I’d like to think we live in a growing enlightened age. I’d like to think that. I can’t.
And for an author in M/M erotica, it’s a serious question to ponder.
The reason I think we are still somewhat bassackwards when it cums to sex is that we still can’t put down the whole ludicrous morality issue over it. This is where I think gay men have the slight advantage in coping with society’s overall view with regards to sex. As gay men (of which I am a solid card carrying member – got the toaster oven and everything), I think we are fully cognizant that we’re outside the mainstream box. In a way, that’s completely liberating. We’re sort of expected to be out of the norm. In a real way it can be absolutely terrifying for those not ready to deal with the whole maverick “go your own way” label that gets slapped on you.
This whole inner debate I am having about this was furthered this morning when I happened upon a huffpo gay voices article regarding a gay porn sex worker (Levi Michaels) who had decided to put some of his un-porn life on the web via a YouTube channel.
It was a short, if refreshing, read. I find I am often more fascinated with what these guys do with their non-business life – and not because I am working on my stalker cred, either. Porn is so fleeting for the workers in the business. I have, like many, heard several horror stories of men who couldn’t cope with being in the industry and succumbed to it’s pressures and social stigma’s often associated with it. Sometimes I worry about these men (Arpad Miklos, much? Who I really, really liked as a performer) who may not be planning for their future beyond porn. So it’s sorta refreshing and a sigh of relief that a segment of them do think beyond tomorrow (you go, Levi).
But there is a disparity in how some men approach the business and how it can back fire on them if they aren’t truly forward thinking in their careers. After all, the cock or the ass or a rockin’ bod aren’t the real sexual elements in this equation. We’d like to think it stops there – but it’s the mind that is the truly powerful sexual “organ” we possess. What makes Michaels so off the rails sexy, I think, is his brain. Ditto for Colby Keller (who’s blog I follow religiously) – I fucking love that guy’s mind.
So here’s the reverse side of that:
I mean, take one such individual who for all intents and purposes is gay for pay (but seemed to be doing fairly well at first): Cody Cummings. He presented himself as a fantasy for gay men. Yeah the guy is hot, but ultimately it was very clear that he wasn’t into having sex with men. His ‘gay’ site had a fair amount of straight sex on it. How many gay men love to watch that – I am guessing the numbers aren’t that high. (It’s the same reason why I gripe on Pingay when we get guys posting straight porn pics of guys with mammoth cocks next to some pussy – um, where’s the gay in that?) It was during that whole miserable phase in the industry “Straight Guys for Gay Eyes” bullshit where a number of cross-over guys who were straight in their own lives thought they could fake it well. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few who do it quite well (I could wax eternal about G4P Bo Dean over this very point).
What is so sad about this scenario is that for a couple of years was that gay men were following him – were subscribing because the guy is hella hot (gay, straight, or whatever) but soon discovered just how un-gay he was.
However I think Cody found himself in the crosshairs of his own audience who really weren’t interested in his having sex with women (we are gay after all, big guy) – in that he had for the most part only let guys suck him off and barely touched another man’s cock (using his toes to do so). There’s a built in homophobia in this sort of phoned in performance. I’m reminded of my high school drama teacher who advised we doe eyed future stars and starlets – “give yourself to the performance 110% – if you phone it in, the audience can tell.” (Truer words were never spoken, Mr. Ray) This is what I believe happened to Cody and it apparently did a number on his numbers (read: subscriptions) and a backlash started to take place (in blogs and in the reviews of his site). In short, he went into damage control mode. But here again is how the whole mainstream morality regarding sex hounds we gay outsiders (sex workers are in with this bunch – gay or g4p). We fall for this sorta shit because we want to believe the fairy tale of it. Even if these fae boys/men wouldn’t dream of actually carrying on a real relationship with a man in their daily lives.
Gay for pay isn’t new. That much is evident. But when you stack someone up like Cody with someone who is also straight (but thankfully gets the whole 110% in the game mentality) like Bo Dean, then the tissue paper facade of Cummings offerings begin to really become apparent.
And before detractors and haters comment on my calling out Cummings on his meager offerings – let me be clear: I don’t wish him any real harm or ill times in his future. I truly want all performers to succeed. Having a theatre background, I get the whole putting your shit out there for ridicule or reward mentality. Sex performers get aces in my book because the go where most actors don’t publicly. Cody (or whatever his real name is) is probably a very decent guy just trying to survive and pay the bills (of which I guess also have to deal with a rather hefty alimony to his ex). He knew he had the looks and could play well to the camera (which isn’t always a given in the industry – you may have looks but fall flat because you don’t have that spark that lights up and takes notice when the cameras are turned on). Bo on the other hand gets it. It’s clear from his early work over at Cock Sure Men that he was a straight guy trying to break into the gay porn business. He has a rockin’ look and seems pleasant enough to be around (this from the behind the scenes vids I’ve observed). So Bo Dean gets the gig. He understands and works towards what Cody simply misses the point on. I’ve seen some of Cody’s latest offerings and while he has ‘pushed his limits’ a bit, it is a little bit too late in cumming (sorry, I couldn’t resist – I’ll try and restrain myself).
So how does this go back to that article from Levi Michaels in HuffPo? Well one thing I got from Levi’s interview was that even he sees the change in society’s perception about sex industry workers. Wonder of all wonders: sex workers are people too! Holy shit! Stop the presses (do we even say that anymore?)! Whoda fucking thought, right?
This is some serious good gay man sex going on here!
But what I find so refreshing is that, though it isn’t the prevalent opinion yet, that Levi sees some of the stigma of being a sex worker is being lifted the more accessible the performer becomes to his audience. It is this interactivity that humanizes the performer with his fans. Personally, I think this serves the actor as much as it does the audience member. I find that there is a very gratifying feeling with that veil being lifted just a bit. I mean, I am not one of those porn stalker types who can’t separate the fact from the fiction (I work in fiction for Chrissake). But that Levi would ponder doing this himself and finding that others are open to it is really remarkable. Perhaps a small faction within the larger community will sexually liberate themselves from the oppressive social mores and find their own path to sexual awareness and freedom. This is why I like what Levi is doing. Why he is putting a bit more of himself out there. Plus I love his playfulness while doing it. I know it’s not the whole enchilada. I wouldn’t be so bold to ask that of him. I want his privacy for him as much as he does. Maybe that’s because of my many years in semi/pro theatre. I get it. The public vs. private persona. Yet, Mr. Michaels is finding a way to make media work for him personally. I think that’s great. I wish him nothing short of success in that (even if it only is a personal one) I’ll be cheering from the sidelines.
This is something that I think some of the earlier performers never had a chance to connect with their audience and use it to not only further their careers but also to ground them a bit in ours. That’s bloody brilliant, I say. I wish some of the other actors had this much insight or fortitude to do something like that. I think it would completely humanize the industry – and in turn, I would hope, de-stigmatize it.
Okay, I fully get that I may be asking too much.
But like my takeaway from Michaels HuffPo interview, I think what he has set out to do is a win-win for not only him but for the industry at large. Not that everyone in the biz should run out and do it. Like coming out, each will have to find their own way, find their own thread to tug upon and put their spin on their public persona. For some it stops at Twitter, others it maybe to tweet and instagram. Who knows where this will all lead? I’d like to think gradually to an enlightenment and acceptance that sex is not dirty – it is integral to who we are as humans. That it is no longer the thing that titillates us because of the ‘dirty’ status that the mainstream conservatives want us to hold onto. But that trip is all about control. I don’t know about you, but I’d welcome a little true freedom – a little sexual liberation. It’s been a number of decades since the last big hoorah for sexual liquidity and acceptance.
Here’s a thought that I’ve always held about porn – when its REALLY good, then its fucking art. And you can tell the difference. It fucking smacks you in the face like the porn actor just spewed his love juice all over you. A fucking shower of erotic sensations. THAT’S ART! Why? Because of the work that goes into it. These guys really do work at their craft (and believe me – most guys probably couldn’t take the hours or the upkeep to stay vital and desirable in the industry). So yeah, in my book, guys like Antonio Biaggi (my personal go-to), Colby Keller, Anthony Romero, Bo Dean and Levi Michaels are all guys who get their craft and apply their talents and work at making it all work for us. It may be titillating art, it may be provocative art, but it is ART nonetheless. But ONLY when it’s good (sadly, a large chunk of it is purely out for the commercial buck schlock).
So as I contemplate my characters in my books, I am thinking about this. Indeed two of my characters decide to document their love by recording it digitally. For one of the guys, it is because no porn around will equate to watching him making love to the one person he cherishes above all others. He thinks that capturing that is the greatest expression of his love. It’s defiant against the norms, it is forging their own path – and in their case, it won’t devolve into a nasty get back at you if we ever break up moment. My guys get their Ever After, Happily. So for them, it is a way of keeping memories alive. For my football quarterback so enraptured with the geeky gayboy on campus, he can think of no other deeply moving thing than to wrap himself around the love of his life, to know he has him in every way possible. It’s freeing and totally terrifying. The not knowing what new heights they’ll reach together – that’s the adventure he’s signed up for.
So thank you Mr. Michaels. You’ve given this author something to chew on – I mean, I’d already had my boys toying with the whole new media thing in their lives at any rate. You’ve given me something else to ponder. A new trail in the forest that I didn’t realize that was there. By letting my boys in my story explore what it means to be in this technologically enlightened age (even if we’re still striving toward that enlightenment), your musings will give me some of my own. And for that I am grateful – you’ve liberated me.
Okay, so I have been pondering backstory quite a bit as of late. The reason? I am writing a series of books told by three young men’s perspective over the course of the same events. Each of them has their part of the tale to tell. That’s nothing new in and of itself, right? Yeah, well, not by me. So I’ve had to seriously contemplate the first novel told by that book’s protagonist. I am still in editing mode with that one – beta readers are taking a look at it and providing feedback. So that’s good.
But then the hubby said to me, “You know that what Elliot (my MC in the first novel) sees as important and memorable isn’t necessarily what Marco (his jock quarterback boyfriend) thinks is important, right?”
In some strange part of my psyche, I knew I knew this. Only I hadn’t really given it its due. Marco, the unwavering boyfriend, is his own person. I know this because I created him. But somehow as I was retelling the same story from his perspective, trying like hell to give him a platform to tell his part of the tale, I was somehow shortchanging his experiences and not giving a real look at how he looked at the exact same circumstances but from his life experience.
This should be automatic, right? Yeah, well, it was. Just not to the extent that he deserved. Good thing I am only two chapters into his book that I can regroup and massage it into a better narrative for him. He deserves it. For fuck’s sake he’s the rock in this relationship. His artsy geeky boyfriend is the one who keeps waffling all over the damned place. Not Marco. He’s as fucking solid as they come.
Which brings me to another point – in fiction (esp. queer fiction) I take a rather hard line that cum is different than come. Sure you say I am coming when the guy is getting off. But I would actually like the more porn iteration of the word (and all it’s implied variants) cum, cumming, came (okay, that one sorta breaks the mold). But CUM vs. COME is definitely on my target list. I prefer to use C-U-M as it is a bit raunchier and as a guy, that’s where I am. I like big ol’ messy man on man action. Boys like messy sex. It drives our passions. Cumming is the best fucking thing in the world for us (yeah, yeah, I am sure it is for the ladies when they can get it too. But I don’t write straight erotica so that’s off my radar here).
I am not a piggy sort of guy but I can certainly appreciate when guys get that way. I get it. I truly do. Marco and Elliot (in Angels of Mercy) are very into their form of rutting, cum soaked sex. They like it down and dirty. It’s what grounds them, keeps them bound to each other.
And ladies, don’t let any guy tell you he hasn’t tried to taste his spooge. He’s a fat fucking liar if he does. Every dude has tried it at least once. We’re boys, we can’t help ourselves. The gay dudes that are into it, fuck me, they can’t get enough. Cum dumpster high on the shit like its the best fucking crack around – which, I guess it is. I get that too. Doesn’t mean I wallow in it myself, but I get it. So do my boys.
So back to the backstory question I pose. Marco has quite a bit of backstory that colors his world, how he views it and why. When he (finally) finds the courage to ask Elliot out, he never wavers once he has him. Marco refuses to think of his world without Elliot now that he has him. He would literally tear the world apart to get him back if something ever came between them. Scary obsessive love, that’s the kind of love he brings to Elliot. Elliot doesn’t understand it. He can’t figure out how the hottest guy in their small Northern California town would even look his way let alone profess his everlasting love to him. It rattles his world, shakes it, turns it right-side up on him but he still doesn’t get it.
Marco tells him it ‘ain’t for you to get – it just is, and you better get used to it.’
Gayboys, especially the types who’ve been told they aren’t worthy of any kind of real love, that their perverse or monsters, often can’t handle love when its offered so willingly. Elliot waffles in the beginning because of this. Marco just overwhelms, he consumes and he is very fiery. Leaving Elliot stunned and bewildered and deeply loved. It scares him like no other.
So the first book covers that, with those exact lines from Marco’s mouth about it not being something for Elliot ‘to get.’ But what Marco has behind them is something Elliot can only guess at. Yet in volume 2 of my Angels series, we get to see why Marco tells him that his love for Elliot is weighted, it has history. For Marco, his love has gone on unrequited for two very long and scare filled years wondering if Elliot would even consider going out with him. Marco is a bonafide stud. Girls follow him around, guys try to emulate him, but Marco doesn’t really see that, doesn’t pay it much mind. All he can see is the out gay kid that nearly everyone picks on and, despite the macho air that billows in his wake, all he can feel is how frightened he is that Elliot would reject him. So he waits, he watches, he follows. Consumed by all things Elliot. Marco is right, for him, it does have history – two long years in high school where the bullied gay kid takes no notice of him – slinking from dark recess to dark recess trying to stay out of the limelight. And that is the problem. Marco is nothing but limelight. A great big shiny light.
And when he thinks he finally has the courage to approach Elliot to just say ‘hey’ and see if he’ll talk to him, he over hears a brutal conversation where Elliot rails to one of his geeky friends about the jocks at school and uses Marco as the poster boy for all things terrible and wrong in his life – never knowing Marco is nearby – torn apart, shredded by the boy he loves but thinks he can now never have.
So, it’s weighted, it has history. For Marco, his backstory about this love for Elliot, how he comes back even stronger and more determined to change Elliot’s mind about what he thinks about him is what is so powerful in his story. My hope is to provide enough of that struggle, enough of his backstory from book one (told by his boyfriend) that we get a chance to see what it means for Marco to ‘man up’ and fight for the man he loves and put it all out there for Elliot to see.
Luckily for him, Elliot is swept off his feet.
Even Marco can’t believe he’s got what he’s always wanted either.
Of course, no one would read a story that was only sunshine and roses. So the boys go through some fairly terrible shit. That’s life. Happy as a clam then you’re eaten by a shark. That’s not to say they don’t get their Ever After, Happily. It’ll just take a heap load of crap to sort through to get there.
But at least my hubby gave me some things to mentally chew on. Marco’s highlights in his pursuit of Elliot are very different for him than that of his boyfriend. And even where they intersect, they have different weight for each. But I guess, as a writer, that’s where the fun comes in. Letting Marco explore what it all means for him. He’s got the boy that no one liked, but that boy was the only one he could see, the only one who mattered.
The only one who had his heart…
Backstory, it’s the colors we weave to make stories worth telling and for our readers, stories worth reading.
So I’ve been trolling one of my favorite sites. Just looking for some hot inspiration to get the creative juices flowing, ya know? And I don’t necessarily mean my juices, although I’m a guy and it’s a pinterest site for gay porn so I guess some of that is bound to happen. I’m a dude, it’s what we do. Well, Pingay is my go-to for a little creative input I need from time to time. But there are enough blogs about porn. What I want is to talk about something a little bent from that horn dog gimme porn or I’ll die scenario. I am a storyteller. Porn isn’t about stories (necessarily). It’s about sex. And to be specific, I am talking about the male on male variety.
But that’s not the thrust of this little ramble. And of course I have a few other sites besides Pingay that I troll for some man on man stimulation. I mean it’s more than just the massive build of his body. More than the allure of his face. Even more than the prodigious endowment of his bone. Though between you and me, it doesn’t hurt to spend time contemplating and imagining what I could do with all of those men on that site. Sure I’m married, and the hubby is definitely number one. Always will be. But I am a writer of M/M romance and erotica so my take on how two men come together is rather important to me. The looks of their eyes when they display their wanton lust for another man. The color of his cheeks when he becomes aroused by the guy he’s grinding against.
But lately, while I like the animalistic rut of say Treasure Island Media’s offerings, I found that there’s another porn studio that’s providing something rather unique – and I am finding it far more erotic to watch than straight up (pardon the expression) gay porn. It’s not just some guy grunting as he bangs his way into oblivion. I know a guy generally doesn’t care where he gets his rocks off. There’s actually a story there – and it’s quite alluring. If I had to choose, oddly enough I think I would generally go with the more erotic offering. Perhaps that’s the writer in me. I am not saying which one is better than the other. That’s not my rant here. And I am not saying that we need to pair them up necessarily. Hard core slam fuck fest of gay man on man breeding or something just as scintillating yet with an erotically charged intro to really put some perspective on things. Even a bit of humor that’ll have your cheeks a little bit warmer (along with other parts of your body). A cornucopia of eroticism to plunder. Normally I wouldn’t be into it. Not because I am a let’s cut to the chase sort of guy either, its just that the guys in these flicks are generally gay for pay and can barely speak – they’re hired for their looks and their sexual prowess, not their intellect and panache in front of a camera. Or so I thought. I was surprised that a gay porn studio wasn’t just another gay porn studio. I found it left me wanting more…
Of course it didn’t mean I had to stave off the other. But to fuck without some context or not was the question roiling around in my head. There was no reason why a scripted and well acted piece of porn couldn’t be engaging in that way. As long as it ended in an explosion of male testosterone and erupting man milk. Two powerful well toned or muscled bodies colliding in a sexual battle of want and desire. In short, a BIG HOT MESS.
CockyBoys has a series of movies that appeal to this more erotic, get to know your models aspect to it. And, while scripted, it’s surprisingly well acted – even for a porn actor.
I watched one recently with Colby Keller. I don’t know why I am drawn to this guy but he has a sparkle in his eye that catches my attention.
Maybe it’s his ease in front of the camera? Maybe it’s his balls to the wall out there in your face sexuality? Perhaps because he’s unabashedly who he is. Maybe that’s the greatest allure of all. Confidence without being cocky. Where confidence is still sexy. Still tangible, still within reach.
Another is the Anthony Romero and Austin Wilde pairing in several CockyBoy videos. That series is very erotic as it is sexual. I like the series very much. Whether or not it’s real, it behaves like it is. The actors both acknowledge they’re in the business. They both acknowledge what being in porn and being in a relationship means for them.
It’s a rather interesting approach. I was quite surprised that it worked on so many levels. For one, you get about 3 or 4 minutes of them just talking very intimately with the camera, in other words, you, and tell you a bit about how they met, how it works for them to both be in the business but how the ‘work’ remains at work and they are there for each other after all is done with the shoot. It’s a very intimate and revealing portrait. And I realize that it may just all be make believe for the viewer. Or it may in fact be real, the guys are that good at playing the part. There is a whole series of videos that explore what this ‘relationship’ is like under these circumstances. If it’s scripted, then it’s worlds away from standard porn fair – gay or straight or anything in between. Who cares if it’s fake. If feels believable. As writers of male/male erotica, isn’t that what we’re after as well?
I really like these three guys (Keller, Romero, and Wilde). They are serious business men in the porn industry but they seem to have their heads screwed on straight (so to speak). Keller even blogs about his experiences at colbykeller.com. His blog is introspective, very bright and intelligent (a sexy guy who is unashamed of his sexuality and very intelligent on top – Jesus, he’s practically a god among porn men). It doesn’t hurt one iota that he’s auburn/ginger and a scruffy man’s man either. That’s hella hot no matter how you cut it. That he has a brain, self deprecating humor and a dry wicked wit, just makes him rather stellar in my book. He ain’t bad to watch having sex either.
Keller even had a scene with Anthony Romero which was also hot. It played a bit with the whole Anthony in a relationship and in the biz thing a bit. So Cockyboys definitely keep an eye to their own catalog and the worlds they’re trying to build. I am finding this type of porn very inspiring. It’s erotic, it’s filled with testosterone and manliness and at times lust driven hard core, flesh slapping’ sex. Now that’s my kind of inspiration.
If porn would do a bit more of this then I’m all for it. The story doesn’t have to drag on forever (though there is a series that Cockyboys did called ‘The Haunting’ that was quite interesting). Very paranormal in both texture and its deep use of homo-eroticism. Sexy as all fuck. My kinda horror flick. Yeah, I am sooooo over the whole guy needs a girl to be a man thing. So 1960’s Mad Men. Over it – BIG TIME!
And that’s a very good thing in my book…