Monday, February 28, 2011

Because It's Always Handy

The very first VGMH poll eventually wound up with over 1,000 participants---Back last September, the subject was men who self-identified as being straight, but desired or actually enjoyed sexual relations with gay men.  This time the subject is something nearly everybody can relate to---masturbation!

According to clinical sexologist Gloria Brame, Ph.D. (in a Men's Health story), we're programmed to need orgasms to function well as adult men:  "It's a fundamental aspect of men's health, right up there with brushing your teeth." Masturbation relieves stress and keeps everything about our body-- heart rate, blood pressure, reproductive system, and brain chemistry—in good shape.  There's also growing evidence that suggests masturbation impacts the body in positive ways that having sex with another person doesn't.  This may be a result of having no pressure to please anybody else. 

 A 2003 Australian study found that men who climaxed/ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer.  Regularly releasing semen prevents the build up of cancer-causing chemicals and triggers the body to remain in sperm-production mode, including healthy men in their 90's!  Another study found that many men who regularly masturbated had two methods--one was fast to relieve stress (part of a regular routine like taking a shower) and the other was slow with an emphasis on pleasure.

As before, it's anonymous 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Gold: Dustin Lance Black for 'Milk'

In 2009 Dustin Lance Black won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the 2008 film, Milk. 

Raised in a strict Mormon household (he won two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the television series Big Love).  Growing up surrounded by Mormon culture and military bases, Dustin said he worried about his sexuality. He told himself, "I'm going to hell. And if I ever admit it, I'll be hurt, and I'll be brought down" when he found himself attracted to a boy in his neighborhood at the age of about 7.

Dustin spoke movingly of the day he read Harvey Milk's real life story. Milk, who was shot dead in 1978, was the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. "It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married," Black said.

"If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are 'less than' by their churches, by the government or by their families: that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value. And that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you. And that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours. Thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk."
 It's reported that his acceptance speech was censored in 50 different Asian nations by pan-Asian satellite TV network STAR, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.  STAR spokeswoman Jannie Poon defended the network’s muting of the words “gay” and “lesbian” by saying STAR has “a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration.”

In 2010, Mr. Black was elected to the Board of Directors of the Trevor Project, a national crisis and suicide prevention organization helping Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning young people who are facing familial rejection or considering suicide.

Note: There's much more to Mr. Black's biography---this post is related to the Oscars.  The rest of his interesting life will be featured later.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Warren Beatty Revisited

This photo (right) is often reported to be of  a young Warren Beatty. 

Fast forward to today, and 6' 2"  Mr. Beatty is in very good company...along with Orson Welles and Woody Allen, 72 year-old Beatty is among the elite Hollywood stars to receive Oscar nominations in the best picture, actor, director, and screenplay categories. Beatty achieved this honor twice, first with Heaven Can Wait and the with Reds.

According to the book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, by Peter Biskind, young Warren had gay friends in good places when he began his career. It's reported that while in New York, Beatty met and became friends with William Inge, a gay playwright whose coming-of-age dramas A Loss of Roses and Splendor in the Grass marked the actor’s Broadway and Hollywood debuts. According to the book, Inge's close circle of gay friends referred to Inge as the straight Warren's “fairy godfather.” It also notes that Beatty likewise worked his charm on Tennessee Williams, landing The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.

Jane Fonda shared her thoughts about Beatty to writer Gregory Speck about.her first screen test in 1957 with the then-unkown Beatty.  "At the time I suspected that Warren might be gay, because he was so cute and had so many unusual, intellectual friends," Fonda told Speck.
December 1981

The heterosexual star is legendary for romancing women in real life...and  his 1975 film Shampo also broke new ground by knocking down stereotypes...the movie is about a free-swinging ladies hairdresser in Los Angeles.  While not correcting anyone (usually the straight males of his female clients) when they think he's stereotypically gay, George Roundy (Warren)  is busy having sex with just about all his lady clients. During the course of the movie, George devolves from being a thoughtless horny straight man into nothing more than a plaything of his lady clients, who realizes he's a victim of his own creation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Antonio Banderas

Born Jose Antonio Dominguez Banderas, this Latin movie star was born in 1960 in Spain, during the oppressive regime of Francisco Franco.  As we'll see, Antonio's gay professional connections began long before he gained recognition for his acclaimed role in the gay-themed Hollywood movie Philadelphia.

His name came from his father, Jose, and his mother’s brother, Antonio. It's reported that he knew early in his life that he wanted to be an actor, and in 1981 moved to Madrid and won a place as an ensemble member of the National Theater of Spain. To make ends meet, Antonio worked as a waiter and took modeling jobs.  After one lucky performance, he was introduced to openly gay radical film director Pedro Almod-var.  Pedro already was one of the most outrageous and talented directors around Spain, and together they joined forces and made several controversial movies, including Labyrinth of Passion (1982)... A screwball comedy that was both written and directed by Pedro and starring Antonio Banderas. The plot follows a nymphomaniac pop star who falls in love with a gay Middle-Eastern prince. Today, the movie's viewed as an outrageous look at love and sex, framed in the Madrid of the early 1980's, during the Movida madrileƱa (a period of sexual  freedom between the dissolution of Franco's regime and the onset of AIDS in Spain).  But it was the 1988 hit “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” that first brought Banderas into the big spotlight.

By 1992 Antonio made his Hollywood debut with The Mambo Kings (1992).   Because he didn't speak English, his dialogue was taught to him phonetically. 

In his next role, Mr. Banderas shot to international fame as Tom Hanks' boyfriend in Philadelphia (1993).  The role wasn't very large, and for a straight actor trying to make it big in Hollywood there were career risks associated with playing not only a gay man... but a gay man living and openly loving another gay man with AIDS.  For the short amount of time he appeared on screen, Antonio proved his acting skills and commanded the attention of everyone with a subtle yet memorable performance.
Sadly, his early experiences playing many gay roles was not always brought up in interviews to promote Philadelphia, including his work in the short film Delirio tercero, where he appeared in full frontal nudity.  Reflecting a mainstream media machine that wanted to sell Antonio's sexy acting and off-screen romances with women, most of the press also decided not mention Pedro Almod-var's Law of Desire (1987)  which follows the erotic and dangerous events between two gay men, after the younger man (Banderas) gets casually seduced for a fling in the sack by an older guy that he falls in love with.  Antonio (the younger man) doesn't want things to end there, and becomes obsessed with older Pablo, and seriously jealous of his steady lover, Juan.

In what many viewed as an especially tacky move by Playgirl magazine to try to increase their sales as the internet continued to take away their business, the February 1998 cover showed Antonio Banderas with promises of him nude inside.  Fair enough about the nudity, but unlike other actors who had actually agreed to pose naked for the magazine in the past, what was actually inside were mostly poor-quality stills from movie performances and one really tacky photo that said "This photo was taken off the internet.  Supposedly, it is Antonio Banderas.  You, the reader, be the judge."  Banderas and his lawyers claimed the image was a digital fabrication and threatened legal action.  The photo in question had already been around the internet for quite a while.  VGMH thinks that it's probably a fake, which is why it won't be shown here. 

In the media spotlight for years, Antonio's been named one of the most beautiful people in the world by People magazine and has won numerous awards and nominations for his works in film, including three Golden Globe nominations. Since 1996, Mr. Banderas has been married to Melanie Griffith and the couple have a daughter. He had been married to Ana Leza, but their eight-year marriage ended. Outside of his acting profession, it's reported that he's a passionate soccer fan and divides his time between his two homes in the United States and the South of Spain.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roseanne's Masturbation Episode 1993

While it's less the case today than in previous generations, many gay men come of age in a family/home environment that includes having straight older males around.  Oftentimes, reaching puberty makes us realize that our objects of sexual desire are not the same as brothers, fathers, uncles or family friends.  So closeted gay guys often get an additional burden early in adult life---not only to try and masturbate without the whole family knowing it, but also to try keeping what turns them on a secret. 

The name of the masturbating episode is Homeward Bound.  Roseanne urges Dan to have a man-to-man chat with D. J. after they discover he's been spending way too much time behind locked doors in the bathroom.   Dan doesn't especially like the idea of telling his son that he does it, too.

While the episode wasn't ground breaking (Seinfield presented The Contest episode in 1992), the Roseanne show won praise for offering a healthy viewpoint for what is normal adult male behavior in most families.  At one point as they come to grips with the facts, they look under D.J.'s bed and find one of Roseanne's fashion model magazines and one of Dan's motorcycle breasty babes smut publications.  It's been said that the the progressive writers/producers debated having them discover masturbation material that would have suggested their son might be gay, but the topic of masturbation was controversial enough to tackle.  In October 1990 (Trick or Treat episode), Dan was worried about his son's sexuality when D.J. dressed as a female witch for Halloween.  The Homeward Bound episode was rated TV-PG D,L for suggestive dialogue and language.

Roseanne makes Dan go out to the garage and talk to DJ about masturbating because she feels bad that they embarrassed him. Dan feels uncomfortable but has the talk, and in the process, lets his son know why the smut magazines were kept by him  in the garage in the first place.

Interestingly, just as D.J. discovered his dad's smut in the garage, a 1986 AGPI health study surveyed 117 gay men about their earliest sexual experiences. A whopping 86% said they 'borrowed' hidden heterosexual porn from an older male family member without their knowledge.  In addition to feelings of excitement, many identified depression and shame as they knew their straight male family members were aroused by the females, while they were aroused by the males. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 1984, Part Two

Ahhh, those sexy gym rats of the 1980's. Tom Reiber not only had a beautiful head of feathered hair, but "Tom Jr." was also looking very nice between those muscular legs!  At 29, the private investigator (at least according to the story's narrative) could do some undercover work here at VGMH anytime he wants.  Does he look semi-erect in this enlarged photo above? No measurement worries here, all sizes and shapes are welcome in this gym! 
That's a Gold's Gym shirt on Tom and it looks like he's not wearing a strap under those black shorts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Masturbating Will Ruin Your Life! (Part Two)

Throughout history, certain guys have obsessed about other men masturbating, and not in an especially healthy way.  It seems that they just couldn't stop from getting all hot and bothered about other guys enjoying their dicks in their private sexual lives.  In the future, we'll look at the beginnings of corn flakes and how cereal fits into this weird topic, but first let's go back to the mid-1970's.

While most people were moving towards sexual enlightenment in the 1970's, it seems that the Mormon Church came out with a 'do and don't' pamphlet (TO YOUNG MEN ONLY) designed especially for males at risk of touching themselves for pleasure.   In addition to the horrible act of masturbation, the evils of homosexuals were reportedly described within.  The pamphlet was the result of a sermon given on October 2, 1976 by Boyd K. Packer, in which this church leader cleared up a lot of confusing facts about becoming a man and sexuality:

"I wish to explain something that will help you understand your young manhood and help you develop self-control. When this power begins to form, it might be likened to having a little factory in your body, one designed to produce the product that can generate life."   
"This little factory moves quietly into operation as a normal and expected pattern of growth and begins to produce the lifegiving substance. It will do so perhaps as long as you live. It works very slowly. That is the way it should be. For the most part, unless you tamper with it, you will hardly be aware that it is working at all."
  "[...] Sometimes a young man does not understand. Perhaps he is encouraged by unwise or unworthy companions to tamper with that factory. He might fondle himself and open that release valve. This you shouldn't do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up. You will then be tempted again and again to release it. You can quickly be subjected to a habit, one that is not worthy, one that will leave you feeling depressed and feeling guilty. Resist that temptation. Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. Keep it in reserve for the time when it can be righteously employed."

Unfortunately, Packer and his views still continue, long after 1976.  He has been a Mormon apostle and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since 1970 and a general authority of the Mormon church since 1961. Currently, it's reported that he is the second most senior apostle among the ranks of the church. We'll take a fun look at his views on gays another time.

The good news is that by 1976 mainstream public views on sexual enjoyment had changed for most Americans.  The voices of fear, self-hatred and guilt now reached fewer and fewer ears.  Jimmy Carter was interviewed in Playboy where he made this famous statement about not judging others in terms of sex: "I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times.... This is something that God recognizes, that I will do and have done, and God forgives me for it. But that doesn't mean that I condemn someone who not only looks on a woman with lust but who leaves his wife and shacks up with somebody out of wedlock. Christ says, don't consider yourself better than someone else..."  Here at VGMH, one man's lust is another man's fist full of fun. 

As the mid-seventies went into high gear, masturbation (regardless of which gender you were thinking about) began to come out of the mass media closet as an acceptable topic.  But far off shore was a storm building strength.  By the 1980's, this personally delightful activity would take on an importance that truly became a matter of life and death to many.  But this was still 1976, Rich Man Poor Man was a hit on television, and Nick Nolte no doubt was the subject matter for many a one-handed good time.

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 1984

Pierce Brosnan was the cover tease, but to see some dick you had to turn to page 64 and their nude pictorial entitled Go For The Burn.  The table of contents described this feature as "Men who teach aerobics are exhorting you to reach, stretch, bounce and boogie—and you're loving it!"

This exercise-themed layout was pretty lame in terms of quantity and quality of nude photos, except for a couple of studly exceptions that they actually managed to shoot quite nicely.  Christopher Kahn (above) gets the VGMH vote for man with the thickest bush at the gym! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gay President James Buchanan

Some homophobic people still refuse to acknowledge that America's had at least one gay president.  Even though the man in question is routinely regarded as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history, they still don't want to elevate the standing of  a "homosexual" to that prestigous job title--it's just not as easy to try and brand all gays with molesting and bestiality arguments when there was a Commander in Chief who had a long-term love affair with another man.  And the president's likely lover? He once held the title of United States Vice President.

As the 15th President of the United States (from 1857 to 1861) James Buchanan was as they say, a 'life-long bachelor' and the only U.S. president to have never married.  But that doesn't mean he was gay, right?   Sure, there's also the fact that for 15 long years (prior to his presidency), Buchanan lived with his dearest friend, Alabama Senator William Rufus King.  So what if King never married in his lifetime, either.  But that doesn't make them gay.  Lots of men lived together back then, but they usually did so because of money--these were two wealthy gentleman.   And so what if they wrote many intimate letters to one another, personal enough in content that the president's nieces destroyed most of them upon the president's death?   All of that doesn't prove anything they argue--there is nothing in that record to confirm without a doubt his sexual preference. And this is true.

Yet it's more than just these facts that's lead respected historians to believe he was gay.  It's looking at not just selected parts of his life, but putting everything together that forms a conclusion.  The argument made, that it's totally inappropriate to apply today's values and living standards to other eras, is absolutely correct--however even for the time peiord in which Mr. Buchanan lived, rumors were circulating about his sexuality.  In Professor Loewen's book, "Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong," the scholar asserts that Buchanan's long-time living companion, King, was referred to as "Aunt Fancy" by the era's Beltway crowd.  Who were these beltway gossips and why would anyone believe them?  Oh, people like Andrew Jackson, who liked to refer to King as "Miss Nancy." There's also Aaron V. Brown ( Governor of Tennessee and Postmaster General in the Buchanan administration) who spoke of the two as "Buchanan and his wife."  The point is, Buchanan's sexual orientation was widely rumored  while he was still living, to the point that when people talked about "Mrs. Buchanan" they typically knew it meant Mr. King.

Yet despite this bitchy name calling, there were no Moral Majority or Bible thumping fundamentalists in politics strong enough to plague them or ruin their lives. The King-Buchanan liaison was generally accepted (and snickered at) as a political and personal fact of life.  Rightfully so, the nation was consumed with real issues like freedom and slavery.

But wait! There's still the argument that in 1819, James Buchanan almost married Ann Coleman. The couple had became engaged. Then, Coleman heard rumors about Buchanan (exactly what they were about has been disputed. Suggestions include his drinking, wanting to marry for money, and sexual dalliances).  She was embarrassed and hurt and broke off the engagement.  She then died of an opium overdose. Buchanan was not allowed to attend her funeral.  While some use this intended marriage as proof that he was heterosexual, VGMH knows marriages of convenience happen all the time, and especially happen a lot in political careers.

Mr. Buchanan wrote in 1844, after his companion Mr. King left for France: "I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me.  I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them.  I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection."

By 1852 King was elected Vice President of the United States with Franklin Pierce in 1852 and took the oath of office on March 24, 1853. Shortly afterward, King returned to his Chestnut Hill plantation and died within 2 days.  This adds yet another dimension to history--a gay Vice President.  Eventually abandoned by his party, Pierce was not renominated to run in the 1856 presidential election and was replaced by James Buchanan as the Democratic candidate.

In his December 1860 message to Congress (just 3 months before Lincoln was inaugurated as the new President), President Buchanan declared that the southern states had no right to leave the union, but that the federal government had no right to stop them. By the time he left office 3 months later, 7 states had already left the Union, and the Confederates had looted the arsenals in the South. Buchanan did not exercise his powers as Commander In Chief.  After he left the White House, Buchanan explained that he did not stop secession out of fear that hostile African Americans would overrun the North.  On Buchanan's final day as president, March 4, 1861, he remarked to the incoming Lincoln, "If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You'll Go Blind! Masturbation Myths 1930-1970

Unlike today's conventional wisdom that masturbation is both natural and healthy, myths and warnings about the dire consequences of self-pleasure were nothing new for many guys who reached puberty between 1930 and the 1960's.

In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Alfred Kinsey first published results of over 15 years of research in human sexual behavior. His studies revealed that approximately 95% of males and 60% of females masturbated.  The results of the study were widely publicized to the adult general public, which was groundbreaking in itself.  Something of a backlash occurred with conservative organizations who didn't like the findings or the study.  Fear that it would encourage men to polish their knobs without any guilt helped to fuel these already-common warnings, especially via rural communities and religious organizations:
  • Masturbation can make you go blind or weaken your eyesight so you have to wear glasses!
  • Masturbation causes you to grow hair on the palms of your hands!
  •  If you get semen on your knuckles, hair will grow on them!
  • It causes one testicle to grow larger than the other from all the excessive abuse!
  • Masturbation eventually leads to mental illness!
  • Masturbation permanently reduces the quantity or quality of sperm for reproduction!

  • Husbands eventually won't be able to use their penis (for penetration) as it becomes dependent upon being manually stimulated instead!

  • If you do it in your youth, you'll get addicted for the rest of your life.
  • And VGMH's favorite from a 1946 publication: "[masturbators] become unable to control the urge.  [doing it at] public toliets and showers result in homosexual perversion, arrest, humiliation and suicide." 

·         PART TWO: