just like us
It’s strange to sexualize the most mundane statements, and it’s even more awkward to bring the models’ personal lives into their profession. Fans crave camaraderie with their favorites and love to learn as much as they can about them. Porn stars shouldn’t be relegated to strictly explicit posts, especially if they feel comfortable sharing more about lives with the people who support them. That being said, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or family members aren’t open season. Many times their affiliation with their loved one is their only connection to the adult entertainment industry. Some people see those in porn as porn stars before people, but their people see them as the person they love.
This bit in Taylor Saracen's piece for Helix called my attention because the porn actors I like, I like because they seem to actually HAVE a life beyond porn. I follow some of them in social media, where they share a little of that life beyond the screen. I see them as people who do porn, their videos come alive because I am assuming they have personalities and lives that go beyond porn. If they were just porn objects they would not be memorable.
I have only met two porn stars my whole life: Blake Harper and Boomer Banks. Blake I met many years ago in Pittsburgh, at The Eagle (that should be another post) and Boomer I met during either Market Days or during Pride in Chicago last year. They were both absolutely charming and nice. Blake even signed a photo for me. I thought the least I could do was to run and buy his picture after he had been so nice. They were real people. They joked with me and complimented my shoes and didn't ask me to spell my name. They were just two handsome guys who enjoyed talking to people . They were actual people who were working when I was having fun, but they managed to make me feel like I was having fun while I talked to them. They were consummate pros.
I think that when we sexualize somebody to the point that they stop being human beings (with jobs and families and likes and dislikes and good days and bad days, just like us) and become a stand in for everyman only used for masturbatory moments, we do them a disservice. And we do ourselves wrong. Because we jerk off to something that is beyond surreal, a fantasy that does not even exists on the screen we are watching. But that's on us. They are obviously people beyond the average (some of those men are BLESSED) and they get much more sex than your average Joe and get paid for it, but that does not entitle us to consider them just a piece of flesh, a recyclable object of our passing affection that can and will be treated as we would treat a dildo or a fleshlight. An entity put there for our use and abuse.
I would never consider touching a porn actor or a escort without their permission. Or ask intimate questions concerning their private lives out of the blue. Or buy their time and treat them like trash. All because I'm paying. Or because I have jerked off to their videos. Or because I derive pleasure from watching them naked. That would only say a lot about me and it would not show appreciation for them. Just because of the fact that they are porn actors or sex workers or people who make money by showing off their bodies does not give us permission to dehumanize them. Or disrespect them.
So the next time your friendly porn actor shows up in whatever function you go to, or you hire a nice boy for the night, try them well and ask for permission for that selfie you'll later show your friends. Because that same person who is allowing you to have some hours of pleasure and a brush with the above average is a fellow human. He's somebody who drives a car and probably has a mortgage and needs to go shopping on Sunday. Treat them as you would like to be treated. And maybe that smile they give you will be for free.