Norm Self, who lives in Asheville and has said his sex life has never been better than at 83, recently made his adult film debut.
Self filmed a solo masturbation scene for Davey Wavey’s Himeros.tv, an adult website for gay and bisexual men that has the stated goal of “reinventing gay porn.” (More on that later.)
One way the site is breaking boundaries is by embracing a fuller spectrum of eroticism, including spotlighting the beauty of the longevity of sexual desire, as well as the power of self-love and acceptance.
It is a topic on which Self is something of an expert.
Self described, in a promotional video, how when he first masturbated at the age of 12, “the doors of heaven opened up, and then all of a sudden, WHAM! The gates of hell opened up.”
Self, who was raised religiously and who for a time served as a campus minister, recalled praying, asking for forgiveness, and pledging never to engage in that sort of self-love again.
“And a few days later, as you might guess…” he said, laughing.
Eventually, he realized he couldn’t keep praying, asking for forgiveness for an act he knew he would not be ceasing anytime soon.
Self struggled for decades to kick sex-negative messaging, picked up during his childhood, out of his head.
“Religion has some wonderful truth in it and can steer you into some great places of nourishment, and enrichment and expansion,” he said. “But if you want to complete, to perfect and consummate, a spiritual question to communion with God, you’ll have to transcend any religion you come up against.”
Now, Self, who also served in the Navy during the Korean War, works to help others become more sexually liberated themselves, and to have healthier, more integrated sex lives and partnerships.
His unofficial titles are “minister of erotic education” and “a sacred intimate.” He has said those titles were given to him by others, and he has accepted and begun self-applying them.
On his website, edgeofthevillage.org, Self describes himself as a “practitioner of transformational healing via the body,” with specialties in “sacred intimacy, tantra, and personal growth.” His work, done in person or over the phone, is intended to create “an opportunity to share of yourself from your heart, receive guidance and feedback for your life’s path, and to discover or re-discover the ecstatic connection between your sexuality, your spiritual awakening, and your sense of purpose.”
As for labels regarding orientation, he said he tends to “feel hemmed in by trying to answer questions about my ‘sexual identity,’ since my identity is so much more than how I ‘do’ sex. I don’t really like to pen it down to a ‘sound bite.’”
“My personal preference for a sex partner for my own pleasure is usually a man,” he continued. “But I have all the equipment for human sex, and if I’m with a woman and our engagement calls for erotic play, I let her decide what she wants us to do.”
More important than his orientation to him seems to be his age, and showing that those of all ages can, and do, enjoy sex.
“I think it’s sad and destructive that our society has an image of elder human beings as ‘sexless,’” he told HuffPost. “I have been a facilitator with at least three women and a great many more men in the recovery/restoration of their erotic/sexual response and their joyful delight at the discovery that ‘it ain’t over until I say it is!’”
“I’m proud to have been in this video. But if any reader thinks [it’s] exceptional, I can refer you to lots of men who will testify it’s also their story!” he added.
It is a point Davey Wavey also made salient in a blog post he wrote to accompany the video’s release (himeros.tv/blog/new-video/blessing-of-the-elder).
“I understand that most people aren’t accustomed to seeing an 83-year-old in an erotic film,” he wrote. “Most of us aren’t accustomed to thinking about our elders in a sexual context at all. It’s why people laugh at Betty White’s comedy. If she were 20 or 30, her sex jokes wouldn’t work in the same way; the humor is only funny coming from the mouth of a 96-year-old. The implication is that seniors don’t think about sex, aren’t sexy and surely aren’t having sex.”
“Of course, none of that is true,” he continued.
“Seniors, just like everyone else, think about sex. In fact, some of the horniest people I know are elders. And I can promise you that they are having sex. In some instances, wonderful, mind-blowing sex from which the rest of us could learn. And even though our culture places an emphasis on smooth skin and youth, our elders are valuable human beings with tremendous gifts including wisdom, experience and yes, beauty.”
It fits into the overall intended appeal of a site like Himeros.tv.
Davey Wavey has said that he thinks gay and bisexual men would be better at sex if the porn they were watching was up to par, instead of skimping on emotion, connection and sensuality.
“Most of us learn about gay sex from the porn we watch, but porn isn’t created to teach you about pleasure, connection or the power of your sexuality,” he said during the initial launch of the site, back in December 2017. “We created Himeros.tv to enhance your experience of sex and sexuality through juicy erotic videos, co-created with a team of sex coaches and talented cinematographers.”
Self has said that he would “absolutely” do another adult scene if given the opportunity, “until the sex-negative norms are removed from our society’s vocabulary and replaced with the implicit message that our birthright is to enjoy erotic joy and bliss.”
To watch the censored promo video, go to youtube.com/watch?v=DP1dJJPfWm4.