ABOVE: Blue him.
ABOVE: Blue him.
Nick Robinson of Love, Simon fame will be making his Broadway debut in 2019, stepping into the role of Jem Finch in the acclaimed revival of To Kill a Mockingbird.
ABOVE: Billy Reilich's Sex on the Beach begins tonight. I hear his exes are ... not who you'd expect.
One: Generally speaking, it's thought that women probably emotionalize sex a bit too much for their own good. But if that's true, then men definitely mythologize it too much for our own good. We can sometimes treat our partners like crap while still holding our heads up high, yet can wax nostalgic about unbelievably satisfying sexual encounters, revering them as if they were religious experiences.
Two: For gay men, with no societal instruction on what happens when two guys fall in love or even just lust, pornography was for decades the primary means by which we could find those answers.
Perhaps those two observations help to explain why we take our porn so very seriously, why we could probably talk for hours about specific scenes that opened our eyes to new activities of which we'd previously never dreamed, and why we are so madly in love with certain familiar faces (and other parts) who seemed to teach us how to do “it” and gave us permission to stop worrying our parents would find out so we could simply enjoy being pigs — at least on occasion.
With all of that out of the way, what follows is my highly subjective list of “History's 250 Greatest Gay-Porn Stars.” (Note the hyphen, because I have no way of knowing which of these guys were/are gay-for-pay stars, I just know I've seen them in at least one dirty movie targeted to gay men.)
Image at R: Matthew Rush (Image via MySpace)
In choosing which guys to feature and where to feature them, I'm using my own taste; my impressions as a former gay-porn industry professional (I worked for Torso, Honcho, Inches, Playguy, Mandate) as to each actor's overall impact during his career; each performer's observable longevity as an icon; and each performer's groundbreaking status, if any.
The upper part of the list is top-heavy with classic performers, and I think that is as it should be; this is not a snapshot of who's hot at the moment, but an attempt to catalogue the men who've made the industry over the past 50 years.
That said, I've also gone out of my way to give props to guys working today who I think have already made enough of a mark to warrant inclusion.
It's not science, so please don't flunk me.
I am offering a ranked Top 40, and the rest are in alphabetical order — while I felt confident justifying my Top 10, 20 and 40, beyond that, deciding who is #84 vs. #175 felt arbitrary. The twins entry counts as one, the two entries with couples count as two apiece.
It's sobering how many of them are dead — few from the Golden Age of gay adult films (let's say the '70s through 1990?) didn't contract HIV since they were working condom-free both on- and often off-screen. Many others have succumbed to vices perhaps more common among guys who sell sex than among the general population. That's another thing to think about, how porn is a lot like the United States — obsessed with sex but too ashamed of it to deal with our interest in it, or to deal with the very real issues that pop up among those who make the porn we order but who are often shunned in practice while being venerated in theory.
The stigma is changing, slowly but surely, as words like “hustler” are replaced by “sex worker,” and as young'uns are, increasingly, exploiting their own sex lives via social media, making it highly likely that we will have our first dick-pic or beaver-pic POTUS sooner rather than later. I've made sure to include some of the guys who are leading the way on OnlyFans and other services.
If you are any of these guys, have information on any of these guys' birth dates, death dates, what they were like in person (if you met them), where they may be now, or any other tidbits — or if you would like to politely inform me I've left someone out — please do comment. I look forward to it, and I hope to avoid some of the eye-rolling vitriol the original post engendered. (Lists are never definitive. I'm not killing your mom by forgetting someone you jerked off to.)
If there is someone on the list you've never heard of, new or old, don't be proud of that — look them up.
If lists or porn or ranking people turn you off, move on.
Enjoy this latest (my all-time greatest?) list ...
ABOVE: Cheyenne Jackson — happy to be alive.
ABOVE: Hey, I can look like that guy. I just have to hurry up and start working out 30 years ago.
Sad to read that Denise Nickerson of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory fame — she was Violet, who turned violet, Violet — has died at just 62.