Whether you are hetero, gay, bisexual, monogamous, a swinger, polyamorous, or in a long-term menage, writes John Hedtke, you can always be a good man.
The recent article on James Deen got me thinking. Yes, there are plenty of good men in porn, just like there are anywhere else. The things that make a man a good man have nothing to do with the type or quantity of sex you have. Good men are responsible and honest in their dealings. Being a good man is also a function of how you treat yourself, your partner, your children, and others with respect and dignity. Your sexuality is not the specific measure of how good a man you are, any more than your choice of religion or your income level. I know men who are hetero, gay, bisexual, monogamous, swingers, polyamorous, and/or living in a very long-term menage who are all good men.
A couple quick definitions: Swingers have casual sex with other people, but that’s pretty much all it is: sex. It’s fun, it’s hot, it’s frequently anonymous, and it’s no-strings attached. Polyamorous people have additional relationships, known as “secondaries.” A secondary relationship can last for years and be as deep and intense as the primary relationship. The usual standard for a poly relationship is that the other primary partner needs to approve and they can veto a secondary if they’re not comfortable. Being a swinger and being poly is often a blurry line: you may meet someone at a swinger event and then develop a long-term, poly relationship with them. Life happens.
I’ve had a good friend for 20+ years now. He and his wife of over 30 years are swingers and somewhat poly. He’s been and done and seen and learned an awful lot about people and relationships over the years. I go to him for relationship advice and I look to him as a role model on how to be a man. He admits his faults, he’s willing to recognize where he’s not been the best guy he could be, and he’s generally ready to change the way he does things based on new information and experience. Most importantly, he cares about the people around him and tries not to be a jerk. He doesn’t tolerate other people being jerks, either. For my money, this is what being a good man is all about.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the business, I should mention something about what being a male porn star is like . It’s not a bad job for those with the talent and the desire, but it’s not all beds and roses, either. Sure, sex with lots of pretty partners is fun, but it’s work, before, during, and after. You don’t always like the person you’re performing with. In fact, you sometimes loathe the person you’re working with but you have to make it look good for the cameras even so or you don’t get paid and you might not get hired again. Men don’t get paid nearly as much as women do and it’s a bit like being an opera singer: you’re only as good as your last performance.
Furthermore, the fact that you’re being filmed with lots of sex partners can make maintaining a personal relationship harder because you need to be really clear about the boundaries of the relationship and what makes the relationship special. Swingers and poly folks have this issue, too. For swingers, it usually boils down to emotional and personal involvement versus more casual sex. For poly folks, it’s a matter of how much trust you and your primary partner have in each other and how well you communicate. Successful swinging and poly relationships require a lot more communication and trust than average, which makes them fun but more work. The question of “Can you be a good man and be in porn/a swinger/poly/gay?” boils down to the idea of “Is your relationship defined exclusively by sex?” Any relationship that just has sex as its basis is going to be exceptionally shallow. Relationships are a lot more than just sex, which means that who you have sex with and under what circumstances then becomes something you negotiate in the relationship based on desires and interests.
Does being a porn star sound glamorous? Sure. The hours are good and there’s not much heavy lifting… but it’s not without its problems. It’s hard to find work outside the industry, too. Being a porn star carries as bad a rep as being a journalist and working for the Weekly World News: you’re tarred for life if you want to do something more mainstream. But trying to determine how good a man is by how well he fits an arbitrary standard of sexuality is as laughable a criterion as using his brand of beer or the kind of car he drives. To be a good man, you must be willing to communicate, listen, think about what you’re doing, act with integrity, treat your relationships fairly and appropriately, and take good care of children. If you do these things, then it doesn’t matter if you write books, cook, or get filmed having hot monkey sex eight hours a day: you’re already a good man. The rest is just putting food on the table.
photo by indi / flickr