Lafayette Anticipation associate curator Anna Colin talks to artist Tyler Coburn about Ergonomic Futures, a speculative project engaged with art, design, science, anthropology and writing. In this interview, Coburn discusses the research, production process and network of collaborators of a multilayered project ultimately concerned with the futures of humankind. Anna Colin: When one comes across your museum seats Ergonomic Futures (2016—) in contemporary art exhibitions—and soon in natural history, fine art, and anthropology museums—they look… [read more »]
I. Maverick Men: Online vs. Offline
After falling in love at a rooftop BBQ, Cole and Hunter began to document their sexcapades. The couple’s camera eventually made its way out of their bedsheets and onto the streets, capturing all their sexual mischief at beaches and bars, hidden stairways and bathroom stalls. Making their sex life available to anyone with an Internet connection, the Maverick Men attracted a loyal army of followers addicted to their home made reality show, receiving hundreds of requests from curious men eager to guest star in an episode of their own. Maverick Men’s new model of porn production fueled by fan requests and the couple’s unending desire to keep their fans happy, allowed them to successfully turn messing around into a full time job. An ebook memoir on Amazon’s shelves and a collaboration with Internet meme Chris Crocker only added to their place on top as the #1 Couple on XTube and the unofficial masters of the #pornselfie. A 100 million views later, Cole and Hunter discuss how love and sex pay their bills, they fight video piracy to keep the business afloat, and reveal that keeping it real is the secret to their success. No studios or paid actors, the Maverick Men bring new meaning to “working-from-home”.
How did your Maverick Men days begin? Why did you decide to start sharing your sex life online?
Hunter: We started posting videos and pictures on XTube about five years ago. Cole always has his camera on him, it was the same back then. Inevitably, his camera started making it into bed and sex with us. I was fascinated by the responses we were getting. I’m an introverted person, and putting myself on stage for that type of feedback always seemed terrifying and impossible until XTube.
Maverick Men transitioned from an amateur video channel to a porn site with a “legal age model notice” and everything. What marked the shift from one to the other?
Cole: We went from XTube to MaverickMen.com when ManHunt approached us and made us an offer we couldn’t refuse: total creative control, final say in the site design, and damn good money. We love MaverickMen.com, it’s our baby now.
Hunter: After a while on XTube, we really wanted a site of our own. Since day one, everything we do regarding porn is fully 2257 compliant.
The header on your home page reads “Gay Virgin Porn”. How would you describe your product and its audience.
Cole: MaverickMen represents REAL sex, it represents what people want. Over 100,000,000 video clicks can’t be wrong. MaverickMen is the next generation’s go-to place for porn, it represents reality porn, with real people and their flaws and all. It represents the end of polished goofy old school porn, it represents the new hot out and proud porn of tomorrow. From Websters: “A Maverick is and individualist, nonconformist, free spirit, unorthodox person, original, eccentric; rebel, dissenter, dissident, enfant terrible; informal cowboy, loose cannon.”
Hunter: Our porn is by the people, for the people! Honestly, that home page header was something that our management group did. It all had to do with Google ranking. The majority of guys in our videos are fans that have contacted us to be in one, and a lot of those guys are virgins. We love the younger-on-older dynamic.
What goes into the production of one of your videos? Who edits and scores them?
Cole: As far as production, it’s just my camera and me. I do all the editing and creative stuff and Hunter and I co-direct, there is no scoring, no cheesy porn music, it’s all the real deal. The visuals and sounds are all organic, you can practically taste the sex as you’re stroking to it. Once in a while, I may add a slight bit music bit in a blog post or teaser but for the most part music isn’t included; I find it distracting. I love to hear the moaning and groaning.
You have two XTube channels and an official website? Who manages these? What’s it like to be both on screen and behind the scenes?
Hunter: We split up all the social media and site responsibilities. It would be too overwhelming otherwise. Being behind the scenes keeps us closer to what we’re doing and closer to our fans. So much of what we do is guided by their feedback and requests. Cole always says, their wish is our command.
How has making porn shaped your private sex life?
Cole: It’s made it better, we are now able to stand back and get a glimpse into what the other person is like from a different perspective. Watching the guy I love interact with someone else has helped me tap into desires he has, that in the past he may not have been comfortable disclosing to me.
Hunter: We could shoot seven scenes in a row, and I’d still be hungry for one-on-one sex with my man. Shooting videos has really helped me understand the pleasures of sexual versatility.
Do you draw a line between your sex life with Hunter and your career together as Maverick Men? How do you distinguish between both?
Cole: Do we have boundaries? Yes, there are things we only do together that we don’t do with others, like date night or our bed, no one sleeps between us. Overnight sleep and cuddling is reserved for just the two of us.
How has your online fame impacted your life offline?
Cole: It’s definitely made it more fun, that’s for sure. Everywhere we go, if there’s a gay in the house we’re recognized. It’s funny how often we get approached by guys, EVERYWHERE. Grocery store clerks, postal workers, fedex, every waiter… One time we were in Las Vegas and a street cop walked right up to us as bold as brass, and said, ‘I recognize you guys, I love your work, can I take a pic with you?’, right there in front of Caesars Palace. We said sure, he took out his cell phone and snapped, said thanks and gave us his number, it was awesome.
Hunter: Life hasn’t been the same since we started sharing our lives online. For the most part, people are chill and respectful. Every now and then, someone gets a little nuts, but nothing too serious yet. There’s definitely no sneaking around anymore! I get messages daily from guys that say they saw me walking to the gym, or grocery shopping. Last year, I was at a restaurant eating cheeseburgers with my mom, and three dudes recognized me. I noticed one of them starting to approach our table, and I went white. He noticed the horror on my face and kept away. On the way out, I doubled back and met them (and apologized).
What are some of the perks of online stardom?
Hunter: I rode the Harry Potter experience at Universal Studios several times in a row, never waited in line, all because the gent running the show was a huge fan (and in full Hogwart’s garb, too!). And all the hot fuckers that approach us wanting some.
What’s it like to be the #1 Top Favorited Couple on Xtube? Do you guys have other couples fighting for the title?
Hunter: This has never been about competition for us. We aren’t motivated like that. The idea that someone is fighting for what we have is silly; no one can ever have what we have because it’s us and our love for each other.
What’s your life like offline? What do you do when you’re not getting people off?
Hunter: We keep very busy with work for MaverickMen. We do try to get in “date night” at least once a week where it’s just us, no social apps, no intrusions, and we usually go to a movie. Cole’s family is close-by and we visit with them frequently, which I love so much. I also fly home pretty frequently to see my parents.
Cole: I like to say we are like an old lesbian couple we love to snuggle at home and watch TV and eat ice cream. That’s my favorite thing to do with Hunter, smother him with squishes and kisses. Gross, I know hahaha but its true, I love his company, he always makes me smile.
Do you consider porn your day job? In addition to porn, do you and Hunter have other side jobs/projects?
Hunter: Porn has been our full-time jobs for almost five years now. We carve away time for personal stuff; Cole needs his creative time and he usually sculpts, draws, writes, or reads and I’m very diligent about staying active and fit, and I’m always learning about healthful things to cook for my man.
Cole: It’s super full time, no doubt about it, like right now answering these questions, I am also in the middle of an edit and reading comments on my MaverickMen Tumblr, this job could keep us going 24/7 if we let it.
II. Casting Reality
How do you choose who makes it into your movies?
Hunter: They choose us! Sexy comes in every variety, even the variety itself is sexy to us. We take months to get to know someone before we make further plans. Attitude is very important. Arrogance is the biggest dick-shrinker EVER. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous a guy is; if he’s arrogant I want nothing to do with him, especially sexual.
Cole: I love submissive guys, guys that are not afraid to give themselves over and trust that we will make it hot for them, with that comes total sexual fulfillment for all parties. This ain’t our first rodeo, we know what we are doing in the sack.
You have a lot of footage of both seducing straight men and turning tops into bottoms. How do you approach straight men?
Cole: Honesty and openness. Most tops have anxiety about bottoming for a myriad of reasons, most unfounded, and I know exactly how to alleviate their fears and anxieties. It comes with age and experience, and a masters in Psych. helps too! Hunter likes to lure them in with his big, beefy, hairy, muscle ass then when they are mesmerized and think they are getting his ass he turns the tables on them and fucks them.
What’s the Maverick Men secret to turning a top into a bottom?
Hunter: Patience and lube! Plus, knowing that you’ll be a better top if you know how to take a dick.
Cole: I would never want to turn a top into a bottom, that would be a crime, and bottoms would start to hate us for turning all the tops into bottoms! We like to show tops how amazing it feels to bottom, when its done correctly, it’s heaven on earth, so yes I would have to say we like to turn strict tops into “top vers guys”.
As porn stars, it’s your job to not only give people what they want, but also know what they want. What have you learned about what gay men want and don’t want?
Hunter: I think we’ve always been in-synch with what our fans want and don’t want. We like interacting with and filming guys that are genuine, honest, and brave. It takes confidence and strength to put yourself out there like we do. I think that’s part of the thrill for most on-lookers.
Cole: Most gay or bisexual guys younger and older like aggression and confidence, man on man sex with a confident guy that likes to take charge, we have been with some very hardcore guys and after I get to know them it always comes down to trust and wanting a man’s hand guiding them to that special comfort zone where they feel comfortable getting man handled.
What role do your fans play in the production of your videos? How do your fans’ comments and requests influence your videos?
Hunter: Well, we fuck our fans, so without them we wouldn’t have videos. We always listen closely to their feedback and comments and do our best to give them what they want.
Cole: We read each and every comment on all of our venues, we are definitely in touch with what guys want, and we want to give it to them.
You made a video with Chris Crocker. Whose idea was it and how did you guys proceed?
Cole: I had been talking with Chris Crocker for a few years before we decided to fuck on film, we have sexted and texted for a LONG time before we got down and dirty with him and Justin, it was just a matter of time and it eventually happened. Chris is more than he seems, he is a little hot freak in bed, but he is so much more. As a matter of fact he just texted me some ass pics and woof were they hot, we would definitely do a round 2 with him again, he has an amazing little peach of an ass.
What was it like to feature someone like Chris with his own following on your site?
Cole: It was no different, his fan base seemed to love us already so it was an easy transition, but Chris is out there and comfortable in his own skin being a little nelly or butch he is good either way and some gay guys don’t understand it and hate him for being who he is, I respect him for saying fuck you I am what I am, we are proud of him.
III. The Amateur- Professional Industry
What is the Xtube porn industry like? Is the money good on XTube?
Hunter: We love our XTube family! A few years ago, we went up to Montreal to visit their new offices and meet all the administrators. We will forever be bound to them. They were the ones that urged us to start charging for our videos. Shortly after their recommendation we created an Amateur page where we could feature for-pay videos. About a month and a half after that, we both quit our day jobs and this is all we’ve done ever since. The money is excellent on XTube so long as you have something that people want to pay to see.
How do you see the Internet porn industry’s impact on gay men? What has been effect of people watching sex versus engaging in it IRL?
Cole: I think it’s been amazing for all gay men, I mean, lets face it, EVERYONE looks at porn, straight or gay, we all do. Or 90% do and the other 10% lie about it. My point is, it’s a huge part of our culture, and the best thing about it is all the guys showing their naked asses online. I can’t wait for the day when it’s considered bad form NOT to show your naked pics online.
A lot of porn studios suffer from video piracy, users stealing videos and reposting on free sites. Have you encountered internet piracy and how have you battled it?
Hunter: Video piracy is a plague that’s followed us since we first started posting videos online. Back when we were just on Xtube, I devoted at least two hours a day to sending out cease and desists to torrent sites and other thieves. It’s maddening beyond belief! Fortunately, some of the bigger studios have been pursing piracy cases in court which has helped to scare- off some of the more simple minded assholes. Now our management sends out the hounds whenever they catch wind of any piracy.
Cole: It burns my ass more than I care to admit, I mean we GIVE so much of our content away FREE. We are not greedy, we have a HUGE selection of full length freebie videos on MaverickMen.com and we have given free content out on Xtube for years but honestly this is how we make a living, so to me there is nothing more despicable than porn pirates. We create something and they steal it and resell it? It’s fucking gross and honestly, if anything that finally drives us out of the business, it will be theft of our videos, so if you ever see our videos stolen please email us so we can track the mother fuckers down and stick a pineapple up their ass.
What advice would you give guys looking to get into the amateur porn industry?
Hunter: Search your heart, it’s a big decision. I am sure everyone is sick of hearing it, but it’s true, “once it’s out there, it can’t come back”. Understand what your personal terms are and only work with those that share that perspective. If what you’ve got is hot, then throw some stuff up on XTube and let the people decide. We were approached by several major studios before we signed with ManHunt. If you get to the point where you start getting presented with business contracts, pay the money to have a lawyer look them over first. When you get a press request, stop everything you’re doing and give it the utmost priority!
Cole: I say if you’re hot hit us up and we will help you start your career by featuring you on our site. But seriously, I would say go for it if you are into it. Why not, live your life you will only be hot for so long why not share it with the world, be proud of the body you have, share your hotness, no fear; be a Maverick!
Last question: Do you guys use Grindr? It seems like a cool way to cast your videos.
Hunter: We use ManHunt mobile and all the other social apps to communicate with fans. We’re always in different stages of discussions with guys about doing videos, but ultimately it boils down to the first email to us including clear and recent full body and face pics, exact stats, location, status and when they were last tested. From there, we’ll set up a Skype call so everyone can get acquainted.
Cole: I got banned from Grindr for posting a photo, I’m not sure how it violated their terms. I’m still waiting for an explanation from them , but honestly, I like the ManHunt mobile app. They have the biggest net of guys in the world, literally the most men in the world are on ManHunt, so there are more hot men to choose from. It’s an obvious choice, and besides that you can see all the naughty pics.