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A screen cap from a porn film with a focus on Paolino's face cast in pink and purple. They are wearing a red harness and look up at their partner expectantly, who is seen from behind. The partner reaches down and holds Paolino's face in place.

A Site of Worship

On Making Porn

Anathema

I don’t have a great relationship with my body. “Join the club,” my friend says. I think they don’t want me to feel shy about sharing my insecurities, but it also makes me think that my responses to my body are commonplace. Something in the back of my brain says “Stop complaining.”

It doesn’t go away. Dysphoria? Dysmorphia? A deep self loathing. A violent impulse. I want it to change. I know how far I would go to make it happen. I terrify myself.

Eros

Back in second year of art school we were asked to make a nude self portrait. It was deeply frightening. I had barely gotten comfortable with doing self portraits at all, let alone a nude one.

I draw myself at almost 1:1 scale on a roll of thick black paper using white conte. Three quarter view, sitting on one leg, the other dangling off a ledge. Leaning back, chest full and pronounced. Nothing visible between my legs. I’m smiling. Coy.

“It looks androgynous,” my professor says, pleased with my work. Somewhere in my brain neurons begin to fire. Satisfaction?

This becomes a pattern.

Lust

Years ago in Vancouver, on a warm summer midnight, a 19 year old then-boy lingers at the dimly lit door to the bathhouse. Heart pounding, nerves electric with equal parts terror and fascination. A portal to erotic potential. A gate that can not be closed. He turns away for 10 years until he is someone else.

Like this ghost of me, I’ve lingered at the periphery of more erotic projects. “I don’t want it to be pornographic because then it stops being art,” I say. It’s a sentiment that means nothing when scrutinized. Art is just arbitrary social category, and one I’ve constantly struggled with. Perhaps I’m just afraid of the consequences? Perhaps I’m just afraid of seeing myself? It’s a succubus sitting at the edge of my bed.

Ecstasy

Sex is material.

Queer liberation, I think, is by necessity a sexual one. “The mouth is not the only orifice that generates poetry; we must learn to listen to the hymns of our other openings, other lips” (Patrick Califa, 1998). In the the dim glow of street lights through my blinds, striped across a lover’s body, I have learned to listen and have heard the most sacred of hymns. There I have straddled my friend’s lap in prayer while he slipped his fingers downward along the tail of my spine. A holy spirit born in blue static.

It is therefore my act of purest devotion that I have begun to share this body of mine in an act of creation. I do this for You.

On Making Porn

So, at 29, I have made my first porno. I worked with two incredible creative partners, one of whom appears with me on camera. During the editing process, where I had braced myself to feel a black tar of revulsion, I began to feel something new towards my body instead. Excitement, yes, and arousal — the sex is extremely hot! But also, strangely, butterflies.

It was an unexpected surprise when I started to develop that sugarsweet affection I usually only get for boys but now towards myself. I became enamored by my curves, my eyes, my body hair, my skin, my chest. By trusting another the find these beautiful moments of eroticism in my body, I met myself with a new love I had not yet experienced.

I am extremely proud of this work and so, this year, I look forward to making more porn. And no, you can not find it online… for now.


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