Tag Archives: straight porn

How To Be an Ex-Porn Star: 10 Tips on Taking a Break

7 Apr
There's  is no "after porn ends" anymore.

There’s is no “after porn ends” anymore.

One of the most common – and offensive – questions that porn performers get from viewers is, “what are you going to do after this?”  It’s as if porn star can’t exist, be looked at and wished upon, without viewers imagining that same star collapsing.  Or perhaps better said, some fans have trouble meeting porn stars without expressing their anxieties of having watched.  Another way of saying, “What will you do after this” is “I’ll stop watching you some day!” or “One day you won’t be desirable anymore!”

It’s just rude for fans to ask that question.  But it is important for performers to be able to have an answer.  Maybe not a complete one, but some gesture toward an answer somewhere.

Even if porn performers don’t ever retire (some just keep going and going and look great doing it), most will eventually take a hiatus.  Maybe you need to tend to the sensitivities of a new relationship.  Maybe you’ve got a new job you’re focusing most your time on.  Maybe your asshole just needs a break.

In any case, you’ve got that feeling: it’s time to stop making porn.

Having taken over a year off myself (I started shooting again in 2015 with a much lighter and more leisurely approach) and having also watched friends successfully and not-so-successfully disengage from the industry, I’ve compiled ten essentials.

1. Don’t hide the fact that you’ve made porn.

This is the number one on my list for a reason: it’s what gets people in the most trouble after they decide to leave.  Stories about someone’s “porn past” surfacing are always on the tip of the media’s tongue.  Porn pasts “surface” because people tried to bury them.  But there is no such thing as “after porn ends” anymore.  Porn is like that old tattoo you have: whether or not it still suits you, you’re going to (at least!) have to learn to love it as representing a specific mindset and time in your life.  Your porn career will always be available for viewers to enjoy and for potential lovers and employers to discover.  (You should consider this before you get in porn, as well.)

That doesn’t mean you have to raise your hand at the PTA meeting and tell people you were the Queen of Anal, it just means if it is relevant to conversation, a job, or a relationship, be open about it.  Sex worker advocate and all-around amazing person Amber Hollibaugh once said, “Wherever you have a secret, that is where you are vulnerable.”  If you allow your life and history to be open, you will be strong.

2.  Understand that porn has given you skills rather than fearing it as something that will hinder future successes.

For every door porn has closed in your life, it’s opened another, even if you can’t always see it.

Being in porn cultivates many skills (I’ve written about some of these skills before), some of which are marketable, some of which are personal.  These can include knowledge about sexual health, how to work out and eat to maintain a certain kind of body, basic entertainment production knowledge, media skills, and more.  Whether you choose to use any of these skills or not is up to you.  But it’s good to create what new age-y life coaches call an “asset inventory” of them.  What have you learned from porn?  What have you gained from it?  What connections have you made?  What are all the things that you have going for you having had those experiences?  Make a list and you might find yourself writing for quite awhile.

3.  Think about how you’re going to transition out while your career is going well and you have no intention of leaving.

camera

This photo is meant to represent film editing skills or something. (credit: Lavender Lounge)

This is basic preparation for the future.  When you’re in the cummy peak of your porn career, when your twitter followers are jumping by double digits, when you’re getting more dick pics in your inbox than ever, ask yourself, “What next?”  Asking yourself this in a moment when you feel secure will always give you a better answer than scrambling around.  It will also save you from continuing to make porn — because you’re unsure what your options could be — when you’re ready to move on to something else.  It might also lead you to leveraging your position in the industry to learn more skills.  Porn performers often teach themselves camera, editing, directing, and producing skills while they’re spending the majority of their time in front of the camera.  While you’re close to producers, directors, set designers and more, don’t hesitate to ask to learn more skills if you’re interested.

4.  You may have sexual and personal needs that porn fulfilled.  They’ll need to be met in different ways.

Whatever your motivations for being in porn are, you will probably, while you’re making it, alter your sex life, push the boundaries of your sexuality, and receive adoration for your body and sex appeal.  When you’re done, whether you were in it for the pleasure or the money or both, you may have a hard time transitioning back to a life without all that.  You might find yourself missing access to sex with other porn performers, or the role play, or the praise from strangers on your computer screen.  You may also miss the exhibitionism and the pleasure of enduring long sexual sessions.  Your fans will stick with you, but the praise might change or decrease in frequency.  It’ll be harder to dress up like a doctor and give fuckable patients anal exams.  You’ll have to work out new ways to satisfy any sexual and personal needs porn fulfilled for you.

That might mean continuing to be exhibitionistic online in some way.  It might mean staying in the public eye in a different way and finding understanding sexual partners.

Whatever your feelings might be, stay aware of this possible shift, and don’t despair that you don’t have porn anymore to fulfill the need.  Instead, think about what it is that gratified you and see if anything else can give you the similar (if not exact) feeling.

5.  You can continue to make money from your scenes while you’re not shooting.

If anyone has ever been excited to watch you have sex, someone will always be excited and will always be discovering you for the first time.  Make sure you acquaint yourself with your studios’ affiliate programs.  If you don’t want to maintain a porn site when you’re done, you can always start a blog anonymously with affiliate links to make all-but passive income.  You can also continue to sell clips you own, clothes you wore on set, signed photos, merchandise, and more.

6.  Don’t say you’re “retiring” and don’t delete your social media accounts.

Too many performers grandly announce their retirement one day, then, for whatever reason, shoot scenes a few months later.  Don’t announcement retirement. Often, performers announce retirement for themselves.  It’s like someone with a hangover saying, “I am never drinking again!”  If you’re really retiring, you probably won’t have to state anything so dramatically.

It’s better and more realistic to say you’re “taking a break.”  If you have an extremely compelling reason to retire, go ahead and say you’re retiring.  But realize you can only really say that once.  After that, no one is going to believe you.  Studios sometimes hire in a flurry when announcements like this are made, so it can be a good financial move; but again: only once.  It will affect your reputation if you do it again and again.

To make matters worse, in a dramatic I-cut-all-my-hair-off-to-prove-a-point move, some performers announce retirement and then delete all their social media accounts.  Your fans are and will always be an asset to you.  They’ve supported you, they’ve created tumblrs exclusively focused on your penis or vagina, they’ve said sweet things to you in your vaguest single-word status updates of sadness.  Don’t abandon them.  That doesn’t mean you have to interact with them.  But deleting an a whole linked community of people that you might want to interact with, share content with, announce upcoming projects to, and just in general be nice to isn’t a great exit strategy.

7.  Seek relationships with partners who are understanding. 

IMG_3707

Yes, those are my boyfriend’s feet and okay, I am cheesy.

If someone only likes you because you stopped making porn, they’ll probably have some difficulty with your pornographic personality.  That doesn’t mean you can’t date anyone who doesn’t throw confetti every time one of your bukkake scenes shows up in his spam email.  But be reasonable.  If someone gives you indications that he/she can’t deal with the fact that your naked and sexualized body is available to his.her friends, family, co-workers, that will cause some discussions and confrontations.  Ask yourself and answer as honestly as possible what your threshold is for these confrontations, how patient you are willing to be with your partner, and how likely he/she is to reach understanding with you.

8.  Remember that you have allies and remember to be an ally.

The community of people that will be most able to understand and help you once you exit porn is made up of performers and other sex workers.  They will be the people most able to understand avenues to new work, support you, stand with you against stigmas and challenges.  Performers – and other sex workers – are all in this together.  To that end, join and stay in touch with the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), look into sex worker health and support services like St. James Infirmary, and keep in touch with colleagues you respect.  If you think your perspective can help currently working performers or performers who are leaving the industry, offer yourself as a resource.  Remember to do this without declaring your experience as the definitive one; experiences in and upon leaving porn will vary from individual to individual.

9.  If and when you want to get back in, don’t assume it will be smooth.

The good news is, you will never be starting from zero again.  You can show producers, whether you know them or not, “I know how to show up and perform.”  That puts you ahead of the vast majority of people looking for work.  But it’s not always easy to get back into porn and that’s not usually personal.  Turnover for new performers and staff at studios can be fast-paced, so you might not be remembered.  Maybe the staff at a studio has changed and no one there has heard of you.  Regulations and protocols might have changed for a producer (or on a legal level). Your body might be different now, but you may not be totally aware of it since it’s been a gradual change for you.

Don’t be worried by all this; it might not be difficult at all.  If it is, you’ll get cast again if you are professional and persistent.  And worse-case scenario, you can always produce your own porn, utilizing your knowledge of the industry, employing performers you know, and distributing to fans you’ve made.

10.  Remember you are brave.

Okay, I lied up there in the first item.  This is actually the number one thing to remember. 

Listen, you’ve done something that you wanted to do in spite of the cultural discouragement, potential stigma, and discrimination.  You chose to do the thing that was forbidden because you knew it was for you.

So think about it: how hard can a job interview be after you’ve been fucked on a motorcycle?  How tough can it be to tell a partner about your history after you’ve had oral sex in front of a crowd of people?  You’ve learned how to control your breathing while taking an arm-sized penis up your butt.  You know how to get your body to be aroused and performative with someone you have no sexual attraction to.

The rest of life?  You’ve got this.  You’re awesome.

(This post also appears on the APAC website.)

Habib Summer Update – Events, Writing, and Your Suggestions

17 Jul

showerHello, summer!  Lots happening. 

The biggest news is that I turned my book — re-titled The Sex Book: Myths, Positions, Taboos and Possibilities — into the publisher (Disinformation Books), so now all I have to do is wait for the edits and dive back in.  There’s this sort of negative space when you finish a book.  Like, what do I do now?

Happily, other people and assignments having been keeping me too busy to notice my postpartum angst.

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Fighting AB1576

If you haven’t yet heard of the crazy human rights violation that is AB1576, let me introduce you.  AB1576 is a bill heading to the California State Senate, that would mandate condoms and testing for all porn performers and all porn shoots.  It sounds like a good idea at first, but when you look at it for just a wee bit longer, it starts to reveal itself as a terrible disaster – a disaster of policy and morals.

For a full expression of why you should oppose AB1576, as well as how it intersects with the LGBT community, here’s my article about the bill for Slate, and below is an excerpt.

To fight AB1576 isn’t to argue against HIV testing for individuals, but against state-mandated testing. State-mandated testing is an HIV test without consent, in the sense that a performer would be forced to have one to work. AB1576 states that not getting an HIV test coincident with a porn production, even a small-scale one featuring you and your partner, would be a crime. This would be true even if two men who had already tested positive HIV wanted to make porn together. They would have to get tested every 14 days. Furthermore, two HIV+ men would have to wear condoms in all productions, since the bill does not distinguish who should wear condoms based on status. Whatever your feelings about two men with HIV having unprotected sex, they certainly don’t need testing every 14 days, and we now know that men with undetectable viral loads do not transmit HIV. If that’s not enough to disturb you, the bill would also criminalize two long-term monogamous partners making their own porn. They’d have to test for the production and wear condoms as well.

I’ve also been interviewed several times about it.  For DailyDot on how safer conditions for performers require more than some overreaching bill, Tits And Sass along with Jiz Lee on the fallout of the bill and its potential for harm , Vice, and more.

To take action opposing AB1576, click here.  Then when you see me, tell me you did it, and I’ll give you a huge hug for your help.

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Writing

One of my favorite pieces to write in the past few months was my essay on the 1980s straight porn film, Debbie Goes To College for Nerve.com.  Nerve asked me to write a piece about something from pop culture that shaped my sexuality.  Maybe it’s a little obvious, but porn shaped my sexuality, especially straight porn, since that was all that was available.

DGTCHere’s an excerpt:

When I was young, I didn’t understand why I fixated on the blowjob scenes so much. It must be because I want some college girl to do that to me, I thought (wrongly, of course). Most gay guys my age have had this experience: we watched straight porn because it was what we had access to, and what we presumed we wanted to watch. But really, I’m not sure what’s more confusing: gay guys watching straight porn or straight guys watching it. I mean there are naked men in it. How do straight men cope with watching men have sex with women?  There are all these dicks. Guys fucking. Butt cheeks. The mystery of straight porn is that it can’t ever really be straight.

I continue to contribute, albeit sporadically, sex and relationship advice to Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger’s blog.  Since Patti and I often have totally divergent views on sex and relationships, writing my column, Free Sex, has been fun.  Here are two entries, one on something I call “desire etiquette” and another on why you should let go of the concept of “forever.”

vanpeltI also wrote my first piece on music! It’s an interview with a short article – I talk to my friend Chris Leo (brother of Ted Leo, power pop superstar and Aimee Man’s bandmate in The Both) about his 1990s post-punk band, The Van Pelt.  That era of music holds a special place for me and the formation of my values and aesthetics, so it was awesome to sit down with Chris and talk about it.

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More Blog – What Do You Think?

Speaking of venturing out, I’m going to be posting more often on this blog, which means my blog is going to get a little more, um, bloggy.  Since I’m selling most of my longer form writing at this point, I want to funnel some of my less refined and more casual thinking into this space.  I can’t keep up with the one-post-a-day thing, but since I’m intending to do more here, I’d love to know what you’d like to hear more about?  I’m open to any suggestions regarding form or content.  Interviews? Images?  Musings? Quotes?  Tumblr-style curation?  Etc.

Comment below or send an email with ideas to connerhabibsocial at gmail

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Media

Straight GuysI’m featured in the documentary Straight Guys, which is all about gay-for-pay performers.  Don’t worry, I’m not straight (and how
dare you think that even for a second!), but I have worked with lots of men who identify as heterosexual.  The film also features my pal, porn hotty Bravo Delta, and the gay (“gay”?) studio Chaos Men.  Here’s the trailer, which is just a little NSFW.

GQ France gave me a little shout out, which I think is pretty awesome.  And that led to me a quick flurry of me appearing in French media.  Here’s an extensive review of my work on the French blog, Pop and Films.

Finally, I’m one of 80 interviews in the book, Around the World in 80 Gay Porn Stars.  Always nice to be between the covers with 79 other fellas.  It’s edited by Jimi Goninan and Paul Travers, and you can buy the ebook here.

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Events

I’ll be appearing at Catalyst Con in Los Angeles in September as an opening keynote speaker!  

Catalyst Con is the country’s big sex-worker/sex-positivity/sex-education/sexual liberation conference.  I’m honored to be a part of this event.  To register, go to the Catalyst Con site.  Then come hang out with me and a bunch of people who know a lot about sex.  Sound like fun, doesn’t it?  Catalyst Con 2014 is September 11-14.  Click here for more info.

If you want to bring me to your school or non-academic organization to speak, click here for more info.

Okay, that’s all for now!

Love,

CH