Nostalgia

I don’t think the generation after mine realizes how lucky they are. I am in awe of the wealth of information and data at our fingertips these days.. When I was a teenager, the Internet was very new. I think I’ve mentioned before that I was in college the first time I had the chance to use the Internet. I took to it fairly quickly, though. I was able for the first time to better explore my attraction to guys (even if I didn’t understand what all that meant at the time). One thing many of us take for granted is the quick and easy access we now have to more…adult content. Our content was so innocent compared to what young gay men have today. At least it was for me.

 

For better or worse, gone are the days of magazine clippings, underwear catalogs, and dial-up internet connections that take 15 minutes to load a torso. That’s what it was like for me as a teenager and a young college student. The idea of going to the adult section of a movie store, or god forbid just using your imagination, is completely lost on the youth of today.

 

One interesting thing though is that generations prior to mine were much freer about male nudity, especially in locker rooms and such male only spaces, but my generation rarely got fully naked in from of one another. On rare occasions did I see guys get fully naked in the locker room at PE or when I played basketball in high school, but even those few times were very brief. Masturbation was a completely taboo topic, and you’d never dare admit that you did that. In some ways, the generations after me have been freer to discuss such things, and they are becoming less shy in the locker rooms again. 

 

Earlier this week, Twitter came together to reminisce about these desperate times. The conversation was initiated by Chris Kelly, known for his work on Saturday Night Live. “What photo do YOU remember printing out on your family’s shared computer and masturbating to for weeks/months?” wrote Kelly, alongside a pixelated picture of a shirtless Jon Bon Jovi.

 

Gay Twitter sprung into action, all too eager to share the first additions to their own masturbatory fantasies. There were some of the usual suspects. Celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Heath Ledger, and Marky Mark. There were also clippings from fashion magazines and underwear advertisements. Does anybody remember International Male or the Undergear Catalogs?

 

Then there was even a smattering of some obscure ones. The kind of pictures you might resort to in a pinch (we’ve all been there). My most obscure (i.e. embarrassing) was probably the Nelson Twins. Good God, that hair! Those clothes! I remember I had a special edition magazine dedicated just to them. I actually did like, their music. 



 

There were also the myriad of workout magazines. Those magazines, the catalogs, etc. were what I kept secretly under my bed. Then when I was in college, I discovered A&F Quarterly. OMG, they were so homoerotic, you could even excuse the fact that they sometimes showed girls. It just took a little bit of skin back then to turn me on. Tastes change though.

 

Now there’s PornHub, Snapchat, Twitter, and OnlyFans just to name a few of the massive amount of masturbatory material out there. Not to mention all the information you’d ever want about being gay. While things were beginning to change back in the late 90s and early 2000s, things were nowhere near as open as today. Kids are coming out younger and younger. Many do not have the fear and stigma of being gay that my generation had, and it was worse for the generation before mine. I said many because there are still very religiously conservative enclaves out there, such as my home state of Alabama or God forbid you’re a gay Mormon in Utah.

 

So my question of the day is: What was your favorite special material to get you off? Who was it? Where was the source of your entertainment? I honestly would like to know. You can always comment anonymously if you’re too embarrassed to sign your name to it. Let’s hear it.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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