"Watch closely. This is how gay men have sex now. That is where semen belongs. Fuck AIDS."
August 16, 2012 10:34 AM   Subscribe

"The Most Important Gay Porn Film Ever Made?" [NSFW Warning: Pictures of a naked guy, no sex or penis shown.]
"Dawson's 20 Load Weekend redefined bareback porn and the men who appear in such porn. It influenced subsequent videos and expanded the availability of bareback films. It depicted a prevailing truth about gay sexual behavior "post-AIDS" and arguably encouraged risky sexual adventure-seeking. It led to the saturation of bareback porn online, making unprotected sex normative to whomever might be watching. To dismiss this film, to minimize its social and cultural impact, would be to demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of gay sexuality today."
posted by andoatnp (54 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know "Dawson." He's a member of a large group of friends here in Boston. And, it's interesting that he holds an executive position in banking, aside from his side-career in porn.
posted by ericb at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I cannot comment on this without feeling protected. Therefore, I am typing with a little condom over each finger.
posted by Danf at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or, as AIDS advocate Jim Pickett said at a recent conference for people living with HIV, "When a friend announces they are expecting a child, I feel like screaming, 'You barebacked!'"

I'd like to thank Jim Pickett for introducing me to a new way of repulsing people that I had never even considered. Pickett, I salute you!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2012 [19 favorites]


Actually, he was in banking, but know he's in sales at a biotech company.
posted by ericb at 10:43 AM on August 16, 2012


I'm guessing Dawson's 20 Load Weekend isn't about laundry?
posted by Mick at 10:48 AM on August 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


ericb: "Actually, he was in banking, but know he's in sales at a biotech company."

Client-side Bio-tech Acquisitions and Mergers, or you know, getting jizz on.
posted by wcfields at 10:50 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


And, it's interesting that he holds an executive position in banking, aside from his side-career in porn.

There's a joke here about bending people over and but I'm not going to make it
posted by MuffinMan at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2012


Mick: "I'm guessing Dawson's 20 Load Weekend isn't about laundry?"

Not in the film itself -- but the DVD extras show that behind the scenes, there's a lot of cleaning that needs to go on.

I've got a lot jokey commentary going on in my head about parallels between link bait and bug chasing and Treasure Island Media and the Huffington Post, but I think I'm too close to the situation to judge their appropriateness and don't think is the place for them.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or, as AIDS advocate Jim Pickett said at a recent conference for people living with HIV, "When a friend announces they are expecting a child, I feel like screaming, 'You barebacked!'"

In all seriousness, that's my first thought when someone announces they are trying to have a kid.

It's an interesting article, though I'm not as sure as the author seems to be that private behavior will be modeled on porn. If it was, pizza deliveries everywhere would be more exciting, and condom usage by teens would not be up.
posted by Forktine at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Conversation with Dawson.
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on August 16, 2012


I know the sexual politics in the gay community are obviously different than in other communities, but I tend to agree with Forktine and I suspect that the author may be assuming that people are influenced more strongly by porn than they actually are.

Condom use is incredible rare in straight porn and, while condom use seems to have declined among heterosexuals (due to the fear of HIV/AIDS having lessened over the past 20 years), using some form of protection still appears to be the norm (though this is often motivated more by a fear of unwanted pregnancy than a fear of STD/STI; so perhaps the politics are more different than I'm allowing). I'm speaking somewhat anecdotally, of course, but the point remains: I don't think most people's decisions on whether or not to use a condom are heavily motivated by what they see in porn, regardless of sexual orientation.
posted by asnider at 11:09 AM on August 16, 2012


This quotation from the 2004 interview linked by ericb:
"M: What about health issues? Does this concern you?
D: Every performer has that to consider when they're doing bareback. I've been fortunate in that I don't pick up a disease every time I do one of these. They (Treasure Island) take steps to make sure we're all clean before we do it."


vs. this from a 2005 interview (included in the Huffington Post article):
"It was after turning positive that I made the decision to look into doing a movie for Treasure Island Media," he said at the time. "I had seroconverted a few months before..."
posted by andoatnp at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd put a vote in too for Halsted's, LA Plays Itself. One of the most important pieces of pre-commercial gay porn, and an overall fascinating work of art.
posted by PBR at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I was surprised that the article didn't contextualize this with bug chasing, which has been around for quite a while. I can remember the first time I saw the eroticisation of that kind of sex, in a book, of short stories I think, that I read 15 or so years ago. One scene has stuck with me ever since, with a description of shooting an infected wad, as I think he called it, up someone. The literature predated the films by a lot, and to a certain extent mirrored sexual practices, fringe as they were.
posted by Forktine at 11:19 AM on August 16, 2012


And, it's interesting that he holds an executive position in banking, aside from his side-career in porn.

So he's not just a bottom.
posted by pracowity at 11:32 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"To dismiss this film, to minimize its social and cultural impact, would be to demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of gay sexuality today."

ok...I am now afraid to say anything bad or dismissive about the film because I have been warned
posted by Postroad at 11:36 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, allow me to say it – this trend is so fucked up and depressing.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pictures of a naked guy, no sex or penis shown.

*turns around and leaves thread*
posted by infini at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


You have to understand, andoatnp, that perspectives on HIV are changing rapidly. "Healthy and positive" is no longer an oxymoron in many circles; and most performers with TIM & HDK are poz. They are referring to the possibility of catching other illnesses.

One thing the article misses is the relative risks of sexual activity: most people do not get HIV from sex with a diagnosed positive person, but rather a recently seroconverted and undiagnosed person. People who believe they are negative and are not testing frequently enough are the most common vector for the disease.

The trend is outside of porn as well; BBRT is a dating site specific to barebacking, and "CumUnion" is a regular bareback sex party held across North America.

One thing I wish the article would touch on is the increasing prevalence of bareback pornography produced overseas, especially in Czechoslovakia, where things are far, far sketcher. At least TIM and HDK are doing testing and everyone knows what they're consenting to.
posted by mek at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think this guy has any idea what he's talking about. Like, none at all.

There is a lot of gay porn out there. A lot. Bareback porn is a small portion of it, and is explicitly marketed as bareback to an audience that actively seeks it out, just like any other niche product.

If there's any reason for any rise in unprotected sex (which, cite please), it probably has a hell of a lot more to do with no longer constantly being bombarded with the images of people dying of AIDS like we were in the '80s and '90s.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:45 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


One thing the article misses is the relative risks of sexual activity: most people do not get HIV from sex with a diagnosed positive person, but rather a recently seroconverted and undiagnosed person.

I would love a citation for that.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2012


"Only 20% of HIV infections in the US are undiagnosed, but the investigators calculated that they were the source of 49% of all new onward transmissions."

And perhaps more importantly, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) vastly reduces the chances of HIV-positive individuals transmitting the disease. How much exactly, we don't know yet; it's still technically possible to transmit, but documented cases are surprisingly few. Studies in SF and Vancouver have demonstrated that widespread prevalence of ART in diagnosed individuals can drastically reduce infection rates in the overall population: In San Francisco, "The investigators found a 60% decrease in HIV transmission after the introduction of ART. The reduction occurred despite the increases in reported number of risky sexual behaviors."
posted by mek at 12:02 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not quite the citation roger ackroyd is looking for but "Despite the decline in AIDS cases and deaths, at the end of 2008 an estimated 1,178,350 persons were living with HIV, including 236,400 (20.1%) whose infection was undiagnosed." It seems likely that this 20% might do more than their "fair share" of the transmission.

Moments after writing the above, I found this summary of what appears to be an as-of-yet unpublished paper "The transmission rate for patients aware of their infection status varied between 1.8 and 2.7 per 100 persons. It was between three and seven times higher for undiagnosed individuals (9.2 to 12.6 per 100 persons)."
posted by Matt Oneiros at 12:05 PM on August 16, 2012


"Only 20% of HIV infections in the US are undiagnosed, but the investigators calculated that they were the source of 49% of all new onward transmissions."

So, not "most." The words we choose when we talk about these issues matter.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Porn condom use to be put to Los Angeles voters
A propose measure that porn actors in Los Angeles County wear condoms during filming will be put to voters in November's election. The petition garnered enough signatures to qualify, election officials said.

Supporter of the petition, Aids Healthcare Foundation, said the measure would protect porn actors from HIV. If passed, it would spread out to county level an ordinance requiring condom use as a prerequisite of receiving a filming permit within the city of Los Angeles.

The measure was signed into law by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in January after the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) brought a similar petition to city government. The city is still perusing how to enforce the ordinance.

Filming companies are threatening to move out of California due to the requirement, but face legal difficulties.
posted by ericb at 12:09 PM on August 16, 2012


January 17, 2012: Los Angeles Mandates Use of Condoms for Sex Films.
posted by ericb at 12:10 PM on August 16, 2012


Public referendum on condom use for spank vids? Fuck it, bring back the monarchy.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


roger, as long as we're talking about sex, it is "most", because a significant percentage of the remaining 51% of infections are caused by intravenous drug use (5-10% worldwide but 30% in North America). But let's not jump down each others throats on such a sensitive topic, okay? It is hard enough to get past all the porn jokes to a real discussion.
posted by mek at 12:11 PM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


So, not "most." The words we choose when we talk about these issues matter.

It would be most sexually transmitted new infections, because surely a lot of the rest is from IV drug use.
posted by spaltavian at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2012


Mel beat me to it...
posted by spaltavian at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2012


mek and spaltavian: for the sake of precision, neither of the two citations I found (one of which mek also found) broke down what portion of the un-diagnosed 20% went on to transmit the virus via sex or other activities, just that they did go on to transmit it and at a higher rate than the diagnosed.

One could try to make inferences based on the aggregate mode of transmission data, but that might be rather misleading because some vectors may differ in their effect in certain communities and HIV statuses. (Hyperbolically, if IV drug users were immensely more likely to be unaware of their HIV status it might be possible that 0% of the undiagnosed-transmitters are having sex at all.)
posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:19 PM on August 16, 2012


roger, as long as we're talking about sex, it is "most", because a significant percentage of the remaining 51% of infections are caused by intravenous drug use (5-10% worldwide but 30% in North America).

Does the other 49% not?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:21 PM on August 16, 2012


The point I was trying to make, obviously clumsily, is that HIV-positive individuals taking ART are not the primary vector for the disease, and the article should have made this. By not doing so, it participated in a discourse which overemphasizes the risky behaviour of TIM/HDK actors and other prominent individuals living with HIV, which can obscure, rather than illuminate, the major risk factors for HIV infection in the general population. It also serves to stigmatize people with a positive diagnosis, something I simply cannot abide.
posted by mek at 1:35 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


What those young men will almost certainly see online are depictions of unprotected sex, because bareback videos now outperform scenes of condom usage on every site that carries them -- and most of them now do. It is unquestionable that bareback sex will be viewed as typical to the uninitiated, and anyone crafting safer-sex messages to those young men is going to have a difficult time trumping those images. The use-a-condom-every-time message is officially dead, drowned in buckets of bodily fluids by Dawson and his barebacking brethren.

As someone who was an AIDS hospice nurse in San Francisco in the 80s and then an HIV health educator in New Orleans when the epidemic hit hard I am so very very sad to read this article. I know that the disease is no longer the death sentence it once was for those in countries where access to medications is easily available, but I am still haunted by those years of loss and death. It was real. It happened. And there is nothing to say that mutations cannot happen again.

I have no problems at all with adults taking responsibility for their own choices in sex, but I do know that young people often look to porn for their first lessons in what sex is all about.

Do I want to require every porn actor to wear a condom,straight or gay? No, I don't. But this exultation in something that is still a risky behaviour, that is, non-protected sex in a non-committed relationship, strikes me as a self-centered denial and immaturity that goes beyond liberation.
posted by Isadorady at 1:52 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a survivor of the eighties, I just can't get my head around this sort of thing.

"This is how we live now?" Really? Perhaps it's that I still have the remains of that wartime mentality from the age of the Ronald Reagan Memorial AIDS Epidemic™, a frustrating collection of psychological tics and rules and panic points, but it kept me safe when I was a dumb kid with a big fluffy mullet and enough insecurity that I felt like I had to say "yes" to anyone who didn't notice how unworthy I was.

These days, I am not that gangly kid with big hair, parachute pants, and a Datsun. I tipped into the ursine realm some time back, and it's a pretty sex-enthusiastic scene in which people seem to fuck around an awful lot, to the point that my groups of friends in the bear category have reduced the numbers of degrees of separation to one or two in almost all cases. I'd like to think I'm a hip, modern libertine, but I'm more old fashioned than I like to admit.

I have barebacked thousands of times. I had a small circle of friends I played around with as a kid, before the advent of AIDS, and we were disgusting little fuckmonkeys in those supposedly innocent days. My mother, reading an account in which I'd mentioned my underaged experimental period, angrily snapped "But you said you guys were doing science experiments in the basement all those years!" We were trying a lot of things out, though.

I barebacked with both of my early exes, in a two year and then a ten year relationship. Some people say its foolish to trust people because you love them and they love you, but I dunno—I think it's possible to be in a relationship that's seroconcordant and monogamous and just ditch the rubber and go for the whole huzzah. Barebacking is nice, but fucking with a rubber is nice too, and if you're a top with any skill at all, neither of you will miss the aftermath.

Barebacking in porn, though? Well, I just shrug, partly because modern gay porn sucks rocks—the bodies are all alien overcultivated ab farms with weird shaved patches and everyone is so crawling with tattoos that fucking just looks like two cars crashing on the NASCAR track. Who needs the artificial mess of modern porn when there's the holy trilogy from Joe Gage? Maybe it's just me. Clinical close-ups of disembodied shaved things wrapped in rubber sliding into other disembodied shaved things just seem so...antihuman. How about faces? Faces reacting to sensations? You know—stuff that actual people do.

On a popular bear site, I maintain what may be the longest and most absurdly and abstractly detailed profile ever created for such a venue, and I have, at times, been crystal clear in this sprawling narrative of narcissism that I don't bareback, won't bareback, and don't want to deal with anyone who does. Open up a chat window though, and—

HEY YOUR HOT. YOU BB?

No, I do not.

I WANT YOU TO WRECK MY SHITTER WITH THAT THING. YOU BREED?

I prefer not to, and I'm not even sure what that other thing means.

[I visit urbandictionary.]

Oh, for fuck's sake, no. Did you even read my profile?

NO TOO LONG LOL YOU HOST?

Only elegant parties where we serve cucumber sandwiches and Lillet. Gotta go.

Are people really this fucking gross nowadays?

They call this stuff transgressive, but it's transgressive in the way that Ayn Rand worshiping a sociopathic child murderer is transgressive. It's true that the eighties ruined sex by making it just one big fucking pathology wrapped up in televangelist rantings and Reagan's Neroesque little nothings, but claiming that barebacking is a way of saying "fuck AIDS" is like saying obsessive chain smoking is a way of saying "fuck lung cancer." There is another way to have a new world where sex is joyous and playful and horny and perfect without going to this extreme, but it's a harder sell. Glitter always outsells sense.
posted by sonascope at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2012 [25 favorites]


This is why MetaFilter is a better therapist for me than any professional with a cozy couch could ever be. In writing my initial response to this article, I was left with a lot of questions. I didn't know why I felt so horrible every time I thought about bareback sex. I have a truly visceral reaction. I get clammy and shaky and feel sick to my stomach. Why does it bother me so much? Nobody is (hopefully) forcing me to have unprotected sex. I'm allowed to make all my own decisions about this. Statistically, I know I should be just fine.

I started running through the litany of reasons why I really shouldn't have such a hard time with this. I came out in high school in the late 90s, springing fully formed and clad in rainbow armor from the newly-out head of Ellen DeGeneres. I was never treated to the heavy-handed sex ed stuff in school. I even missed class the day they showed the whole "VD Slideshow of Horrors" that the use to scare kids into using condoms or never having sex. As an adult, I have known plenty of fine, upstanding people who are HIV+. And I've never even lost...

BINGO. Willis.

Way back in the early 90s. He was the first person I ever knew with HIV and then AIDS. And I was so little back then. 10. Maybe 11? And he was so nice to me. Willis was the adult who gave me "Where the Red Fern Grows" - and at that age, I thought that was most certainly the saddest thing ever written in the English language (having yet to meet Steinbeck or Hemingway or Jhumpa Lahiri). And then he got sick. And whether it was the time dilation of childhood or the fact that this was the early 90s that was how things happened back then, it seemed like it happened overnight and the speed was terrifying. I remember seeing Willis close to the end of his life and he was absolutely ravaged by AIDS. And my parents, ever keen to have a frank discussion about sex and/or drugs, explained what AIDS was. They explained the ways that you could get it, as best anybody understood at that time: from intravenous drug use and unprotected sex. They explained the ways you couldn't get it so that I wouldn't be afraid to be near people who were positive. They covered all the intellectual bases.

But I guess somewhere in the deep recesses of my pre-pubescent brain, the horrifying memory of seeing someone so nice and kind and special waste away and die are inextricably bound together with the rules for how that might have been prevented: no intravenous drug use; no unprotected sex. And so when I think of those things, a cold chill runs down my spine, I get dizzy and I start feeling sick to my stomach like I did when I read this article.

I don't think I can short-circuit my feelings with this realization. But at least I know where it comes from, and at least now I can redirect my horror at this cavalier attitude toward safer sex into something a little more productive - remembering someone special to me.
posted by jph at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Sonascope, your comment captures a lot of the contradictions at work here. Personally, I'm too young to have ever known a world without AIDS; your "supposedly innocent" days read as unimaginably innocent to a member of a generation which had the horrors of HIV infection hammered into their heads from elementary school onwards. The same behaviour which is described as "innocent" at the beginning of your comment becomes "gross" by the end; what's changed is not the act itself, but the social boundaries which define it. The mundane became transgressive.

I'm going to call you out on the smoking analogy you provide, though: this perpetuates exactly what I'm trying to criticize here, the popular sense that unprotected sex in the HIV-positive community is the primary cause of infection. It's not. In fact, all the evidence upthread shows that while risky behaviour is increasing in the years post-ART (and the increasing prevalence of "bareback" porn and culture reflects that), infection rates are dropping rapidly. Bareback porn and associated fetishization on hookup sites etc is a highly visible phenomenon, it's true, but it's not the cigarette of AIDS.
posted by mek at 2:25 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there's any reason for any rise in unprotected sex (which, cite please),

I think this is the biggest "huh" question for me. Is there any evidence to indicate that condom use by gay men has gone down recently? Or that barebacking videos had anything to do with it.

While social cognitive theory states that we make behavioral decisions based on watching others, very little research has been conducted on the causal relationship between bareback porn and real behavior.

Well O fucking K then.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:57 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I should be more precise on the "gross" qualification, which isn't to say that barebacking is gross—it's more about the terms and weird dirtiness/infection/breeding fixation in the language that gets me. When I was first fucking around with my friends, not one of us would say "I want you to wreck my shitter" or "breed me," which are sort of odd dominance/humiliation terms that have become a whole lot more mainstream in recent times. Barebacking's fine if you're either both negative or unconcerned with the risk of reinfection with other HIV strains in seroconcordant sex. It's not the act that's turned gross (IMHO, of course)—it's the bizarre post-AIDS framing that we've come up with to fetishize the once-forbidden exchange of fluids.
posted by sonascope at 3:01 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


sonascope: "It's not the act that's turned gross (IMHO, of course)—it's the bizarre post-AIDS framing that we've come up with to fetishize the once-forbidden exchange of fluids."

(Some/many) people are turned on by things that are considered dirty or forbidden, or that imply power imbalances. It's not a contradiction, it's direct causation, and the basis of 95% of everything sexual that's not completely vanilla. I'm surprised that you're surprised.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:58 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


[had to catch my train home]

Bareback porn and associated fetishization on hookup sites etc is a highly visible phenomenon, it's true, but it's not the cigarette of AIDS.

I don't think the porn is the cigarette of AIDS—porn is just porn. The barebacking itself is the cigarette of HIV, and by that I don't mean HIV across all categories, but rather among gay men. Unless there's some alternative infection vector I've never heard of, I think that's a pretty safe allegory.

Now, whether barebacking porn encourages barebacking—that's another question. People are barebacking more than they were in the late eighties or early nineties, or at least lying about it less. Before the advent of successful ART therapies for poz folks, only druggy, drunk, or particularly stupid people would cop to barebacking, in my experience, but these days? There's a sort of shrug, particularly among younger queer folk, again on the lines of smoking. Well, everything gives you cancer these days... I think some of it is the foolishness of people who think that because it's treatable, it's just fine to engage in risky behavior that will shackle you to the whims of health insurance companies until you die, but there's definitely a message in porn like this that works as advocacy—making a point on where semen is supposed to go.

It's supposed to go anywhere you squirt it, whether that's into a rubber, on a back, or a face, or boobs of any variety, or into a dirty sock or your mother's old shower cap or wherever. It's unwise, on the other hand, for it to go somewhere where harm may result, like an eye or an orifice that's prone to infection. I personally find this particular porn line to be another in the line of uninventive reinforcements of the supremacy of buttsex. Buttsex is great. Other queer sex is also great. The claims of biological determinism with this one, though, is just sort of tiresome and familiar. You are supposed to do this one thing, or you are not the one true gay Scottsman. I dunno...it's just so limited.

To each their own, of course, and fortunately, there are smarter voices working to counter the dumb ones, but oy vey.
posted by sonascope at 4:35 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Some/many) people are turned on by things that are considered dirty or forbidden, or that imply power imbalances. It's not a contradiction, it's direct causation, and the basis of 95% of everything sexual that's not completely vanilla. I'm surprised that you're surprised.

I'm not particularly surprised. Dismayed is more the word, because when someone uses the word "shitter" as a euphemism for, say, butthole, they've robbed a perfectly nice multifunctional orifice of all but the most basic usage, and introduced the notion of shittiness into the conversation (pretty much guaranteeing that my face will go nowhere near what has been thus designated as solely the outhouse of the human carcass).

I get the whole old school horror/humiliation thing, which has historically been big with the gays because we were always lowdown dirty dogs and we thought it was our assigned role, and because there were years in which the only way we could fathom getting the elusive great dark man that Mr. Crisp was always on about was by engineering a hostile, humiliating situation in which sex was performed as an act of degradation that we could only secretly enjoy. Takes all kinds, and I know that whatever turns you on turns you on, but one would hope we're getting past the need for all the old crutches and roles.

Everyone's mileage may vary, but I have noticed an increasing number of people that message me online in those dirty spaces whose mother tongue has failed them. I can't discount that it might just be that big gay bears and the bear-adjacent may have a particular shortcoming, or that my online presence may cultivate such a response (because a profile detailing my interest in Citroëns, Janelle Monae, manual typewriters, bees, Cinéma du look, and scooters may, to some, seem an enticement to simulated rape), but barring those statistical variances, people just seem more bored and more inclined to fanciful complications lately.

So when I get an online come-on that runs along the lines of DUDE I WANT YOU RAPE MY SHITHOLE AND WRECK ME WITH YOUR SPUNK, I sort of want to shrug and offer a better alternative.

Well, that's lovely and all, but I don't want to wreck you. I want to make you come. Repeatedly.

Doesn't that seem like a nicer option?

YOU HOSTING TONITE?

Only the little talk show inside my brain, alas.
posted by sonascope at 4:59 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also wonder if so many gay men have VOCABULARY FAILURE online is due to the fact that we are so good at separating our sex lives from our friendships/romantic partners and so forth. It's easy (and fairly common) for gay men to be in committed relationships while also having threesomes, weekend flings and so forth without much difficulty. We are experts at compartmentalizing our sexualities, so naturally when we go online to get laid we get right down to the business of wrecking hot sloppy shitters (or whatever) and we don't talk about our collection of gently-used Star Trek uniforms or our love of French-Canadian pop music ... because all of that belongs in The Rest of Our Life, which is ever so separate from our Fucking.

So ... uh, sonascope ... you, uh, hosting?
posted by Avenger at 5:27 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


sonascope: "Doesn't that seem like a nicer option?"

For you and some other people, sure. I guess my point is that you have certain sexual tastes, and you're "dismayed" that other people have other sexual tastes that may not be compatible, but you seem to be doing a whole lot of rationalization and arguing for how your tastes are objectively better, instead of just recognizing that you have different tastes, and that yours are valid and theirs are valid.

On the other hand, Cinéma du look, hell yes.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:46 PM on August 16, 2012


I'm not dismayed that people have tastes or sexual interests different than my own. I've got my own quirk or two that I'm sure are pretty much divorced from the mainstream. To each their own. That said, I'm dismayed when people are so clueless and self-centered that they can't be bothered to read through eleven paragraphs of action-packed prose in a profile that makes it self-explanatory that I'm unlikely to be enthralled by misspelled all-caps puerile nonsensical sexual nonsequiturs. It's not that I care much at all that they're looking for someone to DESTROY THEIR POOPSHOOT WITH BUGGY JIZ (though I do wish people would finally work out that "chute" and "shoot," while homonyms, are completely different words), but rather that it comes on with the personalization of a phone message informing me that I only have a limited time to reduce the interest rate on my non-existent auto loan.

I'm bothered when people have little disregard for their own health and welfare, because, despite my cross and cantankerous nature, I actually do sort of like other people, and I'm dismayed when the excesses of vulgarians gather enough mainstream acceptance to further reduce the slim pool of people who'd want to date me, but that's not to say people can't do what they want. It makes no difference whether people are smeared with shit, have inflated their scrotums with silicone until they're infected monstrosities the size of soccer balls, or wish to refer to each other as mommy and baby, but this is why I continue to repeat to each their own in some way or another. As it's another's right to promote their kink, though, it's mine to attempt to produce a viable counter-argument in the hopes of staving off a future where every goddamn person on bear411 will have one of those damn harnesses with a ring in the center.
posted by sonascope at 6:25 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


sonascope

Ah, I get you, yeah, it's annoying when people can't take the time to read the profile. I'd say that you might want to consider cutting it down to the basics, or leading with the most important stuff, but I doubt that would help.


"DESTROY THEIR POOPSHOOT WITH BUGGY JIZ"

I have to say, you're very good at coming up with these. Or have you just seen so many of them?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:06 PM on August 16, 2012


The trend is outside of porn as well; BBRT is a dating site specific to barebacking, and "CumUnion" is a regular bareback sex party held across North America.

Huh.
posted by Yakuman at 7:23 PM on August 16, 2012


Or have you just seen so many of them?

I've seen an awful lot of variations on the concept, both casually and while I was researching scenes for a character in an unpublished novel (yeah, I know—but I actually was). The casual stuff comes in when I'm online and have a chat window open somewhere under the stack, and it's just the sort of thing where I hear a pip, click over, and think GAAAH—why would you think that that would be a good introductory line? I mean, if it were squirt.org or fucking grindr, yeah, but I'm talking about relatively mainstream dating sites, not filthyholeinatoiletstall.com.

The stuff I found while researching was interesting, largely because I was following a completely opposite instinct with a character who had been traumatized by the horrors of the AIDS eighties and had taken refuge in the notion of sexual impermeability, fetishizing the sound and concept of porcelain and earthenware objects in contact without connection, and who became an art potter with a secret community of clink fetishists ejaculating into hard-fired handmade stoneware at "tea parties" that functioned as sort of bukakke events starring erotic tableware (this predates the even more disgusting tea party phenomenon by a number of years).

My pervy potter was a key plot point in a sort of hyperactive Nancy Drew novel about a fading infomercial star who gets wrapped up in a mystery in which an industrialist with a thing for Frank Lloyd Wright and collections of young German twins and triplets end up in a chase to stop a Presbyterian terrorist and his psoriasis-ravaged Ayn Randian sidekick from hitting Dollywood with a dirty bomb sourced from an abandoned Soviet lighthouse RTG with the intention of killing Alan Alda, which eventually spread sideways into a sort of demented, half-completed trilogy that really just proved I was having a bit of a rough patch.

As it happened, though, I sort of stuck an observer's toe in the fetish community to see if this was even a thing anyone would remotely believe, and consequently ended up MCing several slave auction-themed bukakke parties hosted in a local fire department bingo hall while dressed as Colonel Sanders and speaking in a voice that I pretty much stole intact from Foghorn Leghorn. Again, rough patch, I was failing as a building contractor and needed the money...but the odd thing was that my clink porn thing actually picked up some enthusiasts, who excitedly told me things like "yeah, I used to feel so ashamed that I'd get a hard-on while my mom was stirring tea, hearing that 'tink tink tink' on the cup."

In the midst, though, I found that my eighties AIDS-related hangup, i.e. the deep-down spoophobia that made me sort of think of ejaculate as terrifying flying death fluid, was actually pretty uncommon, and that more people had taken up the mantle of embracing the enticing, dangerous aspect of flying death fluid and sort of embraced the mortal riskiness with the sort of abandon with which people love smoking, drunkenness, and riding sportbikes in wifebeaters and flip-flops. Hell, the first time I heard of a snowball bowl, I got a bad case of the vapours and had to find a green velvet fainting couch on which to slouch, gasping for breath at all the horrors of the world.

Of course, that's my hangup, and it's subsiding over time. I get normalizing sexuality again, to where people aren't thinking that a cannon loaded with flying death fluid is going to go off deep in their nethers and kill them, but this whole scene, and the sort of raving bravado and torrential pronouncements of the new flesh for humanity, just seems destructive and unsettling. When it was more of a side thing, wrapped up in the elusive bug-chasing panic of the right wing media franchises, it was one thing, but lately, I dunno—it just seems a bit more common. I'll give due mention that my sample size and pool of interests is relatively small and possibly weighted towards the seamier side, what with bearness being still transgressive in a society seemingly constructed around a sinewy core of hairless fatphobia.
posted by sonascope at 4:01 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


For an academic treatment of bugchasing/barebacking, check out Tim Dean's Unlimited Intimacy.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2012


Thanks to sonascope and others for sharing their feelings on this. I have my own but frankly they're too private to share on Metafilter. Thanks for writing for us.

I have a question about the word "breed", though. When did that become a thing? It's not just the implication of unprotected anal sex that's problematic, it's the weird heterosexualism. I hate to say this boys, but you're not going to get pregnant that way. Why the fetishization of impregnation? Is it just an extension of fantasies about "straight acting" guys? Is it something a bit more wild and nasty, invoking animal husbandry? "Breed" is such an odd word to use for gay sex.
posted by Nelson at 7:37 AM on August 17, 2012


I'd argue it's an attempt to co-opt/mimic/reclaim conventional masculine notions of potency.
posted by mek at 10:45 AM on August 17, 2012


I can't help but imagine all the baby assholes and throats that they're trying to breed. Wearing bonnets.
posted by jph at 12:28 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


FWIW, calling Dawson's 20 Load Weekend the most important gay porn ever made is like calling Avatar the greatest cinematic achievement of our time.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:07 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


roger, I'd be genuinely curious to hear which gay porn you would award that superlative to, and why.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:38 PM on August 17, 2012


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