Guys in Heat

(Warning: this is a posting, often in very plain language, about gay porn flicks, the actors in them, their bodies, and the sex acts the pornstars engage in. Visually not X-rated — those images are on AZBlogX — but far from innocent. Not for the kiddies or the sexually modest. There’s a fair amount about language in there, but there’s a lot to offend the sensitive.)

Unearthed on my desktop, this playful cock-tease photo of the engaging Christopher Ash (a.k.a. Tony Bendanza and Tony Bandanza):

(#1)

A word about how the photo got onto my desktop and why I’m posting about it now.

Then about Ash, body types, and sociotypes, and the porn flick Guys in Heat.

Background. A very long time ago, I started a long and intricate posting following gay pornstars through a chain of their flicks, but the material piled up, cluttering my desktop and adding to a totally unmanageable pile of material from my reading (many many hundreds of things) for potential postings. I have now been mercilessly clearing the decks, saving only a tiny number of items, of which #1 was one.

Linguistic note: The stage name Christopher Ash might just be one of those neutrally masculine pornstar names, but it might also be a naughty play on ash and ass — a possibility suggested by Ash’s role as an enthusiastic bottom (more on this below) and his frequent dispay of his butt, as here:

(#2)

Physical characteristics. Stats for pornstars include any number of physical characteristics (given here from one site for Ash): current age (about 39, though he’s obviously younger in the photos here and in his 1998 debut films), height (5′ 11″), weight (155 lbs.), eye color (brown), hair color (brown), body marks (tattoo on left biceps), body type (swimmer), cock size (9″), plus some characteristics visible in photos and films: body hair (virtually none), facial hair (none) — Ash is a smooth man — and hair style.

Most of these are mutable: guys can bulk up for a new look, alter the style of their head hair or facial hair, shave their bodies (including perhaps their pubes or their assholes: Ash shaves his pubes and has a hairless asshole — I’ve seen close-ups — whether naturally or by shaving I don’t know), even change their eye color with contact lenses. Photographic tricks can make a short man look tall and an average-sized cock look like a monster, and in one case (cock size) official stats almost always lie. You can view Ash’s hard cock in #1 in my AZBlog posting; it’s not something you’d kick out of bed (indeed it suits the other dimensions of his body well; it’s a cute cock), but it’s nowhere near 9 inches. (The conventions of gay porn require that a pornstar’s cock be at least a monumental 9 inches, so that’s the minimum size that appears in stats, with the result that if a guy is advertised as having 9 inches, he almost surely is significantly, but more realistically, smaller.)

Still, Ash seems to have been remarkably constant in appearance during his porn career (1998-2004, as far as I can tell). He’s slim and fit (the “swimmer’s body”), smooth all over, and boyish. Not an appearance that ages well in the porn industry.

Projected persona. Consonant with his appearance, Ash comes across as generally smiling and open, projecting a “boy next door” persona. Though his physical characteristics make him twink-like, he seems more substantial and more mature than your typical twink (yes, these are subjective judgments). We have no standard label for this sociotype; I suggest youngman, from the Village People song “Y.M.C.A.”, beginning:

Young man, there’s no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town
There’s no need to be unhappy.

Digression on John Rechy. You’ll have to disregard John Rechy’s use of youngman in City of Night to refer to totally butch male hustlers. When he wrote the book, Rechy was a spectacular muscle-hunk and a solid stud, not a fag: he didn’t kiss, and he certainly didn’t suck cock. Christopher Ash is unquestionably a fag, though a masculine one, and anyway in the fantasy Gayland of gay porn, everybody kisses and everybody sucks cock. It’s a different world.

From Wikipedia:

City of Night is a gay novel written by John Rechy. It was originally published in 1963 in New York by Grove Press.

City of Night is notable for its exposé approach to and stark depiction of hustling, as well as its stream of consciousness narrative style.

… Set in the 1960s, the book follows the travels of a young man (Rechy uses the term “youngman” when referring to hustlers) across the country while working as a hustler.

In his next hustler book, Rechy deals with aging (as Ash surely must be, though not in Rechy’s way). From his own website, about Numbers:

Numbers is John Rechy’s second novel. The hero is young, handsome, narcissistic Johnny Rio who, after three years away from the “scene,” is impelled, obsessively, to return to the city of Los Angeles, there to test himself anew in the arena of male love. Johnny, who is seen as an angel of dark sex, is like a retired boxer — an undefeated champion — who refuses to accept the possible ravages of time, and is led by some unfathomable force to return to combat once again.  Combat, for Johnny, takes place in the dark balconies and dismal restrooms of the all-night movies in L.A. But these are only warm-up bouts; the real test, Johnny soon learns, will be in the shaded glens of a rambling park, on the outskirts of that sprawling metropolis.

Through those shadowy alcoves, as a gallery of sexhunters emerges, he sets out to discover whether he is really still handsome and desirable, whether the passage of time–as terrifying to the male hustler as to the aging dancer or ingenue — has made visible inroads on that svelte and muscular body in which he has always taken such pride.

His initial forays into the all-night theaters along L.A.’s strip and through the erotic beaches and at a synthetic motel have proven to Johnny that his sexual attraction is still great. But the final proof resides in numbers. In an effort to contain the threatening anarchy, he sets himself a rigorous time-table — ten days — and goal: thirty “numbers” to prove his mettle.

End of digression and back to Christopher Ash.

Sexual role. Ash burst onto the gay porn scene in 1998, in six movies from different studios — as a solid bottom in all but one. He’s an appreciative bottom, sometimes smiling in pleasure, sometime moaning in ecstasy, but in any case he loves being penetrated, loves being filled. If you’re into this sort of thing, I recommend the 1998 Gays in Heat, with Ash paired, in wonderful physical contrast to and sexually in synch with, Max Grand in the first scene (which I will soon get to).

Max Grand. From a posting of 9/3/14:

[Jonathan] Black’s photo [of Max Grand] shows some of Grand’s striking physical attributes: his Latin skin coloration (he’s from El Salvador), his handsome face, his light facial scruff, his broad shoulders and muscular upper body, especially his well-developed pecs — another pornstar who works out regularly — and his lightly furred body.

A nice physical contrast to Ash. And Grand is older than Ash, by about 5 years. Aside from that, Grand is a reliable veteran actor in gay porn, having played in an enormous number of films, and he’s both energetic and sexually versatile. In Guys in Heat he’s an enthuastic top.

Uncontrollable sexual desire. The title of the flick refers to uncontrollable sexual desire, using vocabulary appropriate for (certain) animals. I posted on the topic in an 8/23/13 posting “Given over to desire”:

The expressions are an outward manifestation of an inner state of mind (and body), an intense giving over of one’s self to, or losing one’s conscious self in, the sexual experience — an ecstasy or rapture. Gay men sometimes speak of a bottom in this transcendant state as being in heat; the counterpart for a top would be, I suppose, being in rut or rutting, though I’ve never heard the expression. These ways of talking adopt the vocabulary of sexual behavior in certain animals for an only very roughly analogous human phenomenon.

… In human beings, the transcendant state during sex can be distinguished from a preceding state of intense desire for sex, though the two are part of a larger behavioral and psychological pattern. For the state of intense desire for gay sex, the general expression in English seems to be the all-purpose being horny, although this is most often used of men desiring the sexual services of another man (who serves as fellator or bottom). Otherwise, being in heat or in rut can be extended to the preparatory phase, or a longer, more compositional expression can be used: need dick or be hungry for dick, need a blow job, need to be fucked, need (an) ass, etc.

The during-sex terminology for gay men is not only bestial, but potentially sex-marked: in heat like a bitch, rutting like a stag. In fact, for a gay man this state of desire is often referred to as being in heat, regardless of what role he takes in anal intercourse (or for that matter, fellatio). What about the title Guys in Heat? I’d assumed it was just a lot of guys who are intensely horny, for sex of whatever kind — guys who want to suck, be sucked, fuck, or be fucked, whatever they can fit into that will satisfy them. But in fact, the breezy write-up on the TLA Video site uses sexual rutting:

“It’s a guy thing”, huh? So says the tag line. Haven’t seen it, but co-cover model Chris Ash (on the right) is definitely my type of thing! (Yum.) From young buff boys to older manly men, this one seems filled with good rutting about and sword swallowing. Tats and twinks, daddies and dudes, Latinos and Caucs, and all good, yo.

(#3)

(Note on DVD covers: customarily, the front covers avoid genital nudity, so that the DVDs can be publicly displayed in advertising, store windows, and the like; the back covers will typically feature an orgy of gay sex; the back cover for #3 here is #3 on my AZBlogX posting, where you can see Christopher Ash sucking cock and getting fucked with abandon. In #3 above, Tyler Zane’s dick has been carefully covered over by the film’s title.)

Apparently in the film Ash does the sword-swallowing and Grand the rutting.

I haven’t been able to find out much useful about pornstar Tyler Zane, who looks like a twink when paired with youngman Ash.

As always, I’m interested in the names of the pornstars. The cast for this film has:

Tyler Zane, Christopher Ash, Austin Black, Max Grand, K.C. Lucas, Fernando Sanchez, Matthew Thomas, Johnny Thrust

Only Max Grand is in my files from previous films I’ve posted about. The rest are not remarkable, except of course for the aggressive Johnny Thrust. The name Johnny, in fact, seems to attract inventive last names: my files from previous postings have only one colorless Johnny, Johnny Parker, but otherwise it’s:

Johnny Rapid, Johnny Venture, Johnny Torque, Johnny Hazzard

So if you’re gay and in heat, look for Johnny.

Ash + Grand. This scene (the first) from Guys in Heat uses one of the stock plots for gay porn: your basic two-man scene with a top building up to taking a bottom. Sometimes this scene runs by fast, with the men exploding almost immediately into a sexual frenzy, but in the Ash / Grand scene things unfold slowly, while the two men work gradually up to fucking like crazed minks.

There are many variants on this basic plot: flip-fucking; three or more guys; auxiliary acts, like watersports; dividing the scene into two subscenes, often in different locations, one entirely oral, the other anally focused, and both leading to climax; and so on.

In Guys in Heat, Ash (visiting a friend) comes across (oh, happy day!) Grand asleep in bed in his hugely tented tighty-whities. Ash tentatively approaches this apparition, strokes the cock, then takes it out and happily begins sucking on it. Eventually Grand stirs and wakes, and Ash switches into serious cock-sucking. The two men kiss, and move to mutual cock-sucking (a “suck 69”), during which Grand fingers Ash’s ass, preparing him to get fucked, then switches to more serious preparation through rimming, getting Ash wet and open and anxious for cock in him (the men are now in heat, or in heat and rut, if you will). Grand slides his fuck into Ash, face to face (photo in #2 on my AZBlog posting), and then flips Ash over for a doggie-fuck, which provides maximum access and freedom for both of them; Ash smiles, moans ecstatically, cries out to be fucked. After Grand is solidly in Ash, Ash arches his back still further and drives his ass back on Grand’s cock, filling himself to the max and taking Grand to the hilt; they are both entirely given over to desire, guys in heat, giving each other pleasure.

But is it art? Well, it has a structure in both space and time that adheres to conventions (some genre-specific) that viewers can recognize and appreciate. And, like porn in general, it’s an entertainment, intended for pleasure, in this case the pleasure of sexual release.

Pleasure, of various kinds, is no mean goal, as I suggested in some comments on detective fiction back in April, when Ben Yagoda claimed that “The American detective novel may be commercially viable, but it is devoid of creative or artistic interest” and I responded

It’s a lot to ask that detective novels should be literary masterpieces (as many would characterize several of [Raymond] Chandler’s books, and earlier than them, some of Dashiell Hammett’s, featuring detectve Sam Spade). Surely there’s room for well-crafted genre fiction?

This is a defense of both entertainment and craft.

It has sometimes been claimed that reading and enjoying popular fiction, or watching movie and television entertainment, or listening to popular music, debases serious art forms and prevents people from appreciating great art. (Need I mention comic books?) This has always struck me as deeply silly. High art and popular or folk art have always coexisted, sometimes in very close relationship, and both can be created with great skill or little, and enjoyed in different ways and for different purposes. There’s lot of place for entertainments and pleasure.

(Some enormously important novels are neither high art nor simple entertainment, but have served social or political ends: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Doctor Zhivago are not much as novels, as critics keep pointing out, but they’ve had a function nevertheless.)

Come back to sexual entertainments. As with romantic novels in the 18th and 19th century, which were often held to be frivolously diverting young women from serious thought and productive actitivies, so sexual entertainments in the form of pornography are sometimes held to be diverting people, especially men, from establishing and maintaining serious intimate relationships. (Why bother when you can just jack off to porn? — I note once again that masturbation, an activity of many good uses, gets an undeservedly bad press here.) The solution is to celebrate entertainments as well as more serious activities — and to appreciate craft where you can find it.

I don’t see any great art in gay porn — the economics of the business pretty much precludes that from happening — but I do see significant pockets of well-made entertainment (conducive to happy endings), which I write about on this blog every so often.

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