Sex talk
Speaking of Reading Porn

Simon Sheppard,

Is a dirty word worth a thousand dirty pictures?

It's a truism that when it comes to sex, the male of the species is visually oriented; if all the gay porn pictures in the world were placed end to end, they'd reach from here to orgasm. But some queer guys like raunchy reading; they prefer their smut to come with commas and semicolons as well as dicks and butts.

One horny reader says, "I just find that a story with characters and dialogue involves me more than a photo of a man with a shaved crotch." Granted, when it comes to porn stories, "dialogue" may be rather loosely defined. The literature of lust is often semiliterate, but that's just how many men like their smutty stories: dick-swelling, not mind-stretching. Horny Reader continues, "On the other hand, I don't want porn stories to be about much more than sweaty guys getting it on with each other."

True (or supposedly true) first-person narratives often fit the bill. The landmark series Straight to Hell was a fine example of the genre, chock full of carnal confessions told with a minimum of pretension and a maximum of cock. These days, amateur postings on the Internet serve a similar rough-and-ready, randy function.

But somewhere along the line, stroke stories got class. The last decade or so has seen the publication of erotic anthologies filled with well-written, cleverly plotted porn. There's even a cutesy term for it: "literotica." Says a fan of the genre, "I love to read about men having sex, but there's just so many times I want to read stories about impossibly well-hung, well-built men mindlessly doing each other while saying, 'Oh yeah, suck that big one.' Hell, that's just like a bad video, only without the pictures. Give me porn that's a good story, not just an excuse to jerk off."

Of course, few of us actually need excuses to jerk off. But erotic writing can perform a whole variety of fuck-filled functions.

Porn can serve as an introduction to queer sex for the virginal. 'When I was younger, I got my first ideas about gay sex from reading erotica," says an older gent. "Of course, some of it had as much to do with real gay life as Star Trek has to do with outer space."

Kinkier tales can also serve as a primer in perversion for those vanilla folks with a yen for something more, but some of the details should be taken with a grain of salt. Warns the older gent, "I've read S/M stories which, if they happened in real life, would end up with everyone permanently maimed or dead."

While some guys engage in one-handed reading, others get excited by stories but pound the pud sometime later, using the stuff they've read as a jumping-off point for their own fantasies. And, self-stimulation aside, some men just plain like to read about screwing. "Sex," says one, "is just the most interesting thing I can imagine."

In an age of multimedia saturation, written erotica can still provide what pictures, videos, and downloaded cock-filled clips can't: insights into character, noncliched dialogue, plots that go beyond "a cute guy comes to clean the swimming pool." On the other hand, some men simply like to choke the chicken while reading dirty words, and that's fine, too. Masturbation is an old and noble art – older even, perhaps, than storytelling. These days, the horny reader can find pretty much whatever he wants, from exquisitely crafted epics of love and desire to sweaty stories of monosyllabic he-men with humongous prongs.

And hey, isn't that what freedom of choice is all about?

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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