It might seem odd to ask this question on a blog named Thursdays at Pornucopia. I mean, the whole thing is ultimately about sex, right?
Well, yes and no. We are looking at topics in pornography and the sex-work industry in general, but at its core this blog is about people—both those who work in the industry in real life and the characters who represent the industry in Accounting for it All.
The intersection of people and sex extends beyond work in the industry, however. As adult actors and models will tell you, their job is, well, a job, regardless of what that entails. Romantic sex—what we’ll call that which performers have with their partners outside the bounds of their profession—is fundamentally different than the sex they have for their jobs.
How does this work, then? How do adult actors’ sexual relationships or their relationships in general address the nature of what it is they do for work?
No Relationship is the Same
As the header suggests, the ways in which sex is addressed in actors’ personal relationships varies widely, as does their partner’s reaction to and opinions of the work they do, as well as how it all plays into the intimate moments they share together.
In The Feminist Porn Book, Lorelei Lee shares an anecdote about a brief moment between her and a former partner who, when they were at a bar, boasted to the bartender that her girlfriend was a porn star in an attempt to get them drinks, and that “in bed one night after [they]’d had sex, she asked [Lorelei] how much that would have cost her.”
Regardless of what their relationship might have been otherwise, it would seem that in this case at least, this particular partner considered Lorelei’s profession to be a defining characteristic not only of Lorelei’s identity, but of their relationship’s identity as well.
For her part, Lorelei didn’t seem especially keen on this interaction, but it’s far from emblematic of how all partners view their significant other’s choice of work.
Contrast the above with this interview of Mike Adkins, who at the time the article was published had been dating porn star Allie Haze for about a year. Throughout the interview, he characterizes their relationship as open, loving, and completely separate from the work that she does on camera.
In keeping with the opinions he voices throughout the interview, he concludes with the below.
I would say anybody who thinks porn stars are bad people are just out of their minds, because you can’t judge anybody unless you’ve met them.
So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that, as is the case in any relationship, the dynamics of it are dependent on the people in the relationship and the circumstances in which the relationship exists. The knee-jerk reaction may be to believe that an intimate relationship of any kind with a porn star would necessarily be rife with struggle, but as Mike and Allie’s case above shows, that’s certainly not the case.
Essentially, the takeaway is this: yes, one’s career might be a significant part of their identity, but it’s not all of who they are, whether in a relationship or not. Rather than looking at porn stars as being only porn stars, it’s important to view them—as one would anyone else—as more than their profession; they’re people like anyone else.
Sex, relationships, and Accounting for it All
When writing Accounting for it All, it was important to me that I demonstrate a diversity of reactions to Robin’s work in porn. Her on-again-off-again boyfriend handles it far differently than does her boyfriend years later, both of whom respond uniquely when compared to her long-time love interest, Sarah, whose response lies somewhere between the two men she dates over the course of the book.
For each partnership, my goal was to show that the dynamics surrounding the emotional core of the relationship still held the fore, and that the physical side of them was distinct and navigated differently across each pairing.
Which character has the healthiest reaction upon learning of Robin’s chosen profession? Is it on-again-off-again Malcolm, sweet accountant Dave, or the woman Robin has always longed to be with?
You’ll be able to find out in November 2018, but until then you can learn more about the book here, or explore additional topics related to it on our full blog.
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