Solo Sex

Posted by guest blogger Miriam Webster

 

As many of us are currently spending a lengthy stint without sexual partners as we practice social distancing during this pandemic, I’ve been reflecting on eroticism that does not involve physical engagement between people.

Non-in-person sex work (via phone or the internet) and viewing pornography can play a huge part in helping folks through this necessary dry spell - though, of course, the coronavirus relief package explicitly excludes applicants who earn money from performances, services, or depictions “of a prurient sexual nature” from being eligible for loans. (There has been an increase in internet censorship and policing of consensual sex work and sexual materials under this administration done in the name of decreasing sex trafficking and exploitation. SESTA/FOSTA, which passed in March of 2018, directly led to the shut down of sites that enabled sex workers to operate more safely, porn companies and performers having their personal data deleted from their private drives, and the major social media platforms increasing their content restrictions and banning countless users. The currently-proposed EARN IT Act looks to extend internet surveillance under the same guise, further putting at risk sex workers and other marginalized groups who would likely be targeted and increasing the possibility of additional sexual content restrictions on social media platforms, as well as compromising the privacy of all internet-based communication and data.)

There are countless ways of sexually engaging with others through distance, many via technology - such as swapping nudes, dirty talk (see our recent blog discussing the Old Reliable audio collection), video chatting, sexting, video games, and even internet-controlled sex toys - through which each individual involved may be physically alone. And, of course, there is also a wide array in the realm of sexuality in which the inspiration for excitement doesn’t necessarily come from another person at all: object fetishism, autoeroticism, and more. A plethora of imaginal and tactile erotic experiences can be explored while physically by one’s self.

One fascinating cinematic look at solo sex and object fetishism exists in Czech artist Jan Švankmajer’s 1996 film Conspirators of Pleasure, which follows several characters’ independent fetishistic rituals. One man builds a masturbation machine with many motorized hands attached to televisions, which he operates during broadcasts of a lusted-after news anchor. Another man creates homemade sex toys - rolling pins covered in materials of different tactile natures like tacks and fur - which Švankmajer live-action animates rolling all over the man’s body. A couple of neighbors create effigies of each other, which they violently torture.

 

Stills from Conspirators of Pleasure
Images from Conspirators of Pleasure

 

In some of these scenarios, the object of desire is a person represented by the masturbation object, while in some, the contraption and/or tactile materials seem to be the objects of desire, themselves. But in each scenario, the rituals are performed in isolation.

Though best known as an animator/filmmaker, Švankmajer works in a wide array of mediums, including poetry and sculpture, and uses all to grapple with tactilism. From 1972 until 1979, he was banned from directing films by the Communist government of Czechoslovakia, who considered his films subversive. During this span, Švankmajer went into extensive exploration of the sense of touch and tactile art, including writing a book, Hmat a Imaginace (now translated and available in English as Touching and Imagining), “of which he produced five copies in 1983, all with ‘tactile’ covers. Featuring rabbit fur along the spine and a hand shape cut out of sandpaper on the front, these copies circulated as samizdat, that is works which were clandestinely produced and distributed to evade officially imposed censorship.” This book details Švankmajer’s Surrealist experiments with touch and tactile art and “is a kind of alchemist’s philosophical treatise.”

 

An original copy of Hmat a Imaginace
An original copy of Hmat a Imaginace

Švankmajer tactile poem and sculptures
A Švankmajer tactile poem and three tactile sculptures

 

Upon his return to filmmaking, he brought what he had learned about tactilism into the medium through content, concept, and technique, trying to create synesthetic experiences for viewers. “Film animation is just another alchemical aid to the performance of a magic ritual in which Švankmajer summons the immanent vitality that resides in the inert material... This capacity for metamorphosis extends to moving images… Švankmajer’s work explores the idea that both direct and indirect tactile experience is mediated by the ‘tactile’ imagination.”

The development of a new personal relationship to touch is described in Švankmajer’s poem “The magic ritual of tactile initiation,” featured in Touching and Imagining, which concludes:

Make the cold warm and the soft hard!
Make the loose compact!
Make the course slimy!
Make the hurtful pleasurable!
And vice-versa!
So that the eye will not perceive and give touch timely warning, constantly confuse his utilitarian habits of touch by disorientation, mystification and panic!
Bear in mind that our entire body is a unified erogenous zone!
Do not smooth down the crumpled sheets!
In winter kick off the bedclothes!
On hot summer nights crawl under a heavy quilt!
Do not scorn masturbation!
Do not have your old shoes re-soled!
Do not urinate before going to bed!
“Be repulsed by all objects yet touch them all!
Learn to love insects!
Tire yourself out!
Only when Touch is freed from its utilitarian context, not constantly forced into a self-conscious moment, will it reach the point where it transmutes the barrier of its identifying existence, and without being aware of it, becomes the language of the poet.


Eroticism is frequently a focus of Švankmajer’s work, as he observed that “if there does exist one aspect of human perception where Touch still has a position dominant over all others senses, it is in the field of eroticism.” The realm of pornography extensively explores “indirect tactile experience” and the sensations this depiction evokes in viewers, also striving to inspire corporeal responses.

Countless approaches to solo sex can be found in pornography. Object eroticism is certainly common, from fetish magazines eroticizing attire and materials such as leather and rubber, to the use of sex toys and such things as household items, balloons, and food as tools for self-pleasure.

 

Stills from Mansize & Food Sex
Stills Michael Zen's Mansize (top) and the Bijou Video compilation Food Sex (bottom)

 

The object in question’s sexual appeal may stem purely from the physical sensations it creates and one’s tactile relationship with it, or from a more symbolic place of connection or memory. And inanimate objects, themselves, can seem to carry inside them their own energetic life. As Švankmajer said, “a strong emotion leaves an indelible imprint on the objects touched.”

Erotic inspiration can be found in the natural world. Director Peter de Rome’s lovely short porn film, Green Thoughts (1971), features a man who becomes stimulated by the plants in a conservatory. Porn star and sex educator Annie Sprinkle has recently been spearheading an “ecosexual” movement, reframing nature as “your lover, not your mother” in an effort “to make the envirnomental movement more fun and diverse.”

 

Images from Green Thoughts
Images from Green Thoughts

 

Acts of self-pleasure may be performed not just as the result of the absence of a sexual partner, but because one’s own self or body or personal sexual technique are, themselves, the source of excitement. Many Bijou titles feature examples of this: enthusiastic solos, autofellatio practitioners, people jacking off to their own reflections, fantasies of self-fucking (brilliantly staged in Jaguar’s Grease Monkeys and in the short film Double Scorpio featured in Hand in Hand’s Private Collection), and intricate autosadism rituals (as in the Jason Steele segment of Big Bear Men and the sounding demonstration in another Private Collection short, Penetration).

 

Nick Rodgers seducing himself in Grease Monkeys
Nick Rodgers seducing & fucking himself in Grease Monkeys (1979)

Jason Steele in Big Bear Men (left); sounding film Penetration (right)
Jason Steele in Big Bear Men (left); the sounding film Penetration (right)

 

One of the true masters of inventive autoerotic practice in porn is “Sultan of Solo Sex” Scott Taylor. Taylor never performed a full partnered sex act in any of his films (the closest is perhaps in Surge Studio’s Strange Places, Strange Things, in which he and another man wildly enlarge and distort their cocks together with vacuum pumps), but he did many solo jack off sessions, as well as self-sucking and creative bodily play. In the Steve Scott masterpiece, Turned On! (1982), Taylor performs a remarkable display of dance and movement, in which he stuffs his own cock and balls up his ass. Al Parker stated, in a Manshots interview, “Even though Scott only has sex with himself, I think he is one of the most erotic people in this business, because you can’t pay somebody to be as crazy as Scott Taylor is in a movie.”

 

Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor


Scott Taylor in Turned On!
Scott Taylor's performance in Turned On!

 

Another artist of self-fucking in classic porn is Chris Burns. Having well-earned the title “the Ultimate Bottom,” Burns certainly can take it from others, but just as aptly can dish it out upon himself. In Steve Scott’s Dangerous (1983), he exchanges dirty talk over the phone with Rick Faulkner (who beats off in a phone booth) while he shoves massive dildos up his ass. Jason Bleu’s fascinating S/M video, Black on Red (1987), takes us into the interior life of the submissive, as Burns literally bends over backwards to punish himself at the feet of and worship a mature dominant, who stands over him throughout the tape's runtime, nearly silent and umoving, like a remote God. Burns, here, performs nearly all of the actions upon himself, shoving more enormous toys (as well as enema tubing) up his ass, putting sounding rods in his dickhole, piercing his nipple, and shaving his pubic hair off with a straight razor.

 

Chris Burns in Black on Red
Chris Burns in Black on Red

 

Not requiring a partner to explore one’s own body and sexual interests can be a liberatory element of sexuality. Illustrations of this can be found in some of the feminist pornography of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which encouraged women to learn about their bodies and personal sexuality - for example, the classic 1992 instructional, How to Female Ejaculate, and the odes to self-pleasure in Annie Sprinkle’s Sluts and Goddesses: How To Be a Sex Goddess in 101 Easy Steps. I’ve personally found developing solo kink practices to be useful and exciting. I taught myself how to do play piercing by practicing on my own body, with the help of online technique/safety tips and instructional video examples. This was a helpful way to learn (without risking fucking up an early attempt on someone else’s body), but maintaining this as a solo practice has also served as a way for me to engage with sadism and masochism on my own, without being reliant upon a partner for outlets.

Some porn makers depicted solo practices as a part of the exploration of various types of safer sexual expression during the AIDS crisis. Artist Michael Goodwin, whose late '80s Goodjac video series focused on handjobs and masturbation, brought creativity, playfulness, and enthusiasm to his documentation of solo sex.

 

Solos from The Goodjac Chronicles & Goodjac Too
Solos from The Goodjac Chronicles and Goodjac Too

 

And we can take eroticism outside of the tactile entirely. There’s the far-reaching imaginal realm of fantasy, which can draw eroticism from endless places. There are erotic responses to music and other audio, such as the visceral and abstract sound textures and vocal intimacy explored in ASMR videos, popularized over the past decade, which for many enthusiasts are not erotic, but can be for some. And there’s spiritual yearning, which can often take on an erotic coloration.

One may find eroticism with and without other people; erotic touch with and without other people; eroticism with and without touch. Perhaps we can use this time away from parntered sex to find ways to connect with our own erotic imaginations and to deepen our relationships with our own bodies, whether by nurturing their health (as a part of the project of collective health) or developing our solo sexual practices, whatever the tools and objects of erotic excitement may be.

Tags:
pandemic social distancing solo sex autoeroticism self-pleasure eroticism phone sex pornography porn companies politics Covid-19 coronavirus internet surveillance censorship social media sex work sex workers sex workers rights SESTA/FOSTA EARN IT Act internet sex cyber sex internet censorship marginalized communities sex and politics Old Reliable Old Reliable audio dirty talk object fetishism fetishism sexting cybering nudes sex toys Czech film Conspirators of Pleasure Jan Svankmajer film art art theory animation film history art history Surrealism sex machines alchemy tactilism tactile art sculpture poetry 1970s 1980s 1990s Communism touch synesthesia vintage fetish magazines fetish magazines leather rubber balloons food Food Sex Mansize Michael Zen Peter de Rome Green Thoughts ecosexualism The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome Annie Sprinkle sex educators environmentalism environmental movement solo masturbation autofellatio Grease Monkeys Jaguar Films Double Scorpio Penetration Private Collection Hand in Hand Films Surge Studio Big Bear Men Jason Steele autosadism automasochism Nick Roders Jack Deveau sounding kink fetish S/M BDSM fetish porn S/M porn Scott Taylor Strange Places Strange Things vacuum pumps Steve Scott Al Parker Turned On! Turned On dance Chris Burns Jason Bleu Black on Red Dangerous Rick Faulkner shaving piercing play play piercing needle play piercing dildo enemas vintage gay porn classic gay porn vintage porn classic porn feminist porn lesbian porn queer porn art porn Pink Label 1970s gay porn 1970s porn 1980s gay porn 1990s porn 1990s gay porn 1980s porn stars 1980s gay porn stars How to Female Ejaculate female ejaculation Goodjac Michael Goodwin The Goodjac Chronicles Goodjac Too AIDS crisis ASMR erotic art erotic poetry erotic audio fantasy sexual fantasy sex and religion sex and spirituality bodies health sadism masochism vintage porn stars classic porn stars porn stars sex education feminism balloon fetish
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If You are in Self-Isolation and Need to Find Some Pleasure...

Posted by Madam Bubby

 

I just consulted the office's copy of the 1960s chapbook, The Guild Dictionary of Homosexual Terms.

These are a few of euphemisms for something you can always do if you are in self-isolation; as Helen Reddy sang, "My best friend is myself," and adding to that, your right or left hand or whatever you use for maximum pleasure:

Ball off, beat off, come your mutton, come your turkey, flog the bishop, jerk the gherkin, manualexercises, pull the pudding, squeeze off, whank off

Note the food imagery, which makes sense, as both are sources of primal pleasure, and the "end result" of jacking off can also be delicious, depending on what turns you on.

And Bijou Video is here to help you in this area. In fact, we sell a series of video and audio which were specifically tailored to autoeroticism: David Hurles' Old Reliable series. Now mostly straight "rough trade" might not be your cup of tea or whatever liquid you imbibe, but these studs talk dirty to the camera and play with themselves and flex muscles and smoke.

 

Old Reliable catalog page
Vintage Old Reliable catalog page

 

But most significantly, their focus is on you and your cock in these pioneering solo jack off videos.

I can recommend an audio of one nasty (in the most enticing, exciting way sense) stud Tom V. (Audio clip at link.) He's straight, and you can always skip the tracks about "pussy" if that's not your thing, but the track about an incident when he was in jail ... it could certainly fuel even more fantasies. He's also got a rough, gravely voice, so despite the fact he is one macho guy visually, the voice itself could be enough to whank off to.

 

Tom V. Old Reliable Audio

 

We carry many Old Reliable series videos on DVD and streaming and several Old Reliable audio collections on CD.

Please note that we are still selling online at Bijou World and our ebay store, our streaming site is running, and we will still be taking phone orders during our regular business hours, 10 am to 6 p.m.

Our mission at Bijou Video has always focused on spreading joy and pleasure as part of a healthy, nonjudgmental philosophy of sexuality, all kinds of sexuality.

We intend to continue that mission during these life-changing times.

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Turned On at the Barber Shop

posted by Madame Bubby

“There's one lady barber that made good,” croons Mae West, singing Delilah in the opera Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saens in an attempt to be a high-class dame.
 

Mae West as Delilah

Since my regular haircut lady retired and moved to Florida, I've been searching for a haircut place. After a few unsatisfactory visits to a salonesque male haircut place (blasting music, “cool” décor, a differentiation between a stylist and barber), I settled on a place in walking distance of my house that bills itself as a barbershop.

Think old-fashioned barbershop. Plan white walls and white floor tile, the iconic striped barbershop pole, a box for hot towels, straight razor shaves… The place bills itself as offering a “masculine” experience, emphasizing for example playing sporting events on the television (I go in the morning purposely as to not be subject to “the game”).
 

Vintage glass barber shop pole

But lest one think this is some kind of man-cave redneck frat boy paradise, its clientele, because of its location, are mostly gay. And as far as I know, the place employs at least two lady barbers.

I've set myself up with a totally straight, married with kids, overall kind of nondescript by celebrity standards of beauty Russian barber. The heart to heart confidences I enjoyed with my regular haircut lady don't occur, but it's kind of a relief to go on about subjects such as lawn mowing and home repair.

But if the conversation isn't stimulating, I noticed I am feeling that twinge in my shorts when he grooms me. That's what he is doing, and he takes much time in grooming the beard and mustache and the eyebrows after the haircut. The last time, his bare hand touched my face, not purposely, but it was certainly stimulating, however brief.

And add to that sensation the shaving cream, the straight razor, and to provide some form of climax, the the hot towel on the face.

Perhaps the turn on comes from just being in that chair, not free to move, no glasses on my face. I can zone out and just let him in his manner “do me.”

Hmm... one might say, why don't you just go for a massage if you want some hand action, and you could get some young hot stud to touch you…

Yes, I could, but maybe it's the subtlety of the experience, and that it's homoerotic without being overtly sexual, and that it allows more room for fantasy, that creates that increasingly irresistible turn on.

For more homoerotic grooming/shaving imagery, check out of one of our best-selling posters, "Close Shave".
 

Close Shave poster
"Close Shave" poster

Two classic Steve Scott porn films feature related scenes: A Few Good Men (1983) opens with an extended sequence of a young military recruit having his head shaved and his mouth filled with dick (belonging to Al Parker, seen only from the waist down) and I Do! (1984) features a barber shop sequence between customer Andy Fuller and his beefy barber (Joe Marconi), who kneels to give him head at the shampoo sink.
 

A Few Good Men and I Do images
Images from Steve Scott's A Few Good Men & I Do!

And check out two Bijou original series: Love a Man With a Beard (Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4) and Love a Man With a Mustache (Volumes 1, 2, and 3), collections of hot vintage porn scenes for fans of men with facial hair.
 

Beard and mustache compilation images
Images from Bijou's beard and mustache series
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Sex and Bathrooms Redux

posted by Madame Bubby

Once again, after being forced to urinate and defecate in the dull and stinky men’s room in the building at the university where I teach, I think once again about the relationship between not just mansex and the men’s room, but the whole sociology of the bathroom.

First of all, the fact I am saying bathroom is significant, because in this dull and stinky men’s room with the constant problem of the unflushed toilet (it is supposed to flush automatically, it does not always do so), there is no bath. La salle de bains? No. Showers are available in the gym, of course, but no bathtub. Why not just call the room the sink/toilet/urinal room?

Second, why are public bathrooms in general such blah physical spaces (unless the ones in expensive spaces)? Yes, they are a public space, and utilitarian in the most basic way, but it seems, not that I would know this, the ladies’ rooms aren’t that different. The luxurious rooms with cushions, chairs, and couches I used to notice in movies made in the 1960s aren’t, or perhaps never were, the norm.
 

Basic public restroom

The unisex/disabled (not parallel terms) restroom the university recently constructed is clean and efficient, and also, and this is a plus to many, private. Single occupancy. Now, that might be interesting, to lock the door and enjoy some action, but that might create more potential for getting caught than doing a quickie in a stall. Knock, knock. Who’s in there? I have to go … I’m calling security.

Thirdly, the issue of privacy is something that seems to be more exclusive to contemporary American/Western culture. Contemporary, I emphasize, because in early modern Europe, urination and defecation weren’t exclusively private acts. People “went” when and where they needed to. Separate bathrooms with plumbing were a luxury, and even those in the upper classes used the chamber pot whenever and wherever, even when dining. Some dining areas and other public rooms contained elaborate close stools for convenient evacuation. The aesthetic features of these receptacles, one could say, were designed to conceal the act as well as blend the object into the overall luxury of the space, but it was clear what people were doing in them. At least, in much humbler settings an outhouse was a private, separate building, but not exactly the jolly T-room.
 

17th century toilet
17th century toilet

I’ve often thought, and perhaps my view reflects how Americans have insisted on enclosing the space and judging a person or institution or business by the cleanliness of their bathroom, that the actual bath and shower should be more separate from the toilet. The juxtaposition of the toilet and the bathing area creates a tension between purity and danger, as Mary Douglas in her book by that title explains. The danger is the expulsion of waste, the crossing of a physical boundary, in this case, the body, however natural this process. It’s not just that the waste itself is toxic or gross, physically. More than instinctual repulsion is going on here, more than concerns about health. We feel the need to control this process, enclose it in a pristine setting. The place to dump the waste must be the cleanest, purest, most private room, treated like a sacred shrine. The toilet is the porcelain god.

Thus, when one puts sex into the bathroom space, the act itself a crossing of physical boundaries which also involves a change of fluids, this purity and danger tension exacerbates. It is interesting that in one’s own private home, one doesn’t usually see the bathroom as a place of sexual activity. It’s the bedroom. One sleeps with another person, and the sleeping verb is a common euphemism for sexual intimacy. Yet, sex acts, anonymous sex, occur in public bathrooms.

Perhaps the connection here is between the words anonymous and public. Any time one even goes into a public space, one is taking a risk, because one is in the position of being seen by others at various levels of intimacy, and in the case of bathroom or toilet sex, what is deemed private becomes public in a space which is enclosed, private, for a private act. One now can see what one has fantasized about seeing. It’s the one moment of connection, the ultimate boundary crossing, the danger, the thrill, the orgasm mixed together in a space designed to enclose a natural, albeit for most, non-erotic process.

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Classroom Porn

posted by Madame Bubby

The Bigger the Better images
Rick Donovan & Matt Ramsey (aka Peter North) in The Bigger the Better

“Hi, Professor. I am for extra help with the assignment, said the young blond jock with the tight buns accentuated by the tight Levis.

I think you need more help than that, said the hot daddy bearded muscle hunk professor dressed in a sharp business suit.

The professor puts his hand on the student's thigh.”


Yes, the above is a pretty lame attempt at the genre of classroom porn. But it's easily recognizable, not just the inevitable sex that usually occurs in a public or semi-public institutional space, but the power dynamic.

Where I teach (a college) and pretty much everywhere, one can assume that students are not part of the dating pool. Of course not all teachers have abided by this rule, some fairly egregiously, especially those in positions of great power in the academic field.

In one interesting case, a famous woman professor, Arvita Ronell, was accused of sexually harassing a gay male student. It’s a case definitely out of the norm, where a powerful cis heterosexual male teacher sexually harasses a younger cis heterosexual female student.

Yet it reveals nonetheless that a spectrum of predatory sexual behavior can and does exist, and that no matter what the specifics of the case, institutional structures that are based on hierarchy often encourage such boundary violations. One taboo generates another taboo.

Toby Ross, whose pioneering films glorified youthfulness, seems to in many of these films to flaunt sexual and social taboos. When a teacher does gets involved in their sexual activities, the power dynamic is already levelled. For example, in Reflections of Youth, Big Bill Eld, the gym teacher, is primarily there as a Priapus figure who towers above the hot young studs literally; he likes to get on the desk and masturbate his gigantic cock.
 

Bill Eld in Reflections of Youth

In Toby Ross' flick Classmates, the institutional space becomes the home of the teacher. When a sexy college student crashes at his art teacher's house, the sexual attraction is palpable but unspoken. The student feigns sleep while the teacher's mind races with images of the student fucking his ass with long, smooth, deep strokes. When the student's hard-on edges out of his boxer shorts, the teacher (nerdy but sexy) tentatively takes it in his hand and proceeds to jack him off. Still fantasizing, the teacher then jacks himself off. Tension -- release -- sleep. This realistic scene is played and edited beautifully.
 

Classmates box cover

In the Nova classic Kept After School, one sees the classroom porn genre treated with a humorous edge. Handsome teacher keeps students after school, and they aren't getting punished. He falls asleep, and an orgy ensues. He loses his power to the student's overwhelming sexual power.
 

Kept After School images
Images from Kept After School

In The Academy, by Hawk Productions, a military school teacher is seduced by his two students. A student fantasizes about the porn icon Roger. And much, much more.
 

The Academy images
Images from The Academy

And often teacher-student relationship becomes subsumed into the spanking fetish. In the Man's Hand video A Lesson Well Learned, the title pretty much self-explanatory. Naughty “boys” get spanked by coaches (and each other).
 

A Lesson Well Learned image
Image from A Lesson Well Learned

Overall, here’s the rub: reality and fantasy of course aren’t the same, and the teacher/student sexual fantasy has always been a major trope in erotic art, literature, and films, primarily heterosexual, and in many cases, the woman, strict headmistress or even nun, takes on the role of a dominatrix, punishing the “naughty boy.”

Thus, the teacher/student fantasy ends up involving often BDSM activity, accentuating the tension between what on one level many approve of as an affective/intimate relationship but one that is restrained by a public social order that pretty much proclaims, beyond this point you may not cross.

But crossing boundaries, breaking taboos one could say is precisely reason for the tension-release dynamic of porn in all its manifestations.

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