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arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

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Porn Stars  
 
page: 1  2  

Similarly, the late 1980s saw the emergence of Ryan Idol, another young straight performer whose striking good looks led to a busy career of personal appearances and porn films that continued sporadically into the 1990s.

A self-identified gay performer, Joey Stefano, also came onto the scene in the 1980s. Unlike most of his predecessors (with the notable exception of Casey Donovan), Stefano made his career primarily as a "bottom," taking the receptive role in anal sex. This contrast between the straight-identified "tops" and gay-identified "bottoms" became in some ways a hallmark of 1980s porn.

Stefano's legendary problems with drugs led to his death by an overdose in 1994, but his troubled life and career only enhanced his romantic appeal for many viewers, making him the James Dean of the porn world.

The 1990s: Lukas Ridgeston, Ken Ryker

Foreign-produced porn, especially from eastern Europe, became increasingly common and popular during the 1990s. Sometimes produced or directed by Americans, these films featured attractive, young athletic men, among whom the most famous was Lukas Ridgeston.

Ridgeston's classic good looks and youthful innocence even led to occasional personal appearances in the United States. However, the geographic distance between these performers and their primary market in America meant that stardom was difficult to attain for most.

The 1990s saw yet another shift in gay porn stardom, perhaps best represented by Ken Ryker. His first performance dating to the mid-1990s, the strapping Ryker (his name undoubtedly purposely chosen to echo that of Stryker) was initially a straight-identified top. As the decade wore on and his fame grew, he began to be more active in his roles, engaging in kissing and oral sex.

More importantly, in interviews Ryker hinted that he was not straight, without actually identifying himself as gay. This tactic was similar to the hedging done by many mainstream Hollywood actors when queried about their sexuality. Ryker's fuzzy sexual identity heralded a gradual decline of interest in the straight top in favor of gay-identified stars.

The New Millenium

In the new millenium, Tom Chase and Steve Cassidy came to represent the new wave of gay porn stars: masculine and muscular, sexually versatile, and confidently gay.

Gay porn stars are paid relatively little for their performances. Salaries even for top level models rarely exceed several thousand dollars per scene. Instead, they rely on personal appearances and engagements in clubs as strippers for most of their money. Many also turn to prostitution--"escorting"--to boost their incomes. Their faces also appear in a vast array of advertising for gay products, from night clubs to sexual aids.

Porn stars' presence in the gay subculture--in entertainment, advertising, and as representatives in gay pride parades everywhere--is ubiquitous. They represent the unashamed expression of gay identity through their open practice of the sexuality that defines that identity.

Coupled with pornography's accepted, even exalted status in gay life, and the lack of many visible gay role models in the broader culture, it should not be surprising that porn stars constitute an important part of gay culture.

Joe A. Thomas

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Pornographic Film and Video: Gay Male

Gay male pornographic film and video, which dates from the release of Wakefield Poole's The Boys in the Sand in 1971, has provided gay men an all-too-rare positive image of gay sexuality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sex Work and Prostitution: Male

Sex workers range from well-organized professionals who work for escorting agencies, perform in pornographic films, or manage independent escort businesses to those who engage in unpremeditated and sporadic cash transactions resulting from casual encounters.

arts >> Dean, James

Although he spent only two years in Hollywood before his untimely death, James Dean became an enduring icon of American film, one whose brooding non-conformity helped challenge rigid notions of masculinity.


    Bibliography
   

Burger, John R. One-Handed Histories: The Eroto-Politics of Gay Male Video Pornography. Binghamton, N. Y.: Harrington Park Press, 1995.

Edmondson, Roger. Boy in the Sand: Casey Donovan, All-American Sex Star. Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 1998.

______. Clone: The Life and Legacy of Al Parker, Gay Superstar. Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 2000.

Isherwood, Charles. Wonder Bread and Ecstasy: The Life and Death of Joey Stefano. Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 1996.

LaRue, Chi Chi [Larry Paciotti], with John Erich. Making It Big: Sex Stars, Porn Films, and Me. Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 1997.

Wrangler, Jack, and Carl Johnes. The Jack Wrangler Story; or, What's a Nice Boy Like You Doing? New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Thomas, Joe A.  
    Entry Title: Porn Stars  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated June 22, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/pornstars.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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