Cockyboys execs to demystify gay porn

The cast of Gay Sex pose together in an advertisement for their play. The production examines the polyamorous relationship of the executives of Cockyboys, a gay porn site.
The cast of Gay Sex pose together in an advertisement for their play. The production examines the polyamorous relationship of the executives of Cockyboys, a gay porn site.
The cast of Gay Sex pose together in an advertisement for their play. The production examines the polyamorous relationship of the executives of Cockyboys, a gay porn site.

Porn: the word tends to elicit laughter. It draws to mind tired dialogue, poor acting and spray tans. But can porn—so prevalent in the modern age—promote important political messages? Can it have artistic merit? English major Jack Levinson ’14 believes it can. Levinson, writer and director of Gay Sex: Two Fairytales, a play produced by Unbound that goes up in two weeks, will lead a discussion panel with the three men who run Cockyboys, a popular gay porn website. Levinson’s play is a fictionalized adaptation of the Cockyboys’ story, and the trio’s visit on Thursday, October 24 at 5:30 p.m. in Sanders 212 is in anticipation of his production.

Levinson has directed two other plays during his time at Vassar. When deciding what to write for his next project, knew that he wanted to develop a play that addresses issues of sexuality. After reading Molly Young’s article “He & He & He,” which appeared in New York Magazine’s The Sex Issue in July 2012 and details the Cockyboys’ story, he decided to tell a fictionalized adaptation of their success and unconventional three-partner relationship.

“I realized when I decided I wanted to write about queer issues that this was a perfect story about obviously not all issues of queer identity, but I think in terms of the white gay male identity that really pushes the boundaries,” Levinson said. “It’s also just a really hilarious and crazy story that is unbelievable when you read it for the first time.”

As Levinson began doing research, he found that the “throuple,” as they call themselves, create porn that has an ulterior motive. “I started seeing a lot of overlaps between their lifestyles and between the messages they’re trying to put forward with their porn, because they are making very political porn and I really believe that they have sort of an agenda behind what they’re doing that is a very serious message behind an industry that isn’t taken very seriously,” said Levinson.

After contacting Young, Levinson was able to meet the Cockyboys and find out first-hand just what that message is. “I think they really believe that pornography is an inescapable reality of American society right now and it’s sort of a formative part of sexuality in this day in age. It’s sort of romantic to think of banishing it all together, but the more practical approach to dealing with the fact that porn is so prevalent right now is having people promote messages of responsibility in pornography,” he explained. Levinson stressed that the Cockyboys videos promote consent and respect between partners. “There’s something about their movies that I think is really important in that they always show people being respectful to one another.”

On the main page of the website, users can find the “Cockyboys Manifesto,” a list of empowering statements that encourage self-love and respect for others. The manifesto includes, “Gay sex is not shameful. It is a blessing like a fine wine, a great meal, or a roller coaster ride. It is part of life and should be enjoyed,” and “Mutual respect is the path to true power. Power = pride. Pride = loving yourself. Love yourself and you can love another,” among other statements.

Levinson believes that Cockyboys’ promotion of self-love combats key societal issues that are relevant to any sexual orientation. “I think I see [their work] as responding to a culture within pornography and coming out of the closet and things like that as addressing something that can involve so much self-persecution,” Levinson said.

“I think people, regardless of their sexual orientation, have so much trouble finding models of self respect within sexuality, so in that sense I see what they’re doing as a really vital conversation.”

Levinson met with the throuple—Benny, Jason and Adrian—at their mansion in upstate New York. According to Levinson, though the throuple are in a rather unconventional relationship, they seem strikingly average.

“In many surface ways it’s extremely unconventional, but what they’re pursuing is in fact a not at all unconventional American family model, sort of, which is to me really provocative,” he said. “They live a very low-key life, where they come home and watch T.V. and play with their dogs and make lasagna.”

Gay Sex: Two Fairytales stars Robbie Trocchia ’14, Rob Madden ’14 and Evan Schlaich ’14 as the throuple. Trocchia spoke to the importance of depicting an untraditional relationship.

“I think this production offers the Vassar community the opportunity to really think about not only the possibility of such a relationship but also what it says about relationships, romantic and otherwise, and what they mean for us as individuals,” Trocchia wrote in an emailed statement.

He continued, “Yes, this relationship is an unconventional one but what does it say about society to find this sort of relationship strange when it happens to work well for these three men.”

Trocchia is also excited to see the Cockyboys at the panel and when they attend the play the following week. He hopes to see how his interpretation of Teddy mirrors the real-life Benny.

“I’m really hoping to get a sense of who they are as people,” he wrote. “It has been interesting to continue developing Teddy as a character, so I’m very curious to see what his real-life counterpart is like! The story is fictionalized of course but I wonder if Benny will see pieces of himself in Teddy.”

Levinson will lead Thursday’s panel, but he encourages attendees to ask questions once the Q&A is over. “It’ll be really interesting to see what people will ask,” he said.

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