Thursday, October 22, 2015

Truly Gay Newsworthy: End of the Printed Magazine Smut Era

It may seem strange to some that VGMH considers the end of a magazine publishing nudes of women for straight men to be newsworthy, but probably not to gay men who came into puberty at a certain time in our history.  One of the first smut magazines that my horny (and already hairy-knuckled hands) fumbled through was a Playboy which belonged to my Dad.  Actually, there were several of them buried at the bottom of a stack of non-sexual men's magazines.  And looking at those Playboys helped me to confirm something that I was already aware of about myself, which was that I felt differently than what was expected for how young guys were supposed to feel towards their sexuality.  The magazine showed me what I was supposed to be getting excited about (photos of pretty ladies with big breasts tastefully posed), but it just didn't do it for me.  At least the comics by Buck Brown and other illustrators featured images of men.  And it was fun to try and find the rabbit icon hidden in every cover photo.  Back then before computers there were not a lot of options, especially when you were still a kid living at home figuring things out.

This month, Playboy announced that starting next year, the legendary publication long known for showcasing the female physique in the nude will no longer feature naked ladies.  Playboy is going non-nude.  Playboy CEO Scott Flanders told reporters "That battle has been fought and won ... you're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free."  Indeed. Hugh Hefner created Playboy in 1953.  What once made the young hearts of teenage boys beat ever faster has become nothing special.  What was once the only smut available to young gay guys has been replaced with an Internet full of hot naked studs pointing their dicks right in your face.  Porn via the Internet has become a part of everyday life for many men.  Reporters say that evidence of that can be found in a study by the Alliance for Audited Media: Playboy's 5.6 million circulation in 1975 has taken a staggering fall to just 800,000.

It's the end of an era that defined male straight smut as something to be enjoyed and celebrated, albeit naughty and kept relegated to sock drawers and garage safe places.  Smut is still naughty mind you, and men don't always admit that they look and masturbate to it, but it's easily available.  And while gay-oriented smut images are now everywhere (if you are looking for it) no doubt many young men coming into puberty still fear being outed as they are trying to figure out who they are as men.  Author Gay Talese, who wrote about Playboy and Hefner in his 1981 book about the sexual revolution, "Thy Neighbor's Wife" noted "Playboy was important enough to be the first magazine in the mainstream that could both be called a literary magazine and a magazine for masturbation," he told The Associated Press.

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