Loving Life On A Porn Set

Time to read: 5 minutes

What’s it like to make porn?

It probably sounds very obvious, but the experience of watching porn is very different to the making it. When I was younger and watching porn as part of my sexual awakening, my imagination filled in the gaps of what it must be like to be a porn star. I was told that it was dirty and demeaning. In the films it looked so glamorous and liberating. In this article I want to share how I found the reality of being on set and filming porn.I also want to share what its like when your scene gets released to the world.

I’ve worked mostly with Tim Tales, but also a number of studios working at a similar scale. On the day of the shoot there is usually just one or two people on set with me. In addition to the performers there is the cameraman/director and an assistant. Larger studios will have bigger teams, including sound and lighting people. Locations have been apartments and hotel rooms for me (and, one of the reasons I was drawn to porn, they’ve always been abroad). Larger studios may either work in a studio with a set, or on location. In many ways these studios, such as Falcon and Men, operate in a similar way to film studios – and hopefully one day I’ll get to experience that.

First time on set

When I shoot with a studio for the first time, arriving on set means meeting all those people for the first time. This first meeting isn’t like anything I’ve experienced before: you are gathered in a room, knowing that at least two of you are about to have sex. Not as the outcome of a previous flirtation in a bar or online, but the result of a third person (the producer).

 In my experience there is polite small talk by way of introduction, and the important completion of paperwork. With Tim Tales it was often the case that my co-star and I would speak different languages. Therefore our conversation might be stilted or even need to rely purely on physical interaction. One of the things I actually found really joyful at Tim Tales was that on set there would usually be at least three languages being spoken: German, Spanish and English. The whole team communicated with one another in the most convenient way possible. My first all English-language shoot (after a year at Tim Tales) felt quite surreal as a result!

 

THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST

The director will usually have a vision for the scene. For the larger studios there will be a script. I’ve never worked with one, but understand that the sexual acts are largely unscripted. For me, the director has said the positions they want, and transitions from location. In my experience it is very unusual to just fuck freely. The reason for this is that as a performer your relationship with the camera (and therefore the viewer) is far more important than your relationship with your scene partner. For this reason sex for work and sex for pleasure feel totally different to me. This doesn’t mean that the sex on set can’t be enjoyable. It is just that my enjoyment is secondary to the viewers’.

The shoots I’ve been involved in usually last 3-4 hours. For the bigger studios this can go up to 9 hours on set. There can be a lot of breaks in-between shots to change lighting. It also give the performers a chance to catch their breath, and change position. The work is physically exhausting, and I really admire any performer who works out immediately prior to a shoot. By the end of filming I usually feel like I have had a full cardio and leg workout.

The money shot

There is huge pressure to get the cum shot. No matter how sexy your co-star might be, having a camera staring at you can really spoil that intimate moment of ejaculation. Once it has happened though it is the biggest feeling of relief, and the filming ends, and performers can collapse exhausted, before getting something much needed to eat, and heading home (which for me has mostly involved a flight – which can feel fairly brutal after getting fucked for 4 hours).

Then anything from a week to several months later the scene will get released. The first I know of it is usually being tagged in a tweet with a preview of the scene. When this first time this happened it felt both hugely liberating as well as deeply terrifying. What would happen if people I knew saw this? How would they react? My reassurance was that if people I knew saw this, it was probably because they enjoyed watching gay porn, and not some accidental google search.

TIME FROM FEEDBACK

Working with Tim Tales introduced me to an even bigger audience. The same feelings of being “exposed” as a sexual adventurer still existed. There was also a lot of coverage from gay porn blogs, and so photos and video clips of me starting spreading around the internet. I would read all of the reviews and comments. Praise and adulation is quite addictive, but of course criticism hurts quite deeply. Initially I really didn’t like watching my scenes. I didn’t like seeing myself, and I was deeply critical of my own appearance and performance. Over time this has shifted, and I went through a phase of watching. I started getting off to my own porn. For the last six months or so I haven’t actually seen any of the scenes that have been released in that time. I’m just happy to know that other people are enjoying them.

Stick to your principles

One of the strange things about watching the scene is how different it is to watch compared to the memory of being there. The edit truly creates a fantasy that you are a voyeur watching two or more people make love. In actuality my own memory is far less intimate, and involves mistakes and laughter. Sometimes just as much as it does panting and passion.

I spoke to some of my friends in the industry, as I’m aware that there are many experiences beyond my own. A couple of them who started much younger in the industry talked about bad experiences. Stories of studios that created confrontational atmospheres and didn’t respect limits.Sometimes  putting them in sexually vulnerable positions that took a lot of time to recover from.

I think it is important to acknowledge that there are bad practices in the industry. Practices that I am fortunate to never have experienced. If you are thinking of entering the industry, particularly if you are young, then do stand your ground and stick to your principles. Its something I’ve been able to do. I am aware that this is because of the benefit of age and experience (which, in an industry than values youth and innocence, doesn’t always seem like a benefit!).

Feeling Liberated

Porn has changed the way I see myself, but also the way that people see me. It is flattering to be objectified and can also feel relentless. There can be an impact on your personal relationships. It has made me more needing of validation and praise from strangers. This sounds conceited, but I now expect to be recognised if I go to a gay bar, and if I’m not it can be a bit disappointing.

The industry also creates a kind of unfair competition between models. Who is the best, the hottest, the most successful? It is fuelled by the sexual desire and fantasy of fans. And this is a realisation that something that has struck me, and I think is important: we all have unique and individual sexual fantasies. No one person is ever going to fulfil them all. There will be people who are crazy about my big ears, and people who don’t like them. In the same (and more meaningful) way that there are some people who think that I am too tall and too “masculine” to be a bottom, whereas others adore the challenge my body presents to the accepted ideal of what it is to be a bottom.

I love my job, and I’m really missing filming for studios right now! In my experience the industry is hugely welcoming and supportive. I wouldn’t change what I do, and the people in the industry I’ve spoken to (despite their early experiences) feel the same way too. Sometimes they even describe it as a family. For me it has been the most liberating experience, and I’m so excited for what is to come next.

By John Thomas