10 Things That Were Different About Gay Porn 12 Years Ago

Posted October 23, 2014 by with 41 comments

deep south[2002’s GayVN winner for Best Gay Video: Deep South]

12 years might not seem like that long, but in the gay porn world, it bridges the distance between two completely different eras. If you were old enough to be buying and watching gay porn in 2002 and are still buying (or illegally downloading) gay porn now, you have no doubt noticed some changes in the industry! Here are 10 things—some good, some bad—that were different about gay porn 12 years ago.

fuck-you1. There were no Twitter meltdowns.
In 2002, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, and no ask.fm. Consumers didn’t know (and likely didn’t care) which gay porn stars were gay-for-pay, who got a DUI, or who wanted $100,000 to “pay for college.” It was a simpler time! Also, there wasn’t a gay porn blogosphere (even the grandfather of gay porn blogs, GayPornBlog.com, didn’t launch until 2003), so if you wanted gossip about your favorite stars, you’d have to sign into AOL and go to Data Lounge or ATKOL (remember ATKOL?? LOL).

 

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2. VHS still ruled.
With the exception of Sean Cody (which launched in 2001), the overwhelming majority of gay porn was still being released on VHS in 2002. So, instead of paying $1 for a trial membership to a gay porn site, you paid anywhere from $50-$100 for an entire movie, and you still used your VCR every night. I wonder if someone like Liam Riley even knows what a VCR is?

 

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3. There were adult bookstores.
If you didn’t have $100 to buy an entire movie, you could rent a tape (or a DVD) from your local adult bookstore, if you lived in a relatively big city with adult bookstores that carried homosexual titles. This was often problematic, because it meant you’d be showing the bookstore clerk your gay porn rental in a time when being gay wasn’t nearly as accepted as it is now.

 

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[Josh Weston et al. in Quarterback Sack]

4. There were no tattoos.
Why didn’t gay porn stars have tattoos in 2002? Coming out of the AIDS crisis of the 80’s and 90’s, the industry (and gay media in general) was focused on presenting big, strong, mostly hairless, healthy bodies. Covering anything up with tattoos would be counterintuitive.

5. There were no “scenes,” there were only full movies.
Studios made full features with loosely connected plots and storylines, usually consisting of 4-5 scenes. It took a long time to get through a movie, but if you didn’t like a certain performer, you could always fast forward to the next scene.

 

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6. Stars were paid per movie, not per scene.
Most big name stars were paid for each movie they did, not each scene. Old school talent agent David Forest recently told me that his clients (Ken Ryker, Ryan Idol, Jeff Stryker) used to make $12,000 per movie, and they’d usually only make two or three movies per year. And speaking of pay in general, newcomers would regularly earn $1,500+ to appear in their first movie. Now? A newcomer earns as little as $200 for doing a web scene. (Some studios like Sean Cody and Randy Blue still pay over $1,000 per scene.)

 

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7. There were magazines.
If a gay porn star wants press today, all he has to do is answer questions in an email—and sometimes the person writing the email doesn’t even have to be the person they say they are! Back in 2002, gay porn stars met with a magazine’s photographers and editors for customized photo shoots and in-depth, in person interviews to coincide with the release of their latest feature. Every single major gay porn magazine has since been shut down, including Inches, All Man, Mandate, Honcho, Men, and Unzipped.

 

[Colby Taylor & Jacob Hall in 2002’s Ready For More]
8. There was no bareback.
With the exception of two or three underground studios, there was no bareback gay porn in 2002. Even the suggestion of producing a condomless movie in 2002 would have gotten you blacklisted from the entire gay porn industry. Facial cum shots were looked down upon, too. Condoms weren’t just a requirement, they were also considered sexy, at the time.

9. There was less diversity.
As over-saturated as the market is now with niche sub-genres (Eskimo tranny midget porn, anyone?), we at least have the option to watch literally any kind of gay porn we want. 12 years ago, you could count the number of black gay porn stars on one hand (Jack Simmons, Rick Pantera, Jeremy Tucker, Tiger Tyson), fetish porn was practically unheard of (remember how they used to censor all the fisting scenes in the old Falcon movies?), and men over the age of 30 didn’t even exist (Dirk Caber would’ve been cast as a corpse, whereas at least now he’s cast as a creepy old man).

mike branson bryan silva[Mike Branson via Falcon Studios; Max Payne via NextDoorTwink]

10. The guys were hotter and the movies were better.
12 years ago, gay porn studios were run by gay men with better taste and (because they were actually gay men) direct experience with what their audience fantasized about. Plus, most of them cared about the quality of the movies they were releasing and the role those movies played in gay culture. For a lot of people for a long time, gay porn was the only place gay people could see other gay people portrayed in a positive light (or any light at all)—even if it was “just porn.” Now? Competing gay porn studios and their straight-owned parent companies are tripping over each other in a mad dash to produce 47 scenes per week—most of which usually end up on a free tube site 30 minutes after being released—and they’ll cast anyone with a dick and a valid ID to get the job done.

Today, literally anyone—anyone—can do gay porn. 12 years ago, gay porn stars like Mike Branson (above, left) were famous because of how good they looked while having sex with other men. Now? “Gay porn stars” like Max Payne (above, right) are famous—in fact, he’s been the most searched for name on this blog all year—because of their social media embarrassments and how awkward they look while trying to have sex with other men. That’s not the gay porn industry’s fault (Payne’s ridiculous Vines were filmed long after his two gay porn scenes); it’s simply what people are searching for. And hey, good for Max Payne, and good for his fans/haters. Every generation gets the gay porn star they deserve.

 

  • robirob

    A really great post/article, Zach.

    Remember “Director’s Cut” (especially the Falcon Studio releases)? With easy digital access gay porn studios no longer need to keep local (prudish) laws in mind where certain acts are not allowed to be shown on tape or DVD. This became obsolete when the distribution of gay porn went digital. The only site I occasionally see the Director’s Cut label is Chaosmen when the clip features watersports (and the site iirc claims that’s because of some restriction of the credit card billing service it ueses).

    • sxg

      Man I fucking hated that. I used to buy some Falcon VHS and DVDs through their site, only to have to give them a call and give my info again because they have to change my order to retail version. Texas was one of those states that restricted the sale of water sports and extreme assplay (mainly fisting) porn. Although when I started buying through TLA and movie mountain, I don’t remember ever having that problem.

  • Iain Gardener

    Thank you for this article Zach it brought back a lot of happy memories, I personally think the late 90s early 00s were the golden age of gay porn, the movies were hotter, I loved the mags, and I loved being able to rent instead of paying a small fortune for a tape.

    • robirob

      I remember as a closet case teen from the 90s early 00s I took long bus rides to the next big city in order to rent gay porn in a local gay porn rental store. It had that “rent five and keep ’em for three days!” offer I took advantage of every time (it’s the same shop I bought the VHS tape of Minets du Quebec with semi celeb Thierry Pepin, ah memories!).

      For me the porn from the 90s and early 00s was the first encounter of unapologetic display of homosexual identity (before that all I was aware of were those gay themed movies with Greek drama endings). And the Falcon Studios stuff … wow. Absolute: Aqua is still one of my most favorite porn movies (and I got my DVD copy signed by Lane Fuller during some random encounter in WeHo’s San Vincente Inn where I saw him at the pool, rushed to my room and grabbed the DVD sleeve and asked him to sign it which he graciously did).

    • Dakota

      Well now you have tube sites so you can save the rental fee or the embarrassment of going in person to a bookstore or rental place. I remember shaking renting a movie…or driving an hour a way to a Barnes & Noble to sneak a Playgirl

      • moondoggy

        I used to go to B. Dalton and look for a guy with a beard and glasses who never gave me a hassle when buying Playgirl. Of course, probably nobody would have given me a hassle, but I didn’t know that then, and I was so grateful to that guy for not making me feel sleazy.

        I also remember the first hardcore magazine I ever bought in NYC. I hid it inside a fitness magazine because I had friends waiting outside. I put the fitness magazine on the counter, and the cashier rang up both magazines without even touching them. He totally got what I was trying to do. It’s amazing to me the schemes I went through just to get naked men into the house.

  • John

    To me the other big change is that cum eating scenes are very common now. I love these scenes and they were so very, very rare 10 years ago and mostly with the ugly models from Treasure Island Media. Now they are common at Sean Cody, Corbin Fisher, Bel Ami and Lucas Entertainment.

    • sxg

      So true they were so taboo back then and extremely rare that they instantly made me blow my load when one came up. Falcon didn’t have their first cum eating scene until a few years ago I believe, not including one where you eat your own cum. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Erik Rhodes and D.O. scene was one of the earlier ones.

      • John

        Rhodes scene was the first cum eating scene at Falcon since the bareback days and it almost never happened even back in the days. Can you believe not a single guy ate Jeff Stryker’s or the murderer Ryan Idol’s cum. You have to go back to over 30 years ago to occasionally find such scenes.

  • This Me

    And there was no HIV in the general public b/c everyone in porn used condoms so everyone in the general public used condoms and no one had heard of barebacking and ppl who did bareback were vampires who lived in the woods (aka subhuman).

    • moondoggy

      • sxg

        Ok I feel stupid that I’m looking at this and I don’t get the joke lol

        • moondoggy

          lol … the joke is just that he’s making it sound as if 2002 were some magical idealized era. Before monsters ruled the earth. I’m pretty sure I’d rather be having sex now than in 2002. And for the record, there was plenty of bareback porn back then. Hot Desert Knights and Dick Wadd were both in operation by 1999.

  • Todd

    WELL DONE, Zach ! # 10 is particularly true and very much a sign of the times. Not only with the ‘professional’ studios …but every Tom, Dick and Harry can post their own amateur ‘scene’.
    And tattoos have become ridiculous …. I don’t mind a fairly small, simple one or two, but ‘hiding’ a hot body with multiple huge tattoo displays seems such a waste.
    And # 7 ………..AHHHHHHH, I miss magazines !! And am glad I kept so many of the ones I bought. I love the internet, but some of what is lost…

    • Dakota

      Yep there wasn’t much amateur porn at the time was there? I miss the magazines too. It seems like it was a more innocent time. I do remember all the gay porn stars you’d see in MEN then appearing in Playgirl under a different name…I miss the REAL MEN section in Playgirl and those college issues

      And lets not forget pubic hair still existed

      • sxg

        Lol yes there was! Have you never seen one of those 5hr video compilation VHS/DVDs? They’re available to see online as well I’m sure. There was plenty of bad porn to go around back then, and some popular names starred in it. Eric Evans, Michael Brandon I’ve seen those two with some awful pairings.

  • nodoubtfan

    “12 years ago, you could count the number of black gay porn stars on one hand”

    Let most of these highly-trafficked gay porn blogs tell it, and this is still the case.

  • Dakota

    I still remember the first MEN magazine I had sneaked. For a long time, it was the only one I ever had and the pages needless to say got sticky. But it was the first time seeing naked men – hairy, smooth, flaccid, erect. IT confirmed my ‘fears” (at the time) that I was gay.

  • sxg

    Not a fair comparison of our porn industry putting those 2 as examples. The Mike Branson one is fine, but the Bryan Silva one is not. That creepy thing was part of a niche genre of gay porn, whereas Mike Branson was in your basic average porn. Should have been a better comparison putting him up against another Falcon exclusive.

    Today the big name studios (including more popular digital studios like SC and RB) still have some of the hottest guys in porn, just like back then. And the lesser quality studios have a lot of hit and miss quality performers.

    Even then, I can’t fully agree that the men back then were hotter than they are today, but the concept of what’s hot has changed though. Take for instance a model like Johnny V, who most people on blogs do not find him attractive, and prefer to have Johnny’s boyfriend Joey. I think Johnny is hot, but I also think he has a more masculine rugged look that 12 years ago would have made him MUCH more popular than he is today.

    And lets take a model like Topher DiMaggio. If that makeup caked eyebrow plucked queen walked into Falcon, Raging Stallion, Hot House, Titan 12yrs ago to work, they’d laugh at him and tell him to go home and never come back. The level of masculinity in all of gay porn has been diluted because you’ve got so many people preferring a prettier guy in gay porn than the once dominant rugged masculine look.

  • https://twitter.com/analinguz analinguz

    Cool piece. Such memories.
    Worth noting, though, that only the big stars got paid big bucks for the movie. For most of the studio productions, the performers got paid per scene, which were shot piece-meal (sometimes over months) to match the “big idea” of the movie and then edited together with the interstitials later.

  • andrew

    I think the models today are better looking, more muscular, more fitness conscious and hotter. The models at SC, CF, BA etc. are way better than most guys in the past. I do think that it was better in the past when they had no BB and very few tats.

  • Alan Keddie

    Whoa! Let’s do the time warp. Again.

  • AJ

    Lord Jesus, take us back to 2002! Everything now is just quantity over quality, over-saturation and just trash!

  • Colton

    *sigh
    I remember the first contact I had with any display of gay sex was a magazine. I had this Blueboy magazine I bought when I was a teen; there was this red head hunky model playing with a leather strap in one of the editorials and in that magazine I first saw a picture of Mike Branson, I think I came just by loking at it.

  • Joe Blow

    Great post! Porn was definitely better 12 years ago.

  • pje821

    I agree with these observations, having lived through them. I still have a stockpile of VHS tapes I occasionally watch that have never been duplicated in quality or heat. The men were much hotter back then and there were better directors, editors and cameramen: Porn was more of an art form than most of the slop produced today. The only improvement is the accessibility via the Internet, and I do like the more diverse mixture of ethnicities.

    • clarklane

      I’d love to find a place to sell my VHF stuff! LOL I have so much!

  • ThatsEnoughGravy

    I am undoubtedly in the minority, but I think porn is just as hot today, if not more so, than 10 years ago. I guess I’m actually thinking more of ’90s porn. (I’m pretty sure the first porn I bought was a Matt Sterling one, “Matter of Size,” I think, though I had “Inch by Inch” and “Like a Horse,” too, realizing those are ’80s titles.)

    A buddy and I used to split the cost and buy every Falcon movie. I never watch Falcon anymore, but then, you could always tell as soon as the credits rolled (although usually we would’ve seen the full-color brochures the company would send out—brochures! To think!) what was going to happen, i.e., who was going to top and who was going to bottom. Rex Chandler, Ken Ryker, Mike Branson, Jeff Palmer (back then), Travis Wade (except briefly, once) et al were the tops, and Joey Stefano and “the blonds” were the bottoms. I’m exaggerating about the blonds, but only a little. There was never any sense of variety or surprise; the sexual roles were pretty much strictly delineated.

    And, my god, the music. I could hear it today and ID if it’s from Catalina or Falcon. Always the same. And Raging Stallion, to this today, has never filmed a movie or scene that they didn’t want to drown out all human sound in favor of a mind-numbingly repetitive piece of electronica, usually something “by” JD Slater.

    The plots I could totally live without. One can only watch so many prisoner/cowboy/mechanic/cop/fireman movies after all.

    The directors? It was really a pretty small group, and, um, not so much. Steven Scarborough, bizarrely, seemed to forget that guys had assholes, and also filmed scenes a mile away from the guys. Chi Chi had a misbegotten habit of filming, in scenes with more than two men, far apart, where usually the action you wanted to see (e.g., Colton Ford getting fucked) was given over instead to something you didn’t want to see (Aaron Tanner sitting on a dildo). And if Jerry Douglas devoted as much time to filming hot sex scenes as he did B-roll details (“We waited an hour to film the little calf, which represents…); in other words, Buckleroos, Dean Phoenix’s first onscreen bottoming rold, was dull as dishwater.

    I do think the performers today have too many tattoos (a personal turnoff, I realize) and are too overplucked and pierced and everything else. Just a lot of look in general going on (see Jake Bass). Taste is subjective, though.

    As far as cost, porn movies 10–20 years ago were $70, $80, even $100 for big Falcon titles like the Aspen series. Should they have been that expensive? I don’t know. I guess if it’s true that big names were making $12k (I’d trust David Forrest about as far as I could throw him), then the legacy companies had to charge numbers like that.

    Realizing this is too long, I’ll just recap why I like today’s porn better:
    • No music.
    • Guys are MUCH more likely to be versatile (in fact, Diesel Washington, for one, got routinely blasted for not rolling over).
    • The sex, because performers aren’t constrained by some goofball plot device that has them lying in wheelbarrows or over hoods of cars or bales of hale, is hotter.
    • No plots or costumes (typically). Give me two hot guys, who are really into each other, fucking the daylights out of each other on a bed. That’s it. I don’t care. I watch porn to see other people have sex not to watch bad actors struggle with bad dialogue.

    I used to have a bunch of VHS and DVDs; I sold almost all of them except for about half a dozen titles, the ones I considered my favorites. And I never watch them. (No one asked—for any of this!—but I’d say my favorite performers were Jason Branch, Colton Ford, Steve Cassidy…I went through a huge Zak Spears phase. Today, I like a slew of guys too. There’s always somebody I like.)

    • moondoggy

      “Night flight awaaaay …”

      I was a big fan of those movies. Matt Sterling had a way with the camera, though I was a much bigger Higgins fan. Not a fan of his current stuff, but Leo & Lance and Sailor in the Wild … my god, to have seen those in the theaters would have been thrilling. I wish they could be remastered for Blu Ray.

  • Eric from Sweden

    That’s Jason Hawk in one of the pics! How I used to adore him! What is he up to nowadays?

  • Super Marco Manuel

    No! Even early 2000s gay porn was bad.

    The best gay porn came out in the late 70s (Al Parker era),early 80s (Jon King era) and early 90s (Chris Stone era)

    Mid 90s gay porn from 1994 and 1995 (Hank Hightower and Dino Dimarco era) was still watchable.But,since 1996,gay porn went down.The late 90s (Tom Chase and Chris Steele era) was below average to bad.

    2000s gay porn was bad.Mid 2000s gay porn from 2004 and 2005 was bad also.2006 is when gay porn totally lost it.It was the beginning of the gay fo pay men becoming the majority of men in gay porn.Gay men started to become a minority back then.It got worse every years since then.Theres maybe 6% of real gay men left in gay porn.Pathetic.

    The only good thing left in gay porn from the 2000s was the hot men.Thats it.Hungarian gay porn was very fake with the over the top performance of hungarian gay porn stars.But,the men were hot.The Julian Vincezo era was watchable only for him.He was the show steeler and he was always the best in all his movies.But,his movies were bad.

    Dont let me start on 2010s gay porn.

    Gay porn lost it a long time ago.They should have kept gay porn gay.Yes.GAY!

  • Giorgio

    I LOVE that last line! Bravo.

  • Colorful Kent

    Gay4pay was mostly marketing, now it’s just greed.

  • DrunkEnough

    The only thing I don’t miss are the plots. Plots in porn are the one thing we never needed.

  • yaoirabbit

    You know you’re wrong for that last photo. 😀 But I do agree. The men back then did seem a lot more attractive. On the other hand, beauty isn’t really something I look for in porn. For me, the guy has to be unique. Take Damon Dogg for example. I’ve heard many people call him ugly, but I love him. The guy gave another man head while getting a tattoo from a lesbian. That was probably one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in porn.

  • Casey Scott

    “Every generation gets the gay porn star they deserve.” LOL so true! We got stuck with Chris Crocker doing porn, too. Entirely our fault for making him famous in the first place. For whining and crying into his webcam.

    I would disagree that there was no fetish porn 12 years ago. A quick glance at Adam Gay Video Directories from that era reveal a number of wrestling, leather/bondage, bear, and watersports videos. Fetish began with video in the late 80s (Christopher Rage/Live Video) and it hasn’t let up since.

  • eurostyle

    Back then, men had pubic hair
    These days, it’s like watching plucked chickens getting it on

  • http://cokefloatdr.tumblr.com/ Aaron Scott

    I fondly remember going to the adult section of the video rental place to rent Dirk Yates videos on VHS. Those were definitely the good old days.

  • http://twitter.com/seaguy11 Seaguy

    12 years ago when you went into a video store that had gay porn for rent it was all the same type of guys the Falcon look.

  • Frank Defeo

    “Every generation gets the gay porn star they deserve.”
    LOL at the bitter old queen talking.

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