A Perverted Passion
The business of porn is driven by passion — both on the part of its consumers, as well as of its producers — but as with many passions, the brighter the flame burns, the faster it may burn out.
“Are you still passionate about being in the adult entertainment business?” It was a question James S. of the Body-Rockin Promotions Network asked XBIZ.net’s adult entertainment business community. James pointed to persistent problems of piracy, free porn and declining income to deal with, and wondered if XBIZ members are still as passionate about the adult business today as they were five or 10 years ago.
The answers he received show that for some, passion is a flash in the pan; while for others, it is cyclical in nature — with ebbs and flows in their passions that are largely driven by the amount and frequency of the checks coming in. It is all part of the emotions, changing life factors, and the shifting priorities of an aging family of Internet and adult web pioneers, who may no longer want (or be able to) burn the candle at both ends.
Hard times made hard choices for many adult website operators and service providers, with many folks taking a hiatus from porn in order to seek greener grass on the mainstream side of the fence — but now returning to their former home in adult entertainment, for one reason or another.
For example, Harlan of AdvertiSin told XBIZ that while he has taken a break from the adult industry for the past several years, he is diving back into it, and now remembers why he loves it so much.
“I think a lot of people would laugh at me who have never worked in it when I say that the people I work with in adult are more honest and mature than people who aren’t in it,” Harlan told XBIZ. “Sure, there are definitely problems for us all on the horizon, but a sailboat with no wind doesn’t move anywhere.”
Liberty Harkness of Darksiders XXX tells XBIZ that she is fully recharged with passion following an 18-month break from modeling, and is now finishing off her new solo site, which she has upgraded with new features and more interactivity.
“Money is still here for those that want to go take it,” Harkness says, “[But] sometimes I think it’s good for people to take a back seat [and] refocus their passions.”
This refocusing of passions is a common theme and a process that can reignite creativity and work ethic.
Isabella Sinclaire of Gwenmedia is another returning member of the adult industry, who took a four-year hiatus, and is now faced with how much the industry has changed in that time.
“The type of content has changed, the delivery methods and technology has changed [and] the piracy issues are more prominent and aggressive,” Sinclaire says. “The business side gets in the way of what fuels my business, the actual content — and the actual content is my passion. I’m learning something new about the technical aspects of the business every day, so it’s not all bad — it’s just not all passion.”
This evolution is also leading industry professionals into market segments that are more suited to their personality and skill set, allowing many to transfer their working knowledge as independent operators into something that fits the needs of larger corporate entities. While this may pay the bills, it is often not the ideal motivator of passion.
For some other adult industry insiders, it isn’t only declining revenues, increased competition and an unlevel playing field that is corrosive to their passion. For example, Toby Ross of BigDikFactory told XBIZ that he sees as a declining number of “exciting” models — the pool of which he says has been reduced to people he wouldn’t have given a second glance to 10 years ago.
“It’s hard to make a movie that is meant to excite others when you yourself are not excited by what you see. So for me, it’s the boring plateau of the uninterested talent who unfortunately need a few bucks to pay the rent or eat,” Ross reveals. “You know what? I need it too.”
It is a dose of reality that is difficult for some to come to grips with, especially if they remember the ease of fatter days past. For others, it is their future days that are on their minds and affecting their passions.
Barefootsies of RealityChexxx told XBIZ that while he still has a passion for his work, as he gets older, his priorities are changing, so he is cutting back for a better quality of life that is not all work-related.
“I suspect if I am lucky I might have another 20-25 years,” Barefootsies confides. “How do I want to spend that time? Hunched over a computer 12-18 hours a day, seven days a week? Or do I want to actually enjoy life, travel the world [and] spend more time with my friends, etc.?”
“Money is great and provides you a nice standard of living [and] working on new ideas is exciting and motivating for me; however, the realization starts to sink in that there is only so much sand left in the hourglass, and a long list of things I want to accomplish in life,” Barefootsies adds. “I simply have had to find a better balance for healthy living.”
Jeff Dillon of GameLink.com echoed Barefootsies’ desire for a fuller quality of life, telling XBIZ that while he is still very passionate about the industry, his passion has changed dramatically since he started 14 years ago.
“When I first got started in this biz I was passionate about earning money and building a career. I could work from the time I got up till the time I went to bed. Most of my life revolved around this industry,” Dillon says. “Now that I am older and I have forged many relationships and established myself in this biz, my passion is for the community and the people of our industry. Many of the people in this business are like family to me, and I love and care about them deeply.”
“However, as I get older, I realize there is more to life than money and working all the time” he adds. “While I still work hard, I have a lot more passions in my life, and I try to lead a fuller more fulfilling life.”