Vancouver
4 min

More than masturbatory Muzac

An online porn primer for 2005

Credit: Ken Boesem

I suppose it was inevitable that, sooner or later, given my long-standing interest in pornography, I’d get to computer porn, or more precisely, that it would get to me.



Of course, computer porn isn’t exactly news. Ask any schoolboy.



What is news, at least to me, is that today’s DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) technology speeds up downloads and doesn’t tie up your phone.



Translation: finding Internet porn is no longer a time-consuming bother and you don’t have to be a techno-wizard to get to Boygangs.com, which features just-over-18 threesomes from Moscow.



What interests me about Internet gay male porn, apart from its alluring lads, is not the technology but the meaning. Some people think porn is perverse, dirty, degrading, disgusting, whathaveyou. They’re wrong. Gay male porn is a normal, sane, biologically inspired part of the human imagination.



The first gay porn I saw, about a half-century ago, wasn’t in the form of writing, photographs, or video/DVD. The first porn I saw was inside my head and I was the creator of it. At about age 12 or 13, I took the images of the neighbourhood boys I was attracted to, reconfigured them in my mind, gradually undressed them, and directed my first Oscar-winning fantasy sexual extravaganza.



It was a gooey success.



The rest of my porn-viewing career is, as they say, history-from the crudely mimeographed “eight-pager” sex comics of the mid-20th century to the latest computer-downloaded, streaming, gushing digitalia of 2005.



Some people think porn is a substitute for sex. Or that it’s just masturbatory Muzak. They’re wrong. It’s way more than that.



Among other things, porn is also a) satisfying entertainment, b) useful education (that was especially true in those pre-digital caveboy days when I thought I had single-handedly invented homo sex), c) mental rehearsal for sex, d) psychological anticipation about how other people might reveal intimate behaviours, and e) better than most of what’s on television.



So, what’s wiggling its butt on your liquid crystal display screen in 2005? Two things: pay-per-view and free stuff.



All you have to do is go to your Google search engine, switch to “images,” disarm the decency filters, enter the words “gay sex” into the search box, and click.



You’ll be instantly plunged into a sensorium-swamping realm of commercial gay sex porn sites that offer photo sets, video clips, webcams, sex shows, and spamspamspam offering more gay porn sites, until your machine is so clogged that it’s hard to get the damn thing turned off.



The main thing the porn sites want is your credit card. The rates run from $1.99 3-day look-around-’til-your-imagination-is-rubbed-raw specials to $39.95 monthly recurring charges. (Be careful of the latter. If you’re using a pay site, pick what’s known as a “non-recurring” billing method.)



The alternative route is the free stuff. Go to Kazaa.com, a file-sharing site (there are several others available), download their free software program, go to “search,” click the video button, type in “gay sex,” and start downloading.



What’s available are clips from current gay videos/DVDs. There are lots of technical details-mainly about the slowness of downloading and avoiding adverts-but you can figure most of that out for yourself. Yes, it can be addictive at first, and yes, you can get over its obsessive temptations.



Porn may not be art, but like art, it has a history of styles.



When gay video porn ejaculated into the mass commercial distribution markets in the 1970s and ’80s, the major early producers included Falcon Studios, William Higgins, and a lip-snarling icon named Jeff Stryker (his penis was cast in rubber and inserted into countless gay-liberated buttholes).



The best of the commercial pioneers was Higgins, who featured trailer-park-raised California blondes starring in such epics as The Young and the Hung.



Higgins was succeeded by the elegant Jean-Daniel Cadinot, who presented French and Arab beauties, scenes from the French Dangerous Liaisons tradition, and romantic music soundtracks. Cadinot’s contemporaries included the American porn of Larry Bronco’s “YMAC” crew, a bevvy of California kids who specialized in reciprocal cocksucking, rimming and ramming.



There was also Rolf Hammerschmidt’s German Action Boys, a series of costume dramas that ranged from a 19th-century high school story called The Fucking Classroom, to a hockey epic titled Hot on Ice (in German, it rhymes: Heis auf Eis), that was particularly appealing to Canadian queers.



In 2005, there are two kinds of gay male porn coming through the computer: “coffee-table porn” and “reality-porn” experimentation with guy-next-door types.



“Coffee-table porn” is the digital equivalent of those glossy erotic tomes and magazines you can leave out on the coffee table when the folks are visiting. They’re so clean and inoffensive the parents and in-laws don’t even notice they’re sex objects.



The major producer of coffee-table porn is George Duroy, who’s been running a video and dot.com mini-universe called Bel Ami since the mid-1990s. His guys are so perfect you think they’re airbrushed. They have big dicks, flawless skin, and they’re super friendly.



The “reality porn” comes from dozens of sites, including SeanCody.com, Boys First Time, and Boyzparty. They’re meant to be rough-edged, slightly amateurish, “am I really doing this?” initiations that take place in knotty-pine panelled basement rec rooms.



Since porn imitates reality TV, there are countless webcam porn versions of Big Brother-style shows these days.



There are two things that I notice about the material that appears on what a friend of mine calls “inappropriate sites.”



First, the big, dirty secret of gay male porn is that it’s 99 percent perfectly normal-that is, normal gay male sex. As long as you don’t object to seeing sex, it’s remarkably benign.



I underscore this point because most of what you hear about porn is from the police, anti-porn ideologues, and other instant experts. And 99 percent of what they have to say is either how nasty, violent or weird it is-or else, how it’s all kiddie porn. They’d have you believe gay male porn is a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist.



The surprising thing is how little there is of what the Decency Squad is trying to stop. The overwhelming percentage of gale male porn is vanilla, non-violent, 18 or older (“proof on file” as the sites say), utterly friendly sex.



Second, and less important, is that guy-next-door reality porn slightly changes your way of looking at life in your neighbourhood.



There are obviously so many guys willing to perform sex on camcorder that when you walk down the street and see someone attractive, you find yourself thinking, “Porn-possible.”



When you click on, it really could be just about anyone.



Maybe it’s a sign of the times, generation change, the normalizing of sexual display, whatever. In any case, it’s an eye-opener.



* Stan Persky teaches philosophy at Capilano College. His new book, The Short Version, will be published in the spring.