Aug 20, 2011

Danny Wylde: Probably the Most Articulate Artist and Porn Star You Know, Part I

Hi Danny! Thanks for taking some time to talk to me and my lil’ blog about your new film, This is Love! After my absolutely gushing review a few days ago (which I might be a tad embarrassed about but I’ll stand by), hopefully readers know who you are. But in case they don’t, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

First off, thank you for the review! It's always nice to hear people appreciate your work, no matter what the job. And given this project is a bit of a departure from what people normally associate me with, it's great to hear all the positive feedback. 

As far as what I can tell you about myself... Hopefully we'll get to a bit of that with the following questions/answers.

You are mainly a straight adult performer, but you’ve worked with a wide variety of companies on an even wider variety of movies, from the more “vanilla” (Wicked) to the “pretty out there” kink and gonzo companies. If vanilla were a 0 and were a 10, where would you say your average performance falls on the kink scale?

To be honest, my typical performances are for pretty mainstream, vanilla companies. I don't want to knock these companies. In fact, I think they've given me the ability to perform in some pretty hot scenarios.

But if you're looking at an average Danny Wylde scene, I don't think you're going to find anything too extreme. If is a 10, you're typically going to see me performing at a 5 or below.

That said, there's a decent amount of content where I'm at a full 10. You may just have to search for it.

Speaking of scales, in the world of big-time porno, you’re rather far out in the middle of the Kinsey scale. You’re openly bisexual in an industry that’s regularly called out for its homophobia. Is this a difficult line to walk?

Well, when I first started doing porn (nearly six years ago), I wasn't working full time at all. So I took the jobs that were available to me. Many of them came from the heavy S/M or gay sides of the industry.
It wasn't until about a year later that I learned of the stigma attached to crossover male talent (those who work on both the gay and straight sides of the industry). The way things have panned out, I've developed a stronger connection to the straight side of the industry. So as a business choice, I have decided to primarily work in straight porn. There have been a few instances over the years where I have continued to do bisexual work, but it's pretty rare these days.

In a perfect world where sexual orientation weren't so much of an issue, things might be different. But I have to be realistic. Performing in porn is my primary source of income. Paying my bills is a priority over making a political statement.

You perform with other men, but seem to have so far dodged the “crossover star” bullet that takes down a lot of male performers, especially after last year’s HIV scare. How do you manage to avoid the stigma the industry often places on men who perform with men and women?

Well, like I said before, you can find gay/bi content of mine. But the most recent video is probably over a year old at this point.

It's also something I don't tend to bring up around people who might take issue with it. By the simple fact that I'm performing in heterosexual porn, I think people tend to assume that I'm purely heterosexual. I haven't made enough of a splash in the gay world for anyone who's not actively looking to notice.

Personally I think it’s fantastic that you’re open about it. While the gay and straight porn industries are separate for practical (testing/condoms/etc) reasons, it seems a shame to me that while women are urged and paid to perform with other women, the larger social stigma of a man who digs other men gets applied so harshly in most porn. Why can’t we all just get along? What do you think?

Obviously, there are practical concerns, and they've been brought up more than enough times. Gay porn does not have a universalized testing protocol (though most productions require condom use), and according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), men who have sex with men bear a statistically higher risk of contracting HIV.

My issue with the straight porn industry is that crossover male talent have been singled out as the only “high risk” group for disseminating HIV among the talent pool. Those who participate in prostitution, intravenous drug use, and other “high risk” activity do not seem to be taken into consideration (albeit these activities are harder to prove). Crossover talent are held to the same standards as everyone else working in straight porn. And they are just as likely, or unlikely, to participate in “high risk” behavior off-set.

So when you really look at the issue, it seems that the stigma attached to male homosexuality in general trumps the concern over HIV transmission. Getting into why that stigma exists in the first place is a bit much to handle in the context of this interview.

All this talk about your sexuality and performances makes me think: you’re pretty damn young and yet you seem to have a very firm grasp of your own sexuality. How did you come to be so comfortable with yourself?

Hah. Thank you.

I guess all I have to say in response to this is that I'm twenty-five years old and have spent the majority of my adult life as a sex worker. Doing so has probably streamlined my ability to learn about my own sexuality and grow fairly comfortable with it. There's always room for evolution though.

Speaking of comfort with yourself, let’s talk about This is Love. I know you’ve read my review of it and so you know how impressed I was with the authenticity I felt it brought out of you. You’ve gotta be hella comfortable with a camera pointed at you to be able to look at it with eyes wide open and telling a story like that. You’ve gotta be hella comfortable to write, direct, and perform in your own movie. How and why did you decide to make This is Love?

Thank you again for the kind words.

“This is Love” is hopefully the first step in something that will continue (perhaps slowly) over time. I think what I'm trying to do is meld some of the themes I'm interested in artistically with the reality of my role as a pornographic performer.

In the case of “This is Love,” there's a few things going on here.

First, I think that examinations of male sexuality are lacking in US media, or else they're grossly over-simplified. I guess you could say the same thing in relation to women. But the fact is that representations of female sexuality are in your face all the time.

I'm highly aroused by women, but I don't find anything interesting about seeing another pair of tits in a film, or watching a woman get off (unless it's porn), or even seeing her degraded. If you watch a contemporary horror film, you almost expect to see a woman raped and brutalized. And it's generally an attempt to demonstrate the deflowering of innocence or some other trite shit.

The fact remains, however, that a great deal of contemporary audiences get off on degradation. It's in our films, television, and magazines all the time. But it's also in our desire to be seen in these forms of media. People jump at the chance to be humiliated on reality television. It's like a way to force someone's interest in your own life.

But I think that there's maybe something more innate going on. Like, why would you let someone beat you up in bed, or piss on you, or even seriously injure you in the name of love, or sex, or whatever? And why is it arousing?

I mean, I find it arousing to hit someone or piss on someone if I'm in the mood to fuck them, and to a lesser extent, let someone do that to me. In the context of a relationship, I think it actually makes me feel closer to that person, or more intimate. So I think there's something about it that relates to desire and/or being desired.
However, in mainstream American culture (I can't speak so much for other parts of the world), these types of acts – when sexualized – are often defined by gender. Simply put, men are aggressors and women just take it.

The idea of men as objects of degradation appeals to me because I don't think it's been explored much in contemporary society. To really deal with it as a subject matter, I think it has to be severed from any relationship with femdom, or even female sexuality in general. Because a lot of this pornography, and other media, that centers around female domination; it just continues to sexualize the woman. It's about putting her on a pedestal and worshiping her. The male experience is almost beside the point.

So I think it was very important for me to remove women from this film. I wanted the focus to be on the male experience. 

Stay tuned for part two of this super-awesome interview, to be posted on August 22! We'll discuss more thinky stuff--and also aliens! In the meantime, check out Danny and buy his film at his blo, Trve West Coast Fiction.

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