1986 was a scary time. The AIDS crisis was at its height, and according to one gay rag from the period, called Bohemian Bugle (for the Las Vegas/Reno crowd), the Lyndon LaRouche anti-gay initiative as on the ballots. This initiative, had it passed, would have allowed persons with AIDS, and even persons suspected of AIDS, to be fired from jobs, expelled as students or teachers, and even subject to involuntary quarantine and medical observation. Yes, frightening, and it showed at that time the baleful influence of Anita Bryant was still present, and the fear and ignorance about AIDS heightened Bryant supporter's homophobia to the point of hysteria.
And yet, in 1986, even though AIDS had begun to decimate the population of gay porn stars, many stars were still active and expanding their repertoire. For example, Rick “Humongous” Donovan, in an interview with Bill Brody of the Bohemian Bugle, proclaims that in his new movie Dynastud will focus on showing “more affection” between the players. In fact, more kissing will occur. He claims that much of this shift from just showing varying types of sexual positions comes from his “being more comfortable with strangers.” (Some might call this statement an attempt to grope with the artistic license that comes from suspension of belief in the film genre!)
Anonymous, impersonal sex (in real life and in porn) can of course be a turn on, and the focus on the sex act itself is obviously aimed at the viewer's dick rather than his heart is a key element in pornography, but one wonders if there is something in this statement that reflects a shift in emphasis. AIDS was directly caused by sex, and much of the sex was anonymous, occurring in places like bathhouses. Why not then try and show show that sex and affection, even love, don't need to bifurcate in the experience of gay men?
Now, what's really interesting about Donovan's statement is that many of the earlier gay porn, pre-AIDS, pre-condom filmmakers were concerned as well with affection, and romance, essentially, relationships as well. Directors such as Jack Deveau, Tom DeSimone, and Steve Scott all made movies with stories that focused on diverse, complex relationships between gay men, as they now had an audience that was able to wrestle with these issues as well as express long-repressed fantasies in the wake of Stonewall and the sexual liberation tangent of the 1970s.
So many of the Bijou Classics we carry show this development, trying to make the sex an organic part of the plot and character development in gay porn films.
For example, there is Peter de Rome's Adam and Yves, set in Paris, and the city itself is something of a character in the film as it probes the mysterious relationship between Michael Hardwick and Marcus Giovanni.