His name is GRUB HUB.
As such, most of my cruising experience has been done online and even more so with the advent of iPhones.
It’s frustrating to me; the need to categorize and quantify myself, because in turn it has made me think in the same way. Online I judge others by stats, weed out what I don’t want from those that I do. Knowing full well that the same process is being done to my profile (an avatar for my being, encapsulated), as I get weeded out from others’ consciousness.
Sex in general has been really frustrating for me all my life. As a survivor of childhood abuse and sexual trauma, I still carry some of this baggage in my sexual experiences as an adult. A lot of times I have trouble with intimacy and sex can be frustrating and at times triggering.
I realize we all carry these things, that we all have different histories about our relationship to our own bodies and how they interact intimately with other bodies. I think the digital era of data representations really doesn’t help to see one another as people deserving of compassion, care, and fulfillment in whatever consensual way (be it vanilla, kink, or anything else one desires).
I’m trying to decondition myself, find new ways of thinking and being and relating but it’s difficult and I slip back to my conditioned mode. I’ve just spent 2 hours trying to set up a rendezvous with someone, actually working with several different options, and none of them pan out. Perhaps for the better. Really, I try not to judge others. I just know what I want, I have an idea of what I need, but it’s not so easy getting it.
Now I’m just hungry, tired, and over it. I think I’ll make some food and watch Parks & Rec.
NEWSFLASH: I’M GIVING UP PORN.
So I’ve decided to give up internet pornography for a while. Indefintely. Maybe forever. We’ll see. I’ve been watching porn for almost 20 years now, and though I think it’s become a part of developing sexuality, I can’t really say how healthy it is for me.
The first time I saw a pornographic film was when I was about 8 in the Philippines. We heard my uncle and a few of his buddies congregate in the living room. My neighborhood friends and I were playing in the yard and one of them ran up and said, “you’ve gotta see this!” We snuck around onto the porch, which had windows that looked into the living room, and there I saw for the first time (white) bodies fornicating. I already had a basic knowledge of sex (this goes there and that happens), but until then, had never seen it in action. My uncle and his friends were hollering and cheering at the TV, as if they were watching a sports game.
Gay porn came later. I was about 18 or so, and not yet out of the closet. In fact, I thought I was still straight, or maybe bi-curious. I had downloaded several straight porn videos before (through Napster, or whatever downloading software was popular at the time), and curiosity got the best of me when I stumbled upon male-male porn. I began downloading those, entranced by this new show of intimacy I had never seen or experienced before.
These days, I find that I use porn as a time-filler, a distraction, and easy, quick satisfaction. I’ve developed patterns of thinking such that I reason with myself that I can please myself better than anyone can, but usually with the aid of porn. I’m coming (ha!) to a time in my life where I’m looking to shift paradigms, and change my relationships with people on a real level. I feel that cutting out porn from the equation will help give me more time for myself to share with others.
Recently, I decided to start developing a sexual practice that’s about play, exploration, and discussing boundaries, rather than trying to replicate the power dynamics and patterns I see in pornography. The narrative of porn, especially gay porn, is very specific: meet, foreplay, full intercourse, cumshot, the end. I’ve been finding that I don’t particularly enjoy this pattern in real life, so why continue to reinforce that?
I am also trying to decolonize my mind from the constant barrage of white male domination in pornography (and, hello, in real life). And if it’s not white male domination, it’s usually black male primitivism, latin body objectification or blatant Orientalism. As I’m trying to disengage from these patterns of gaze in real life, I feel it’s only in keeping with this that I should also give up pornography.
I’ve already begun unfollowing the porn Tumblrs I follow. I’m getting ready to block myself from the websites I frequent. Another step, which I’m preparing myself for, is deleting my digital porn collection, which I’ve amassed over the years. I’m gonna see if I can just avoid clicking on them, but if that proves to be too difficult, I may delete them entirely. Time will tell.
This short TED talk goes over some of the other reasons and benefits for giving up porn. Granted, it’s told through only one (heterosexual male) perspective, but it’s worth a watch.
The Great Porn Experiment: Gary Wilson at TEDxGlasgow (by TEDxTalks)
It’s taken years of de-conditioning to truly believe that my body is worth loving.
That my presence is valid.
That simply realizing the space I occupy and the time I mark, that marks me, is in every way relevant and revolutionary.
That beauty standards are socioeconomic constructions that I refuse to continue to value and believe.
That my body is unique and beautiful.
That despite histories of trauma and abuse, I am not broken.
I am whole, and I am blessed.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m awesome and hella cute. And that if someone doesn’t think I’m awesome and hella cute, then that’s their problem, not mine.
The summer heat has finally arrived in the city, fashionably late. I’m already a warm-bodied person to begin with, and as the balmy air heats my veins, my desires boil over, and every guy looks like a potential mate/date/meal. It’s an exciting frustration, to want to peel off whatever light garments they have on, touch their skin, sticky and moist, kiss and lick the salt, dirt, and sweat.
I then wonder if anyone is looking at me and thinking these thoughts. I desire desirability. I want to be someone’s object of affection. Someone’s mental image to masturbate to. Sometimes I want to be fetishized, just as I fetishize thin pretty educated bearded white boys.
I’ve told my friend, “I want to date more men of color. I’m thinking of going off the white meat.”
For me, sex and intimacy with white men are always fraught with undercurrents of power and subjugation. As much as I want to separate myself from these ideas, to say that I only value the person in front of me, and not everything else - all the cultural signifiers and the challenge or impossibility of attainability, these things always come into play on the street and in the sheets.
Can I see someone else just for who they are, who they’re trying to be, and how they’ve constructed their reality? I see myself as a product of socialization, as an embodiment of Philippine history, of colonialism, and diaspora. How can I not see others as such?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am worthy of love, most of all, from myself.
It’s easy to blame white culture, white supremacy and western beauty standards. It’s easy to realize that these social constructions are discriminatory and dangerous. It’s easy to see that they are the result of colonialist, capitalist patterns of behavior, and they have a long histories of enslaving people, cultures, minds.
I’ve been wanting to free myself from this, to say that these constructed notions of desirability have nothing to do with me. That I don’t need to follow them. And yet I find that I instinctively use them as well. I’m not as free as I’d like to be.
But I’m trying. The more I remind myself that I’m fine, I’m great, I’m whole, I’m beautiful and magical - the more I begin to believe it.
TONIGHT! I will be reading journal excerpts from my first year in the US Navy as a gay man during Don’t Ask Don’t Tell - Including a play by play of how I lost my V-card with a fellow sailor. Come enjoy the show!
Making Out with Wes Perry and Friends
Wednesday February 20th at 8pm
The Upstairs Gallery in Andersonville
5219 N Clark St
FREE and BYOB! ($5 suggested donation)
December 22, 2010
Today, more than any other day,
I am proud to be serving in the US Armed Forces.
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid SX-70 Time Zero
(3/10 from my next-to-last box of last stock TZ film)
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?
Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform
Gay culture has become a nightmare of consumerism, whether it’s an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. Whatever happened to sexual flamboyance and gender liberation, an end to marriage, the military, and the nuclear family? As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into “straight-acting dudes hangin’ out,” what are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a corporate-cozy lifestyle?
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? challenges not just the violence of straight homophobia but the hypocrisy of mainstream gay norms that say the only way to stay safe is to act straight: get married, join the military, adopt kids! Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reinvokes the anger, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in gay subcultures in order to create something dangerous and lovely: an exploration of the perils of assimilation; a call for accountability; a vision for change. A sassy and splintering emergency intervention!
About the editor:
Called “startlingly bold and provocative” by Howard Zinn, and described as “a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda” by The Austin Chronicle, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is undoubtedly one of America’s most outspoken queer critics. She is the author of two novels, including, most recently, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, and is the editor of four nonfiction anthologies, including Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation.
ummm, fuck. that’s hot.
damn homo-normativity. I know it’s a somewhat new image I’m being fed, that beard/hair is attractive, and it’s just as pervasive an idealized image as all others (“skinny/white/muscular is beautiful”) but maybe it’s more accessible for people?
I don’t know, it’s complicated. It’s hard do delineate where mass media-enforced beauty standards end and where one’s own preferences begin. Maybe there should not even be personal preferences, but an equal adoration for all sizes/shapes/bodies/hair?
Perhaps I’ve analyzed this set of images enough that I don’t even find it attractive anymore.
Damn over-analysis. You ruin everything.
Cheryl Cole - “Ghetto Baby”
This is problematic as FUUUUUUUCK.
Art is a circle jerk.
Which is fun. And I’m in it, and I enjoy the fact that I both benefit and take from it. And to many it may seem frivolous and in excess, that there are more important things to do than make art, or to keep with the metaphor, better and more productive ways to have sex.
People often criticize artists for creating work that only other artists understand (circle jerk), producing products for the consumption of the circles that support the institution, completely removed from the rest of society. In many senses, it’s correct. One must be invited to a circle jerk, or an event with a circle jerk. One does not normally meet a group at a bar and decide, “hey, you know what would be fun, we should have a circle jerk.” There normally involves planning, and selecting which friends will be participating. So circle jerks are often elite institutions, but this does not preclude that it is the only way for them to happen. Art, after all, is not made in a vacuum. People’s personal “real world” experiences and tastes will always influence their art, and therefore, the circle jerk. The world that exists outside of art, and the people outside of the circle jerk, will still see, influence, and benefit from the event.
Circle jerks, and therefore, art, are important means of communication, and provide a vital role creation of cultural capital. Circle jerks negotiate boundaries between parties, seeking to provide equal voices and honor one another’s presence through the giving and receiving of pleasure, or in the art sense, the provision of pleasure to the viewer, on whom the artist depends for survival. Whether for simply aesthetic, or profound purposes pertinent to the human condition, art, and therefore, circle jerks, are essential developments in the human experience.
Actions for an Asian Immigrant
performance, 45 min. duration
Kiam Marcelo Junio, 2012
Sexy, Masculine, Asian hotties - something American mass media doesn’t ever show.
What is perpetuated instead? The image of the Asian male as a clown, comic relief, smart/wise but non-sexual, non-threatening, safe, weak, small penis, etc.
Lost's Daniel Dae Kim and Naveen Andrews are probably the only exception.