Exposure

A trip to the New York Erotic Expo inspires advice for porn newbies

"Please do not touch, lick, stroke, or mount the exhibits," read a sign at last week's Erotic Expo (eroticexpony.com). (What about the performers? Why were there no instructions about interacting with them? I'm pretty sure they didn't want to be tongued, groped, or humped either.) While the warning didn't sum up the three-day event, it set the tone. Any adult-themed trade show has to live in the shadows of the enormous AVN Adult Expo in Las Vegas, which attracts all the top companies, the biggest stars, and thousands of fans each year. Maybe it's because Giuliani swept the Big Apple clean of peep shows and porn palaces that anything to do with sex in this city feels tiny, tentative, and tame. The Expo was no exception.

Along with a few major video companies in a badly laid out maze of booths was a strange mix of folks, from high-end sex toy designer Shiri Zinn (shirizinn.com)—whose exquisite "erotic couture" creations are sold at upscale boutiques in England—to lots of Mary Kay-like ladies who run home sex toy parties. When Joe Gallant, who is single-handedly keeping porn production alive in New York with his Black Mirror Productions (blackmirror.com), saw me he yelled, "Hey! I'm shooting my next movie, Atomic Skullfuck Orgy! It's an ultra-kinky exploration of the Patty Hearst kidnapping! You should do a cameo as a news reporter!" He may be one of the happiest pornographers in the world.

I went to the Expo with a contestant from Reality X: The Search for Adam & Eve. I called him Crazy Joe in my previous column, but he shall hereafter be known by his porn nom de plume: J.C. Stinger (listen, it's way better than Mandingo). J.C. is thinking about breakin' into the biz beyond his efforts for the TV show, and I told him I'd show him around. In fact, lately I've found myself surrounded by lots of porn hopefuls asking for my advice.

At the Expo, I talked to the publicist of a female newcomer about plans for the European starlet's career. "I want her to start out slow. We'll do print first, no video. When she does get in front of the camera, she'll start doing solo scenes, then girl-girl. She'll work her way up to boy-girl. She may never do anal." It may sound calculated, but it's a plan. In an industry in which women can have an extremely short shelf life, it may be a good one. Three movies into their career, some girls are doing double penetration, gang bangs, or double vags (that's two dicks in one pussy at the same time), and from there, there's not a lot of room to grow. Only a few female performers survive past their late twenties or early thirties. The industry is much like modeling—young, fresh, and new is where it's at.

My friend Carly Milne, who recently said goodbye to her industry-insider blog, pornblography.com, still gets e-mails every day from folks asking her how they can break in. While I've produced, directed, and performed, been on dozens of porn sets, and count porn stars among my best friends, I'm not on the inside like she is. Nevertheless, I've got a few opinions I don't mind sharing.

Guys: You think you can do it, but you probably can't. That's not me being cynical; it's me being realistic for you. Get an erection, keep it for a long time, fuck in uncomfortable positions, and come on command . . . all with a bunch of guys standing around holding their, um, equipment, which is generally pointed in your direction. If none of that scares you, try it once and you'll know if you were born to be a cock for hire.

Women: Know your boundaries and set them. You can express your sexuality, do only what and who you want to do, and make a lot of cash. But you can also be eaten alive. You can decide who you will work with, but you don't have much control over the final product, like what photos of you end up on the Web or what they call your first flick. You may have thought you shot Blowjob Fantasies #22, only to see your name grace the box cover of Black Poles Cumming in White Holes. The title may not matter to you, but it's not just words strung together, it's how you're portrayed. From where I sit there are more offensive titles (Cum Shitters, anyone?) than there are sexy ones.

Once you do it, it's out there forever and you can't take it back. Just the other day, some conservative journalist was critiquing my abstinence column and referred to me as a porn star. Not a writer or a columnist or an author or a sex educator—a porn star, and she didn't mean it as a compliment. Listen, I'm proud of my work in porn, so I'll take the moniker; I just think it dilutes the work of kickass women who've made like 100-plus movies. If you're really ready to fuck on film for a living, go see Sharon Mitchell, executive director at Adult Industry Medical (aim-med.org) where you can get an STD and HIV test and the scoop on what it's really like. In fact, watching a video called Porn 101 is mandatory before you do your first shoot. No, there's no test afterward, but wouldn't it be cool to have one, like the written exam to get your driver's license?

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