The Accidental Voyeur: Jangle the Dangle

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What would we do today without social media or channels of online communique? I opened up my Skype window the other day and saw a note from a porn star I knew. She had sent an open message to all her regular contacts: “If you’re a male talent and live in Porn Valley and is interested in doing a B/G with me, please direct message me here, the shoot is for tomorrow at 9 am.”

Wow, I thought, gone are the days when you had to call a production manager to find out what the heck was happening the next morning. I’ve actually seen situations like that, where some dude cancels a boy/girl scene at the last minute and so some lucky cameraman or production assistant gets asked to step in and save the day, offering his cock to a waiting mouth or lower orifice. Some civilians find all this strange, of course, but I myself approve of her initiative. Why shouldn’t she ask around for a guy to work with the next morning? (Always better when he’s cast rather than crew, I say!) As long as he’s been tested and comes equipped with a decent dangle that she can jangle, I think she’s entitled to search for her source of income. It’s a business, too, you know.

It did, however, also remind me of one comment from a regular reader in response to this column last month. One sentence I had written clearly had touched a raw nerve. Referring to porn stars, I had written: “Theirs is, succinctly put, literally the most naked kind of sexual exhibitionism, really attempts at self-confidence born of great emotional insecurities, often stemming from personal dysfunctions. I could riff torrential reams of text on that alone but, basically, I believe that our empathy with this is the real reason behind why we profess to love the girls we love.”

One adult magazine editor, a former colleague, wrote to chastise me: “That’s not true for a lot of performers, possibly most of them, and many are better described by the Jessica Drake quote.” He was referring what Jessica (photo above) had once told me, which I had cited verbatim: “I am a sex worker. I got into this business to do that, so people could see me have sex on camera. For the attention — I want it. Everybody look at me. Me, me, me! And I like the fact that I inspire people. I realize that I provide a fantasy and I’m fine with that. I want to be everybody’s fantasy.”

When I told that to another friend, a female industry publicist, she begged to differ: “I’m guessing he objected because that whole first sentence comes across negatively towards them and I think the problem is he expects you to be more ‘fawning’ towards the girls and do less psychological evaluation of why these women hold your attention. But I think what you wrote is a great read and was spot-on, and it’s too bad that some people can’t handle hearing things like “emotional insecurities’ and ‘personal dysfunctions.’ A lot of men romanticize fucked-up women and I get that, that damsel-in-distress thing, and often these women give off an image or vibe that’s basically nothing like who they really are. It’s a constructed fantasy. I meet so many men who are interested in women that are ‘trouble’ and also men who say they don’t like drama but go after women who are nothing but drama.”

Yes, we’ve all heard that joke before, “porn stars have issues like Kleenex has tissues.” I replied that I accept the possibility that not every porn fan is interested in the psyche of the female talent yet I also never forget something that the late Ron Sullivan (better known to most fans of 1980’s porn as the great director Henri Pachard) once said. “Everyone in this business has some kind of damaged psyche – no kid dreams of growing up and working in porn, “ he told writer/photographer Ian Gitler in Pornstar (published by Simon & Schuster in 1999 and still a favorite book of mine). “But this business, the world of porn, is a place where a lot of damaged souls can co-exist, prosper, and find some sense of community they weren’t able to bring to their lives before.”

I’ve always liked that notion and have met many kindred souls who agree. Back in the summer of 2010, for instance, an anthropologist from Michigan whom I didn’t know at all contacted me, asking to interview me for a paper she was writing. Nicole (as I’ll call her here by her real middle name) used to be an upscale escort who worked the Upper East Side of New York and her pre-PhD career became her stock in trade for she was now, as she quipped, “a former sex worker studying people who study sex workers” (namely people like me, hence her request). Had the call of academia not beckoned, she told me, she would have continued escorting — given her upscale clientele, the money was very good and she had truly enjoyed her clients. But women like her always worked in solitary and she said she envied porn stars for having that sense of solidarity, of the film crew as extended family. She wasn’t interested in having other people watch her, though, and never did porn.

I regaled her, in response, with a personal memory. Back in 1993, I was dating a girl who owned two cats and the frisky little felines would actually sleep with us in her bedroom whenever I stayed over. One of them had a bizarre habit, always hopping onto the bed to position himself between our legs whenever we were fucking in missionary, sitting down in the space right below our entwined thighs. I always saw him jump in to join us from the corner of my eye and realized it was because he wanted to see the “insertion shot” — our genitalia up close and conjoined – and we nicknamed him “Porn Cat.” I could imagine him thinking: “These humans are really weird! Why is his thing inside her like that, all squiggly and she’s so wet too?” He certainly had the invisible camera’s P.O.V. so we were performing for his benefit and we were porn stars to him.

Nicole cracked up. “You told me you’re an ‘armchair anthropologist’ but I see now from talking to you that you’re not really in the armchair anymore,” she said. “You’re actually in the field!” I’ve never forgotten that and think now that perhaps my adult magazine editor colleague has a point. I should focus more on perversity and less on philosophy. Too much thinking can ruin the fun; why dwell on personal dysfunctions when you can literally enjoy the ride? The next time I get that Skype message, I’ll reply to volunteer my services and tell her I’ll even do it for free. We’re friendly, having Skyped before, so I’m sure she’ll laugh and tell me to dream on.