Owning Porno Used to Mean Something, Damnit
1. When I was in high school I kept my porn in a white box. Inside the box was a stack of magazines—almost entirely Playboys, because I liked the clean stuff—as well as a purple folder full of the images I liked best, so that I could spread them out on my bedroom floor and sit in the middle of them, kind of like a crude manual version of Tumblr.
2. The internet really changed the way people masturbate. Today, if you want to see someone naked you just press the buttons and poof, there’s a boob. But as a teenager I remember thinking of pictures of naked women as a kind of secret relic, something you had to search out, anticipate and covet, which made them that much better when you got them.
3. I saw my first porn magazine in fourth grade when some kids in my class were passing one around under the lunch table. I remember feeling a weird sense of doom, like I was going to get caught the second I touched the paper, even though everyone else was laughing about it. I’m not sure what magazine it was, but the pictures were of naked women holding automatic weapons, dressed up like military personnel. I remember the feeling of seeing more than I actually saw.
4. The kid who owned that magazine briefly ran a business where you could buy a page out of other, similar magazines for a dollar. He carried them around in a duffel bag with a padlock on it. They were his dad’s magazines, he said, and there were more where those came from, if you had the money. I never bought one. Eventually he was caught and suspended.
5. I used to occasionally go to work with my dad. I remember feeling an insane sense of agency whenever he would stop at this one gas station that had a rack of tattoo magazines with tits in them. I would stand in front of the rack and wait until I knew I had half a second with no one watching, and then I would open the magazine as if I didn’t mean to, in case someone caught me. So instead of full visions, I caught flashes and tried to embed them deep in my memory so that I would be able to see them for a long time afterward whenever I shut my eyes.
6. A very brief, insanely vivid memory from when I was probably four or five, of picking up a magazine my dad’s friends were passing around at a camp in the woods, and the men laughing as my dad took it away from me before I could see. I remember my uncle saying something to the effect of, “one day you can have that,” and everyone laughing. I don’t remember many other things from that early stage in my life.
"It was just a normal day. I’d been out having sex with some girls, and then I saw Jesus."
We interviewed a British porn star quit lesbian scenes for the Lord
In an era when fetish was still an anthropological term and men’s magazines relied on code words like specialty and mature, a pioneering Armenian pornographer with an unerring instinct for cultural taboos was busy inventing his own daring adult genre. Though his name is no longer mentioned alongside Hefner and Flynt, Milt Abdjourian’s bold, single-minded dedication to fabric, attire, and hyper-specialized contextual perversion lives on in dozens of colorful titles and still-provocative covers.
This past Sunday marked the sixth annual Tranny Awards in Glendale, California. The event gives out awards to people in the transsexual porn industry for categories like “Shemale Strokers Model of the Year” and “Black TGirl Model of the Year.”
As I’m sure you know by now, the word “tranny” is considered a slur. Kelly Osbourne, Neil Patrick Harris, and Gabourey Sidibe have all recently gotten into trouble for using it. Frankly, the main reason I decided to go to the awards was the name. I was super-ready to alleviate some of my liberal guilt by being offended on other people’s behalf.
But I’m not trans, so I don’t get to decide what is or isn’t offensive for people who are. The majority of the people I spoke to at the event were not massively happy about the use of the word “tranny” in the name, but they were so excited to be having an award ceremony in their honor that they were willing to not give a shit for the night. Trans porn workers are not a group of people who are honored very often.
And once I was able to get past the initial weirdness of seeing someone tearfully accept an award while thanking “everyone at FTMFucker.com,” the event was actually surprisingly moving.
Photos from the Event
Introducing the 2014 Fashion Issue
Right in time for New York Fashion Week, we’re unleashing our annual Fashion Issue to the internet. In case the leather gimp on the cover doesn’t make it blatantly obvious, the 2014 Fashion Issue is sex-themed. This gentleman was shot by none other than Robert Mapplethorpe (*cue the angels*). In addition to the cover, we’ve got an entire portfolio of his Polaroids inside.
Before you grab the Jergens or your pink vibrating Rabbit, you should know that there are only two pairs of tigolbitties and absolutely no boners in this issue. Instead of giving everyone exactly what they’d expect from a sex-themed issue of VICE, we decided to take a more refined approach. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to fill 132 pages with soft-core porn, but we wanted to focus on fashion as a form of self-expression and sexual freedom, and to explore the role it plays in our lives. This is an issue dedicated to and featuring photographers, designers, icons, and every day people who’ve helped blur the lines between what is acceptable versus what we’re taught is taboo. It’s more social experiment than wack-rag.
So how on Earth did we fulfill our mission without coming off like a bunch of pretentious jerks? To give you the Sparks Notes:
- We photographed women wearing some of the more restricting and fetishized trends of the last few decades; shot sexy nuns decked out in latex and lace; photographed a rendezvous between two classy ladies as an homage to Duran Duran.
- Our own Wilbert L. Cooper examined the connection between masculinity and fashion among black men; we interviewed the legendary Kansai Yamamoto, the man responsible for helping David Bowie to create his gender bending Ziggy Stardust persona; Richard Kern shot boys as girls and girls as boys.
- We defended female body hair, because, yes, hairy women can be sexy; we explored the emotional baggage that is often attached to dainty, wonderful, old lingerie; and even got our new friend Glenn O’Brien to school everyone in the history of sex and fashion.
We’ll let you explore the rest of it yourselves. You’ll be enlightened and informed. Hey, you’ll probably even find something to rub one out to.
Thanks again to the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation for their contribution to this issue. Look for the print mag at a store or boutique near you, but we know it lasts about an entire day on the shelves before it’s gone. You’ll just want to go ahead and subscribe. If you’re fancy and you have an iPad, download our FREE app, because then you get a whole bunch of extra stuff like extended interviews, more pictures, and all that hot noise.
Looner porn is a subset of pornography involving balloons and the people who love them. VICE caught up with Grim Looner, a masked, 25-year-old looner porn star from Melbourne, Australia, to help burst any misconceptions we had about one of the most innocuous online fetishes.
Meet the Man Behind the World’s Most Famous Fake Vagina
Steve Shubin wants us to talk more about touching ourselves. The inventor of the world’s most successful sex toy, the Fleshlight, a polymer vagina housed inside something that looks a bit like a fat torch, said that it’s a man’s duty to masturbate frequently. As such, he’s baffled as to why dildos have become an acceptable brunch conversation topic while male sex toys remain taboo.
But Steve hasn’t always been so concerned with the ins and outs of sensual self-flagellation. One of jerking-off’s wealthiest advocates was raised in a blue-collar house with 13 siblings. Football took him to college, which he followed with a brief stint in the Army before seven years with the Los Angeles SWAT team.
"Police work’s a great career, but it doesn’t pay much; you can’t look forward to buying anything significant, and I’ve always wanted to do that," he told me. "I’m one of 14 kids and I grew up having nothing. I was obsessed with having everything." So, aged 32, Steve left the force to open his own small business.
It wasn’t until he was in his 40s that his tennis-pro wife’s pregnancy pushed him toward the industry he now dominates.
"The doctor said that, because we were 40 years old, we had to be very careful and should probably not have intercourse for the duration of the pregnancy," he explained. "And we were at the beginning of the pregnancy. So, for me, that was a problem. Tell me I can’t get laid for nine months; that’s a problem for me."
While out to dinner to celebrate the pregnancy, Steve turned to his wife Kathy and asked, “Tell me, would you think I was a total pervert if I told you that, in your sexual absence, I would use something to replace you sexually? Would you think I’d be a total creep?”