Ever wondered what separates the average man from a male porn star?
Since the new millennium, file sharing and free video sites have caused the biggest downturn in profits that the porn industry has ever faced.
Perhaps you’ve considered—once the lights were on hot and cameras were pointed in your direction—whether or not you could perform the way you usually would in bed. A new trend pervading the porn industry is giving men and women the opportunity see what happens when that fantasy meets reality. In the digital age, the new, most sought-after commodity in the porn industry has become “reality.” The demand is only growing.
Since the new millennium, file sharing and free video sites have forced media companies to reevaluate how they produce and deliver content. The porn industry is no exception. The Internet has caused the biggest downturn in profits that the business has ever faced. For performers, work is much harder to come by as studios have scaled back to shooting about 50 scenes per week instead of 200.
This increased competition in the marketplace has inspired some entrepreneurs and companies to dream up new strategies that make porn videos more alluring. One of those strategies is to invite fans to join in on the fun. Today, Fan Porn is one of the industry's most successful genres. In 2014, if you’re bold enough, you could be the star of your new favorite porn video.
When Fans Become Stars
Immoral Productions is an L.A.-based porn company run by Dan Leal. After spending 10 years in corporate America, Leal decided to pursue his longtime dream of owning a porn studio. His company now has several different reality brands under its belt including “Wheel of Debauchery” and “Unplanned Orgies.” One of its most popular shows is called “Fuck A Fan.”
The series features one to three men who are brought out to L.A. and given the chance to have sex with a real porn star. Thanks to the show's popularity, Immoral Productions has become the most well-known provider of fan porn in the reality porn game. Leal admits that the idea wasn’t all his own.
"I can’t take credit for the idea of a fan having sex with a porn star," he said during an interview. "I’d seen certain web girls invite fans to shoot scenes—but I’ve put my own twist on it by giving the show a carnival-like atmosphere. I think that and the quality of the footage are the reasons for its popularity.”
According to Leal, consumers initially thought "Fuck A Fan" might be a bait and switch, but evidence of the show's authenticity can be found in the amateurishness in the men’s performance. The ever-important “money shot” is often lacking, scenes reach conclusions too early, and sometimes a fan is unable to perform at all. Though these mishaps make Leal’s videos stray from what many would consider a successful porn scene, they lend a certain verisimilitude to his work.
The ever-important money shot is often lacking, scenes reach their conclusion too early, and sometimes a fan is unable to perform at all.
Anyone who thinks the job of the male porn performer is easy would likely reevaluate after watching your average episode of "Fuck A Fan." In fact, finding a man that’s truly capable of performing up to the standards of a porn scene is so rare that a few male porn stars (Ike Diezel, Clover, and Travis Varjak) have actually started their career as “fans.” This is rather astounding considering there are only about 30 men working regularly in the porn industry today.
"Fuck A Fan" has brought over 300 fans to porn shoots. Most of them filled out an application on the Immoral Productions website. If you want an opportunity to participate, all it takes is three photos and an STD test. Generally speaking, the chosen fan works with three women, one of whom is a lead, and the other two act as so-called “fluffers” that only perform oral sex on the male fan.
These men make the journey from the reality of their regular lives into a world of fantasy. It's a ride that is very bumpy for most. Some men don’t want to show their faces during shoots because they are afraid it will affect their job and personal life. Leal doesn’t shoot with schoolteachers or anyone in the military for that same reason. The biggest hurdle for most applicants is the STD test, which to many men represents the reality of what they are about to do.
Just How Real Is It?
Though "Fuck A Fan" is at the forefront of fan porn, it's part of a much wider trend. Since 2011, porn star Jessica Jaymes has been running her own website called Fuck My Fan, where she performs one-on-one sex with fans that contact her through the site. Brandi Belle is a Florida-based porn star who runs her own site that features her participating in a variety of creative and unique sexual acts with some of her biggest fans.
The most fascinating example of the trend occurred in 2012 when Miami-based porn stars Sara Jay and Angelina Castro tweeted that they would perform oral sex on any fans that showed up at a place and time to be named as long as the Miami Heat took the NBA Championship that year. When the Heat did win, an event was held on August 2, 2012 during which the two porn stars participated in oral sex with six fans (a far smaller turn out than expected.)
The event was streamed live to such success that the VNA Network's servers crashed. One fan blogged about his experience taking part in the so-called “Team BJ” project. He describes his excitement showing up at the event and his anxiety about not being able to last more than a minute with the pros. "If anyone thinks a porn star BJ is like a regular from-your-girlfriend BJ, you are so wrong," he wrote.
Though Fuck A Fan is at the forefront of fan porn, it's part of a much wider trend.
Quickly after that statement, the experience devolves into a series of “fantasy clashes with reality” blunders, including a sex-induced injury and insults about the size of his penis and stunted performance. The fan ultimately is forced to, as he describes it, “tap out.”
There's also Kink, one of the most active yet controversial film studios in the industry today. Located inside a sprawling, abandoned armory in San Francisco, Kink is known for content that is seemingly violent and fetish-based, but they also have a reputation for conducting shoots that are heavily controlled and safe for their performers.
One of Kink’s more popular brands is a series entitled “Public Disgrace,” in which one or two professional female performers participate in bondage-style porn with a professional porn star in a public setting. Peppered throughout that setting are amateur “spectators” who often grope the female performers.
The studio claims that all spectators in their shoots are “filtered” or monitored in some way, and the performers get to determine the extent to which they physically interact. Any act that could potentially include the exchange of bodily fluids requires that all participants have a clean bill of health after taking an STD test.
According to Michael Stabile, a spokesperson for Kink, the popularity of fan interaction in porn reflects a far larger trend that pervades not just porn, but the arts and entertainment industry as well. It is endemic to the digital age. "We are creating experiences that are more than just watching a film in a theater or on Netflix," he said. "We're all looking for ways to create a richer, more personal experience. In porn, fan interaction is a huge part of that."
All of this points toward a question often discussed and debated in the porn world: Is there such thing as "reality porn?" One tidbit from Leal was particularly confounding. Discussing the pervasiveness of fan porn and its authenticity, Leal categorically stated, "There’s no such thing as reality porn. All of it is staged."
Considering that "Fuck A Fan" itself could be considered "reality porn," it was a bit of a startling admission. Leal stated that the men on the show are screened, tested, and even compensated for their appearances, which is a far cry from a picking up a stranger on the street. Is fan porn just a gimmick?
Welcome to the Next Level
An Arizona-based porn site that launched in 2011 has been gaining notoriety for producing what appears to be the genuine article of reality porn. The site's owner, who asked to only be referred to by his first name “Dave,” is a former Marine aviation expert who moved to Arizona with his wife after he finished his service.
The couple found themselves lamenting a tough workday over dinner and Dave somewhat glibly suggested that they make a porn site. He admits that he expected a smack in the face, and was shocked when his wife said that she herself had the very same idea. The two launched a husband-and-wife amateur porn site to great success and soon discussed branching out into reality porn.
The first attempt was called "Handjob Hustlers." It featured Dave driving around with a woman who offered handjobs to random men on the street. Of course, the pursuit presented problems. With the cameras on, men had difficulty getting it up. Dave also had a big problem finding men willing to participate. One day he was driving around with a woman who goes by Shelby, and the two were unable to find men who wanted to be in the shoot.
“Shelby said she knew a place that she’d been to with her husband that had gloryholes. I wasn’t even really sure what they were,” said Dave. Shelby directed Dave to an adult bookstore with booths in the back of the building. The booths were dark, tight, and positioned side by side with a small hole in the wall between them. Camera on, Shelby and Dave entered the booth and waited.
Not one minute went by before a man put his penis through the hole and Shelby proceeded to give him oral sex. Within the span of an hour, eight men entered the booth, including the person working at the bookstore that day. The video would become the first on a site called Gloryhole Hustlers (later changed to Gloryhole Swallow after Larry Flynt and Hustler Inc. threatened legal action over use of the word.)
From a porn viewer's standpoint, it’s hard to believe that Gloryhole Swallow exists. The average video consists of Dave meeting with a woman and interviewing her for five minutes or so before driving to the gloryhole location. The acts that take place on any given episode are entirely spontaneous.
Though oral sex is agreed upon, performers on the show often participate in a whole host of things, including intercourse. According to Dave, the choice is entirely up to the performer. The amount of men involved varies depending on how many people happen to show up the day. They are usually people who just happened to be at the bookstore or are fans of the show.
Within the span of an hour, Shelby had serviced eight men, including the person working at the bookstore that day.
The FAQ section of the website invites fans to contact Dave to find out when shoots are taking place and how they can participate. Dave says he’s had fans fly out to Arizona just to be a part of a shoot. When asked whether any vetting or testing takes place beforehand, Dave says no, that it would be impossible to do. This obviously raises serious safety, legal, and ethical issues.
The most baffling part of it all is that the female performers on Gloryhole Swallow are generally not porn stars. Dave says most of the women on the show are referred to him by other performers. He stipulates that, rather than porn stars, these are women who genuinely enjoy having lots of sex.
Some of the things that occur on the show are truly hard to believe. Dave recalls one shoot where a couple asked to join in on the action. "They lived across the street from the location, so they’d run over anytime they saw a cute girl walk inside,” he said. By the end of the scene, the wife winds up performing on camera, her identity shielded only by a small mask.
One of the rare occasions of a porn star participating in one of Dave’s videos came when Arizona porn star Proxy Paige shot for the site. Paige, who worked in an adult bookstore before she started to perform in porn, participates in multiple sex acts with a host of strangers in over four shoots that have to be seen to be believed. “That girl is really freaky,” says Dave. “There would be times where we were on break, I’d be changing the camera battery and suddenly I’d hear her moaning in the next booth and there she was having sex without me even filming.”
A Matter of Supply and Demand
So what about the assertion that there’s no such thing as reality porn? One would expect to find evidence of fakery or staged moments in Dave’s videos, but as of yet, they don’t seem to exist. Though they’re few and far between, the forums on Gloryhole Swallow do include fans referring to their participation in shoots. For these dedicated followers, the show offers a fantasy that’s indisputable.
As far as the legality of Gloryhole Swallow is concerned, STD testing isn’t exactly regulated by law. Current regulations are murky, and the porn industry has essentially been policing itself. Public sex acts, on the other hand, are illegal. In fact, in certain cities, gloryholes in the walls at adult bookstores can carry a fine of up to 2,500 per hole. (However, certain shops have managed to have their gloryholes grandfathered in or passed off as “viewing holes.”)
Gloryholes in the walls at adult bookstores can carry a fine of up to $2,500 per hole.
When asked whether it would be possible for a site like Gloryhole Swallow not to be staged, Stabile from Kink admits it would be possible, albeit difficult to shoot. Dave maintains that while the difficulty is a factor, it’s also the price to be paid for authenticity. His commitment to authenticity has led him to great success.
From YouTube to Twitter, the digital age has brought upon an era of individuals granting the world unprecedented access to their lives, and fan porn sites have capitalized on that shift by creating videos that blur the line between fantasy and reality. These sites speak to our growing demand for content that is daring, new, abundant, and free. It also speaks to the ways in which we have turned IRL into a fetish.
Fan porn is just another example of a business adapting to changes in the marketplace. Just like any business, its output is dictated by supply and demand. Though many of us may consider fan porn Sodom and Gomorrah come to fruition, the consumers have spoken, and they want a piece of the action. These sites are just giving the people what they want.