The Changing Face of Erotica – or How I Spent My Life Searching for the Perfect Wank

 

Warning – if you are offended by gay male sexuality, DO NOT read any further.

 

Anybody who has access to the Internet these days, and hasn’t encountered pornography is either in denial, has their rating preferences set way too high, or just isn’t trying.

It’s prolific. You only have to do a tiny slip-up with your spelling in a search engine to link up with some sites you possibly never even imagined could exist. However, it hasn’t always been this easy, as anyone growing up in the 50’s or 60s can attest.

Sex education? What’s that, I ask! My parent’s concept of sex education was to get some small, discreet booklets – complete with very rough line drawings of naughty bits – from our local protestant minister, and subtly leave them next to the bed, trusting – in providence, of course – that I would read them, and – hopefully – not ask any questions. Well, unfortunately I did read them, and was left clutching my head in sheer horror at the prospect of what lay before me in the world of sex. Is it any wonder my generation still harbours hang-ups. All those vulvas, urethras, vaginas, penises and testicles were just too much for a young lad, let alone deciphering the mechanics of how it all happened. So I spent most of my youth thinking that kissing any girl would cause pregnancy – watch any 50’s movie, and you will quickly deduce how this idea came into being – and when one of my 6th form classmates tried – this would have been around 1965 – to set me straight on the matter of intercourse, I screamed, threw my hands into the air, and fled. Such horrors were the stuff of nightmares. How could anybody possibly want to do that!

However, at around 10 years-of-age, things started to change. Mind you, I was none the wiser about the ‘doing’ part of sex, but I was definitely starting to get interested. I’d started growing pubic hair – much to my consternation, as no one else appeared to be – and the erections and wet dreams were well and truly at full steam. My mother must have been horrified at the state of the bed linen! There was, however, one major difference in how I perceived the erotic, and how other kids of my age perceived it. You see, I collected – yes, cut out of newspapers – ads of men in underwear. Now, considering these were usually only advertising sketches, decidedly lacking in any bulge appeal or the remotest suggestions of cotton-moulded genitalia – we are talking the 60’s here – you may imagine that it wasn’t hellishly sexy. And you’d be right! But shit, it was any port in a storm, and I had an imagination – and a hand. What else was a young lad to do! I’d tried talking a neighbours son into giving me a quick look at the naughty bits but…well… everyone appeared to be hung-up about it.

And I was well aware that I couldn’t be discovered harbouring an attraction to this sort of…erotica. There wasn’t a name for this sort of thing, as far as I knew. I had heard my father and his mates yelling ‘poofter’ to guys out of the car window, but just what these ‘poofter’ things were, I could never make out. All I could see was some guy walking along the footpath. The one thing I was pretty certain about was that I was the only guy in the whole world who got off on the suggestion of a bulging crotch, in a sketched ad, in a newspaper! You can only imagine the alienation, the feeling of being apart from everyone else. It could have been worse, I guess. I could have been a Catholic! However, in a while all these misnomers were to be blown away.

The 50’s and 60’s were not good decades for a blossoming gay male, I can tell you. It was even worse if you were growing up in ‘The Shire’ – the southern suburbs of Sydney. The only other things resembling porn I could get at that time were photos of guys in Speedo’s, from the sports pages of the same papers I cut the undie ads from. I did manage to get in some good perving at Speedo-clad guys at the local Carrs Park beach, for if the 60’s had nothing else, it had plenty of guys in Speedos. For this I was eternally grateful, and put the imagery to good use. It did, I should point out, lead to future fetishes.

These were to be my entire concepts of pornography till the early 70’s. Okay, it wasn’t great stuff, but like most potential gay men, I have a pretty fertile imagination, and it didn’t take much to get a fantasy together from the bare minimum of material. Next in the search for gay erotica were muscle mags. Now, you can’t tell me that guys assuming very suggestive poses, in tiny little briefs, aren’t aiming a certain amount of their appeal to gay guys! I used to hunt around my local newsagent, watching for that rare break when there were no customers at the counter. I would be waiting in the wings with a newspaper and muscle mags of choice, safely – and discreetly, or so I thought – tucked under it. I would, with bated breath, slink to the cash register to pay for my treasures, already the slight hint of a hard-on throbbing in the jeans at the prospect of the session that lay ahead of me at home. That there was this scrawny little 15-year-old, with not a muscle to be seen, buying the entire current collection of muscle mags – which weren’t cheap, I should point out – was an anomaly that never crossed my mind. I think the newsagent was probably more interested in the cash, though I’m also sure this customer scenario must have been a common one. My beach perving continued, and my hidden stash of ‘pornography’ grew at an ever-alarming rate.

Praise God, the 70’s also saw the advent of “Cleo” and “Cosmopolitan” magazines. Now, I should point out that I only bought the magazines for ‘the articles’, just as straight men only ever bought “Playboy” and “Penthouse” for the articles. Articles on make-up, the ‘G-Spot’, and photo spreads of women’s fashion were terribly relevant to growing boys – not! My interest in make-up and frocks didn’t actually eventuate till my 80’s drag years. But I digress! The centrefolds were, at least, a legitimate reason to buy a magazine for perve value. Okay, you had to put up with the occasional non-sexual type person like Jack Thompson in the raw, but on the whole, they were pretty hot. The ones in briefs always managed to fill the briefs, and the ones in Speedos did likewise, so I had no complaints. Tidying up some drawers a few years ago, I discovered some tucked away in scrapbooks from the era. How dated it all looked.

I think I bought my first real porn in about 1978 or so. I couldn’t even tell you now where I obtained it from, though it must have taken a lot of guts, because you just did not live in the western suburbs of Sydney in those days, especially Granville, and buy gay porn. I worked in the city, and I imagine I must have picked it up from one of the city newsagents. It wasn’t great stuff on recollection, but hell – a cock was a cock was a cock when you wanted a wank. It was hidden away in my underwear drawer in Granville, and actually became the cause for my being unintentionally ‘outed’. My old man kicked the bucket in 1978 – NOTE: if he used the sexual techniques, suggested in the same books he gave me as sex instruction manuals when I was a kid, I can’t work out, for the life of me, how I came to be conceived! – and I stayed for a brief period at my step-families home in Campbelltown while the funeral etc was arranged. I rang my flatmates in Granville – one of them a mate of mine since I started work – and asked them to pack a bag for me and bring it out to Campbelltown. By the time I remembered what was in the underwear drawer, it was too late. Despite a frantic phone call asking them – can you believe this, because I can’t – to ignore what else was in the drawer – like the men with erect penises, and doing things, I have to say that if shocked, they managed to be very discreet and said nothing. Like they would! I moved temporarily to Melbourne just after this, and they wrote to tell me that they had only suspected I may have been gay prior to that revelation, and they regretted to inform me that I really should write to my mother, as they thought she already knew, and had accidentally outed me to her. Thank you, pornography! Who would have thought that the simple desire for some quiet masturbation could lead to all this drama?

Well, the 80’ improved the pornography situation greatly – as did coming out. I discovered some gay bookstores in Melbourne, and purchasing porn – and other accoutrement – became much easier. I can’t say the quality really got much better, just the quantity. Everything was always wrapped in plastic, and you really couldn’t have a look at it before you bought it, as the shoppies thought – rightly – you were just after a cheap thrill. Often, what was on the cover wasn’t what was inside the mag. You would buy something with this hunky bit of flesh in a jockstrap on the cover – in full colour – and get it home to find it was full of black-and-white photos of some scrawny 18-year-old. Very disillusioning.

I returned to Sydney around 1982, and managed Numbers Bookshop in Darlinghurst for the next 7 years. Can we talk one extreme to another here! From a drawer full of second-class porn mags to a shop full of top quality. Now, let me tell you something. It may have been on tap, but if ever there was a job to kill your desire for porn, it’s working in a sex shop! By the time I left there in 1990, I didn’t want to know about cocks in any state – flaccid, erect, cockringed, jockstrapped, Y-fronted, or shoved up an arse. I stared at it all day, every day, and everyone wondered why I no longer bothered with trade! Ha!

Anyway, everything goes full circle, and my sense of all things perverse returned very quickly after getting out of the sex business. I do have to say that in that period, my
magazine and video collection had improved by leaps and bounds, and some of the videos I bought back then are hotter than a lot of the stuff coming out now. This obsession with trying to create a screenplay around a porn scenario has to stop. It just doesn’t work.

Now, I have the Internet. On last count, I had something like 10,000 images downloaded – and that’s only the freebies. Like all decent perverts, I refuse to pay to stare at cock. Hell, they will even email it to you. As I noted in the first paragraph, just don’t have your spam preferences set too high. Not only have I got all these images, they are categorised. If I just want to see stiff cock, I can go to that folder. If I want to see jockstraps or Speedos, hey – they’re separated into folders. I can even be choosy – too skinny, delete it! Not large enough – delete it! Not showing the right amount of enthusiasm when getting fucked – delete it! So now I just have what I want, and in prolific amounts. I still wander down to Ithaca Pool – only 20 minutes from home – for my Speedo perve, but alas, times have changed, and it is the era of the baggy boardshorts. The only thing to gawk at is some sad guy with a saggy arse, in a hot pink G-string. Even the DILF dads don’t flaunt it. I ponder the cruelty of life, and wander back home.

But there has to be a drawback in the search for the ultimate wank, which this profusion of stimulus is helping to define. It is also becoming boring. No longer the furtive search through a newspaper for the right photo; the embarrassment at the newsagents counter as you bought a mag you shouldn’t have; or the surprise of taking off the plastic wrap and finding that the guy on the cover IS inside the magazine. Now, it’s served to you on a tray – all shapes, sizes, fetishes and positions. We have group sex, we have fucking and oral, we have underwear, jockstraps and Speedos, we have leather and latex and drag, we have labourers, cowboys, military and cops. You name it, it’s there somewhere. And somehow along the line, we have lost the mystique of pornography. Our tolerance to the stimulus of pornography is now so high that we almost need the perfect photo to garner a reaction – read ‘hard-on’. In truth, we have spoilt the whole thing. It is no longer perceived as ‘dirty’, so it is no longer fun. It is weird that out of all the images and sets you have, there are possibly only a small number that really captivate you.

Death by a surfeit of porn! Who’d have thought!

Tim Alderman 2003

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One thought on “The Changing Face of Erotica – or How I Spent My Life Searching for the Perfect Wank

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