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The quotations above, from the
covers of Black Inches and Latin Inches, illustrate
how the sexualized representations that readers encounter in gay
pornographic magazines clearly favor what I call the "monster
dick." In this essay I want to examine how the exclusion of men
with physical disabilities from representations in Black Inches
and Latin Inches helps construct the disabled body
as non-sexualand therefore sexually undesirable. Gay pornography
often makes the monster dick central to sex and sexuality, perpetuating
a narrative that glamorizes exaggerated size and superhuman performance.
The particular way in which Black Inches and Latin Inches
depict the monster dick demonstrates how ableist vocabularies
create biased and discriminatory perceptions about cripqueer sexuality.
at Ableist Representations
in Gay Pornography
By representing the large, thick,
firm and potent penis as essential to maleness, Black Inches
and Latin Inches succeed in defining a type of manhood
informed solely by vigor and size. Without the monster dick to define
what it means to be a robust man, simplistic ideas of penile power
and privilege would be impossible to maintain. Even though the monster
dick is not a phenomenon embraced by all self-identified gay men,
it is frequently regarded as the foundational property of gay male
sexuality. It becomes, thereby, the defining symbol for sexual power
and control in gay pornography. Black Inches and Latin
Inches are only two examples of how its representation helps
influence ideas about the distribution of sexual privilege and status.
The monster dick is characterized
as having such potent sexual dexterity that it can bring ecstatic
bodily pleasure and even harm (the two are often equated) to those
it acts upon. The author of "Starting Over," published in the December
2002 issue of Black Inches, likens the monster dick to a
volcano, as Kaheem's sexual encounter with Martin unfolds during
a fraternity reunion. Kaheem states, "I spread my legs wide and
gripped onto the wooden railing, bracing myself for the welcomed
assault ... I hadn't expected to take him in one big lunge, but
suddenly I was impaled on that rock-hard nine-incher and my insides
were on fire ... Martin's spunk blew up my ass like red-hot lava,
filling me and searing my insides" (T-Bar, 2002, p. 56).
Kaheem and Martin's passionate
coupling suggests that sexual abilityas defined by Martin's
monster dickis always about physically healthy and strong
bodies. As this example illustrates, Black Inches and
Latin Inches fashion stereotypical beliefs about male sexuality,
beliefs that establish the extraordinarily large dick as an all-powerful
sex tool, sensual and captivating. Framed in this way, pornographic
depictions of the monster dick presume that bodies must appear and
function in specific ways in order to be worthy of representation
as models of lust and potency. In other words, the monster dick
acquires meaning (as a desirable sex tool) because visual and textual
representations portray it as sexually omnipotent. Consequently,
we must challenge narratives that position the monster dick as the
sole locus of sexual desire and power.
In this essay I argue that ableist
accounts of the monster dick found in magazines such as Black
Inches and Latin Inches construct a concept of manhood
that presents well-endowed, nondisabled men of color as over-sexualized
predators. This narrative suggests that only able-bodied men of
color enjoy the privilege to display their monster dicks, while
assuming that physically disabled men of color do not deserve this
same prerogative. Such thinking stems from the notion that while
homosexuality remains under attack in some quarters, ethnic-homo-sexuality
is concealed under even deeper layers of repugnance and antipathy.
Add disability to the equation and the quadruple taboo of ethnic-homo-crip-sex
-becomes an unspeakable act.
For centuries, racist stereotypes
have envisioned black men as savages with insatiable sexual appetites.
Similarly, Latino males frequently have been stereotyped as erotic,
bestial, macho, Latin lovers, but in both cases these stereotypes
are applied almost invariably to nondisabled men of color. Physically
disabled black and brown men, by contrast, have been excluded from
racist stereotypical representations because they are labeled as
either asexual or not sexual enough. I recognize the brutal irony
that excludes disabled men from the racist images around which nondisabled
men of color have unified. In this essay, nevertheless, I concentrate
exclusively on ableist depictions of the monster dick.
Presentation of the oversized
dick as powerful and admirable, a sex apparatus belonging only to
nondisabled men, perpetuates the belief that physically disabled
bodies and sex organs fail to observe the conventions required for
representation. In this way, the monster dick becomes associated
with an advantageous norm; its prodigious size not only projects
power, but is employed as a universal measure for appraising male
potency, another way to suggest that sexuality is always about nondisabled
My focus on the monster dick
is one way to dispute the perpetuation of hurtful, ableist representations
in gay pornography. Instead of deriving its meaning from nature,
creation of the monster dick stems from a human desire to differentiate
between power/ability and powerlessness/disability. For this reason,
its representations in Black Inches and Latin Inches
challenge me to question why the monster dick is depicted as a sexual
tool that, we are led to believe, belongs only to nondisabled men.
The "Muy Caliente!"
column n Latin Inches, which purports to feature real sexual
encounters, introduced the narrative "Super Dick" in its May 2004
issue. In this story Julio, the superintendent of a New York tenement,
is described by Frederico as a friendly, older guy in his mid-forties
with a powerful, fat, ten-inch donkey dick. According to Frederico,
"His body sure as hell wasn't ripped, but he had a nice hairy chest
and what looked like a big pinga [dick] bulging inside those old
worn jeans ... my jaw dropped when I saw the size of his fucking
pinga" (Munoz, 2002, p. 31).
As Frederico, Julio, and Eduardo
engage in a threesome, Frederico describes the scene: "As Julio
moved behind me and grabbed my butt, I remember thinking that there
weren't many things I loved more than fucking and getting fucked
at the same time, especially when there's a cock that big to be
shoved up my ass. I plowed deep into Eduardo's hot, damp butt and
braced myself for the welcome onslaught ... I was so hot for that
monster pinga that I would've done anything to get it inside me
... He [Julio] grabbed my waist and held tight as he lunged with
plenty of power" (Munoz, 2004, p. 32).
Black Inches and Latin
Inches feature similar narratives in every issue, routinely
presenting nondisabled men in highly eroticized contexts, while
marginalizing or excluding physically disabled men.
I believe that the erasure of
physically disabled men's sexuality in these contexts raises moral
and ethical concerns that need to be addressed. For instance, both
magazines construct sexuality within an ableist and patriarchal
framework, one that permits and even encourages nondisabled men
with monster dicks to dominate sexual representations. Put simply,
this ableist stance invariably suggests that men with physical disabilities
are not worth looking at through a sexual gaze, and that nondisabled
men should not be sexually aroused by them. In this way, the belief
that physically disabled men are sexually undesirable is perpetuated
in the marketplace of ideas.
Visual images always accommodate
multiple meanings and messages, and are thereby susceptible to various
interpretations. I can attempt to outline only some of the meanings
and messages that Black Inches and Latin Inches potentially
transmit. For this reason, I will examine what (and who) is represented,
and how it is represented, in order to disrupt the ableist assumption
that the physically disabled body is unworthy of representation.
The monster dick is overwhelmingly about spectacle because it is
all about seeing.
For example, the series "Black
Giants" presented in Black Inches and "Gigantes" in Latin
Inches features athletic nondisabled men engaging in various
physical activities. But the major characteristic that makes both
series problematic is the way in which the monster dick is represented.
The simple act of seeing a penis is transformed into a particular
way of seeing the large penis as a monster dickand thereby
authenticating the monster dick's magnetism.
Because both series, "Black Giants"
and "Gigantes," underscore the monster dick as an exclusive depiction
of able-bodied male sexuality, it becomes a political tool (pun
intended) for ableist pornographic representations. Looked at in
this way we can see that the monster dick is a commercial-erotic
propaganda device, one designed to convince the average reader that
the exceptional body parts depicted might actually exist in the
realm of lived reality instead of in a penis-powered fantasy. Inherent
in their exclusion from series like "Black Giants" and "Gigantes"
is the assumption that physically disabled men are not only different
from nondisabled men, they are "less than," and if they are less
than, they cannot possess monster dicks, without which male power
and sexual desire are inconceivable.
Because the monster dick is marketed
as the standard by which we assess male sexuality, men with physical
disabilities are forced to compete unsuccessfully with nondisabled
men for representation. Perhaps disability itself is presumed to
be a condition lacking any monetary value, another reason the monster
dick is sold by portraying it as a commodity belonging only to nondisabled
men. If we see the monster dick as a "product" whose worth is based
on market value, we can more easily understand how men who buy Black
Inches and Latin Inches inadvertently consume the images
of manhood that such magazines are in the business of selling. By
attaching monetary value to the monster dick-and selling it as a
commodity belonging only to nondisabled men-men with physical disabilities
are automatically excluded from this particular market economy.
the Monster Dick
In Black Inches and
Latin Inches nondisabled men are invited to display their monster
dicks, while men with physical disabilities are not. This double-standard
is used to differentiate between the macho male, vested with the
social authority to show off his prodigious parts, and the domesticated,
emasculated pseudo-male characterized by what are presumed to be
anatomical deficiencies. Readers of these magazines are in thrall
to, and will themselves perpetuate, an ableist narrative that envisions
male sexuality solely through the lens of abled bodies with moster
dicks. Accordingly, the physically disabled body becomes an absence
to be made whole, an individual default. Through a policy of omission,
therefore, Black Inches and Latin Inches attribute
no sexuality whatsoever to physically disabled men, even when they
happen to be well-endowed.
In order to dispute the ableist
notion that disabled bodies are asexual or unsexed, gay pornographic
magazines need to embrace and idealize varied manifestations of
physical beauty, without attempting to normalize the "extraordinary
body." Otherwise, the monster dick's representation will continue
to perpetuate an ableist power structure.
As we formulate a sense of self
by comparing ourselves to other men, we are influenced by physical
analogies. However, while the nondisabled men who enjoy sovereignty
in Black Inches and Latin Inches are granted the privilege
of defining ideals such as physical beauty and sexual desirability,
the disabled men who have been marginalized, or "othered," are compelled
to identify with able-bodied corporeal standards. For this reason,
we need to closely examine how the monster dick perpetuates ableist
perceptions of male sexuality.
To begin with, the types of bodies
represented in Black Inches and Latin Inches must
meet certain criteria that fulfill male selection. Men with physical
disabilities are dismissed because their bodies are considered sexually
unappealing to the male gaze. If this were not the case, representations
of men with a variety of visible physical disabilities would be
plentiful in the pages of Black Inches and Latin Inches.
In "So, You Wanna be a Porn Star?" published in the December 2002
issue of Black Inches, Clarke outlines some prerequisites
to succeed in the world of gay pornography. He asks, for example,
"Have you got what it takes? That is, do you consider yourself
handsome, well-built and with universal appeal? When you undress
at the gym, do you hear gasps or get whistles? Do you have a
big dick? While not essential, in this industry it is preferable.
And, frankly, the bigger the dick, the better the chance you've
got to get someone's attention. How long can you keep an erection?
Can you get hard and keep it hard for hours at a time?" (page 18,
bold in the original text).
In addition to this article's
ableist narrative, the March 2003 issue of Latin Inches presents
Diego Alvarez as a "Bathhouse Freak." In the featured interview,
"Diego Alvarez: Best of Both Worlds," interviewer Vincent Lambert
asks, "How big is your dick?" and Alvarez ansers, "I
have never measured it. In fact, I always thought I was small."
VL: "Well, I hear it is big." DA: "I love to hear
that! Thanks!…" (p. 16).
The interview with Alvarez demonstrates
how the monster dick continues to signal power because very often
the careers of pornographic models such as Alvarez depend on promoting
and marketing themselves as men with monster dicks. Another example
of the standardized and formulaic presentation of the monster dick
as a powerful commodity is illustrated in the photographic layout,
"Yes, Sir! May I have Another?" by Abednego in the March 2003 issue
of Black Inches. The pictures highlight Ben Gaines' nine-inch
dick. As these examples show, most of the visual and textual narratives
in Black Inches and Latin Inches insist that the monster
dick be viewed with admiration and desire.
For example, every issue of Black
Inches and Latin Inches features letters to the editor,
giving readers an opportunity to express their likes and dislikes.
A letter written by B.T. in the December 1998 issue of Black
Inches states, "…that big, mouth-watering piece of man-meat
hanging down between his legs had me drooling!" (p. 6). Another
letter, signed Dick, published in V2, N4 (1999) of Latin Inches
indicates, "…the truly awesome Kiko. I went crazy, for his absolutely
huge, oversized horsecock. What a donkey dong!" (p. 8). And a third
letter, sent by Adrian, and also published in V2, N4 (1999) of Latin
Inches reads, "I confess that I also love humongous penises, especially
when they're thick and have mushroom heads…" (p. 9). These
letters attest to the construction of the monster dick as an enticingand
Apparently, men who have monster
dicks can achieve wealth and stardom. For example, Kiko has attained
popularity as a Latin heartthrob by highlighting his monster dick
in Latin Inches. On a continuum extending from handsome to
unattractive Kiko's slender five-foot-eight-inch frame would fall
somewhere in between, lacking any attribute that might be considered
exotic. Yet, Kiko's ever-popular craved and relished nine-inch dick
is what positions him as almost uncannily desirable.
Kiko's advice column, "What's
Up, Kiko?" was designed to establish rapport between Kiko and his
fans. Of particular interest is the alluring manner in which he
is photographed by Phaze-X. For instance, one of the photographs
in V2, N4 (1999) of Latin Inches flaunts Kiko's penis by
having him lie on his back, enabling him to use his shoulders and
legs to propel his torso and hips forward and upward to accentuate
his genitals. Finally, he uses his right hand to lift into position
his monster dick in order to intensify the illusion of massiveness
(see Latin Inches, page 40), thus encouraging men who gaze
at the picture to turn fantasy into desire.
By attributing ownership of the
monster dick exclusively to nondisabled men, gay pornography trivializes
the physically disabled man and makes him a bystander. Categorized
as deviating from the ideal sexualized body, the disabled man's
presumed physical deficiency stems from society's insistence that
his body is compromised and damaged. Ultimately, his whole anatomy,
including his penis, is presumed flawed.
A host of pathologies involving
the penis and its function are associated with lack of manliness.
For example, impotence or erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation,
the loss of erection during sex, and the inability to reach orgasm
through sexual intercourse, to name a few, have come to be considered
deficiencies that should be treated, cured, or prevented medically.
Therefore, men whose anatomical configurations do not conform to
the highly prized monster dick are considered disadvantaged and
impaired. As a result, because men with physical disabilities are
not acknowledged as subjects of sexual discourse, they are marginalized,
and even worse, commodified as pseudo-men.
Because Black Inches and
Latin Inches have helped to construct the monster dick as the
quintessential male body part, the preeminent symbol of sexuality,
it follows that we are meant to see the more sizable and powerful
penis as evidence of the more sexual man. It is no wonder, then,
that penile enlargement, enrichment, and restorative products and
procedures abound. These include enlargement procedures consisting
of exercises (also known as jelqing), and manual regimes designed
to stretch erectile tissue. Products such as vacuum pumps are designed
to produce firm and quick erections, and all-natural herbal pills
are marketed with the promise to expand, lengthen, and enlarge the
penis. If any of these products fail to produce the desired results,
surgery is available as another option.
Additionally, impotence often
bears the implication that its manifestation is self-imposed. Men
classified as impotent may be told that their habits or state of
mind caused their condition. Attempts may be made to remedy erectile
dysfunction with behavioral therapy, medication, or psychotherapy,
depending on whether its cause is classified as pathological, pharmacological,
or psychogenic. In addition, surgically implanted prostheses are
available in the event of permanent neurological damage. These products
and procedures are designed to increase penile size and power, to
improve sexual desire and performance, to augment erections and
ejaculations, and to reinstate "normal" sexual performance.
The relentless fixation on the
monster dick as the preeminent site of able-bodied sexual power
marks the physically disabled man as unworthy of erotic display.
As the makers of gay pornography capitalize on falsehoods constructed
around the monster dick, their creations normalize and standardize
stereotypes about male sexuality. In doing this, magazines such
as Black Inches and Latin Inches benefit from substantiating
the myth that men's unfulfilled and unsatisfied sex lives would
be greatly enhanced simply by possessing either their own or someone
else's monster dick.
The apparent absence of men with
physical disabilities from Black Inches and Latin
Inches suggests that society still trivializes their visibility
and representation. However, their exclusion should inspire us to
question why the male gaze primarily centers on monster dicks attached
to nondisabled men. Although the representation of men with physical
disabilities does not in itself determine their social advancement
in society at large, their invisibility definitely contributes toward
their marginalization. Therefore, in order to recognize men with
physical disabilities as sexual beings they must be seen in sexualized
contexts. Otherwise, disability will continue to be regarded as
inconsistent with sexuality. In other words, being disabled will
continue to be viewed as being asexual.
In this essay I attempt to question
why the presence of men with physical disabilities is strikingly
absent from the gay pornographic magazines that I have examined.
Physically disabled men have achieved substantial gains and have
built new identities through their own individual and collective
narratives. Nevertheless, men with physical disabilities continue
to be excluded from representation in gay pornography, which is
most often constructed through an ableist gaze that insists on a
normalizing view of how men should look and behave.
By challenging ableist representations
that produce the monster dick as enticing and all-powerful, we can
hope to afford disabled men the opportunity to participate in gay
pornography instead of being sidelined as passive consumers.
Thanks to advances in technology
and marketing, visual imagery enjoys a broader cultural impact than
ever. For this reason, their exclusion from visual representations
in gay pornography is profoundly diminishing to men with physical
disabilities, a clear statement that their bodies lack beauty, sexuality,
sensuality, and commercial worth. Devalued as inferior and unfuckable,
disabled men suffer feelings of shame, melancholy, and loss. Consequently,
I argue here that the construction of the monster dick highlights
the body as a political structure. Because only nondisabled men
are recognized as attractive and erotic by gay pornographic magazines,
it is only they who can display their monster dicks. Thus sexual
subjugation becomes the role of their disabled counterparts, a condition
that furthers ableist ideas about what constitutes desire, and denies
disabled men opportunities to speak about their own sexual experiences.
Maleness and manhood have often
been defined through ownership and control of sexuality, access
to sexuality, and decisions about sexuality. These same issues are
of course central to men with disabilities. Therefore, once we expand
the concept of sexuality to include men with physical (and other)
disabilities as sexual and sexualized beings, we can obtain a more
comprehensive understanding of maleness and manhood, one that prevents
the lumping together of men into one nondisabled, monolithic group.
As we pursue the goal of including
men with physical disabilities in gay pornographic magazines, can
we concurrently disrupt the monster dick's privileged position?
In other words, as men with physical disabilities gain representation,
how will these representations challenge us to re-define the monster
dick? Will it cease to exist altogether? If it no longer influences
or defines normative gay-sexuality, will well-endowed, nondisabled
gay men loose their sense of manhood and malenessor even their
sense of sexual arousal and pleasure?
Regardless of the response to
these questions, ultimately, men with physical disabilities need
to gain meaningful representation in gay pornographic magazines
such as Black Inches and Latin Inches. Only then can
they and others begin thinking about and looking at the disabled,
male body as sexual, sensual, beautiful, erotic, and powerful.
©2006 Santiago Solis
Photo and header design ©2006 Mark McBeth, IDEA | MONGER
*Abednego. (2003, March). Yes, sir! May
I have another? (photographer). Black Inches, pp. 58-65.
*Adrian. (1999). Flattery will get you everywhere. Latin Inches,
2, (4), 9.B. T. (1998, December). Torri glory. Black Inches,
*Clarke, E. (2002, December). So, you wanna be a porn star? Black
Inches, pp. 18-21.
*Dick. (1999). Big banana. Latin Inches, 2, (4), 8.
*Lambert, V. (2003, March). Diego Alvarez: Best of both worlds.
Latin Inches, pp. 16-22.
*Munoz, F. (2004, May). Super Dick. Latin Inches, pp. 30-32.
*Phaze-X. (1999). What's up, Kiko? (photographer). Latin Inches,
2, (4), 38-41.
*T-Bar. (2002, December). Starting over. Black Inches, pp.52-56.
Let us know what you
think of this BENT feature.
Santiago Solis is a school teacher
and graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University.
As an educator who strives to ground his work in critical pedagogy,
Santiago often uses popular culture to challenge ableist assumptions
about the human body. To that end, he examines disability representations
to offer alternative, more positive ways of conceptualizing "disability."