50 years. 50 queers.

Conner Habib

Conner Habib

Jan 23, 2014

Name: Conner Habib
DOB: August 23, 1977
Occupation:  Writer/Porn Star/Lecturer/Sex Expert
Favourite Book: ‘Ulysses’/’Winter in the Blood’/’The Quick and the Dead’
Favourite Movie: ‘Rosemary’s Baby’
Favourite Music: Changes daily
Favourite Gay Person(s) At/Over 50: Susan Sontag/Amber Hollibaugh
One Word About 50: Daddies

When most people think of porn and porn actors, they conjure up images of men who are one-dimensional visions of muscle, beef and brawn, there for no other purpose than to fuel sexual fantasy. While the latter part of that statement may be somewhat accurate (sure, people watch porn to get off), the former is far too restrictive and clichéd. In gay culture, porn stars have the same cache as rock stars. They are the cowboys who draw pistols against the repressive mores and moralists who want to extinguish gay male sexuality.

One person who upends the perception of porn stars and comes out shooting against sexual conservatism is Conner Habib. He is a study in contradictions to the preconceived notions of what and who a porn star is. Aside from his work in gay porn, Habib is an author, lecturer, teacher and sex expert. He also has the distinction of being the first gay adult film star to speak at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. How are those preconceived notions holding up?

Habib—who is 36-years-old—loves to challenge societal norms, including those of gay men and aging. As a matter of fact, he looks forward to moving into mid-life. “I want to be really hot,” he says with a laugh when imagining himself at 50. “I’m really attracted to guys who are in their 50s, so I hope that I develop into that. I’ve never had any fear of aging, ever. I’m not really worried about it. Not that I go to psychics or fortune tellers that much,” he continues, “but I’ve had people who say, ‘Well, you’re not really going to accomplish what you need to accomplish until you’re 50, then everybody’s going to recognize you’. I’ve always carried that around in the back of my head, even though it’s probably just nonsense. But it’s something to look forward to. There’s no feeling of dread. It’s excitement.”

While Habib is relatively young, he has embraced the Daddy culture from both sides: he has worked with and is attracted to older men, and he has also been referred to as a Daddy; something he finds somewhat amusing. “Younger guys have been calling me Daddy,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s weird. It’s funny for me but it’s great. When I was 20 I never felt like anyone who was in their 20s was attracted to me. It’s nice to finally have that. It’s fine if they think of me as a Daddy. It plays into sort of power dynamics. When I’m the Daddy, I’m the top, then I’m the bottom with someone who is older than me,” he explains. “I’m not sure why I have that construct, but if they’re significantly younger than me then I’m the top, if they’re significantly older then I’m the bottom. I don’t really care, though.”

Guys tell me they are totally into Middle Eastern men. Whenever they do that I send them a picture of Yasser Arafat.”

MAPOne of the factors fueling the growing popularity of the Daddy culture—aside from an aging population—is the burgeoning phenomenon of intergenerational attraction, something Habib finds invigorating. “I think that people are excited to engage with men who display character,” he says. “It’s harder to spot the character of people in your own age group because you’re swimming in it the whole time. I think experiencing some distinction is erotic for some people. I think this whole Daddy thing is being embraced more and more. I think that’s where it’s going, there’s an openness.”

However, Habib finds that openness comes with a caveat. “I think though that people are still looking for permission in some way,” he observes. “People who are older have certain kinds of bodies, like Muscle Daddies and that sort of thing. I mean, I don’t care about that, but I think some people are looking for a permission slip, like, ‘He’s older but he has this kind of body [muscles], so it’s fine’. But that to me still is a hopeful sign because we’re looking for a way in, it’s not just exclusivity or keeping people out.”

While the community seems to be compartmentalizing and fetishizing more (Daddies, Bears, Cubs, Otters, Leather Men, Twinks and so on), Habib sees doors where others may see walls. “Compartmentalization can make things more rigid and concrete, but on the other hand it’s also a way in,” he explains. “Sometimes these steps towards understanding people outside of your own framework or community are gradual. It’s a step if we decide to make it a step instead of just stopping there. For me, one of the things that I try to do is just to be open about who I’m attracted to, whether it’s older guys or not. I’m attracted to all sorts of men so I try to be open about that and talk about it. It seems like a no-brainer and shouldn’t be a radical thing at all, but actually it is. It’s up to everybody to turn those compartmentalizations into steps.”

Another issue Habib has seen inside those compartments and fetishes is back-handed racism. Being of Syrian descent, he has been the target of a passive sort of racism of which the perpetrator is completely ignorant. It’s an issue he approaches mostly with and open mind and a sense of humour. “Something that happens to me all the time is guys tell me they are totally into Middle Eastern men,” he says. “Whenever they do that I send them a picture of Yasser Arafat. ‘We’re so happy that you’re attracted to all of us’. It’s so racist to say something like that, but they don’t get that that is offensive. They think it’s a compliment. It’s not a compliment. It feels racist to me. I can’t just angrily hold that against somebody forever, but not everybody understands so you have to remember that people are just on their paths to understanding.”

I feel like men should be able to have sex and be horny until they die.”

Habib sees similarities when it comes to the way some people speak of older men in a sexual sense. “If you say something about being attracted to older guys and they say, ‘that’s gross’, and you take a minute to explain to them that you don’t like that they say it’s gross and they persist in saying that then they’re probably an asshole. But give them at least one chance to fuck up,” he says with a laugh.

People are at their own level of being able to communicate and being able to understand. I don’t want to malign people for not being able to talk about some things yet. If you realize that you’re being silent, push yourself a little bit to be more open,” Habib continues. “It’ll encourage others to be more open as well. I don’t want to get on people’s case for not being able to talk. Age and race are totally different things the way they are put on society. There are some overlaps there. People get so bent out of shape when you tell somebody that something they have done is racist. It’s okay, we’re all working toward getting out of that. We’re all figuring it out.”

Given his proximity to and involvement in porn, as well as being a lecturer on many topics, including sexuality, Habib challenges some of the notions of sexual performance and desire as we age. Specifically, the fear of a waning libido. “I feel like men should be able to have sex and be horny until they die,” he proclaims. “I don’t think that a really decreased libido is natural. I don’t think it just happens to people. I’ve had sex with lots of older guys, it’s a consequence of lifestyle. Your libido is deeply linked to all sorts of other factors in your life. I will say that I think that if you have to take Viagra and Cialis there’s probably something else going on with your health that you’d probably want to investigate. It’s a lifestyle factor. It’s not just getting older.”

People who are in their 80s and 90s should be able to have sex just fine,” he continues. “I think that Viagra and Cialis are more deeply related to lifestyle problems that are brought up more by cultural bullshit. If you want to drink booze and eat whatever you want, it might have an impact on your libido, that’s just how it is. I don’t have any moral judgment about that, and I don’t have any moral judgment about using Viagra or whatever. I think that sex isn’t about cumming, there are different aspects to it, during the sex act, and even before the sex act that are included in sex. I think maybe we’re perhaps a bit too focused on that aspect of sex and that’s why people are feeling anxious about performance in some ways.”

Habib sees sexual desire and sexual expression as a continuum. The more you do it, the more you want to do it. Sex begets sex. And it starts with the individual. “Masturbate a lot,” he says. “It’s good for prostate health. In general, that’s good practice. This may be some sort of my Daoist thing, I’m not sure, but the more I have sex and the more I masturbate, the more I have sex and want to masturbate. Just be aware that there might be times when you have to bring yourself to it a little bit more. I think another problem with all this is that people are looking for chemistry to just show up on its own, and intimacy to just show up on its own, and that’s going to dictate whether your sexual experience is good.”

I think that a lot of older gay men are just much more open sexually.”

Sex is not just about being horny and just having perfect performance,” he continues, explaining the relationship between sex and desire. “You have to bring yourself to it, and sometimes you have to put in some effort. It’s just part of life and it’s not going to be perfect every time. The idea that sex is supposed to be perfect and great every time is dumb. The idea that it’s going to be totally immersive and you’re not going to be thinking about other things is just bullshit. I think getting out of that mindset is helpful.”

Habib sees aging as an opportunity to strip away old ideas and behaviours when it comes to our sexuality, the way we relate to it and the way we relate to our partners. “One of the things I’ve noticed is that older guys are just much more willing to go for it. When I want to hook up or whatever it is, the dance isn’t so fucking prolonged. It’s like, ‘Let’s go, let’s do it!’ That’s something everybody can learn. I think the older guys are just much more willing to engage when they want to. There’s not a lot of pretense about it and that’s very appealing to me. One of the most boring things in the world is someone who is playing hard to get.”

If you’re in your 50s and you’re coy then you’ve really fucked your life up,” Habib says with a laugh. “I think it’s one of the luxuries of being older, just getting what you want. If you can just communicate what you want. I also think that a lot of older gay men are just much more open sexually, which is really nice and I hope is something that doesn’t go away as gay culture possibly becomes a more conservative thing.”

As Conner Habib anticipates his own journey through the decades, he has a little advice for the older men out there being pursued by a younger guy: “Just about every guy who is older than me who I hang out with, asks ‘Why me?’ There’s so much anxiety. Vulnerability is sexy, but confidence is sexier,” he says emphatically. “I hope that we’ll create a world where guys who are over 45 don’t have to ask why.”

Leave a Reply