Gay. Mormon. Porn. These are three words you don’t often see together. Unless you’re browsing the gay section of Pornhub, where this category of porn seems to be increasingly popular.
Which leads me to the question everyone asks while browsing Pornhub; what are the social dynamics at play in this fuck film? Oh, just me?
So, I decided to do what any good queer would – pick it apart and analyse the parts, to answer the question ‘WHY-THE-FUCK-IS-MORMON-PORN-SO-POPULAR?’
We start with the décor and fashion, naturally.
Interior – Heaven: That’s a lot of white. White, the colour of innocence and purity, encapsulates the feeling of most followers of religious orders, and what they hope to attain through adherence. (Church of Satan excluded.)
Yeah – this is a porn film about religion. The leaders are expected to be pure and innocent. This dominant discourse in a culture so shaped by religion is what is about to be challenged.
Is it in this overthrowing of the idea that even the most pure – gods own loyal servants– are sexual, too we find answers? Why would this be hot to gay men? Let’s throw a few theories around:
- Gay men being told by this powerful group that being gay is a sin has a long and painful heritage. And where there’s oppression, there’s the potential to eroticise.
Just as ‘gay-for-pay’ pornography challenges our culture’s rigid ideas about sexuality itself = by taking the first men we grow up desiring, often straight men, but, often painfully, realise we cannot have, because they are not like us, porn has the ability to make something previously unattainable feel like it may be available for you after all. That vicar you like? He could be down.
- Isolation: For those who have been raised in the Mormon Church, seeing others take part in the sexual activities you do, proves there are others out there like you. You’re not a pervert, they’re just liars.
- Inter-generational sex: Another taboo subject increasingly popular in pornography is the theme of different generations playing together. Often with an authority, or educator element; teacher, doctor, even step-dad. In this case the Elder is guiding the young Mormon into his new sexual awakening.
The older character is in ALL white – suggesting a higher level of purity, and experience. This is to be expected of someone who has worked their way up the ranks of a religious order. Note that the younger characters outfit is very similar to that of a school boy.
MORE white – long underwear and up pulled socks underneath the clothes create a further level of covering of the prized naked body.
For added clout, we dabble into sportswear fetish standards, too.
Underneath the uniforms – more uniforms. Interesting, where the outer clothing signalled difference in status, these uniforms show that underneath it all they’re exactly the same.
The student gets himself into a ‘presenting’ posture, the already naked elder, slowly unwraps the present. (And by the time he’s gotten those pants off, it will be Christmas).
No messing around; interestingly, they skip the oral custom and jump straight to penetration.
The power dynamics here are always interesting. The ‘teacher’ is the active partner (the top) and the ‘student’ is the receptive partner (the bottom). The bottom appears keen to receive the penis, and begins taking control (riding it) at one point, suggesting he wants to learn, as much the Elder wants to teach.
Painful lessons: The student is intentionally captured in several close-ups signalling pain and discomfort. This is a frequent trope in porn that is suggesting a newbie experiencing anal sex for the ‘first time’, the pain is part of the journey to sexual liberation – and his membership card.
The film ends with the student receiving the Elders ejaculate in his ass. With a close up of the semen running out (I’ll cover the Power of Sperm in my next blog), it cuts to a series of scenes overlaid with text:
Having been called
And set apart,
By the laying on of hands,
By those who are in authority
To administer in the ordinances of the priesthood
And recommended as one who is worthy
Is now Ordained
He is expected to devote all his time to serving
Leaving behind all personal affairs,
Inviting others to be groomed by the brethren,
And in so far as he now promises to keep the covenants he has made
His place in the brotherhood is assured.
In this ending we learn much of the dynamic at play here.
This movie, in subverting, and ridiculing one group, also creates another. Mormonboyz is powerful in its sexualisation of an institution with a history of oppression of sexual desire (Mormons view sex outside of heterosexual marriage as second only to murder in seriousness). It challenges ideas about those who present themselves as pure and attempting to live a ‘holy’ life within a group that shares those values.
But, in doing so, it reinforces some alternative values. It references well-established ideas of same-sex relations based on age, that go back to the Greeks and Romans, who often practiced same sex activity with an older man taking on a dominant role, and the younger boy, a more receptive, passive role, until he, too, was ‘man’ enough to become the top.
The film, in challenging the narrative of the Mormon church manufactures its own rigid new rules – and goes on to highlight that those rules must be ‘adhered’ to if the young student wants to keep his place in the ‘brotherhood’. For many Sociologists, this could be reminiscent of the way cultures themselves operate. With certain rules and practices to conform to, those who don’t fit in often find themselves marginalised and shunned.
Elder Lance has been deemed ‘worthy’ of a place in the brotherhood – by those in authority who came before him. He has committed to leave behind all personal affairs, and to help recruit others into the group.
But in creating that group, one must be aware of who they are leaving out.
If pornography – like all media – reflects, and plays with, the culture that creates it, then the questions we must ask of it are not simply ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ but who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’? And for those who don’t fit the dominant groups strict physical and social profile, walking a road with less ‘elders’ in power of your own to look up to, could prove a tricky one.