I had dinner with someone recently—someone who is not in the adult industry, and, if he is to be believed, a person who rarely watches porn. He asked how it was possible for two people who don’t know each other, or who are not attracted to each other, to have sex…and on camera no less. It was a little jarring to be asked this question, in part because I think I have become a bit jaded, and also because having sex with someone I don’t know is not something I find peculiar. I mean, I have had my fair share of one-night stands, and that doesn’t even include my super slutty college years. I looked at my friend, whom I will heretofore refer to as “Louis,” and said, “What’s so weird about fucking someone you don’t know?” He conceded that, sure, we sometimes fuck people we don’t know, and admitted to having fucked prostitutes in Amsterdam back when he was at University, but what about the attraction thing? I sat back in my chair. This question required some thought.
Am I attracted to everyone I work with on camera? The answer is no. Do I need to be attracted to everyone I perform with to enjoy the scene? The answer is also no. Are other performers attracted to everyone they work with on camera? I can’t answer that question, but I suspect not. When Louis asked me how it was possible for me to have sex on camera with people to whom I had no physical attraction I realized my answer may not make sense to him, but it made perfect sense to me and also explained a lot of why I shoot porn and why I enjoy fucking on camera: I’m a pervert. “There is always something that turns me on. If it’s not the person I’m with, or something about them—eyes, level of kinkiness, hands, whatever, then it’s the director, or what he/she wants me to do, or how turned on he/she is by what I’m doing.” Sometimes there is nothing, but it’s rare.
When I came into the industry in 2003, the focus was on extremity. How far can we go? How many cocks can we fit into one girl’s asshole? Can we get a bat in there? How much can a girl take? If a girl wasn’t screaming or talking non-stop in a scene then she was a lackluster performer. Sometimes I found intimacy, but it wasn’t the driving force of a scene. If things became too quiet the director would demand “more energy! Talk dirty! Do something!” The sex often became a spectacle—the more acrobatic the better. I’m just not a screamer. Never have been, and probably never will be. If you ever hear me screaming or talking crazy smack in a scene, then it’s because the director told me to. The fact that there was ever a demand for what I refer to as Acrobatic banshee sex makes me question if the consumers had ever actually had sex, or if they were all creepy virgins living in their parents’ basement. This is not to say that I never enjoyed the rough sex—on the contrary—some of my best scenes were very rough, but the directors understood that, within the scenes, the performers needed a moment to connect with each other: quiet whispering, long gazes into each other’s eyes, deep kissing (without the fucking). These directors valued the connection between two people, and understood how it enhanced the scene.
When I began shooting and performing again last year, I was delighted to discover that the trend had moved from the carnival sex scenes to more intimate, or “romance” sex scenes. Before directing for Sweetheart I had had the benefit of performing in a few of their movies for Nica Noelle. I was struck by how different everything felt—how important it was to establish a seduction, and to draw out that first kiss. This felt foreign to me, but also exciting. As a director I enjoy writing the scenes—creating moments of longing, awkward silences, and watching the performers tentatively kiss. These kinds of scenes—whether for the gay or straight genre—permit a connection between the performers. It also allows the viewer to identify with what is happening. Essentially, this kind of porn is relatable. I believe that it speaks to our inherent desire and need for intimacy in all of its incarnations. Philosophically speaking, I think that consumers of porn have reached a saturation point with the ultra hardcore. There will always be a market for it, of course, but we seem to need something more—something that captures our imagination rather than distracts us with over-the-top sexual positions and caterwauling. The romance genre (for lack of a better name) requires two primary things from its performers: to slow down and connect. When I direct a scene and watch what happens between two people as they take their time and look into each other’s eyes, it is really quite lovely. I sometimes feel shy, which is a big deal for someone who shot a movie called Cum Fart Cocktails for Red Light District. It’s funny how removed we become watching a spectacle, and how involved we become when we recognize ourselves in something as seemingly innocuous as a kiss or a gaze, or a fumbling gesture of desire.
So, back to my dinner with Louis and the question of attraction… I concluded that, when my partner lets me in, and I, in turn, let him or her in, we find something in each other that is appealing, and ultimately satisfying. With one girl it was her scrunchy-nosed smile, and with another it was her adorable slight overbite. With one guy it was his smell, and with another it was his sweet nervousness. When I slow down and connect, there is an opportunity to find a bit of myself in my partner, and when that happens anything is possible.
Follow Dana on twitter @danavespoli and more on her new Sweetheart releases @milehighmovies