Lance Hart is laughing heartily. He is only a handful of minutes into his interview with XBIZ and we have already blundered into an inadvertent sexual pun. “You have your finger in so many pies,” I begin, which prompts him to guffaw (“Well, I do!” he says).
Once he recovers, Hart begins to recount his 10-years-plus in adult entertainment. He first came to prominence as a performer for all-male paysite Sean Cody. “But, before that, I had done one fetish shoot in Baltimore,” he recalls. “The stuff I jerk off to is fetish porn and so the first thing I ended up in was a fetish shoot. It wasn’t a paid gig and they had me wear a mask. It was for a very small Clips4Sale store that hadn’t even started yet, I think. But it was Lexi Sindel, who is now one of the biggest femdom producers there is. She was in Baltimore, I was in D.C. I responded to a blog post. ‘Hey, we need a guy! We can’t pay you. If you want to…’ And I was like, ‘Really? Can I try?’ I showed up and that’s how I met Lexi.” He believes the clip is still living online somewhere. “Her site is Vicious Femdom. You’d have to look back 10 years to find a guy getting his balls shocked with an electrical thing and wearing a mask.”
I went to my 20th high school reunion. It was a hoot. People kind of knew what I do for work, but they didn’t want to say it. ‘What do you do for a living? You work in a bank? I dress people up and come on them.’ It’s so silly. I can’t believe it’s my life.
Otherwise, Hart had never entertained thoughts of an adult industry career, despite a general dissatisfaction with the state of his life at the time. “I was selling software, B2B software. It’s a good job, but only if you can keep it,” he says. “The bubble had burst and the only people hiring were start-ups who had funding. I was doing that dance: I’d get a job, make great money, and then their funding would crash, and they’d lay me off. I had four jobs in a year. It was bad.”
To make ends meet, between software jobs (“I just don’t take days off,” he says), Hart would search online for temporary gigs: mowing lawns, helping people move, painting houses.
“So I was looking on Craigslist for gigs and one of them was ‘modeling.’ I’m not really tall enough to be a model, but I sent in a picture. And that was Sean Cody. They said, ‘Hey, just so you know, this is gay porn.’ I was like, ‘OK. What does it pay?’” He laughs again. “I had never kissed a boy. This is the way I looked at it: did I want to get another software job, which I wasn’t very good at? It’s uncomfortable when you have a big-boy job where you have to wear a suit and you’re just not good at it. It sucked; I hated being a failure. So the idea of being fucked in the ass on camera didn’t seem any worse than failing as a salesman. That’s how I thought about it at the time,” he recalls, with another chuckle.
Hart has nothing but good things to say about his two years under contract to Sean Cody. His one previous foray into adult was not a concern. “They would only hire guys who hadn’t done porn before, but they were like, ‘That doesn’t count. You were wearing a mask, you didn’t get paid. It doesn’t count.’ So I did that exclusively for them, just beautiful, hardcore gay porn. With some really great people, great crews. They taught me everything you could need to know about buttsex. It was awesome. And how to perform, everything. It was a great deal.”
He paid close attention to the production side while he was under contract, which the studio encouraged. “It was good! It helped me. I wouldn’t have learned the glamorous side of (production), otherwise.
“If you’re going to shoot something and it doesn’t have anything kinky in it whatsoever, just two pretty people having sex, everything about it has to be top-notch,” he says. “Otherwise, who cares? There’s plenty of boobs and dicks on the internet. But if it’s beautiful, then it matters. And that’s what Sean Cody does. They make it beautiful. That’s what I learned from two years of shoots; the angles have to be good, the passion has to be there. If one of our hands wasn’t in the right spot, we’d reshoot. It was like classical training, but in porn! I’ll always be grateful to Sean Cody for that. They were really sweet. And they paid me so much money! It was crazy back then.”
He also learned a valuable life lesson. “After Sean Cody I learned that I can actually have a really great day and have fun even when it hurts a little. Like taking these massive dicks in my butt. I mean, I like some anal, but these were fucking huge! But I learned that I could still have fun,” he says. “It wasn’t like work. My mentality changed.”
After Hart’s contract expired, he knew it was time to go into production for himself.“I thought, ‘I’ll call the shots.” We’ll do light ball-busting. I’ll do pegging, but not use giant dildos. I’m not going to do anything I don’t care about. I’ll just do stuff I (really) want to do. So when I started doing that and it actually made money, it was like a home run. Something I’m good at, that I care about, actually makes money. I quit my day job and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Hart began with a small Clips4Sale store, which is still online. As with Sean Cody, he is effusive about the opportunities the company provided him. “Clips4Sale has been awesome to me. If it wasn’t for Clips4Sale, I wouldn’t have a business and neither would most of my friends. They build an economy for us, like what Amazon or eBay has done for the world, just created all this stuff. All these ways for people to make money from home.”
His first self-produced footage was an immediate hit. “Man, within two weeks, I had a top 50 (store). I might be exaggerating a little bit, but it was quick. Boom! I was making a lot of money. It was great, but it was a lot less competitive then. As far as what I shoot, no one was shooting really hot chicks wearing cute clothes, like leggings, or a miniskirt and pantyhose, and then doing ball-busting and pegging and handjobs,” he recalls. “Everyone was shooting leather and intense outfits and these crazy bondage contraptions. I was like, ‘No, I’m going to shoot girls that I want to jerk off to and have them do me in the butt with a strap-on.’ And it just took off — quick. Now, everyone’s caught on. I would put one clip up and it would make $1200 in three days. And now? I update every day and I might make $7000 a month from Clips4Sale. It’s cool, it’s great. I love it. But it ain’t what it used to be.”
In addition to regular performance gigs — for Kink.com, Evil Angel, TransSensual and others — Hart’s main focus today is on the two niche fetish sites that earn him the most money: Sweet-Femdom and ManUpFilms, which he promotes with an active affiliate program, PervOutAffiliates.
ManUpFilms is divided equally among hypno-play (“guys hypnotizing guys into doing gay stuff with each other”), ball-busting, wedgies (“which is very niche, but there’s enough people interested in that to make a difference”) and foot fetish.
“With SweetFemdom, it’s just hot chicks doing me in the butt with a strap-on, kicking me in the balls, and then we have sex, sometimes. Little bit of foot fetish, other stuff, but that’s basically it.” With both sites, he also pays close attention to what performers are wearing. “It’s what people search for,” he says.
He believes a massive treasure trove of content, curated for nearly a decade, is what makes both sites particularly attractive to consumers. “It’s just a huge archive because I’ve been at it for so long. Again, if it wasn’t for Clips4Sale, I couldn’t have kept my business afloat,” he says. “I could afford to shoot 30 clips a month for each (site), so 60 clips a month, and turn a profit, a small one, but it paid the bills, for about eight years now. And now I have this huge archive for both sites, and I put those clips up for members.
“And now, for a few bucks a month, you can jerk off to just heaps and heaps of content. You could jerk off for weeks and never find the end of it. ‘Girls in pantyhose?’ Okay. ‘Girls with big boobs in pantyhose?’ Okay. ‘Girls with big boobs in pantyhose doing ball-busting?’ We’ve got that! ‘Girls with big boobs in pantyhose with a strap-on?’ We’ve got that, too! ‘What? Cool!’ It goes that deep.”
Hart largely maintains both websites himself, in addition to social media outreach and travel for his performance gigs. (Regarding his personal life, Hart is a cat-lover and he is engaged to fellow performer Charlotte Sartre. “She’s a way bigger deal than me,” he says). He does admit to feeling weary.
“But, man, what a quality problem to have. The first thing I have to remember when I feel tired — it’s exhausting because I have to be the director, the producer, the actor, the PA, get all the paperwork — is that I still have it pretty good,” he says. “There’s days when I don’t feel up to it. But you gotta work to make money, so I’ll do it. As I’m getting older, I try to be more realistic with my schedule. There’s no days off. When I’m not shooting, those are editing and uploading days. But it’s cool; I try to do shit that makes me horny. I go to strip clubs — I mean, my fiancé is super-hot — but I try to make sure I’m around stuff that makes me feel horny when I’m not feeling it. I’m weird; going to the gym makes me horny, because there’s hot people at the gym. I make sure I go to a gym where the people are hot. That keeps me interested.”
Hart also works to maintain a sanguine attitude about the whims and ever-changing tastes of the public, not to mention the bias he faces from colleagues within the industry over his status as a “crossover” male performer.
“Of course, I get whiny. But at the end of the day, I’m aware I have it really good. And I try not to openly whine about anything,” he says. “Like the crossover thing, people ask me, ‘Doesn’t it bother you that the stigma is still there?’ I don’t whine about that. I have it too good. It’s fine.”
He’s noticed a shift in public attitudes. “People are more eager to see bisexual stuff. It’s more accepted to say, ‘I’m attracted to trans women.’ I wouldn’t say it’s the norm, but it’s not shocking anymore. It’s a shame that it ever was. But now that those two doors are cracked open, socially, it’s way more normal. Of course, there are the Pornhub comments and ignorant stuff here and there, but I don’t complain about it. It’s part of the deal.”
At the time of this interview, in mid-August, the industry was in the middle of a production moratorium called by the Free Speech Coalition. “The heat is coming down,” Hart said. “In this industry, it comes and goes. We’re in a moratorium and that is when the heat always comes for crossover guys, but I don’t get defensive about it.”
“I get it, man. HIV is scary. And yelling at people and calling them ignorant or haters because they don’t want to work with certain people is even worse. We just gotta say, ‘Look, I get it. HIV is scary. Here’s some science. Let’s talk.’ Open the door,” he says. “But you can’t make some-one not scared of spiders. You can’t yell at them and say, ‘Spiders are your friends! They eat mosquitos!’ It doesn’t make them less afraid of spiders. So how do I make someone less homophobic by yelling at them? You know what I mean? So, the heat’s about to come back on. But we’re gonna learn from this. Thank god for social media. It’s good. It’s how we learn from each other. It’s annoying sometimes, but we’ll get through it.”
Hart makes a point of explaining that he is on PrEP — “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” a daily pill that can help prevent HIV – and maintains a flexible production schedule. “I can shoot no-fluid-exchange at any time. So I can be as safe as I have to be. I take PrEP. A lot of people don’t know how that works. They’ll yell about it. ‘So here’s a link if you’re interested in getting on PrEP, here you go.’ I’d love to see more of the industry on it,” he says. “Good peace of mind for everybody, but it’s hard to get on it. It’s like applying for a grant. I had to apply for subsidies, and I make a lot of money! It doesn’t make sense. But once you get the subsidy, and you’re on it, the peace of mind is amazing. I brush my teeth in the morning and I take a pill, that’s it.”
He notes it took regular encouragement from friends and fellow performers who were on PrEP to finally push him to explore the possibilities. “Reach out to the Free Speech Coalition,” Hart advises. “They are the coolest resource for that. I’m a huge fan of the FSC. And they need money. They’re not a business. A lot of producers and performers just kind of take them for granted. Maybe $20 bucks a month? Give them something. Maybe we’d have quicker progress with the stuff they do for us. Eric Paul Leue, at the FSC, with his busy schedule, made time to talk to me on the phone. He got me going.”
Despite the constant ups-and-downs, the relentless grind of shooting and uploading, Hart maintains a healthy sense of humor about his chosen profession. “It’s the most ridiculous thing ever! I literally play dress-up and cum on people for a living,” he says. “It’s absurd! I went to my 20th high school reunion and brought Charlotte. It was a hoot. People kind of knew what I do for work, but they didn’t want to say it. ‘What do you do for a living? You work in a bank? I dress people up and cum on them.’ It’s so silly. I can’t believe it’s my life.”