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Gay-for-Pay: Straight Men and the Making of Gay Pornography

Abstract

This article explores the social conditions that enable heterosexually-identified men to turn in credible sexual performances in gay pornographic videos. These men are widely known in the porn industry and among spectators as gay-for-pay. Drawing on John Gagnon and William Simon's theory of sexual scripts, this article shows that performers adopt a “persona” as a career script that functions as a sexual resume which establishes the kind of permission the actors give themselves to work in the gay pornography business, the repertoire of sex acts they will perform, and the image they wish to project as sexual performers. The actors' personas are dependent upon which sexual scripts—those that exist in the culture at large, their own intrapsychic ones, or those they can imagine in their everyday lives—in which they will be able to invest their energy. There is no irrefutable evidence establishing that these men are really straight or gay. However, all sexual conduct in the video porn industry is an example of situational sexuality inasmuch as the performers are often required to engage in sexual acts for monetary compensation that they would not otherwise choose to perform and with partners for whom they feel no desire.

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Escoffier, J. Gay-for-Pay: Straight Men and the Making of Gay Pornography. Qualitative Sociology 26, 531–555 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:QUAS.0000005056.46990.c0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:QUAS.0000005056.46990.c0

  • situational homosexuality
  • gay-for-pay
  • pornography
  • sexual scripts