Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Giving me a softie

I watch a lot of porn. Fucking, sucking, solos, groups — I’ve seen almost everything. So every now and then it’s charming to try something softer-core.

Playgirl magazine was a big part of my coming-out process. I used to take copies from the Mac’s Milk I worked at and build up a stash, and then when I felt guilty about jerking off to images of men, I would find a way to dispose of them. One time I biked to an abandoned house in my neighbourhood where Harley bikers partied late at night, and I fed about 20 issues through a broken pane of glass in the kitchen door, one at a time. Another time I gave a dozen of them to my friend, a ballet student, under the pretense that I was so considerate, and had such foresight, that I had been stockpiling them just for her for an entire year. She politely went along with the charade, but being a ballet student, she knew gay when she saw it.

Playgirl is a fascinating publication, and really, a pioneer in that strange sort of marketing where something is targeted directly at one audience, but the producers know perfectly well that it’s being consumed by an entirely different one. Several Playgirl editors have publicly acknowledged that gay men make up 30 to 50 percent of the readership, but I suspect it’s even higher.

Playgirl stopped publishing a print edition in February 2009, but it started again this year when it featured Bristol Palin’s baby daddy, Levi Johnson, on the cover. I’ve never had an online membership to a site as mainstream as Playgirl, so I thought it would be interesting to see what’s inside.

$39.95 a month gets me in, and the first thing I see is a link to a photo pictorial of Jesse Santana — a famous gay pornstar. Hmm. I dig on through. The website is surprisingly disappointing.

Its design is archaic and it’s difficult to navigate. The one thing I was looking forward to was the archive of the print editions — I was hoping to find some of the classic issues from my childhood. Playgirl promotes its archive while trying to sell you a membership, but once you are inside, you discover the “archive” is only 32 issues. The centerfold archives are a bit better — they go back to 2001 — but there is no excuse for a magazine founded in 1973 to have so little content in its premium online property.

The only thing worthwhile about this membership was getting to see the outline of Levi Johnston’s cock, and a few photos I had never seen before of one of my all-time favourite models, Marcus Patrick.

I don’t like to write bad porn reviews in general, but this turned out to be a waste of time and money. If you want high-quality, interesting and sexy male photography, stick with sites like beautifulmag.com, which are free.