Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Morning Questions: Gordon Merrick Edition

My readers, when sharing their experiences with me, often refer to the availability of porn in their households when they were at a formative age. Their dads subscribed to Playboy or Penthouse. Or they grew up in an age later than mine, when VCRs occasionally held a leftover skin flick that their parents had neglected to eject the night before.

Or they grew up way later than I did, and just had porn on their bedroom computers from the internet.

I know that people have often envied me for getting out into the parks and restrooms and bedrooms of strange men when I was in my teens, but it's simply because I didn't have any porn to keep me at home. I regard these tales of households in which the pornography flowed if not freely, at least with a little bit of regularity, with the same sense of exotic outsiderness with which I pick up an Amy Tan novel prepare myself for an education about life in some remote Chinese province during the late nineteenth century.

I didn't even see real pornography until I was a senior in college. Yeesh.

However, I did see these:

It's hard to believe it, but the very gay-oriented books of Gordon Merrick were pretty widely available in mainstream bookstores all over the country during the late nineteeen-seventies. These sudsy, homoerotic covers were always turned outward on the bookshelves of the local mall B. Dalton. I used to wander in, position myself in front of the Ms in the general fiction area, stare at the covers, and dream about what lay inside. I never touched them. I didn't want to be seen picking up what was obviously and blatantly so gay a work of fiction. 

But man, I used to stare at those tanned bodies, and those bare limbs, and those pouty lips, and those scantily-clad acres of male flesh, and dream about the sizzling stories they must contain. Then I'd go home and jack off furiously. Or go to some sleazy cruising spot and suck dick and wish I were old enough or pretty enough to be the subject of one of those novels.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I got my hands on some used copies of the Gorden Merrick bibliography. I licked my lips, unbuckled my jeans, got a box of Kleenex at the ready, and dived in.

Hoo, boy. Was I ever disappointed. The books are kind of fascinating, but only from a Were gay guys really so desperate for representation that they enjoyed this crap? kind of standpoint. Let me spoil the plot of every Gordon Merrick novel written for you, so that you'll never have to read them yourself. There's a rich scion of a homophobic kerjillionaire, see. He's been to all the right schools. He's intended to the prettiest coed currently going to Vassar. But in a flashback we discover that he can't get out of his head the rough and brutal anal assault he endured at the hands of a former fraternity chum/French airline captain/anonymous Greek fisherman, and he fears that he must be A Homosexual. When he falls deeply in love with another well-off son of another kerjillionaire, he rejects that love, and instead marries the girl of his father's choosing. 

Much alcohol, deterioration, and precious few sex scenes follow for about three hundred pages. Then the scion understands at last what he needs to be happy and moves in with his much older but still tastefully rich true love.

They're pretty dreadful. But I know a lot of men have a certain fondness for them—and I do too, really. More for what they represented than what they contain; to a kid in a small-town B. Dalton, they were kind of the promise of a much more exotic life tapestry than I could conceive for myself. 

Little did I know that my own life would be much more interesting and erotic than any Gordon Merrick novel. But then again, if I'd been sitting around at home masturbating to porn (if it had been available!), I wouldn't have been living it.

Let's get to some questions from

If money was not an issue, is there a business you've always wanted to start?

I'd totally start my own porn company. (As it is, anyone out there want to hire me?)

Touching on the earlier question about finding your children's personal website and your response, how do you navigate online privacy, both for yourself and when teaching your children?

I'm not so naive. Navigating websites leaves a history in the browser; keeping a volume of personal fuck shots on my hard drive means that someone might be able to find them. USB sticks with saved material can be lost. Personal diary entries can be found. When it comes to my own personal privacy, I keep those portions of my notebook computer locked and encrypted—and all its associated disks—with passwords only I know.

I'm fortunate to live in a household in which we respect each other's privacy. I wouldn't think of looking through my spouse's emails or hard drive, and I get the same respect in return. I think a parent has every right (and indeed, should exercise them) to keep tabs on his child's computer usage, because young children in particular aren't prepared to make good decisions about what sites are appropriate, nor are they skilled at knowing how much time is appropriate to spend on the computer. Getting them into good habits is something that parents are supposed to do, so that when they reach a more advanced stage of adolescence, they really are able to manage on their own in a responsible manner.

Do you prefer circumcised men or uncircumcised are you circumcised and if you are do you wish you weren't or did you have it done as an adult

I don't really prefer either. It's like asking me if I like a vanilla or a chocolate milkshake. Just give me the milkshake already, goddamnit!

That said, I wish I'd been left uncircumcised. I don't believe it's a healthy procedure, and I don't like that it's blithely done at birth for the spurious sake of 'hygiene.' I simply don't agree with it as a norm.

How do you feel when you get declarations of love that you don't feel for the other person?

I feel sad. Sad, mostly, that I don't reciprocate in the same way. Sad that I am letting down the other person. Sad that I am facing the prospect of either telling them outright that I don't feel that way and facing their disappointment, or of letting them find out gradually and having to imagine their let-down.

There's plenty of love to go around. There are times, however, when I cannot love someone in the same romantic, permanent manner that they want. When that happens, it mostly makes me sad.

Have u ever been double penetrated? Did you enjoy it? If u haven't, is it something u would do?

I never have, no. I've had a cock in my ass and one in my mouth and a couple more in my hands, but that's the closest I've been to a double-penetration.

I have, however, been one of the dicks that's double-penetrated. I just don't like it. It's never gotten me remotely close to shooting, and usually provided a lot more pleasure and sensation for the bottom than it did for either of the tops.

What is the best trick to make anal sex as enjoyable as possible? (Serious question.)

Want it.

Serious answer.

Want the dick inside you. And want the specific guy you're with. Don't want to watch porn more than you want to get fucked—want the guy who's standing behind you, or over you, or is in bed with you. Don't want poppers or drugs more than dick. Don't endure a fucking just so you can be held by someone after. Don't bend over out of loyalty or obligation or because you're bored or because your DVD stopped working and sex is second-best to the movie you wanted to watch.

Do it because you want the guy, and because you want his dick inside you.


  1. Oh wow. You just brought back some memories from my 1970s teen-age years with those Gordon Merrick covers. Like you, I would always go into B.Dalton/Waldenbooks/Brentanos at the mall, and I would always pick up those books and thumb through them, eagerly searching out sexual passages while keeping my eyes peeled in case my mom/high school friends walked in and caught me reading that "filth". I never read one of these books from start to finish, so thank you very much for letting me know not to waste my time. I think what intrigued me the most about these books were the covers, which were beautifully drawn.

    Thanks again for writing this post. It's great to be able to read the thoughts of a man who grew up at the same time I did and knew what it was like in the "bad old days".

  2. The thing I found most hilarious about Merrick's turgid novels is that, if memory serves, in every book the first time the protagonist would be penetrated, "he shouted his welcome." :-)

  3. I know I read "The Lord Won't Mind" and maybe one other....they all look familiar and as interchangeable as you say. I used to keep everything I read, especially from that time in my life. There is not one Gordon Merrick book in the library. That says it all...

    And your answer about about the "best trick for anal sex" needs to be cross stitched into a sampler and hung over many a bed as a reminder...

  4. I read the first two of Merrick's books; but I never knew anything of the man until a few minutes ago when I read the Wikipedia entry for him. He was kind of an interesting guy. Princeton graduate, he came from a wealthy mainline Philadelphia family, and was a Broadway actor for some time. He was also Moss Hart's lover before moving on to the newspaper business. During WWII he served in the OSS.

  5. I also remember furtively looking at Merrick's books and Playgirl as a late teen in the local bookstore...and when I finally got the courage to buy both, I thought I was going to pass out at the checkout counter! How times have changed...

  6. Your answer to that last question was the most perfect ever. Truer (and sexually wiser) words were never spoken. ~ Dean

  7. Thanks for nailing it on the last question. It's perfect and it helps put in perspective why some times I enjoy it better than other times. Thank you for keeping me sane! -Nathan

  8. I am mortified to admit I thought this blog would be about Joseph Merrick. :-( I have GOT to concentrate more. After all, I am not an animal!!