Has Porn’s ‘Gay-for-Pay’ Reached Its Climax?

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If you don't watch gay porn, you may not know a majority of its stars identify as straight, but the gay-for-pay trend may be more harmful than we think.
If you don’t watch gay porn, you may not know a majority of its stars identify as straight, but the gay-for-pay trend in the adult industry may be more harmful than we think.

Porn is like religion or politics. Our preconceived biases keep us from having an objective discussion about it. It ends up being a pro vs. con/believer vs. non-believer debate rather than an actual discussion.

I’ve talked about how gay porn could be , but is the gay-for-pay trend actually starting to reach its breaking point? If you don’t watch gay porn, you may not realize that a majority of its stars identify as straight. On the one hand, that betrays a deeply ingrained homophobia in our culture. Despite having sex with men, it’s still worth voting in the heterosexual elections. On the other hand, that means at least some cross-section of the actors in these films are engaging in sex they don’t like or enjoy just for the money. That could be troubling both for these actors and the fans watching.

Whether its years in the closet robbed of sexual release or an internalized homophobic value judgment, the straight fetish exists. This fetish posits that “straight” men are intrinsically sexier ergo better than gay or bisexual men. The idea of having sex with a straight guy is a huge fantasy, so that means major money for porn producers. There are studios exclusively specializing in straight men having various degrees of gay sex. They often chart the “conversion” process as men progress from solo videos to various sexual acts. This unofficial premium on being straight leads to more money and notoriety for these actors. Should they make more money than their gay colleagues for doing the same work? This brings the same oppressive worldview that exists in the general professional world into gay-owned and gay-run businesses. Additionally, this creates a revenue stream for men who might not be dealing with drug addition, body obsession or anger issues.

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Gay-for-pay runs the gamut. Some men do jerk-off videos like former “Big Brother” contestant David Girton or actor Simon Rex. Other men play into the “I’m not into it” mentality and have sex with blindfolds on or through glory holes. Sometimes the story of the scene or film involves them being tricked or needing money. Other larger studios like Sean Cody, Broke Straight Boys or Corbin Fisher just have straight men having unsafe sex. They’re classified as straight, but no discussion is really given to their sexuality or interest in the sex. While it can be sexy and isn’t unique to just gay porn, this can send a dangerous message. Sure, women perform lesbian sex acts in straight porn, but the battle for lesbian equality and understanding is not happening in the often misogynist world of straight porn. This movement in gay porn makes a person’s sexual orientation a starting off point for negotiations. It indirectly asserts that sexuality is a spectrum, which is great for understanding the LGBTQ sexuality, however, it still posits that straight is great, which does more damage than good. It also makes consent a little blurry.

In August 2014, Gustavo Banegas found a drunk heterosexual gentleman passed out in the bathroom of a hotel party. He proceeded to rape the man by initiating oral sex after being so “turned on” by the “attractive” victim that he just “couldn’t help himself.” Now, porn isn’t the reason to blame for this man crossing a line, but look at how “porny” this scenario sounds. There are plenty of porn videos where a gay guy finds a straight guy in the bathroom or a straight guy is asleep and is surprised by his gay friend.

No, gay porn isn’t to blame for this atrocity, but this rapist’s mode of thinking could be symptomatic of porn going a little too far. This is not to say that gay-for-pay will inspire a rape-a-thon. There are plenty of straight-identifying men having gay sex outside of the porn industry. But when porn has rape-adjacent scenarios, it can implicitly condone that a person’s sexual orientation is debatable. Isn’t this what we’ve been battling all our lives? There are self-proclaimed, gold-star gays who spent their lives insisting they are 100-percent gay, and yet there’s the underlying belief that no man could be 100 percent straight?

Recently, a former Corbin Fisher model, Christopher Luke McAteer, aka Clay, shot up his former place of employment. Luckily, no one was hurt, but he ultimately shot himself in the head. His videos were quickly removed from the Corbin Fisher site. There is no telling why he shot up the Japanese restaurant in Owensboro, Ky., but an 18-year-old raised in a devout Christian household who did gay porn living in a small Southern town does sound like a potential for internal conflict. Porn megastar Johnny Rapid recently went to jail. He was charged with beating his girlfriend when she would not organize a threesome with a 14-year-old girl. , Rapid said, “I do my porn, and then I go home to my girlfriend. I have sex with her until she bleeds, and then I have to wait a week.”

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Rapid could have had a screw loose, of course, but he also reached a modicum of stardom for being violently fucked as a job. These could be completely isolated incidents, and these crimes might be in no way related to the fact that these men are having sex they might not like or want. But porn is providing financial means for people who might not be totally sane or otherwise able to support themselves. There are plenty of porn performers of varying sexualities who have gone to prison. Here’s for your perusal.

The one thing lacking from the whole gay-for-pay/straight-guy fantasy is a deeper look at consent. What does this person want sexually and romantically? We’re men, so hormonally we can consider people of any gender or even a cantaloupe with a hole in it. But this type of porn can create a dangerous paradigm. A lion’s share of gay media coverage is the over-analysis of straight celebrities. There’s an exhaustive search for signs of a possible orientation switch. There’s a witch hunt for actors still in the closet — and a lusting after these men. It means big profits for actors who gay bait like James Franco and Nick Jonas, but is it not eerily similar to the high school gender policing and quick judgment of other people’s sexuality.

When we rush to say an actor seems gay, are we not doing what’s been done to us? This is not a vilification of gay-for-pay performers or gay porn — but it is a call to action to occasionally take a step back and think about what we might be internalizing and condoning while we’re jerking off.

Christian Cintron is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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