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I caught up with up-and-coming porn-star Jared Erikson and asked him a few personal questions.

Can you remember the first time you jacked-off?

I discovered masturbation at a young age. I actually discovered it in an odd way — via a very strong water jet in the swimming pool in my back yard. The first time it hit my crotch it felt good, so with no one around I held my penis up to it and the pleasure stimulation was capped with this amazing warm rush I would come to know as orgasm. From there, I started experimenting with ways to play with my penis and stimulate it when I wasn’t in the pool. I was seven.

How did you feel when you first jacked off?

I had no idea what it all meant or what it was until the sex-ed stuff started around age 11 or 12. The sensations felt so good — the rush of dopamine, as I would learn later on — I always enjoyed my rock hard cock and the sensations it produced.

Happily, I never felt ashamed or guilty, but I attribute that to the fact I discovered it at an age well before masturbation is on the parental and social radar. All I knew was that it felt great and I wanted to feel it again and again.

When the social shaming about masturbation and sex hit around puberty, I already knew there was no way something that produced so much happiness and mood elevation could be bad, naughty, nasty, unnatural, or any of the other suppressive and negative adjectives attached to the act.

Did you talk about it with anyone?

I told my sister, since I had no idea what it all meant. Eventually, I was caught by my mom when I was in the pool. I don’t know how my parents felt about it because, being the good repressed protestant household we were, it was never really discussed with me beyond — ‘Don’t do that!’ in the moment of discovery and then never brought up again. I suspect I was watched really closely in the pool after that, though.

When I was 11, my mom gave me James Dobson’s book Preparing for Adolescence, which functionally explained a great deal of the puberty process. But like most Christian writers, his information was tainted with the negative view of any sex that didn’t occur with with your opposite-sex life-mate partner whom you would one day meet — a misguided and unnatural view in my experience that unfavourably colours their view of all things sexual and doesn’t bear out in the natural world.

I think that because I discovered this natural pleasure so young, when the falsehoods and party-line propaganda about masturbation and sex finally hit in my early teens, I took it for the idiocy that it is. Sex is dirty, naughty, and shameful, unless it’s with this one special person and then it magically transforms itself from dirty to an expression of pure love? Are you fucking kidding me? What intelligent person buys that? I kept right on masturbating.

Did you try any different techniques in those early years?

Initially, I didn’t need lube because I was in a swimming pool in south Florida with a jet of water providing the stimulation. From there, the masturbation was dry, with one hand around the base of my erection and the other using my fingertips rubbing back and forth on the underside of the shaft while my thumb tip braced against the top of the shaft.

The first time I came, it sprayed all over the palm of my hand, which was over the head of my cock.

From there, I discovered lube, and started using baby oil and Vaseline for the more traditional form of gripping and stroking the full shaft and head with my entire hand.

How has your jack-off style evolved over the years?

The biggest change came with my discovery of edging. I started out just wanting to hit orgasm, and frequently more than once or twice in a session. But with edging, I’d spend hours just getting near to orgasm and backing off and then ramping up again and backing off again — just to see how long I could last before just barely touching my erection would cause me to orgasm fully.

My first intercourse experience as a bottom was when I was still in my teens — that had me hooked on anal sex, so a lot of my energy went into jerking off while getting plowed. In my teens and early 20s, I often jerked off looking at porn magazines and reading the erotic fiction. This gave way to internet porn, riding big toys while I stroke, as well as mutual masturbation with some hook-ups, while others liked to play with my fat penis and jerk me off.

What’s your preferred way to jack-off currently?

My current favorite ways to masturbate involves using lube and stroking my erection while riding my big toys or, more often, having erotic conversations or cam play with guys on the internet.

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What jack-off hints or tips would you give a young guy just starting to explore his sexuality?

My advice to guys is to always be open and try new techniques and new methods of stimulation. You’ll be surprised at the number of ways masturbation can be carried out to its inevitable satisfying conclusion. Then, do it again, and again.

Follow Jared Erikson on Twitter

Jared Erikson (image supplied)
Jared Erikson (image supplied)
Jared Erikson (image supplied)

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Arts & Culture

Photography that embraces naked men

“Stop comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet…”

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Arrested Movement by Anthony Patrick Manieri (image supplied)
Arrested Movement by Anthony Patrick Manieri (image supplied)

I caught up with photographer Anthony Patrick Manieri to talk about his ongoing series of work known as Arrested Movement.

Why do you think this project has captured the imagination of gay men around the world?

Because we’re all the same really, except we don’t all look alike. We usually just see what society deems to be the ‘perfect’ body types, flashed across TV and social media all the time.

This project encompasses a wide variety of men that are photographed equally and beautifully. I feel that the variety of men and body shapes being highlighted are recognisable to most men. We need to see diversity represented more in the media. That, and also the idea of male body positivity is refreshing in a world where the media seems to only push female body positivity. In this day and age, where depression and anxiety are extremely commonplace, it’s nice to know that we’re not alone in the struggle.

Why are men so keen to be photographed by you for this project?

Because we all want to fit in. We all want to be accepted, and here is a photographic series celebrating all men, all body types, and showcasing them artistically. I think men look at this and can relate and identify with some of the participating models, because they see themselves in the photos.

Most of the men you’ve photographed for this project appear to be first-time models, most likely being professionally photographed naked for the first time. Was that experience confronting for many of your models?

From what I’ve seen, and from what some of my assistants mentioned to me, for most of the men that participate there’s a definite shift in their overall energy levels from when they first arrive at the studio to when they’re done. One assistant asked me — “What is going on in the studio? Because when they arrive they’re quite scared, some even shake with nerves, but when they leave they glow and have this sense of empowerment.”

I make sure that the studio is private and a safe space for them to try and feel as comfortable as possible. I brief them, and coach them with suggestions of possible body movement. I also stop periodically to show the gentlemen their progression so far in the shoot.

Most men, after seeing themselves on the screen during the shoot, are delightfully impressed by how they look. They look at themselves in a positive light artistically, and not what they usually expect to see. I talk to them about how their hands are positioned, their facial expressions, pointing of their feet, and the overall lines of their bodies in the frame.

When you’re not quite happy with your body, putting yourself out there is brave. I watch some men almost lose themselves in the moment and in the music. I’m grateful that I get to witness such a personal moment of self-evolution. For others, they’re determined to take an amazing photo, so they push themselves so that their final image is strong and unique.

Should everyone tackle a naked photo shoot at some point in their lives?

I don’t know if that’s the answer. What people should do is take time to appreciate and accept themselves, to put themselves first. Fill their own cups before extinguishing their energy with others. Uniqueness is special. It’s okay to look different on the outside, because we’re all the same on the inside.

How is the project continuing to evolve?

I’m currently working on the design of the book — I’ll be releasing a Kickstarter page this Fall. I’m also looking at gallery spaces to have the first of many shows.

Are you still actively shooting guys for this project?

I’m still actively photographing men. If it were up to me, I’d be in a different city every weekend photographing.

Since I’m funding this myself, I need to take breaks between cities. Travelling, studio costs, and hotels add up quickly. There are a few cities in the US, Canada, and Mexico that I’d like to do before heading back to Europe. Beyond that, there’s talk of Australia, and possibly some cities in South America for 2019.

How can we help each other feel better about our bodies?

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I think we really need to be kind to ourselves, and each other — daily. Judgement and self-judgement is such a human flaw, it’s like a vibrational plague. We should be detaching ourselves from our smart-phones and social media regularly. Yoga and meditation are great ways to feel centred and grounded, to be in tune with our higher self. Eating right always makes for a happier body and mind. We need to encourage and validate each other to be the best we can be.

What do the images that you’ve captured through this project tell us about gay men and their relationship with their bodies?

Gay culture is meant to be inclusive, and we celebrate that inclusiveness. Though within the gay community, there’s such a divide between men. We’re labelled and put in categories, therefore creating almost a hierarchy of what’s acceptable.

Body-image and self-esteem start in your own mind, not on Instagram. We need to literally stop comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet. We need to make mental health a priority in the gay community.

I hope that when people see this project, they know their worth, they know that they’re beautiful, and that it’s okay to be different.

Meet the participants

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