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While We're On Porn
Here's an unscientific survey you could help me out by responding to: Do straight men look at gay porn? Once? Sometimes? Ever? And if the answer is "once" it simply for curiosity's sake? How about if the answer is "sometimes"?

Posted by aalkon at May 11, 2007 1:16 PM


Nope. Although I did have a great discussion with some gay coworkers during company lunch on 'non-functional nudity' in porn movies. We agreed that it was a turn off, but we had different opinions on what nudity was non-functional.

Posted by: Daran at May 11, 2007 6:57 AM

My ex used to watch transvestite porn. He totally flipped out when I mentioned it once (not like I cared, I just wanted to know what level his interest in that was at.) I don't know if that really counts as gay though.

Posted by: Shinobi at May 11, 2007 7:08 AM

My gay friend showed me one of his flicks. I wanted to see it out of curiousity. I told the guy I was "dating" at the time about it and asked if he wanted to see it. He said no. He listened to me describe what I saw, though.

Posted by: kg at May 11, 2007 7:17 AM

Not on purpose Amy

Posted by: Rusty Wilson at May 11, 2007 7:59 AM

I am a straight man of 29 and have never looked at gay porn.
I have frequented a few websites that feature both gay and straight porn so I have inadvertently come across links to pictures or videos featuring naked men or gay sex. I have always scrolled past them.
I imagine that the occasional straight guy may overcome his visceral disgust for gay sex and click on a link to gay porn just to see what it looks like. I've certainly been tempted to do that on more than one occasion.
All in all though, I think my feelings and those of other straight men I know are consistent with the hypothesis that if a man habitually looks at gay porn he is probably not straight.

Posted by: Jamie at May 11, 2007 8:23 AM

No, never. Not even girl-on-girl porn, which supposedly turns a lot of guys on.

Posted by: Rex Little at May 11, 2007 8:26 AM

My husband enjoys it, but doesn't watch it regularly.

Posted by: Melissa G at May 11, 2007 8:27 AM

That's my feeling, too, Jamie. There's a study out of Northwestern that...suggests...that men are either gay or straight (in sexual responsiveness) while women are more fluid about what turns them on...but I put it that way ("suggests") because the study had methodological flaws, starting with sample size, which was tiny, and the way they were recruited. Unfortunate. I hope somebody repeats it and conducts it right.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 8:30 AM

Nah. Not my thing.

Posted by: justin case at May 11, 2007 8:51 AM

I wouldn't put much stock in the study. I think sexual response is much more on a spectrum, and yeah, that's with my own small sample size. (Actually I have a very nicely sized sample, thank you.)

I think it's somewhat well acknowledged through laughter on FARK that lots of men enjoy gay porn, 19 year old Jamie not withstanding.

Ask on FARK about this, and lookup "shemale vid folder."

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 8:52 AM

Only for as long as it took to hit the back button. "Yikes! Make it go away!"

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at May 11, 2007 9:17 AM

Looking for it, can you post the link!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 9:25 AM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 9:35 AM

Here's a more pointed question for you:

Does a straight guy ever (or sometimes) masturbate to gay porn? Can it be a turn on for a straight guy?

And FYI, your responses to this are totally confidential...feel free to respond as John Doe or whatever if you don't want to be googled by people at the office.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 9:55 AM

It seems to me that sexual orientation can be pretty fluid. I can't count the number of times I've been hit on by "straight" guys.

Oh, and Todd, I feel the same way about ANY heterosexual display. "Make it go away!!"

Posted by: darry at May 11, 2007 10:34 AM

I dated a woman who was into watching man-on-man porn. I think the reason was that she was really into aggressive sex- spanking, being tied up, then asking to be hit, have her hair pulled. One night she pulled out a strap-on and that was it for me. (I wish I could reveal her position in society!)

As for your question Amy, I have no homophobia, but guy-on-guy porn grosses me out. Woman-on-woman can be a real turn-on. For me it's all about the visual of seeing a woman aroused to the point of changing into something else, something animalistic or even primordial. I have been involved in a few "wife-swapping" situations, experimenting really, and it was a huge turn on for me. My wife later hated it, even though at the time she seemed to be having a better time than anyone else.

Posted by: Jon Doe at May 11, 2007 10:56 AM

It's my belief that most straight men are grossed out by gay porn, and I don't think that's explained by homophobia (although maybe it can be in some or a lot of the cases).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 11:25 AM

And thanks, everybody, for posting here...please, more people, post on this. It's super-helpful. Just beginning research on it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 11:27 AM

I personally enjoy guy-on-guy porn, but just the soft-core stuff, no fisting or violence. I get squeamish watching girl-on-girl, so can sympathize with guys who get weirded out watching guy-on guy. The girl stuff just looks painful (3 inch finger nails look dangerous, rough overstimulation of the clit, etc.), or like they're not really enjoying it.

Posted by: Chrissy at May 11, 2007 11:49 AM

Amy, from the post above this one, I know I don't have to tell you about the dangers of informal polling and small sample sizes.

Yes, the link you posted above was sort of the spawning of a new cliche at FARK. But it refers to the seemingly big phenomena of all those tranny and shemale sites, which seem as popular as the straight sites.

If gay men (approximately 5-10% of the population) are the only ones watching the shemale vids, why is there so much shemale porn, gay porn, and bi porn?

(I may just have the wrong site as my homepage.)

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 12:59 PM

No, you don't have to tell me about the dangers of this -- it's why I'm not using the Bailey study with the tiny sample size culled from ads in gay media. I'm just using this polling here to help me think. FYI, I think the tranny and shemale sites are popular because they're outrageous for most people -- but that's just my opinion.

FYI, I've been reading stuff from Laumann and Kinsey's scale of sexuality, etc. If you have any other recommendations, I'd appreciate them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 1:51 PM

I'm straight. I don't recall encountering gay porn, though
at some point, I might have. It doesn't repel me; it's just
not of any interest to me.

As for the question of whether a straight guy ever (or
sometimes) masturbates to gay porn...
I don't. I suppose an essentially straight guy might, but
he'd have to be somewhere above Kinsey zero.

Posted by: Ron at May 11, 2007 2:18 PM

Not only did my last ex watch gay porn, he enjoyed bisexual porn (if he had a variety of themes and fetishes to choose from, he would almost always choose the latter), and got off on both. No matter his private inclinations, he identified himself (and I assume he still does, though we haven't spoken in several months) publically as a straight man.

Posted by: Rebecca at May 11, 2007 2:28 PM

Well in the category of pulling things out of my butt (which does relate to this post in some ways I guess), my suspicion is that the speed at which a self-identified straight male clicks away from gay porn is inversely related to how latent that straight male's homosexuality is....

My own bias and ignorance is that I think male sexuality is a spectrum too and would tend to disbelieve anything that said it's not. Going off of historical works like Spartacus, I suspect there is are both elements of nature and nurture at work. As I learned from Spartacus, in other cultures at other times, male bisexuality was considered the norm depending more on age and perhaps social class than anything else.

So in a sense I am not surprised that 19 year olds may click very quickly away from gay porn in a way that the more jaded/mature/independent amongst would not. Related, I wonder if that's not just porn, but issues of support towards gays in society as well, in that I wonder how quickly a 19 year old might click away from a newspaper article dealing with gay rights as compared to say a 40 year old male with a family and confidence in his heterosexuality.

But I really have no clue, no clue at all.

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 2:37 PM

I also think a lot of straight porn is very homoerotic. I don't think there is an enormous jump from straight porn with double penetrations, bukkake, cum shots, anal to gay porn.

Perhaps Amy, you should arrange a viewing...?

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 2:42 PM

I suppose if I had ever thought about the subject, I would have realized there must be such a thing as male on male porn... it just never crossed my mind. Perhaps it is a generational or geographic thing. I turned 66 on my last birthday and have lived in a decidedly rural section all my life, but what little I have heard about homosexual behavior sounds disgusting, so no, I would not watch it.

Posted by: Dave at May 11, 2007 2:50 PM

I suppose if I had ever thought about the subject, I would have realized there must be such a thing as male on male porn... it just never crossed my mind. Perhaps it is a generational or geographic thing. I turned 66 on my last birthday and have lived in a decidedly rural section all my life, but what little I have heard about homosexual behavior sounds disgusting, so no, I would not watch it.

Posted by: Dave at May 11, 2007 2:51 PM

Lots of thoughts here.

1. Purely anectodal, but I've found a large number of women who have "dabbled" in lesbian relationships do so to fulfill certain "girl envy/girl crushes" they have. In other words, a woman (a younger woman especially) unsure of herself is more likely to conssumate a relationship with another woman she admires for a host of reasons that may ultimately have very little to do with romance or sexuality. Call it the Jessica Stein syndrome.

2. More to the point of your questions: I've never cruised gay man on man porn. I did, however, catch the bit on one episode of HBO's Real Sex that focused on the happily married hetero couple that directed Hubby in a series of gay porns. Fascinating to watch Wifey give stage directions on how Hubby should be buggered. As far as I can remember, that was the only time I've ever seen two dudes actually doin' it.

3. Don't know if this part of your research, but a related question might be: has a "mainstream" gay romance film (not that there are a ton of examples out there) ever affected you? Would a genuinely endearing gay romantic comedy make heteros feel romantic towards their significant other? Brokeback is maybe the closest thing we've yet seen to two same-sex leads with chemistry, but that film is so dense with tragedy and angst its a poor example as a film that might make you want to cuddle. Query: what would it take to make a successful gay When Harry Met Sally?

Posted by: snakeman99 at May 11, 2007 4:39 PM

Although I know that shemale porn is actually gay porn, my little friend down here seems to see it differently. Normal men on men porn for me is a huge turn off. But if one of them really looks like a woman, it works pretty well.
Another gay fantasy/porn/story that works for me is in a kind of "Dominatrix" situation, whether if she is using a strap on (I know, technically not gay, but, let´s face it, a bit gay) or even if she is using a man to do the job in another (but in this case, my attention tends to focus more in the woman).
So, for me, gay porn works, but there must be some sort of female presence (even if not exactly female).

How gay does this sound to you, Amy?

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 8:54 PM

When Harry Met Sal? When Harry Met Frankie? Sorry, getting off on a tangent...

As a chick, romance is romance. Brokeback worked for me. As for gay romance stories for straight guys...I'd first put my money on animated fairy tales by Richard Dawkins for the Christian Right.

And very interesting, anon. And I'm just speculating wildly here, but I wonder your faking out your willie is kind of like the evolutionary adaptation that backfires on us about needing the news on people in our lives. "People in our lives" used to be our small band. Now, that adaptation makes us think we know and should care about celebrities.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 9:59 PM

"I also think a lot of straight porn is very homoerotic. I don't think there is an enormous jump from straight porn with double penetrations, bukkake, cum shots, anal to gay porn."

I knew a valium-popping total fag who was a staff writer at Hustler for years, and he used to love to, um, sprinkle his writing with indirect forms of gay sex. For example, he'd write about a couple of guys banging a girl, and one of the guys would eat the hole where the other guy's cock had just been, etc. Pretty run of the mill stuff.

I like to watch straight porn videos, when the guy's on top and his butt cheeks spread apart and reveal his juicy rosebud cumhole every time he winds up to thrust into the girl. Double penetrations totally gross me out, however. I have to draw the line somewhere, okay?

Posted by: Lena at May 11, 2007 10:21 PM

i went to a going-away party once for a semi-acquaintance of mine who was gay. i didn't realize that i'd be pretty much the only straight guy there, or that the walls would be decked with balloon penises and nudes (not really porn, i guess, but definitely naked dudes).

also had a guy who professed to be straight (not going to say friend, because he isn't any more) start giving me a hand job while i was passed out on the couch.

but in terms of looking at gay porn? never. i don't know if it would gross me out; i think it'd be like a horror movie for me: not really something i'm interested in seeing, but i probably wouldn't get sick to my stomach. fortunately, most of my friends don't want to hit the multiplex to go see anal reaper 3.

that being said, nothing tops off a bj like a little pressure on the prostate.

i have a gay friend (well, bi, i would say, since he gets more gash than i do) who frequently nails married guys who say, 'i don't want to have anything to do with a fag,' presuming that my friend is married. everything he's ever told me leads me to believe that there is a substantial proportion of the heterosexual male community that isn't particularly beholden to exclusively heterosexual practices.

Posted by: g*mart at May 12, 2007 1:05 AM

Lena writes:

I have to draw the line somewhere, okay?

Let's just say that line is very thin...and dotted!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 12, 2007 1:20 AM

These comments remind me of one of comedian Ron White's (you know, from that bastion of ultra-masculine straight manhood the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie) bits about men and porn: that it is actually appealing to straight men in a homoerotic way. He introduces this theory, the men in the audience groan, and then he confronts them: which do they really prefer to watch--limp penises or big throbbing cocks?

Posted by: Rebecca at May 12, 2007 2:40 PM

To answer your question, yes, they do.

I remember in college, a blatant homophobe, who somehow ended up rooming with a gay guy, was constantly into his porn stash. He would show it to visitors to his room when his roommate was out, solely for the purpose of expressing outrage.

Now, imagine a room full of straight guys, saying, "Ugh, that's so gross!" and "Take it away!" all the while never taking their eyes off it.

To answer this question factually, Amy, you need to define what is meant by "straight."

I can't seem to define who did this study, but a sociologist determined that sexual orientation wasn't so clearly defined as "gay," "bi" and "straight." But rather there were percentages, and someone who was 100% attracted one way or another was actually fairly uncommon. Most people would be closer to 80% attracted to one gender, while being 20% attracted to another. Or 60%/40%, you get the idea. It's been my observation that the biggest homophobes are the ones who are somewhere in the 80/20 60/40 range. While 100/0s seem to be less freaked out by gay porn. Interestingly enough, I've never heard of a gay person, regardless where exactly they were on the scale, being freaked out by straight porn. I've never heard of a gay guy seeing a Hustler, for instance, saying, "Ugh, that's so gross! Take it away!"

Posted by: Patrick at May 13, 2007 1:45 AM

I tend to agree with Patrick.

Living in the Middle East, I had my fair share of young Muslim men offering to have sexual encounters with me. In a polite manner, I would turn down the offers by saying I was engaged to be married. Within Islam, interfering with someone who was about to be married is a big NO, NO. Many of these men would eventually get married and have kids. A percentage would be considered clinically homosexual, but cannot pursue an open gay lifestyle within the M.E., because it is against the law. The men who would eventually be married... are they gay, straight or bi? Some would be considered closeted gays, because of the actual laws against in engaging an open homosexual relationship, but what about the rest?

Sexual identity is far more complex and should be taken on as an individual basis instead of the convenient straight, gay or bi groupings. There have been plenty of heterosexual men sentenced to prison. While in prison engage in gay relationships. Once they were released, they would pursue relationships with women again. What are they: straight, gay or bi? Or something more complex and hard to categorize? The best way is based on the percentages Patrick wrote in his post. But that conflicts with the socially accepted views of today.

I’ve had problems discussing this subject with friends in the states, because of the hyper-masculinity would label me as being a closeted gay man or bisexual. In some cases, an ex girlfriend was convinced I was either gay or bisexual based on my frankness in discussing sexual matters in an open manner. Personally, I never felt the need or desire to have a sexual encounter with another man while living in the West or the M.E.

Posted by: Joe at May 13, 2007 9:18 AM

Actually, Patrick, what you're talking about is "The Kinsey Scale," which veers from totally homosexual to totally heterosexual, and then there are the people in between and leaning one way or another. As I've been thinking about this this week, I've been thinking less in terms of labels than what people want sexually, and whether they're sublimating it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 13, 2007 9:29 AM

I loved g*mart's blog comment because it totally confounds Kinsey. One the problems with the Kinsey scale is its zero-sum nature. For example, a person ranked at the homosexual maximum value has, by necessity, absolutely no heterosexual ranking. But there are probably plenty of people out there who are, say, "80% homosexual and 95% heterosexual." To understand how that's possible, it's helpful to make an analogy to culture. I know plenty of people who function very well both in their culture of origin (e.g., Spanish-speaking Mexican) and a more dominant culture (e.g., upper-middle class, college-educated corporate America). Acculturation is not an all-or-nothing kind of thing, and neither is sexuality. So rather than a single scale, how about a two-dimensional space (i.e., a X-Y axis) to position people somewhere in THE FABULOUSLY VAST UNIVERSE OF HORN-DOG SEXUALITY?

Personally, I prefer a continuum of queerness bounded by negative and positive infinity. Catholic nuns and Hari Krishnas are both celebate, but Krishnas are so much more fun. I would rank them as very, very high on queer.

Posted by: Lena at May 13, 2007 10:18 AM

There's a middle ground on that Kinsey scale, of people going either way. I don't think I described it well (probably because I think I need to go back to bed for a half hour).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 13, 2007 10:23 AM

I know the Kinsey scale all too well. My point was that any of these unidimensional scales don't allow a person to rank highly (strongly) in more than one direction, and that's a limitation.

Posted by: Lena at May 13, 2007 11:28 AM

I've never sought it out or been interested in doing so; however, I have in the course of my job encountered documentaries and gay art-house movies which may not have been technically porn, but definitely had real sex in them.

It really wasn't as big a deal seeing it as I thought it would be, by which I mean it wasn't bothersome to see, just tedious. Gay movies can get away with being really crappy if they show a lot of skin, in a way that "straight" relationship movies usually can't.

Posted by: LYT at May 13, 2007 12:21 PM

"Gay movies can get away with being really crappy if they show a lot of skin"

Well, "The Fluffer" was a skin-laden, non-porno gay movie that definitely did NOT get away with its crappiness. It was unbelievably boring. Nothing that a few good buttfucking scenes couldn't have redeemed, of course.

Posted by: Lena at May 13, 2007 5:48 PM

Amy asks:

"Does a straight guy ever (or sometimes) masturbate to gay porn? Can it be a turn on for a straight guy?"

Yes. At least this one. Yet I have no impulses whatsoever to have an actual, real-world, encounter with a man.

As to "she-male" porn, I doubt very much that gay men watch this stuff. It's pretty much made exclusively for straight guys. And all those "she-male" escorts (meaning hookers) out there? I'll bet all of their customers are straight. And I don't mean "supposedly straight but really closeted," I mean straight. They have no desire to get with a guy, but the oddness of the tranny experience is a turn-on for them.

Posted by: John Doe at May 14, 2007 10:46 AM

Hey, thanks. Why do you masturbate to gay porn? What turns you on about it? And do you also masturbate to photos/movies of women?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 14, 2007 10:49 AM

Amy further asks:

"Hey, thanks. Why do you masturbate to gay porn? What turns you on about it? And do you also masturbate to photos/movies of women?"

Way more detail than I want to get into in the public comments section of a blog. Sorry.

Posted by: John Doe at May 14, 2007 11:00 AM

Not a problem, but e-mail me if you want to. I promise to keep all e-mails about this confidential. And thanks to everybody posting here.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 14, 2007 11:08 AM

I just think there is nothing sensuous or sexually pleasing about a man's naked body, whereas women's bodies can be beautiful all over.

Watching a copule of guys go at it is like watching dogs humping. No thanks.

Posted by: King at May 17, 2007 11:39 AM

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