Brody James is back with us today. He’s here again this week for Part 2 of our conversation about his Sex EDGE-U-cation; that is his personal journey into the world of kink and alternative lifestyles.
But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of this delightful conversation that appeared here last week at this time, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in my Podcast Archive. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #246 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.
Brody and I discuss:
The different kinds of highs associated with being dominate/submissive;
The recreational and cathartic aspects of BDSM;
Seeking guidance and advice from his role models;
The scenes he gets into;
Power play and sex;
Polyamory — the solo and relationship types;
Dating outside the kink community;
Being an out and proud kinkster.
Brody invites all you members of fetlife.com to look for him there. You can find by searching for his profile: BJK32
I have a delightful twist on the Sex EDGE-U-cation podcast series for you today. As you know, in this series I’ve been chatting with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles; we’ve been taking a look at the world of fetish sex and kink. Not surprisingly, this series has generated loads of comments from my audience, mostly from folks new to the scene. You’ve told me how much you are enjoying these conversations and how much you’ve been learning from listening to the masters speak. I feel the same way; I can’t tell you how enriching this series has been for me personally.
So all of this feedback got me to thinking. Wouldn’t it be interesting to interview some relative newcomers to the scene to see how they are making their way? Well that turned out to be easier said then done. Most of the budding kinksters I invited to join me were flattered that I asked them to participate, but all were too shy to actually follow through. That is until I had the good fortune to meet today’s very special guest, Brody James.
Brody graciously agreed to talk with me about his personal journey. And so he is here today to let us know how it’s all going. I know you will be as charmed as I by this marvelous young man and our frank discussion.
Brody and I discuss:
His impressions of Folsom Fringe and The Folsom Street Fair;
Who is Brody James, international man of mystery;
His first foray into the scene;
The learning curve involved;
Opening a primary relationship;
Self-identifying as kinky;
A working definition of power play;
Classes at CSPC with BondageLessons Max;
Is BDSM synonymous with power play;
Defining Dominate/top & submissive/bottom.
If you’re a member of fetlife.com, you can find Brody by searching for his profile: BJK32
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
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DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!
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We’re back with that exceptional erotic author and novelist, the one and only James Lear. This is Part 2 my of my chat with James in this podcast series called The Erotic Mind. As you know, we’ve been chatting with erotic artists of every stripe in the hope of uncovering something of the creative process involved with this specialized art form.
If you somehow missed Part 1 of this delightful yet provocative discussion look for last week’s podcast, #102 on Dr Dick’s PODCAST PAGE at the top of the page. Or use the search function; just type in podcast #102. Don’t forget to include the # sign.
James will share with us a juicy passage from his best-selling novel, The Palace of Varieties. I am currently deep into reading this brilliantly smutty work myself. And I have James and his generous publisher, Cleis Press, to thank for that, don’t cha know.
I have an exceptional show in store for you. Today, we return to my series of interviews with noted erotic artists called The Erotic Mind, As you know, we’ve been chatting with these ingenious people in hopes of uncovering something of the creative process involved with this specialized art form.
Sex fans, I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming the reigning king of gay erotic fiction. No wait, I need to correct that. My guest is actually the reigning king of all erotica, the amazing James Lear.
James is a prolific author and novelist. His work is recognized all over the world as topnotch. In fact, he was named “Best Writer” at the 2008 Erotic Awards. No mean feat that, I can tell ya.
And as a special treat, James will share with us a juicy morsel of the delectable fruit of his Erotic Mind. You don’t want to miss this, people!
James and I discuss:
His nom de plume?
His very successful career and how it began.
His diverse audience of both women and men, gay and straight.
Who is writing gay erotic fiction these days.
The Slash Fiction phenomenon.
Breaking down traditional writing niches.
Avoiding clichés when creating sex scenes.
And like I said, James serves up a juicy bit of his own erotica.
On 18 May 2011 , the prolific dominatrix-turned-pornstar Asa Akira sent her Twitter followers one brief, but provocative message: “Ass is the new pussy.”
Although Akira was not the first to utter this smutty axiom, the tagline has been pegged to her name. That may have made it easy for many to dismiss the concept as nothing more than a shocking, perhaps self-promotional assertion by a savvy performer sometimes known as porn’s ” Ass Queen .” But the starlet wasn’t just blowing smoke out of her buttocks. She was channeling a growing and convincing body of data on the inexorable rise of heterosexual anal play in America.
We can actually track the rise of heterosexual anal sex over the past quarter century thanks to your tax dollars. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a series of studies in which they asked huge groups of people the same nosey questions about their sex lives— including whether men had ever put their penises “in a female’s rectum or butt” and if women had experienced a man putting his penis in their rectums (or butts) . In 1992, 20 percent of women and 26 percent of men aged 18 to 59 had reached fifth base with an opposite sex partner at least once. In 2005, the figure was 35 percent of women and 40 percent of men aged 25 to 44. In 2011, it was 39 percent of women and 44 percent of men aged 15 to 44. In some smaller age subgroups, the prevalence of anal experimentation was even more common.
The CDC didn’t ask whether people had heterosexual anal sex on the reg (probably because it’s hard to measure what “the reg” means), experimented with other forms of anal play, or tried male-recipient butt stuff. The best numbers we get regarding frequency are studies that look at what proportion of people had heterosexual anal sex in the last year, or the last time they had sex, which is a weak proxy at best. But it give us a sense that recurrent hetero butt sex is on the rise as well as one-off experiments.
A 2010 study also suggests that experimentation with wider forms of anal play may be even more common than experimentation with anal sex amongst heterosexual couplings. Among its subjects, 43 percent of women and 51 percent of men surveyed in heterosexual couples copped to testing out anilingus, anal fingering, or anal toy play at least once. A 2008 study suggests that at least some self-identified heterosexual men are receiving anal pleasure as well (mostly fingering, some anilingus). We have no good data to compare that to in terms of trends. But given the taboos against men receiving anal play, any male-receiver experimentation seems, anecdotally at least, like a pretty big sign of the times.
Yet for all that we’ve collectively bickered, raved, and railed about this widely acknowledged trend, almost no one’s investigated what America’s changing anal inclinations have meant for the sex market— namely brothel owners, pornographers, and toy manufacturers . To find out, I reached out to a few makers and shakers in the sex industry to get a quick look at how America’s smut mongers have responded to the rise of hetero anal sex.
Art by Peter Johann Nepomuk Geiger
PORN IN THE HETERO ANAL-ERA
According to Pornhub, the king of dirty search data, the heterosexual anal revolution correlates with exactly the trends you’d imagine. Anal-relatedporn searches still represent less than 10 percent of all queries on their site. However, anal is a more common term among straight content searches than gay ones and its pervasiveness in hetero searches is rising rapidly. Pornhub crunched the numbers for VICE and found that between 2009 and 2015 , anal-related searches increased by 120 percent in America. That’s significantly higher than the 78 percent increase in anal-related searches globally. The increase was steeper among male than female users, but anal-related tags were still the 18th most searched most searched terms among the site’s female clientele.
(As a side note, Pornhub’s investigation found that users aged 18 to 24 are actually 33 percent less likely to look for anal content than users aged 35 to 44, which is unexpected given how often we talk about hetero-anal as a young person’s game. But that 18 to 24-year-old demographic is 290 percent more likely to search for My Little Pony porn than any other age bracket, which is certainly its own can of worms.)
Image by Paul Avril
Yet, despite this clear demand spike, and the excitement a first-time anal scene can generate for a female performer, anal-focused heterosexual videos make up a small portion of the market. A Pornhub investigation last year revealed that just 7 percent of their straight content has an “anal” tag on it. And it doesn’t seem like porn studios are making any notable move to increase the volume of anal-focused content they create.
“I don’t think the overall production has gone up,” says Holly Kingstown, the editor of Fleshbot and a fixture of the adult industry since 1999 who’s held every job possible save actress. “In your talent pool, there are still [only] a certain number of girls who will do [anal]. And how many of that scene can you do with that girl?”
“There are performers who are willing to do it,” possibly due to industry pressures and consumer demand. “But in terms of the quality, when you’re talking about DVD sales…” she adds, before pausing briefly. “You can get a crappy internet scene or two out of a girl, but if she’s not really good at it, you’re not going to get that too many times. And when you’re talking about a girl who does it just to get a scene, it’s usually not going to be a girl who loves it or does it very well. So she’s not going to get that much work.”
Kingstown does believe that there’s more consumption of the anal-focused content that already exists. But the absolute number of anal-focused titles available for consumers is fairly static.
What has changed, says Kingstown, is the tone and packaging of the anal porn that gets made. Towards the early 2000s, when Kingstown was still working at Buttman Magazine, she and a her colleagues realized that more couples, versus angry men looking for painal (grimacing girls , visibly suffering and un-lubed ass-ramming), were exploring their content. Adjusting to this mass market, pornographers shifted to portraying anal as pleasurable and normal versus painful and sick, which had apparently been the norm for the bulk of anal porn content up to that point.
“You still see the stuff where you’ll see a woman called an ‘anal whore.’ But you also see the tone overall to be a bit more… I want to say woman-positive,” says Kingstown. “For example, I’m looking at my desk and I’ve got James Deen Loves Butt here. This isn’t James Deen Loves Sodomizing Little Girls and Making Them Cry . That title would sell too, but to a whole different audience. There’s Anal Warriors, where women are shown as strong and powerful and in control of the sex that they’re having. There’s a whole ton of these kinds of movies where the women who enjoy anal are shown as strong and powerful.”
But even if movies today portray anal sex as pleasurable, they still don’t paint it realistically. They don’t focus on the time and preparation most (s)experts agree good anal requires . They often show a ramrod, angled experience that wouldn’t be pleasant for more than a few women in the world. Of course, a lack of realistic sexuality is a chronic problem in all niches of fantasy-driven porn.
We’re seeing a lot more prolapses. We’re seeing double anal. It used to be five anal scenes, done, not four anal scenes and a double penetration. They can go further, so they do. –Holly Kingstown
This pleasurable-looking anal, says Kingston, is now treated like a run-of-the-mill aspect of porn rather than a specialty act. Whereas in the past, you might stuff all your anal content into one niche film, nowadays directors think nothing of nonchalantly inserting an anal scene into a larger project. The overall amount of anal content remains the same—it’s just not as clustered into niche markets and individual movies. Yet, as anal becomes a normal part of heterosexual porn for a wider audience, a small audience craving painful or extreme porn, for whom anal is now too passé and mainstream, has started demanding more physically taxing and (Kingston believes) potentially dangerous ass play acrobatics from the limited actress pool.
“You see a lot more circus stuff than you used to,” says Kingstown. “We’re seeing a lot more prolapses. We’re seeing double anal. It used to be five anal scenes, done, not four anal scenes and a double penetration. They can go further, so they do. And physically, there’s only so far that you can go with your body [as a performer].”
SEX TOYS IN THE HETERO-ANAL ERA
“Anal sex has always been a frequent topic of conversation with our [mostly heterosexual] customers,” Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland, told VICE when we asked for data on anal-related sex toy sales. The Seattle-based outfit with three outlets in New York is often hailed as one of the most accessible and acclaimed sex toy shops in America—a profile that lends it a large consumer base. “The ‘How to Have Butt Sex’ content on Babeland.com is the number one viewed piece of our [editorial] content. It has almost double the number of eyes on it as the ‘How to Give a Blow Job’ article, which is the second most viewed [item]. We don’t have data before 2009, but it’s always been number one.”
A Babeland survey of 18,412 customer respondents in 2009 (not a reliable sample, due to self-reporting issues, but still one of the better pieces of data you can find on this subject matter) also found that, 60.5 percent of men and 40.1 percent of women had tried using a butt plug, 56.8 percent of men and 31.7 percent of women had tried using an anal dildo, 51.8 percent of men and 29.2 percent of women had tried using an anal vibrator, and 37.4 percent of men and 27.8 percent of women had tried using anal beads.
Yet even with a high baseline of anal interest, Babeland has seen an increase in anal-related sales. Between 2012 and 2015, the genre averaged about 5 percent growth per year. As of 2015, Cavenah estimates that such toys, specifically made with anal in mind, make up about 16 percent of Babeland’s sales.
What’s more significant to Cavenah and company, they say, is how they’ve witnessed the tone and level of openness their customers use when talking to them about purchases and proclivities evolve. The hushed voices and seedy aura customers once took into transactions has faded away. And as people get more open, comfortable, and explicit with their anal sex toy needs, toy makers have responded to their feedback with a deluge of new, specifically anal-targeted sex toys , including smaller models marketed towards anal beginners. Babeland’s also noticed more luxury anal sex toys coming onto the market—products made of metal or glass, substances with higher price points—which suggests the emergence of a fair number of swankier, less bashful customers.
“We’ve definitely seen a shift in more interesting, innovative, and high-qualitybutt toys from some of the leading sex toy companies,” says Cavenah. “Je Joue debuted a remote-controlled vibrating prostate stimulator this spring. Anal toys come with vibrators, apps, and magnetic resistance that creates a pulsating sensation. There are also lubricants, such as Sliquid [Naturals] Sassy , that are marketed specifically for anal use.”