A big part of porn is acting. Not acting in the way Meryl Streep or George Clooney act, mind you, but more in the sense of . . . bravado, let’s say. It’s less about creating characters than it is about flaunting machismo and chemistry and committing to a certain niche of sexuality. Jock, twink, bear, muscle man, whatever. You have to know what kind of sexual imagery it is you portray and what kind of sexual imagery you yourself are actually into, then find a reasonable middle ground between the two competing notions.
Not everyone thinks this way. Case in point: a porn model niche I call “diet kink.” Maybe you’ve seen them: they refer to themselves as “kink” or “fetish” models because they put on leather jockstraps once, despite having no prior experience or interest in kink. As I said, it’s diet kink: it tries to approximate the flavour of kink, but there’s something just ever so slightly off about it that doesn’t sit well.
Here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with someone who isn’t yet kinky but wants to branch out. There is, however, something wrong with someone who co-opts the fetish community for the sake of self-promotion. It’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing, essentially. Throwing on a leather jockstrap and getting fucked in a sling for a paycheque makes you kinky the same way starring in Doctor GoodFuck, PhD makes you a trained physician.
There are pornstars out there who have devoted time to the kink community, learned the finer intricacies of BDSM play, and practise it in their day-to-day lives. Van Darkholme, Tony Buff, Derek da Silva — these are men who actually understand how fetish works. The twink in the borrowed, ill-fitting harness? Less so.
The best fetish scene I’ve ever seen in a mainstream porno came from the director’s cut of Falcon Studios’ XXX. It involved da Silva getting into some fire play with Scott Campbell, which can be an extremely risky scene without proper training. Now imagine if, instead of someone with da Silva’s experience, you brought in some diet kink star to try it out. Best-case scenario, he looks like a moron. Worst-case scenario, he causes serious bodily damage.
This is not to say that my judgment of diet kink stars is permanent and unchanging. If a performer wants to explore BDSM and incorporate it into his work, that’s wonderful. Find someone in the kink community who is willing to teach you rough play, broaden your level of experience and comfort with it, and learn how to play safely and intelligently. A massive part of kink is trust, and if you can’t be bothered to learn how to do things properly, no one will trust you enough to let you play with them. Being a fetish star requires a level of intelligence and understanding that you simply can’t get by donning a couple pieces of leather.