Saturday, March 29, 2008


I want to call your attention to a very provocative two-part post by my friend, Don Charles on his blog, Christ, The Gay Martyr. The title of the two-part post is, "The Big Nasty."

He discusses the downside of certain types of Gay porn and how some of the images in that porn, rather than depict love between gay men, shows the edginess that reinforces certain stereotypes, and even puts gay men's lives in danger, through such scenes as those depicting barebacking, double penetration, and fisting.

Part of his two-part post reads as follows:

"I don't get this impression [that people who create and market products like these harbor a profound hatred for Gay identity] just from reading titles and content descriptions, either. Like most Gay men of my generation, I've seen quite a few erotic films over the years. Much of what I've seen makes me believe that porn movies are a major source of Gay stereotyping. All too often, the sex scenes are set in dark alleyways, abandoned warehouses or so-called "tearooms", public toilets with lewd graffiti scrawled on the walls and "glory holes" carved in bathroom stalls. Orgy scenes are increasingly popular, with ever larger groups of men shown going at each other mindlessly like dogs in heat. One-on-one coupling with affectionate kissing and caressing gets rarer all the time. Excessive machismo has infected Gay adult filmmaking. The emphasis is shifting decidedly away from warm tenderness and toward cold brutality."

My take on his thesis is that it is well worth considering. Moreover, I see Gay porn, just as with Straight porn, much as a narcotic, reflecting the increasing tolerance built up over time that requires more and more of a pushing of the envelope in order for the viewer to get "the high," or "the thrill" from watching images that give that high and that thrill that tamer images used to give but that outlived their usefulness regarding the high and thrill that is increasingly required by consumers of porn, be it Gay or Straight.

Personally, I seen nothing wrong with viewing porn, be it Straight or Gay! What is at issue here is the fact that, like any "narcotic," increasing edginess of images is required to achieve the same result that far tamer images elicited even twenty years ago. For the well-being of some people's psyches, what we used to say about heroin is apropos regarding porn: "It's so good. Don't even try it once."

The major concern I have is the sexualization of the gay male that puts a public face solely on "sexuality" as defining what it means to be Gay. Of course, sexual orientation is what largely, though not solely, defines and justifies the labels "Gay" and 'Straight."

However, sex devoid of love both disembodies one from the other, and also disembodies one from the other in the psyches of all too many gay men, and the images that others' have of both Gay men and women, and that disembodiment is fueled by the images of certain types of Gay porn to which Don Charles refers.

The Straight community has less to lose by producers of Straight porn pushing the envelope as that community enjoys full and equal civil rights, and it is expected that Straight men and women are capable of loving each other; that love is validated and legitimated by virtually all people in society.

Gay men and women, on the other hand, by and large do not have that image; their love is all too often solely equated with lustful sexuality; is thereby viewed as "inferior" (if it is viewed to exist at all in the minds of many Straight people), to the love Straight people have for each other.

So, Don Charles' post also implicitly suggests that pushing the envelope in Gay porn may well have far more potentially damaging consequences to the lives, psyches, and rights of Gay people than occurs when there is the pushing of the envelope in Straight porn.

I urge you to read his provocative, typically lucid and articulate, post on this subject.

His two-part post is located here.
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Yep! You got what I was trying to say, Jerry. There's a broader message, though. Demonizing sexual imagery hurts society as a whole. America is one of the most hung-up countries when it comes to sex. We exploit it mercilessly in our media, and yet we surround it with stigma and shame. America needs to have an adult conversation about what adults do behind closed doors. We need to strip away all the sensationalism and shame-filled baggage so we can deal effectively with issues like sexual violence, sexual racism, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The kinds of films I spotlighted in "The Big Nasty" do not encourage that adult conversation. They discourage it.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Don Charles: So many people are hung up on sex, and are conflicted by it, particularly if they are professing Christians. God gave us the gift of sex! And it's one of the best gifts He gave us on this earth, and it's a tragedy that people either misuse it (e.g. in the case of rape) or pervert it through listening to "Christian leaders" who are either avowedly celibate, or who are so sexually repressed themselves that they seek to inculcate that repression onto others; do so in the name of God, no less. There is no reason why porn can't be used to enhance love-making. However, when it treats people as mere objects, and divorces sex from love, it is counter-productive in many ways.