Category Archives: Discussion

Finally…

20140618-004058-2458883.jpg

While many states are battling over same-sex marriage, Alabama has only just ruled that prohibiting homosexual sex is unconstitutional. Civil rights organizations in Alabama are cheering a state appeals court ruling that declared part of a state sexual misconduct law as unconstitutional.

Under the statute, consensual oral and anal sex was banned in what the court determined was an act aimed at criminalizing homosexual activities. Furthermore, the statute has been traditionally interpreted to criminalize all sexual practices other than the missionary position between one man and one woman. The portion of the law cited in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruling includes: “Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.” The sixteen page ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals can be read in it’s entirety by following this link. (It’s well worth reading, and I found it quite interesting. Plus I’d love to know silvereagle’s opinion on this case and the ruling.)

The ruling was unanimous in the case of Dewayne Williams vs. State of Alabama. Williams, a Dallas County, Ala., man, who, although was not convicted in 2010 of first-degree sodomy, was convicted of the “lesser-included offense” of sexual misconduct, according to the ruling. Williams acknowledged he had taken part in the sodomy but argued it was consensual, the ruling states.

Alabama is one of a dozen states that still have laws prohibiting consensual homosexual sex, according to a survey by the Human Rights Campaign, a national group advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, applauded the ruling. “Aiming to ban consensual sex is flat out wrong,” she said Saturday. “A person’s sexual orientation shouldn’t matter. Consensual sex is consensual sex.”

Ben Cooper, chairman for Equality Alabama, also lauded the ruling and added the law was “settled years ago” under Lawrence v. Texas, a case the Alabama court referenced in its decision. In the 2003 case, the crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct was determined to violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

“Each and every person, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, is entitled to equal protection under the law,” Cooper said in a statement. “The Alabama court’s unanimous decision overturning the statute is a step in the right direction and makes us optimistic for future and ongoing equal rights through the continued elimination of unconstitutional provisions in our state’s constitution that violate privacy and equal protections.”

Michael Jackson, the prosecutor in the Williams case, said Monday that he understood why the appeals court ruled the way it did, and said the decision would probably be upheld if appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. But he said the victim is not getting a fair result because the sex in the case he was prosecuting wasn’t consensual.

“He got attacked by another man and he had sex he didn’t want to have,” said Jackson. He said Alabama’s sodomy law still applies in cases of forced sex. For the record, Jackson has no business prosecuting sexual misconduct. As District Attorney for Fourth Judicial Circuit of Alabama, Jackson has often hired female prosecutors based on their ample breasts and how often they will go to bed with him. Jackson himself should be tried for sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. He is a further disgrace to the already disgraceful Alabama judicial system.

The state of Alabama also was denied its request to remove the language on consent from the law and remand Williams’ case for a new trial. The Alabama appeals court explained in its ruling that a remand of the case would violate the double jeopardy clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Alabama Constitution and that by amending the statute the Court would be creating and ex post facto law that would further violate the U.S. Constitution.

The question does remain as to whether the sex between the two men, Williams and the unnamed clerk at the Jamison Inn Hotel, was consensual as Williams claims in his defense. However, because the prosecution knew they could not convict Williams of first degree sodomy, which had been struck down by Lawrence v. Texas, they chose an obscure section of the clause which made the question of consent moot. The clause used stated that “Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.” Therefore the prosecution cannot have the trial remanded because Williams would be tried twice for a crime in which he has already been convicted.

There are two things that really surprise me about this whole case. First, that Jackson attempted to prosecute Williams in the first place for sodomy, when if he is going to claim that no consent was given, then he should have charged Jackson with rape and assault. Instead, he charged him with sodomy and sexual misconduct. For me this proves, not only Jackson’s incompetence as a prosecutor, but also that there was insufficient evidence that the sex between Williams and the hotel clerk was not consensual.

Second, the other, and actually most surprising thing, considering that Roy Moore is the head of the Alabama Judicial System, is that the all Republican Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals actual made a ruling that made sense and followed the law. Moore’s philosophy of justice is that whatever laws he deems appropriate in his head are the only ones that need to be followed, so for a lower court under his authority to make a ruling that actually follows the law is astounding. Maybe there is hope for Alabama’s Republican controlled judicial system after all.


What Would You Do?

20140525-080955.jpg

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17

Many of us have stories about old couches — particularly ones we had in college, or shortly after. But not many stories are like the one three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y., can now tell.

After the trio realized their beat-up couch was stuffed with more than $40,000, they decided to return the money to its rightful owner.

It all started when roommates Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo realized that the lumps in their couch’s pillows were actually envelopes stuffed with money. Just two months earlier, they’d bought the couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store.

“It had these bubble wrap envelopes, just like two or three of them,” Werkhoven tells CBS New York. “We ripped them out and [I] was just like freaking out, like an inch and a half of $100 bills.”

Or, as he told SUNY, New Paltz student-run blog The Little Rebellion, “I almost peed.”

They kept finding more envelopes in the couch, pulling money out of it like an upholstered ATM.

Werkhoven added, “The most money I’d ever found in a couch was like 50 cents. Honestly, I’d be ecstatic to find just $5 in a couch.”

The discovery was like a dream for the three friends, all of whom are either in college or recent graduates.

As they counted the money, they talked about what they might do with it; Werkhoven says he wanted to buy his mom a new car. But then they spotted a name among the envelopes, and realized they were faced with an ethical puzzle.

“We had a lot of moral discussions about the money,” Russo tells Little Rebellion. “We all agreed that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to … it’s their money — we didn’t earn it. However, there were a lot of gray areas we had to consider.”

They asked their parents for advice; don’t spend the money, they were told. A phone number led them to the family that had donated the couch — and to answers about why it was full of money.

The roommates drove to the woman’s house in what The Little Rebellion calls “a rustic home in a rough neighborhood.”

“I think the part of this whole experience that cleared away my prior thoughts and worries was when I saw the woman’s daughter and granddaughter greet us at the door,” Werkhoven tells the blog. “I could just tell right away that these were nice people.”

It turned out that the money was socked away out of the woman’s late husband’s concerns that he wouldn’t always be there for his wife (she has chosen to remain anonymous). It represented decades of savings, including wages from the woman’s job as a florist.

For years, she also slept on the couch. But recent back problems led her daughter and son-in-law to replace it with a bed, meaning that the couch had to go.

“This was her life savings and she actually said something really beautiful, like ‘This is my husband looking down on me and this was supposed to happen,’ ” Guasti tells CBS NY.

After they returned the money to the woman, Guasti, Russo and Werkhoven received $1,000 as a reward.

What would you do if you found $40,000 in a Salvation Army couch? I honestly think that I’d do the same as these roommates did, because they found the name of the person to whom it belonged. If I had no idea of who it belonged to and no way of finding out, I would have given part of the money to the Salvation Army and done something good with the rest if it.

In addition, Reese Werkhoven looks pretty sexy in the picture above, this story makes him all the sexier to me.


Tolerance

20140520-194047-70847470.jpg

The following is excerpted from Suzanna Danuta Walters’s article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Incomplete Rainbow.” Suzanna Danuta Walters is a professor of sociology and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University. Her new book is The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions Are Sabotaging Gay Equality, just published by New York University Press. She offers and interesting and thought provoking look at the meaning of tolerance. After reading it, I had to share it. This is not the whole review article, which can be found at: “The Incomplete Rainbow.”

In contemporary times, we speak of a tolerance to something as the capacity to endure continued subjection to it (a plant, a drug, a minority group) without adverse reactions. We speak of people who have a high tolerance for pain or worry about a generation developing a tolerance for a certain type of antibiotic because of overuse. In scientific usage, it refers to the allowable amount of variation of a specified quantity—the amount let in before the thing itself alters so fundamentally that it becomes something else and the experiment fails. So tolerance almost always implies or assumes something negative or undesired or even a variation contained and circumscribed.

It doesn’t make sense to say that we tolerate something unless we think that it’s wrong in some way. To say you “tolerate” homosexuality is to imply that homosexuality is bad or immoral or even just benignly icky, like that exotic food you just can’t bring yourself to try. You are willing to put up with, to tolerate, this nastiness, but the toleration proves the thing (the person, the sexuality, the food) to be irredeemably nasty to begin with.

Tolerance is not an embrace but a resigned shrug or, worse, that air kiss of faux familiarity that barely covers up the shiver of disgust.

But here’s the rub: If there is nothing problematic about something—say, homosexuality—then there is really nothing to tolerate. We don’t speak of tolerating great sex or a good book or a sunshine-filled day. We do, however, take pains to let others know how brave we are when we tolerate the discomfort of a bad back or a nasty cold. We tolerate the agony of a frustratingly banal movie that our partner insisted on watching and are thought the better for it. We tolerate, in other words, that which we would rather avoid. Tolerance is not an embrace but a resigned shrug or, worse, that air kiss of faux familiarity that barely covers up the shiver of disgust.

———————-

Tolerance is not just a low bar; it actively undercuts robust integration and social belonging by allowing the warp and woof of anti-gay animus to go unchallenged. Tolerance allows us to celebrate (hysterically) the coming out of macho professional athletes as a triumphant sign of liberation rather than a sad commentary on the persistence of the closet and the hold of masculinist ideals. Tolerance allows religious “objections” to queer lives to remain in place, even as it claims that a civilized society leaves its homos alone. Tolerance pushes for marriage equality and simultaneously assures anxious allies that it won’t change their marriages or their lives.

And there you see the crux of the tolerance trap: If an ostensible concession doesn’t challenge straight lives, it’s not very radical, and if it does challenge them, it’s not a concession gays and lesbians will win. The marriage assurances are similar to gay responses to right-wing attacks on queer parents: Researchers and advocates argue that “no harm” is done to our kids, that there is no difference between gay and straight parenting. But couldn’t we imagine the strong case? Shouldn’t we argue, instead, that our progeny would/could grow up with more expansive and creative ways of living gender and sexuality? Shouldn’t we argue that same-sex marriage might make us all think differently about the relationship between domestic life and gender norms and push heterosexuals to examine their stubborn commitment to a gendered division of labor?

Difference does, well, make a difference. But when difference is erased in the quest to make us more tolerable to those heterosexuals who get to do the tolerating, when the messiness and fluidity of sexual desire and identity are put into the straitjacket of biological inevitability, when queer challenges to gender rules and regulations are morphed into nuptial sameness, and when queer freedoms are reduced to the right to wed, we all lose out. President Obama’s moving second Inaugural Address links Stonewall to the great lineage of American social movements. But then it modifies that sweep by signifying those rights as marital: “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” The history of Stonewall and other queer riots and rebellions is then reduced, dulled, narrowed.

Americans are rightfully outraged at Kremlin-style homophobia and horrified by the possibility of death sentences and flogging in several African countries. But we would do well to take a closer look into our own “tolerant” heart. Much has changed in America. Dedicated community activists, gender-bending queer youth, and even some of us retro radicals a bit long in the tooth do often sidestep the (almost) all-encompassing discourse of tolerance and immutability. But the time for easy celebration is not yet here. Anti-gay animus is not a remnant of a transcended past, nor is it the province of passé nations “over there.” It runs through our cultural waterways in pure red, white, and blue. The road to a real Oz is still littered with land mines, and Dorothy’s rainbow seems more and more like a dream deferred.


Divergent

20140324-001807.jpg

Last night, I went to see the movie Divergent, which I thought was excellent. I had just finished reading the book just prior to seeing the movie. The movie isn’t exactly like the book, but is probably as close as a book and movie can get. I loved the book and am ready to begin the second in the trilogy. One of the things I found most fascinating about the books is the idea of the factions.

In the Divergent trilogy and film, factions are societal divisions that classify citizens based on their aptitudes and values. The factions are Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), Abnegation (the selfless), and Candor (the honest). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-old’s must select the faction to which they will devote for the rest of their lives with after taking a placement test. A further explanation of the factions is below.

Abnegation (the selfless)

Abnegation do not draw attention to themselves. Instead, they help others such as the factionless (homeless). Since the Abnegation are so selfless and have no lust for power, they are the leaders of the government. Their uniform is gray loose-fitting clothing chosen so that they will blend in and be unnoticeable. They can also wear a plain watch.

Dauntless (the brave)

Always on the run, the Dauntless jump on moving trains and battle with each other. They are known for having many tattoos and piercing. They can also be reckless and cruel in order to show their bravery. The Dauntless normally dismiss Abnegation as “Stiffs.” Their uniform is black.

Erudite (the intelligent)

The Erudite are the city’s scientists and teachers. They elect representatives based on their I.Q . An interesting faction, but they value intelligence over everything else, even compassion. Much like the ancient Greeks who felt that being cunning and outwitting your opponent was often better than brute force, though this is not always true of their faction, which can be ruthless when their values demand it. Their uniform is blue because of its significance to tranquility and intelligence.

Amity (the peaceful)

The Amity value peace above everything. They greet each other with hugs and initiate new members with sing-alongs. They tend to be the city’s farmers, nurses, and artists. Their uniform is orange and yellow.

Candor (the honest)

The Candor value honesty and can’t tell a single lie. They say whatever’s the truth, even if it gets them in trouble. They are often lawyers, for they are truthful about everything. The Candor believe that truth is black and white, so that is what they wear.

If you had to choose one of these factions, which would you choose?

I would hope that I’d be divergent, but if I had to choose a faction, I would most likely choose Erudite on the choosing day, but I most admire Abnegation, Amity and Candor. I find the Dauntless to be a bit scary. We can always hope that each of us has the best qualities of each faction within us.


Porn Equality

20140313-225909.jpg
MAP OF % OF GAY PORN USERS BY STATE

Pornhub recently got together with Buzzfeed to gather some of the latest porn statistics. They asked us if the same might be true about gay married couples? Do the states with legalized gay marriage watch more gay porn than the states where it is still illegal?

The quick answer: yes. At 4.41%, states with legalized gay marriage watch 7% more gay porn than states without at 4.13%.

The results get trickier once you start looking at the map, state by state. The majority of states with a high percentage of gay viewers is in the South, where gay marriage is illegal in all states. Dixie loves dicks so much, that the percentage of gay viewers for every single state in the South is higher than the average of the legal gay marriage states.

In number one, holding a record 5.58% gay users, is a state where anal sex is still illegal: Mississippi (though I have to say, that never stopped me from breaking the law quite a few times when I lived there). Louisiana is closely on its rear at 5.44%, and Georgia with 5.38%.

As for the States with legalized gay marriage, there’s no big surprises in the top 3: Hawaii at 5.38%, followed by notoriously liberal New York at 5.27%, and California with 5.27%.

Finally, like in all things, there must be a top and a bottom. In this case it’s Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and Idaho that have the lowest percentage of gay porn users, all below the 3% mark.

20140313-230235.jpg
MAP OF LGBT POPULATION % BY STATE

If you compare the map of gay porn viewers with the percentage of adults in the United States who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), you are likely to see an interesting correlation. The numbers range from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to findings from a new study released by Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar, Gary J. Gates, and Gallup Editor-in-Chief, Frank Newport. The study is the largest population-based survey ever conducted that includes measurement of LGBT identification.

While LGBT communities are clearly present in every state in the union, their visibility is generally higher in states with greater levels of social acceptance and LGBT supportive legal climates. With the exception of South Dakota, each of the states with populations 4 percent and over has laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These states have also taken steps toward more LBGT equality by recognizing same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Iowa is the only state among those with the lowest LGBT populations to extend similar rights. In fact, six of the ten states with the lowest LGBT populations are among the most conservative states in the country.

With that being said, you are likely to notice that states with lower LGBT identifying populations have the higher percentage of those populations watching porn. I think the conclusion is obvious, when the LGBT population is small, we (and I say “we” because I live in a southern state with a small LGBT population) tend to turn to porn to satisfy some of our sexual appetite. It is also where we can satisfy some of our curiosity about gay sex. I think the two maps above make a lot of sense when put together.


Attractions

20140218-215122.jpg

Everywhere you look, people want to use labels: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight. Even within the gay community, we are put into types: bears, twinks, muscle daddies, leather men, queens, and the list goes on and on. The types of gay men in existence are wide and varied, and you can find any number of lists of gay male types. We are even expected to choose a “type,” i.e. a type of guy that we are attracted to. I’ve often wondered what my type of guy is. Most of my friends would say tall and skinny, but that’s not always the case.

The fact is, the type of men I find most attractive goes in cycles. Sometimes (and truthfully most of the time), I go for the smooth and muscular A&F type of guy, usually one that has a moderate amount of body hair and not totally smooth. The guy usually also has great hair. (I’ve never figured out my fascination with hair, but it’s definitely a factor when I look at a guy. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had “great” hair, and I am now losing what I have.) Think Charlie White, the Olympic ice dancer, although his chest might be a tad bit too hairy, but he has best hair. Then again, there are times when I’m turned on by a really masculine, hairy, muscular guy. Then at other times, I like the more pretty, slim, and somewhat effeminate guy (though I’ve always found the word effeminate to be offensive, but I can’t think of another word to use). Really, all of it is according to my mood at the moment.

Over the years, Ive done a fair amount of thinking about the types of men I am attracted to. Most often, I conclude that I don’t have a “type.” But I’ve always wondered why the type of men that I find attractive is different from time to time. When I say my tastes change it’s not like it happens from one minute to the next, I may find a particular type of man attractive for a week or more, before settling on another. I almost always find the cute A&F types attractive no matter what, especially, if its a particular person I have a crush on. And just a side note, baseball players always seem to get my blood flowing, but as I said that’s just a side note. However, I always come back to the same question: what causes my attraction to certain types to change every so often?

I’ve always kind of concluded that it is the testosterone levels in my body. Science has proven that men have hormonal cycles just like women. Some studies say that it is a roughly 90 day cycle. Others say that it is a 20 minute cycle, a 24 hour cycle, a seasonal cycle, or even a lifetime cycle. The basic consensus though is that men do have daily and seasonal cycles. The Daily cycle begins with high levels of testosterone in the morning, usually causing morning erections, and then as the day goes on, the testosterone levels drop throughout the day. Men’s hormones cycle also happen throughout the year. In studies conducted in the United States, France, and Australia, it was found that men secrete their highest levels of sex hormones in October and their lowest levels in April. There was a 16% increase in testosterone levels from April to October and a 22% decline from October to April. Interestingly, although Australia, for example, is in its springtime when France and the United States are in their autumn, men in all three parts of the world showed a similar pattern of peaks in October and valleys in April.

I should keep a diary of my moods and changing “types” over a period of time and see if it does correspond with any known hormonal cycle, but truthfully, I’m just not organized enough to do that. However, I have always believed that most likely when I find less masculine guys attractive, then my guess would be that my testosterone level is high, and I want to be more aggressive; whereas, when my testosterone cycle is on a down swing, I am more attracted to very masculine men. This is just a theory of mine, and a way of me thinking out loud and sharing with my readers.

I am wondering though, do any of you have similar periods when the types of guys you are attracted to changes? Do you always find the same type of guy attractive? This is a bit of shallow post, because I am only basing attraction on looks, when I much prefer to get to know someone and find a connection that I am truly attractive to, regardless of looks. So what do you guys think? I’d really like to have some feedback and see what you think about this topic of “types.”


Condomless Controversy

20140123-235527.jpg

When I was reading up on the suspension incident with “Noel” from Sean Cody, the first websites to report on the situation were gay news websites, the mainstream local and national did not begin to report on the situation until after the holiday weekend. I found one thing particularly interesting in the difference between how the mainstream media and the gay media treated the story. The vast majority treated it fairly and pointed out the inconsistencies among the principal and school board and “Noel” and his family. Nearly all of the reporting was the same, but with two main differences. First, most of the gay media sites reported the story about “Noel” of Sean Cody, while the mainstream media used his real name and mostly referred to Sean Cody as an adult gay website or as a gay pornographic website. Just a quick note on this, I think the gay media understands why porn names are used, and the mainstream media does not care. The second main difference is how Noel’s work was portrayed. Nearly all of the gay media sites mentioned that he performed bareback sex, whereas the mainstream media just said that he had done a number of videos, never mentioning what type of performance he did.

The second difference is the main topic of what I want to discuss. A few years ago, anytime bareback sex was brought up, it was generally a condemnation of the practice. In 2008, Chi Chi LaRue responded to the increasing number of bareback gay porn movies being made. LaRue is a well-known, award-winning, longtime director of (gay and straight) porn who stopped working with Vivid Entertainment when they went condoms-optional. LaRue is a powerful voice in the industry and in his mission to promote safer sex started a website called “Safe Sex is HOT Sex!” LaRue made the following statement about condom use or the lack thereof in the gay porn industry:

I have always promoted on my sets the same thing that I feel every gay man should practice in his personal life. ASSUME EVERYONE YOU ARE HAVING SEX WITH IS HIV+. Some companies say that they test their models, which just gives a false sense of security. There is no way to 100% protect the health of models by testing only. What if the test was taken a day before the persons HIV became detectable. What if the model caught HIV a day after he was tested? Unfortunately, this way of thinking is why I had to quit working in the straight industry. I walked away from a lucrative contract with Vivid Video when they decided to go “condom optional” so don’t ever say I don’t put my money where my mouth is!

The fear I have is that when we are silent and choose to ignore issues as serious as this, then perhaps barebacking in porn will just keep increasing like HIV infection rates. Then more and more models will be sucked into putting their health at risk to make porn!

Interestingly though, if you do a search for about condom use and Chi Chi LaRue, you won’t find anything more recent than 2010 stating LaRue’s views on the issue. In fact, you will not be able to go to the website she had set up “Safe Sex is HOT Sex!” anymore either, since it no longer exists. In a recent study by GMFA, the leading gay mens health charity in the UK, about gay porn viewing, the following results were presented:

*87% of gay men report watching porn at least once a week (1 in 4 watching porn every day)
*the most popular act watched was anal sex (91%)
*69% reported actively choosing bareback porn with 96% having ever watched bareback porn.

From the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s until the mid-1990s, the adult entertainment industry voluntarily adopted the requirement that performers practice safe sex in porn films, but many producers dropped the practice when drugs became widely available to control, but not cure, HIV.

Some producers never returned to the days before AIDS, when condoms were hardly ever seen in pornography. (They still aren’t in straight porn where most content – both vaginal and anal – is performed without the use of condoms.)

The fact is barebacking is an issue in gay porn. It is such an issue that Falcon Studios, one of the oldest gay porn studios and one that adamantly uses condoms in its films, has begun to airbrush the condoms out of their films. Gay porn megastudio Falcon have always been pioneers, leading the way with hot content and always staying abreast of what’s going on in the porn and non porn world around them. Now, with condoms in porn the major issue of the day, they have found a way to appeal to lovers of bareback porn without putting their performers at risk or giving into filming “raw” sex. In their upcoming release, California Dreamin’, they’ve airbrushed all the condoms out of the movie. In the promotional stills for the movie, the condoms used in filming are clearly visible. Yet when the final stills form the movie were released the airbrushed condoms were invisible.

Director Tony Dimarco said in a press release that the technique has created “a completely safe sex movie that mostly appears to be a bareback release.” Dimarco continues:

With this movie I really wanted to capture the essence of that time, when life seemed more carefree and spontaneous. In keeping with this concept, I felt that condoms need to be addressed. I wanted to give the impression of a pre-condom movie, but use condoms as we do in every scene we film. I found a way to film the movie safely and effectively, while giving the experience that I had intended and using the hottest modern stars.

Nearly every “amateur” gay porn site has gone to bareback videos. Corbin Fisher began doing so without even a mention of it. Chaos Men promoted their videos as “Raw,” and Sean Cody flatly calls it barebacking. Up until recently the gay porn blog QueerClick showed a few preview pictures of “condomless” videos but you had to their sister blog and more extreme QCX for the rest of the preview images that showed condomless sex. Their only exception was Bel Ami Studios which bareback sex has become the norm, and I am sure because of the popularity, QueerClick did not want to relegate them to another blog. However, over the past year as Sean Cody and others have begun producing more and more bareback videos, QueerClick has begun using QCX for only the most extreme BDSM posts and bareback has been put on the mainstream blog.

The question as to why barebacking has become increasingly popular, both in adult films and in everyday life, has become something of the elephant in the room in the gay community: something that’s going on despite the health risks, but really not discussed.

In an article on the website The Body (the Complete HIV/AIDS Resource) Rick Sowadsky, a communicable disease specialist studying AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, looked at the pro and cons of barebacking, as well as the reasons why men continue to do despite the health risks.

Sowadsky concludes: “For some gay men, the benefits of unprotected anal intercourse (intimacy, pleasure, etc.) outweigh the risks (HIV and other STDs). On the other hand, if two gay men have unprotected anal intercourse, and neither of them is infected with HIV, nor any other STD, then barebacking would be completely safe as far as infectious diseases are concerned. But if either partner has HIV or another STD, then there are significant risks of infection for these diseases through barebacking. Future HIV and STD prevention efforts targeted toward the gay community must incorporate the issue of barebacking.”

Just as the adult male video industry (hit hard by the recession and the growth of amateur and pirated porn on the Internet) is shrinking, barebacking is more popular than ever. While the major adult male video companies continue to produce condom-only content, smaller companies produce nothing but condom-free product. One reason is demand.

“Bareback? I don’t even consider that a fetish anymore, it’s become so big,” said the owner of one Los Angeles gay video rental store to writer C. Brian Smith in the Advocate in May 2009.

Yet barebacking remains a highly debated issue, partly because many feel that barebacking videos encourage the behavior, making it seem commonplace and desirable. This brings forward the question if gay men are being exposed to regular bareback sex, in particular anal sex that is considered the highest risk sexual act for transmission of HIV, is there likely to be a wash over effect to actual behavior? Does watching bareback porn promote actual bareback sex?

Interestingly 7% of GMFA survey takers said that yes, watching bareback porn lead to them having unsafe anal sex, with almost all (96.8%) saying that this would not stop them watching bareback porn.

By far the most interesting question I found was “do you think watching bareback porn can lead others to having unprotected sex?”. More then 50% of the people taking the survey said yes, watching bareback porn was likely to make other people have unsafe sex. Is this a case of “well clearly I can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but I can’t speak for others…”?

What we can say is that clearly there is money to be made in the production of bareback porn. When production houses like Sean Cody who used to be staunchly “safe sex only” start producing bareback the question has to be asked why? High demand from the already subscribed members? A decline in members with the current porn dollar being spread ever thin by sites like x-tube?

The act of barebacking however, is it liberating, a right, an act of defiance as reported by gay anthropologist Eric Rofes? Or is bareback porn an act of exploitation of vulnerable actors in a fickle market throwing demands where increasing competition means anal sex without condoms is the only way to make money? Are models being put at risk for the sake of public demand?

Are the public being placed at risk with depictions of raw sex separate from safety measures that may be in place to reduce risk of HIV infection? Is porn purely about the depiction of sex or can it have a role in education?

I’d love to hear your thoughts guys.


“Noel” Will Return to School

20140121-232449.jpg

A story made its rounds on the Internet (including this blog) this weekend and on Monday after a Florida high school allegedly suspended a senior “Noel” (I am going to use his Sean Cody name not his real name, which is easy enough to find if you want to do so) when the principal discovered the student had appeared in multiple gay porn movies on popular site Sean Cody.

Noel makes no apologies for performing in porn and considers his work like any other job, and quite honestly, I have to say, he does have the body for porn, if you know what I mean. Until two weeks ago, the 18-year-old (he turned 18 in June 2013) was like any other high school senior, but he said when students at Cocoa High School discovered his videos on an adult website, they started showing each other his explicit pictures on their phones at school.

The move by the public high school sparked outrage on social media, causing students to rally behind Noel through Facebook groups and campus demonstrations.

Now, it is being reported that following an investigation school administrators are allowing Noel to return to school grounds — though they reportedly won’t give an exact reason for the suspension, citing privacy laws.

“It’s easy to become emotional about a situation when it looks like a student is being targeted for his lifestyle choices, that is not the case here,” school district spokeswoman Michelle Irwin told reporters. “We will continue to work with the student and his family to make sure he graduates and moves on with his education.”

“No child would ever be suspended for a job that they have outside of the school environment,” said Irwin. However, when reporters asked why then he was suspended, administrators said they received information that Noel made threats, after students found pictures of his work online and started to taunt him. “In this particular case, we had an investigation, which is now complete, and the student is welcomed to come back to talk to Dr. Sullivan about his educational options,” said Irwin. Reporters checked with Cocoa police, they confirmed they did investigate the alleged threats but found nothing.

Noel’s mother said she knew her son was working in adult films, adding that he took the roles to support her financially. “I think he’s the most awesome person in the world,” she said tearfully. “He stood up and he was the man of the house when I couldn’t be.”

His mother also told reporters that she believes her son’s work in adult films is why school administrators suspended him. “She [Dr. Sullivan] flat out told me that my son was expelled not just suspended,” his mother reportedly stated. “He was expelled due to his explicit, adult, lifestyle career.”

Cocoa High Principal Stephanie Soliven called Noel on Tuesday morning — after the holiday weekend — and they worked out a plan to get him back to class, Irwin said. Noel said the principal “apologized to me and said the threats were made up (by other students).” District officials confirmed the investigation had been concluded and Noel was cleared.

The discussion between principal and student was according to district policy and unrelated to a flurry of furious Facebook comments and feedback the district received from around the globe after the story broke last week, Irwin said. She did not have the policy immediately available.

Because Noel is an adult, he did not appear to violate obscenity laws, Assistant State Attorney Wayne Holmes said. “We’re basically in a society today where consenting adults can do what consenting adults want to do,” Holmes said, adding that the community standard for what is obscene has changed with the increased use of technology and the Internet. “What 30, 40, or 50 years ago may have been a crime, you can now go to a local movie theater and see.”

Noel shuffled his bare feet through dry pine needles carpeting the cement walk outside his home while speaking Tuesday with Florida Today. He slumped his muscular, 5-foot, 9-inch frame, hung his blond head and avoided eye contact. “I’m just ready to return to school, like a normal day,” Noel said Tuesday. He was anxious though on the eve of his return to class, behaving nothing like Noel, his bold online personality as a gay pornography model. He knows that returning to Cocoa High School will be anything but ordinary given his unusual job, taken to help out his mom because his dad doesn’t work. “It’s just her trying to feed me and the dogs and pay bills,” Noel said, rubbing his hand across his face.

A number of porn stars have faced disputes within school systems whether they were active in the adult film industry or not. In 2010, Shawn Loftis — who directed and acted in a series of gay porn films under the name Collin O’Neal — was dismissed from a substitute teaching gig in the Miami area after a principal discovered his films on a website. The following year, however, the Florida Education Practices Commission ruled that Loftis would not only be permitted to teach, but was also eligible to apply for a permanent position as an educator.

Meanwhile, Kevin Hogan, who allegedly starred in at least three X-rated gay films under the name “Hytch Cawke” before being hired at a Massachusetts charter school, was placed on administrative leave in 2011 when his previous gig was revealed.

Frankly, it sounds to me as if the principal was advised that she had made a bad decision and one that she would be unable to back up legally. I think she made a rash decision based on her own morality, while ignoring what school procedures were. Instead of helping Noel, she hoped the kid would go away quietly and the whole matter would be swept under the rug. When this did not happen, she ended up eating a bit of crow. I do wonder if their will be further consequences for her behavior or if the matter will be forgotten soon because she allowed Noel back in school.

I also believe that Sean Cody should be a little more hesitant to accept high school students. Sean Cody has the responsibility [at least morally] to absolutely make sure these 18 year olds fully understand the possible ramifications of doing porn. Teens are not usually mature enough to think past the next month let alone their entire future. Noel did this for his family and according to his mother with her knowledge. Though I realize that pornography and prostitution are not the same and here is a fine line between the two, isn’t this at least a little akin to a parent telling their eighteen year old daughter that it is okay to go sell herself on the street in order to bring in more money for the family? I do realize that in the case of prostitution, it is illegal in most places in the United States, whereas pornography is not.

Sean Cody has been known for some unscrupulous practices in the past. They often have models sign exclusive contract that have at least a year long clause which prevents the model from working elsewhere and they refuse to allow the model out of the contract even when they decide they don’t want to use the model anymore. Furthermore, Sean Cody has become an almost exclusively bareback (condom free) studio (Noel did five videos with Sean Cody, all bareback, though one was a solo video), which presents health risks to the models, no matter how much testing they go through. In all honesty, I will admit that I did once have a subscription to SeanCody.com, but as they increasingly began producing more and more bareback videos, I became uncomfortable with supporting their enterprise, and cancelled my membership. I am not judging those who enjoy bareback porn, in fact I too find it rather hot, but it’s a conundrum to me because I don’t like it, yet I do. Bareback porn makes me feel guilty for watching it because I know the models are being put at risk and that it sends the wrong message, and I don’t like feeling guilty for watching pornography.

What do you think about the school administrators’ decision? How do you feel about a porn studio recruiting a high school student, even though he was over eighteen? I have attempted to present this story as fully as I can, so I’d love to hear what you guys really think about any or all of the issues I discuss in this and the previous post.


In Loco Parentis

20140119-232651.jpg

I’ve heard of people losing their day jobs when it’s discovered they’ve done porn, but it looks like a high-school student has been kicked out of school for doing so. Queerty and several other gay news sources are reporting Cocoa High School (CHS) senior and Sean Cody model “Noel,” has allegedly been suspended and will not be allowed to graduate from his Florida high school, after several of his gay porn videos made their way to his principal’s desk. A Reddit poster claiming to be the cousin of one of “Noel’s” classmates also claims that “Noel” was allegedly “severely bullied” by classmates and suspended for 10 days when his extra-curricular activity became known. According to the Cocoa High School Student Handbook: “When a student’s actions are disruptive to himself/herself or to the school as to violate law, Board Policies, or school rules, the student may be suspended by the Principal or designated representative. Suspension dictates that the student shall not be allowed to attend his or her regular classes or school-sponsored activities for a prescribed number of days not to exceed ten (10).”

The suspension also means he will not be able to graduate in June. According to the student handbook, ten unexcused absences (which a ten day suspension counts as) mean that the student will automatically receive a failure from absences/failure to attend in all of his classes for the semester. “Noel” got severely bullied and, instead of helping him, the school will not let him graduate due to him causing a “campus disturbance.” While some students are defending Noel and promising to protest his treatment, the principal is threatening “to automatically expel any student who joins in.”

Regardless of how you feel about an 18 year old high school student in pornography, is it the responsibility of the school to punish him for activities outside of school? I think the question comes down to the legal responsibilities of school’s in relation to “in loco parentis.” The term in loco parentis, Latin for “in the place of a parent”” refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. It allows institutions such as colleges and schools to act in the best interests of the students as they see fit, although not allowing what would be considered violations of the students’ civil liberties.

As an eighteen year old, this young man has full access to his civil liberties and his school should not be able to punish him for something that happened outside of school. Schools have increasingly taken over the responsibilities of the parents of children. Instead of parents teaching their children responsibilities and morality, parents are leaving this up to the school. However, it is not the school’s responsibility to be the parent. Where was “Noel’s” parents when he was off filming pornography in San Diego where Sean Cody is based? If the parents did nothing to stop this, then why does the school get to take over where the parents failed.

To further explain “in loco parentis,” the first major limitation to “in loco parentis” came in the U.S. Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943), in which the court ruled that students cannot be forced to salute the American flag. More prominent change came in the 1960s and 1970s in such cases as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), when the Supreme Court decided that “conduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason – whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior – materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.” Adult speech is also limited by “time, place and manner” restrictions and therefore such limits do not rely on schools acting in loco parentis.

Private institutions are given significantly more authority over their students than public ones, and are generally allowed to arbitrarily dictate rules. However, Cocoa High School, located in Cocoa, Florida, is part of the Brevard Public Schools District. Therefore, Cocoa High School is not protected as a private institution, and thus does not hold the same rights as a private institution does when it comes to legislating moral behavior.

The most significant legal test came from a 1969 Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, in which a school suspended students for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School). In Tinker, the United States Supreme Court defined the constitutional rights of students in public schools by overturning the students’ suspensions. They did say, however, that when a student’s speech interferes substantially with the school’s educational mission, a school may impose discipline. The problem with this decision lies with the interpretation of how “interferes substantially” is defined, since there is subjectivity in this criteria. Tinker is now being cited in off-campus cyber-bullying and YouTube cases when a disruption is caused in the school building due to the aftermath of these incidences. I assume, this will also be used if “Noel’s” suspension is challenged legally.

Justice Clarence Thomas has argued that Tinker’s ruling contradicted “the traditional understanding of the judiciary’s role in relation to public schooling,” and ignored the history of public education. He believed the judiciary’s role to determine whether students have freedom of expression was limited by in loco parentis. He cited Lander v. Seaver (1859) which held that in loco parentis allowed schools to punish student expression that the school or teacher believed contradicted the school’s interests and educational goals. This ruling declared that the only restriction the doctrine imposed were acts of legal malice or acts that caused permanent injury. Neither of these were the case with Tinker. Nor should they be the case with “Noel’s” punishment.

The main problem that I have with the whole situation is that the school is trying to be the parent, when it is the responsibility of the parent to handle the situation. Compound that with the fact that “Noel” is over eighteen years of age, then he has the ability to make his own decisions, at least legally, though his parents should be more active. I have no idea what “Noel’s” family situation is, but whatever it is, I do not believe that it is the school responsibility to be his parent. I deal with students day in and day out who have little parental guidance, and the parents expect us, i.e. teachers and school personnel, to act as the parent and guide their child. I am not saying that it is not the responsibility of teachers and school personnel to help in guiding a child, but the responsibility is ultimately with the parents. “Noel” is not the one who should be punished, but it is his parents who should have to be the ones held responsible, not an eighteen year old kid. No matter who mature an eighteen year old believes he is, he still needs guidance.

Sadly, “Noel” has learned the hard way the consequences of doing porn, but obviously, he is not shy. I would have never had the gumption to pose for porn when I was in high school, and I expect he will find a way to deal with this. Many young porn models perform in order to make money for college. If reports are correct that Sean Cody models usually make $4,000 per scene and “Noel’ has filmed at least five scenes which amounts to at least $20,000 toward his college fund. However, if he isn’t allowed to graduate, will he even be able to attend college? Ultimately, I think the school overreacted in their decision.

P.S. If you are not a fan of gay porn or SeanCody.com but “Noel” looks familiar to you, it is because I used his picture for my “Snow Day” post about two weeks ago.

UPDATE FROM CBS Tampa Bay: School officials have reversed their decision and “Noel” has been allowed back to school.

Local 6 quoted school officials who say the decision to expel was wrong and that they’ve finished their investigation.

“No child would ever be suspended for a job that they have outside of the school environment,” said Michelle Irwin, a spokesperson for the district.

“In this particular case, we had an investigation, which is now complete, and the student is welcomed to come back to talk to Dr. Sullivan about his educational options,” said Irwin.

I will have more on this tomorrow. I want to do a bit more reading and see how much of the story I can get put together for Wednesday’s post.


The Dynasty Should Be Over

20131220-004009.jpg

I will admit that I have watched Duck Dynasty on occasion, I’ve even heard Jase Robertson speak in person. The show can be somewhat humorous, just to watch the stupidity of rednecks, but it’s a lie that purports to be real. It only takes a few shows to just see how fake this family is. I have friends who live in Louisiana, and just like in Alabama where this is not always the case, there is a vast amount of ignorance in the state. My friends are all academics, with fairly liberal views, but no matter where you go in America today, ignorance abounds. Phil Robertson is just the latest example of this ignorance, but I have a particular bone to pick with him. He is giving my religion a bad name.

You see, Phil is a minister with the churches of Christ and should know better than to misquote the Bible. By the way, I had already been peeved with the Robertson family for putting on a Christmas pageant at their church. No good member of the church of Christ is going to celebrate Christmas within the church because the birth of Christ is something that we believe should be celebrated year round; however, for sheer monetary gain, the Robertson family flaunted a Christmas Pageant at their church on their “Duck Dynasty: Robertson Family Christmas.” The episode itself was so far removed from what Christmas should be about that it sickened me. The church of Christ does not frown upon its members for celebrating Christmas, but we don’t celebrate the holiday as an official church activity. My own church had a Christmas party but it was hosted by one of our members who invited us all to her house for dinner, but was not sponsored by the church.

The thing is, in the church of Christ we do not add to or take away from the New Testament. Yet, Phil did just that in his comments to GQ Magazine. In his shocking interview with GQ’s Drew Magary, Phil Robertson — the 67-year-old patriarch of the Duck Commander kingdom that earned his Louisiana family a fortune and a hit A&E series — opened up about “modern immorality” and the gay community. In the interview, he stated:

It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

The emphasized part of the above quote is a misquoted and mistranslated version of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The King James Version (which is one of the most accurate English translations) reads:

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (malokois), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai)
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

The English Standard Version, which is probably the mistranslation that Phil was quoting from, reads:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Phil takes an incorrect view of the Bible with this passage. In the King James Version, I have put in parentheses the two original words that have caused the most controversy. There have been 44 different interpretations in English of the word malokois. Most common through history have been weaklings, effeminates, or homosexual. I believe all of these are incorrect interpretations of the word. Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant “effeminate call boys.” The New Revised Standard Version says “male prostitutes.” Some biblical scholars have argued that the term is used for the word catamite, which is a fairly consistent interpretation by most Biblical scholars. A catamite was a young hairless boy used for sexual pleasure by older men. This derives from the more Ancient Greek practice of pederasty (remember that Corinth is in the Greek Peloponnesus). The practice that Paul is condemning is and always has been that of pedophilia, not homosexuality.

As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means — and the fact that we don’t know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of “the effeminate call boys.” We might call them “dirty old men.” Others translate the word as “sodomites,” but never explain what that means. In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.

The fact is, there is no clear evidence that homosexual orientation or that the love between two men or two women is a sin. The Bible is completely silent on the issue of homosexual orientation. And no wonder. Homosexual orientation wasn’t even known as a term until the 19th century.

Phil Robertson claims that he studies his Bible and carries it with him always, yet he can’t even correctly quote the Bible. He continues to use a bad translation of the Bible in order to spew his vile comments to the world. The biggest problem with Phill Robertson is that he is a hypocrite. Robertson was once a substance abuser, but in the 1970s he turned his life over to Jesus, according to the Christian publication, The Southeast Outlook. He has since been a devout Christian and strives to be a scholar of the Bible. Like most people who come to Christianity later in life, Phil has become over zealous in his beliefs in order to atone for past sins. Instead of being a loving Christian man, who shows his generosity, he uses his fame and his Bible to browbeat his brand of Christianity onto those who disagree with him.

A representative from A&E released the following statement from Phil Roberston in response to the controversy:

I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.

To be fair, I completely agree with the last three sentences of Phil’s statement; however, how much of it is true considering the statements he made in GQ and statements he’s made in past sermons and speeches. This isn’t the first time that Phil has spoken about against homosexuality, but this was the most public of his statements.

GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said it best when he released the following statement:

Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans –- and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.

In the backlash to Phil’s statements, A&E suspended Phil Robertson “indefinitely” from the reality series due to his comments about the LGBT community. How much will A&E stand by their suspension, especially with the rest of the Robertson clan standing firmly behind their patriarch? There is just too much money at stake for both A&E and the Robertsons. “Duck Dynasty” is on hiatus until Jan. 15, and a network spokesman said Thursday that nine of next season’s 10 episodes have already been filmed. That means Robertson likely isn’t needed in front of the camera before next March, by which time this whole crisis may have blown over. And blow over it will, eventually, says veteran Hollywood crisis publicist Howard Bragman, who added that Robertson will likely return to the show as well, perhaps after making a heartfelt apology.