Ensuring Care Before, During and After Hardcore Shoots

Ensuring Care Before, During and After Hardcore Shoots

My journey into extreme porn was a little unorthodox. Performers often spend years working their way up the ladder, ticking off “firsts” before progressing from tamer to more extreme content, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I signed up for my first porn shoot. I was bored out of my mind and desperately wanted a gangbang.

Sadly, actually organizing one proved really hard. Since I’d also wanted to do porn for ages, my solution was an onscreen gangbang, ticking two items off my bucket list in one go. I was already well experienced in fetish scenes in my personal life, so doing a shoot with four guys felt natural.

This job can be uniquely difficult, but we’re all in it because we love it.

Fast-forward a year, and I’ve made a name for myself as a kink performer with a remarkable skill for taking multiple cocks at a time. Along the way, one lesson has stood out: Extreme shoots can ask a lot from us physically, so for anyone involved in kink, whether personally or professionally, self-care and aftercare are non-negotiable. What each scene participant requires will differ, however, so here are some guidelines to help you establish your own baseline “standard of care.”

Before the Shoot

  • Think about your boundaries. Have a checklist and make sure it’s really specific. For example, you might be fine with having your arse slapped but not your face. How hard are you willing to have your hair pulled, if at all?
  • Some studios will do the boundary check on camera, but not all will be that proactive, so you may need to self-advocate for this.
  • Make sure the director and other performers are aware of your checklist. If you’re abroad and translation is needed, this might need to be done ahead of time.
  • This should be common sense, but getting a good night’s sleep before a shoot will help your body recover quicker from any impact or rough play.

During the Shoot

  • Anal scenes will likely require you to not eat for a while, so carry electrolytes and some sugary sweets to keep you going. Gummy bears are rumored to be the best, but I personally never head to a shoot without fizzy strawberry laces.
  • If you’re someone who has periods, stock up on “soft tampons,” which you can purchase online. Always carry them in case of emergency. Some people suggest sea sponges, but these are not designed for internal use and can harbor and breed bacteria, possibly leading to infections.
  • More common sense: Never be intoxicated on set. It is important that you are aware of everything happening around you. When you’re in control and retain your inhibitions, you are better able to assert your boundaries.

After the Shoot

  • If doing an anal scene, get your hands on something to ease potential soreness. If you’re shooting in Prague, look for a gel called Dubova Kura; it works like magic to soothe and tighten your asshole and is an absolute staple in any seasoned anal performer’s toolbox. Otherwise, over-the-counter hemorrhoid pessaries and creams will do the trick.
  • Due to budget constraints, studios might be unable to provide food — and if they do, it might not meet your dietary requirements and preferences. To avoid feeling nauseous or faint, plan ahead and bring something to eat as soon as you finish or on the way home.
  • Having comfortable clothing to change into after a scene and travel home in will make a big difference for your comfort.
  • If you have access to a bath, grab some Epsom salts and let the warm water soothe you. If you’re in Budapest, head to the public baths for a sauna and soak; they’re open late and offer great value for what you pay.
  • When you go from being around people, and full of adrenaline and dopamine, to suddenly being alone, it’s common to experience a “drop.” I often travel to shoot, so it’s not always possible to see friends in person, but I make sure to call them to go over the day and bring myself back to the real world gently. Doing this helps me to avoid the potential negative effects of “drop,” which can include feelings of vulnerability, sadness or emotional exhaustion.

Reflect on Your Needs

For performers, the aftermath of an intense scene can include a wide range of physical effects and emotional changes. Since we often do not have a preexisting personal connection with the people we’re partnered with, we have to be very aware of our own needs and adjust our habits and rituals accordingly.

If your scene was not a professional shoot but a personal encounter, much of the same advice holds true. Think about what you need to happen afterward. You might need gentle and platonic touch from your partner, or perhaps you need time and space to be alone. Listen to your body. Does it want food and water? Does taking a shower or cleaning the space help you reset? Many find they need to talk through their experience and emotions. Aftercare offers an opportunity to reconnect with partners and debrief the scene. This communication ultimately strengthens the relationship.

Setting Standards

Thanks to performers and advocacy groups pushing for better education, standards and resources — such as third-party intimacy coordinators to safeguard performers on set — there has been much progress when it comes to ensuring the safety, comfort and well-being of performers. Many studios now provide sexual health information and signpost performers to mental health support resources like Pineapple Support, which specializes in working with adult performers.

Whether due to lack of awareness or budget constraints, however, this level of attentiveness and concern doesn’t always extend to aftercare.

Plus, in an industry this large and varied, issues will inevitably arise. That’s why it’s important for us to know our own personal needs, share resources with each other, advocate for ourselves on set and work together toward making sure industry standards accommodate self-care and aftercare.

This job can be uniquely difficult, but we’re all in it because we love it, and it’s important for us all to look after ourselves and each other so we can continue doing what we enjoy, safely and productively.

Ivy Maddox is a British performer and creator whose brand emphasizes kinky content, punk-inspired aesthetics and an authentic approach to exploring sexutality. Follow her @ivy_maddox on Twitter, @ivy_maddox_ on Instagram and OnlyFans.com/ivy_maddox.

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