Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's About Porn


Reading through various blogs often spurs me to rethink my assumptions about topics like gender, academia, and even sex. This type of prompting is one of the greatest things about the blog world that I have discovered over the past few months. Adam’s blog propelled me to reconsider queer theory’s relationship with the larger queer community, for instance.

Similarly, Joe of the ubiquitous Joe.My.God recently posted one of the smartest entries I have encountered. Joe raised important questions about self-loathing and the ways gay men perceive ourselves and what types of messages we internalize.

“But, GayProf, you promised us porn,” I hear you saying, “It’s right there in your title! When are we going to get to the porn? We love you, GayProf, because you give our daily lives meaning and purpose.” Okay, maybe you aren’t saying that last part – for now.

I want to think about gay porn, in particular, because it has such an immediate connection to ideas about our sexuality. And, hey, who doesn’t love gay porn?

It’s sexuality, after all, that defines and names our community; and it’s sexual desire that drives the porn industry. Few people, I imagine, buy Anchor Hotel for its stimulating character development.

We need to be more conscious, though, about the messages the porn industry sends us. Porn, more than any other type of media, both shapes and is shaped by our desires.

Yeah, straight porn has some serious issues as well, but some hetero-type can work out that mess on their own. GayProf can only write about what he knows – and he knows gay porn.

Issues of porn’s objectification and the ethics of voyeurism will have to await some other blogger as well. That’s not where I am going today (and there is only so much of a kill-joy I am willing to be) .

Rather, Joe’s ideas prompted me to rethink some of the dominant themes in the gay porn industry. In particular, two themes concern me: the emphasis on “straight” men and the recurring representation of rape as erotic. The two themes often intertwine and both ultimately undermine our community by enforcing dangerous visions of sex.

Many forms of gay porn actually start with the premise that gay men aren’t desirable enough for our sexual enjoyment. Rather, it’s straight men who become the alleged holy grail in gay eroticism. An entire genre of “amateur” internet businesses have developed around filming straight guys for gay consumption. One such site declares to its potential subscribers, “We’ve all seen them: those incredibly hot straight men.” It presumes that the unattainable straight men figures centrally in all gay men’s fantasies. How, oh, how can gay men be content without knowing what these straight boys do alone?

Fortunately for us, the site gives a solution by claiming that it offers “the chance to get to know these men in the up close and personal way you have always wanted to.” Why bother looking for gay men when we can spy on straight boys? Of course, most of these men’s straightness proves dubious beyond their porn appearances. That’s not the point, though.


Another site makes the claims even more bold. In their encouragements to pull out our MasterCard, they state:

    The college jock. The skater dude. The boy next door. The Big Man on Campus. The baseball god. The hard-assed punk with the six-pack abs and all those inked muscles. The handsome married fucker you fantasize about at work. The above-average Joe you meet on the street who’s so insanely hot –– and straight –– you think you couldn’t possibly ever have him . . . He’s that guy, but take heart, because he’s all yours.

The emphasis on straight men as “forbidden” in porn consumption only upholds the dominance of heterosexual men in our society. I am not saying we should never find straight boys attractive. We are gay men, after all, and are going to find men physically attractive regardless of their sexuality. There are also more of them than us -- allegedly.

There is a difference to me, however, between finding some men who happen to be straight attractive and eroticizing straight men. When straight men’s sexuality becomes the central element that we are supposed to find attractive I begin to get nervous.

More than simple tools of pleasure, porn plays a role in determining who is valuable and desirable in our social context. The “straight-cam” genre invites gay men into worlds where straight men always excluded us. Focusing on fantasies of the unattainable straight man promotes the idea that gay men are not worth watching have sex, much less actually having sex. Rather, being competent, sexy, and powerful means being straight (and usually white) in porn. These technicolor fantasies offer men who are no more gay than George W. Bush and we are supposed to lust after them.

Connected to this emphasis on straight men seems to be an equal inclination towards sexual violence in some gay porn. It’s not that I am opposed to S&M, if all parties are willing. Rather, I am concerned about a particular narrative arc that appears in many gay films.



Seventies gay porn often revolved around scenes of rape, even in the age of the Gay Liberation Front. “Classic” films like Kansas City Trucking Company or Sailor in the Wild frequently presented gay sex as being instigated by force or trickery. In a typical scene from Sailor in the Wild, an allegedly “straight” man shares a cabin with two men. During the middle of the night, he awakens to find his bunkmates having sex. He responds by verbally assaulting them and threatening to beat them. They respond by forcing him to have sex with them. In the end, he finds he enjoys himself.

Obviously, there are many problems with this type of presentation of gay sex. It sexualizes our own abuse and homophobia. When confronted by a straight man yelling “faggot,” I can guarantee the last thing I think of is giving him a blowjob. Under the logic of the film, though, this type of violence becomes sexually thrilling and even an invitation to sexual adventure.

Moreover, it reenforces the notion that gay sex is always involuntary and a form of punishment. Those who are penetrated in these types of scenes are also humiliated or made submissive. Gay sex becomes a weapon.

It isn’t just a bygone era of films that have these themes, either. A modern “amateur” site promises “straight guys, but goes one step further.” In this incarnation of the straight-cam, the site deploys “a gay but straight acting plant who encourages the straight victim to take the ‘turn.’ But they don't all take it lying down.” The language here seems significant to me. Again, we are presented with the idea that men need to be duped into having gay sex. Moreover, the man who consents to gay sex is a “victim.”

Too often, gay porn shows a gay man tied up or on his knees for some straight hominid, pleading to service him. These types of films send the message that gay men not only deserve to be abused, but actually want it. What’s most troubling is that these images are consumed by gay men.

Gay porn can and should be transgressive. Yeah, okay, it’s main purpose is stroke material. I understand -- I am not an idiot (or sexually dead). There are many things to look at to get us off, though. We can be more attentive to what we purchase and the messages we consume during *cough* personal moments with our DVD players and computers.

By the clearer light of day, we ought to desire erotic images of gay men who are fearless, brilliant, and desirable. We should, in other words, want men “like us.”

Gay porn differs significantly from straight porn because it has a greater potential to undermine the existing gender hierarchy. Gay porn can valorize sexual difference. Same-sex symmetry in gay porn means that greater possibilities exist for undermining predetermined assumptions about sex and power. It can overturn, for instance, culturally defined meanings of the relationship between inserter and insertee. Rather than reinforcing social domination, gay porn can make the ambiguous and egalitarian erotic.

36 comments:

MEK the Bear said...

I couldn't agree with you more on this. I've always been troubled by any porn I've ever watched that has nice consenting adults doing what comes naturally and then all of the suddenly there's a forced sex or bondage scene in the middle of the good stuff (COLT films were always a prime example).

This edification of violence and the straight guy as desirable goes beyond just erotic film however.

Take a good look at erotic artists like Tom of Finland and Thor. These guys constantly employ the rape and/or straight guys imagery often found in contemporary and classic porn.

The strangest bit for me is, I've been in the leather community on and off for the last 6 years, that every S/M encounter I've ever had has always been about stretching your limits, allowing the pain to explode into pleasure and to have a spiritual-like experience through sex.

There was always a degree of love and respect in every encounter I've ever had!

No one ever forced me to do anything I wasn't willing to do!

Even the S/M encounters of others that I've witnessed at parties had the same kind of love and respect.

I always had play partners tell me how proud they were of me being able to transcend the pain afterwards, and sometimes hold me for hours. I trusted these people more than I trust my parents, ok!

I've always failed to understand why S/M films could never show the type of play I experienced.

My ex was all about the straight guys porn things, young college students exploring gay sex for money, etc. It really got him going, but it always left me cold.

I remember clearly watching a video with him where the guy was basically too young to understand what was really happening to him.

Just turned 18. He looked confused and suddenly frightened when the guy holding the camera went down on him, my partner loved it, I called the camera guy a pedophile and walked away.

This type of stuff is sickening to me, give me a good old COLT film anyday (skip the faux violence, though, please).

Dorian said...

Excellent post, as always.

I've also been fascinated with the resurgence of the "straight man" fantasy in gay porn, especially since for a good long time there, there seemed to be a growing emphasis on the homosexuality of the actors. It wasn't that long ago that the big names in porn were being promoted as "versatile" performers, being able to give and take. With a lot of the "straight man" porn, it is, as you say, all about the gay men serving the straight man.
I tend to give it a pass, mostly, because I don't buy for a second that any of these men are straight, or strangers to gay sex. It's just another fantasy, and fantasy is what porn is all about. I get much more of a "remember that jock in high school you had a crush on? Now you can have him" vibe off of it. I'd much rather save my ire for the growing popularity and acceptance of "barebacking" videos and other kink and fetish films that promote unsafe sexual behavior.

I find that the porn I most enjoy these days is the stuff on the fringes of the bear theme. Versatile performers, body and chest hair, and with masculine models who don't pretend heterosexuality. Well, I mean, you've seen the pictures I put up on my site, you know what I like in porn.

But your larger point is definately worth exploring. Gay men seem to have a lot more familiarity and comfort with porn than straight men, and I've heard the argument, many times, that for many gay men, gay porn is their first exposure to the idea of what gay sex is actually like. That gay men, lacking that teen dating and socialization that straight men have, often turn to gay sex to gain a sense of what gay courtship and romance is like. That violence and the worship of heterosexuality are common themes should be worrying.

Joe said...

Brilliant as always. I don't know why I bother to fumble around when you by afterwards and say it so much better.

Aaron said...

For a long time, all the gay porn out there featured "barely legal," shaved down "bois" with a dark tan, a thong tan line and gigantic poofy hair preferrably blond.

The only place where you could see guys who looked like you and me was straight porn. Gawd, I'll take Ron Jeremy over a thousand genderless Chi Chi LaRue Rascal Video Exclusives.

There is more variety among the film actors now, but the gay porn genre is still littered with stylized, lifeless, Barbie Doll depictions of men and male sexuality. Or its affected, "hypermasculinized" alternatives.

Jeff said...

While reviewing old (beginning with silent films) porn, I was disappointed to learn that is was always some variation of male rape. And when I hear some braggart telling of "doing" it with a straight guy, I have to wonder what his definition of straight is. And then come the films where they swear that all the players are of age (on file at some studio). But you'd better not discuss this in a gay group because you'll always be made the fool. I really begin to wonder about the gay community as a whole.

Gayest Neil said...

Porn is entertainment! Porn is not documentary. Porn is instant gratification. You do not cuddle with Porn. Porn does not call you the next day. Porn is fantasy. Porn is the unattainable. If it was attainable why would you need the porn in the first place?

Adam said...

This post was terrific. As always gay prof turns the crap into credible and I love him for it!

One thing thought is that I've always thought that all porn is more or less centered around rape. Regardless of the genre it seems to always be about putting peopple in situations they don't want to be in.

Lyle said...

One other theme I find troubling is they myth of the "gay for pay" performer who sometimes acts totally disinterested in sex to maintain the myth that he's filming this scene only for the money.

Bleah, I just don't get why anyone would get into sex where one participate seems so disinterested in the whole thing the "gay for pay" mythology always struck me as something with a large amount of self-loathing attached. I've always found that worse than the "straight guys having sex" websites (not to say that they're not bad) because (at least from what I've seen) at least those guys look like they're enjoying sex.(Though I base this off of stills, never having felt compelled to give out my credit card.)

I suspect that, to some degree, the comfort gay men have with porn is that it's the most widely available depiction of queer sexuality. It's easy to find hetero depictions of sexuality in daytime television, primetime television, magazines, etc. For queer sexuality, however, the least hassle is still in porn. (Which I'm realizing probably brings up a cycle of a-finding all gay content innappropriate because one cannot separate the sex out of homosexuality leaving the majority of representation in porn which b- leaves most of the representation in porn where it's more about sexuality than anything else.)

Frank said...

I really have nothing more to offer than a hearty "Hear, hear!"

I just don't get those who get off exclusively on "straight" guys, either in porn or real life. A true straight guy won't want you and "straight" guys are never worth the hassle, in the end. I like men who enjoy gay sex, in my porn or in life (though not much of the latter lately). There's nothing wrong with power dynamics, but, yeah, the whole "rape" thing is kinda creepy when you think about it.

Teddy Pig said...

Well, I think what you said was a hoot. Totally whacked and pointless, but hey whatever.
Porn is porn, movies are not real, and no there is no OZ over the rainbow.
Watching Tom and Jerry cartoons obviously did not lead to you attempting to kill yourself.

Since you hate Kansas City Trucking Company so much you just send that one my way. I would hate to see good Joe Gage porn go to waste.

Stephen said...

I think watching porn is not quite the same as watching a typical film, because, in many cases, the viewer 'interacts' with what he sees (and reaches for the towel/tissues after that). So in this sense, it is a voyeuristic fantasy, where the best porn makes one feel that what he is watching is 'real'.

But in trying to create a sense of the realness of the men involved in the screen action, there are some tropes that could be employed: they don't look too much like actors, don't shave off their pubes, they look slightly awkward, and so on.

Therein, for me, the appeal of 'amateur' or 'straight men': that what I am seeing is closer to 'reality'. (of course I know that it's not reality, but for that 30 minutes or so, I could pretend otherwise and when the people look a certain way, it's easier to achieve that fantasy.)That the actors really look like they were picked off the street, that their interaction (and intercourse) is somewhat awkward, that they don't keep their high cut boots on but miraculously take all their clothes off, that thumping music is not piped in.

(Although I would have to note that the old Colt movies really achieved the above also, in fact, in my opinion, even better. Also, some of the porn with so called straight actors really don't quite make it either.)

All that is just to say that I agree with the idea that, at an unconscious level, there probably is something unhealthy with hankering after straight guys. But that there is also something about the quality of porn which can make those with 'straight men' (or at least appearing to be so) more interesting.

(Also: perhaps lusting for the undesirable is something set in the human condition, both straight and gay? There should be something said also about power play ('forcing' the straight man, in a heteronormative world, to do something that he doesn't want) but I should get back to work).

Foxy said...

"We ought to want men who are fearless, brilliant, and desirable. We should want men like us"

A) There is no such thing as "ought" and "should".

B) It strikes me as interesting that no one has brought up the opposite of the self-loathing of it all - the fags who subscribe to such narcissism that they only are interested in men who look like themselves.

C) Doesn't part of the whole "straight" thing harken back to the fact that for many fags, especially back in the day, first sexual encounters were with guys pretending to be straight? Weren't many of us pretending to be straight during our first sexual experiences? (As much as you can pretend to be straight with a cock in your mouth...)

D) The rape or coersion aspects - don't they also harken back to the days when, say, you'd never eaten ass before and someone had to "convince" you to do so. If you are having issues with your sexuality and are coerced or tricked into having gay sex, it doesn't count right? So, Joe Smith in Middle America can put "LA Tool & Die" in his VCR while his wife is out getting groceries and he can fantasize about what it would be like if someone finally came along and "made" him have gay sex. He's got too much fear inside him to take action himself - he wants someone to come along and "free" him from his own homophobia. Watching loving gay sex isn't going to do it for him - he can't relate to that. That would make it less fantasy and more real and he can't deal with real - not yet anyways, and possibly not ever.

E) As Neil said, Porn is porn.

GayProf said...

Gayest Neil, Teddy Pig, Foxy: I take all of your points that sometimes porn is just about masturbation. Certainly I might over think things. Also, let me be clear that I don’t think there is something harmful/evil/self-hating about watching a guy wank for the camera whatever his sexuality (as long as the actor is of legal age and willing to do so).

My concern, however, is when the guy’s heterosexuality becomes the major selling point of the porn. I agree with you all that porn is often about fantasy, but why should those fantasies be about straight men? If we can't (or won’t) assess and critique our own desires and fantasies, where does that leave us?

Charlie said...

It's just another fantasy, and fantasy is what porn is all about.

But the question is, what do you want your fantasies to be? A person's fantasies say a lot about him.

Anonymous said...

A large part of my fantasy life lives in the zone of what is taboo, what I would not do in real life either because I am not adventurous enough to seek it out, or because I know I shouldn't seek it out. "Regular" sex on film doesn't interest me so much, because I have that in real life.


Whatever interest I have in "straight" gay porn has to do with it living in that taboo zone. The guy is doing something he at first thiniks he shouldn't. He's crossing a dangerous and therefore exciting boundary.

The most viscerally thrilling "straight" guy porn I've seen was all in the eyes of one young man as he kept looking over at his buddy next to him. You could see the conflicted desire, the ache nd fear, the butterflies in his stomach as he wrestled with the question of whether or not he should. That's an exciting moment for me, actually more exciting than the ensuing act.

Joe

Anonymous said...

You missed the point by a long shot. Porn isn't about representing what actually happens in real life. Can you really believe all those str8 guys that watch max hardcore videos really wanna do that shit to their wives, girlfriends?

Like anything else in life we desire that which we cannot attain. In the past being gay was taboo enough that porn producers could titilate audience with depictions of gay men rutting. But in today's culture (fortunately) gays are becoming more accepted and represented. Two gay guys having sex is not that big a deal anymore (well in at least some parts of the country). So what do you do to titilate viewers nowadays, you find that which is most desired, and thus most likely unattainable.

Amateur gay porn reflects this desire with presenting the illusion of a sexual encounter with "straight" man. It's taboo. It's hot. It's something that turns us on because it is potentially dangerous (just like the proliferation of bareback porn).

On the flipside, the "professional" gay porn studios have become so "mainstream" (ie bland, borning, and rote) that fewer and fewer gay men actually find their work apealing (including myself). They will search out other avenues of excitement.

goblinbox said...

The porn industry mirrors people's fantasies, it doesn't cause them.

Porn doesn't create all these archetypal stories of domination, submission, of desiring the unattainable... we're already like that. We basically come out of the womb with those stories hardwired into our heads, straights and gays alike. (Straight porn has the same stories, btw.)

As for the question of "Why isn't porn about normal people having normal sex?" Well, because if it was, no one would buy it. It's that simple. We all enjoy being normal people having yummy normal sex, but that's not the same as watching it.

Let me say the same thing I tell those pissed off, entitled feminists when they get all "we're VICTIMS here!" on me about porn: there ain't no conspiracy here. The porn industry isn't trying to make you feel weak, ugly, or to fixate you on the unattainable. It's just trying to sell porn. Get over yourself already.

The "straight guys are hot" aspect of gay porn in particular is simply the very human 'pursuit/desire for the unattainable/need to be desired against all odds' story that exists everywhere, in every psyche, straight or gay.

Straight guys love lesbians because they can never be or have lesbians since lesbians don't like men. Gay guys love straight guys because they can never be or have straight guys since straight guys don't like men. I don't think anyone in the porn industry is thinking, "Hey, let's make our customer base hate itself!," or "We all know straight men are better than we are, simply by virtue of being straight!" They're just telling one of those archetypal pursuit stories with the symbols they have at hand.

(Got here from JMG, loved your post, hope you don't mind my commenting.)

Teddy Pig said...

I think what most bothers me about taking any small segment such as "straight gay porn" and attempting to tie it into some underlying vague generalization in describing poor mental hygiene that it has a flavor of that next step repression and censorship.
It's like when someone recently tied these same overly generalized issues of self-loathing to hyper-masculine sexuality of Bears and Leather.
The thing is in reference to your thoughts, I know that Joe Gage flick of which you speak and the actual scene that looks like gay rape is actually later shown to be a mutually agreed upon setup. It looked real "the rape" (But Joe Gage is good like that) but it was a fantasy revealed within a fantasy. What was damn hot in that film was the fight scene between one of the main actors and a straight guy that walked in at some point and started calling people fags.
Anyway, what I'm attempting to say much like that film, if you really knew that reference or the lifestyle in question you would know that the image given is not exactly what it really is about or the fact it actually communicates and speaks of something quite different.

Jockohomo said...

It's worth noting that the homo/hetero dichotomy dates from only a century ago, when doctors invented both terms, thereby recasting as a duality what had previously been regarded as a wide variety of sexual attitudes and appetites. We all know that sexuality and sexual preferences operate on a kind of complex spectrum, every individual has a unique sexuality that's different from those of their peers.

1. Most males really enjoy being male, having a penis is awesome! We all have certain physical features in common with other males. Depending on the individual, this pride of masculinity may cause a varying degree of arousal when a guy looks at another male. Even though we may have no desire for actual romantic or intimate contact with another male, it can still be an erotic image. We may wonder how a fellow male masturbates or how he has sex, because we find these things enjoyable when we do them ourselves. We may think about masturbating while looking at another guy who is doing it at the same time. However, basic admiration or 'looking at another guy' doesn't mean we want them. As all porn is voyeuristic in nature, I hope we could agree as gay men that there is more to being a homosexual than just the physical. Homosexuality is not the inverse of heterosexuality. Gay sexual acts that mirror heterosexual act, are dull, boring, predictable. If allegedly straight males are the holy grail in gay eroticism, that's a damn shame, and too rigid for me. Of course, when considering sexual preference one has to take into account the balance of desire for physical intimacy with the desire for emotional intimacy.

2. Rape is and always will be a form of violence and control no matter how one might glorify, sanitize, and aestheticize sexual violence. It's interesting to consider that what we see in gay porn might not be the modern definition of rape, as we rarely see the serious consequences of such rape. I often think that what we might be seeing in films is the more erotic raptus as defined by the ancient Romans i.e. the carrying off by force. During the Renaissance, a time when artists looked to ancient Greco-Roman civilization for enlightened inspiration sexual relations were portrayed like the hunt; that sex and rape were equal, that when seduction fails, violence may be employed, that aggression against an unwilling partner enhances eroticism, that in the end the rape victim will be happy with the assailant. It's frightening to examine the rape concept, yes, but interesting to consider. I have no answers as to why, 'rape scenes' appear so often in porn, they are demeaning and feed the myth of the gay man as sexually insatiable and a predator.

3. As gay men, we grow up holding the secret, holding the shadow side. It's interesting not having definitive role models, the ego has an enormous capacity not to know itself. Society forces us to hold down those so called unpleasant or unacceptable qualities, but inside those so called unpleasant or unacceptable qualities are a great deal of normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, and creative impulses. We grow knowing what to show and or not to show in order to survive in a male dominated society. In other words, the fear of being perceived as gay holds straight guys together. This is why boys in a playground police each other for signs of being a sissy, why male adolescents conjure up elaborate codes in which wearing a certain color on a certain day labels the unwitting offender as a fairy or homo. Sadly, the obsession with homosexual signs and the people who embody them is the key to an order that ranks men by their invulnerability to same-sex desire. The irony is that this heterosexual code of conduct has nothing to do with loving women, but it has everything to do with fear of femininity.

Fear of a queer new world? What would the world look like without homophobia and internalized homophobia at that! Why is it that ordinary masculinity depends not just on heterosexuality but on male-dominant heterosexuality? What would happen if all men would embrace passivity, receptivity, and vulnerability as part of their larger repertoire of emotions?

FND Musicploitation said...

i do agree with you. when the sexuality, the subject being straight, is the main pull then there is something there. in some cases its unhealthy - when you can only get turned on by only that. but in some cases, its just a mere fantasy of having an easier life.

to call it unhealthy or an internalized self hate is too strong even though it is slightly true. not every gay porn consumer lives in a big gay area where you have gay places where u can meet like minded people easily. some guys i know are lucky enough to have this gay bubble thing. some however lives in 90% straight sorroundings and sometimes you get so pissed off and lonely that the guys you meet are always straight. sometimes to fantasize that the cute guy next door is available for you to know and could probably be up for some quality time is relaxing. but you know its not true. in the end, you will go back to real life and acknowledge that its just a fantasy and its all up to you.
in the end, its all up to you how you perceive your own worth.

Anonymous said...

From your description of gay porn, it seems to me that men's sexual fantasies run along similar lines, whether they're straight or gay: by raping a virgin, you can initiate them into wonders of sex.

The difference is that you say that gay porn turns the object of desire (a straight man) into a symbol of something you find lacking in yourself or your ordinary partners. I don't think straight men ever look at the object desire (an untouched woman) as something they want to become, or connect that desire to any lack in themselves or self-loathing.

I think straight porn give those men a feeling of conquest and superiority over women. So wouldn't this type of gay porn provide the same feeling of conquest over straight men?

Anthony said...

As a queer man, who belives that sexuality is more about acts then identites, i find that straight porn transgresses boundries between gay/straight. I think that there is someting regressive and restricting about our desires, if we force an identity check on who we fantasize about.

In the same way, rape texts among same gendered pornography, aare about angry faggots punishing complict breeders, and work against that segeration in a different, more radical and more angry way. I am unsure how it sentimentalizes our opression.

Teddy Pig said...

"What would happen if all men would embrace passivity, receptivity, and vulnerability as part of their larger repertoire of emotions?"

And do so as artificial or assumed, to prove how in touch they are? Two words: Alan Alda

chiron said...

O Professor! You THRILL ME! NO! Sex and porn make NO SENSE! I've never understood sex and twenty years after my first fantasy...I realized that sex doesn't serve the interests of the sexed not one jot. Evolution is a tinkering little bitch. Hers is a case of provisional thinking applied to the human genome...like she just threw it out there to see what works in the wild. 80,000 years later, it looks like our rational mind has outgrown our evolutionary inheritance. What if Patty Hearst and Elizabeth Smart are not the extreme cases, but the exemplars of sexuality's play on the human imagination? S&M? D&S? Think capture bonding.

chiron said...

Having said that (above rumination on evolutionary psychology's insight into some sex) I also believe that our minds and bodies are so resilient at to be capable of more. So I agree with you when you say and I know from experience that, "Rather than reinforcing social domination, gay porn can make the ambiguous and egalitarian erotic."

~Shaye said...

Great post and I agree with all you wrote.

Yes, I am a woman, (hetero), and I'm also a Domme, (a Loving Domme), who prefers bisexual men, so in my world, I rub elbows with the gay man who prefers the conquest of seducing straight or bi-curious men. I have found that in certain circles, we can be pitted against each other in an abstract way as being competition.

Bi-curious men search me out for a variety of reasons and yes, they want a certain amount of sexual interaction with another man and some have been the victims of being "tricked" into situations where they thought the play would include a woman and then it didn't.
Some harbored resentment towards the set up and I have to wonder if gay men who find this type of activity realize that some straight and bicurious men really don't get off on being duped or preyed upon in this manner.

I've had gay men tell me that ALL men are basically gay and want sex with another man.
In my experience, which is extensive, this is not true. Curious yes, but not all straight and bicurious men want intimate sex with another man. Most just want to suck a cock or be fucked with a woman watching or taking part.

I adore gay men, so please don't think I am passing judgement.
Your blog is a treasure and I hope you don't mind if I check in on occassion.

fgfdsg said...

I've always wondered about the standard 'straight guy' fantasy in porn. Living in a small Australian country town these closeted and confused types were pretty much my sexual life.

I think the straight fantasy holds power for gay guys, not just for taboo reasons, but due to self hatred and the more obvious idea of Acceptance.

Think about it. I got beaten up a hell of a lot at school by the type of man that i'd probably idolise now. Is 'servicing' this type really more about the idea that they are somehow now accepting of us and our abilities? That they 'respect' us and we're now just 'one of the blokes'?

If we're sleeping with a straight guy are we someone tapping into that world of masculine mateship and ease that we've been cut off from?

I know i've been told a lot by these rough types that "they don't like faggots" but "it's ok, you're not like them". Part of me is insulted, but sometimes I'm slightly ashamed to admit there's a tinge of pride there when they give me their seal of approval that way.

I demoed a song on the subject last year. Pretty damn funny stuff.

fgfdsg said...

Actually, I thought about it a bit more and I think it also explains my unease with 'Brokeback Mountain'. It's just more 'fetishisation of straight guys'. More here:

http://homefrontradio.blogspot.com/2006/01/are-you-there-god-its-me-adolph.html

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing one of the major markets for gay porn - men who picture themselves as straight but have gay curiosities or desires. The thought of being "tricked" or "forced" appeals to them as a fantasy, since they get to have the sexual thrill without abandoning their straightness. Even the thought of being "seduced" reflects their inner desires. It's a very different audience from the out-and-proud crowd.

Bear Wabbit said...

To me, the inclusion of a "straight" character adds a little dramatic tension to the scene. Will he or won't he? Certainly in most cases the guy begins to get right into the sex and everyone is happy.
I find "rape" scenes too disturbing to be erotic. The bullying and violence is a drag for me. However, a seduction leading to openness is very horny. I end up thinking the two guys have had an interesting experience and, seeing how we never find out what happens the next day, it all resolves nicely.
I prefer masculinity in a guy not heterosexuality. I prefer to leave the hetero guys to whoever THEY fancy.

Zayn said...

THANKS PROF: stimulating queer daytime theory, how queer media remains a means of de-queering us. but i have a question--as someone else did--about the idea that porn can EVER be anything but a "rape fantasy" given the master-slave relation between the viewer/film and film-maker/actors. who makes porn using whom and for whom? that rape fantasy still sticks. but i dig your point that we gay men have to be more aware of what we consume and how this consumption creates our sexual (and otherwise) identities. PEACE, ZAYN

Anonymous said...

I think there's a little more to it than just the "straight" guys in porn.

How many "gay" guys in porn come swishing into a scene?

How many gay men do you know that are convinced that all any straight man needs is a little convincing to turn? And how many are sure that they are the ones to do it?

And as for comments that it's all "just porn and fantasies," think about how it works. One guy makes a "straight" guy porn, it sells like crazy, so everyone makes 'straight' guy porn and it also sells like crazy. The producers respond to the consumer's demand. If we're all buying that kind of porn, what does it say about us? Possibly, that we all have hidden desires to trick our cute coworker into "experimenting" a little. Well, maybe not so hidden desires.

Will (UK) said...

Even as a 100% gay bottom I find that I am watching more and more straight and less and less gay porn.

What is so much better about straight actors is that they actually look and sound like they are enjoying what they are doing and who they are doing it to!

As a total bottom I also prefer the emphasis on the woman (bottom in gay terms) getting 'done'. I hate in gay porn the amount of 'flip-flopping' (versatile sex). This is one of my biggest turn offs.

Maybe if they made gay porn more like straight porn I might watch it!

Anonymous said...

This is something interesting that I've just become aware of. I'm a straight guy who occasionally watches gay porn as has seen this dynamic played out in several ways. I understand why it might concern gay men that the whole "straight lust" theme pops up in gay porn over and over, but personally I don't think it's a sign of self loathing or seeing straight men as more desirable or anything particularly pernicious. Fantasies are often by their very nature forbidden. And sometimes they don't make much sense. Personally, I don't find men attractive at all, but I occasionally have fantasies about getting f****d by one. I've known straight women who had similar fantasies about other women. Given the amount of "lesbian" (emphasis on the quotes) porn that is aimed at hetero men, I don't really find this "str8 man's first sex" thing all that surprising.

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