gay clubs so much when you get too famous. Even though it’s only fame within a minority it means that whenever I go out to gay clubs or gay places it’s complicated. I don’t really enjoy it.
When I do go out people come up to me and they think they know me and they think they can touch me. It’s very embarrassing and I can’t really be aggressive with them, I have to be nice and respectful to my fan base. But when they are very disrespectful of course sometimes I have to be extreme also. So the best thing for me is to not be there. In one situation I had to punch someone in the face. It was one year ago and this guy was being very insulting. It was a gay guy, I think he was 20 and he knew who I was. He screamed my name and I asked him to stop because I was with friends. We were just walking down the street. He then became very aggressive and very insulting and after I asked him to stop he continued. So I had to punch him. I hate that I had to do that. I don’t like to be aggressive. I felt very bad and I regretted it. Sometimes I try to go out with friends in a gay bar but it is very difficult. I have to stay away from people and be rude and I’m not the only one. Once you become famous, that’s the way it is.
People are nice all over the world except if I’m staying in my own country. Before I was famous people in gay clubs in France were always rude. I mean French are famous for being rude and I think Parisians especially are rude. I know, I’m French so I understand.
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I try not to have sex with people who work in porn. It’s like that feeling you get when you look at yourself in the mirror. I don’t like it. If I meet someone who’s in the business I try to move on to someone else. I feel it’s like actors and actresses who hang out together like Hollywood stars.
So it’s even more difficult for me to have sex now because people know who I am. Sometimes they are too overwhelmed or they are afraid, sometimes they think they are not going to be able to match me. People think that I’m a robot and that I can have sex on demand. That I am stronger then them, but that’s not true because sometimes I can lose my hard-on, or sometimes I can be in a bad mood. Of course now people have all these ideas of me. So I try to meet people who aren’t into the porn thing but it’s very hard for me. I don’t really like to speak about my private life but it’s been a month since I’ve had sex. So whilst I’m very sexual now it’s very hard to find. I can’t go out to a sex club because I’m too recognisable.
I’m not into leather. I do lots of fetish movies with pissing and fisting but in my life I’m actually not really into that.
I love the leather image when I’m doing my shows or a photo shoot, but in my sex life I’m not into that. I never use any leather or any accessories. I’m very, very boring actually. The leather is like a costume for me and I love to use it for my image.
I’ve never really had any boyfriends. I tried to have one boyfriend and he was in the business but it was kind of complicated. I think maybe I’m not ready for that.
I have always been aware of sexual health because I had some friends who were HIV positive from before I started having sex. So I knew some prevention techniques already and I was always in the habit of protecting myself. Of course in my porn career I have to be responsible for the guys who are looking at my movies. If my young fans see me having sex without a condom maybe they’ll do the same thing. So I have to protect not only my own sexual health but I am responsible for other people as well.
I got my head tattooed because I started loosing my hair when I was very young. I used to have hair before but I started losing it and it was a big drama. So I started shaving my head but the shape of my head was not so beautiful. I have a big head, it was all white and clear. I didn’t like it, so I tried to find a solution and a trick to make it seem like my hair was growing even though I was shaving it. I decided to get it tattooed. I was inspired by rappers or hip hop artists. So I didn’t do it for promotion or for my porn character because I did it before I did porn. It was for me. I also have a tattoo on my back of a moon and a star. I think it represents the Turkish flag but that’s not the reason I got it. I got it when I was 20 years old and wasn’t really thinking too much about what the symbols meant. I just thought it was beautiful. So of course I know it’s very religious but I never did it to represent religion. I also have my name in Greek letters tattooed over my arm.
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I think that people should be aware that porn stars are people. We are educated, we’re not like animals so I feel like people need to be respectful of that. I’m not a slut and I don’t think the people in the industry are either. We are just doing a job. Even though I said it’s not a real job, it’s still working. People seem to think that I’m doing porn once a week but I’m not. I don’t like feeling like I’m a piece of meat. Someone was trying to take a photo with me a few weeks ago and he was very nice to me and then he put his hand on my butt. I was surprised and I didn’t like it. Porn isn’t my whole life so I think people should be considerate of that. People need to understand we have our bad days too.
Right now I’m quite busy. I was in Berlin last weekend and I’m going off shore next weekend to SEVILLA for Titan. I was doing some promotional stuff for a film by Bruce Labruce, it’s a zombie movie. I was at the exhibition last weekend for the art version of the movie. The results were very good so I’m very satisfied with that but there is also a porn version of that which I haven’t seen yet. It was actually quite a big issue with Titan because I am an exclusive model for Titan so it was quite complicated. I thought it was just an erotic movie but it turned out to be more of a porn thing which made it quite complicated. In the end I am very satisfied with my performance. I had to do this movie as a performer.
I’ve been in the business for five years now and I think its time to slowly try and do something else. It’s very hard to do though because my porn identity is so strong.
I’m really lucky because people contact me more than I contact them. I’m not the one to propose things, so I know how to make people approach me. Maybe it’s because I’m a little bit different because of my look and because of what I try to express in my personal videos. On my website francoissagat.com I put some quite weird videos sometimes. Not about sex or about porn, but more about what I feel, kind of like a video blog
Next I have to shoot in April, it’s a regular movie for a French director, nothing sexual, which will be kind of interesting for me. It’ll be the first time I’ll be doing a film that’s not porn.
Francois grew up in Cognac in France
Francios moved to Paris when he was 18 to study and work in the fashion industry
Where Francios travels to star in porn movies