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J Homosex. 2004;47(3-4):151-66.

In the slammer: the myth of the prison in American gay pornographic video.

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  • 1Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, High Wycombe, HP11 2JZ, United Kingdom.


The purpose of this paper is to discuss the significance of the prison scenario and its various permutations in the texts of American commercial pornographic video. The paper will identify the prison as a highly eroticised all male environment, an arena where the active/passive dichotomy of gay pornography is staged and re-staged. The significances of the prison are multiple. The prison draws on a gay mythology of homosexual desire that has its origins in sources as diverse as the literature of the Marquis de Sade and Jean Genet and the erotic illustrations of Tom of Finland and Etienne. Prison scenarios take many shapes in gay pornography such as the American penitentiary, the military brig, and the fantasised dungeon of the leatherman. I see these scenarios as performing an important function within gay porn by offering idealised spaces for the acts of pornography: voyeurism, narcissistic display and active/ passive role-play.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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