Carnival for catamites

(As you should be able to guess from the title, this posting is going to discourse on men’s bodies and sex between men, and then mostly in street language — this is the last time you’ll see the learnèd catamite (though I note that the etymology is from Ganymede, which is certainly relevant) — so this posting is very much not for kids or the sexually modest.)

I’ll start by looking at an image from an ad for gay porn from the Titan studio, posted on 9/25 as an exercise in interpreting images. The image is of course specially posed for p.r., not a still shot from porn, so it might bear only a glancing relationship to the actual porn. Bear this in mind when I rehearse yesterday’s comments.

That took me, thanks to a crucial clue from Richard Vytniorgu, to the specific porn scene that image was advertising, which then led to a complex world of gay male identities, personas, and sexual practices.

The 9/25 text. From my posting “Ganymede in fur”:

(#1)

Zeus and Ganymede is what we expect in a coupling of adult man and young boy, so older Servo with beautiful young Domino is a reversal of age expectations. But the older man is slipping his hand into the boy’s underwear, to minister to the boy’s penis; the boy is smiling knowingly at us, his audience, with insolent pleasure; and the boy is wearing a fur coat — together signaling that we have in fact stumbled upon a scene from the queer edition of Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs.

I have no idea what the story line is of the video in question — it’s not unimaginable that it’s deliberately framed to go against what the photo seems to tell us, that the boy is actually smiling in anticipation of enthusiastically submitting to being used carnally by the older man. Not unimaginable, but unlikely.

I didn’t recognize the actors, much less the video, so I appealed to my readers. And in a trice (with allowances for the time difference between California in the US, where I am, and Monmouthshire in the UK, where Richard Vytniorgu is), Richard gave me the crucial piece of information:

The twink is @TannorReed [on Twitter] for CockyBoys.

A characteristic photo of Reed:


(#1) Open-faced, amiable, and most often smiling

Reed is young (born 5/22/98; he got into the porn business in 2019); very much twink-sized (quite slender, short — 5ʹ6ʺ — and lightweight, at 130 lbs.); with a standard porn-sized dick (ca. 7 inches, which looks really big on his frame), cut, sometimes attended to manually by his sexual partners. His sexual taste goes beyond mere bottoming to a kind of identity as a receptive (he just loves to get fucked), and a submissive as well (he offers his body for sex with other men and then pretty much does whatever they want of him).

In photos, however, he generally doesn’t read as gay — just as cute, adorably cute. But in a QueerMeNow interview on Vimeo (of 7/9/19), he comes across as way gay, in facial expression, gesture, and speech style; and he explains enthusiastically that he loves being watched, loves collecting huge numbers of fans, and really loves getting guys off. Living pretty much totally immersed in the gay porn business seems to him, right now, like a wonderful dream. Well, he’s young and energetic. But I worry about his future, wonder whether he ought to be thinking about what comes next — there’s surely no way for him to get back on track to going to med school, but something.

[Digression, from my 3/20/21 posting “Johnny Rapid evolves”, on the careers of twinks in gay porn:

While Johnny Rapid has moved from twink bottom boy to daddy-style top, many great twinks just leave the business when they’re no longer credible as twinks, or shift their porn persona from twink to devoted bottom. Great twink Kevin Wiles in a sense did both: he had a long (roughly 10-year — mid-80s to mid-90s) porn career, in which he transitioned to devoted bottom, and then he retired from the business.

I’ll get back to Kevin Wiles in a bit, but here I note that Tannon Reed came into the business as a sort of super-devoted bottom, already presenting himself as intensely receptive and submissive, so it’s not clear where he would go from here — certainly not with a Rapid-style switch to daddy top, which seems totally out of his personal sexual range.

Let me also flag the awkwardness of trying to talk about these sexual identities and presentations of self in terms of a small number of pre-established categories (twink, bottom / top, daddy / boy, receptive / insertive, submissive / dominant, etc.).]

The Cocky Boys video. Once I had Reed’s (stage) name and CockyBoys as the likely studio (Reed has made videos with other studios), it was just a matter of searching through inventories of CB videos until I found one with Reed in furs. The videos come untitled and free-standing, but then they’re assembled into DVDs.

The video in question features the twink Reed and two hugely muscled hunks using Reed for their pleasure:

Sharok self-description: “Persian top living in Los Angeles. Sometimes rough but always passionate.” 7″ dick cut, 5ʹ11″, 210 lbs.

Brock Banks description from a fan: “Perfect Rican papi! Muscular, cute, hairy, uncut and hung.” Versatile; 7″ dick, 5ʹ11″, 167 lbs.

The cover of the DVD (with dicks and balls fuzzed over for WordPress modesty), showing Sharok, Reed, and Banks:


(#2) [Studio pitch:] Our pocket-sized performers are the first ones to eagerly climb and slide on a thick raw cock when the time comes (the fun size boys are Reed, Avery Jones, and Benjamin Blue; DVD released 4/19/21)

From the video, this (to me) very moving depiction of Sharok fucking Reed in a free-standing Flying Cowboy, while Banks keeps his cock hard for his turn at the twink:


(#3) He gets fucked in mid-air with the greatest of ease

And finally, the still from the actual video that comes closest to #1, but now we can see that Reed is submissive, not knowing or insolent; and it turns out that Sharok is sliding his hand down Reed’s crotch to reach the boy’s butt, at which point Reed will open and raise his legs so that Sharok can slide two wet fingers into the boy’s welcoming pussy-ass. A compendium of athletic sexual positions follows, mostly with the two hunks using the boy’s body together for their pleasure, while Reed whimpers and moans.


(#4) Sharok as predator; the fur is never explained, but appears just to be an expression of Reed’s faggy tastes

The variety of sexual identities, personas, communities, and practices within the world of male sexuality is truly enormous, but we’ve grown accustomed to paring most of this complexity down to a binary gender split between masculine and un-masculine (the latter usually labeled effeminate, or, baldly, feminine) — where the label masculine picks out those aspects of behavior and thought that are normative for males in a particular society at a particular place and time. Quite often the gender categories are viewed not as crisply binary but instead as spread along a scale from the masculine to the un-masculine — so that violations of normative masculinity come in lesser or greater degree. But that’s only a small fix to a conceptualization that is grossly inadequate to start with and that invites the valuing of certain ways of being over others according to their consonance with prevailing normative masculinity: normative masculine good, un-masculine defective.

I have more reflections on this topic than I can pack into today’s posting, so I’ll put most of that off to a future posting, though I’ll note here that on this blog I’ve been urging talk of masculinities (plural), and especially homomasculinities — clearing the way for talking about fagginess as just another variety of homomasculinity. (Recall that I’m the guy who’s been writing a lot about butch fagginess.)

Here I’ll continue with some particular cases, from real life as well as gay porn, noting that these cases — Tannon Reed and Kevin Wiles from porn, and Richard Vytniorgu in his own life, plus the Arnold Zwicky of around 30 years ago, when I was sexually active with other men — all diverge significantly from current normative masculinity by not only by taking it up the ass (by “getting fucked like a woman”, as contemptuous straight guys sometimes say) but by welcoming, in fact desiring, the receptive role: we all love to get fucked. Then, when you look at things more closely, it turns out that we represent several different styles of receptive. (Richard V. has suggested to me that Tannon Reed’s and his own submissive styles are even more violative of normative masculinity — hence more likely to arouse animus and contempt — than Kevin Wiles’s and my own active-engagement, power-bottom styles of receptivity. That strikes me as perceptive.)

In any case, a few more notes.

Kevin Wiles. On gay pornstar (and power bottom) Kevin Wiles, in the last section of my 2/9/16 posting “Morning names: wiles, Wiles”:

I’ve been reflecting on KW’s take on cocksucking and bottoming. In both cases, he goes well beyond mere willingness (after all, anyone can learn to perform these acts at least competently) and beyond enthusiasm, into something deeper and more intense, amounting to a kind of sexual orientation of its own, in which he submits with pleasure to another man by taking that man’s cock into his body (into his mouth or into his asshole) and worships it by having it become, in his sexual imagination, part of his own body. He absorbs that cock, as a symbol of the man it represents and the essence of his masculinity, and becomes one with it. He is deeply oriented towards cock (and consequently towards cum), as (I now say) an ubercocksucker or uberbottom (or both, as in KW’s case).

In my case, once I had my partner’s cock filling my ass I was consumed with pleasure both physical and emotional — and then negotiated with my body to get just the kind of pleasure I most wanted from my fucker, while providing him with the kind of pleasure he wanted. Not submissive at all.

Richard Vytniorgu. From my 12/29/18 posting “The side display”, an RV Xmas card with him doing a side display of his body (a presentation of face and buttocks) in a jockstrap, with the title “Christmas Fairy”, conveying the message “I like to get fucked”:

(#5)

In [this Xmas card photo], Richard has stepped out of his academic role (as an authority on modernist figures in English literature) [and his persona as intensely engaged scholar] and slipped into his persona as an affectionate twink bottom-boy. A bold move, but then is [the Xmas card photo] really any odder than Christmas cards in which people pose with the gear of their favorite sport (surfing, skiing, hockey, whatever), or with an assemblage of their beloved pets, or on holiday in some exotic spot they finally got to go to? Photo Christmas cards are portraits, and … portraits express personas. Adorable fairy [more pointedly, adorable pussy-ass fairy] is a persona, one that’s quite important to Richard (and one I enjoy observing), so why not work it into a greeting card?

Then poses of a naked Richard as embodying utterly composed and relaxed receptivity, waiting face down with his ass humped up to be fucked — dog style — or face up with his legs drawn up, exposing his ass for fucking — frog style. Here the latter, cropped for modesty:


(#6) Total twink waiting patiently for the man

Now Richard sends a new portrait shot (a 2021 self-portrait taken in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire):


(#7) Adorably pixyish, with Romantic hair and faggy hands

From his website, about the photos:

In addition to my other work, I have also modelled professionally in the nude / erotic genre for artists and photographers, and these experiences allowed me to cultivate my interest in performing / dancing / acting. They also helped me to become more at ease with my homosexuality and receptive sexual nature — something I had always experienced but felt ashamed of and tried to suppress.

I’m truly impressed with Richard’s willingness to do nude / erotic modeling. I wish Jacques had talked me into letting him photograph me, but I was too uncomfortable with various parts of my body to allow it. At the very least I should have let him photograph me face down with my ass available for fucking, because that was the bodypart I got spontaneous compliments on, yet I was never able to see my reportedly hot ass with other men’s eyes.

Bonus. One of Richard’s next projects, from his website:

Place and Gay Male Effeminacy

My next monograph explores the importance of place in shaping narratives of gay male effeminacy in contemporary European film and erotica (since 2010). This work highlights the importance of place in shaping how gender-nonconforming gay males negotiate a sense of belonging — in their bodies, the home, school, nation, and online.

The work shows how for some effeminate gay males (and particularly for bottoms), fantasy narratives of being born like this or hard-wired in their sexuality constitute an important form of belonging with their sexual behaviour and identity, and speaks to emerging scientific work in support of biodevelopmental pathways to different kinds of gayness.

Lots to think about.

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