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His first huge cock

Why pornography plays a legitimate role in society

When I first took note of the words at the top of the Jun 4 edition of Xtra West that read “His First Huge Cock,” I thought it had something to do with the full page image of Laurier LaPierre that appeared below it. And I must say — no offence to Mr LaPierre intended — that I did not feel all that compelled to find out the details.

I’m sure the senator is a decent guy, but the details of his sexual beginnings are not on my list of things to learn about before I die.

Eventually, working my way through those sections in Xtra West that interest me, I came across the piece to which the cover text referred. I was even less interested in what the article was really about than I might be in LaPierre’s private activities and, stifling an existential yawn, turned the page looking for something more interesting.

Pornography has never been a big fascination for me. Oh sure, there have been times when it has attracted my interest. Back when I was a 10-year-old in Winnipeg, I found a discarded copy of a Hustler-like magazine while exploring a mountain of cardboard boxes behind the local Safeway.

I took the magazine home, cut out all the pictures and taped them up all over the two bedroom apartment in which I lived with my mother and sister. Later that evening, my mother came home from a date, accompanied by her new prospective boyfriend. A talking-to soon followed.

But that was more about novelty and curiosity that an expression of sexual desire. When puberty arrived a few years later, sexually charged images became more interesting, for different reasons.

In school, sex education amounted to a general description of the workings of the fallopian tubes, as expressed on the chalkboard. And that was it. I was forced to learn about sex on my own, and I did that with the only resources available: pornography.

The choices were limited, being as puberty arrived for me in 1976. I had no access to (or even knowledge of the existence of) pornographic moving pictures, so I was forced to sit through hours of boring French-channel programming on Saturday nights in the hope that an imported film might flash a boob on the screen for a second or two. I didn’t even have the benefit of bilingualism to make the experience entertaining.

My first truly valuable bit of sexual education came from reading a satire magazine of the day called National Lampoon, which I bought, or shoplifted, on a regular basis. Besides a regular supply of sexually charged images and allusions to sexual topics, they published a paperback called A Dirty Book. It had no pictures that I remember, but all of the stories were humour (in the kind of way that would only appeal to a pubescent adolescent male).

One of those stories was about a character called Wilbur the Wimp, who arranges a date with the hottest girl in town, but is so sexually excited at the prospect that he needs to blow off some steam before the date. He does so by inserting his penis into the hose of his vacuum cleaner and allowing it to suck him off. Unfortunately, his cock gets stuck in the hose and cannot be removed.

At the time I read this I had never ejaculated, not knowing that my penis had this remarkable functionality. So of course, I had to give it a try.

When no one was around, I pulled out the family Kenmore, took off the beater bar attachment, and let it rip. I did so very apprehensively, as I didn’t want to have to go about town with a stuck vacuum hose wrapped around my abdomen, as had Wilbur. But it all worked perfectly. A few seconds after turning the machine on, I shot my very first load down the hose, and a whole new world was opened up before me. I never used the vacuum again, for once I’d discovered how things worked, I was able to think up many other ways of achieving a similar result.

This anecdote is my rather digressive way of acknowledging that pornography and erotica have a legitimate role in society.

It exists partly because we, for a variety of reasons, are unwilling to provide young people with useful information about how and why their sexual organs work. Rather, we have abandoned responsibility to educate the young, and have sent them off to find the answers on their own.

As with any other aspect of society, capitalism provides where demand exists. A vacuum is always filled, you might say.

Personally, I lost interest in pornography once I discovered the ways and means to do the things depicted in porn that appeal to me. While some of my acquaintances were going off to Little Sister’s to  drop eighty bucks on a video that they’d take home and use to add a little dimension to their masturbation, I was down at the tubs, paying five dollars for the opportunity to enjoy the real thing, and lots of it.

My first 50 huge cocks didn’t leave me trying to pay off a whacking credit card bill, and I was actually meeting and interacting with (and fucking) real human beings.

But that’s just my preference. Perhaps pornography satisfies some in ways that I can’t hope to understand. I don’t expect Xtra West to restrict its content to match my personal lifestyle or morality preferences at the expense of others, and I don’t expect others to repress my queer identity, as I define it, because it doesn’t match theirs.

Subsequent issues of Xtra West featured letters from readers such as Penny Sautereau-Fife, Véronique Boulanger, Kevin Dale McKeown, and Marek Kociolek, many of which expressed concern about the possibility of a minor seeing an image of a man performing fellatio. To which I must ask: so what?

I’m imagining a boy coming home from school, plunking himself down in a chair, and instead of turning on The Flintstones he pulls a copy of Xtra West from his bag. When he comes across the picture from My First Huge Cock, he takes the paper into the kitchen, where his father is baking chocolate chip cookies.

“What are these guys doing?”

His dad looks at the picture, hands his boy a cookie, and says, “Do you remember that time last summer when you called your little brother a cocksucker?”

“Yes,” the boy replies, taking a bite of the cookie. “Mom sent me to my room for using a bad word.”

“Well,” says the boy’s father, “that man on his knees is a cocksucker. It’s something that a grown-up man or woman might do with a man they love. Your mom didn’t send you to your room just because it’s a bad word but because you used it in a way meant to hurt to your brother. In doing so, it was also disrespectful to people who enjoy doing it. Does that make sense?”

“I think so. Can I go watch Power Rangers?”

I’m not interested in pornography reviews, just as I am not interested in sports scores, real estate listings, or comics — I’m interested in good quality news and opinion — but that doesn’t mean I’m going to wet my pants about their presence in the paper.

It takes a variety of content to make any print publication economically feasible in this age. The only reasons I would object to Xtra West including a reasonable quantity of porn reviews in the paper would be if I discovered that it was sacrificing journalistic integrity to run paid “advertorial” content, or endorsing porn content that is clearly exploitative of the actors. I see no evidence of either in this case.

I didn’t turn into a dangerous sex offender for having been exposed to that Hustler when I was 10 and I doubt that any kid who happens across the fellatio image in Xtra West will either. More likely he or she will say “Ew!” and turn the page, or discreetly hide it under his mattress and include it in his accumulation of knowledge.

That knowledge has to come from somewhere and we should all be grateful that, despite its inadequacies, a publication like Xtra West exists to provide a more ethical source for it than our young people — or anyone else interested — might otherwise find.