Sex Life of the American Male

How new technology, new mores, and current events impact male sexuality.

The Beautiful Men of Gay Male Pornography

Gay male pornography reflects the changing ideal of beauty

Donald Symons and David Buss, preeminent researchers of the evolution of human sexuality and the two most well known names in the field, believe we can learn much about straight male sexuality by studying gay men. I came to the very same conclusion in my research for Boy Crazy, a study of monogamy. What then can gay men tell us about the changing ideal of male beauty? Our country is on track to become a nation of minorities without a dominant racial or ethnic group, and the gay male community is likewise impacted. Thus knowing what gay men find beautiful and "hot" may foretell general trends.


Before we can even begin to investigate this hypothesis however, I must admit a less-than-flattering fact: The gay community has struggled with diversity for a long time without particular success, particularly the divide between black and white and between black and Latino. Indeed, the "gay community" is still often narrowly defined as that composed of the urban gay white male or female. Nevertheless, I spoke to Victor Hoff, creator and president of Men of Color, a website devoted to the beauty of men of color, including black, white, and all shades between. Before your rush to check it out though, be forewarned that it is sexually graphic and targets gay men.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.


Vic is intuitive regarding the impact of diversity on the gay male community and uses pornography as a measuring stick of progress (or lack of):


"Thank God demographic shifts in this country are changing! For so long, the Gay Porn industry has presented a pretty one-dimensional side of what's erotic and arousing: the smooth, hairless and muscular "All-American" boy-next-door type. In other words, white guys. White guy jocks. White guy leathermen. White guy bears. The standard of all that was hot and erotic about gay porn centered around - you guessed it - white guys.

But over the last three-to-five years or so there has been a lot of growth in niche markets - all-Black and all-Latino sites primarily (there are no domestic all-Asian sites) - because the demand has grown and the market can sustain them. So what does this tell you? It tells you that a new norm is establishing itself for what's hot. There is a powerful demand for these "alternative" norms of erotic arousal and as the country diversifies so, too, will the gay porn landscape. It won't have a choice if it wishes to survive.

It is interesting to note that one of the biggest Gay Porn stars in 2009 was Austin Wilde who is biracial. And he has built up his fan base by appealing to the next generation of pornsumers who clearly enjoy his otherness. Also one of the biggest sites to debut in our industry last year was Edger9.com with Race Cooper (Black), premised on interracial sex. Why? Because Race and stars like him - Diesel Washington (Black), Austin Wilde (Bi-racial) and popular website RandyBlue.com's Johnny Angel (Asian) have become a new and accepted norm of beauty in the otherwise very stratified world of Gay Porn. Their popularity attests to it."

Vic is sanguine about the impact of diversity on our changing ideal of the beautiful man:

"I don't know if women and gay men will change their ideas of what's erotic - and in a sense, beautiful - simply because there are more erotic and beautiful people in this country of a different race or ethnicity. But it's hard to believe they won't, at least over time, given that in the marketplace of human sexuality, more and different norms of beauty will begin to overtake what has traditionally been the purview of the still fairly ubiquitous Boy-Next-Door type. I'm frankly excited about the future. I think we're finally going to finally see a democratization of this industry as more and more people demand that gay porn reflect the changing nature of the culture around them."

 

Michael Shelton is a writer, therapist, and educator focused on male sex and sexuality issues.

more...

Subscribe to Sex Life of the American Male

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?