ManCrush: Hans Berlin
There’s a lot to admire about Hans Berlin.
Now based in New York, Hans has been fuelling our fantasies for years – with an enormous range of studio work as well as super-hot content for his fan-subscription channels.
He’s also a great role model and leader in educating us all about U=U and tackling HIV stigma. Plus, he’s written a musical about a porn-star. There really is nothing that this man cannot do.
“I grew up in Germany. In the mid-90s, I was part of a boyband…” explains Hans – reflecting on his career-path. “Plus, I was working as a host and had a small thing on German TV. I wanted to get more into acting, so I decided to go to New York for acting classes – that’s what brought me to the US. That was in 2002. Once I’d finished the acting classes, I moved to Los Angeles. I did seven years of casting, auditions, and lots of catering. I then started go-go dancing. From there, I was asked if I wanted to do porn. I started filming porn in 2012.”
“We’ve definitely made a lot of progress…” confirms Hans, talking about his work on health education and tackling HIV stigma. “I got the virus in 2001, and I started filming porn in 2012. When I started working in porn in 2012, PrEP wasn’t around then. Some of my first films were with Titan. I told the studios that I was positive. I only stuck to condom scenes. HIV wasn’t something that anyone in the industry was really talking about. Not long after that, PrEP began to become available. In 2013, I was filming exclusively with Lucas Entertainment. My contract with them ran from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, they switched all of their productions to condomless – to bareback. Michael Lucas had always been an advocate for condoms, but he said – we know what our customers want, and with PrEP we can now give it to them. I got out of the contract a bit early, because I wanted to stick to filming condom scenes. It wasn’t until 2015 that I shot my first bareback film – it was in Spain, for Kristen Bjorn. It was amazing to film the same kind of sex that I was having in my own life. At that time, there was the Truvada Whore stigma. Older gays – my age and older – would say: Why do we need to have PrEP? Why can’t the younger guys just keep using condoms?”
“PrEP isn’t perfect, but I acquired HIV when using a condom. I prefer bottoming, usually doggy-style, so I don’t know – did a condom break? I was so focused on condom use that I thought I was safe. Obviously, condoms are not 100 percent safe. With PrEP, people have to understand – you have to take PrEP. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bottom and you think your top is taking PrEP, no – you have to take it for your own protection. It’s like sitting in a car – you put your seatbelt on for your own protection.”
“The knowledge of U=U, Undetectable equals Untransmittable, has also been really important. A lot has changed, but the work is definitely not over.”
“I do have to say that I loved the studio porn – where you just got on the set and you had sex and you pretty much only had to look nicely at the camera…” says Hans, discussing the increasingly entrepreneurial requirements of the porn industry. “Now, with all the social media? Austin Wolf is my hero. He shows that to be successful in porn these days, you need to do more than just fuck in front of a camera – you have to look amazing, to go to the gym, but you’re also an entrepreneur. It takes so much work with social media – you run your own porn company! So, I sometimes miss those days where you just had to fuck in front of a camera.”