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Mish Way writes on www.vice.com – I’m sitting in the hotel room of one of America’s biggest adult movie stars, Jesse Jane. It’s time for Jesse to get her makeup done before she heads downstairs into the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas for an autograph signing. The mid day sun is creeping through the windows all over the parade of make-up, hair products, and extensions that take over the room. In the corner I spot Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and some Coke Zero.
As her close friend and makeup artist, Toni, from Jesse’s current home of Oklahoma takes pieces of her delicate, bleached blonde hair and twists it into loose curls, Jesse is teaching me how to the give the ultimate blow job.
“There is an art to it,” The 32-year old instructs as she winds her hands in a cork screw motion showing me how to jerk off the cock and suck at the same time.
“The trick is to put your tongue into the pee hole. They are so sensitive there.” She sticks her tiny tongue out and motions to the invisible penis in her hands. “You go, ‘You like that?’” Her tone changes from her media-friendly bubble to commanding. “Smack that cock on him. He’s going to go crazy.”
All five of the women in the room (Jesse Jane, the makeup artist, my PR liaison, the photographer, and myself) nod and laugh. Sucking dick is something we’ve all done. We can all relate.
“Put it as far down as you can and pump it,” she continues. “You have to breathe in, open your throat, inhale it like you’re smoking a cigarette. You can feel the penis grow, like shock therapy.”
A large percentage of North America is deeply confused about what the purpose of sex really is, but in Jesse Jane’s hotel room there is no confusion. Sex is about pleasure, and orgasms, and exhibitionism. It isn’t just missionary with a dim light on. It is about fucking rough in front of a room full of people and a film crew. It is, for the most part, about performing sex, getting off and providing entertainment that makes you wet. That is the job of an adult film star.
However, porn confuses people for this very reason: it’s the most intimate thing a person can do, but done in the most public and professional way possible. Unlike watching some Hollywood blockbuster like 127 Hours, we do not all know exactly what it feels like to saw off our own arm.
But with porn, we know exactly how it feels to fuck. Sex is, arguably, the most pleasurable and satisfying thing we can all do, yet it’s reductionist function is reproduction. Forget anal sex, oral sex, or foreplay, because unlike heterosexual, vaginal sex, those acts do not involve baby making.
You talk to any porn star who loves his or her job they will tell you that there is a distinction between the way they fuck on set and the way they fuck in their personal life. One is not better than the other. They are just different. This porn star concept of intimacy (which has something to do with love and trust, but not exclusively) is often the deciding factor, not orgasms, because those happen even when you have a boom hovering over you.
Jesse Jane tells me that she has orgasmed on almost every shoot. Most people might laugh at this, but with Jesse, I believe her. Maybe she is that great an actress, but I think it’s more than that. Jesse loves fucking. She’s found her inner freak. The way she talks about it to me, the way her face spits power on screen, the assertion in her voice when she describes “great stringers” from a blow job, spitting on her hand, rubbing herself and grinding a dick Cowgirl Style.
Jesse Jane has made over 75 adult films in her decade-long career (and hosted five shows on Playboy TV, appeared on Entourage and Middle Men, and started her own tequila line, Diosa Tequila.) When she hasn’t orgasmed on set, it’s because the new actor she happened to be working with lacked the chemistry she envisioned or the person, simply, did not fuck her right.
“I’m rough and crazy,” Jesse proudly announces, fully aware of her reputation in the big-budget hardcore scene. “That’s what I am known for. Don’t kiss me or pet me, and if you do, it immediately pisses me off.”
“To make [porn sex] intimate for me is crossing a line,” she lectures.
“Now, don’t get me wrong, you kiss to start a scene,” Jesse’s voice turns soft. “You kiss to get it going, to get the passion, but then you fuck. That’s porn.”
The word curls around her tongue as though she coined it. No one says “porn” like Jesse Jane and she knows it.
“During porn sex you have to stop,” she says. “You only do certain positions which work on camera and even if you aren’t truly paying attention, you know in the back of your head what to do, where to go next. In my personal life, I do the things I won’t do on film. I’m very experimental. It’s more intimate. It doesn’t mean I make love, because I told you, I don’t like that, but I do more kissing and foreplay but then, we fuck all over the place.”
Today, the billion dollar adult entertainment industry is celebrated in the form of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo and Award Show in Las Vegas. Porn stars, aspiring adult entertainers, magazines, buyers, suppliers, fans, and public relations experts all gather for the event. This year, it was hosted at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which is how I ended up in Jesse Jane’s room, watching her pretend to suck dick as she got her makeup done.
Walking into the Hard Rock I am greeted with the familiar Vegas smell of cigarettes and perfume. The casino floor is scattered with women in cowboy hats, business men with their half-empty beers loosening their neck ties, and the occasional cleaning staff member complete with McDonald’s headset and a boom. I meet my PR liaison and she marches me past the Pink Taco (a restaurant, you sick pervert) and into the 15th annual AEE Expo, away from the slot machines, gamblers and irritating pinball noises.
Kirsten Price, Phoenix Marie, Nikki Benz, BiBi Jones and other dolled up porn stars are lined against the wall, which has been plastered with giant promotion posters for the porn studios some of them are contracted to: Twistys, Brazzers, MOFOs, and Digital Playground.
Trails of men and women ranging from painfully average in khaki’s and black Golf shirts to pale-skinned freaks in buttless leather pants form in lines, nervously clutching Sharpies, DVD boxes and gin and tonics as they waited to pose for a picture with their favorite star.
Security guards are there to keep all the potential tit grabbers under control. Evidently you have have to watch the weirdos with the bloody masks and Girls & Corpses magazines stuffed in the front of their cargo shorts a little closer than the average adult movie connoisseur. But I soon realize that the necrophiliacs keep to themselves, while some women do not.
“Some lady tried to make me to whip my cock out,” Brazzer’s stars and director Keiran Lee says as he extends his one hand and obsessively rolls cherry Chapstick onto his lips with the other. “Sorry, my lips get so dry here.”
My liaison proudly tells me that Kieran’s penis is insured for one million dollars. (She also informs me that the glove box in his car in Los Angeles is over flowing with Chapstick and gum.) Keiran is the only male star to have a contract; a rarity in an industry where men labored are valued much differently than women. Jesse tells me she shoots one movie a month, where as Keiran does about 25 scenes in that time.
Formerly a project manager for Network Rail, Keiran fell into the industry when his friends posted a nude photo of him on a swingers website and one couple offered him a porn role. He could get hard quickly, last a long time, and liked the work.
“The 9 to 5 life just wasn’t for me. I tried it and it didn’t work.” He freelanced in his native England, but signed a contract with Brazzers when he came to America for a friend’s wedding.
“There is a shortage of younger men with big cocks who can come on cue. So you get these men that are booked left, right and center. They wanted to lock me down so they could have me whenever they wanted me.” Just as Keiran says this, a drunk blonde in her mid-30’s starts screaming and pointing at him. She’s hanging off her boyfriend’s beefy arm.
“I know him! He’s got a big cock! Can I get a picture?” She’s waving her beer, grinning brightly with liquid courage.
Kieran graciously nods back at her.
“Today has been an eye opener for me. It’s one of the first years when I have stood up to sign, and I’ve been getting a lot of couple fans and women coming up and I see it with the other girls too. I even had a girl today asking me to sign her ass. I think more ladies are enjoying porn. It’s not as taboo, and it is evolving. Women are directing [films] now and that has changed things.”
“I actually enjoy female directed porn because it’s more erotic and not as hardcore,” he begins to walk over to the drunken fan. “[Women porn stars] have a different perspective.”
I soon wander into the main room of the AEE Expo. House music blasts from the ceilings while the stars of Jules Jordan (“Professional Perverts”), Erotic Angel and other brands sign autographs, chat with onlookers, and bend like crazy straws into tangled, doggy-style poses.
The room is congested. Everyone is networking, especially the rising stars whose modest booths in the back of the Expo room next to the “I Heart Vagina” and STD testing tables are eager to jump in your face, say “hi” and introduce themselves. One blonde dressed like a Sailor Moon knock-off grabs my badge and gushes on about VICE.
“You guys did that Japanese eel fucking thing!” She squeals as she gifts me a signed picture of her big, round ass. “I loved that. It was so cool.”
I continue walking around, staring at the amateur strippers from Tijuana’s Hong Kong club and other neighboring states and countries’ titty bars. It’s hard to ignore stripping when it’s happening in broad daylight in a conference room with ugly carpeted floors and monotone walls. This room is bright – highlighting white skin, zits, worn La Senza bras, and cellulite. It’s too real. What’s the etiquette for staring when you can see the lip of a woman’s vagina hanging out the side of her G-string as she’s spread eagle on a pole? I don’t think anyone here knows the answer to my question.
One girl is charging five bucks for a boob grab. A voluptuous starlet hugs a female fan and whispers to her that it’s very important to stay empowered together. Meanwhile, a homely man behind her is advertising his website by screaming out the site’s name, “I Can’t Believe She Fucked Me.” Apparently, this guy is just your regular Joe living in Los Angeles, fucking beautiful women on camera to inspire the common man. This is the fantasy of Adam Wood.
Every onlooker has a camera ready to go in case the impromptu-three-way-tit-suck between some girls crammed into a booth starts up again. It’s loud, obnoxious, and complicated. Silicone genitals are laying on most tables. But the giant, jiggling butts and floppy cocks look less appealing now that they have been blackened with dirty finger prints from all the hands fondling them during the day.
Porn star James Deen’s penis is especially filthy. The actor, who recently landed a leading role in the Bret Easton Ellis film The Canyons with Lindsay Lohan, is sitting on a leather couch stuffing a chicken salad into his mouth. When I go to pick up Deen’s plastic penis, one of his booth attendees grabs my hand.
“Seriously, don’t touch it. That thing is gross,” he warns, while wincing at the grey finger prints on Deen’s veiny cock. “Seriously.”
It was only in 2010 that federal funding for abstinence-only sex education programs expired and was replaced by two evidence-based sex programs. However, abstinence-only education was reinstated by Senator Orrin Hatch in the 2010 health care reform. He only received $33 million of his asked $50 million funds. I call abstinence-only education confused because clearly it’s not working. Sexting exists. Colorful jelly sex merit bracelets. Videos of teenage boys flippantly joking about rape leak to Facebook. MTV’s Teen Mom.
Jesse Jane herself was a teen mom, but her pregnancy wasn’t a product of inept sex education like most people would assume. As a teenager, the Fort Worth, Texas native was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had undergone several surgeries by the time she was 17. A specialist told her that if she ever wanted to be a mother (and the chances were very slim), she would have to get pregnant now. Jesse really wanted to be a mother. After miscarrying once, she eventually became pregnant but was very ill bringing the pregnancy to term.
“I gave birth to my son two days before my 19th birthday and on my birthday I was in the hospital having a full hysterectomy,” Jesse remembers.
“People are always confused about why I would go into porn with a child, but I have more quality time with my son because I don’t work 9 to 5 like I would at Hooters, shuffling him from day care, make dinner, read a book and go to bed and everything. We live in Oklahoma so he’s not exposed to as much [of the adult industry]. I made a decision to do that.”
Jesse Jane was born Cindy Taylor and grew up a military brat. She changed schools every two years, moving all around the country based on her father’s Air Force base. She was always the new kid in school which forced her to be social. Jesse Jane exudes confidence. Not only is she intimidatingly gorgeous, with big, Disney-princess eyes, gigantic fake breasts and a tiny bird frame, but she talks – a lot. She’s not afraid of her words.
Preparations for the AVN Awards were the same cheesy sex jokes repeated over and over until the director, the stage manager, the lighting and sound technicians get all they need for things to go smoothly. Being in its 30th year, the understanding of how this show is going to go seems banal as I watch the hosts and talent acts practice during dress rehearsal. If something goes wrong, improvise. Just go with the imperfections. Kind of like sex.
Beside me, a group of four up-and-coming porn stars huddle in a group until they are called to the stage. They chat about the politics of Instagram and breast size as they simultaneously flip through their glittery iPhones. Half in Uggs and half in Jeffery Campbell-inspired hooves they tap their feet on the floor, bored and nervous.
As I watch Jesse recite lines off the prompter with her AVN Awards co-host Asa Akira (who is dressed down in yoga pants with a Hello Kitty blanket around her shoulders), I notice how much she screws up and how little she cares.
No one bothers to correct her because what she is doing is actually pretty funny. She mispronounces words, she cackles, she makes every sentence sound like an over-the-top turn-on even when it’s something ridiculous about “an alligator tearing into a chicken.”
At one point, while spacing out looking at the ceiling, Jesse starts jacking off the microphone. Her strokes echo through the theatre. She mimics the sounds of sucking back saliva and fakes huge, globby spit onto the phallic prop in her hands. Suddenly, the director walks by and rips the microphone away from Jesse. She opens her mouth and shares a silent laugh with her co-star.
As I’m getting ready to go back to my hotel room and decompress, the B-list Ugg girls boyfriends show up. One tattooed boyfriend starts gossiping about Jesse. How she could make so much more money if she wasn’t bound to a contract and that she was making bad career choices. According to him, she isn’t utilizing her obvious talents. He slumps over in a plastic chair, staring up at Jesse on stage.
“There is a difference between porn stars and porn girls you will never know,” Jesse later tells me. “You have a shelf life. You do the free publicity: magazines, radio, social media, you do whatever you can to build your own brand and you save your money, then you invest in something so you can branch out after you retire. A porn star knows that. A porn girl parties, thinks the money will always be coming in because she’s so hot. She spends all her money because she wants Louie Vuitton shoes and stupid shit, I mean I want that too, but you have to be smart.”
“They should save their damn money. They are dumb. They get shot out and they start doing scenes they told themselves they would never do. Then, that is when girls usually go into hooking.”