Assuming the position

(Men’s bodies as sexual objects — women’s, too — and sex between men, all of this discussed in street language, with edgy images, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

At the intersection of the pinup-girl world (AZ Page here) and the premium men’s underwear world (AZ Page here), two recent ads from the Daily Jocks people: from 3/28, under the mail header “Model of the week: Freddy”, an ad for OnlyJox subscriptions, already of interest to me for its display of male buttocks as sexual objects for a male audience and for pushing the line between softcore and hardcore porn in doing so; and from 4/2, an ad for the DJ Easter sale, already of interest to me for its display of the front surface of the model’s body as series of sexual objects for a male audience, from the framing of his penis in a jockstrap though the sexualized presentation of his armpits, pectoral muscles and nipples.

The 4/2 ad is also quite clearly the photographer’s carefully composed re-creation of a classic pinup pose using a male model. And then I realized that that the 3/8 ad was in fact a bow to yet another classic pinup pose.

The two ads, from the wonderful world of designer jockstraps:

(#1) 3/28: the model Freddy, tail in the air, offering his ass; stroking his dick, apparently, out of our view; displaying his muscular shoulders and back (his traps and lats); fixing us with a knowing cruise face; and playing with his gorgeous springy hair (“and his hair was perfect” — Warren Zevon, “Werewolves of London”)

(#2) 4/2: the model I’ve called Aradesque, offering his dick; with his legs spread to suggest the availability of his ass; displaying his muscular pecs and abs and a hairy armpit; and with his cruise face (dark wide eyes in a carefully groomed and made-up face)

For gay men, the two primary sexual features of the male body are the asshole (to fuck) and the dick (to jack off, suck, or be fucked by). The buttocks are technically secondary sexual features — the fleshy portals to the asshole within. And then there are the other secondary features, further signals of attractive masculinity, in particular facial, body, and armpit hair; and powerful male musculature (Freddy’s back, Aradesques’s arms and torso).

Both models are performing versions of what I’ve called butch fagginess (see my 8/14/18 posting with that title, and others following it), in which a primarily high-masculinity (often exaggeratedly so) presentation of self is combined with at least a few elements that are conspicuously, conventionally un-masculine, indeed faggy: slogans on clothing, facial expressions, stance, a conveyed urgent need to get fucked (as with Freddy), un-masculine bits of clothing or colors (like Aradesque’s neon pink jock), make-up (Aradesque’s eye make-up is fabulous), whatever.

Freddy. Freddy is humped up, with his tail in the air, displaying his buttocks as sexual objects (and incidentally displaying the declivity of his lower back as sexual as well; see my 3/30/21 posting “Tramp stamps”, with its section on the erotic potential of the lower back).

Then from my 10/25/16 posting “tail in the air”, on the Fuck Me Please (FMP) interpretation of tail in the air:

FMP manages to combine the root sense of tail with its metonymic extension to the rump of an animal (including the buttocks of a human being) and the further metonymic extension from ‘rump, buttocks’ to ‘vagina’ (and to suggest a further metaphorical extension, in gay usage, from ‘vagina’ to ‘anus’) — so it hits all the sexualized senses of tail except the metaphorical (shape-based) extension to ‘penis’. The larger point is that FMP connotes receptivity and submission.

The crucial element in FMP is raising the hips, putting the rump up in the air. From Wikipedia:

Lordosis behavior, also known as mammalian lordosis (Greek lordōsis, from lordos “bent backward”) or presenting, is a body posture adopted by some mammals including humans, elephants, rodents, felines and others, usually associated with female receptivity to copulation. The primary characteristics of the behavior are a lowering of the forelimbs but with the rear limbs extended and hips raised, ventral arching of the spine and a raising, or sideward displacement, of the tail.

Or, as in “Sex positions for gay men” (from 2/12/16):

(4) bottom kneeling (a genicular fuck), commonly called doggie/doggy-fucking

— or, in crude terms, taking it like a bitch.

In fact, lordosis in dogs in heat is generally not nearly as pronounced as in, say, cats or rats, as you can see in this illustration from the Petsoid site (with pet advice) from 2/26/20, “How Long Does a Female Dog Stay in Heat” by Anna Liutko:


Now, #1 is intended as porn; it’s an ad for DJ’s OnlyJox subscription service, which supplies images of DJ models for (I paraphrase) the private pleasures of the subscribers. Freddy in #1 is in between soft porn and hard porn (aka softcore and hardcore), but towards the high end; it’s pretty much right up against the line.

Linguistic digression: scales and labels. #1 belongs to the category of porn images, a category that is often conceptualized as a collection of images arranged on a scale between two end-points, two poles, customarily labeled as soft and hard, with the whole scheme analogized to other scales using these labels for the poles: hardness for minerals, for sleeping surfaces, for cheeses, for penile erections, etc.

I’ll leave the concept of scalarity unanalyzed here, trusting in your naive intuitions for my present purposes — though there’s a considerable literature in semantics on scales — but will concentrate on the assignment of labels.

A scale doesn’t necessarily have a conventional label, but those that do are often labeled with the label for one of the poles, which then serves as the unmarked pole. The scale at issue in this discussion of #1 is the scale labeled hardness, with the unmarked pole labeled hard — asking How hard is it? doesn’t entail that it’s hard — and the marked pole labeled soft — asking How soft is it? entails that it’s soft.

Another significant fact about scales is that intermediate elements frequently lack conventional names. Often when there are names for intermediate elements, these don’t pick out the halfway, or neutral, points, but instead are located by reference to one of the poles: semisoft cheeses, half-hard erections. I’m much taken with half-hard for reference to an intermediate state in porn that’s close to the hard pole — as in #1.

A similar labeling scheme for the erection hardness scale is presented in my 8/4/20 posting “Towards the high end of the  hardness scale”, from the British tv show Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu — with Tofu labeling the soft pole, Cucumber the hard pole, and Banana an intermediate half-hard point.

Aradesque. From my 3/19/21 posting “Personas and poses”, about an earlier DJ ad featuring the model I’ve called Aradesque, focused on scales and on his dick-framing gesture:


Aradesque’s presentation of self is far to the queer end on the queer-straight scale [the straightness scale, with the straight pole as the unmarked end], but (within the queer domain) also far to the butch end of the fem-butch scale [the butchness scale, with the butch pole as the unmarked end].

Meanwhile, he’s performing a dick-framing gesture with his left hand, outlining a highly visible (though covered) half-hard penis — well short of a crotch grab, but similar in spirit to that gesture. In any case, it’s a homoerotically charged pose; he could just have rested his left hand lightly on his thigh, as he’s doing with his right hand.

But #2 is something else. It has the muscular body and the dick-framing gesture (but here with briefs in a less faggy color), but lacks the supine pose with a pitsntits display and the very cruisy face, include what seems to be fairly heavy eye make-up. So: a much faggier presentation than #4. It is in fact an easily recognizable take-off on a classic (female) pinup pose (though in the pinups, the woman’s legs aren’t spread, but are drawn up (sometimes raised in the air).

A famous example of the pose: Jane Russell in the movie The Outlaw (1943), seen here in a poster for the movie (with a phallic gun for extra sexual interest; remember that this material is created for a male audience, so phallic symbols have the virtue of providing a place in the picture for the men in this audience):


The pitsntits gesture is designed to push the breasts forward and so to display them as much as possible. For women as models, sexual display for a male audience focuses on two secondary sexual features, breasts and buttocks — that is, tits and ass (aka t&a). The pose in #5  is a tits display. (An ass display will come along shortly.)

#5 is softporn photography displaying tits. There is of course a parallel genre of softporn graphic art displaying tits, for example this drawing by pinup artist Gil Elvgren:


So much for tits. On to ass. And back to …

Tail in the air (take 2). Now as a standard pinup pose. Here, just one example, a work on a Flickr site (with a gigantic phallic element as a bonus):

(#7) Mandy Galileo, Pinup Sonja_005a: “This is my sister Sonja who wanted to show she supports the war effort. At ’em boys, give her the gun!!! Shot at Naturally Naughty February 21, 2021.”

This takes us back to Freddy in the DJ ad in #1, which, in addition to its other associations, we can now see as a take-off on this pinup pose.


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