Pushing the Envelope

Holly Randall
They come in droves. Young, hungry and naïve, the new breed of porn stars aren't really "stars" at all, but rather girls attracted to the porn industry for its promise of the quick, easy buck.

New girls are popping up all over the place, in numbers I've not seen before in my 10 years in the industry. And often they disappear as quickly as they appeared, with a several thousand dollars stuffed in their pocket from few hardcore, low-end gonzo scenes they performed in during the week they came out to L.A. from some small town in the Midwest. And often, you never hear from them again.

What happened to the few, the proud, the real pornstars? Back in the Golden Age of the adult industry, the performers were mostly a small community of women who truly loved sex and enjoyed showing their passion for it on camera. They were often older than the typical just-turned-18 fresh meat that I see so frequently these days, and lasted much longer.

Let's compare. Steven St. Croix told me a story of a production he was a part of that was filmed in Europe over a decade ago. Every evening after work, the crew and talent would hang out in the bar at the hotel they were staying out. After a few drinks and general friskiness all around, Steven and one of the girls began to have public sex in the bar. When the host came over to protest, the girl grabbed him, unzipped his pants, and began to blow him. Needless to say, he stopped protesting. These were the kinds of girls that put the word "star" in "porn star" — women who just liked to have sex, and a lot of it.

Now, let's take the girl I shot today: 18 years old, from Illinois. Right at the beginning of the day, she wanted to know how long she had to be there and specifically how long the scene was going to be. When I told her 45 minutes to an hour to film the whole thing, including dialogue, she made a face. She was used to doing the quick in-and-out gonzo scene, which she said only took 20 minutes to film.

The idea of having to work twice that amount of time for the same amount of money didn't please her — never mind that the quality of the content I shoot is much higher due to the careful lighting and styling of the set. All that mattered to her was that she was going to have to put in more time than she'd expected, and she'd have to go home with only a thousand dollars for a 45 to an hour time period. Poor thing.

I think that the change in technology, or more directly, the advent of the Internet, changed the face of the adult industry in many ways, but not in such an obvious way as the quality and the quantity of the girls. Cameras got cheaper and smaller, and thus accessible to the average person. Websites suddenly provided an opportunity to start up a business that was not only fairly cheap to initiate, but was quick and quite profitable in its return. Suddenly everyone could be a pornographer! It was no longer limited to those who could only get in if they knew someone, and had then spent years climbing up the porno social ladder. The market became flooded with new upstart companies, the job opportunities were abundant, and though new girls were in high demand, they were also disposable.

With high-end productions pushed to the side to make way for amateurish, extreme content, we created a market for what I call the Porn Olympics. It wasn't about the beauty and sexiness of the girl anymore, it wasn't about the chemistry between the performers, or the setting, or the quality of the production. Now it was a question of how far you could push the envelope: how many men can you have sex with in one film, how many dicks can you fit in your orifices, how many ways can you eat cum? In the attempt to one-up the last guy, scenarios I couldn't even dream up became, well, somewhat normal. Ever stuck live eels up your ass? Try it! Why just swallow a guy's cum when you can fry it up in an omelette and eat it that way? How about a new twist on enemas: do one with milk and squirt it out of your ass and into another girl's mouth. Yum!

What happened to good old-fashioned, passionate sex scenes? You know, the ones with the beautiful women, the gorgeous settings, the beautiful clothes and superior lighting? Oh that's sooo boring…. I mean, who can get off to a scene if someone's head doesn't get pushed into the toilet while getting fucked from behind?

Perhaps I'm just being defensive because I don't shoot extreme hardcore, and I feel slighted that the quality, not to mention expensive, content I produce has to compete with all the crap out there that some nobody shot in their garage, with average looking girls who did their own makeup and hair. And why wouldn't I be nervous about this trend?

As the younger generation grows up thinking that double anal is your typical run-of-the-mill sex act, the straight up boy/girl vaginal penetration scenes that I shoot becomes vanilla and boring. Not that I don't enjoy shooting — and indeed watching — double-penetration scenes at times, if it comes down to the fact that I have to resort to producing pissing and vomit scenes to make a buck, I'm out of this business. I won't shoot something that I find personally distasteful, and there's a lot of porn out there right now that is just that (for me).

I can only hope that as the pendulum has swung towards the extreme, that gravity will bring it back to swing my way, and eventually it will settle in a place where there is still room for me in a world of bukakkes and golden showers. After all, I don't want to take away people's right to make the kind of movies that appeal to their taste, but I also don't want to get buried in the rush to push the envelope so far that porn is no longer sexy, but just downright ridiculous.


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