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Erotic Ennui

Erotic Ennui


Why can't gay porn be more like real sex -- just a lot better?

I wish gay porn were sexier! Whenever I happen upon porn films -- in between my jaunts to the ballet, of course -- they're so unsexy they act as a reverse aphrodisiac that could turn a person celibate.

For one thing, there's altogether too much screaming in them. The director has obviously instructed the actors to make a whole mess of orgiastic noise, so you hear a disheartening overload of shrieks, yelps, and moans, which end up sounding like the soundtrack of a foreign horror film (which it is, basically). Add some cheesy, atonal synthesizer music, as they always do, and I'm the one who's screaming.

What's worse, the guys often look to the camera in the middle of their performance, desperately searching for some direction as to what to do next, as if sex acts are so incredibly hard to figure out. The constant head bobbing while they're attempting to engorge themselves with something gives me even more of a migraine than a Baz Luhrmann film. Couldn't they have had a dress rehearsal?

Furthermore, some porn stars don't even give good head! They're skittish and uneven about it, doing a half-assed job that makes you wonder how they got to the big screen in the first place. Certainly not by sleeping their way to the top! It's no crime to give bad head, but it should be, especially when someone's getting paid to do it for my eternally optimistic delectation.

Worst of all, the "stars" often look like unsavory, oddly shaped hulks who wouldn't be sexy even if they were the best performers in history. Aren't there any young Lorenzo Lamas types available? Couldn't they have sought out someone with decent skin and a full set of teeth? And is barebacking ever sexy?

The last few years have been sad times in gay porn, which has become less essential as an industry and not as dependable as a guilty good time. That's partly because the proliferation of everyday folks posting their own homemade porn movies on XTube. Those vids are generally sexier than the professional stuff because the people look real and their motivation is sexual, not to nab 100 bucks on the way to the shower. Their hormonal urgency can become downright infectious, especially since they're dying to show their skills to the world, rather than being forced to do so to pay for rent and drugs. XTubers don't have to look for direction--they romp around with confidence, charm, and private parts that rarely need to be fluffed and prodded.

Not that all mainstream porn is bad. While way too many films consist solely of gratuitous sexing, big-lipped Michael Lucas makes sure to give his titles a plot and some context, which always makes things a little sexier to me. After all, real-life hookups have a backstory -- even if it's just doodling around on Grindr -- so screen sex should reflect that by trying to introduce some exposition before the punch line. A job interview in an office that somehow leads to a blowjob has a hotness that can't be rivaled by two guys getting it on without even saying "hi." Lucas has gone so far with his premises that he's even paid homage to Fellini films (though it's unlikely 8 1/2 is enough for some of his stars). "I like a plotline," agrees Paper magazine's editorial director Mickey Boardman, a diehard gay porn connoisseur. "The least sexy thing to me about gay porn is the actual sex part. I like it to have costumes and some kind of plot, even if the acting is bad. I like the setup and I want something a little more romantic -- not just a closeup of a dick going into a hole."

Boardman also praises Lucas for making fetish more acceptable, from water sports to flatulence and then some. (I once congratulated Lucas for urinating into a guy's butt in one of the special features of his films, and he didn't even remember doing it!)

Chi Chi LaRue has also made a mark with her films, which she's directed since the 1980s. "She's a brand, and she always has videos with a sense of humor and cute boys," says Boardman. "They're tattooed and muscly, but not as automaton-like as Falcon's guys."

That's all good to know, but bear in mind that Mickey's an "ass half full" kind of guy, while I tend to see the harshness in everything. To me, gay porn is too fake, unmotivated, and icky to make me horny without the help of Cialis and some wooden splints. The protruding ribs, unenthusiastic sex acts, Golden Razzie-worthy acting, and relentless shrieks could almost turn you straight. And that might be even worse than turning celibate!

MICHAEL MUSTO is the author of Manhattan on the Rocks, Downtown, and Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back, and a former columnist for The Village Voice.

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