Love & Sex

My Sexual Awakening Came From Watching an Osmond Reenact the Bible

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Any (Wet) Dream Will Do.

First Encounters is a series in which writers explore the media that inspired their first brush with their sexuality. Whether it was a book, a cartoon character, a film, or a painting, we all have one cultural artifact from our adolescence that informs how we think about our bodies and desires for the rest of our lives. Have a First Encounter you’d like to share? Send your story to submissions@nerve.com.

There aren’t many women in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Unless, of course, your high school or community theater production couldn’t round up enough men for the cast. In that case, you probably threw in a girl or two with her hair under a turban as Benjamin or Sebastian or, in truly dire situations, Potifar. The simple fact is this: sure, Joseph is a great show, but if you’re running a high school drama program and you decide to put it on as the spring musical, then you’re going to piss off some very talented females. I’m not saying you have to do Nunsense (unless you want to, in which case, go right ahead because it’s a great show) but at least consider the very promising girls in your program and show them some respect.

Enough about amateur productions of Joseph – they’re usually misguided and overwrought on the religious undertones, anyway. So let’s talk about something better: professional productions of Joseph. The first time I saw Joseph was at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. I was around 12 years-old. This was during the 90s, when someone had decided you couldn’t do a production of Joseph without a man in the title role who was at least distantly related to the Osmond family. Donny had starred in a successful run of the show on Broadway and the national landscape had lingering Osmond fever, as far as Joseph was concerned. Not a bad idea when you really get down to it, and probably the best use of an Osmond if you really have to figure out a way to use one.

A nephew of Donny’s was playing the lead. Some of the other brothers were played by cousins, or nephews, or whatever you call kids in a spooky Mormon dynasty of almost all males. Donny’s nephew was extremely cute. He was probably 20 or so, and just the perfect embodiment of Mormon sexy. Chiseled jawline, innocent eyes, and the body of someone dancing Broadway-caliber choreography eight shows a week.

I knew I was gay at this point – I hadn’t quite put it into those literal terms, but I definitely knew I would never date girls and that I got hard every time I saw the trailer for Fight Club. However, in the weeks following that performance of Joseph I really began to understand just how deep my attraction to dudes went. I’m not sure what the costume design of your first Joseph experience was like, but this one put every guy in the cast in a flesh colored unitard, painted with weird (Techni)colorful tribal makeup. The various costume pieces they wore throughout the show went on top of these skintight, muscle-hugging suits. The effect was, shall we say, memorable.

On the way out of the show I purchased one of those glossy photo filled show programs. I loved those as a kid. It was before YouTube, so it was my way of reliving the magical experience of a live musical over and over again for months to come. It was also, in the case of Joseph, my way of masturbating to images of those sexy Osmond offshoot boys for weeks, neigh, months to come (literally).

This was my first pornography, my first Playboy, my first Farrah Fawcett poster. That show program got me through the next few months and offered me fantasies that still pop into my spank bank to this very day. A dreamy photo of the Osmond playing Joseph on his knees, almost in a backbend, with the beefy guy playing the Pharaoh singing over him all but defined 1998 for me.

After awhile, however, Joseph and his band of sexy brothers began to get a little tiresome. Like most sexuality, even at such a tender young age, variety is the spice of life. That’s when I began to venture out beyond the comfort zone of my Technicolor dreamcoat.

The liner notes of the 1996 ABC “Magical World Of Disney” remake of Bye Bye Birdie were my next great love. In particular, the photos of Marc Kudisch as Conrad Birdie. He was pretty yet hunky, chiseled yet thick, Elvis but less dirty. The album had been sitting on my shelf for a few years when the thought of sexy Conrad Birdie made me revisit the CD booklet. These weren’t even action shots, just sterile promo photos taken in some studio in Burbank. I didn’t care – the way Marc Kudisch curled those lips and lowered those brooding eyes got me through all of seventh grade and then some.

On top of his sexy photos, I could also listen to him sing and look at his picture at the same time. I am fairly certain this, along with a self-sabotaging, masochistic love of pecs, is what led to my dating an astounding number of aspiring chorus boys between the years of 2008-2011.

After I realized that I could find sexually motivating images in the albums and programs of musicals, I was unstoppable. I read Broadway history books – yes for the Angela Lansbury anecdotes but also for the images of chorus boys over various generations. I became a hub of Broadway trivia, all thanks to my desire for photos of sexy dancers in Tony award winning costumes. I’d say the closest I’ve come to rock bottom is spending an entire Friday night of my freshmen year of high school fantasizing about sex with Terrance Mann dressed as Rum Tum Tugger from Cats.

There was something so much more exciting about these times, about having to search for something pornographic as opposed to clicking on the tab of Cocky Boys I keep saved on my desktop. I’m not complaining, just yearning for another, somewhat more complicated time.

My streak of using Broadway Playbills and cast recording liner notes to explore my earliest brushes with sexuality ended when I discovered internet porn. But no matter how much porn is out there, there will always be a special place in my heart and spank bank for those cast album liner notes, for Rum Tum Tugger, for Marc Kudisch, for Conrad Birdie, for Joseph and the Pharaoh. To think it all started with some Osmond boys in an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. You know what? I’m sure they’d be very, very, very proud.

Image via NCM