Probottom Book Club—
“And I kept standing six-feet-one
Instead of five-feet-two
And I loved my life
And I hated you”
— Liz Phair, 6’1”
“I always tell the girls never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun. And if you ever get lonely, you can just go to the record store and visit your friends.”
— Penny Lane, Almost Famous
“I get it!”
— Tony Soprano, The Sopranos (S6E18: Kennedy and Heidi)
My inbox has its fair share of embarrassments. Unanswered flirtations, uncomfortable small talk, ambiguous invitations. I am prone to Internet crushes— have been since I was a kid— and for all the sexual satisfaction I’ve found in my adult life, I still shoot my shot in ways that leave me frustrated and insecure. The network of OnlyFans gays appears as some kind of orgiastic Olympus, where mutual attraction is guaranteed by a baseline ability to convince people to pay to watch us fuck. I think a part of me bought into this mythology, even as I consciously avoided other guys to whom I wasn’t attracted. So I’d slide into the DMs of the hottest locals on my feed with unclear intentions, just a general expectation that because we belong to the same hustle, we could and should connect.
Most people don’t realize how few gay porn performers live in New York, seeing as how plenty of regular models and actors clog the city’s subways, sidewalks, and dating apps. But only a few studios operate in NYC, and the vast majority of porn people reside in southern California and Las Vegas. It only occurred to me recently that my career might have been a lot more lucrative if I’d just relocated to where my industry is based, but I love where I live a lot more than I love what I do. Still, it’s hard to not have coworkers, people in a similar position as me with whom I’d share knowledge and skills and experiences and gripes. Once I started feeling the pressure to produce more hardcore content— and resolved to only work with other pros— this scarcity of creative peers felt like an issue.
Maybe it’s this particular lonesomeness that has made me reluctant to ask guys I like to meet up strictly to film. After several frustrating experiences where guys became intimidated by my film direction, I felt afraid of pissing away any real sexual chemistry by making a production out of it. I felt the need to minimize production elements in order to maximize a sense of intimacy, overlooking the fact that lots of guys might like giving a show. But there was another insecurity nestled in there, too, that perhaps somebody I genuinely felt attracted to only wanted to fuck me for the content like I was just another hole on an assembly line.
In spite of dozens of experiences that proved the contrary, I clung to this entrenched idea that work sex and pleasure sex were mutually exclusive, and that fucking for money precluded an authentic connection. I felt afraid to just ask outright to collaborate on work because I still desperately needed the validation of being wanted according to ever-shifting, ever-narrowing parameters. (I can see now how worrying whether somebody actually wants to fuck me or just wants to show off fucking me is a bit of a champagne problem.)
Instead, I’d meander around what I actually want, saying things like “we should hang sometime,” that famously non-committal catchphrase of gay urbanites who can’t host and are too lazy to travel. Guys would put me off in favor of more promising opportunities, or perhaps less emotionally charged ones. And in the process, I would wonder why I was being put off, why these men were responsive to me only to blow off meeting up. Meanwhile, I’ve often been on the receiving end of these advances, and seen how guys I’d found initially attractive can start to lose their appeal by coming off eager and impatient. There is a point at which one starts to feel rushed, or worse, supplicated. Flirting is tricky that way, foiling attraction a lot more easily that it can foster it. And yet there I go sometimes, obliterating my own savoir faire with the insecure forcefulness of desire.
It’s been a crucial, long-term lesson for me to be more realistic about other people’s priorities, but also to be more receptive to the fact that intimate connections take place during work projects all the time. It’s never just sex with me, and it’s never just work either. In my studio work I’ve made plenty of friends and had plenty of hot experiences while still focusing on our professional obligations. I don’t fall in love with my scene partners or pursue intimate relationships with them, but in many instances we’ve fostered an authentic mutual attraction to each other to help make the day easier and the product better. Creating things together is an intrinsically intimate experience. Although some guys are more closed off to this and compartmentalize away the potential for real fun and connection, it turns out that a lot of guys are down to make the most out of fucking on film.
But even with this newfound clarity of intention, rejection still abounds. That’s been the hardest part of this whole gig, and why it’s always been so hard for me to pursue it seriously. I am often disappointed to find that boys I thought were interested in fucking were only responding politely to my advances. Some just admire me and my work without any interest in being involved in it. I suspect that many of those boys may just be intimidated by hardcore sex on camera with someone they don’t know that well. Some may be intimidated to work with somebody with professional experiences like mine. Plenty of them may be going through some shit that makes them really flakey and unavailable. But I’m sure some just aren’t that into me.
It can be hard not to take it all personally, since sex is quite personal. And in this case, the stakes are economic, too. For awhile, I felt reluctant to try and collaborate with people at all out of an anxiety that I would be strung along, or worse, that I would grow desperate for content and commit to sex that didn’t actually interest me. Over the past year, however, many more horned up New Yorkers have turned to OnlyFans for both extra money and sexual expression, and it’s felt more sensible to reach out to people with both these needs in mind. But I still wonder about the rejections I dole out to others, and why there seems to be such a chasm between who I desire sexually and who I trust creatively. You’re welcome to subscribe to my page, and see if you can tell the difference.