— but about Measure B
If you’re reading this you should care. If you’re reading this you should care because I am a pornstar and you are reading one of my blog pages. You’ve probably whacked it to me. If this is not the case, please change that. I’ll wait.
And I’ll assume from here forward that anyone reading has whacked it to my porn, or at least taken a quick glimpse, and not whacked it. If the non-whacking is my fault, I apologize. Beside the point though, the whacking. Please notice — in a quick mental shuffle through the Rolodex of my porn — the conspicuous absence of condoms in my scenes. They are not there. I did condom scenes in my first movie, and that turned out to suck major monkey balls. The added friction the condoms caused over the course of the shoot was ridiculous. The condoms were not a birth control measure. They were, theoretically, an STD protection. But all the performers were tested. So in my first movie I was protected from STDs that my coworkers didn’t have.
In the next movie I opted out of condoms, and have ever since. Six years I’ve been doing this with a perfect testing record. The system has worked for me.
And in that time, yes, performers have caught gonorrhea. They have caught chlamydia. When this has happened they have taken antibiotics and a week off and then returned to work, good as new. They have not caught HIV. Not a single case of HIV has been transmitted on one of our porn sets in the entire time I’ve been in this industry, and some years before that. Not one fucking case.
And yes, people in the industry have caught HIV off set, in the wild. They have been flagged by the testing procedures and removed from the pool of performers available to work. But they have not transmitted it on a porn set to other performers.
And, yes. There is the recent bad business of this syphilis scare. One of our own faked his test and continued working knowing he had it. That’s shitty. We bungled that one bad. Shitty shitty shitty. Two people caught syphilis this way. With all the bungling. They had to take antibiotics.
And the industry reformed its testing measures to better control against this happening in the future.
In the wild, on average, there are around 2,150 new cases of HIV reported in Los Angeles County each year. This is possibly because there are a lot of people having sex with a lot of other people without verifying one another’s STD status. We are not those people. We’re verified. We are card-carrying motherfuckers.
And who wants to see condoms in porn anyway? Porn is fantasy. It is fantastical with fantastically crazy situations wherein incredibly unlikely women with incredibly unlikely breasts suddenly fall to their knees over men who have their own incredibly unlikely anatomy at the slightest provocation. Never mind the lack of realism behind the perfect shaves and the matching lingerie these women all sport, bent over as they are, waggling their asses with spontaneity. Surely this really happens. Surely women just go around like that, clean-shaven and in designer lingerie, with designer breasts, twenty-four-fucking-seven, horny out of their minds. We beg you to suspend your disbelief in porn. We practically grovel for it. We push limits that would make even a puppet show retch — everything from the dialogue to the story holes to the errors in continuity that are just positively and irreverently savage. But… Measure B would have us get all real-world on your ass and strap a condom on the unlikely dicks and remind everybody sitting at home that fantasy time isn’t very fantastical at all because in the real world there is heartache and death and disease and — god forbid — pregnancy?
Porn is legal because it is protected under free speech. Free speech protects expression. Measure B wants to force us to amend our free expression to include their message about safe sex.
You know about safe sex, right? Because you’re not twelve? Well just in case, here’s the long and short of it:
Sex is the biological function of procreation. As such, procreation sometimes happens. Condoms will help prevent that, as will birth control pills, spermicide, tube tying, and more extreme measures.
STDs are those diseases that are primarily transmitted via sex, although they are not limited to sexual transmission. The nature of communicable disease by definition requires it to be shared between organisms. It must be communicated — by blood or by semen, by air, by skin-to-skin contact, by snot or by spit or by tears — by something. So yeah, sex will bring a person in contact with a lot of these things. All of them, if you’re an avid deepthroater. Sex is messy and in your face. It’s arguably the only acceptable way to interact with two ends of a digestive system that isn’t your own without a medical license. But yeah, condoms will prevent some communicable diseases with 85% accuracy if you use them exactly right. Having sex with people who have been medically verified as not infected with sexually communicable diseases will also prevent this. So will abstinence. Your best bet, though, is agoraphobia.
So now you know that condoms are an option in safe sex. You are a responsible adult. You will make your choices from here.
But we are not responsible adults, obviously. Because Measure B would like to make the choice for us.
Consider this: Do you remember High School Biology? Remember the concept of Spontaneous Generation and how Louis Pasteur disproved it with the squiggly-necked flask that microbes couldn’t get through? Maybe I’m the only one who remembers this because back then I liked textbooks instead of people. But anyway he proved that things don’t spontaneously generate. They don’t just arise out of thin air. And remember that paragraph I wrote a couple of paragraphs ago? I talked about how diseases must be communicated. And remember that other paragraph, up higher, where I talked about how all performers are tested? We are tested every fifteen days now. It used to be every thirty. And I hate needles. The point is that diseases don’t arise within porn. They are brought into porn by contact with partners on the outside.
And yet porn is treated like disease starts with us and we bring it to you people.
No. Disease ends with us. Maybe we’re doing the local population a small favor. Because we, for the most part, have an open and honest line of communication about STDs. STDs don’t carry the stigma for us that the general population associates with them. We talk about it. We’re on the frontlines and it is in our economic interest to stay disease free, not to mention we’re vain about our genitalia. Most STDs are silent. That means that for the most part people don’t know they have gonorrhea or chlamydia. HIV takes a while to manifest. Stage 1 syphilis is a single painless bump. The general population only knows there is something up if there are symptoms, and even then, they don’t always do anything about it. They definitely don’t go stick a godforsaken needle in their arm every fifteen days even though needles give them that scary-sinky feeling they get on the rides at Six Flags that drop too fast. Or again, maybe that’s just me. But anyhoo, in the general population, STDs travel silently. We porn performers are the variables that light them up. If one of us contracts an STD from one of you we catch it fast and we fix it fast and most of us then go back to you (not you-you, but the hypothetical sexual diseased person I am creating for this example. You know what I mean) and you, the hypothetical carrier, are alerted and told to fix it and then you, the hypothetical carrier, stop spreading it. See what just happened there? We are the end of the line.
Imagine if that one of our number who faked his test had just gone on in the real world instead. Not only would he have never tested, but it would have spread on silently, and those people who he spread it to would have spread it, and on and on, and then eventually someone would have had the sense to go to a doctor once Stage 2 flared up on his balls like one of Moses’ plagues. But that person who went to the doctor would have been so far removed from the original source, the incubation period being what it is, and the stigma being what it is, that the person would probably would have treated it silently and gone on with life, and the others would hopefully have done the same at some point, but not before infecting more people, or maybe they would never have treated it and just gone blind and insane. That is an option. Also known as Stage 3.
You’re probably reading this at work, right? If you’re paid hourly this math will be easier, but if you’re not, break it down. How many hours of your day today will be taken from you in the form of the cash you traded them for by the government. I mean taxes, of course. And then the government, being what it is, will reallocate your money, which is a tangible manifestation of your hours of your life that you traded doing what hopefully you love, but very likely don’t love. Some of the reallocation will be nice. Roads and schools and people not holding you up with machetes and taking your lunch money on the way home from work. These are good things. But some things… some things are not good things. Some things get your money by running a propaganda-driven campaign that the government buys into and then funds (with your money).
Like what is happening with AHF (AIDs Healthcare Foundation). AHF is the force behind Measure B. They are a non-profit foundation that possibly doesn’t profit because profits are diverted to Michael Weinstein in the form of a really ridiculous salary, plus perks. A salary to the tune of $366,096.00 as reported on his 2010 income taxes, to be exact (plus additional compensation that is hard to get a figure on). AHF will benefit greatly if this Measure passes. It is in their best interest. If it were in the interest of the performers it seeks to regulate, the performers would be the ones getting behind it.
And because a lot of performers are not behind it, Measure B has decided that it will cost California $300,000 (which is, to the budget’s credit, less than Michael Weinstein’s salary) annually to enforce it. That’s California, just to be clear. You know, the broke state. The one that already needs more dollars from you as it is. So under Measure B, they’d need to find dollars to send officers to porn sets to babysit, to watch hard dicks, specifically, to make sure, the whole time, that there is a latex barrier between the one willing adult participant and the other. Someone will be paid with your money to do this.
And also, because it’s a capitalist system, as in a free market system, a lot of porn will simply cease to be produced in California under Measure B. Because the market for porn with condoms is almost no market at all. So these businesses will likely move or close down. Either way, they stop paying taxes in California. You know, that broke state. There is talk of Nevada, some other states. I thought about what I would do in Nevada. Gambling bores me and I’m asocial. Nightclubs scare me. Magicians aren’t magical. I cannot live there. I thought about it, and I thought, No, that would suck. No offense, Nevada.
And there are people like me who agree with the Nevada thing. Where do their jobs go? Those people like me are people like you. They have families. Some have kids. They’re rooted in the cities they live in. They’re not all performers. They’re caterers and lighting crews and audio technicians and editors and PAs and producers and make-up artists and directors and agents and copywriters and receptionists and on and on. That’s a lot of fucking people with a lot of fucking jobs in this state in an industry where job security is precarious as it is. Piracy. Remember that? There was a worldwide recession, you may have noticed.
But if none of this appeals to your logos or your ethos, let me appeal to your pathos. Imagine yourself whacking it. Obviously I’d like to insert a case here re: why you should whack it to my porn but you can whack it to anything, almost. It is your imagination. So you’re whacking it, see. Maybe it’s the only free five minutes you get out of this day, because your kids are screaming and they need things and your wife needs things and your boss needs things and there is always traffic and emails piled up and taxes due and smaller bills and the dog needs a check up or maybe you do or maybe your grandmother does and the news is scary and you have dry cleaning to pick up, things to mail, a million petty endless errands and maybe today you’ll get them all done but tomorrow you’re going to wake up and start it all over again, and its been going like this for years, this adult life, and you have five fucking minutes to yourself. And you just want to whack it. So you’re tucked away in the bathroom stall or behind the closed door of your office or maybe you’re in your car parked behind an alley — you’re anywhere — and you have five minutes to whack it before the real world sinks its real world teeth in and pulls you back. And you start scrolling through the available porn and everything is condoms, fucking condoms everywhere with their hospital smell and their real world reminders and the funny bunching they do. You dig deeper. You’re looking for a scene with your favorite chick, or not — doesn’t have to be a chick and doesn’t have to be your favorite, it’s your call — so you’re looking for one scene you can really enjoy in your five fucking minutes of reprieve. But you don’t find it. Your five little minutes of pure selfish happiness, your you time, is slightly diminished by this. Imagine that. The real world creeping in on that last bit of sacred space.
Vote No on Measure B.
— This message brought to you by a girl who would like to maintain autonomy over her vagina.
So I spent my day at the DMV yesterday. I’m talking about a big chunk of my waking hours here. I had to renew my license and I didn't make an appointment. I just walked in there with a fat book and a full battery on my phone and some bottled provisions. There was an hour-long line just to pull a ticket. What in god’s name does that say? Ominous, right?
Anyway I get this ticket and I sit down and at some point I realize that this driver's license renewal business is going to require me to take a written test. This is no problem though, because I have hours. There is time to kill. So I download this app that suits exactly my purposes, because of course there’s an app for it, and I start flipping through these test questions.
Here's the thing about DMV driving test questions: pretty early on you realize why there are so many accidents. You know those days where some asshole is driving up the wrong side of a one way or riding his brakes in the fast lane looking like he’s looking for somewhere to try to turn left or some bullshit, or when you’re just trying to get to work in the morning and some asshole inches into the intersection when his light’s yellow and it’s obvious the cars in front of him aren’t going anywhere fast and now your light just turned green and the fucker is still there, stuck, acting like the fairies of fate have joined forces to conspire against his dumb ass? Yeah. That’s every day. Every day some asshole is driving like an asshole. But I figured out why today.
Ready for this?
Here’s a real question: a printed picture of a stop sign is drawn. The question is what the sign means. It is multiple choice. The choices are:
a) do not enter
b) be prepared to stop, slow down, and look both directions for trains
c) stop and wait until the way is clear before proceeding
d) slow down, drive with extra caution, and watch for children
Here’s another one: what does a “no parking” sign mean?
a) you may not park your vehicle there
b) you may not stop there
c) you may stop temporarily or to pickup or discharge passengers only
d) you may not stand there
Ok. So that’s why there are so many assholes on the road. The filter is maybe too wide in the holes, shall we say. And then I realized something amazing. I realized people fail this shit. And then I was ridiculously thankful for the little we have, in the way of driving tests. And then, because everything is extrapolated to sex, because I’m a pervert, and a pornstar, I got to thinking about how much better the world might be if maybe people had to take written tests before they were allowed to have sex.
I mean, granted, I’m stepping into eugenics a little with this, but I don’t think any male who thinks he’s going to climb up on a female should be allowed to do so without at least having a general idea of what and where a clit is. I’ve met people who don’t. I mean, they’re off by inches sometimes. That’s plural. More than one inch. There’s not a ton of surface area down there. And an inch goes a long way. But two inches? Or, god forbid, three? That’s unfuckingacceptable. And yes, usually if they’re off it’s because they’re aiming too low, or in the rare case, too high, but I’ve actually seen them go right and left of center instead of up or down. Imagine being two inches left of the clit. Your ass should not be having sex if you’re two inches left of the clit. End of story.
So I was thinking maybe women would be a little more likely to jump in bed on the first date if you were a card-carrying member of the sexual community. You can be like, “baby I’m licensed." And then she’ll know that you took the test, and you looked at the little diagram, and on the test where it showed a girl's business, you were able to point it out.
The test was like, “where is the clit?”
And you were like, “A) sheathed in the hood directly below and centered to the pubic bone.”
And this shit should apply to girls too. There can be a question like,
“when is it ok to put heavy friction on a dry penis”
a) when it’s a handjob
b) when it’s a blowjob
c) when you feel lazy
d) none of the above
And, yes, maybe it’s a little eugenic-y, because if they can’t pass the sex test then they can’t have sex and that will put a huge damper on their procreation, but for christsakes, if they can’t take care of their partners in the bedroom, how the hell are they gonna take care of kids?
But then I started worrying about how my sex test might become unfair to certain groups, because it wouldn’t just be all anatomy and technique. I’d want to make sure myths were dispelled. Like, for example, one of my sex questions would be:
What does god hate?
b) premarital sex
c) A and B
d) There is no god, you dumbfuck
And I’m sure you can see what would happen here. A lot of religious conservatives would be singled out. Especially if I throw out any trick questions and make abstinence one of the multiple-choice answers. Or what if I made them define legitimate rape? There go the Republicans. Honestly I can’t imagine they’d answer all that many questions right now matter how easy we lobbied them… We’d be god and elephant free in a generation.
And then there are other questions that might profile would-be criminals, which is a little Orwellian, but I think if we’re making you get licensed to have sex then we’re probably already firmly in the territory of what one might consider to be Orwellian, so it’s a moot point… Anyhoo, one of the questions could possibly be:
No means ________
a) wait until she passes out and stops saying it
b) or knock her out.
d) Depends on the context
And then the other problem is sex can be such a cultural thing. Like, what if I presented the clit question to those dark parts of the world that still practice female circumcision.
The question would say, “where’s the clit?”
And there would have to be an option E) in the dumpster.
And you know one of the things at DMV that I saw that I think may have contributed to the failure rate was the test anxiety. There were all these little 16-year-old high school kids with sweaty hands and they seemed like they were positively about to just shit-stain themselves, and I’m sure test anxiety would probably come up the same way during these sex tests for some people. But then I started thinking, Jesus guys, if you get anxiety over this, just wait til you get to the real thing, and especially this generation, these girls watching the kind of porn they’ve been watching since they were, what, 15 (I mean 18, of course)? You know what these girls are expecting? Buy some supplements. Maybe a cock ring. This anxiety is nothing compared to what you’re up against in the real world.
But seriously — there’s some stuff people should just know about the equipment before they operate it. People should know that women don’t pee out of their vaginas. They just should. No excuses. Women have urethras. That’s where pee comes from. People should know that the uterus is tiny. It’s not some big gaping balloon up there waiting to be filled. Its like, 8mm in diameter. And it sits low. Way lower than most people believe. That’s where babies come from. People should know that when babies are in there they can’t reach through the cervix and grab your dick with their little baby grip. Before someone actually told me that this happened to him, I would not have believed that this point was something that needed to be covered, but it is. Those things are stuck in there. I promise. People should know that. People should know that you can’t catch gay. That you can’t decide to be gay, that there was no one moment where gay people stood up and said, “You know what, I think I’ll go with gay” just like there was no one moment the rest of us stood up and said, “you know, I’m gonna go the heterosexual route." Ditto everything in between. People should know that they don’t have to have sex to catch crabs, and also, that if they catch crabs from a friend’s couch, then they should get new friends. People should know that the more they know coming into the situation, the more likely they are to be invited back. Finally people should know to keep their legislative ideals out of other people’s personal lives. Even sex tests. Because once the legislation protects children, the rest is none of your fucking business.
The question can look like this:
What am I allowed to control:
a) marriages between other people
b) the sexual choices made by people I’m not having sex with
c) the procreative choices of other people
d) none of the above
If you get this one you pass.
An Open Letter to Modern Day Pirates
You’re not cool. Admittedly this is a weak opening, and more of an understatement than anything, but you’re not. Piracy has never been cool. But there was a time when it was manly, back when men were so dirty that Hollywood still thinks they wore black eyeliner, and scurvy was a very real risk, and there were swords, and missing limbs. There was danger and intrigue. You pirates today have none of these things.
Granted, the world has really cracked down on the likelihood of piracy in real life (RL) ever being a successful venture again, and, let’s face it, no one wants to live in Somalia, but taking your craft to the internet is a new low. You’ve changed the game, see. When your ancestors stole ships and buried treasure there was a wealth to be gained, and a fair amount of notoriety, and that rebel freedom. They stood for something. And it sucks that these things came at the risk of having your neck snapped in a noose or being marooned somewhere, and if you managed to avoid those things, probably going blind and insane from the late stages of a lifelong case of syphilis, but real life has consequences. You modern day pirates are pussies, hiding behind your computer screens and outside of jurisdiction, speaking some foreign language, or pretending to, in your mother’s offshore basement that maybe isn’t offshore at all (it’s very piratey of you not to have a known address), wiping grease stains off your unbearded faces with cease and desist letters and probably showering regularly and missing the symbolic irony of how completely out of touch you are with your pirate roots.
And I’d maybe understand it if you were rolling in gold coins and required large suited bodyguards with tiny earpieces to protect your pirate interests, but you’re not, because you’re not even really monetizing it. Pirates never did get the monetization thing down. That’s why they raped and pillaged and kept it simple. Then they waltzed off with tangible goods, and it didn’t matter that they didn’t really invest in much, because when they ran out of goods they could rape and pillage some more. But what are you waltzing off with? Increased broadband usage? Some redirected traffic? This is nothing. You don’t even instill fear.
But you do annoy the fuck out of us content owners left standing with our thumbs up our butts wondering why all of our profits are being siphoned off if they’re not being siphoned into some other account, maybe a nice Swiss one, or maybe into a virtual treasure chest. Maybe Paypal. Something exciting. It’s like you’re taking the gold and throwing it in the ocean. Don’t throw away the fucking gold, man. You’re doing it all wrong. And I have to wonder about your social standing, with all that time you have to throw into keeping your tube sites up for the measly return of a few advertising dollars, if that. Pirates should be fierce.
But my real problem with your habit of throwing the gold all over the place is now the rest of us are standing around with the remaining gold that we worked so hard for and you’ve rendered it worthless. That’s the worst pillaging strategy I’ve ever heard of. And here’s the kicker, pirate — we didn’t actually work that hard for it back in the day. You know some solo sites pulled down six figures? Monthly. You could have been in on that! But instead you chose to pull an entire industry into a race to the bottom. And what’s your little tubesite bringing in for all that time and effort you’re expending screwing everyone over? But I don’t think you’re dumb and shortsighted. I’m sure you’re a rational pirate making rational decisions, and if that’s the case, then you’re aware that you’re bringing down an entire industry and hurting your own ability to rape and pillage in the future. And if you continue to engage in this pirate behavior with clear knowledge of the consequences then you are doing this on purpose. So if you’re not dumb and shortsighted, then maybe you’re not a pirate at all. Maybe you really just hate porn. Maybe you’re a moral vigilante using backdoor methods to hollow us out and turning a few bucks in the process is just a perk. That’s smart, if despicable. Cal OSHA’s got nothing on you.
Examining the New Era of Celebrity Porn Stars
Porn is invading America. Just as every white-breaded, Jesus-fearing mother and sweat-stained preacher and vote-groping politician predicted. Sex is no longer passive. It’s coming for you. It’s going to beat down your doors and warp your mind and put hair on your palms and disease in your blood. It’s the shadow in the alley. Run.
That’s actually not true. It seems America has new monsters growing in the closet. I decided after writing that first line that I should probably conduct some research on the general attitudes toward sex and porn before proceeding. Surely it’s still a living thing with an agenda. It was when I was growing up. So I googled it: “Sex is Taking Over America.” The results were mostly people telling Americans to get over their hang-ups, a few sites that still haven’t gotten over the fact that sometimes men love men, and, strangely, a high number of sites that fear Muslims.
I may be alone on this, but the last thing that comes to mind when I think of the ways sex might be invading America is the word “Muslim.” And if Muslims really were invading America, with or without sex, they’d have a tough time outdoing what the Puritans did that one time they invaded America. Remember that? I’d hate to be stuck following that act.
Then I googled “Porn is Invading America.” And you know what popped up? Mexican trees. Mexican trees are invading America. Last I heard, only ten percent of wild grass in California is native. The boa constrictor passed the crocodile on the food chain in Florida. And again there’s that whole bit with those Puritans. And here they’re singling out the poor Mexican tree.
So I googled “Porn is Bad.” And the thing the internet agrees is bad about porn is men who watch it end up trying to have sex like male talent and do that jackhammer shit and everyone assumes bigger, faster, stronger has a direct correlation to satisfaction. I’ll agree with this. The jackhammer can be overrated. People forget that when we make porn we are trying to give you a visual taste of something that is mostly internal, and while bodily cavities do fall under this umbrella, I’m really talking about the mental aspect. They also forget that we are trying to win awards, and to sell more movies, and that their dollars voted for this jackhammer shit. But I didn’t see anything about hell or predation or Satan’s premeditation on the first page of results. And our collective attention span doesn’t care about anything beyond that anyway. I’m sure there are plenty of things I could have searched to get the answer I was looking for, but the general point I’m digging at is that attitudes are softening on this whole porn/sex thing.
Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy and Traci Lords are household names in households that don’t watch porn. That’s probably not true either. You can get porn on your iPhone/your iPad/your hotel TV/your regular TV/your computer/the newsstands/the video stores/at Fry’s/through the mail/at trade shows/and probably somewhere in your parent’s closet in the unmarked box tucked behind the ski gear that they haven’t broken out in 30 years. And back in December you could get it through Barbie’s website. But once the news channels had their fill of that story and Mattel fixed the glitch, that option was taken off the table. You can get it at a price and you can get it for free, animated or CGI’d, old or new, gay or straight, fat or thin, soft or hard. Burger King tried to appeal to the psychology of “Have it your way” but porn just flat out provides it. We don’t need a campaign. So to tie off this thought, let’s just assume that those households that don’t watch porn have probably managed to squeeze a little porn watching in somewhere along the way. But another probability is that they knew Jenna Jameson’s name long before they ever saw one of her scenes.
And that was the big fear at some point right? That we wouldn’t be able to get away from it and society would collapse and it would probably spark seven years of tribulation followed by the second coming of Christ? But that didn’t happen. Rape is down and women’s rights are up and society just keeps trucking along and the sun keeps rising the same way it always did. Granted, more girls are kissing girls and trying it up the butt and rounding off their oral skills, but show me a person who takes issue with that and I’ll show you someone whose opinions you didn’t ask for anyway. And porn never did go after the children and the blood of the innocent like the spin-doctors feared. Instead it went after developing a better product. So much better, in fact, that our CGI in “Top Guns” has people believing that I can pilot a jet. I sometimes let them continue to believe this.
And that’s where we’re at — the changing face of porn as it tries to align itself with a more mainstream audience. Everything before this paragraph was just my wandering lead-in. No apologies. XBIZ sent over my homework assignment and the question was where porn stars fit into celebrity culture and what are the factors that make them a ‘celebrity?’ Then they asked about Bree Olson winning “World’s Biggest Whore” on Howard Stern, about porn stars associated with sleeping with famous celebrities, and obviously, about Sasha Grey.
So here are my thoughts: First off, I’m glad Howard awarded this title to a real sex worker. You can’t give MVP to someone who’s not on the team. And while I wouldn’t necessarily consider that to be true “celebrity status,” you can’t deny that Bree has in fact achieved this through other means. When People magazine is publishing pictures of you and Jay Leno is requesting video footage, it can be assumed you are probably there. When your name is on the ballot in the running for governor of California, you are probably there. When you’re landing mainstream magazine covers, mainstream news coverage, mainstream movie roles (ahem, Riley), again, you are probably there. When your name is Sasha Grey you are probably there.
So when does a porn star become a celebrity? One person I asked thinks it’s a factor of Twitter followers. Sasha and Bree can both claim well above 100,000. Advertisers have wet dreams over the idea of people who self-sort their demographics and then sign up for a live feed to receive ads directly to every device they’ve plugged into the Internet. But an undue level of importance seems to be placed on this, especially considering most of the world hasn’t latched on to Twitter yet. That’s the thing though. There are Internet and reality and local celebrities, and there are celebrity-celebrities. There are generational and regional limits in the demographics of a pseudo-celebrity. Boundaries of genre, if you will. Most of the world still doesn’t have much leisure time to spend on World of Warcraft or Brazzers, or even on power and clean water for that matter. But most of the world is privy to the likes of Obama and Julia Roberts and Michael Jackson. Charlie Sheen too. And now, Bree Olson is climbing into that territory where people know her name having never seen her work — which makes her a celebrity-celebrity. And Sasha Grey? A lot more people are familiar with her name from “Entourage” than are familiar with it from “Throat.” But then if you add up the number of people who are familiar with any one of her 1.2 million other titles, you’re probably giving “Entourage” a better run for its money. Was Sasha a celebrity before “The Girlfriend Experience?” That’s debatable. But from what I remember, people were waiting an hour in line for her signature before all of that.
Who waits an hour for a signature from a non-celebrity?
And before Bree Olson was a goddess she had hour-long lines too. And so does Jesse Jane. And Belladonna. And Jenna Haze. The list goes on. Hell. I even had lines at AEE this year. When Jesse and I were in Oregon for the “Top Guns” signing this month it was the same thing. The line snaked through the whole damn store. People had to take the scenic route to get to us.
But I’d say that was mostly Jesse creating that draw, because afterwards we went out and no fewer than five people recognized her at the first bar. This was in Salem, Oregon. It’s a good place to find an average American if you ask me. Military men were thanking her for her service, followed by a furrowing of the brow when they turned to me and said, “And you are…?” I think if the average American recognizes you then you’re something.
And god knows Jesse’s had her share of TMZ exposure. So if TMZ cares, does that mean you’re famous? Because TMZ also cares about Sasha and Bree, which would add weight to the theory. But then again they cared about a few other of Charlie’s girls. And Eliot Spitzer’s hooker. And everything that knew Tiger Woods biblically. So maybe the rule should be that you’re only a celebrity if your picture on their site does not have to be supported by the mug shot of the real celebrity you’re entangled with. So now we’re just back to Bree, Sasha, and Jesse and the ones I’m not familiar with because I don’t actually check TMZ. Sorry if I’m leaving out your name here. My research skills are severely lacking.
We need celebrities in porn. My theory on the world is that everything is just after a fan base. Coca-Cola and Apple and Lady Gaga and KB Homes and the Republicans and the Democrats and the parties that are still just running on principal and Jesse Jane and the school president and your HOA board and the green initiative and China and America. They all want to grab a hold of a fan base and direct it toward whatever they’re selling. A fan base is power. Here’s an example of what a little celebrity can do for you: the word “Coca-Cola” is the number two most widely recognized word in the world behind the word “no.” That’s a lot of power to direct opinions and dollars with. A few heavyweights in our corner can keep us legitimate.
I don’t think the point should really be about what makes a celebrity and what doesn’t though. I think what matters is that the world is taking a second look at porn and porn stars. They’re forming opinions about us all over again. We want to be legitimate, we want to be legal, and, in extension, we want to be able to lobby to protect the rights to our content, our right to create it, and our right to be classified as fellow humans despite the fact that our genitalia is often more recognizable than our faces contorting softly out of focus in the background. Porn stars are the public face of porn. So if you happen to be one and you find yourself in the public eye, you’re representing all of us. When a performer like Lisa Ann is commanding a rate three times that of an unknown performer, it’s because the mere sight of her face on the box cover will sell more pieces of your product. She has a bigger slice of the attention pie. She took me to a Lakers game last year and every few minutes, like clockwork, some fan would stop her in a low voice and ask for a picture without trying to draw attention. She was patient and friendly and down to earth, and she was polished. She’s one of our heavyweights and she’s good for us. There are thousands of people in the world whose only interaction with a porn star will be with her, and they’re walking away with a good impression. I’d say the same applies to performers like Stoya, Belladonna, Jesse Jane, Riley Steele, Jenna Haze, Tori Black, Alexis Texas, Evan Stone, Mr. Marcus, the Wicked girls, Julia Ann, Dana DeArmond, and the list goes on. It’s amazing how many good representatives we have in this industry right now.
We all have some degree of attention on us. It’s your call what you do with it. You can do cool things like make PETA smile, or you can do shitty things like make us look like we’re all strung out on drugs with no life skills. You can be indie and hip or smart or even just piece a sentence together in a relatively tidy way, or you can pee on the things you disagree with. And if you happen to be fucking a celebrity-celebrity, I think you’re representing us much better if you’re doing it as his girlfriend or even as his occasional good time instead of as his hooker trying to sell your story. That’s just where society is right now.
I’ve noticed that if you’re relatively normal in public, the world will assume it’s in spite of the industry, and if you’re a train wreck, the world will assume it’s because of the industry. It’s the fundamental attribution error of porn.
Either way, I think porn stars are only going to be getting more tabloid coverage as time goes on and we are given more of these opportunities to gain exposure outside of the porn studio. It’s less taboo to interact with us today than it was last week in the mainstream world. And next week we’ll be that much closer, unless the people in the spotlight confirm every low stereotype we’ve been fighting. It could be time to start managing our images the way the celebrity-celebrities do. If we’re on our best behavior, America might just keep redirecting its negative attention toward the Mexican Tree invasion instead. They might be so captivated that they don’t notice all of those porn stars creeping in from the realm of the pseudo-celebrity.
Condom or No Condom: That is the Question
That is what I want on my porn tombstone, as in, the final press release that goes out announcing my retirement from this industry, if and when it happens.
I did my first movie under contract with Vivid, and being new, and prone to placing myself in increasingly uncomfortable situations, I opted for a condom. Poor Manuel. I don’t know what I was trying to prove my first year in porn (perhaps that I was the most virginal sex worker this side of Mary Magdalene?), but I had an arsenal of stupid resolve when I came in. I was against more than one dick in a scene, and against facials, and against degradation and things that I was told were degrading. I’ve since decided that the most degrading thing of all is being told by strangers that they have a better sense of when I’m being degraded than I do. I’ve also decided that degradation is simply lovely when you’re asking for it, especially when you’re begging for it on your knees with your make up streaming down your face and you can taste your own sweat and you’ve lost all sense of your surroundings save the larger than life cock that is immediately in front of you, baiting you with the kind of intensity that can only come from extremes.
And god it looks silly when it’s wrapped in a condom.
Don’t worry. I’m aware that this in not the politically correct response. I’m all for safe sex though. That’s why I have it in porn, with people I know and trust, and tests that I can have verified 24 hours a day. So far, this method has worked for me. I’ve been testing regularly for four years without a problem. Of course this can’t be proven, but I would bet that if I’d been with the same number of sex partners that were picked up instead from bars across the country, I would not be able to say the same. I would also bet that if some stranger with white gloves and a nametag came at me with a list of the ways I’m legally allowed to have sex with other consenting adults, I would kick him in the face.
The thing is, like every other rational consenting adult on the planet, I’m aware of the risk and rewards of the sex I have, and each time I choose to have sex it is the result of an individually weighed decision. And each time I choose to have sex, I’m having sex with my vagina, not the state’s vagina. If I feel the need to use a condom, I will take the necessary steps to do so. And I do, when I don’t have access to testing records on involved parties. That never stops me from bitching about them as I dig them out of a forgotten drawer though.
If sex with condoms were exactly as good as sex without condoms, every rational person would use them, provided they were easily available and not trying to procreate. Obviously that’s not the case. Condoms hurt. They cause unnecessary friction and they don’t stay perfectly in place. They smell like a hospital. They break and bunch up and frankly I think they completely erase the organic awesome spontaneity of sex, even if the sex is scripted. As porn performers, we have continuous sex for longer than average by a factor of three to four times. Something official that I recently read and don’t care to look up again said that sex in the wild lasts on average no more than fifteen minutes. Sex on a porn set lasts on average 45-60 minutes in my experience, but I’ve gone continuously as long as two hours. I’ve heard longer from other performers. I’ve never heard of a scene shot in fifteen minutes. So if condoms are uncomfortable for people who use them as they’re meant to be used, for average sex, then imagine how much more uncomfortable they become over the course of a professionally shot scene.
And there’s more. We’re talking about porn sized dicks. Now our sex is longer and larger than the average American household, with more acrobatics. Who really does the pile driver at home? Be honest. How many guys in the privacy of their own homes really have the cardiovascular fitness to jackhammer continuously the way porn guys do on set? All of these things add up to a lot of fucking friction, and now the state wants to top it off with a condom.
We had a mandatory safety meeting recently. I would have preferred dental work over the required attendance but I understand that asses need to be covered and I really like my job. Among the things that we can no longer do before scenes, so as not to contaminate, is floss, brush our teeth with a hard bristled brush, and wax. I pointed out that one of the major things we are trying to prevent (the transmission of hepatitis) can be just as easily picked up by eating a contaminated strawberry. I’d also like to take this second opportunity to point out that I’ve never even heard of hepatitis being a major concern. I’d also like to point out that the next time Leonardo DiCaprio kisses Kate Winslet at the helm of a ship, Cal Osha better be regulating that clear and present danger.
I saw an ad in an airport that said HIV was transmitted one every eleven minutes, or maybe every nine minutes, but again I don’t want to go back and look it up. Porn is shot every day, and very, very rarely, a performer contracts it in his or her personal life and then tests positive and turns the industry upside down while everyone scrambles to assess the damages. Those damages generally turn out to be in the form of bad press. The virus does not spontaneously generate inside of our industry. HIV is a serious concern, but saying that we do not have it under control because the risk is not eradicated completely is ludicrous. The risk will never be eradicated completely so long as the virus is in the population.
With that said, I don’t see why Cal Osha is interested in the health of us sex workers when there are other, larger, more vocal industries to control. I don’t think Cal Osha really cares about my vagina. I do think the state of California would love to fine someone seventy thousand dollars for an infraction. I do think that if a performer wants to work with condoms, that is the performer’s choice, and there are companies who will shoot it. And finally, anything that forces itself into my vagina is by definition raping me, and Cal Osha, darling, no means no.