I was raised on the internet. Well, the internet and myself entered into maturity at the same time. From fourth grade online noticeboards, to Michael Jackson’s website in fifth grade, to Google image search in eighth grade, the internet was slowly becoming an adult at the same time I was. And my generation is the first who were able to use the internet as a means of discovering our sexuality. Instead of sneaking magazines from the corner store, or finding a VHS hidden away in dad’s storage trunk, as teenagers, regardless of where we were living, we were able to access pornographic images anonymously and for free.
I know that the internet played a large role in helping me discover my sexuality. The minimal effort and risk required for a Google image search made exploring easy, and exposed me to things I would never have been exposed to in mainstream media or would only have come across much later. It was also around this time that streaming video was developing, and suddenly it was possible to watch short video clips without having to bear the shame or risk of being caught behind the the back curtain at the video store.
For some reason, the content I gravitated to was Straight-Guy Porn. Was simply because it was popular at the time? Did it speak to a desire that was already present in me or did it create it? What effects, if any, did viewing this very specific subgenre of pornography in my formative years have on my sexual and social development?
These are the questions I hope to answer, and are my motivation behind undertaking this project. Though it isn’t talked about openly, it is a genre most gay men around my age are aware of, and it’s either a turn-on for them or it’s not. I’d like to know why that is.
Daniel Laurin graduated from Concordia University with a BA in Communication Studies in 2008. Since starting at Ryerson, his research has focused on the intersections of pornography and documentary, and on gay pornography’s adoption of the aesthetics of amateur video as a legitimizing function. In 2013, he was the recipient of a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as well as a Ryerson Graduate Scholarship. He will be starting his PhD in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto in Fall 2014. He can be reached at email@example.com.