Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Awesome Power of Guys Kissing Guys

I'm pretty sure the first time I ever saw two men kiss, one of them was Mel Gibson. I was ten, and a trashy afternoon show (A Current Affair, or possibly Hard Copy) had an exposé on Mel's first film, Summer City, featuring a same sex kiss. I remember it being shared between he and another guy in the back of a moving car, and when the guys started kissing the broadcast cut to a zoom-in on the entertainment news reporter with one palm on her cheek and a look of stunned disbelief on her face before they cut back to the men laughing and smiling at the end of their brief lip lock. The first "real" male-male kiss I ever saw was in the classic gay comedy Jeffrey. My favorite scene was a passionate first kiss between Steven Weber and Michael T. Weiss. I used to play it over and over, even though it, too, was interrupted by a cutaway: this time to an imaginary quartet of teenagers watching, with the guys getting sick and the girls getting sweet. My own first kiss with another man was coupled with my first sexual experience, so the afterglow of "my first kiss" lasted only as long as it took him to get undressed. That kiss was just a blip on the radar, obliterated in that jarring rush from virginity to promiscuity. All of my early kisses seemed to have been stolen away from me, by cutaways or social commentary or the physiological whallop of having my first intimate experience with a total stranger. Perhaps that's why kissing between men is the real "money shot" in my book. And perhaps future generations of gay youth could have more appreciation for human intimacy if the media was as comfortable showing gays kissing as they are showing gays dying.

Personally, I think all the YouTube videos of men engaged in physical intimacy with each other is way more beneficial to society than all the YouTube videos of straight guys saying "It gets better". I know, I know, not all of the people who make those videos are straight, and I’m not saying that they don’t save lives, because they do. But they wouldn’t have saved my life as a young person, for public service announcements are to a cynical teenager about as impactful as giving a lollipop to a grieving child. But those of us who would have been immune to PSAs still deserve to have videos that make us feel liberated, proud, and excited for the future, too. That’s why I’m so thrilled that YouTube is packed with videos of men making out with other men.

Many of these clips are excerpted from gay porn films, and speak to my longstanding belief that porn can be used to better the lives of the very audience it’s supposed to be kept away from: teenagers. In high school, the first gay porn film I ever saw was a sleazy VHS compilation called Between Jocks that arrived in the mail on Christmas Eve, making it easy to pretend that one of my family members’ gifts had arrived and therefore should not be opened. The first hardcore porn feature I ever saw was Jim Steel’s Solicitor, one of the prominent starring roles for a young Zak Spears. It is the story of a straight, womanizing lawyer who is lusted after by his gay assistant before eventually realizing that his mistreatment of women comes from suppressed homosexual desires. I loved the movie because I loved the image that Zak Spears represented, an image not too far from my Bruce Willis ideal yet without that pesky heterosexuality that seemed to come along with all the guys I found myself most inclined to desire.

What disappointed me about Solicitor, and many of the hardcore films I was originally introduced to, was that they did little to turn on the part of me that longed for gay romance. Solicitor came close, as the storyline ends with the lawyer and his assistant falling in love and the final shot is them cuddling in bed. It was my favorite scene in the movie, because the sex scenes, while titillating, were focused on a power play between whichever two men were presently having sex. I preferred the fleeting moments of tenderness, a desire which lead me to the films of the Bel Ami Studio and their emphasis on foreplay and affection and the innocence of two men discovering one another.

I have always felt that the Bel Ami movies, particularly the softcore edits, are quality introductions to gay sex for teenagers. Most of them will learn about gay sex via porn anyway, or be left to their own experimentation. Both of these options could potentially be degrading experiences and set a young man up for a skewed perspective of gay sex for the rest of his adult life. I'm NOT saying porn should be distributed to minors, but sex should be filmed with some awareness of the psyche of underage viewers. I don't think that exposure to onscreen sex is worse than exposure to onscreen violence, but I think it is infinitely more likely to influence the viewers' subsequent behavior.

In 2013, such outlandish ideas have become less necessary. Flooding YouTube are dozens of clips of intimate moments excerpted from gay porn films—the kissing, the caressing, the rubbing, the undressing, the moments of warmth that make foreplay exciting and special in ways that close-ups of penetration can hardly ever touch upon. (One talented YouTube user devotes an entire channel to original video compilations of kissing excerpts from gay hardcore.) However, it bothers me that so many of these scenes are “Age Restricted”. I question if this designation is based on the pornographic origins of this footage, or if mainstream society still equates two men kissing passionately with a straight couple engaged in full-on intercourse. Regardless, it’s great that it’s out there, because it’s not just young people who are in need of sexual role models. Adults can benefit from this footage, too—not only those deeply embedded in the closet, but those who are out and need positive depictions of gay intimacy because they don’t have enough of it in their own life. After all, being out of the closet is a different fulfillment from being in someone's arms.

So here are a few favorite videos of such intimacy, between men of various ages and ethnicities and degrees of undress. All of them, if only for fleeting seconds, engage in passionate behavior that gives me an affirmation that simply cannot be beat. One of them is the beautiful, beloved, and dearly departed Peter Kozma, known to millions as Arpad Miklos. He brought an almost unmatched warmth to his love scenes in adult films, and in turn made his gay audience feel good about themselves in a way that goes far beyond libidinous pleasure. On February 3rd, the same night I conceived of this post, Peter/Arpad committed suicide. I discovered the news on February 6th, and, instead of publishing this piece as planned, I paid tribute to the man who left a unique and invaluable mark on my life. I have kept his scenes in this post, for despite the nature of this tragedy, I remain convinced that suicide can be prevented by injecting male-male intimacy into the bloodstream of mainstream society. I endorse, celebrate, and encourage sexual expression in all its forms, something that I hope is evident in all of my written work. But NOTHING warms my heart and raises my pulse like passionate kissing: when it comes to the almighty power of making out, it just DOESN’T get better. 


As a stalwart opponent of gender division, I do NOT intend for my celebration of male-male coupling to be an affront to intimacy between women! I cannot vouch for the effects of female-female kissing scenes as I can for male-male, not least of all as most of the porn excerpts on YouTube seem catered to a straight (male) audience. But I hope this fantastic compilation will adequately serve as my tip of the hat to the extraordinary beauty of sapphic passion. ;)

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