What about porn?

Yeah, what about it? Consumers of porn, inquiring minds want to know. Actually Zack and I want to know for our Queer & Queerer podcast. This week we will talk about pornography. Yeah, I know we did a show where we interviewed a gay porn star and then my partner Glen came on and disagreed with the porn star ( and yes, that put me dab smack in the middle between my gorgeous man and a porn star.) But this is different.

When I travel to colleges, I sometime lead discussion groups about porn. I don’t get into the morality or immorality if porn viewing. I don’t facilitate the discussion around religious views of pornography or the teaching that it is wrong because it objectifies women and men. No, I pull back the camera just a little so that we can have a discussion about porn without all of the heavy judgment kicking up fear and guilt and shame. I want to have a adult conversation about porn.

So I ask two questions.

  1. When was the first time you encountered porn? or What is your first porn memory?
  2. Over the years, what role(s) has porn played in your life?

Now in college discussions it amazes me how quickly people clam up about the topic. I was with a group of eight male identified college folks, and only one talked about porn in the present tense. It was all a thing in the past. Yeah, tell that to the college IT crew. But I said no judgment, so I will take you at your word.

Besides, I am not interested in prying. The beauty of this on-line discussion is that you can leave an anonymous comment. You can even post a bogus email address in the comments. You can be totally honest. Transparent and invisible at the same time.

Zack and I want to hear what you have to say so that we can share it on the show. Feel free to share any demographic information you want–age, orientation, gender, etc.

So, tell me about your porn history…

UPDATE

Listen to our podcast about porn based on some of your comments. Queer & Queerer The Porn Episode.

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This post has 37 Comments

  1. Jeff on April 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Well the first time I remember looking at porn was when I was around 8 at a friends cabin on vacation. It would be considered light these days but we looked at it undercover in bed with a flashlight. We laughed but knew that we would get in trouble if we got caught.

    And over the years it has played strongly from time to time and at other times nothing at all. When I first came out I knew it was there but very rarely viewed it. And then as a Christian it was totally taboo so did not go near it for like 15 years and then came the reality of the internet. Early on I knew it was there and once in a while took a peek but nothing too racy mostly just pics of nude guys or their body parts. Then I came out again and I became more free with it so viewed it a lot more on line. Then the advent of tube on the net became available and started watching it even more. I think I watch it more than say a porn site or porn shoot because the guys are amateurs and it is much more real than the stuff the studios put out.

    My partner and I from time to time will put on a video and watch some hot guys. And to be honest I have mixed feelings about it. I know that it objectify’s people which is for me wrong and it tends to create a false illusion and concentration on certain body parts of a person. But I know that in a relationship it can and does add a little spice that can be fun. Right now I am choosing to take a sabbatical from it just to ask myself why do I like to view porn. How healthy is it for me and in my relationship and especially how healthy when I view it alone and get off to it.

  2. Monsieur Mangetout on April 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm Reply

    My best friend was the first to show me porn. It was straight porn, and I had enough of an interest in naked women to like it, even though naked men excited me much, much more. He had a set of soft porn playing cards. Probably around the same time I discovered my dad’s porn stash, and I’d sneak into his room and look whenever I was alone. If I was confident he would be gone for a while, I’d take one into the bathroom and, well, you know the rest. They were soft porn classics like Playboy and Penthouse.

    I was very religious, so I felt guilty about it, but it drew me in anyway. I never saw gay porn as a kid, as it just wasn’t available to me. As I got older, I used to draw gay erotic images to masturbate over. I wasn’t a good artist, but it was the best I had! Then I’d scribble over them so fiercely the paper ripped before throwing them away.

    In the early to mid-2000s, I discovered the internet and got into hardcore gay porn. It’s been a feature of my life on-and-off ever since. Back then it was addictive, probably because it was such a taboo, and when you blow (pun accidental) things out of proportion like that, they become unhealthy obsessions. Now I go through phases, but more often than not I can take it or leave it. In every serious relationship I’ve been in, my partner has said he doesn’t mind if I look at porn, but I’ve never said one way or the other whether I actually do, and I’d be embarrassed if the issue came up in my current relationship. I suppose deep down I think he’d feel like it’s a reflection on him, even though he’s intimated he’d be fine with it.

  3. Jacob Woods on April 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm Reply

    My brother is guilty of exposing me to that terrible terrible stuff! Porn is so atrocious!!! jk jk

    I love porn and yes my brother was the one to introduce me to it. This is a vagina and that is penis. The penis goes into the vagina.

    Unfortunately I caught myself looking at the advertisements for gay porn in the back. Secretely I would sneak into my brothers room and grab hold of his dirty magazines and quickly turn to the picture of the guy in underwear. He had dark complexion and a huge bulge.

    If I wasn’t looking at that I would look at the cute boys for a gay porn magazine that was in the back. They got me off faster and differently than the women in the magazine did.

    Plus there was always computer porn to. I would always watch the guy doing all the stuff. I didn’t realize I was attracted to the guys in the vids all the times. I thought I was watching straight porn and that I was straight. But I had no clue gay porn existed! Than high school came and yah!

    Gosh what else. . .

    Now I view porn much differently. I feel that a lot of young people use porn to justify how other people are suppose to look and have sex. Porn is professional sex to sell to a selling market. Free porn is a trap into buying better quality videos.

    I watch porn knowing that in many cases these are professionals who are being payed to have sex. They are sex experts in the how to department. I watch it for entertainment and enjoyment. Of course I masturbate to it and what in not.

    But nothing is better than genuine sex. Real sex is never going to be as good as what it looks like it pornography. However it is going to be real. Just like life is not like it seems in the movies. It is a fantasy world!!!

    Hope that helps out your podcast!!!

  4. Jesse on April 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm Reply

    I’m 22 years old, pansexual, and genderqueer. I first saw porn when I was about 14 years old. At that time, I was doing some online research for an essay. One of the links I clicked on Google accidentally turned out to be an erotic story – all text. I began regularly reading erotic literature on a free archive called “Kristen’s Collection”, and then started looking at photographic and video porn as well.

    Porn really confirmed my attractions toward all genders. I’d known I was attracted to any gender since I was a kid, about six, but didn’t make the connection that I felt SEXUALLY attracted and very much enjoyed looking at the bodies (and thinking about sexual actions with people) of any sex, gender, and any orientation configuration. I enjoy looking at ( / reading about), and somehow personally identify with the characters in lesbian porn, gay porn, and straight porn – mentally inserting myself into various roles of each configuration. It also helps me with other parts of my sexual orientation, such as BDSM and fetishes. It’s very difficult (read: impossible) to find a partner who is into exactly the same things you’re into at the same intensities, so I use porn and fantasizing to fill in some of the gaps. Porn is also a great way to introduce new sexual ideas to a partner (like fetishes, BDSM). I can look at porn with a partner and talk about it with them and see if it appeals to them too.

    You may notice a running theme with all of this: porn for me is mostly about risk-free sexual exploration.

  5. Anonymous on April 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm Reply

    I discovered my father’s porn stash, and the internet fueled that exploration. Mostly women, I think the forbiddingness of it is what worked.

    I quickly become attracted to internet stories and using that. Unlike professional stuff it has an authenticity and like a previous commented mentioned, safe sexual exploration. It was a steam value as I led a repressed sexual life in my teens.

    I am a person that gets uncomfortable at clubs with boys dancing on stage…. I don’t think it has to objectify… Honestly it raises questions about how far we have allowed capitalism to turn every aspect of our lives into some that can be sold…

  6. Annonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn on April 7, 2011 at 1:38 am Reply

    Encountered photographs online as a young teen, by accident, because my parents left browser window open. Saw magazines earlier than that due to friends.

    Have decent imagination, so for the longest time did not look at pornography. Prefer watching gay males as opposed to straight or lesbian pornography. Nothing too raunchy, just two human beings intertwined like an art form.

    I am a young, married woman, more strongly attracted to men, but am open-minded enough that if the soul I was attracted to happened to be female, no problem.

    Not keen on admitting this to anyone. Wrestling with the morality behind it.

    • Anonnnnnnnnnn on April 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm Reply

      Please delete my comments. Having thought I was contributing to an open minded forum I now feel like shit. Thanks.

      • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm Reply

        Annonnon, yeah this is supposed to be an open minded forum, and most people are. I really appreciate your honesty and would love to leave you comment up for others. It is a great model of transparency. Sounds like you have a mature attitude about it. If you look at the thread below, you will see that Spy and I hashed things out. I think Spy was totally out of line and judgmental.

      • annnonn on April 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm Reply

        Ok, you may leave it up. If it helps someone else feel less alone, then I’m ok w/that.

        I didn’t get through all of the comments as the first ones were deeply hurtful.

        • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm Reply

          hurtful indeed. Yeah, we need to leave judgment of others out of this discussion. We often feel too much towards ourselves as it is. No need shaming each other. I am excited about recording the program with Zack. It will be available by the morning if not sooner.

  7. Let's pretend this is not me on April 7, 2011 at 3:27 am Reply

    Um, Spy? I’m not sure that’s how “no judgement” is done.

    I look forward to this podcast, sensible discussions about porn are so rare.

    I first saw pornographic images in a treehouse a male friend of my female cousin had made and, er, decorated. They were magazine clippings, just naked women, mostly. I was curious, but also a bit worried, I didn’t know the guy very well and was a bit wary about where it was going. But we just sat and speculated about whether the women were whores, even though I didn’t really know what that meant. I don’t know how old I was. Probably too young.

    Since growing up, I turn to porn occasionally, to inspire my imagination or if I want a quick result so I can get on with my day. I like gay male and hetero porn in about equal amounts, I guess? Most porn is uninspired and boring, so I also rely on fantasy a lot.

    I disagree with Spy that there is a tension between “the real thing” and porn, and that you have to choose. Sex and masturbation are different things, I enjoy both and see no reason to forsake one for the other.

    Look forward to the podcast. 🙂

  8. Shirley on April 7, 2011 at 5:48 am Reply

    Spy, I do wonder if your very prescriptive-sounding judgements might prevent some people from joining in this (very interesting) discussion. I don’t think Annonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn’s experience is uncommon so I’m not sure how ‘twisted’ it can be. It could be said that monogamy or marriage or life-partnership is ‘twisted’ because our (natural?) drive wants us to be with more than one partner, yet many people choose to have a relationship with only one. I wonder how we can ever really say what ‘normal’ means? Certainly we can’t even hope to discuss how people feel if no-one’s talking because they don’t want people to judge them.

  9. Peter Leeson on April 7, 2011 at 6:37 am Reply

    I am married to a woman, even though I am gay (not bi). I have been married to her for 27 years, I love her and respect both her and the vows I made to her. She has accepted that I am gay, but the consequence of all this is that I am celibate (at least until I come across a temptation I cannot resist).
    My only outlet is porn, I consume it regularly. There are certain things that I do not accept, particularly pictures that appear out of context (e.g. a good looking lad in speedos on a beach, who does not appear to know that this photograph is going to be used on a site that publishes pictures of naked men) or models who really appear too young… I am not too much into the crude porn with no context, but am a great fan of Jean-Daniel Cadinot, who takes the time to build a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.
    That’s a lot more than I wanted to share.

  10. Nick on April 7, 2011 at 7:51 am Reply

    Did you know that there is such a thing as a “pornographic homosexual”? These are individuals who prefer to look at pornographic images for arousal and release rather than seek out a physical partner. I was a total pornographic homosexual for the better part of my life. I now have a significant other, but the porn is still a big part of my sex life, and I’m not about to give it up.
    I began looking at Sears catalogues from my earlierst years. I’d find a copy of Sports Illustrated, or hunting magazines, or look at the swimsuits and men’s clothing ads in the weekend paper. Heck, I even got hot reading comic books with hot looking cowboys or action heroes in provocative poses. Most of those early comics also had the Charles Atlas ads or Jack LaLane, or body building guys in there with nice, sculptured chests and a nice bulge between their legs for good measure. And with the advent of the internet- the rest is proverbial history. I used to go to gay bookstores and buy those glossy mags that were quite expensive. But now I have a plethora of pics right at my fingertips.
    Just sign me up as one happy porn lover.

  11. p2son on April 7, 2011 at 8:23 am Reply

    Spy, we are going for a non-judgmental, non-shaming conversation. Reflect on your own experiences and keep judgments to others to yourself. And that goes for everyone or I will use my superpower of deletion on your comment 🙂

    It’s so important to simply state how we have used porn. So much fear and shame and guilt get kicked up that we can’t look at the topic objectively. On the podcast I will talk about my own history with porn and the many roles it has had in my life. I am not yet sure how I “feel” about all of these roles and have not passed any final judgments yet. I hold it out there in an open hand for further inspection and reflection.

  12. Spy on April 7, 2011 at 9:44 am Reply

    By the way, “Spy” here is Sheria and I am on twitter: http://twitter.com/belasheria

    • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 10:03 am Reply

      Ah, Sheria, no wonder you got freaked out by the non-conventional. Stick with me sista and your world will broaden for sure lol. I guess that is what I love about personal narrative–storytelling–we begin to see that the world is far more complex than we had ever imagined or been taught. All sorts of relationships. All sorts of genders. All sorts of orientations.

  13. Shirley on April 7, 2011 at 10:56 am Reply

    I completely agree, we are all entitled to our opinion 🙂

  14. Spy on April 7, 2011 at 11:09 am Reply

    Peterson, don’t you just love my ‘name’ *Spy*- It could be my new twitter name!! :)) You took away the “pissed-off-ness” in me when you said sista! What I don’t understand here for instance among other things is; Why would a person call themselves GAY when they are married to a straight woman and there’s a possibility they will have sexual intercourse “if the temptation occurs??!” That’s TOTALLY WRONG, NOT GAY and it makes me sick to my stomach!! Ya feel me?? Yeah am gonna stick with you Peterson, for now bcuz it looks like you gonna teach me a lot…As long as it’s not creeppyyy and makes me sick!! :p

    • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 11:23 am Reply

      “Spy” I think what Peter meant in his comment is that he is a gay man who happened to marry a woman (not all that uncommon historically among many gay men in the closet trying to pass or even change.) He came to the understanding that he wasn’t changing into a heterosexual, yet he is in a committed relationship (that is more than just about sex) so he remains married. Complicated perhaps. I see something noble about it, particularly because of Peter’s honesty with his wife. They remain partners in many ways.

      Peter feel free to jump in and correct me or expand as you see fit.

      What I think is sad is that so many gay men today still take a wife because of social pressure or to deflect accusations that they are gay. I am sure you have seen this very thing in Zambia.

  15. Spy on April 7, 2011 at 11:35 am Reply

    Peterson, Peterson, I am gonna quote Peter Leeson now: “She has accepted that I am gay, but the consequence of all this is that I am celibate (at least until I come across a temptation I cannot resist).” What’s wrong with this picture?? “At least until I come across a temptation I cannot resist” pisses me off. What do u call a gay guy who believes there’s a chance he will fall into temptation with his wife?? Should we call that man GAY??

    • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 11:54 am Reply

      Peter Leeson can correct me if I am wrong, but I read his statement to mean that if he comes across a temptation to partner with another man that he cannot resist… Then of course it might change things with his current partnership with his wife. He will of course need to consider if he wants to partner with a man and will have to talk to his wife about the consequences of that on their marriage. That’s the adult way of dealing with these things–openness, talking, etc.

      NOW the main thrust of the comment thread is about PORN–What is your porn history. You’ve been busy poking around in Peter Leeson’s eye. Shy, what about you? When did you first encounter porn? What role(s) has it had in your life?

  16. Spy on April 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm Reply

    Peterson, I hope you are not putting words in Leeson’s mouth..I would rather he spoke for himself. He may have meant quite the opposite so I rest my case and choose not to comment further mainly because I am from a *different* world..My first porn experience is an intimante and private issue and I choose to keep it that way. There are those who are lucky enough to have shared “my experience..” ;))

    • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm Reply

      Spy, well, if Peter wishes to chime in, I am sure he will, but knowing him personally and his story, I have a feeling my interpretations of his words are more accurate than yours. If you ever publish your intimate and private memoirs, let me know 😛

  17. Spy on April 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm Reply

    Haha!! Oh come on Peterson, you know I will!! Roflmao!!

  18. MNguy on April 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm Reply

    1. When was the first time you encountered porn? or What is your first porn memory?

    Age 12/13, when step-bros pointed to the step-dad’s magazine stash, and helped me get a handle on what masturbation was.

    Early experiences of porn/masturbation were tightly linked, and equally mercurial. I felt such an all-encompassing draw to both, but often a crushing, instantaneous fall from pleasure and excitement to post-orgasmic guilt, self-shame, and worry.

    2. Over the years, what role(s) has porn played in your life?

    The draw to erotic stories has been consistent and long-standing. Starting in the college years, I found mostly-straight mags with occasional bits of bisexual themes. Reading them can be a diversion or a distraction from the rest of my life, but the experience is largely comforting and grounding. As I’m reading, I’m made aware of parts of my brain that still feel stuck in my teen years (the 70s) when it didn’t seem possible that a lot of people of all backgrounds, sizes, shapes, could be other than straight.

    Like erotica and masturbation are linked for me, erotica and money have always been linked. For so long, access required money, and while I don’t remember spending excessively, there was ambivalence/reticence about spending money on pleasure-seeking.

    In today’s world, I spend no money for access to erotica, but the ambivalence/reticence remain to the extent that I believe people who are writing or performing it are practicing a craft that they have a right to be paid for.

    One of the most intriguing developments in erotica, as far as I’m concerned, is personal sex-oriented blogs where people are telling their own stories. I don’t know for sure that increased availability and acceptance of porn has led to people telling their own intimate experiences, but I hope that continues to be an outcome of porn: All of us being able to find safe, private space to talk about experiences, fantasies, good, bad, and in-between.

  19. Annonnon on April 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm Reply

    I never said I was straight.
    I said I’m wrestling with it morally.
    You have really made me feel horrible about myself.
    Thank you for ruining my day!

    • Jane Smith on April 8, 2011 at 1:29 am Reply

      Hey, Annonnon, I hope you read my story. You are not the only straight woman in the world who watches gay male porn.

  20. Jay Rookswood on April 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm Reply

    I’m bio-male, genderqueer and a Kinsey 5.5. I’ve been using porn about ten years. I’m sprisingly picky – a lot of porn just doesn’t work for me – but on the flip side my tastes are very broad, so I can enjoy lesbian, straight and gay porn, although 99.999% of my collection is gay.

    I made the mistake of buying my first porn mag from a sex shop rather than from a regular news shop – sex shops don’t seem to stock very good porn (go figure?) and I actually wasn’t turned on by it much. So after that I just left it all up to my imagination, until a year later I discovered the porn shelf at my local corner shop carried gay mags – that were better than the ones in the sex shop, and cheaper too!

    A year later, just after getting my own flat, I had a bike accident and ended up in hospital for a week. My mum came round my flat and found my porn collection and threw the whole lot out – aaargh! That’s when I started using web porn – it’s so much easier to hide when your mum can’t understand your computer’s filing system, plus you can back it up so if she does manage to find it you only have to seem to get rid of it.

    Porn for me is partly about indulging needs & desires I can’t fulfill for various reasons, e.g. because (like most genderqueer people) I don’t have the option of a sex change so that my body fits who I am inside.

    Since gay guys tend to freak when they find out I’m genderqueer, I’m restricted to bisexual guys as potential partners – but openly bisexual guys can be hard to find thanks to the biphobic attitudes of many gay men. As a result I don’t date very much and, since I don’t enjoy anonymous sex, I often use porn to help relieve the tension.

    I also use porn for artistic inspiration. I’m an aspiring writer of M/M fiction and, as a highly visual person (I have an eidetic memory) I find having an image around which a character can form helps the creative process. I’ve tried writing without an image, and I find the characters end up two-dimensional. Since M/M characters must, by definition, by physically attractive, porn is one of the most useful sources of inspirational images!

  21. Jane Smith on April 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm Reply

    I like that I can be anonymous.

    I am a straight woman and I first encountered porn mags when I was a kid (can’t remember what age). It was my uncle’s and it was pretty hardcore, it being the 70s and all.

    After that I came across it on cable while babysitting in the 80s. The porn film Garage Girls is still in my brain.

    In the 90’s there was reading erotica. Anais Nin, Anne Rice in all her incarnations, etc.

    Now in my 40s and married I occasionally come across porn when I feel like a little visual stimulation. My search terms of choice are male masturbation and gay men. Maybe I just think guys are totally hott 🙂

    All that said, I definitely prefer the written word. I like a good story with some hot sex!

    Porn in small doses…

    I do think it’s sad when kids see things too much, too young and too hard core. I know that the stuff I saw in the 70s had an effect on my views of sexuality.

  22. Jacob Woods on April 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm Reply

    Awesome feedback!!! Great post and podcast!

    • p2son on April 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm Reply

      GREAT. Thanks for listening!

  23. Peter Leeson on April 8, 2011 at 3:07 am Reply

    *Spy* and Peterson – I should have left my comments as anonymous to avoid having people discuss me so openly… So, details.
    My parents were very outspoken and opinionated; they openly stated their disapproval and disgust at all things homosexual (and to just about every form of race, history or tradition which did not match their own). I spent way to much of my life trying to earn my father’s respect. That included the fact that I decided that once I was married, these feelings would go away, once I had children, these feelings would go away, once I accepted Jesus as my “Lord and Saviour”, these feelings would go away… they did not and I finally had to admit – to myself and to others – that I was gay.
    My sex life with my wife was never great and has gone down to nought. When I say that I am celibate at least until a temptation comes that I cannot resist, I am not speaking of my wife, but the possibility that I meet a guy who will tempt me into destroying my marriage. My wife is my best friend, we have great communication and she offers me 80% of what anyone could possibly hope from a relationship. She does not understand the concept of sex without love and would not tolerate it. We have a relationship that is based on honesty, so I do not believe I could hide it from her (or wish to keep it secret). I do not wish to hurt her, or my children, through an exchange that may not last the day, but I am realistic and admit that I do not know whom I will meet tomorrow or what the future holds.
    In the mean time, I believe it was Quentin Crisp who said that “sexual relationships are but a poor substitute for masturbation”…

  24. Alex Sarmiento on April 9, 2011 at 1:53 am Reply

    I started watching gay porn in earnest around 2000. Since then, I’ve seen at least 200 gay and bisexual porn films, and the majority of them I have either in VHS or DVD. (And yes, I do have a life. I don’t watch porn all the time, not even on the Interwebs.)

    Personally, my favorites are the ones from Falcon Studios from the late 1990s to early 2000s. Some people may disagree, but those were IMHO some of gay porn’s golden years. The guys were insanely hot, they were genuinely into each other, safe sex was the norm, and I never felt insulted when I watched it. Nowadays, there is more diversity, but I feel that the joy of gay sex has gone downhill.

    This is probably the academic in me talking, but I feel that gay porn plays a vital and essential role in our community. Gay men, even in 2011, are treated like crap by virtually every mainstream form of life and expression. We’re still lacking in images of gay men being, well, gay on television and in the movies. We’re told (either tacitly or blatantly) that not only do we have no right to exist, but that if we do exist, we’re not supposed to be sexy or sexual or sex-positive, lest Middle America scream in horror and head for the hills. Middle America basically will tolerate us if we remove the SEX from “homosexual”, “bisexual”, “transsexual”, even “try-sexual”. What does that leave us, then? Homo-ual? Bi-ual? Trans-ual? Try-ual? That’s not cute.

    Gay porn is the only venue of entertainment where gay men are celebrated, where gay sex is seen as beautiful and a part of life (even the ones with extreme fisting and vacuum pumping and giant metallic anal beads), where the guy gets the guy in the end (no pun intended), and where the guy actually lives to love another day and doesn’t die at the hands of gay-bashers or AIDS or Hollywood intolerance. For all its flaws, I dare you to think of any other form of media that at the very least acknowledges gay men and the fact that sexuality is key (if not THE KEY) in a gay man’s life.

    By the by, I don’t view this Sean Cody straight-boy fetish that’s been coming along in the past decade as “authentic” gay porn. Real gay porn involves people who are gay and/or bisexual and not bisexual as in “I’m just doing this to turn on the opposite sex” bisexual, but real bisexuals who are genuinely and without irony attracted to both genders. Besides, straight guys rule most of the world anyway. Leave the gay and bisexual porn to the gays and bisexuals.

  25. Sean on April 12, 2011 at 4:48 am Reply

    Belatedly came here after hearing the podcast. Just wanted to throw in my comments, as a young bisexual (Kinsey 4) nerdy ADHD guy (now you know, just in case you had a mental stereotype for that sort of person).

    I’m young-ish, so I first encountered visual porn on the internet. Before that though, I had actually read a few novels that happened to have sex scenes in them (mostly cheap fantasy novels and such, stuff that I found in the library). I was pretty smart and started reading at an adult level when I was ~7, and my parents really hadn’t thought through the whole “kid wandering out of the kids’ section of the library to check out regular novels” thing.

    So that was what I had access to when I first discovered masturbation, and then, later, when I discovered the internet, I actually ended up looking at masturbation techniques and sex ed stuff (of the kind I would never want to ask my parents about). Luckily I ended up at sites that were actually meant for serious teen sex ed (I guess I must have been really nerdy, insofar as I probably searched with the only possible combination of sexual words that were so technical that they wouldn’t have landed me on a porn site). So I didn’t get all my information from porn at first, but those sites for teens linked to other sites for adults, which linked to forums, which had stories about sexual encounters.

    At this point, while most actual visual porn still seemed so cheesy and weird to me that I couldn’t possibly get off on it (I’d basically only seen it in really garish pop-up ads anyway), I started to look for porn related to certain fetishistic ideas that I had invented (and knew that I couldn’t be the first person ever to have thought of). It was really through that sort of (what felt like) extremely perverse searching that I finally found stuff that actually interested me. Although I’m a little more friendly towards, uh, “normal” porn now, I still stick mostly with either very fetish-y or just amateur stuff when it comes to video. Mostly, I think it’s just the cliches and bad acting in a lot of porn scripts, which frankly are just so distracting, and such a turn-off half the time, that I’d rather have either an truly outlandishly weird premise, or else have it be genuine, regular sex with no plot at all.

    Part of the reason I got into all this was also because I was socially isolated for most of high school. In addition to all the weird stuff mentioned above, I also had some weird anxieties growing up (I went through a hand-washing phase, I had social anxiety, I had a couple of serious phobias spontaneously occur, which have since resolved very slowly). Since I didn’t get close to other people, I didn’t have much of a chance to develop sexually until college. Despite frequently looking at male/gay porn, I didn’t even really figure out my sexual orientation until then.

    The downside of this was that I might have felt more isolated for a while, insofar as what I was looking at online, while not particularly creepy or violent, was light-years weirder than what I heard other people call “kinky” (I don’t know that that was the porn’s fault; most of my weirdest fantasies dated to before I’d even started searching for it). The upshot was that, once I did sort my sexuality out in college, I’d pretty much gotten any residual guilt over with. When I was 10, I was still trying to figure out how to reconcile my evangelical Christian background with modern science. I went through puberty very early and was shaving daily by 11. By the time I was 12, I was trying to come up with new gay sexual acts and see if they already had names that I could look up on the internet (I can still remember when I triumphantly discovered the word “docking”, the primitive internet having not yielded up the name for this act for some time). You can see the moral whiplash there, and how I had to reconcile everything pretty quickly. When I actually admitted that I was bi to myself, it was surprisingly easy, because I’d already, years earlier, had to drop any pretense of believing in the sexual morality I’d been raised with. It helped that my parents had also exited the wacky world of evangelical Christianity at the same time.

    Anyway, having yammered on for a bit, I’ll wrap up by talking about one more influence of porn in my life. At an engineering school, I didn’t have much of a straight sex life for the same reason most of the school didn’t; I was constantly busy, only 15% of the students were women, and at any given time almost all of those were, for one reason or another, unavailable. After I came out, I still didn’t have much of a sex life, because the guy I had a crush on was straight and I hardly knew any actual gay guys. I didn’t really get how the whole being gay thing worked, if you weren’t into, well, being masculine or feminine in any particularly intense or stereotypical way, and I didn’t have a lot of time to get out because I was constantly studying or working, so I put seriously forming any kind of GLBT identity on hold.

    Then, at a summer internship, I found myself having almost nothing to do for a week but surf the internet. Assiduously avoiding watching porn at work (my boss’s office was right behind me), I ended up reading webcomics, and finding a couple of clean ones that happened to have furries in them. I didn’t really think that much of it, because the jokes and plotlines didn’t revolve around the animal bit, and I figured that convincing and expressive animals were easier to draw than humans anyway (think Looney Tunes, or Disney). Two webcomics in particular talked about gay issues, one being by a transwoman (I didn’t know this at the time), and another by a gay man. That lead to me hanging out on a forum where a lot of the people were gay or furry or both, a few months later. That lead me to being linked to gay furry porn stories, which lead me to finding what is honestly still one of the cutest coming out/first love stories I’ve read yet (furry porn usually isn’t my bag, but the animal thing just wasn’t intrusive in this case). Which drove me to meet some of these authors/artists and their friends. Which later allowed me to get involved in the first real group of gay friends in a gay community that I’d ever encountered (at the same time learning many valuable lessons about not buying into common wisdom about small subcultures).

    Anyway, this is one of those little oddities of life. Furry porn led me to the first group of friends I’d ever had where a) attraction to men was normal and even unremarkable, and b) weird fetishes, various states of non-monogamy, and novel sexual ideas (and the positive and negative effects of all these) could really be discussed openly and with a sense of empathy and humor.

    Perhaps it’s just because I focus so much on kinky stories as well as pictures/video, or perhaps it’s because I went such a long time without a sexual outlet, but the role that porn has played in my life has generally been to confirm that I’m not alone in having unusual sexual fantasies, and to provide a sort of connection to people who aren’t judgmental.

  26. paul on April 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm Reply

    I have been in the throes of school and finals and missed this one, so here I am at the tail end (not to objectify, but somehow apropos). First of all, that’s a hilarious picture of the cat on the computer.

    My first “porn” might not qualify. I was a loner growing up and books were my friends. Given the generation, before the advent of the net, I found my first porn at the library. I was 14 and the book was “City of Night” by John Rechy. It was pretty racy stuff, even by todays standards. Reading it pretty much brought my attraction to guys to the forefront. As an adult I can name all my childhood boy crushes going back to age 7, but since books were my friends this was probably my first point of connection, affirmation even, to that part of my identity.

    At 19, I managed to get myself to an adult book store in Hollywood. I was scared and embarrassed to walk in, and way to self conscious to buy, but I did get to see some magazines. In my early 20’s I bought some magazines, and “The Joy of Gay Sex.” Somewhere in my 20’s I saw the movie “Making Love,” which was porn for me, lol. Kind of frustrating porn, they only showed two guys kind of writhing under covers.

    Nowadays, I do watch porn… I’m not sure I would if I was coupled. I don’t get off watching porn, it serves more as a precursor to a hook up (foreplay?). I do find I am only selectively turned on by porn… there has to be a romantic element for me to attach to, otherwise it doesn’t really work for me. Just watching body parts is a let down for me. Porn is not so much supplemental for me as it is an open and available culture to access that acknowledges that part of me. I think if I were braver, and society was easily accepting of my gayness, I would be more apt to ask the cute bank teller out on a date and my sexuality would have more balance because less of my gayness would be pushed into that expression.

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