This is a subject that has been of interest to me for some time, and I’ve finally decided to offer some preliminary thoughts on it.  For those of you who don’t know, there is an entire sub-genre of gay porn devoted to the notion of straight men having sex with other men for money.  Now, this seems to raise some very puzzling questions, foremost among them:  are these men really straight or not?  How can you claim to be straight when you have sex with men for money?

As it turns out, a number of these men do claim to be straight, and they cling to that identify quite tenaciously.  For example, Kurt Wild, one of the most prolific amateur porn stars, even has a wife and several children.  Now, of course, there will be those that say that the whole debate can be cleared up by simply saying that these men are clearly bisexual, regardless of whether or not they identify as such.  After all, isn’t that the very definition of someone who has sex with both men and women?  Why is this such an issue in the first place?

Simply put, the reason this is an issue is, in my view, due to the fact that the old tripartite scheme of sexuality (gay, straight, and bisexual), simply does not work in the current sexual culture we inhabit (and perhaps they never really did).  In a world where experimentation and commodification go hand in hand, people just don’t always feel comfortable squeezing themselves into restrictive labels any more.  Now, of course these supposedly straight men do continue to cling to them, but I would argue that they do so precisely because they don’t feel comfortable donning the label “gay” and all of that baggage that comes with it.  Bisexuality has its own set of baggage, mostly consisting of snide remarks such as:  “People aren’t bisexual.  They’re just greedy.”

So, what I’m basically getting at is that the world we live in leaves a lot of room for different kinds of sexualities to flourish.  Now, we can debate the pros and cons of this particular cultural landscape for hours on end (and I’m sure that I’ll get to the eventually).  Whether or not we agree with this fact, however, it is a fact nevertheless.  While there are still plenty of people out there who identify themselves according to the tripartite scheme (such as myself), there are many more that do not, that feel that there are other labels that define them.  Still others feel that no label could adequately confine them nor define who they are sexually.

In the end, it seems that pornography, and the cultural tides that wash over us everyday, are gradually changing the way we think about sexual relations between human beings.  It’s too soon to say what the consequences will be in this new cultural landscape, but one can hope that soon people (read:  religious zealots and their slaves in the government), will pay more attention to important things (like raising the debt ceiling) than about what goes in people’s bedrooms.

We can but hope.