If you dream of post-coital pillow talk that's all endosymbiosis and prokaryotes, Conner Habib is your homo erectus. The 35 year-old gay porn star won Best Newcomer at the GayVN awards in 2010, and he studied with Gaia genius Lynn Margulis, whom he considered a "second mom" until her death in 2011.
Despite a signed contract with Corning Community College to speak about sex and culture during the school's week of events on sexuality and sexual health, Conner got axed by the college president who worried about linking lgbt rights with porn. Thursday night, he spoke anyway, at the local library.
Part of his essay on the controversy:
"Where I grew up, just outside of Allentown, PA, I watched, right through my adolescence into adulthood and early college years, while straight people paired off and experienced sex. They were able to engage with a basic aspect of human life that seemed unavailable and distant to me. Unlike today, there was no discussion about gay marriage, nor were there many gay characters on TV. But even if there had been, neither would have rounded out my experience as a man with homosexual feelings because so many of those feelings were — unsurprisingly for a young man — sexual. Gay sex was a lonely venture. It wasn't easy to find, and was only mentioned in slurs and the butt of jokes. "Cocksucker" and "butt fucker" were insults; stand-ins for "faggot."
"Whether I bought it from the adult video store or, later, downloaded it, gay porn helped me encounter positive images of gay men enjoying the act of sex. Gay porn was a window into gay sexuality that was free of shame and guilt, and revealed a different world where sex wasn't a lonely prospect, confined to the shadows or just my imagination.
"This same concern is amplified in places where homosexuality is criminalized or even punishable by death.
"As a porn performer of Arab descent, I've received hundreds of emails from men in Middle Eastern countries expressing gratitude and relief for my having portrayed gay sex in a positive light on camera. When a gay man lives somewhere where his identity is threatened, it's clear how sex - including pornography - and sexuality are intertwined. His sexual imagination, which is criminalized, matches the sexual images of gay pornography (which are also criminalized). Since acting out his imagination through sex would be to risk his life, the access to the images is safer. The images, created by gay men wherever it's legal to create them, provide empowerment and diminish alienation."