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What It's Like To Be a Male Porn Star

A male porn actor, popular with female viewers of porn, discusses the perks and drawbacks of the industry.

‘My name is James. I am a simple guy who likes to eat, sleep, and watch TV. Oh yeah, I also bang chicks for a living.’

So goes the Twitter bio of 25-year-old porn actor James Deen. 24,000 followers might not stand out in the ranks of mainstream celebrities, but for a man who most would say is merely a prop, Deen has quite the fan base. Most of those followers are women, and they are not quiet about their affection. “Reading James Deen’s blog until my parents walk in,” tweets one young woman. Another bemoans forgetting to download True Blood because she was too busy fantasizing about him.

A step further, to Deen’s personal blog, reveals an intensity of adoration normally reserved for swishy-haired pop stars. Among declarations of love and lust and women begging for personal visits—more than one requesting devirginization—a vocal group coalesces around this sentiment: “im a girl, and most dudes in porn do nothing for me. then i stumbled across a clip of you … its been lust at first sight ever since.” What magic pheromones does Deen emit that he’s earned the infatuation of his fans, the respect of his costars and the porn industry’s top awards? There’s something special about this guy, and it isn’t his penis.


Sunday afternoon, while large chunks of the country cheered on the women of Team USA, I detached myself from my television to talk to a porn star who maintains a firm “no panties” rules on his website (and I call myself a feminist). I wanted to know where he came from, and how he thinks about his work. How, in an industry known for its seedy underbelly, did a decent guy like Deen come out on top?

He’s objectively good-looking, with curly brown hair, long sideburns, and very blue eyes. The word “impish” comes to mind. “I’m not hideous,” he says, while trying to explain his popularity, “I’m not old and ugly. For the percentage of women interested in porn, I’m a guy who they would talk to in a bar.”

He says “percentage of women” like it’s a teaspoon of water in the ocean of smut, and it occurs to me that he doesn’t know how popular he is. I tell him that  the latest data from Nielsen shows that a third of porn site visitors are female. “What? That’s awesome! I had no idea it was so high!”

I ask him why he’s so pleased, and he says, “The world is becoming a more sexually liberated place, you know? People are more out there with their porn watching. It’s super cool.”

Deen is a behind-the-camera guy, too, directing, producing and editing for punk mega-site BurningAngel. “If you’re going to make porn, you should make something you’re really passionate about, it’ll be good, and people will watch it. Like me, I’m not really into feet … unless it  really turns a girl on. But boobs? I love boobs, I could play with boobs for hours. If I make porn about boobs, it’ll be good, because you can tell how much I like them. Not so much with feet.”

From the other side of the camera, he pushes for pleasure, too. “Whenever I’m directing, I hire performers that love what they’re doing. I put them in a room together and tell them to do whatever you want, and they go at it.” He laughs and tells me a story about a friend who spends “too much” time on foreplay: “Twenty minutes later, I’m like, ‘Dude, this is hot, but would you fuck her already?’”

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