Gay Life Tips from a Retro Gay Sex Book!

posted by Madame Bubby

Gay Sex: A Manual for men Who Love Men old edition book cover

In 1991, Jack Hart published a book Gay Sex: A Manual for Men Who Love Men. Now, given the conditions of the time, when AIDS was still killing so many gay men and the Religious Right still holding power in a post-Reagan political and social climate, the book is both timely and groundbreaking.

By that time, safe sex was the norm, and I think the book reflects the want and the need for sexual activity that doesn’t always end in the ultimate, and to be honest, at that time, deadly fuck.

The book is divided alphabetically, and most significantly, it just doesn’t cover mechanics. It covers the complex thoughts and feelings that both cause and affect sexual relationships. It assumes a freedom to explore gay sex and perhaps find love.

For example, the letter L is divided into these categories: labels, leather, legal matters, legal trouble, loneliness, love, love at first sight, and lubricant. Those categories certainly cover a wide range. In this case, one could even claim the L section really covers life at all levels.

Here are some helpful and insightful quotes that transcend time from that section:

“Labels… The fact is, labels are useful. Without labels, we could end up at the Irish parade instead of the Gay and Lesbian Parade. Just don’t let labels get the upper hand. At one point in your life, you probably assumed you were straight. That label, however unconsciously it was adopted, limited your ability to explore your attraction to other men. You may now identify as gay. That’s fine, but if you find aspects of your personality that don’t fit that label, it’s the label that should be redefined – not your personality.”

“Legal matters… Sign power of attorney agreements, providing the authority to make the decisions and sign documents for one another should one of you become incapacitated. It’s important to have a will, and also a Living Will, which indicates what you want done if injury or illness leaves you unable to indicate your own desires.”

“Loneliness… The best antidote for loneliness is not finding a lover, or a date, but in doing things you enjoy, with other people, and through that, finding some new friends. Unfortunately, no one will ever believe this basic truth from reading a book. Some spend years learning it the hard way, and others never learn it all.”

“Love at first sight… There’s nothing wrong with that feeling. It’s enjoyable, and psychologists have even come up with the term limerence for that swept-off-your-feet sensation. But if you assume that a relationship has to start that way, you’ll miss some good opportunities that simply don’t announce themselves quite so loudly.”

“Lubricant… It’s best to use a lubricant that comes from a tube or squeeze bottle. Anything in a tub or jar easily becomes a repository for germs, as your fingers dip in and out."

Now, based on these quotes, one might think, yeah, we know, and we’ve come a long way since then. Perhaps in some matters, especially social and legal rights and recognition, but the complex feelings and actions that feed into one’s variegated social identities remain, transmuted as their context transmutes.

In fact, one could even claim that labels and loneliness have taken on even more complex, and perhaps, problematic dimensions in a life that now encompasses both cyber and physical space. There’s much more going on than choosing the right lubricant which can now be delivered to your door in a few hours for the hook up you scheduled on Scruff.

Perhaps the key words here also begin with the letter L. We physically lost a generation to AIDS. Let’s not socially and psychologically lose a generation to labels and loneliness.

Rate this blog entry:
28 Hits
0 Comments

The Men of Playgirl

posted by Madame Bubby

Playgirl magazine, often billed unofficially as the “magazine for women and gay men,” has undergone some changes in its presentation through the years (one can no longer obtain the traditional hard copies that were usually hidden under some gayling’s bed at some point).

Even the naked guys in the magazine have changed, and that change reflects some social trends. What is interesting is that as recently as last week, on a gay chat board, Datalounge, the subject came up, and it wasn’t just a retro/nostalgia discussion from the eldergays.

The original poster made a point that the models in the 1970s and 1980s generally revealed huge bushes, and that they were trim and muscular overall, not what one might term “gym-pumped” or, to be biased, “steroid” bodies.

Now, the first Playgirl centerfold was Lyle Waggoner, who gained fame by appearing as a regular on the iconic Carol Burnett Show. For her sketches, Carol needed a straight guy, and I bet she also knew she would attract a certain audience (the Playgirl audience) by showing off his easy, unaffected, yet indisputably, studly presence. The first issues of Playgirl did not show cock, though. That came later, when the previous censorship of such materials was finally letting up in the early 1970s.
 

Lyle Waggoner in the first issue of Playgirl
Lyle Waggoner in the first issue of Playgirl

Lyle Waggoner in a later issue of Playgirl
Waggoner in a later issue

When Burt Reynolds died recently, many remembered his moment in Playgirl. Of course the photographers hid his member, but there was plenty to fantasize about even if was not visible. And hair, so much hair. The poster I referred to on Datalounge mentioned hairy bushes as if that was a style of the past, and that observation brings up the issue of shaving. How much hair is attractive? Or the lack thereof?
 

Burt Reynolds on the cover of Playgirl in December, 1974
Burt Reynolds on the cover of Playgirl in December, 1974

And note that many of the models, especially in the eighties, loved showing off their luxuriant locks. This hair was not hippie long hair that evoked Woodstock dancing and shabby communes in the woods; it was more like the idealized long hair of medieval knights and cavaliers and the like, heroes and antiheroes of romance novels.

But the long hair encouraged even more muscles, perhaps a reaction to possible associations with effeminacy in the more conservative eighties. Thus, tight pants, pastel colors, and long hair were acceptable if your body wasn’t just buff, but pumped up.

And in 1992, a pumped up, hard-bodied stud with a tattoo (harbinging what is now a rather generic look among millennials) named Dirk Shafer appeared as Playgirl’s Man of the Year. And he was gay. He didn’t come out as gay until much later, and he died in 2015.
 

Dirk Shafer as the Playgirl 1992 Man of the Year
Dirk Shafer as the 1992 Man of the Year

Another Playgirl model, Bill Cable aka Stoner, apparently appeared with Christina Crawford (!) in a mysterious video which has disappeared from youtube, alas. He also died young, kiiled in a motorbike accident in 1992.
 

Bill Cable aka Stoner
Bill Cable aka Stoner

Now that gay for pay is prominent in the adult erotic world, one might assume that some of the current models in Playgirl’s online edition are gay. And perhaps, depending on their situation, they aren’t concerned about concealing their orientation. Still, this open fluidity seems to produce rather generic results.

The secret thrill of an actual print magazine that enticed because of its very danger, dangerous imagery, a dangerous situation for the reader, is missing.

I am not advocating for the closet, but one wonders if it’s time for Playgirl to reexamine its purpose and not just serve an Instagram page in a larger format accompanied by tips on fitness. Remember, this magazine actually dared to in its earlier years explore female orgasms and polyamory and reveal men as sex subjects and objects for women and gay men.

Rate this blog entry:
49 Hits
0 Comments

RetroStuds of the Past: Focus on Paul Rappalo

posted by Madame Bubby

Paul Rappalo in Manshots

Who is Paul Rappalo? Paul calls himself, in an interview with Manshots magazine in December 1992, an iconoclast, and based on the variety of and attitude toward his porn making, I would agree.

Manshots caught up with Paul aka David Rappalo aka Rappalo aka Rappalo Fox when he was doing a show at NYC's Show Palace, and the interviewer noted that he spoke Japanese to the guy at the sushi bar.

There's the paradox: he does shows that show off his tautly sculpted, Greek god physique, he speaks a language which is not easily learned, and, looking at his oeuvre on the trusty Gay Erotic Video Index, a good number of his films are bondage/BDSM flicks. Who is Paul Rappalo?

Paul divulges plenty in the interview, but what is interesting is the information he claims he doesn't want revealed. For example, he mentions he is Cherokee Indian. He also claims he likes high heels (he likes others to wear them).

He learned Japanese, one of five languages he also speaks, as part of his personal protection/anti-terrorism training. Rappalo is unclear as to what this training entails and its results, which adds to the mystery. No, he is not lying.

He hustled for a while (he claimed both guys and gays had long admired his cock).

He was also imprisoned for an assault case, and the prison doctor knew about his by then extensive porm film career; in the interview, he imitates the doctor's “minty” voice, “With all the money you've been making, seems that you would have been bailed out a long time ago.”

In the annals of porn history, however, some of his best work (and that includes acting, and he did do a bit of “legitimate” acting in Los Angeles) occurs in Toby Ross's award-winning Tough Guys Do Dance.
 

Paul Rappalo in Tough Guys Do Dance
Paul Rappalo in Tough Guys Do Dance

The second vignette in this flick, “Love Bug,” tells the story of a man who bugs his straight neighbor's house in an effort to share vicariously in the man's lovemaking to his wife. When the neighbor's wife leaves him, however, the gay man comes over to console and seduce him. Paul Rappalo plays the sensitive straight neighbor and David Bach is the wily gay man.

Now, what could be a sleazy take off on Reagan-era yuppie drama is actually sensitively done, and Rappalo manages to be both vulnerable and confidently sexy at the same time.
 

Paul Rappalo and David Bach in Tough Guys Do Dance
Paul Rappalo & David Bach in Tough Guys Do Dance

I like to think of him as the many faces of the Eternal Male. He wears a white shirt and tie and exudes sexiness wearing it, but when he gets naked, he can submit to getting tied up by an older, more experienced guy, enjoys, even relishes sex with women, but, as he honestly reflects in his interview, “one thing I would change is that it takes me forever to learn one lesson.”

Based on his variegated interests, I would counter that he wasn't afraid to keep learning. And that for him, life was best lived when one is aware that it is a theater where one discovers oneself by acting so many roles.
 

Paul Rappalo and Michael White in Private Workout
Rate this blog entry:
138 Hits
0 Comments

Contact Us | 800-932-7111 | Join our email list

Go to top