PurrVerse: What It’s Really Like On A Queer Porn Set

PurrVerse: What It's Really Like On A Queer Porn Set
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One of the first questions people  usually ask upon meeting me is what I do for a living. When I respond casually that I’m a production assistant on queer porn, then the questions really get going. What does a porn PA do, exactly?

I’ll tell you one thing: much to my regret, I am not a fluffer. I know, I know, it’s a great tragedy for me, too.

I dreamed of working on a porn set from when I was a teen, thumbing through copies of Club Magazine and trolling various AOL cybersex forums. I dreamed of being on NoFauxxx or SuicideGirls, and got into erotic modeling intending to take it further. But life got in the way of my exhibitionist dreams, and I didn’t revisit my love for porn until I founded the Ladies High Tea and Pornography Society, a discussion, Sunday tea, and porn appreciation gathering I threw for a few years in London. When, at 27, I started performing in adult films, I never imagined I would one day be on the other side of the camera.

Currently my PA job with TroubleFilms, a California-based queer-owned and queer-focused porn company that does Indie Porn Revolution and QueerPorn.TV, embraces a variety of tasks. On an average day I’ll make sure the performers get their paperwork done, fetch snacks — often veggie platters, dark chocolate and DIY sandwiches — or water as needed, and ensure that the lube is flowing. (Lube flow is incredibly important for a smooth experience.) My job is a lot like being the Jeeves of porn, anticipating needs before they occur, offering bits of advice when asked, and mostly staying out of the way, always present but never underfoot.

Occasionally I have a more active role. I’ll help set up the lights, or turn a section of a room into a tidy, interesting set. As my comfort level with being on the other side of the lens increases, I’ve started to try my hand at camera work and editing. On a few occasions I’ve taken photos of the performers (which often turns me into a giggly mess!) and I’m taking on more video duties as the months go by. I’m glad for this, as many times my job involves me standing on the side of the room, trying to avoid being seen while (professionally!) perving at what’s happening in front of me. I end up shifting around quite a bit, because, well, hotties having sex in front of you is kind of incredible.

The most interesting part of my job is listening to the performers as they negotiate what they plan to do that day on set. As part of my responsibility is to make sure that everything is enjoyable and consensual, these discussions can give me an idea of what to expect and what to keep an eye out for. It also helps me ascertain how easily the performers communicate with each other, what their rapport is. This is where I find out what the hard limits are, what they want to do to each other, what sort of safer sex barriers will be in play and what scenario they’re creating for their porn, if any. It gives me a chance to offer up any toys they may want to use, and make a mental checklist of what was discussed.

Everyone on our porn set can safeword, and we use “cut” to stop everything. Sometimes that’s because we need to switch out strap-on dicks, sometimes it’s because we need a new battery, sometimes it’s because we need to reposition everyone to be more comfortable! It’s also really cute to see how shy everyone is, in front of and behind the camera; a lot of us have crushes on each other, so there can be a lot of blushing going on. TroubleFilms sends out a check-in email the day after a shoot to see if the performers have any feedback for us, and what their experience was like, so we can be constantly improving.

I think particularly when working on a queer porn set, which tends to let the performers be their own directors in a lot of ways, it can be amazing to see how the scene develops. You really feel the electricity of how these various people have sex together, and you bear witness to all sorts of body sizes, shapes, ethnicities, genders banging each other and getting off. And each time holds some surprises: because our performers have a lot of agency around who they star with and because we don’t pay premiums for some acts over others, there really isn’t the same sexual behavior script you can see in mainstream porn. That infamous “cum shot” isn’t necessarily from a cisgendered male penis, and it doesn’t mean the sex has ended! There’s not the same pressure to be erect, or to squirt, or to use the biggest toy there, or even to orgasm at all. Rather, the goal is to have sex in the ways that feel good for you and your partner/s, right at that moment. As a performer I’ve found it very freeing; as a PA, I find it healing and informative to watch.

The best part about working in queer porn is after the scene is over. When the cameras are put away, we all tend to hang out for an hour or two. We go to the local taqueria together to joke, chat and eat burritos, weaving a sense of community that I think is really special. Hanging out is not required (the checks are cut before we even finish cleanup) but the fact that we all like each other and our work enough to stick around afterwards is pretty amazing. I certainly never stayed after hours for fun when I did marketing, is all I have to say!

Read more from Kitty on KittyStryker.com.

[Image of women on a movie set via Shutterstock]

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