There are a lot of stereotypes about Asian men, mostly that women don't find them sexually desirable and that they have small ... well, you know.
One man is taking the task of debunking these myths head-on, one video at a time. His name is Hung Lo, and he's an Asian American porn star.
"Media sets the standard for people's real lives," Hung says in a phone interview. "Having porn with an Asian male, we'll slowly see that Asian males are sexual."
While more prevalent in gay porn, Asian American males are virtually nonexistent in straight adult videos made in the United States. Hung, who wanted to be identified by his stage name only, is making a small dent in this disparity, having acted in about a dozen studio produced videos and creating his own porn Website, Shelovesasiancock.com.
Hung says he's not pursuing studio work now and plans to focus on the website, which launched earlier this year. On the beta site, most of the women appear to be white, or at least non-Asian, though Hung says future videos will feature actresses of all races. His goal is to eventually recruit other Asian American men and help funnel them into the industry.
Hung, with a fit build, smooth chest, and a youngish-looking round face, doesn't look like your typical porn star, but maybe that's because most adult video actors are white. Hung's not the only Asian American guy who's done straight porn -- others include Rick Lee, who started a Website to document his swinger lifestyle that eventually became Asian-Man.com.
The idea that porn, especially videos of Asian American men and women getting down, can combat stereotypes surfaced in a 1998 academic journal article titled "The Joy F"K Club" by University of California, Davis, Asian American studies professor Darrell Hamamoto. He proposed "yellow porn" as a way to break down the sexual stereotypes and bridge the gap that is keeping Asian American men and women from hooking up more often. In 2003, Hamamoto produced a video called Skin on Skin featuring a male star he recruited on the internet and porn actress Lyla Lei. Hamamoto's video was also lampooned on The Daily Show in a bit that featured actor George Takei.
"Race is still an important delineator in society, and Asian American people need to get their heads screwed on straight" when it comes to sexuality, Hamamoto says. Porn is one way to make this point in a way "that certainly captures people's attention."
Sometimes that attention is bad. Hung says the porn culture is rife with drug use and heavy partying. It's a scene Hung says he avoids, especially after the overdose death of his friend, director Chico Wang, a few days after Wang was implicated by police in the death of his wife, porn star Haley Paige.
So it's debatable whether porn is the right medium for changing attitudes about race. All races are stereotyped and have become their own genres in porn. Black men have big ... well, you know. Black women are often featured in "big booty" videos, Latinas are "jalapeno hotties" and Asian women are an ubersexualized fetish who star in movies like Whoriental Sex Academy. To some extent, all women are exploited, even if they are willing participants. But the adult video industry rakes in billions each year, so someone is watching, and porn is bound to have some effect on stereotypes.
There's a lack of diversity among porn actors because it's difficult for newcomers, no matter what race or "size" they are, to break into this small cadre of established actors, who producers are more comfortable using, Hung says. He got into the business as a production assistant for Hush Hush Entertainment. His lucky break came when a director he befriended gave him a shot to work in front of the camera. Now by producing his own videos, Hung avoids the studios and makes his own statement.
On the site's first preview videos, an off-camera interviewer asks why the actresses would want to have sex with an Asian guy, as if they have to explain themselves for such a fetish. "My entire life I've been fantasizing about [it]," one actress says. It's a lame attempt to make Asian men seem desirable -- but nobody watches porn for the dialogue. The visual is what matters: an Asian American man having sex with a woman.
Hung promises more of the same and believes that if his site is successful, "we won't have to ask the question: 'Why do you like an Asian guy?' " - Harry Mok