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Gay for Pay

Room for Squares

A few months ago, I was watching one of those ďTrue LifeĒ shows on MTV about the gay porn industry. On the program, producers followed around a young man who, clearly aware of his pulling potential, held no remorse about earning big bucks for a relatively easy job of posing and occasionally having sex with another young man onscreen. He did all of this, mind you, even though he claimed not to be gay.

Since then, Iíve been grappling with the idea of ďgay for pay". In particular, Iíve questioned whether or not the abundance of straight men who play gay (and straight women who participate in perceived acts of lesbian desire, albeit for a strictly heterosexual male audience) presents our community with a moral crisis. Can we honestly proclaim to rejoice and boast in our sexuality when the reality is that, for many, turning a straight man gay is still the holy grail of sexual fantasies? And is it right to pay people in order to live out that subversive fantasy via smoke and mirrors?

In matters of the heart, itís a non-issue. I donít believe any straight guy could fall in love with a gay man for any sum of money. Weíre not talking about a reality show where love is often placed, I mean, found at the end of some long and arduous television season, I mean, path. Nor do I mean someone who can alternate between gay and straight, depending on the season, a la Tila Tequila. That sort of gay for hire is easily just for show. When it comes to sex on an everyday, real people level, the issue becomes somewhat more debatable. Is it ethical, say, to have sex with another man whom you know is only gay for the next hour or so?

I, for one, say ďbring it on". If thereís a straight guy out there who wants to play gay for the next $50, then point me to the nearest ATM. Sure, some people might still want to gripe about how prostitution is unethical in and of itself, but thatís not the issue weíre discussing. The moment a transaction has been made means that a contract has been signed. The unethical part would be to renege on your part of the bargain. A deal is always a deal in any sort of business transaction. I donít think itís any more ethical to walk into a bank, sign up for their services and then walk away without every taking them up on it. In fact, thatíd be downright stupid.

Perhaps thatís why so much of the internet is overrun with websites promoting the straight guy forced into gay sex fantasy. Certainly, itíd be a lot safer and less messy to live it out online. It also knowingly plays into that role reversal that is so attractive for many in a way thatís palatable to all of us. The root of the issue is, after all, that gays for hire are attractive because we can, with the right amount of money, turn the tables on the established social order.

The dominant-sub role reversal has definitely been a boon to the porn industry. When weíre talking about porn, however, morality always gets a little fuzzier. Not because itís immoral, per se, but because in a post Nipplegate society, the less said about porn, the better. Itís almost become the new ďDonít Ask, Donít Tell.Ē You know everyone is watching it, they just donít know you are.

What Iím trying to get at is that itíd be entirely hypocritical for someone who spends hours on end watching straight guys do gay porn on the internet to pass judgment on another who pays a straight hustler for more direct services. Pots shouldnít call kettles black just because it takes longer for them to boil water. No, the morality of gay for pay isnít in question because the ethics behind gays for hire arenít so much in the action as they are behind the scenes. Money has always turned the world around. No surprise then that it can do the same to juicy juicy backsides.