It took us a little while, but Bravo Delta and I finally managed to settle on a location for his interview. I had my heart set on a picnic table.
We had met the night before over lobster rolls in Boston’s Atlantic Fish Co., gotten through the preliminaries, and so were able to get down to business. That is, answering questions posted to his Tumblr account.
If you haven’t read Bravo’s Tumblr (NSFW), I highly recommend it. It’s one of the reasons I was so keen to speak with him in the first place. Bravo got his start on XTube (NSFW- his username has since become his porn name) recoding solo masturbation videos. We talked about how he initially noted that his followers were mostly male, but figured that made sense. I believe his official answer was a shrug. It was only when extremely popular NYC-based gay porn studio CockyBoys contacted him that he really started to consider his opinions about sex with men.
And this is what makes his Tumblr so interesting. Bravo is very transparent about the evolution of his desires. Before his first CockyBoys shoot he would have identified as straight, but in our interview he placed himself as a 2 or 2.5 on the Kinsey scale (where 0 is exclusively heterosexual and 6 is exclusively homosexual). We talked about this evolution, his experience with dating men, and how a large portion of his audience wants him to define his sexuality in more concrete terms than he’s willing to use.
For those not familiar with the blogging service, Tumblr allows visitors to a blog to post questions to the author, either through their own Tumblr account or anonymously. It was these questions that served as the framework for our interview. We got questions that ranged from tech support to marriage proposals, from dating advice to variations of “are you really straight?” He answered each of them candidly and as best he could. It gave us jumping-off points into his first experiences with men, how he still imagines settling down with a woman, and how his first time giving head to a guy came as a bit of a surprise. It was during his first duo scene with CockyBoys. He was expecting just to receive oral from scene partner Max Ryder, but during filming he was asked to reciprocate. He describes what went through his head at the time:
“Now I’m not one to say YOLO, but I thought ‘oh whatever, YOLO.'”
Words to live by. Thanks Bravo, for being so open and friendly, and pleasant to work with.
While in Boston I also had the chance to sit down with QueerClick contributor Dave Allen. QueerClick is an award-winning gay porn blog that has been publishing since 2004. Dave was the perfect person to break down the different categories (for lack of a better term) of straight-guy porn, talk a little about its evolution, and speculate about where it’s headed. He argued that teens today are growing up in a much less restrictive environment than he or even I did, and that a sexual exploration phase for men is becoming de rigeur. If porn is a reaction to the society in which it is produced, what will become of straight-guy porn when it’s ok for men to be a little more fluid in their sexuality? Will the ‘straight guy’ still be seen as some sort of unattainable, hypermasculine ideal, or will that all start to break down?
All in all, Boston was a great success. When I get time, I hope to put together a little question-and-answer video with Bravo, as a thank you to his Tumblr followers who submitted questions.
Huge thanks to the lovely and talented Louis Lazaris for both driving us and filming both of these interviews so well.
Final note: the interview with Dave marks another gay porn coming out of sorts: this is the first Dave has shown his face while speaking or writing about porn. Not that we don’t love his QueerClick avatar. Well done, Dave!