THINKS WE'RE SEXY?
A BENT/Disgaytalk Forum
contributions from Ray Aguilera, Bob Bowman, Bob Feinstein, Julio
Moreno, Charlie Squires, and Max Verga
is the online discussion
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presents an edited version of an exchange we think will interest
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Recently a friend gave me issue #93 of "Drummer Magazine." In that
issue writers explore the attraction to differently-shaped bodies
in a feature titled "Maimed Beauty," which includes ten photographs
by George Dureau, depicting amputees and other "physically different
men seen through the eyes of love." The first time I had seen George
Dureau photos was a shocker, like staring at myself in a mirror
with fluorescent lights shining on me. It was painful and delightful,
scary and exciting, nauseating and intriguing all at once.
Seeing that issue of "Drummer" reminded me of my conviction that
there is a potentially creative relationship between the SMBD and
queer-crip communities. Recently, I subscribed to alt.com, a site
where people can search for partners based on their kinks. Although
the list of kinks is pretty comprehensive, I couldn't find any reference
to differently-shaped bodies. I suggested that alt.com add that
option, but I haven't heard back. Since I pay a monthly fee I feel
I have the right to demand a service that answers my needs, so maybe
this is the kind of activism we can engage in by exercising our
market power. At the same time, it would be a way of making ourselves
visible as men who can be creative about ways to explore our sexualities.
Let me know what you guys think about this.
am uniquely qualified to respond to Julio's posting, since I wrote
one of the articles in the "Drummer" issue he mentions. In fact
it was my article, "Other Bodies," based on encounters with real
people, that convinced the editor to publish the entire "Maimed
Beauty" issue. I later met with George Dureau himself, a meeting
I related in an article
for BENT. The fact that "Maimed Beauty" inspired the largest response
to any "Drummer" issue to that point says something about how the
subject of sex with men disabled men touched a nerve. The response
was overwhelmingly positive, by the way. Unfortunately, it doesn't
look like the impact was lasting.
I've always maintained that SMBD enthusiasts are more open to body
differences than most. Maybe it's because men looking to be either
dominated or submissive (or those who are "versatile"), are more
willing to accept what others might consider shortcomings in a partner
in order to get the responses they crave. Once you admit that you
like to be tied up or laid out in a sling, confessing to a desire
for sex with disabled men is not exactly a shocker. Since SMBD probably
gets the worst press of all gay subcultures (simply because it is
the most misunderstood), a site like alt.com might be reluctant
to include an attraction to disabled men on a list of fetishes most
people already feel queasy about. But I say if you can lick boots,
take a man's fist, and beg to be encased in rubber head to toe,
you can admit to sucking stumps, obeying a midget Master, and getting
off watching a man stomp around your dungeon in a built-up boot.
I can tell you firsthand that many men fantasize about all of the
above. Some of you might be cringing just by reading about such
acts, so is it any wonder that SMBD practitioners are hesitant to
admit that the man they want it all from might not be the standard
Muscle God? On the other hand, some men who have entered the SMBD
fold might feel compelled to pursue only
the stereotyped Muscle God, thus passing up what could be an eye-opening
experience with a hot disabled guy who doesn't "measure up." I've
seen Masters barely four feet tall. I've seen men who should be
posing for porno magazines serve them like they were giants. I've
known of studs with metal arm-hooks peeking out from leather jackets
whose dance cards were as booked as any hustler's. To some, it might
be a sad commentary that a man with disabilities is more accepted
in the kink community, but let's give that community some points
for being more open.
even leather queens store their chaps and biker jackets in closets,
it might take a lot of time and energy to make the case that putting
a fetish for disabled men on a list of kinks will benefit a whole
lot of people. Julio, I have a feeling that you will do your part
for your fellow man, but a lot of work also must be done by those
disabled men unwilling to admit that being the object of a fetish
feels good physically and psychologically. Many are probably not
turned on in the least to SMBD. But the truth is I've seen more
men with disabilities in leather bars than in twink joints.
no longer exists, and the kind of stories it was willing to publish
are "hands-off" for most magazines; the Internet has replaced it
to some extent, but responsible coverage for different sexualities
remains the exception there. I think that the SMBD community is
the place to start for a greater acceptance of bodies not conforming
to what most Internet viewers get to see.
Max, I just found your BENT article when I did an Internet search
for George Dureau. I was struck by your sensitive, insightful interpretation
of his workand besides, you write beautifully. Interesting
that you treat both positive and negative responses to Dureau. Your
analysis reinforces my belief that SMBD men and queer crips need
to be allies, that the more progressive among us need to help others
understand the community-building potential of "leather." It's no
wonder that people in general and crips in particular have strong
reactions when they see Dureau's photos and pictures like them,
since we are unaccustomed to having our bodies validated in such
a sexually candid manner. Well, I'm not going to bore you with any
more of my critique, but thanks for being such a positive force,
Your response really makes this bear purr. (Hmmm. Do bears purr?)
About a year after the "Drummer" article appeared I was talking
to someone I had just finished unwrapping at the New York Bondage
Club. Somehow or other the article came up. When he found out that
I had written it, his whole demeanor changed. It seems that after
having been temporarily disabled by an auto accident, he had harbored
negative thoughts about himself. He told me that "Other Bodies"
and the entire "Maimed Beauty" segment had made him realize that
some men would still have found him attractive, even in his disabled
state. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever said to me.
At least one person had gone beyond getting caught up in the issue
of objectification as a negative thing.
you write, which you do because you love to do it and need to do
it, hearing that you've touched someone with your words is magic.
Knowing that people are communicating because of what you've said,
even if you might not like how they respond, is the greatest compliment
anyone who puts pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard can get.
Thanks for that anecdote Max. You know, for years prior to my accident
I'd seen examples of acceptance and love within the SMBD community.
And since my accident SMBD folks have welcomed me into their midst
with genuine kindness on a number of occasions. I would much rather
roll into a leather/levi bar and be welcomed than hang out in some
twink disco where I am almost always
ignored. I guess what I'm saying is that my experience "bears" out
what you're talking about 100%.
Bob's observation reminds me of a shocking moment I experienced.
Well, at least it shocked me. I had just had some nasty orthopedic
surgery, and for a while I could only get around with a walker.
It was definitely the most "medical" look I had ever had up to that
point. I guess it's also relevant that at thirty-one years old I
was still carded from time to time in casinos and bars.
Anyway, I went to a local neighborhood gay bar with friends. I rarely
go to bars of any sort, so I wasn't well known there. The reaction
as I hobbled in with my walker stunned me. People fell into two
camps, largely along age lines. The younger set (those in their
twenties) looked at me with disgust, while the older guys (the thirty-somethings)
looking at me like I was courageous just for being there. I've since
noticed that same division, even when I use a cane, in everyday
similar incident occurred when my Dad bought me an unusual handmade
cane while he was on vacation in Belize. The easiest way to carry
it back was just to use it, so he
did. The reaction shocked him. He says that about half of the folks
in airports were super polite to him, holding doors, saying hello,
etc., and the other half treated him with disgust. It was a real
eye-opener for him and he developed a new level of understanding
of what daily life is like for me.
I'm not sure these experiences have anything intrinsically to do
with bears or SMBD (I don't have much of a personal sample size
there), but in my limited experience that crowd would have demographically
fallen more among the good guys.
Bill described a Website to me that features photos of amputees.
I find that fascinating. I also remember that one of Bob Guter's
editorials in BENT mentions men who want to have limbs amputated
in order to feel whole. I forgot the name for this [apotemnophilia
-ed.] but it truly exists. I'm fascinated by what people find erotic.
For me, certain sounds are erotic in a way that I'll bet most sighted
guys would find strange. I wonder why nobody finds blind erotic?
And I wonder why certain things turn me on that others would have
no reaction to.
Feinstein and Guide Dog Harley
the site you refer to is called AmpHunks.
On the one hand, I believe that the intent of the site's creator
is completely shameful, since it appears totally exploitative to
me. On the other hand, the guys are hot. The bit about the images
being "in the public domain" indicates to me that the men depicted
almost certainly do not know they are featured there.
It'd be cool to have an amphunks page put together by a socially
conscious amphunk, instead of an abled guy, huh? Seems like the
problem with the page is the author's intent and words. I guess
I didn't react against it so quickly
when I saw it because I'm trying to lose my own internalized queer
I'm sure there are some people who find blindness to be erotic.
Maybe that's one of the reasons leather shops do such a booming
business in blindfolds, etc. What's more likely is that disability
is so stigmatized, and sexual attraction to disability even more
so, that those who might be turned on by blindness probably don't
advertise their tastes quite as loudly as those into more "socially
acceptable" things like blonds or big bicepsor Vin Diesel
[grin]. As to the AmpHunks site, I found it to be "interesting,"
if only as one more example of the patronizing, "disabled people
are amazing" attitude common in a lot of devotee sites. To each
his own, I say. That's what the delete key is for.
vision of blindness and the blindness of vision" is a line from
a song by Raul Seixas, father of Brazilian rock and roll. Bob, when
I play with guys I blindfold them sometimes. I might also tie them
up to put them completely under my control. Then, little by little,
I chose whatever intensities I want to inflict on their bodies.
If my partner is blindfolded, whatever acts I choose to perform
(sucking his cock, squeezing his tits, licking his feet, kissing
his mouth, stroking his ass, whipping, dripping wax on his skin)if
these acts are executed to any of a variety of pre-negotiated intensities,
they become much more exciting by the element of surprise, by his
inability to know when or how I will use his body. On the other
hand, I like to be blindfolded as welloh, I'm such a twisted
fuck!and surrender to suspected, anxious, random delights.
you like to play with bondage through trust, then it's exciting
to inform your blind and/or blindfolded partner of your intentions,
and deliver accordingly. I'll give you ten spankings now . . . and
ten spanking are given. I'll shove my cock in your mouth now . .
. and my cock in his mouth goes. These are some of the ideas that
I have about the sexy side of blindness, the element that allows
the body to see by creating mental images of the other's body via
tasting, touching, hearing, feeling. Eyes in every finger, eyes
in the nose, in the ears, in the tongue. A body covered with eyes
that see a world of flesh touching flesh. Blind is beautiful. Blind
your description of being blindfolded and how blindness adds to
sensations sounds to me like it has more in common with the devotee
phenomenon than with really being
blind. Nobody has ever kissed my blind eyes or found the lack of
sight in them attractive. What you describe is having a sighted
person willingly close his eyes or experience temporary lack of
sight by being blindfolded. That may heighten sensations, but it
is not the same thing as finding a blind person or blindness-as-
disability a turn-on.
I see (should I say "perceive"?!) a huge difference between
the two. On the other hand, my own blindness does enhance touch.
I believe that we who are born blind have a unique way of touching,
so for me, simply feeling a guy's arm while being guided can be
understand your point of view, Bob, and I appreciate the important
distinction you make between your experience and Julio's outlook.
I love your explanation of the erotic charge you can get when being
guided. It reinforces my belief that more Websites ought to welcome
men with disabilities, disabilities of all kinds, blindness included.
I hope that more men with disabilities will themselves expect
inclusion. I also hope that guys with disabilities will not force
sites that feature photos of men like them to shut down, which is
what happened to The Secret Garden Website.
shouldn't men with disabilities get a piece of the actionon
the Internet and in personnot just as viewers, but as the
men being watched, the men being desired? For that reason I think
we should try to get a foot (or lack thereof) in the door at alt.com,
as Julio suggested.
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