By: Lacey Blake
The answer is really quite simple, but the explanation of why I’m still here is a bit more complicated.
To answer the question we would need to go back to the summer of 2012. At the time I knew almost nothing about the actual “porn industry”. I had seen my fair share of random porn and had even watched a few documentaries on the industry itself. But, the truth is I wouldn’t have been able to name even one porn performer who was currently working in the industry. I could have easily given you the names of maybe 10 past porn performers including popular stars such as Ron Jeremy, Jenna Jameson or even Sasha Grey. But, considering I knew of Sasha Grey from the HBO series “Entourage” and had no idea she was an actual porn star should explain my complete lack of industry knowledge pretty quickly. I also knew of a few major production companies such as Vivid and Hustler, but that was about the extent of my knowledge.
Just a little over a year ago, my weekly issue of “The Hollywood Reporter” magazine showed up in the mailbox. After flipping through a few pages, I came across an article about a new low-budget film called “The Canyons” and noticed Lindsay Lohan and some male porn star were cast as the leads. I didn’t think much about it until a few weeks later when I saw a short TV interview with Bret Easton Ellis promoting the movie and decided to look it up on IMDb. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon James Deen’s blog. And, that’s exactly where my journey into the adult industry began. Just a simple little porn blog with extreme close-up pictures of female assholes, some jew guy who had sex 360 days a year where he thoroughly enjoyed eating these female assholes and a god damn panda bear holding a hitachi. It was strangely entertaining.
From there I began to learn all about the different performers, production companies and directors. I even made a few online friends there that I still speak to today. Over a relatively short period of time, the mainstream porn industry started to become rather small compared to my initial impressions. My interest in the industry was never based purely on porn films or even performers. It had more to do with understanding the dynamics and structure within the industry. Being an accountant, my job requires knowledge of various business structures, organizational set-ups and industry operating procedures. But, studying the adult industry was unlike any industry I had ever seen. There were so many “unspoken” rules and protocols. Almost no one discussed any aspects of the industry other than for marketing purposes and finding public financial records was just about impossible.
Between researching varying aspects of the industry, reading autobiographies of former performers and debating current and past issues within the industry, I started understanding the fundamental basics. I genuinely love learning new things and information pertaining to the adult industry was endless if you knew where to find it. In the beginning, it was just sort of a fun past time to learn about an industry that I had never explored before and found rather interesting. The more I learned the dirtier it got and not just the sex acts.
I had always found it slightly creepy that I was following a porn blog with a baby panda as the mascot and the fans were referred to as “deenagers.” Over time I learned that the baby panda was in reference to a Kink.com panda bear gangbang and that the term “deenagers” originated from a large teenage fanbase. I always wondered if this was supposed to be just quirky and funny, a passive aggressive arrogance or a sick and twisted joke. As more time passed, I determined it was probably a combination of all three.
Every single industry on earth has their own unique problems. The porn industry is no different especially considering it’s one of the most, if not THE most, judged industries on the planet. Prostitution and the act of selling sex for money has been judged by society for centuries. Just the simple fact that most people have a hard time differentiating between an escort, hooker, porn star and prostitute should be a small indicator proving that many people, even many in the industry, view them as all the same. Plus, the fact that most viewers don’t see porn as any kind of art form doesn’t help this perception either.
But, that doesn’t mean some of the judgements weren’t justified. Even with my knowledge of multiple industries, the “self-regulated” adult industry was in an entirely different league when it came to publicly denying facts, cover-ups and not taking personal responsibility for themselves or fellow performers. Problems would be brought up and then immediately vanish with no answers. Performers would routinely “retire” off the map and then pop back up a few months later. STD’s were so widespread they weren’t even an issue worth addressing. There’s a self-imposed testing system to let performers know what STD they have already been infected with to get them out of the “performer pool” in order to avoid a widespread epidemic. There were only select STD’s that were tested for and this didn’t even include Hep. C, which one performer worked with for THREE years. There were claims made by the FSC and performers of low STD/STI/HIV+ rates, but there were no proven statistics to back these claims up. Due to “HIPPA” laws, the medical confidentiality laws, it was impossible for ANYONE to know the true statistics in the industry because individual medical records are required, by law, to be kept strictly confidential. Plus, not every performer used an industry approved testing facility and not every producer used the PASS verification system. There were performers taking a few pills, such as antibiotics, right before their STD test in order to pass and then, per industry standards, were considered “clean” for the next 27 days until their next testing date where the same routine would continue.
The deeper I fell into the industry, the horror stories started becoming more frequent and even more disturbing. From a broken jaw sustained during a scene and a torn asshole resulted from rough anal sex during a gangbang which was then stuffed with two dicks to keep the blood from pouring out during filming to the stories of performers getting tricked or coerced into doing scenes they were uncomfortable with and even the occasional on-set rape, it was unbelievably worse than I ever imagined. Once I found out these weren’t necessarily isolated incidents I became disgusted. Shortly after, I learned of the rather large number of performers who escorted and were prostitutes on the side. I’m still not sure why this surprised me so much, but it did. I felt so naive. I wanted so much to believe there was some small part of the industry that was respectable, responsible and just plain fun not just on the surface, but below as well. I was losing all hope and fast.
So, I changed the strategy and started looking at each separate individual who made up “the industry” instead of looking collectively at performers as just one puzzle piece that fit into the overall “industry.” In the business world, this is never a good idea. It makes it too personal and business never mixes well with personal. But, I finally accepted the fact that this wasn’t a job. I had no deadline, no client to report to and nothing to solve. This whole journey started out on a whim and turned into another one of life’s lessons. Sometimes in life things just become personal whether you want them to or not. I started realizing all the people I had met along the way, all the friends I had made and the things I had learned, whether good or bad, that somehow changed me or made me view things differently.
The adult industry frustrates me, disgusts me and pisses me off. It also excites me, inspires me and gets me off. Yet, it consistently challenges me. It shoves every single one of my thoughts and opinions back in my face. It tests my viewpoints and theories. It has challenged me on so many different levels and on such a wide variety of topics, many that have absolutely nothing to do with the act of sex.
It’s also allowed me to open up a bit to fun new adventures. I bought my very first vibrator. Ok, so I bought my very first three vibrators because I had no clue which one to initially buy? For the record, I loved one, liked one and threw the other piece of shit in the garbage. I’ve also learned that I am really good at somehow breaking every vibrator I buy. Don’t even ask. It’s a long story. I also visited my first strip club and it was so much more fun than I could have ever imagined. Being drunk probably helped, but I still had a damn good time. Plus, after studying the practices and history, I’ve even done a little BDSM which I can say has now become quite a favorite of mine.
I was recently asked by one of my online “porn” friends if I was becoming anti-porn? It was just an innocent question, asked probably due to my perceived frustration level with the industry, and it shouldn’t have bothered me. But, it did. Of course I’m not anti-porn!! And, that’s exactly when I knew it had gotten personal. I will debate just about any subject on earth, but I will only fight for the things I care about and at some point I started caring. As I’ve said a million times already, the industry never ceases to challenge me and if you haven’t figured it out yet, I fucking LOVE a challenge. And, this is only year one… In year two, maybe I’ll start to actually learn some of the films? But, either way I’m pretty confident that the industry won’t stop challenging me and that’s all I really want anyway.