For years I've said, "I've tried every job there is in sex work. Except... I've never really done porn." I had to add that qualifier, because I've done a few amateur girl/girl video shoots. However, they were so very amateur that I doubt they ever got past the shooter's personal collection. I also produced my own BDSM video, which had nudity but no actual sex.
Porn simply wasn't a branch of the industry that appealed to me. It might have been different if I'd lived in Southern California. There's some XXX work in other places, but most porn in the U.S. is shot in the San Fernando Valley, because California law favors the mainstream film industry and porn filmmakers coattail on that generosity.
Even in Porn Valley, though, porn doesn't pay very well—not compared to other forms of sex work, at least. Big-name porn stars may command higher rates, but for an unknown performer, the pay for a three-hour porn shoot with boy/girl intercourse ranges between $500 and $900. If you're making minimum wage, that's a nice chunk of change. To an experienced sex worker, it's less impressive.
The biggest reason? Most porn videos I've seen are terrible. Not all of them; there are gems in all that gravel. But the majority are boring at best, and often eye-rollingly bad. I'm not insulting the performers—it's difficult to transcend the limits of the medium. I had no reason to think I'd do any better than they did, and I'm disinclined to do things if I don't think I'll be proud of the result. I've certainly had my off days. But if you're a dominatrix or a dancer or an escort, when your bad day is over, it's over. But do a lousy job in porn, and there it is, preserved forever, potentially.
So, do work that's geographically unfriendly, offers low wages, and can exist permanently? No. I'll fight for your right to make those cheesy, stilted videos, but I decline to perform in one.
However, that's about to change. I'm flying to San Francisco this week to make my debut for the BDSM porn company Kink.com.
Why now, after everything I've said? Not for the big bucks, that's for sure. A friend remarked, "I thought they'd offer you lots of money because you're, like, Mistress Matisse." Very sweet of her—but very incorrect. Porn company Vivid Entertainment offered Octomom a million dollars, but I do not rate the celebrity porn pay scale.
You might say I've decided, "Okay, I think I actually could do better than terrible. Maybe even much better." I've considered all the factors—the people I'll be working with, and where I am both emotionally and in my experience as a BDSM person—and decided the video we produce will be, at least, not so bad that it makes me cringe with embarrassment. If I can achieve that, I'll be pleased.
And no matter what, I'll be able to stop saying, "Except..."