Ric Reily is the author of two books, Money Is The Root Of All - Skip The Debt Habit, and Gregory’s Hero; and two blogs, LGBT Opinion In A Gay World and LGBT Personal Finance In A Gay World. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of Stonewall National Museum and Archives serving as Treasurer. His firm CFO On Call provides small business finance and operations consulting. Ric is married to John, his partner of 26 years, and lives in South Florida. You can reach Ric at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sun News Miami is proud to publish this major expose on gay porn, written by Ric Reily, with Jonathan Nicholes
Working On Call – Gay Pornography in Florida
Having a preconception can be a dangerous thing. What we know can serve to simply expose that which we don't know, and then often in ludicrous terms.
What I knew about the gay porn, modeling and escort business before researching and writing this article was very little. My preconception was that of a seedy business, one often maligned in the press and movies. Yet, for all its preconceived faults the industry has survived in its various forms throughout history and with the advent of technology and particularly the Internet, has flourished.
According to a 2008 study by the Rochester Institute of Technology internet pornography generated over $3,000, 28,000 viewers, and 400 searches, every second, every day. Every forty minutes a new porn video is created in the USA. The USA is only the fourth largest consumer of porn, out sexed by China, South Korea and Japan. In that same year Internet porn generated more revenue worldwide than the top eight technology companies including Google, Apple, Yahoo, AOL and others, combined. In the USA porn generated more revenue than the three largest TV broadcasters, combined. Approximately eighty percent of all porn web pages are hosted in the USA. A quarter of all Internet searches are for porn. Internet pornography is big business.
biggest consumers of pornography, eight of the ten states that consume the most porn voted for McCain. Utah consumes more pornography than any other state in the union. It is an open secret that many regular consumers of gay porn are women and straight men. Of gay men most porn is consumed by the 35-44 age group. Within that group there is a direct correlation between income and consumption with those who earn more watching more gay porn.Conservatives are the
Gay porn actors, actors you will meet later in this piece, perform very much in a sexual manner, even achieving a certain level of intimacy with their partners off the set; they are all gay. Some gay porn actors are straight or bi and gay for pay. They easily perform the scenes as completely not sexual but as purely mechanical.
Many of the gay porn actors I spoke to enjoy their work. They feel much more an actor than a prop and their work has a positive impact on their lives. Acting in porn can be a big self confidence boost and when you come from low self esteem that's a real improvement. In addition, porn requires a certain physique and getting and keeping that physique can lead to a long term commitment to health and exercise they did not have coming into the job.
A real downside to the job is age. Porn acting is mostly for the young and though many are not afraid of aging they know there is an end and are happy to have had the experience while young. As one said offhandedly, “it's fun, we don't take things seriously at all”.
How does a kid from the Midwest, or anywhere of that matter, get into porn? It's easy if you happen to live in California where the preponderance of production companies are located. There are upwards of five hundred production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.
Porn actors who come from obscure out of the way places all across the country find the road to porn, modeling and escorting is much different. These kids need a manager, a guy like Uncle Mike with Orlando Models.
Uncle Mike, The Porn King
For many years I have carried a clear and distinct impression of the gay porn business. I had the image of young, perhaps too young, emancipated to starving hairless pink boys lying about after dosing up until pressed in front of a camera for another shoot. The porn king was obese, grotesquely sweating and leering at the action as the boys preformed.
Uncle Mike with Orlando Models is the glue that keeps his whole enterprise working. On first blush he fits the preconceived porn king stereotype. Obese, in his own word, he has a baldish pate with unruly and untrimmed hair encircling his head above the ears. After fifteen years of providing magazines with photographs and more recently websites with video he looks his part. Starting with Polaroid instant photos the media has moved through various iterations, currently a HD digital file. Uncle Mike is a kind and gentle man who in all his disorganization truly seems to care for his flock and want the best for them. In a different lifetime Uncle Mike was in law enforcement.
Along with Tanner, his director and producer, Uncle Mike manages a porn production company with a focus on young men in bondage scenes. A big management part of the business is acquiring the porn actors and Uncle Mike has tuned a system over the years. The real challenge with porn actors is getting them to FL and providing them a place to live. Most arrive with little or no money chasing a dream of throwing off their old lives in pursuit of a new one chosen though not yet experienced.
Facilitating the flow Uncle Mike maintains a model house, and it isn't the best house in a new development. At any given time there are two to three porn actors in residence though often the number can quickly grow to six. On average a porn actor will stay in the model house for about three months. After that time most have found a solid footing on which to move out or have decided the trade is not for them and returned to a more familiar place.
New porn actors are instilled with Uncle Mike’s code, certain rules that establish a workable civility. Bringing in a certain type person helps establish personal caring and support by each porn actor for others. They all share cooking and cleaning while Uncle Mike provides the food.
Acquiring new porn actors is an ongoing effort for the porn king. He actively pursues social media sites, such as Facebook, and escort sites for prospects. Beginning with an instant message or email conversation he might spend a year or more communicating with a prospective porn actor before both he and the prospect are ready to meet. Prospective porn actors are those with a settled demeanor, a high level of interest in setting a new life direction and a willingness to abide by Uncle Mike’s rules.
His offer of employment includes transportation from the prospects hometown to Orlando which depending on distance is typically via air. Approximately sixty percent of those who commit to the trip actually arrive. Uncle Mike has no interest in those who are saddled with drama and he has zero tolerance for drug use or alcohol in the house. If the wrong porn actor is chosen, Uncle Mike immediately returns him to the airport and sends him back from whence he came.
Ninety percent of the boy next door type porn actors come to the model house with no experience. They are required to use condoms in all their sexual activity both on camera and off. Each arrives in Florida for a different reason though earning money is always a common theme of their lifestyle transition. Shoots pay between one and three hundred dollars. Once settled in most porn actors get additional employment dancing in clubs, webcam modeling, escorting or a typical part time job.
As one might suspect a model house will come under the scrutiny of neighbors. Neighbors can be expected to become incensed about it, which in Uncle Mike’s case they did. In his case their anger resulted in police surveillance and ultimately a raid by several law enforcement agencies including code enforcement. They found nothing untoward though they charged Uncle Mike with running an unlicensed halfway house. The Sheriffs Department spent the next several months keeping an eye on the house from down the street. Attorneys finally got law enforcement to back off with a series of legal efforts. There have been no new problems in the past four years, apparently judges like their porn, too.
No filming is done in the model house. Filming is done at a local dungeon and at private campgrounds for outdoor shoots. Shooting is done in twelve minute episodes edited to ten minute pieces shot in one to five hour sessions. Updates are done weekly to the Orlando Models web pages badboybondage.com and badboysbootcamp.com.
The Model House
Animated conversation filled the car leaving the airport; new acquaintances have a great deal to say in a short time. The ride wore on along congested arteries that probably made sense to the locals but tore away any semblance of orientation to the newcomer. Mile after mile strip malls filled with subsistence businesses were broken only by traffic signals. Turning left into a side street brought a distinct comfort with its quiet. The quiet only served to set loose a queasy stomach in anticipation of what was today’s final destination.
Rounding the corner into the cul-de-sac his eye roamed first up one side of the street then back down the other. Finally the end of a long day of travel was coming to a close as he rode along to his new home. A new home sans everything and everyone he has ever known, exchanged for the hope and dream of a new life. Unable to choose which house on the street lined with attractive suburban homes was his new home, the car pulled into a driveway.
Inside the place appeared in complete disarray. Uncounted dogs barked incessantly. The living room contained two beds, a TV and the debris of two young men living out of suitcases. Food packages, soda containers, and dishes covered most surfaces of the kitchen.
A family room opening onto a pool area was the most welcoming of the rooms. Two couches filled a corner with a broad square table in front of them. A big old projection television stood near one wall visible from any seat on the couch. Uncle Mike rattled off the house rules.
“Pick a place to sleep, one that is not already claimed. There may be a bureau for your things, or just leave them in your suitcase. No alcohol is permitted, none, ever. You bring it here you are out. No drugs are permitted, none, ever. You bring any here you are out. We don't shoot in the house and you don't bring customers here.
“We grocery shop once in a while and share the cooking and cleaning. I buy the food, you can contribute. Laundry gets done when someone needs it, the load usually contains something of everyone’s; you’ll find it dumped on the couch to take what’s yours.
“We live quietly. The neighbors are aware of who we are and what we do and many are unhappy or overly sensitive to that. Most of the other boys don't have a car either so there is a good deal of walking. When you walk through the neighborhood be quiet, especially at night and especially if you have been drinking. Always be respectful to any neighbors you meet; we need all the good will we can get.”
Depending on the shooting schedule the first scene might be a week or ten days away. Time in between is hanging out with the other boys, getting oriented and setting up an escort profile.
Several years ago several law enforcement agencies raided the house after keeping it under surveillance for some time. They didn't know what they were looking for so they focused on child pornography and drugs. Finding none of either or anything else that interested them they have limited their harassment since. Sometimes they even give the porn actors a ride at night. Perhaps policemen like their porn too.
Uncle Mike led the way through the rest of the house showing off his bedroom and two others. His was off limits with a solid door and secure lock. The other two each contained one queen size bed along with miscellaneous furniture. Two boys shared each bed.
With his job done, Uncle Mike retired to his room leaving the new boy to the others. They proceeded to orient him to the real rhythms of living in a model house. The de facto leader of the band of young men living in a suburban Florida house acting in gay porn movies took the new arrival aside, led him to his room and performed the real orientation. Each new arrival finds a certain comforting commonality there.
Uncle Mike and the reigning senior porn actor who has held on for several years in an environment where most last a few months share commonalities. They are with the passing of years partners, non sexual partners even best friends no matter their differences. Information is held close, their location a difficult detail to be entrusted with; a certain suspicion holds their eyes askance, their trust in reserve, their reticence to openly communicate readily apparent. Like they have something to hide, though what they do is openly available to anyone with a computer and internet access.
The model house is a conundrum of noise and confusion delivering a certain sense of comfort to the new transplant as no matter the state of the place it serves as a refuge from a past life now left behind.
Justin Becomes a Porn Actor
Life grinds away slowly in religious Eastern Oregon homes; especially when a kid has the big secret. When Mom listens intently to Rush Limbaugh all the while silently nodding affirmatively, the kid knows this is not an announcement that will go over well. A sister outed Justin to his parents after her confessional priest demanded she do so. Dad kept it simple “get out, and stay out until you are no longer queer”.
Justin, 25, originally hails from Oregon and lived for a time in Eastern Washington mostly as a first trial run away from home and family and an anonymous place to explore his newly found sexual orientation. Portland lured him for college and he worked as a chef before moving to Boise in hopes of reconnecting with family. Thankfully gays are not limited to families of blood; we make new family always and wherever. Justin's family remained as bitter at his homosexuality as the day they slammed the door of the family home on him and the Catholic Church excommunicated him.
Justin first had sex, and that with a woman, while in college; he was a late bloomer. A pair of male twins provided the first gay sexual experience, severing his interest in women and propelling Justin faster along the road to understanding himself.
Like most gay men Justin is in search of his life partner. Though there is a certain disconnect between escorting and coming home to dinner.
Severance from family is often the most traumatic result of coming out. The first Christmas after his expulsion Justin returned to the family home gifts in hand only to be met at the door, relieved of his burden and directed to the back yard where he could see his father. An elder brother, married with kids allows visits as long as “you don't look gay”. In all his blood family only his grandparents have embraced him.
Being alone, broke on the street is by no means a uniquely gay condition though far too many gay youth do their penance there. In Boise he encountered an accepting community, found a cause in Add The Words Idaho and employment in his chosen profession. Life in Boise was comfortable in those three years though he did not find contentment or fulfillment.
Uncle Mike, owner and manager of Orlando Models, made contact with him. Over the course of a year they chatted periodically via social media sites. Uncle Mike was ready for Justin much faster than Justin was ready to upturn his life.
Most life changing decisions are helped along by external forces. Unemployment, lease renewal approaching and a little cash in hand helped Justin to commit to his decision to leave all he knew for a world he could only imagine. Committing and acting in the same week leaves little time for reconsideration so the decision to become a porn actor, model and escort brought only mild apprehension, a certain excitement and a terrible case of butterflies in the stomach. There was no question about the decision and he would do the same again.
Those butterflies took him all the way to the airport where he spent his last twenty five dollars checking one of his two bags that now contained his entire life. The flight took him from Boise to Phoenix and then a great leap across America to Orlando, where Uncle Mike met him at the curb and they drove to the model house. In that car trip those butterflies yielded to freeing excitement tinged only mildly by lingering apprehension.
That lingering apprehension was centered on the last stop, the house; fully committed now he could only wait for the last corner to be turned to get his first sight of his new home. Disappointment was the first impression. Though it looked ok from the street the house inside was a wreck and disorganized. That first night Justin slept in the living room, and then he moved into a room with another boy. Now they share a bed.
Life in the model house can be crowded, noisy, and disorganized. And, at the very same time provide an environment conducive to merging the mutual commonalities of disparate though similarly focused young gay men.
Lukas Joins in Also
Lukas is a beautiful young man, a mix of a Caucasian and Native American mother and African American father. His unblemished skin is the color of rich maple syrup darkened further on exposure to sun. His eyes are a stunning green against bronze skin providing a gateway to a charming, intelligently funny, quick witted mind ready to delve into any subject that arises. He stands tall, slender and straight casually attired. His is one of those presences that cause eyes to turn and follow.
Lukas, 22, grew up one of four boys in London, OH. By eight years old he knew he was gay when he took a dare to kiss a boy at school. The kissed boy was startled, almost as much as Lukas was pleased and the instigator surprised his dare was taken and acted on. The kissed went home to alert Mom who alerted the school who alerted Lukas’ Mom who ignored the incident for what it appeared a childhood prank.
He became sexually active in his early teens after his parents divorced and a move from sleepy London to live with his father in the big city of Columbus.
A self kept journal served as Lukas’ outlet in the absence of a deep paternal or fraternal relationship and also served as his outing when at fourteen a big brother took and read the journal and proceeded to share it with the family.
Dad was accepting though Mom scolded him severely after reading his journal. In punishment she made Lukas read the bible. In addition she grounded him for the entire summer or until he was no longer gay. His grounding ended when she kicked him out of the house at age fifteen. Lukas lived in a group home for a year until extended family rescued him.
High school yielded good grades and found him living with an uncle and aunt. They cared enough to keep him focused and prepare him for his stint at the Ohio State University where he recently completed his third year studying architecture. Those three years have saddled him with fifty three thousand dollars of student debt.
While still in high school Lukas was contacted by Uncle Mike exploring his interest in doing risqué modeling. They spent three years periodically chatting about modeling prior to Lukas finally making his decision. Leaving OSU with a year to go, with plans to enroll in a Florida university to finish his architectural education, he accepted Uncle Mike's airline ticket and offer of housing and flew out of Ohio and the life he had always known to Florida and a life he could only imagine.
Leaving Ohio for Florida simply for a change, an opportunity to remove himself from a less than supportive family to give himself room to grow came easily to Lukas in the end. Without regret he would do the same thing again.
The commitment to his decision and his continuing comfort with it arises from the support he has received from Uncle Mike, the other porn actors in residence and the surprising speed with which he has achieved his goals. One customer has been particularly valuable in helping him get quickly on his feet in his newly chosen home.
Lukas believes his initial success, and his ongoing escort business focus is unique. His personalized approach minimizes physical sex to the benefit of personal services. His willingness to engage customers on an intellectual and emotional level often at the expense and certainly as a primary precursor to physical activities sets him apart. With a knowing grin he suggests his morality gets in the way but won't doom his business.
Focusing on escorting has worked well for him though he is ok with acting in porn shoots. Lukas prefers escorting to filming. Filming is chaotic, time consuming with a great deal of down time and waiting and doesn't pay particularly well. Film has the added liability of remaining forever, while escorting is generally with people on the download low who don't want to be known.
It is easy to see Lukas as a business man. He plans on escorting, filling in with acting in films, for four months before getting a mainstream job. The plan includes keeping his best one or two customers even with that job.
Though he lost his virginity on his sixteenth birthday to a football player on the high school football field after the homecoming game, Lukas wants a life partner. He also knows it will be difficult to impossible to achieve that goal while his primary occupation remains escorting. That mainstream job becomes a critical part of his life plan.
Several months have passed since my initial interview with Lukas and I recently had the pleasure of meeting him again. He was proud to announce his plans are on track, he no longer performs in gay porn shoots, has two regular escort customers and recently started a full time job in the tourism industry.
Shooting Gay Porn
Justin is restrained, naked, and flat on his back on the table. Each extremity points at a corner, wrapped in a wide black leather cuff connected to a turnbuckle linking a heavy chain that runs off the edge.
Lucas has done the deed, preparing Justin for a pornography shoot featuring erotic tickling. The stage is set, lit from all sides with set lighting, the table holding Justin backed into a white painted corner. Three cameras run marked only by a silently blinking red indicator light on each.
Tanner monitors the three cameras fixed on tripods at strategic points focusing on the scene. He has to be certain that each is recording and the video is of good quality. One needs an adjustment and he moves it a few inches to remove a shadow on the table.
Uncle Mike sits on a chair watching but detached from the activity. He has filmed so many of the scenes he seems barely interested and I wonder if he will even remember filming the scene two weeks from now. Tanner’s call to the porn actors to go ahead brings Uncle Mikes’ attention back to the set.
Brian steps out the shadows stopping aside Justin on the table as Lukas assumes his position on the other side. Together, slowly, both put both of their hands on Justin’s flat belly. Slowly, they begin caressing.
Justin’s breath comes faster. He holds his belly ridged refusing to allow the sensations to reach his brain. The other two lift their palms leaving only their finger tips in contact with Justin.
He begins to struggle as the fingertips probe his belly and around his waist. Wriggling against the restraints yields little relief and again he tries to detach the tickling from reaching his brain.
Lukas and Brian alternately lighten and deepen their touch, speed up and slow down their motions and move from belly to chest, legs and feet. Justin is in full flail being relentless tickled by four hands attached to two naked male hunks.
Not that Justin sees either of his tormentors as his eyes are crushed shut, his breath is roaring in and out and his body is spasmodically contorting bouncing from side to side head to toe straining his restraints. Chain rattling is drowned out by Justin’s cries, pleading for his tormentors to stop the torture. One does stop, only to begin stroking and massaging bringing Justin closer and closer, as Lukas continues to tickle.
As Justin tires the scene slows, a full on sex scene ensues. The three porn actors stretch out the scene to its prescribed length of twelve minutes and end it in true porn fashion. The money shots are captured.
Lukas unbuckles the restraints freeing Justin. Brian offers him a hand and with cocked elbow leans back to pull Justin to sitting. He swings his legs to the floor and stands. The three remain a group quickly moving from the completed scene to chattering about an escort customer Lukas has later.
Tanner takes down the cameras packing them each carefully into their carry cases. He dismantles lighting and collects power cables. The restraints need to be collected.
Uncle Mike sits as before on his chair, happy the work is done. Getting three gay porn actors to the same place at the same time is a good start. Getting excellent quality, fully engaged acting on video is his business.
Online Webcam Modeling
Online webcam modeling is more socially acceptable than escorting by both customers and models. There is a real distance between the model and his audience, unlike an escort who is likely to be far more intimate with his customer. Both buyers and sellers consider escorting a seedier business. Online is obviously safer with no physical contact, models don’t meet their customer in person.
Zakk Matthews is a live online webcam model on flirt4free.com. Though he hails from a supportive family, one of the few porn actors I have met who does, Zakk takes advantage of limiting features of the cam site and blocks his state of origin as well as several other states where family friends live. He would rather Mom and Dad not take in a show.
Online webcam customers view a model doing everyday activities such as studying, sleeping, house cleaning and chatting. Or, even more intimate activities when the model is successful at getting his viewers to ante up the fees for a private show.
Website rules preclude nudity in public chats. A model must at minimum wear underwear. Only in private shows may a model show it all.
In public view everyone sees the same video and chat though a customer can Whisper the model by private chat for free. The model can respond privately to a viewer in a Whisper and generally a Whisper is used to set up a private show.
A private show can be purchased by an individual customer or by a group of customers who get together to cover the stated cost of the show. These rates are set by the model and a successful model rakes in tips in addition to the fee. In a private show the model doesn’t see the customer and each customer makes his requests for specific activity, special performance, or fetish behavior via text chat. Customers can hear the model’s voice though they can not speak to the model.
Public viewing, as the website name promises is free. Private shows and texting the model is charged by credits per minute and customers can send tips to see more. Credits are purchased from the website. Similar to any time based business the webcam model attempts to keep his customer interested as long as possible. The longer the private session, the more credits transfer from the customer to the model. The trade off is that the customer may give up and leave while the model drags out his performance. Keeping the customer interested while keeping tension to a happy ending is the objective.
The goal becomes keeping the customer engaged, energizing the performance by building anticipation and requesting tips for additional actions. Speaking the customers name, engaging them personally and knowing when their interest is waning are all tools models use to keep their best customers from leaving the show. In addition to the private show charges and tips a generous customer can visit the model’s wish list; the website hosts the store, makes the sale and delivers the item to the model.
Each customer has his own expectations of what he would like to see. Zakk has been asked to play with his feet for a foot play fetish customer, pretend to bottom using positions and toys, cut his head hair (which thankfully he didn’t, its beautiful hair), shower, masturbate, and oddly enough often to simply smile and be there. Ejaculation is the premier event, and anticipation of that keeps private customers on longest. Multiple customers can be in the private chat and though they may have split the cost to be there, they serve as an additional source for tips. Within the private session a customer who has not paid the full price of entry may voyeur the show, seeing the private show but not interacting.
As in any successful production a stage is important. Professional webcam models set up a stage that is stylishly appointed, even elegant, well lighted, and uncluttered to stand out from ordinary profiles. Well staged sets draw customers in. Many models simply webcam from their bedroom or dorm room on a rumpled bed surrounded by personal items, even bicycles.
Online web cam modeling is about creating a relationship with the customer vs. getting off, the object of online porn. Creating an emotional connection with the customer helps the model keep his customer on longer and coming back more often. When a favorite model is not online a customer can call by phone to set up a later video chat, or just phone chat to hear the model’s voice, all the while paying for this time.
Many online web cam models are also gay porn actors. Choosing to model online has benefits over acting such as better pay, control of working hours, no boss, no physical risk, performing in the comfort of their own home, no travel, few work clothes, and no Brooks Brothers suits.
Escorting is the business of providing personal services to a customer. Services might include companionship, massage, a boy friend experience, sexual fantasy or any number of other activities as defined by the customer. Sex with customers is detached and mechanical simply fulfilling the customer’s fantasy.
An escort customer takes care of all expenses, including an escort fee. The escort takes care of the emotional.
Online profiles provide the means of exchange. The escort sells his services with pictures and text, both of which set the tone and style of the escort allowing a customer to choose an escort most aligned with his requirements.
Most customers look for a normal, sophisticated, down to earth profile in hopes of connecting with the correct escort. Creating a working profile is important work and should a profile fail to deliver customers, or slow or stop doing so, a creative escort updates and changes until he again finds a workable model that draws in prospective customers. Regardless, there is a broad cross section of escorts for customers to choose from, and a broad cross section of customers for escorts to draw from. Multiple sites are difficult to manage and because of subscription costs most escorts opt for just one online presence.
Escorting doesn’t come with a performance manual leaving the entire effort open for learning and interpretation. Starting out, new escorts have to learn on their backs, so to speak. Each will likely get to a job, do the job and find out there is no pay. They learn to see the cash, even get half before beginning. Customers often give a wrong address, or simply don’t show up at the time and place.
Successful escorts learn to have the entire deal defined up front before meeting the customer in person. Since customers pay expenses those costs are paid at the time of service such as restaurants, shows, clubs or cabs. Fees, or larger costs such as airfare, are often split over the course of the visit. A multi day customer pays daily.
Arriving to meet a customer in most cases begins with the payment of cash. Escorts usually hold cash until the service is complete, though often a friend or fellow escort will drop by to whisk away the cash to a safe place; particularly when a large sum is involved. Safety is a big concern and fellow escorts watch their friends’ location via an iPhone app and keep in touch periodically.
Gifts can make up a large part of an escorts pay and pushing a customer for cash vs. gifts is a consistent interplay. Average income is typically a few hundred dollars per week plus gifts and most want stability of at least a thousand dollars per week from one client. Ultimately an escort wants one or two long term customers though the norm is many small jobs. This business is more about luck than skills, at least in the beginning. Luck brings the one or two generous customers rather than having to exist on short term sex work.
Bringing a customer home is out of the question and a successful escort may spend two or three nights per week with a customer at their own place or in a hotel.
The gold standard is a boy friend experience that includes moving into the customers’ home and acting as a boy friend and performing such duties as a paid escort would. These relationships can work and do so most successfully when the escort has his own room, defined responsibilities and payment schedule.
Escorting can be challenging work often mixed with a tinge of regret at doing it, and most would give it all up for love. None admitted to escorting as a substitute for love and all would move from a professional to personal relationship in the event of finding love; albeit not a likely possibility by the very nature of the escort customer. Some become friends with customers and charge those friends less.
Of all the experiences, the oddest event was a customer who paid $400 to drive around for twenty minutes simply to get acquainted. He was never heard from again.
Quitting the Business
Sex working can be a nasty trap. The glow of its possibilities, the promise of a new life in a new place and the reality of that one generous escort customer can blind newcomers to the reality of a difficult life in a tough business. In the end guys get out because they never should have begun in the first place, they can’t make a go of it financially, or they do make a go of it financially and become able to move on to other things.
Everything comes to an end and always for different reasons for different people. Sometimes you just have to quit, and quit Brian did.
Brian is a lively fair haired young man in his early twenties, originally from central Iowa. Like others before him he met Uncle Mike online and messaged back and forth for over a year before making his decision to leave all he knew for the allure of Uncle Mike’s promises.
Using Uncle Mike as a landing place to begin a new life Brian quickly found he could not fit into the model house environment. Working with Uncle Mike for a few months made it readily apparent that he was going nowhere fast. In those few months he had earned about six hundred dollars shooting gay porn. Uncle Mike set schedules that slid around by hours and even days. There was no real way to plan escorting time within Uncle Mike’s time demands, though those demands often returned no income. There was no longer a need to do it.
Brian reached a point where gay porn acting and escorting simply became no longer appealing. He found himself bored while filming, frustrated with the wasted time, reshooting and other porn actors who could not get into the scene. After several months escorting he found mostly short term customers who wanted to pay little for usually seedy activity that took more from Brian than he received in pay. Webcam modeling was too tedious, bringing real world scheduling and working hours at a time when he didn’t want either.
Not deterred by where he found himself in his new life Brian was determined to make a go of it. Luck held and he met the one very generous escort customer. Though Uncle Mike portrays escorting as going to be a big disappointment, escorting gave Brian the resources to move on. The real money is in escorting, if he lucks into the right customer. His generous customer pays him well, allowing him to make the next step on his list of goals.
Coming to a life change with goals in mind certainly helps in achieving them. Even when things don’t work out as originally planned Brian found it easier to adjust his goals then if he had not had them at all.
Regret at his choices in life and occupation carry some weight for Brian; one being that he has become numb to sex as result of forcing attraction with customers. The act has become purely mechanical. Without a current boyfriend or significant other Brian doesn’t know if, though fears, he may find difficulty in getting close to another as a result of his escorting. His next partner will be more difficult than his previous because of his new numb emotionless response to another’s interest. Clearly it has created a distance between him and other people, a reserve in him that is quickly communicated. On meeting someone new a wall goes up to keep a focus on his goals at the expense of doing the work to create a new and growing relationship.
With a slow look away, Brian admitted that if that new person chased him he would look back, slow down and allow him to catch up. He wants to learn to loosen up and allow himself to be enjoyable while at the same time being productive.
Losing the ability to love is a heavy price to pay for earning a living.
In a Nut Shell
Gay porn acting, online webcam modeling and escorting is big business.
Big players in the gay porn business exist and on the Internet they control large websites that attract a majority of the click traffic. Content producers like Orlando Models and individuals produce and distribute much of the content for gay porn websites.
Gay porn acting serves as the catalyst for belief in the possibility of success in a new life. As a practical matter generally that acting simply serves to point out related opportunities that provide a more regular income.
Orlando Models provides a spring board for a regular flow of young gay men to move away from a life that isn’t working. Sometimes those problems follow them south prohibiting their success even as a gay porn actor. More often the determined young men make a go of their new life and attain a certain level of comfort if not outright success.
Online webcam modeling content, though hosted by website providers, is generated by individuals working for themselves. Their income is derived from a portion of income paid to the website by viewers. These websites are reliant on a broad array of models to entice customers to spend more money, of which the website retains a hefty portion.
Webcam modeling is the safest and perhaps most socially acceptable way to remain a sex worker and make a living. Creating a set, a persona and a willingness to set regular hours and stick with them mark the greatest challenges to success as a live online webcam model.
Escort websites provide profile hosting and are paid by the escorts themselves. Subscription fees, usually paid annually, range from one to several hundreds of dollars per year depending on the traffic associated with the hosting website.
Escorting is the business of providing personal services to another. Often the general conception is that those services are primarily sexual. The escorts interviewed for this article are unanimous in making certain sex is not a primary part of their services. Getting that one very generous customer is the gold standard for escorts. Having two very generous customers clearly sets an escort on a path away from anonymous, regular, sex work.
As a practical business matter escorts know that they are not the right person for every prospective customer. Often a customer will want a service one or another of the escorts is unwilling to perform or a customer will insist on a schedule that conflicts. Escorts in a local market take advantage of each escort opportunity and trade off customers within their group of coworkers to service each customer.
Like any successful business sex working is all about marketing. Exposure to the market place, presenting a high quality product or experience and following up on every opportunity within the chosen genre is the consistent theme attendant to successful porn actors, models and escorts. Throughout researching this article I found gay men who are struggling to get on their feet in the business, those who grind out a livable income and those who are doing well for themselves despite all odds being stacked against them.
Success while working on call boils down to individual effort, exactly as success in any field does.
The photos with this article except for the lead photo are not associated with Orlando Models or the websites mentioned in the article. They are placed here for illustrative purposes only.
Regardless of what we spend money on, there are some things that should simply never be purchased. That doesn’t mean you can’t acquire them, just don’t spend money for them.
Let’s start with condoms; every caring gay man has a stock of these. You can get them anywhere you party, every gay bar, community center and many gay oriented stores have bowls of them for the taking. Even if you don’t want to be seen grabbing a handful of free protection there are the local county health department and many college health clinics that give them away to all comers; yes, pun intended.
Don’t buy plastic storage containers. Many items you buy in the supermarket and even more you order for delivery come packaged in storage containers perfectly suited to reuse. Just run them through the dishwasher once and bingo, free storage containers!
Though you may want to impress your friends with your crisp style an ironing board is a major don’t need it. Really, this is simply a useless purchase. A counter in the kitchen, the breakfast table, even the bed can easily be covered with a towel and instant ironing board. And you don’t have to figure out how to fold the foolish thing up and find a place to store it for 8758 of the 8760 hours each year.
Here is one we dance around regularly. How foolish is cable TV? There are many less expensive alternatives online. Check out Hulu for one. The most common complaint about cable TV is that there are a thousand channels and nothing on, which is mostly true. The best gay shows are on the Internet and if you want a specific football game grab the dollars you saved and head to a local sports bar and get hammered watching the game with a hundred of your new friends.
Ever wonder what to do for your birthday? Eat. Eat for free. There is a long list of restaurants that will give you a free meal on your birthday. They may not be the hippest new gay place but hey the meal is free so just eat it. Some require that you bring a big group of your friends and even if you don’t really want to, bring them anyhow so you can get the free meal. Maybe one of them will buy you a drink in celebration and save you that money also.
Taking a bag on an airplane is getting more and more costly. Many airlines still let you carry one on with you for free and unless you are touring Africa for six months most trips can be done easily with one carry on. Skip the huge bag of stuff you will never use anyhow and don’t pay the airline to check it. Or if you simply have to haul all the drag gear along book with an airline that still allows a bag checked without a fee.
People still pay for email? Yep. Some haven’t gotten the memo yet that Google, Yahoo! and any number of other email platforms offer free email addresses. And who needs to buy a hard drive in today’s world? The place is full of clouds starting with Apple and Google and several others that will host all your documents, pictures and even music for access anywhere you are for free. Sure hard drives are getting cheaper than bison dung but who needs one in the first place.
I thirst for the day when people stop paying for a drink; no, not a vodka martini, a bottle of water. We have this really cool thing in our house. It’s near the sink and called a faucet. When the lever is moved water falls out. The water has been lifted from far underground, filtered, purified, sanitized and delivered to my kitchen. When I find a need to go out into the world I put some of it in a clean stainless steel container and take it along. You can spend 500 times as much for the exact same thing in a convenience store and you have to stop, go in the store, find a bottle of water and stand in line to pay; how convenient is that?
If you really want to save some money skip the soda. The other night someone at our table ordered a soda and the price was $3. Add tax and tip and that soda was $3.50. See water above and keep your money in your pocket, a pocket you can get to without reaching under an extended belly, extended by too much soda.
Everyone needs some music to listen to while saving money and there is no better way than services like Pandora and Spotify. These guys provide all the music you want for free on line. Purchasing music seems so obsolete.
So go ahead and waste your money if you like, just waste it on stuff that you can’t get for free. Your money looks better in your pocket.
Years ago on a bitterly cold and snowy night in Denver, my husband and I trudged across much of downtown in a driving blizzard to see a musical production about the life and times of Patsy Cline. The set was period fifties, the costumes and music followed right along.
How I Stepped Out as a Transvestite from BLUNDERLAND, a play by Rufus Cadigan has much the same look and feel. Cadigan’s play chronicles the life of Bill Carlson from his journey to find himself as a drag entertainer to a deacon of the Episcopal Church. The show opens on a cozily lit stage furnished with a simple vanity adorned with wigs and junk food remnants.
Blunderland is the place we each live until defining ourselves and no longer allowing others to do it for us. Blunderland is the place we realize the Church prays for all the oppressed except gays. Once each figures out, in Bill Carlson’s words, “you are what your are and that needs no excuses”, Blunderland is relegated to the annals of life.
As a little boy, Carlson dreamed of dressing up as a girl. He became an entertainer at The Office, a gay bar in Rockford, Illinois where his alter ego drag star Seaway Rose strutted her stuff in sequined gowns.
Beginning in the 1950’s, running all the way to the 2000’s, BLUNDERLAND takes its audience on an intimate and whimsical journey through the sexual, physical and emotional stages of Carlson’s existence; eventually revealing how a man so dissimilar to his world was able to find his own drumbeat to march to.
Told in a narrative, the play navigates through bad boyfriends, public discrimination, the closeted military, and a drag career culminating in a man who still has the ability to smile. The show baits the audience throughout, asking them to join in the festivities of Bill’s life, but mostly to enjoy what they have left of theirs.
The storyline is the life of one man, yet the story transcends that man to become a history of the LGBTQ struggle for rights and recognition. Never has such a summary of our common struggle been exhibited so clearly.
Cadigan, the playwright, said of his friend Carlson, “I think his life was a remarkable journey of a man who faced enormous difficulties and despite the hardship of much of his life, lived with great dignity, warmth and kindness to others, and a wonderful sense of humor.”
In the spring of 2008 a reading of the play was finally performed. Mr. Carlson played himself and through the monologue told his story to an invited audience of friends and community supporters. His LGBT friends cried and laughed together watching Bill being Bill, a show more difficult than necessary as none of his invited siblings, family or relatives bothered to attend.
“The play was written for our company,” explains Skylar Branstool, the show’s director. BLUNDERLAND stars Mark Phillip Schwamberger, an Evoultion actor and Managing Artistic Director, as Carlson.
“Mark is truly amazing and someone who really pushes himself. I don’t think anyone can say otherwise after seeing what he does in this show,” beams Branstool.
“I don’t want people to simply see that he was a drag queen. I want them to understand what a struggle it was for him to find that path towards self-acceptance and to actually follow it. Lack of understanding and acceptance is still something the gay community faces and his fight proves that we still have so much more to do,” says Branstool, “I know that Carlson’s generation has taught me a great deal,”
Finally, Blunderland had its world premiere in June, 2013 during the annual Columbus (Ohio) Pride Celebration. Now Schwamberger is bringing Blunderland to South Florida with performances at Andrews Living Arts Studio, 23 NW 5th Street between November 19 and 22.