This article is the second in a new series
of oral histories by former and current sex workers, in which they describe the moment they told their family what they do.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for 18 years, and I’ve always been around porn. For a long time, I worked behind the scenes, at a couple of companies’ websites and stuff like that, but I had never wanted to do porn because I wasn’t secure with the way I looked or I had a boyfriend who was against it. Around 2009, those weren’t problems anymore. I got approached to do some nude photo shoots, and one of them ended up being picked up by Men Magazine, which at that time was kind of a big thing. At the same time, a friend of mine was directing a video that he wanted me to be in. At first I just wanted to be an extra, and then he was like, “Why not just have sex in it?” And so I did. Then another director found out about me, and then another, and then I was scheduled in four videos in pretty much the same time.
I liked doing porn. Though I never wanted to be in a situation where I was doing it to pay my rent, I wanted to do it to enrich my life, so I could do things I wanted to do or so I could go on a vacation I wanted to go on. I was making good money, and all that kind of stuff. I filmed my first films in the beginning of 2009, and things started to come out in August 2009. I got tons of press and everything, but I didn’t tell my mom — not because I was skittish about it. My mother was a free love hippie-type person, and she’s always been very sex positive. But it was not something I needed to tell her. My parents divorced when I was really young, but I don’t talk to my dad. I came out to him when I was 17 or 18, but he is very anti-gay, so I haven’t spoken with him in 17 years.
Then in February of 2010 I got a phone call from my mom. My mom never calls me. Never. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to talk on the phone, but she called me and she was like, “Are you on the cover of a magazine?” I had been voted Man of the Year in Unzipped Magazine that month, so I said, “Yeah … how do you know that?” And so she told me this story: It was a Saturday night, and she had had a date with a guy and he had stood her up. She wanted to entertain herself so she went to the adult bookstore to buy a dildo, and she decided to browse the gay magazines because she said that’s where the hottest guys always were. And there I was on the cover of the magazine.
Later on she called me again. She had read the article that went with my photos in the magazine, and she said it was really beautiful. She cried a little bit and I was like, “Oh, that’s really nice.” I think at one point she wishes she could have done porn, which is a strange thing to hear from your mom. Now we talk a lot more and there’s always the feeling that I don’t need to be hiding anything from her. If you’re open to your mom with the fact that you do porn there’s not really any other secret you can have.
Porn is much more out there these days. So many celebrities have sex videos, and everybody has naked pictures on their phones, and there are so many amateur porn tube sites. But I know a lot of people who come from conservative religious backgrounds whose parents have completely disowned them or distanced themselves from them, and it’s unfortunate. It’s hard to come out as a gay person, but it’s even more difficult to also come out as a person who has sex for a living. It can be hard for some family members to take. But that’s their loss, unfortunately.
My partner also does porn and his porn coming-out started when his aunt, who had a lot of gay friends, found his blog online. Then she told his mother. And she was shocked at first. But now she’s completely accepted it and makes jokes about it, like, “If I do porn, my porn name is going to be Luscious Lynn.” My mother is actually coming to visit in a week for a few days, and she’ll be meeting my partner for the first time, which is great.
I’ve never seen doing porn as a negative thing — ever. Just because it’s sex doesn’t mean it’s not moral. I’m not swindling people. There are plenty of white-collar jobs with bigger ethics and morality issues. I know the rest of society doesn’t see it that way, and it’s always a little frustrating to be an intelligent, educated, articulate person doing porn and have people thinking that you’re a high school dropout.
My mom’s just happy that I’m successful and not on drugs and happy. Anything else is a bonus.
As told to Thomas Rogers.
Samuel Colt is a gay porn performer living in San Francisco.