Porn is and will always be a hot button issue. In today’s porn world, there is no greater lightning rod than Paul Morris and his porn production company, Treasure Island Media. Morris has built a small empire on the backs, and cocks, thousands of willing men, an empire which shows no sign of recession. In fact, Treasure Island Media is currently enjoying near obscene levels of success, despite the overall downturn of the porn industry during the past decade.
The great success of Treasure Island Media and Paul Morris is underscored and, arguably, bolstered by their well-deserved rebel status in the porn community. To be honest “rebel” is a bit too sexy of a title; leper is definitely a more accurate adjective. Paul Morris and Treasure Island Media are vilified in boardrooms and press rooms for their choice to shoot exclusively condomless porn. Some have called him the “shepherd of slaughter” and a “murderer” for his fetishization of not only so-called “bareback” sex, but also his laissez faire approach to HIV.
With all the drama surrounding Paul Morris and Treasure Island Media, it is hard to get a handle on the real story. So, over the course of four months Paul and Me corresponded, what follows is the result. If you thought that you knew Paul Morris, if you thought that you knew Treasure Island Media, if you thought that you knew porn, it may be time to re-evaluate that hypothesis.
Let’s Talk About Sex: When looking at Treasure Island Media, some people may see the lack of condom and think that you and your company are advocating a certain behavior. Can you explain your reasoning for making the porn you make? I would like to understand your thought process.
Paul Morris: The reasoning has evolved over the years. In the beginning, I was interested in preserving the integrity of pornography and the honest representation of male sexual behavior. When I started producing porn, the genre had become depressingly corrupt, representing only a small subset of sexual behaviors. Everything was stylized, artificial, antiseptic and false. I wanted to capture the kind of sex that has meaning for me and I wanted to do so as accurately and honestly as possible. I also wanted to document the men. I wasn’t interested in what they looked like, I was interested in what they understood regarding the complex behavioral language of sex among men. I had little to no interest in “directing” the men; I tried to stay out of the way and capture what they did. I wanted to be sure that images were out there of men who had unfettered and creative sex not because they needed the money or wanted to be famous but because it was a defining element of their lives--men who carry in their sexual behavior a straightforward and unexaggerated complexity that is central to being “gay”. A lot of the companies that produce porn use men who are “gay for pay” or who aspire to be “pornstars” or who work out of a sense of financial desperation (they’re from poorer parts of the world, for example). The result is corrupt and simplistic images of a crucially complex phenomenon. And corrupt images of sex serve only to corrupt the culture of sex, the very heart of who and what we are. In this sense, particularly since pornography is the most influential and universally disseminated genre on the planet at this point, honest images of men doing what they love because they love doing it are, in my opinion, extremely important.
This developed into a desire to make porn as well-made as possible without losing the rawness and immediacy of our style. I wanted to make the opposite of slick and stylized mainstream porn but do it with a maximum of attention and care, to produce work in which the camerawork and the editing were stylistically transparent for what they were representing.
Most recently, I’ve been motivated to produce pornography to directly address the appalling phenomenon of the HIV “closet”. It’s a tremendously dangerous and damaging result of the continuing fear and superstition that’s promoted by AIDS healthcare organizations and big pharma. Meds are now sufficiently sophisticated and reliable and side-effect free to make AIDS a virtual non-issue in the developed world. The battleground now should be that of forcing big pharma— particularly companies like Gilead--to give up their patents on the meds and make them universally affordable in both the developed and the developing world. This would be a serious struggle since it would (nominally) reduce their obscene profits.
HIV continues to be stigmatized in the US, often by middle-aged gay men who are habituated to living in a world of fear and tragedy and refuse to believe that the crisis is truly over. These are the men who begin every letter or comment with “I watched my entire generation die in the 80s...” To a great extent, the current gay mindset surrounding HIV is a result of a generation of men living with PTSD and not getting the support and help they need now that the war is over. As a pornographer, all I can do in response is to produce work that features men who are openly positive (or negative) and happily living their lives honestly and fully.
LTASex: What would you say your ethos is as far as making pornography?
Paul Morris: The truth will set you free.
LTASex: The way you shoot your videos is much more like being a voyeur in the moment, or rather a very interested fly buzzing around the action. Can you explain your particular aesthetic?
Paul Morris: The camerawork is the hardest thing of all. And often it doesn’t work, doesn’t make it. But I’d rather err on the side of a fucked-up failure of a shoot than settle for the typical sterile and distanced camerawork that is often used in porn. What we try for is a physical involvement of the camera with the action while maintaining a shade of sexual detachment. The camera is hungry to see everything it can. If it’s done badly or inattentively, the result can be a mess. And that happens. On the other hand, if it moves too far toward distance and stability, it verges toward the kind of camerawork you get in typical porn. I’d estimate that we throw out around 70 percent of what we shoot.
LTASex: A quick aside, how would you refer to the people who have sex in your films? They are more commonly called actors, but I have a feeling this does not jive well with your sensibilities.
You’re absolutely right. To a certain extent, all sex--porn or not--is performing or acting. It’s the greatest and most universal grassroots performance art of all time. We get to experiment during each sexual experience with who we are, what we want, what kind of man we are. But the men in my videos don’t act in the sense of “porn acting”. Over and over I’ve heard other gay studios say that the sex in porn isn’t real sex. Or that if you could see “the making of” a porn film you wouldn’t find it sexy or real. That’s just not true for us. The sex is real, the men aren’t acting. We don’t use make-up, we don’t stop the action to adjust the lighting. I avoid working with anyone who has experience as a “pornstar”. As often as not, the guys in my videos don’t ask to be paid for what they’re doing. They’re men, not actors.
LTASex: Some people could get the impression that you are anti-safer sex practices; I recently skimmed through a few of your older scenes and noticed only two instances of men wearing condoms. Are you anti-condom? Would you ever consider hiring models that could perform at the level you require but wanted to wear condoms?
Paul Morris: I don’t require that anyone “perform” at any level whatsoever. I’m only “anti-condom” to the extent that condoms do violence to play. Language is developed through play. Play is killed by fear. Prior to HIV, condoms were often used as an element of fetishistic play. Now, however, they are signs of fear and capitulation and "good behavior".
However, when men have come to me and they've said they want to use a condom, I say yes---so long as they're not already brainwashed by what used to be called the porn "mainstream". If their sexual energy is honest and they want to use a condom, fine. What you see in my videos is the actual number of guys who've said they wanted to use condoms.
LTASex: Lately there has been much made of what your company does. That is to say, you and your company has been painted as the poster boy for irresponsible gay sex, do you feel that you deserve this title?
Paul Morris: Yes, of course. For most of the world, gay sex of any kind is completely irresponsible and sick. And within the fraction of the world that takes gay sex as an important element of identity, I’m among those who go the furthest, a radical. But the patron god of pornography is Hermes, the god of boundaries and transgression. In one way or another, all pornographers have to focus on some variant of boundary-threatening behavior. A seemingly irrational passion for sucking cock, or an allegiance to leather, a drive to explore submission or pain or sadism or promiscuity. Or a complete fetishization of semen, the seed that creates men. Recognizing and showing transgression as an inherently pleasurable and rewarding act is the job of the pornographer and the political basis of pornography. So long as we are queers living in an overwhelmingly non-queer world, there will be a very real need for the constant depiction of survival and necessary behavioral “irresponsibilities” and sexual transgressions. Of course there are crucial queer realms of transgressions that engage with power through art, fashion, music and so on. But there are central social transgressions that are based not only in sex but also in body modifications using ink, metal, surgery, hormones--or a virus. Being “irresponsible”, then, is a necessary element of queer defiance, a refusal to fall into lockstep with any system of beliefs that denies the worth of your specific identity.
I compare, for example, the “irresponsibility” of men who are seed-takers, who love “taking loads”, with the “irresponsibility” of men or women who choose to undergo radical gender “reassignment”. As I’m sure you know, the levels of violence against transexuals is enormous; and the numbers of suicide and incidents of chronic depression are off the charts.
In addition, the financial cost of fully realizing transgender identity is enormous, the necessity of meds and hormones is lifelong. And there’s a good deal of evidence that the lifespan of those who undergo gender transformation is shortened, often with unexpected and dire medical complications (such as osteoporosis in relatively young male-to-female transexuals). But for the most part (I hope) queer culture champions the courage of transgender/transexual individuals--and rightly so. They assess their core identities and radically modify their bodies accordingly, a choice that is seen by most of the world as variously sinful, willful, wrongheaded and massively “irresponsible”. I’m proud of the fact that queer culture embraces transvestites and transexuals despite the fact that this renders queer culture more “outsider” and unpalatable to the conservatives of the world.
Yet I continue to read misguided statements--often even from people who live happily in their own gender “transgressions”—to the effect that there is “no excuse” for not using condoms in sex, that there is “no excuse” for honestly showing condomless sex in pornography. This is dangerously myopic.
Transgression toward honesty in sexual identity was--and is—the radical basis for the entire homo-positive socio-political movement. Pornography has traditionally played a real and forward-looking role in queer realpolitiks to the extent that it embraces and honestly represents sexual transgressive behaviors that seem inexplicable to the hetero-normative orthodoxy. For example, I’m a great admirer of vanguard ftm porn practitioner James Darling precisely because he embraces porn as a creative and political genre and insist that it represent and embrace his
identity as sexually and erotically normative.
So of course I embrace the idea of being the “poster boy for irresponsible gay sex” inasmuch as I embrace the passion and honesty of the men with whom I work. And inasmuch as all gay sex is seen as irresponsible by the backwards, repressive and conservative forces of the world. Nevertheless, a gay culture that accepts and embraces transexuals and transvestites but doesn’t accept poz men or men who have condomless sex will always find me to be a thorn in its side.
LTASex: In spite of, or rather due to, your pariah status, Treasure Island Media seems to be enjoying great success. What do you think this means?
Paul Morris: I’d say it’s more “in spite of” than it is “due to”. For years, no one would review my videos. In San Francisco, for example, the porn reviewer for a local gay newsweekly wouldn’t even acknowledgment our existence. He finally reviewed a video--”Plowed”--because it was so good he couldn’t in good conscience ignore it altogether. But in the review the name of the video and the company were withheld.
Events, awards, causes---we’ve been banned from or ignored by all of them. So it’s been an upstream swim from the beginning. But our growth as a company has always been very strong. And now that there are many companies imitating us, we continue to grow---and rapidly. Men appreciate seeing porn that’s obviously made by guys who truly love sex, for whom the sex is primary and the business is secondary. It’s why we’ve often been referred to as a culture rather than a company.
LTASex: I think I read some movie director once say that directors direct and educators educate. There are people who look to porn as a way to see what sex should be like. Do you feel you have any responsibility to educate?
Paul Morris: I’m neither a director nor an educator. If I were to label myself, it would probably be as a basic scholar of male sexuality. I spend an enormous amount of time photographing male nudes, interviewing men about their sexuality, studying-- really studying--every aspect of male sexuality (see “No Limits”) And what I learn is always the basis of what I make. One example would be the recent video called “The 1,000 Load Fuck”. It’s a video that created quite a ruckus among those who think I should be stopped. But the idea for the video came from literally hundreds of letters from men around the world who have written to me begging--and I chose that word carefully--to be the bottom in a scene in which they might take the semen of a thousand men or more. Many of the men offered to pay me if they could be in such a scene. I corresponded with as many of them as I could and learned that these aren’t drugged-out crazed sex-fiends, but ordinary men from every walk of life. Some lived in small towns, some in big cities; some were very young, some were well past middle-age. Some were unemployed, some were executives (and wanted to wear a mask to protect their careers). The young man who was the “bottom” for the filmed scene was one of the men who had written to me.
Was this a directorial decision to realize this widespread desire? Was it educational? The result was a video that has sold more copies and had more downloads around the world than any other gay porn video in history. After it was released, I received a flood of emails and messages thanking—and condemning--me.
LTASex:You claim to be neither director nor educator, but I am arguing that you’re both. You may not manipulate your subjects in the moment, but by throwing out 70% of “reality,” you’re directing. You may not produce textbooks or lesson plans, but whether you realize it or not porn is education to its viewers. Claiming to be a spectator while masterfully pulling strings is, at best, unfair to yourself and, at worst, disingenuous to your viewers. Are you a hero blissfully unaware of your power, or are you a villain using your powers for selfish means while claiming ignorance and innocence?
Paul Morris: Well, that’s not really true. I throw out footage for a number of reasons. Here are a few: a young man being fisted begins bleeding and blood is legally problematic; men who have done porn for other companies aren’t able to relinquish the porn behaviors and poses; the men don’t get along and the sex is forced; a man can have second thoughts during a shoot and decide he wants to stop; a new cameraman fails to follow the sex; a camera fails to record sound, and so on. I’d say that if my discarding footage is an element of directing, it’s following the directorial desires of the men having sex. To me it seems the antithesis of active directing.
I’m sure one can define education so broadly that it encompasses anything and everything. The root meaning of “educate” is basically to lead one out, to lead out from the darkness of ignorance into the light of clarity and knowledge. If you want to call my work educational, then it’s educational in that it (tries) to shed light on male sexuality, to clarify things and to remove fear of the unknown. I tend to think that you’re stretching things a bit here, though.
I don’t think I’ve “claimed ignorance and innocence” at any point in my life. And I’m neither a “hero” nor am I a “villain”. I’m a pornographer.
On the other hand, there was that night 20 years ago when I met a stranger at the crossroads in Moorhead, Mississippi. Things did change after that.
LTASex: Do you have sex the way you portray it in your videos?
Paul Morris: Yes, I do. Sex is creative, religious, profound for me. I personally am constantly exploring the possibilities it presents. And after decades of a deeply sexual life I know that there are entire realms of experience that I have yet to explore.
LTASex: From what I’ve read and seen, you seem to be a man of who is fiercely opinionated and willing to fight for you side. What are you fighting for now?
Paul Morris: I’m a polemicist by nature. Man’s sex is a profound mystery, a language that’s deep and powerful, its roots in the birth of the species itself. This mystery is what I work for, it’s what fascinates me. It is infinite. Reducing this phenomenon to simple or comprehensible or “safe” is an obscenity against the most ancient and most human legacy. So if you ask what I fight for, I fight for accuracy and complexity.
LTASex: I’ve recently seen you quoted as saying that you want to blow the doors off the HIV status closet. Why is that? What do you wish to accomplish. How do you plan on going about it?
Paul Morris: The only way to really deal effectively with any viral incursion is to normalize the population to it. In this case, that would mean reducing or neutralizing the extraordinary residual emotionalism that continues to surround hiv and being poz. It took several generations for the doors of the original gay “closet” to be even partially opened. The hiv closet has simply taken its place. How many times have you heard from a neg guy that his mother is totally ok with his being gay, but it would kill her if he seroconverted? Or hearing from poz men that they’ve told a few close friends but don’t dare tell their families about their seroconversion. I hear constantly from men who are poz and living in small towns where the repression, isolation and depression is easily equal to that which queers experience/d in the sexual-orientation closet. The darkness of a closet is an impossible place from which to build either personhood or community. And so long as people think of people who are poz as victims, heros, pariahs--or as being ill—the closet endures. In the developed world, being poz isn’t an illness, it’s simply a fact.
LTASex: You recently released your first openly HIV positive scene entitled “Buggery.” Will there be more like this one?
Paul Morris: Yes.
LTASex: Whenever I have watched one of your scenes where a guy has a biohazard tattoo, I recognize that as a sign for that person being HIV+. That is generally a turn off. I am not sure how prevalent that reaction is, but do you worry that scenes like Buggery will make you lose viewers? Do you care? Would you ever consider going 100% open HIV status?
Paul Morris: First of all, you have to ask yourself why you find the idea of a man being poz “a turn off”. And why would you say that it’s “generally a turn off”? That’s an enormous leap. One of the great things about making porn is that the men who watch it are extremely vocal about their reactions. If they don’t like something, they let me know. And I listen carefully. The reaction to being open about the status of the guys in the vids has been overwhelmingly positive. For one thing, men are excited by reality. And for another, sexualized poz men have been ostracized and hidden for way, way too long. There’s nothing wrong, nothing strange, nothing different about being either poz or neg. The men who support my porn are men who support the sort of inclusiveness that has always been the foundation of the gay movement.
LTASex: To answer that question, HIV is as much of a turn off as a guy who has any other STI, I don’t want to catch any of them. Admittedly, HIV does cause a stronger negative reaction but I believe that is more of disgust with the celebration of HIV. I watch your pornography because I find the sex, and the way it’s presented to be far better than any other porn company, but I do find the festishization of HIV to be problematic. In the confines of regaining power over your sexuality post seroconversion, I can definitely see how that could help, I stand behind you 100% in being open about the HIV status of the men you shoot. People need to see that you can still be desirable and sexy as hell even with HIV, but it becomes a problem when you have men who are HIV negative buying into the glamor of the disease and actively seeking it out because of that.
Paul Morris: I take exception to your sentence “...you can still be desirable and sexy as hell even with HIV...” Do you realize how charged the use of the word “even” is in that context? Substitute other terms for HIV in that sentence and see how they work: “even with black skin”, “even though you’re short”, “even with deafness”, “even if you’re a Jew” and so on.
You know, I actually made a point over the last couple of years to work with deaf men. Some of them “even” had HIV. I signed a deaf man--Calvin--to our exclusives list, issued press releases, promoted him, sent him to deaf gay events as well as hearing gay events (such as IML). Not one columnist or blog or gay paper showed the least amount of interest. I like to believe that this is because we’ve reached a point of cultural sophistication for which deafness is no longer seen as being stigmatized or tragic. One wouldn’t think of saying “He’s incredibly sexy even though he’s deaf.” That’s the positive aspect. But when I went with Calvin to various hearing events it became clear to me that until he was able to connect at those events with other deaf men--men who could understand him and speak his language--he was uncomfortable and anxious. Men would see that he’s very sexy and has a big dick and they’d hit on him, but they weren’t able to communicate with him and would soon lose interest.
I think the stage of social acceptance that we currently have for deaf people is the next step for HIV. The culture accepts but doesn’t understand. When men meet Calvin and interact with him, if they don’t know ASL they hit an impasse and treat him as “other”. But they don’t see him as “victim” or “hero” or anything as emotionally charged as that. At this point the culture neither accepts nor understands being poz or being neg. There’s just a load of fear and anger and nostalgia around the issue. And once poz men are finally fully accepted, there will still be the uphill battle of learning a common language of understanding.
And your expression “buying into the glamor of the disease” is interesting. It unconsciously couches HIV in consumerist terms, which is, I think, ironic. One of the reasons that HIV is a point of division in gay life is because while “gay” has been nearly completely enveloped by consumerism, HIV is a far more primal phenomenon, one that’s not co-optable by a brand or a corporation or a style. You won’t find a light beer or a vodka or an underwear line sponsoring HIV infection or embracing whatever they might understand as a "poz lifestyle". It’s not a marketable experience, in other words. It can’t be “bought” into, and the glamor-mills--Hollywood, for example--give it a wide, wide berth out of fear of being tainted by it. What it does have is blood-authenticity. And unlike the money-driven consumerist world (which offers nothing new, nothing that isn’t defined by greed or need), HIV is perfectly queer in that it’s irrational and inexplicable seen from the outside in, yet perfectly powerful and viable seen from the inside out.
Growing up an only child, I always wanted a Clifford the Big Red Dog-sized canine companion. Sadly, despite my best efforts, I entered into adulthood having unsuccessfully petitioned my mother for such a beast. At 26, however, I became the owner of a 5-foot-10-inch, 240-pound human pup by the name of Bubby.
Although I’ve always considered myself to be closer to vanilla on the kink spectrum, I’ve recently found myself being one kinky motherfucker. It started with a little roughness and led into a sadistic awakening. Now, a little puppy play has led into a budding full-time D/s relationship, and I am super excited.
Bottom line: While Fifty Shades of Grey Hard Limits Bed Restraint Kit isn’t a Christian Grey-type luxury item, it is wholly capable for almost every beginner restraint’s needs. With its high-quality, just-right pricing and simple, everyday kink styling, it should be right at home in your starter playroom.
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This phrase has become a bit of a joke within the kink community, based on individuals making this (grammatically incorrect) statement on kinky social networking sites. The profile where you will find this short, defiant statement will likely also be filled with other “twue” and inflexible declarations about what an awesome Dominate they are.
Proper spelling and grammar aren't required to be a good dominant but it does help! There are definitely more important things and they all come from the inside out.
Initially, I was taken aback by the question, “what does it mean to be a good submissive?” It is a very subjective question and you will get a million different answers from Dominants and submissives alike. So, let me preface this article by saying there is no one way to be a “good” submissive. However, there are steps one can take to ensure the growth and quality of your identity and relationships.
I recently did a Google Hangout interview with the fat femme lesbians of Lesbian Curves: Courtney Trouble, Kitty Stryker, Betty Blac and Cinnamon Maxine. Despite some major sleepiness on my part – we didn’t start recording until 1:36am ET – we had a good fucking time.
In this exclusive interview got to talk about Lesbian Curves 2: Hard Femme, mommy fetishes and Courtney Trouble’s love for April Flores. Betty Blac and Kit
ty Stryker got to discuss what it was like shooting with each other and the differences between Lesbian Curves and Lesbian Curves 2. We also got some juicy inside details on the already-in-production Lesbian Curves 3 from Courtney and Cinnamon soon after shooting the first scene, which stars Cinnamon Maxine and porn legend Syd Blakovich.
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Normally, when you’re exploring things, you go outside yourself but, in this case, you need to look inside. The one thing you need to know about kinks is that they're all in your head. That means, in order to find them, you've got to get all inception in this bitch.
Whether you’re a dom who’s force feminizing your pretty little sub bitch or a guy who just likes to feel soft and feminine, you know how hard it is to find lingerie that fits a guy’s body. Well, I just stumbled across a store that fixes that problem. HommeMystere is an online store that specializes in men’s hosiery and lingerie for the pretty girl in every man.
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You love your men tied up in bondage rope, gagged and vulnerable to your every whim? Yeah, so do we. There’s something incredibly sexy about watching your pitiful male sub writhe around helplessly while bound in intricate ropes and knots. The way the ropes keep him so still and vulnerable is enough to warrant a spanking. So, today, we’ve got a collection of pics and gifs of male submissives tied up and ready for their master's use. Enjoy.
You love your women tied up in bondage rope, gagged and vulnerable to your every whim? Yeah, so do we. There’s something incredibly sexy about watching your sexy sub writhe around helplessly while bound in intricate ropes and knots. So, today, we’ve got a collection of pics and gifs of hot chicks tied up and ready for you. Enjoy.
Welcome to Kink Month on LTASEX. This month, we’re going to be taking some time to appreciate and accentuate all those wonderful kinks and fetishes that make sex so much fun. We’ll be talking about kink, fetish, feet, legs, body hair, stockings, heels, ropes, chains and more body fluids than you can probably think of. We’ll also have some awesome guest posts and interviews from and with kinksters from all-over the sex bloggosphere. It's going to be sexy, slutty and fun, as always. ;)