I was always the type to need to be center of attention. If I wasn’t the center of attention, I felt like the outcast. It’s usually either one or the other, no middle ground for people like us. Furthermore, no amount of attention (with the exception of from the occasional stalker which was too much attention) was really satisfying. I’m currently finding out that it’s not necessarily “human” attention I’ve been looking for – even though that’s where I obsessively look for it.
Despite having a master’s degree in a respectable field and what many view as a successful mainstream music career, I always felt that something was missing. I remember walking down the carpet at the Grammy awards, and still feel depressed because the cameras would rather focus on Slipknot/Christina Aguilera/whoever would be more important and successful within a five person radius of me. A general sense of gratitude does not come easy for us sex industry addicts. I could release a new music single on the internet and monitor a few hits, BUT if I took my clothes off on a webcam I’d get 7,000 hits in hours – that’s attention (albeit attention from people that were just as sick as I was if not more). However, even in the webcam situation I’d feel depressed when I noticed another fellow sick person received 50,000 hits vs. 7,000!
I was exposed to pornography at a very young age, perhaps four or five years old. Back then sneaking playboys into the closet with a flashlight with my little friends was just something fun and naughty to do. Little did I know that I set out to make porn stars my childhood heroes alongside the rock stars. At a young age my pornography and masturbation addiction was in full force. Of course it was exciting at first, but as so many of know too well the addiction turned into sexual maintenance rather than acts of excitement. I even worked at a “strip club” once just to hang out with strippers in which I was to masturbate behind a window for customers. Thankfully, nobody ever requested me to “perform,” so that gig didn’t last long. As I got older and more established in my music career I started contacting famous porn stars on the internet by writing them songs for their sites or just for flattery. A couple of Vivid Girls were very friendly and one eventually hooked me up with who was at the time the 1 porn director in the industry (yes you’ve seen him on Howard Stern several times over) to write music. Ironically, today this director is one of my closest friends and asks me for help to get him out of the business. I started off writing music for the movies, but of course with my existing porn and masturbation addiction and my sense of dissatisfaction with musical attention, my involvement turned into performing in the movies at various levels.
This got me the attention I thought I wanted for a while – AVN award nominations, the company of hot girls with no self-esteem, a steady article in a major adult magazine. Why was I still so depressed then? It was apparent that I was even more dissatisfied than I was before entering the adult entertainment industry. Whatever money I made went to drugs and alcohol to try to stabilize my misery. No matter what a guy says about adult entertainment work, sex with hot girls or not, each act that compromises your instinct to want good character and integrity drives your self-esteem further to the ground. But yet I couldn’t quit. I used excuses like “The publicity will help my music career” or “I’m not good for anything else anyway.” The only word that can describe the situation is INSANITY. Later I learned I was just spiritually ill.
I tried to quit the industry several times. I took a respectable day-job as an executive analyst, and made good money. I spent it all on booze and drugs, and spent hours masturbating to porn. I was lonely, discontent, irritable, and becoming more selfish and dishonest as the days went by. After only a few months I flew back to Los Angeles to do porn once again. Where was the memory of the misery? Did I think that it would be different this time? All the “friends” I had made in the industry either committed suicide or were drowning themselves in drugs and alcohol. The need for attention/fame was so bad that I threw my job away and went to live in poverty in a dangerous apartment complex in Van Nuys with my friend whose porn career was taking a nose dive (and so was he – into rails of crystal meth as a method to deal with his stripped fame). Every day we ran for our lives from crack heads, pimps and gang members – a far cry from my executive analyst or musician life – but yet I did what I had to do because I was ADDICTED TO ADULT ENTERTAINMENT!
I managed to get out with my life once again. I recovered from alcoholism and drug addiction, but could not shake my porn involvement. I destroyed relationships, aroused jealousy, and lost the ability to look myself in the mirror – all because I couldn’t quit pornography; both doing it and watching it. I knew I needed help. I prayed for liberation. I tried a couple of twelve step programs and would be able to gain 3 months at a maximum of “sexual sobriety,” but couldn’t make any lasting attempt. Finally, after some web searching I fatefully stumbled upon Shelley Lubben on MySpace. I had never met anyone who had RECOVERED from the industry before. Up until that day I had only met people who could stay away from porn or dancing for periods of time, but always slid back in. I don’t know how much time has passed since I’ve been free from the industry, probably not a lot, but I do know that thanks to my friend Shelley and a couple of other great people I share recovery with, we are able to stay free on a day to day basis based on Spiritual Principles! Yes, God. I personally went with Christ because that’s how Shelley does it. I will emulate whatever works because there’s nothing more important to me than my freedom from porn. I admit that I had to gain some humility to accept Christ because I was quite anti-Christian in the past. But that humility I gain is indispensable, and I am ever grateful for it. Since day one of acceptance, people having been coming into my life either giving help or asking for it with regards to our specific problem! I know the word “miracle” is a bit cliché, but I can’t deny that my recovery is happening on what feels to be on some Fantastic/Supernatural level. I pray every day for this freedom to last, for I don’t know if I will survive another lapse into adult entertainment. I also pray to be able to help those others that want out of this hamster wheel of misery, because nobody has to live the way we did. There is a solution. That solution is finding freedom and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Shelley: I met VJ Soporno in 2006 who has become a precious friend of mine. He has been very kind to help me understand what male porn stars go through.
Shelley: VJ, can you write me back with some of the pressures the porn industry put you under as a male actor?
VJ Soporno: From what I haven’t conveniently repressed ;), the pressure to look good is the obvious one. The pressure to not piss off the girls is huge. If a girl gets mad at you you’re not going to be getting much work (which from what I remember many are in a bad mood to begin with). Many gigs that guys got were at the request of the girl on which guy she’s willing to work with.
Performance anxiety is the BIG one. Nobody wants to wait around for you to get an erection, and if you’re having trouble the thought of holding up production makes it even more difficult. Then of course once you do have it up, keeping it up is another pressure. Then of course there’s the pressure of finishing when told to. It’s detrimental to a guy’s self-esteem or notions of “being a man” when we fail at any of the above.
Shelley: I wanted to know how Viagra, the blue little pills, fits into this? Did you or other male porn stars have to use them in order to deal with the pressure or to perform?
VJ Soporno: We did. There was always a girl on the set (usually the older ‘motherly’ types – you know the type) that had Viagra in her purse if things got too stressful. Viagra is not a cure all for performance though – since most of the problem is mental.
*Please pray for VJ Soporno as he continues in his recovery from porn.