Is it wrong for dirty stories to feature elements of exploitation, or maybe language which people find demeaning or offensive? In other words, is it really necessary that writing which essentially amounts to a quick masturbatory fantasy conform 100% to the gay party line of happiness, love, and mutual respect in a rainbow-colored paradise?
Several recent message board postings and web journal entries I’ve read have suggested just that. I don’t buy it, I’m irritated by the very suggestion, and here’s why:
First, sexual desire by and large knows no politics. Yes, there are probably those who choose even their casual partners through the most rigorous, cultural standards, selecting people of a variety of ages, physical characteristics, and ethnicities. They admit to being sexually attracted only to the most well-adjusted “out” gay men, and shun the possibility that anyone else could be just plain hot and worthy of a roll in the hay, or at least a stray fantasy.
That’s nice. However, it doesn’t apply to most of the rest of us who, upon seeing someone we find attractive or sexy, don’t immediately stop to think about the political or social ramifications of our lust. We think about what it might be like to have sex with him. Most of us, fortunately, are intelligent enough to realize that actually doing so (or attempting to do so) might be rather unwise, so we hold back. But that doesn’t change the fact that we find the idea arousing.
Which brings me to my second point. Pornographic stories are fantasies. They no more reflect the reality of how a given reader (or writer) would really behave in a given situation than do any number of fictional accounts, from action-adventure films to TV sit-coms to vampire movies. They are escapism, pure and simple. That’s the point. People read pornographic stories to enjoy elements which probably aren’t (and never will be) present in their own lives, in a controlled environment where no one really gets hurt.
The fact that an individual enjoys a story in which the main character subjects himself to being called a “faggot”, chases after unattainable heterosexuals, engages in risky sex, or even has relations with someone under the mystical and magical age of 18 does NOT necessarily indicate that this individual wishes to do any of these things himself. In fact, reading some disposable fiction is, I’d argue, the pressure valve which, when released, KEEPS him from doing things which might have unpleasant consequences for himself or others.
The enjoyment of this type of story is not, by itself, indicative of some level of “internalized homophobia” or “queer self-loathing”, anymore than enjoying a movie about blowing up the White House is indicative of terroristic tendencies. Again, it’s escapism: a sort of pressure valve which allows people to move on with their everyday lives after relieving some tension.
Must we “dumb down” everything just because a few people take everything they read or see on TV too seriously?
I’ve written dozens of pornographic stories (yes, under a pseudonym), and I’ve read hundreds of them. Many of them featured all manner of risky and “exploitative” sex. And not one of them has turned me into such a drooling idiot that I started hanging around the schoolyard, looking to get beaten up and fucked bareback in someone’s pickup truck while a dog urinates on me. In fact, the largest part of what I read and write holds appeal for me only on paper, or on screen, as it were.
Get a grip, people, and stop taking harmless fantasies so seriously. It’s one thing to say that you don’t like certain stories and don’t want to read them. It’s another entirely to suggest that anyone who does enjoy them is beneath contempt and has no self-image nor self-respect.
And we all know the correct terminology for anyone who thinks he has the right to decide what anyone else is ALLOWED to read or to think, right?