Depending on who’s psychoanalyzing me, they could either say I do or I don’t have pornography addiction. When I thought about it, I may watch anywhere between 3-6 hours (if not more) of porn per week. I do know I have an addictive personality which may play a part in my viewing habits but could there be such a thing as a healthy porn addiction? What about porn having a positive impact on one’s life?
I remember at a young age being exposed to a nudie magazine. My older brother found one that belonged to my grandfather. I was confused and excited (non-sexually) by the black and white images. I was amazed to see fully nude male and female bodies. At such a young age, this was something I had never seen before at that time. Nonetheless after a couple of viewings, seeing the couples in various sexual positions became boring.
From there my pornography experiences progressed as I progressed. As a child, during the day while my mother was at work, I stayed with my grandparents. My older half-brother permanently stayed with my grandparents. I recall one of my uncles (on my grandfather’s side) named James living with them for a while. The rumor in the family was that James was gay. One day my brother called me into the room where James was staying. He pulled out a black zip up toiletry pouch from James’ duffle bag. Obviously my nosey ass brother had been snooping like some nosey ass kids (myself included) will do.
He opened the pouch and pulled out numerous professional photos of nude black men. Some were muscular while others were slim but they all were very athletic in stature. All their poses were artistic or relaxed and just a few of their penises were fully erect. I was captivated with the beauty of the black male body.
When my grandfather and James were out working, my brother out playing with his friends and my grandmother enthralled in her soap operas; I would tip-toe as if I were a cat burglar and carefully find my James’ toiletry bag. Easing the zipper open, I would pull out the pictures and study each male in detail. I was around 8 or 9 years of age and the sensations I had when viewing these nude male bodies weren’t the same when I previously viewed nude female bodies. There was an allure or fascination.
After James moved out, I was devoid of any sexual imagery of interest until I seen Lady Chatterley’s Lover on Cinemax. I was in 5th or 6th grade and this was the closest thing to seeing a fully nude male body in sexual situations on cable TV at that time. My next sexual captivations came from watching the ground breaking 1981 Heavy Metal animated movie. I saw the film before I seen my brother’s very entertaining science fiction laced Heavy Metal magazines. This erotica was what the animated film was based off of. It was perplexing to see sexually imagery infused with two forms of my favorite media (cartoons and comic books).
My hardcore introduction to live action pornography came when I was in 7th grade. A beloved uncle on my grandmother’s side (Uncle Tucker) of the family passed away. My grandmother and a few other family members had to travel to New York to handle his affairs and estate. They brought back many of his belongings including to cases of beta max VCR tapes. Being that my mother was the only one with a beta max VCR, the videos would be coming home with us….YES!
Uncle Tucker kept a revolving door of women. Every time he came to visit, he had a new woman on his arm. Because of this, I had a hunch that something pornographic had to be on at least one of these beta max tapes. One evening while my mother was asleep, I began to rummage through the tapes. In the back of one of the pull out cases, I hit the jack pot. One tape had “XXX” and another had a title similar to “Ebony (fill in the blank).”
I made sure the volume was on low on the television when I put in the “Ebony (fill in the blank)” tape. WOW, I couldn’t believe I was about to see actual sex scenes. After fast forwarding through the lame intros and foreplay, I got to the intercourse. These two beautiful brown skin people were having sex. The man was on top and the angle of the “penis-in-vagina” action wasn’t that good but the game changes. He then repositions her to her side so they both are on their sides in bed. I now get a close up view of the action as his penis goes in and out of her vag. The man was feverishly entering the woman from behind and my pubescent manhood was on full throb. He then pulls out, rubs his hand up and down his shaft a couple of times and ejaculates all over her legs. I was completely mesmerized. I had to have rewound that scene four times. What the hell was all that liquid…is that semen?
I watched a couple of more scenes and noticed all the men would do the same thing. They would pull their penises out of the women, stoke a couple of times and shoot. This gave me an idea. Maybe if I stroked my penis like they’re doing, I would also ejaculate. I went into the bathroom and the rest is history.
The next day in school, all I could think about was that initial sex scene with the couple on their sides. I thought about it all day and could not wait until that night, while my mother was asleep, so I could see it again. I felt I was educated and I knew the dictionary definition of masturbation from sex ed class at school but it didn’t register with me right away that this is what I was doing. I was masturbating…a lot.
For years mostly all the porn I viewed was heterosexual. Being that the adults around me were heterosexual, this was the porn that was available. I noticed around the age of 15 or 16, that I was much more interested in viewing the men more so than the women. I would get new porn by dubbing and trading with friends in high school.
Even though I had lost my virginity with a girl at the age of 15 and had sex a couple more times, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. For years to come, I would be in deep denial. This was the early 90s and pre-internet. The gay club scene wasn’t on my radar at that time in addition; I wasn’t old enough to attend even if I wanted.
Pornography was my only sexual outlet for my ever developing sex drive. Watching the men in straight porn allowed me to visually and mentally participate within my homosexuality through fantasy. These men were my flings, my hookups and lovers. I had my favorites like F.M. Bradley, Ray Victory and Sean Michaels that I always sought out.
In my late teens, porn was there when I had no other sexual options. I was deep in the closet. Homosexuality was a bigger taboo then and even more so in the black community. The term D.L. wasn’t even popularized yet.
My second year in college – around the fall of 1996 – during the Thanksgiving break the campus was quiet. I ventured off campus to an adult book store. I was headed home the next day and this was my secret pornographic excursion. Entering the adult store I was in a nervous heavenly trance. The store was still, with only the cashier being present. As I casually looked around, I noticed a hallway off to the left of the entrance. This hallway led to the private video viewing booths.
After getting my tokens from the cashier, I walked down the hallway and entered a larger room filled with wall to ceiling narrow rooms. I cruised the numerous booths to see what movies each cubicle had playing on the designated channels. Mustering up some courage, I decided to view my first gay film. The star had a cool name, Jeff Stryker. After being stimulated to the point of masturbation I left the store realizing this was a turning point.
Giving my first opportunity to view porn of my choosing and not just what was available; I selected gay porn. Being aroused by the displays of muscular men having oral and full sexual intercourse solidified what I had denied for years. I was a homosexual and there was no more hiding it from myself.
Looking back, my choices in porn rentals were always thought-provoking. At the time I didn’t fully understand how sexuality, race, masculinity and class were influencing my selections.
I vehemently wanted to be fully satisfied with black gay porn. There were some bright spots here and there within black gay porn from the late 80’s and early 90’s but I found myself bored. Aside from the men “pushing rope” (half erect penises attempting to penetrate) and heavy stereotypes, the masculinity factor was almost non-existent. I longed for some old school porn legends like Al Ridgley, Dennis Johnson, Tory Bell, T.J. Swan, Duke Johnson, Ty Jones, Gene Lamar, OG Johnson and Joe Simmons.
Even when the masculinity was on full display, like within the Latino Fan Club productions; the films were still thick with stereotypes. Many of these attractive latino men were presented as bike messengers, parolees, rappers or hoods. Many of the scenes consisted of solo or mutual masturbation and oral sex. The few full on sex scenes were undoubtedly lack luster.
In my observation most of the white gay porn was different. There was a confident prominent masculine presence. I fully understand the production companies operated with larger budgets which contributed to better quality and more detailed, up close displays of intercourse. Regardless, many of these film productions still had their issues. Many of the men were clones; meaning countless models had the same hair styles, similar body structures and similar facial hair manicures. These men were appealing to the dominant white homosexual desired traits of that time period.
This escalated my needs to see more masculine men of color in gay porn. To make due, I still had to depend on my continued viewing of straight porn. Not only were the men masculine and attractive, they were great performers. The gang bangs and DP videos were my favorites because that meant there were more men on display.
Still craving stimulating gay porn featuring men of color, things took an up-swing after the mid 90’s under the guise of “Blatino”. Director Enrique Cruz came on the scene and revolutionized gay porn with Off Da Hook, Tiger’s Brooklyn Tails, Off Da Hook 2 and Aprende. No more over compensating from stars such as Bobby Blake or poor performances from Bam, Flex Gamble, Andre Bolla and Kevin Kemp. Enrique Cruz brought forth men who looked like me, had my swagger and showcased a youthful attitude to match.
Switching gears for a moment to straight porn as it relates to class, social issues and race. Once I finished high school, I found it harder to view sexual scenes in straight porn between people of color.
In my mind, knowing how black women have and are mistreated in the U.S., I was not aroused by seeing a black woman performing sexual acts within porn. Something about it felt degrading. I personally didn’t feel degraded, but I found myself having a compassionate merciful reaction for the women of color. Being that I’m sensitive to stereotypes; I didn’t want these black women to be viewed as sluts or be subject to sexual objectification by society. I’m sure if was a straight man; this wouldn’t be a concern. I also noticed this is not an issue when I viewed porn featuring white women. Even though women still face inequalities as it pertains to patriarchy and misogyny in many societies, white women still can benefit from white privilege.
After the start of the new millennium, porn featuring men of color for me was again less appealing. I didn’t like the more twinkish models highlighted in the Coco Dorm / FlavaWorks – esque type productions. Meanwhile in white gay porn; with the advancements of HIV medications and carefree “anything goes” attitudes, began a slow resurrection of condomless or bareback sex scenes.
This was considered an absolute no-no throughout the 90’s. Mimicking industry trends of what is profitable, porn featuring men of color followed down the raw sex pathway. Again my feelings concerning class, social issues and race begin to heavily influence my pornography viewing habits.
Statistics have shown us that as HIV infection rates and AIDS related deaths declined in the white gay community, they have steadily increased in the black and latino communities across sexualities. Even though I have no misgivings about viewing bareback porn between white gays or interracial scenes, it’s hard for me to view bareback porn with an all men of color cast. In the back of my mind, I can’t help but think about the HIV/AIDs stats and how they are impacting communities of color. Therefore I rarely watch this type of porn.
Yeah, I know its kinda strange.
The self-empowerment phase in my latter 20’s required some isolation. I needed time to focus on career, finances, spiritual growth and less on dating or nightlife. Even though there were random sexual encounters here or there, porn allowed for an in-house, no-fuss quick release. At this time, I lived alone, well below my financial means and without roommates. Unbeknownst to me, this dynamic allowed the freedom to begin the process of amassing a beyond normal porn collection.
My VHS dubbing days ended and I adopted burning DVDs. I began to sell gay and straight DVDs to other horny porn loving associates at work and at the gym. My sells created a demand which meant I had to purchase or rent more porn. 50 discs grew into 150. 150 discs grew into 300. 300 grew into 500 and so on.
I became head strong, financially independent, had an amazing body and achieved much needed spiritual growth. In its own way, porn helped ease my aggressive sex drive and channel the energy that would’ve been used for the “hunt”, into something more positive and constructive.
I can recall two instances where porn may have had a negative impact on my life. In my teens, I struggled with the size of my penis. I was comparing my young self to the grown adult men in the porn videos I masturbated to. With time and growth this issue subsided. A part of this growth and understanding, meant seeing other men’s penises during sexual encounters. Seeing other men nude allowed me to understand that I needed to be grateful for the meat I had between my legs.
The other possible instance was a buddy of mine who posed the question, which was “does porn prevent me from venturing out and seeking male companionship?”
Because I was consuming a lot of porn at that time and thus masturbating a lot; I thought he could have a point. Conversely, when I re-examined that particular period of time in my life; I needed the solitude and I absolutely wasn’t ready to date or start a relationship. Porn was my salvation in assisted release.
Now in my late 30’s, I still have a high sex drive. Even though I’m in the beginning weeks of the 7th year of a committed monogamous relationship; porn is still a part of my weekly life.
Porn doesn’t distract or detract me from an active sex life with my partner. Even though we may have some cooperative mutual masturbation sessions, no one can touch my body like I can. I’ve had years of experience and self-discovery. Also masturbation and self-discovery has allowed me to tell partners my likes and dislikes as it pertains to heavy petting.
From time to time we do watch porn together but it’s mostly tame or soft core compared to the hardcore porn I view when I’m alone. This is mostly because my partner is not really into hardcore porn. So the porn we do look at together is more voyeuristic. For instance we view solo masturbation porn with attractive models or we watch men have sex in more tropical lush settings, of which is featured in some Brazilian gay porn films.
I have no shame in acknowledging porn can be an exciting and intimate activity for me. No I don’t light candles and put on some easy jazz to watch porn but I’m more accustomed to a closed confined dark space (like a bedroom) when viewing.
My days of renting DVD’s have long expired. Now I either download movies or scenes and ripped them to a DVD or simply stream from my computer, laptop, phone or tablet. There is a level of anticipation when it comes to a new scene that I catalog for upcoming private happy time.
I must acknowledge at this point in my life, pornography hasn’t had any type of lasting negative impacts. I feel if we’re to act and progress as a forward thinking global society, we can utilize porn as a tool to examine our personal sexualities and better appreciate our desires.
We shouldn’t have to repress our natural sexual identities in sake of authoritative voices who deface our sexualities. Pornography played an influential part in helping obtain my sexual liberation.
Header photo: Chris Dickerson international champion body builder.