In 1971 Wakefield Poole, director and former ballet dancer, talked about the casting of a film he was about to shoot with a friend. “I’ve got the perfect person for you,” his friend said. “He’s blond, six feet tall, and handsome. He’s got a nice dick, a beautiful ass, and he does everything.”
Poole was curious, and the meeting with this Adonis - John Calvin Culver, who became known as Casey Donovan - led to a fruitful collaboration: Donovan was given the lead in “Boys in the Sand.” This movie was not suitable for family viewing. The première in New York in December 1971 was a milestone in American history: it was the first public showing of a “hard” pornographic film, an event that was preceded by an intensive advertising campaign. “The New York Times” had placed rather risqué ads, and magazines such as “Variety” published positive reviews. The film was a commercial success. This is even more remarkable considering that the first ever straight hard-core film to show nudity openly, “Deep Throat,” had not yet been released! This took place in 1972; the homosexuals had a first so to speak.
The title of Poole’s most famous work, of which a restored version was recently released on DVD, not only referred to the location where Donovan and his pals made love - the beach on Fire Island, a popular meeting place for gay men -, with a wink it also criticized the movie “The Boys in the Band” (1970) directed by William Friedkin, a typical product of a depressed school in which eight young faggots are filled with self-pity and in which someone remarks that the only happy homosexual is a dead homosexual. “Boys in the Sand” took an entirely different approach. Poole presented a number of explicit sex scenes in which men were “doing it” with each other and having fun. It was convenient that the actors were not picky about who was on top or on the bottom. Their credo was both ways, an attitude that characterized the gay porn flicks from that period. For Donovan and his fellow actors, happily giving the ultimate physical hospitality was just as normal as receiving it.
Chuck Holmes, affiliated with Falcon Studios as a director, got Donovan to work on another classic in the genre, “The Other Side of Aspen” (1978). In retrospect he remembered that the film “was made at the height of the sexual revolution, and Gay America was on the move. People were free, and we had rights for the first time, and this movie was kind of a celebration of that freedom and the idea that sex wasn’t dirty and it didn’t have to be dark and it didn’t have to be hidden. And this was the thing - I wanted to present sex in a really wholesome, athletic atmosphere.”
The 1970s, which were so turbulent in a political way, showed a heated reaction to centuries of sexual oppression and anxiety with an “indecency attack” that not only benefitted gay men, but also manifested itself in theaters. Earl Wilson’s musical “Let My People Come” had a long run from 1974 onwards in New York and starred both gay and straight characters, and contained witty songs such as “Give it to me,” “Come in My Mouth,” and “I’m Gay,” in which a young man is laying all his cards out on the table with his parents:
“I’m hoping that you’ll come and see
This is how God meant me to be
This is my way
And I’m proud to come right out and say:
In some scenes, the actors and actresses were naked. Their message that sex could be pleasure and not a morass of vice became popular with a large group of people in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and France, although the show got a lukewarm reception in Amsterdam, at least according to the press.
The author Samuel Delany concluded from his visits to porn cinemas in New York that sex movies could be educational. Even though he’s gay, he would often buy tickets to straight films that were visited by a mostly working-class audience. Initially, these men started laughing when things they weren’t used to were shown on the screen; fellatio and cunnilingus, yes, even the kiss that followed an orgasm, were met with yuccchs and uhgggs. But around 1980, according to Delany, such reactions were a thing of the past. Seeing those movies must have expanded their horizons.
For gay men, these films in which men are having casual sex with other men were (and are) of much more importance. Men who are attracted to women meet the standard; their desire isn’t met with disgust, nor within themselves or in their surroundings. This is different for gay people. Seeing a preferably professionally made film in which men are pleasing each other the way the timid spectator is longing for instinctively, significantly contributes to self-acceptance.
Beauty and Sensuality
Of course, there are lots of bad pornographic films, which should not come as a surprise as talent is scarce, and there are as many bunglers active in this industry as there are in music, literature, and the arts of painting or sculpting. What is surprising is that there is more of a taboo on sex films made by adults for adults than there is for films that glorify violence and show lavish bloodshed and are approved for twelve years and over. Before his or her eighteenth birthday, the average American child has seen at least a thousand killings on screen. In our civilization people apparently feel more at ease watching a killing spree than a heavy petting session. People are strange indeed.
Whether one likes porn is a matter of taste. The same is true for Richard Wagner’s operas. And just like no one should be forced to listen to “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” no one should be confronted with porn against their wishes. It’s a free country. But while the number of true Wagner fans is much smaller than what one would expect (for how many snobs pretend to admire art they don’t know or don’t understand?), a much larger number of women and men enjoy porn than the ones who admit to it. However, the appreciation of Wagner’s scores does not rule out appreciating sex films. On the contrary. Their overlap is evident. Not for nothing did Dutch critic P.N. van Eyck label Wagner’s music as “horny.” It’s the intention of both the composer and Wakefield Poole to rouse the emotions in the audience. One could see “Tristan und Isolde” as one long formidable orgasm. Wagner was a genius, which can’t be said of Poole, but they both appeal to our appetite for beauty and our sensuality. And beauty and sensuality should not be taken lightly.
Now we will have a look at some gay porn directors that have proven their worth in the industry.
The American Larry Paciotti, better known as Chi Chi Larue, has made dozens of films for labels such as Catalina, Rascal Video and Falcon since 1988. Worth mentioning is “Shifting Gears” from 2008, which was voted best bisexual porn movie that year. Among the cinematographers Larue was one of the first, perhaps the first, to make using condoms by his actors obligatory after the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Jean-Daniel Cadinot made his debut in 1980 and specialized in productions with men from North-Africa: “Harem,” “Le Garçon près de la piscine,” “Plaisirs d’Orient,” “Tentations de Sodome” and “Le Culte d’Éros” are favorites among fans. In an interview the Frenchman once jokingly stated that unlike his father - a tailor - he didn’t dress but undress people.
On the 23rd of April 2008, the day of his death, a letter appeared on his website in which he said goodbye to the boys whose gracefulness he was allowed to capture, and to his loyal customers: “You offered me gratitude and I thank you for that because I wanted nothing else. Cadinot salutes you.” Lanning Janosov alias George Duroy has been active since 1993 from Bratislava with his Bel Ami Studio. Now and presumably under strict medical supervision, he is focusing on shooting bareback movies that are strong in good camera work and lighting. Very successful is also the Utah born Sean Cody, who left behind his Mormon roots at age eighteen and founded a company in 2001 that has won many awards, and Jason Gibson, a former policeman, who released a number of high-quality hardcore films under the name Corbin Fisher. There is a huge supply, and it’s not just men who are interested. It’s in the newspapers; women are also interested in these gay movies, but that isn’t as surprising as one might think.
Creative Sexual Positions
Straight porn focuses on a male audience and therefore shows more of the actresses than of the actors; and the actors in straight films aren’t the best looking. The stars in gay porn are more in line with what women desire. Kristi Hancock, writer of erotic prose, is very open about the fact that she gets to see more of the male member in gay porn than in straight porn, and that she has gay porn to thank for the introduction to “more creative sexual positions,” while Pam Dore, who sees herself as a feminist and has directed gay porn, explains why she prefers working with gay actors: “They’re just so much fun. And the guys are really sexual, you get the realness of it the way you can’t with women.” The revelation of another woman on a web forum also shows no narrow-mindedness: “There’s nothing better than watching two handsome guys fuck.”
Jake Jaxson, founder of Cocky Boys Studio, is very flattered by the fan mail he receives from women. The manifest on his website proves once more how gays in the West have come out of hiding and conquered their place under the sun.
You are not a type. You are you.
Gay sex is not shameful. It is a blessing like a fine wine, a great meal, or a roller coaster ride. It is part of life and should be enjoyed.
Power = pride. Pride = loving yourself. Love yourself and you can love another.
Gay is good!”