Lightning Rod, Part 1

Porn fans love to speculate, debate, and bicker on adult-industry message boards, and a favorite subject lately—one which has generated several threads and hundreds of posts on and—has been a male performer named Christian ( /christianx33). He's a popular topic cum target of conversation and controversy because he has appeared in gay, heterosexual, and transsexual movies.

There's such a sharp division between these genres that gay and straight porn operate as entirely separate industries (with transsexual porn being a "fetish" within het porn and bisexual porn getting lumped with the gay stuff). There's an unspoken rule that a guy cannot work in both worlds. Sure, men have crossed over, most notably straight star Peter North, who worked briefly as Matt Ramsey in gay porn, and Jeff Stryker, a famous gay star who also made a few well-known straight titles. One exhaustive list, titled "Male Bisexuality in Porn," posted on the newsgroup rec.arts.movies.erotica (RAME) in 2002, names 100 other examples. However, not all of them are men who've had on-camera sex with both men and women. Also on the list are men who've had sex with transsexual women (including both pre-operative "she-males" and post-operative trans women), done solo jerk-off scenes that were included in videos marketed to gay men, and/or been fucked in the ass by women wearing strap-ons. While the list includes some boldface names (Jamie Gillis, John Holmes, Byron Long), the general consensus is that their choices were questionable at best. An extension of the unspoken no-crossing-the-lines rule is that if you do it, be discreet or you'll be blacklisted in both industries.

Among this generation of performers, Christian is notorious for not only playing both sides and then some, but for being completely open about it. I recently cast the 32-year-old Texan in a movie I directed after he was requested by several of the female performers, who raved about him. When I first met him, I thought he was a pretty imposing guy: At 6-5 with a shiny bald head and a tan, ripped body, he screams jock (no wonder: He competes in triathlons in his spare time). But when I got to know him, I found him to be down-to-earth, sweet, relaxed, and brutally honest. In fact, shortly after we met, he called me to the mat about my recent column "The Pinky Swear" (May 12, 2006) applauding Kurt Lockwood's strap-on debut. He reminded me that he's been doing strap-on scenes for years and has done more than a dozen. But his willingness to take it up the butt from a girl is not the only thing that sets him apart from most male performers. In his words, "I'm not the guy that says, 'No, I'd never do that.' I'd say, 'I don't give a shit, why not? Let's check it out.' The only thing I won't do is be violent towards women, beat them up, slap them, or call them names."

Let's rewind to 2000, when Christian was dating a porn star named Lovette and did his first on-camera sex scene with her for an amateur video company. He knew he'd found his calling and in 2003, he decided to do something about it. A rabid fan of Vivid's girl/girl features, he went online and e-mailed the person whose name he saw most often on the box covers of the movies he jerked off to: director Chi Chi LaRue. After seeing Christian's photo, LaRue promptly told him that he also directed gay movies for Falcon Studios. The inevitable question followed: "Have you ever considered doing gay porn?" Although Christian had never had sex with a guy before, the $2,000 paycheck for one scene—the equivalent of what he made in a month at his nightclub job—sounded too good to pass up. So, he flew to San Francisco and made a gay porno under the pseudonym Maxx Diesel.

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After that one movie ("It was easy," he says. "Two guys blew me, they rode my dick, and I came"), Falcon offered him an exclusive contract. He thought to himself, "It was only five movies and a few signings; who'd find out?" His last film under contract was ironically called Getting It Straight, and Christian was featured on the box cover. Once he saw it, he knew the cat was out of the bag. "I'm not a very inconspicuous person," he told me. He meant, of course, that he knew his low-profile days were over. But his comment sums up both his physical appearance and his attitude.

After his last Falcon film, he decided he'd much rather fuck women for a living, and he began networking at the 2004 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, where he lived at the time. He landed a few jobs, then moved to Los Angeles and became a full-time straight porn star. He continued to push the envelope within the straight industry, appearing in transsexual movies, doing strap-on scenes, and playing the submissive role in female domination scenes. People began to criticize his choices, and what they said about him highlights one double standard at work in porn. When women fuck men and women, or do gang bangs, bukkakes, and other "non-traditional" acts on film, they're usually applauded as super-sluts. They are encouraged to push their limits, do freaky things, indulge their wild child. But men are held to a different standard. There are no such rewards for fucking outside the box.

Because Christian refuses to be just another piece of manmeat-for-hire, people love to take shots at him. Some message board posters like to alert people to his "past" (a past he's made no secret of and that is pretty well documented on the Internet). Others question his gender and sexual orientation, lob homophobic insults at him, and insist that knowing he's worked with men means they can't ever enjoy a straight scene of his again. A few caution female performers not to work with him because he's unsafe or support those women who have him on their "No" list because of his non-straight work. The same issues seem to be rehashed every few months, and the resulting dialogue—thoughtful, complex, offensive, stupid—can be infuriating. But it's also fascinating for what it reveals about double standards for performers, ideas about bisexuality, the instability of sexual identity, and hopefully, some changing attitudes within porn.

Look for Part 2 in two weeks.

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