Throughout history, right back to the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, there has been a need for entertainment and humour that has been fulfilled by the humble clown. In their time, they've been known as fools or jesters - but regardless of their title, they've undoubtedly brought humour and laughter to the lives of many.
However, recently we've seen the tide turn for those brandishing the red nose. Perhaps it's the Simpsons Krusty the Clown, films such as Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Spawn comics, the band ICP (International Clown Posse) or 'killer clown' John Wayne Gacy Jr, but fear of clowns, coulrophobia, is on the rise...and there's the marketing to prove it! And if you're still in doubt, check out Jose Chung's list of media references to this fear.
As if the clowning community hasn't enough to deal with, Clown Sex is on the rise. Yes, you read that right...clown porn and all. While sexual bawdiness was a trademark of the clown until the 19th century, clown must-haves such as the Ancient Greek over-sized phallus were replaced by over-size clothes - making them suitable for all ages.
While humour definitely has a place within sexual encounters, I'm not quite sure this is what most of us had in mind. For the clown fetishist, the smell of greasepaint, the sight of full face makeup or clown accessories may send them racing for the box of Kleenex.
Organisations such as Stop Clown Porn Now have set out to bring an end to the sexualisation of the clowning institution. On their website, Infozo the Clown writes: "there currently exists a strong undercurrent in certain sick circles of Western subculture that seeks to reunite the clown with his explicitly depicted sexuality."
The spokesman blames the 80's popularity for 'clowning' for the glut of clown porn on the market now. He writes: "Like all fads, "clowning" was soon replaced with something new that entailed another run to the mini-mall to purchase the appropriate accessories, leaving the old clown costumes behind to spend the rest of eternity on Salvation Army shelves. But this supposedly harmless practice left a sizeable number of clown fetishists in its wake, unable to become sexually aroused without the fool's bells and whistles (not to mention juggling clubs and unicycles)."
The closure of circus schools and a glut of clowns, led him to write that: " Thousands of clowns were now wandering the streets of America with no place to call their own, no job for which they could be themselves and demonstrate their truly remarkable talents. "
Infozo believes that in the 1990's, the porn industry seized this niche for clown fetish and exploited it (and the clowns) via the internet. He writes: "Haven't the clowns suffered enough? They make their work out of self-humiliation, but should they be forced to go this far?"
However, not all clowns are dismayed by the concept of Clown Sex and porn. Porn star and dom Ouchy the Clown, spotting a niche in the sex industry, offers his services via the internet. In an interview with Sex-O-Rama, the star of flicks such as Cirque Noir: The Greatest Show on Earth, does not convey a feeling of being forced into the porn trade. Ouchy said: "I basically combined several disparate aspects of my life. I had been getting into S&M play, and also concurrently attended some parties as a clown... and was really starting to enjoy clowning around. I think the MOMENT came one night as I was leaving to go to an S&M play party. I had dressed in a leather harness amongst other things... and just as we were leaving, the thought occurred to me that I should put on a clown face...so I went back in and did it. The reaction was so crazy at the party, that I began to hatch the idea of Ouchy the Dom Clown the very next day."
While the idea of a dom clown brandishing a whip may not send you to sexually ecstatic, there are over 1.5 million web pages devoted to 'clown sex' and countless dvds to boot. Perhaps it's the taboo of corrupting an 'innocent' art, the tweak of their horn or even the appeal of the 'evil clown' which makes them the object of sexual fixation.
Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!