Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sex Drive: POV scenes from a porn convention

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 9:46 AM

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“You drove down from Tampa today and you’re driving back tonight,” Ann Marie Rios says from behind a table stacked with her X-rated DVDs. “Why?"

The answer had something to do with an entirely professional need to report on this gathering of porn stars and some vague notion of alcohol and bad decisions. Of course when speaking to a woman, even a woman who uses her sex appeal to extract a living from the irrational impulses of men, this reasoning seems illogical.

“I was thinking of staying for one of the after parties, and uh, networking,” I say. “Which one are you going to?”

“After party?” Ann Marie says, smiling. “I’m going to sleep.”

* * *
I assume you won’t read this, which is understandable. Feel free to merely scan the photos. This story wouldn’t have been written had I too not been compelled to gawk at the nearly naked women of Exxxotica Miami.
* * *
Shyla Stylez
  • Shyla Stylez
When you first enter an adult expo, the various fantasies you harbor of photo-shopped porn stars must be given time to acclimate to the physical reality of these women. Shyla Stylez’s XXXL curves give you new appreciation for the size of her male costars. Joanna Angel is as small as your kid sister. Despite her claim to be an inch shorter than me without heels, Chanel Preston strikes me as a WNBA player—that is if the league was populated by busty bisexuals who hate bras. Bridgette B’s chest is large enough to terrorize a Japanese fishing village.
* * *
At a glance, Exxxotica is like any other convention. Vendors occupy curtained off cubicles, conventioneers fill plastic bags with swag, couples nurse tired feet at the food court over chili dogs, promo girls spin prize wheels, and amplified noise assaults your sense like the electric clatter of a casino. Other than the lack of anyone under 18, the crowd is what you would find at a mall: marauding gangs of guys overdressed in loud trends, contingents of giggling women, older couples holding hands, and the occasional lone creepster in a ball cap with shorts hiked up like fishing waders.

The difference is in the details. The air is rich with the warm scent of flora perfume and body heat. Instead of corndogs, women hold festive cock-sicle suckers on sticks. Sex scenes that double as athletic competitions play on flat screens in the bar. Lingerie-clad masseuses offer rubdowns. Men take turns posing for pictures between a performer’s legs. A seasaw with rubber dicks as handgrips, a burlesque swing, several air mattresses and platforms with poles all host go-go dancers who pose for pictures and make change with bankrolls slung over their G-strings.

* * *
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“Who wants a cock-ring worn by Ron Jeremy?”

The MC holds up what looks like a carbineer. All but one of the outstretched hands retract.

The MC ushers a collection of female porn stars onstage to demonstrate their acting abilities by flirtatiously answering questions they’ve fielded thousands of times.

“Do you have wilder sex on or off camera?”

They have better sex off camera, though Kelly Divine points out that porn sex is still wilder as it would never occur to her to snort cum in her personal life.

“What did you do before porn?”

Most were strippers or receptionist. Nyomi Banxxx was a social worker.

“How did you get your porn names?”

Their names almost always derive from the suggestion of an early mentor. Stoya took a shortened version of a family name; her grandmother’s only objection was that men at the nursing home might confuse the two women.

“What would you do if you knew the world was ending tomorrow?”

Teagan Presley provides the prototypical answer, which involves a cocktail of Jagermeister and sex. Nyomi Banxxx adds LL Cool J to her to-do list. When an audience member interrupts Stoya, she calls him to the stage and slaps him repeatedly. A few people clap.

* * *
I never know what to ask porn stars during interviews. The question at the root of this dilemma is, what exactly are porn stars experts at?
* * *
Joanna Angel
  • Joanna Angel
Alfie: Hey. I interviewed you over the phone a few weeks ago.
Joanna Angel: Oh.
Alfie: I was the one who asked all the Kurt Vonnegut questions.
Joanna Angel: Oh right. Cool.
Alfie: I just read a news story that quoted you on what you thought Osama bin Laden’s porn stash contained. Why does every news organization call you when they need a quote about the adult industry?
Joanna Angel: Because I’m awesome.
Angel shifts her attention to the guy standing beside me with a camera, one of her DVDs, and an intense smile.
* * *
I envy wheelchair bound conventioneers. Not only do they have VIP parking and a permanent place to sit, they are also lavished in affection from the performers. That and they have a medical excuse for appreciating porn.
* * *
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A giant pink penis with a saddle offers mechanical rides. Guys linger around the sleeping giant, hoping for a conventioneer in a skirt to demonstrate her cowgirl abilities. The booth across from the bucking penis offers information on Miami’s bicycle rental program. The spokesman tells me that if women get tired of the machine he has something else they can ride.
* * *
“Look at my bicep,” an older guy with a grease stain of gray hair instructs Chanel Preston’s body building boyfriend, Mark.

“Wow,” Mark says.

“Feel my stomach,” the older man tells Chanel. “Don’t be shy. Feel it. I keep it pretty hard.”

Chanel Preston
  • Chanel Preston
To avoid general awkwardness, no guys, including alleged members of the media, should be allowed into an adult expo alone.

Instead of having deep discussions with a buddy about which of the porn stars I would use to populate my desert island, I wander around the convention alone trying to look purposeful. I habitually return to the handful of people at the expo, like Chanel and Mark, who I know well enough that it would be rude for them to call security on me.

* * *
A male model stands barefoot in the bathroom adjusting his underwear and scrutinizing his abs from different angles. A guy in a bedazzled shirt chats with his buddy through a stall door. They discuss which women they’ve banged and which porn stars want their cocks.
* * *
A few mainstream news teams cover Exxxotica, making sure to capture a shot of the two religious fanatics protesting outside. These companies must create the illusion of a balanced story to justify the newsworthiness of covering porn stars signing autographs. In attempt to be a balanced reporter and prove that the convention, and this story, is not just cashing in on female sex appeal, here are two examples of atypical vendors:

Clitoraid: This nonprofit group sells t-shirts that read, “Adopt a Clitoris” in order to raise money for a hospital in Ouagadougou dedicated to repairing the damage done by female circumcision.

XXXChurch.com: The slogan “Jesus Loves Porn Stars,” hangs over a group of youngsters handing out flashy booklets. If I weren’t an atheist this would be the one church group I’d consider joining. Their message is more inclusive than condemning—that and the money they raise sends their members around the country in an effort to intimately touch the lives of porn stars.

* * *
Kagney Linn Karter
  • Kagney Linn Karter
The man behind Star Factory PR introduces me to Kagney Linn Karter as she stacks DVDs on her table. Contrary to popular opinion, being a porn star doesn’t guarantee you an entourage or even an assistant. I try helping her set up but I inevitably get distracted by the graphic images on her DVDs. Even while performing oral sex, there’s something about Karter’s grin that makes me think she wore plenty of Kool-Aid smiles as a kid.

Alfie: Are you vajazzled in this movie?
Karter: I was. That’s why it’s called Vajazzled.
Alfie: Did y’all hire a professional vajazzler?
Karter: No. We actually had the makeup artist do it. They just had these rhinestones and were like gluing them to my pussy. It was kind of uncomfortable but it looked cool.
Alfie: Don’t those get in the way of sex?
Karter: They were kind of falling off, but you know… Honestly I think real vajazzling is way different that what we did. We did the low budget vajazzling.
Alfie: I feel like that’s the one place you wouldn’t want to skimp on production cost.
Karter: Tell me about it.
Alfie: You weren’t prepared for all these vajazzling questions were you?
Karter: Nope.

* * *
Across from Chanel Preston’s table stands a smiling “teen” porn star beside a computer playing a compilation of scenes in which the teen tries to catch money shots in her mouth.

“Why don’t you interview her?” Chanel’s boyfriend Mark asks.

“What would I say?”

“Just say, ‘I really admire the way you can take a load without flinching. Very impressive.’”

* * *
Jenna Haze
  • Jenna Haze
Alfie: Hey. I interviewed you when you were feature dancing in Tampa a few months ago.
Jenna Haze: Oh.
Alfie: You probably don’t remember me.
Jenna Haze: No I don’t.
Drunken conventioneer: That’s Jenna Haze. She makes the best pornos ever. She does girls and everything. Can I take a photo of you?
* * *
When I became a sex writer, I spent $400 on an SLR camera just so I would appear more legitimate when covering adult events. As I quickly learned, when it comes to sex stories, the photos are all anyone cares about. But for all my wandering around the convention I don't take that many photos. I can’t understand why anyone would care about candid pictures of these starlets at a fan expo when there are plenty of images of these women online do things that are illegal in most countries. Beyond that, many stars have signs on their tables listing the cost of a photo with them.

The real issue is that I can’t figure out how to approach these entertainers in a way that distinguished me as something more than a fan, as a connoisseur of all things sex related. This impulse isn’t unique. The fans struggle to articulate just how devoted they are to a particular starlet. The adult entertainers themselves must find marketing gimmicks above and beyond boob jobs and anal sex to lure new customers to their booths.

* * *
Michelle Bombshell McGee
  • Michelle Bombshell McGee
The porn star Charlie Sheen terrorized in a bathroom, Capri Anderson, and the mistress at the center of Sandra Bullock's divorce, Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, sit quietly at their tables smiling at conventioneers who meander by. If x-rated content and notorious sex scandals aren’t enough to launch these women into supper stardom on the adult circuit, I shudder to think what else they must do to get noticed?
* * *
“When I took a photo with him last year he tried to fucking kiss me.”

Two promo girls stand with their hands on their hips watching Ron Jeremy explore a fan’s chest as the woman captures the encounter on her camera phone. Taking a picture with Jeremy is like posing with a half-tamed monkey at the zoo; he doesn’t have to play by human rules.

Jeremy isn’t the only male actor at Exxxotica. Others can be found grabbing DVDs for their porn star girlfriends or snapping pictures of fans with their porn star wives. Jeremy is the exception. He stands like the antithesis of his female counterparts at the head of the longest autograph line in the convention. Instead of wearing tight, designer clothes to highlight a trim physique, his round stature is cloaked in a baggy t-shirt and dirty parachute pants. He has gained more fame for being unattractive than most of the female performers at the expo can every dream of attaining no matter how many sexual frontiers they explore. His gift is not his giant dick; it’s his perpetual horniness, which no female porn star has been able to even fake for half as many decades as Jeremy.

* * *
The setting sun burns through the swampy heart of the Everglades. I claim that I like road trips because they give me time to think, but this isn’t true. The road gives me time to exist beyond thought, with a single purpose of reaching my destination. To keep from being lulled into a permanent sleep by the hum of the open road, I have two strategies for keeping my mind alert. The first is to listen to audiobooks:
“Sex contains all, bodies, souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations, songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk; all hopes, benefactions, bestowals, All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the earth, All the governments, judges, gods, follow'd persons of the earth, These are contain'd in sex, as parts of itself, and justifications of itself.”—from Walt Whitman’s “A Woman Waits for Me.”

My other strategy for keeping myself driven is to maintain a long-distance erection. For this I repeatedly listen to the audio of my interview with Courtney Cummz, particularly the part when she instructs me to ask her if she will sleep with me.

The most remote or fantastical hint of sex drives most of the decisions men make. This is true for something as major as choosing a profession that affords you a sexy social status, to leaving a gathering of hundreds of nearly naked women early in order to share a steadfast boner with the woman who waits for you at home.

Follow Alfie on Twitter or Facebook and email him if interested in writing about Sex & Love.

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