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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dirty Talk: An Inconvenient Truth

by Jason Sechrest

The porn world this week is talking about the death of gay adult performer Damon Audigier. According to various reports, Damon hanged himself following a fight with a boyfriend. He had sent me new photos of himself asking if I could find him some work four hours earlier. I’m sorry my last words to him were to please send me an ass shot—a cutting reminder of how I should treat every conversation as though it could be the last.

I also wish I could tell you more about him. We only conversed through email a few times.

I am 32 years old and run in lots of different circles, meeting a wide variety of individuals, and I have had a good handful of friends in my life who have committed suicide. They have all been porn stars.

I’ve worked behind-the-scenes in adult entertainment for 14 years.

It started as an inside joke, writing an online column in 1998 about porn stars as though they were real celebrities—who was dating who, who got into a fight on set, etc. Its popularity led to it becoming my living, and it soon became my mission to “de-objectify the porn star” by providing a platform where, through interviews and profiles, we could get more of a glimpse into who they were as people.

In short: I wanted to find out why they did porn.

After 14 years, I think I might know why.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because they were abused as children or because they are supporting a drug habit. That has rarely been the case with any adult performer I’ve met. The reason most porn stars do what they do for a living is this: It feels good.

The adoration feels good. The celebrity feels good. The sense of community feels good. The money feels good. The sex certainly feels good!

So what’s the problem? Why isn’t everybody happy? Why are there suicides? Why is there so much feuding in our industry? Why are some people so angry? Some seem downright miserable!

Every single porn star I’ve ever met, though each with their own unique (and usually fascinating) story to tell, has one thing in common—an emptiness they seek desperately to fill.

With all those things that feel good—the money, the fame, the sex—you’d think it’d fill the void, but it never does. That moment is a crushing disappointment to performers, but it sneaks in so quietly most of them don’t even know they are in the midst of a life-changing moment. It might just seem like a ‘down day.’ But upon the realization they still aren’t fulfilled, knowingly or not, they arrive at a fork in the road.

It’s at this fork that one of two things happens—they either quit working in this business or they keep going and try to fill their emptiness instead with everything under the sun.

Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Vacations. Shopping. Plastic surgery. Any “quick fix” to distract from the emptiness will do.

The more distracted they become, the further they get from any real happiness or lasting fulfillment. But there is a better life available than this.

There is a life where the ‘feeling good’ doesn’t go away, where there isn’t a crash after the high and where happiness isn’t some fleeting thing that’s here one minute and gone the next.

The first step toward that life, the life we’re all meant to live, is accepting that the void exists. Only then can anyone begin to know how to fill it.

Porn isn’t the problem. You can live a long and happy life working in porn if that’s what you’re meant to do, but you can’t if you’re constantly running from your emptiness and trying to find the next ‘quick fix’ to feel good.

For many people, their lives will be nothing more than one long day of running from this emptiness.

Know your void exists and choose to work more toward finding a path of lasting fulfillment than on finding what will make you feel good right now. The things that feel good and last are never the quick fixes. They come in the form of starting a business, raising a family, feeding the homeless, donating to charity or taking up a spiritual study.

I still run from my void every day in one way or another, but I have learned after 14 years that all the things I thought would make me happy about working in this industry ... they never really made me happy at all.

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