An obsession with filming himself on the job gets our intrepid sexual explorer into a sticky situation on an LA porn set…

 

Being a sex writer is a bit like being a Catholic priest. People want to confess things to me. Maybe they figure that I won’t be shocked by what they’ve done, but the truth is I often am. For instance, I had dinner with some financiers recently, and one of them told me about a brothel he’d visited in Tokyo. Essentially it was a club for businessmen with a fetish for human excrement, and the Japanese clients who took him along played a strange trick on him. They got him drunk, then bet him $1000 that he couldn’t go up on the stage and take a dump on the face of a prostitute who was lying there. The more he declined the wager, the more drinks they poured him and the more vehemently they insisted.

Eventually, not wishing to offend them – Orientals have very strict ideas about respect – he agreed. He’d eaten well, and it was easy money after all. He put his $1000 on the bar, went onto the stage and took down his trousers. But as he squatted over the prostitute, she began to blow softly upwards onto his anus. Her breath was cool. Suddenly, he found that no matter how hard he strained, his anus refused to open. The jet of chilled air wafting upwards had somehow paralysed it! Apparently this always happens, and to the laughter of his hosts, he admitted defeat. It was definitely something they hadn’t taught him at Harvard Business School.

Of course, when he related this to me, I took it as a challenge. I was the perverted author, after all, and I couldn’t allow myself to be usurped by this wealthy young upstart. Unfortunately, I’ve never felt any desire to play these kind of sex games, to lie under a glass coffee table or to get a ‘poostache’, so I had to change the topic. I decided to tell him instead about my attempts to star in a sex movie. But before I get onto the juicy details, which involve me betraying a lover’s trust and accidentally swallowing the semen of a professional porn actor in Los Angeles, I want to offer a few words of justification. I am here to understand my sexuality, after all, not just prattle on about it. So before you condemn me as a klutz or deviant, I hope you’ll allow my libido’s defence attorney to make the usual plea in mitigation…

First off, I am a voyeur. But with a difference. I don’t want to spy on other people making love, I only want to watch myself doing it. For me, the act of sex is incomplete unless I can actually see what’s happening, all the kissing and thrusting. As you’d expect, there is a huge mirror on my bedroom wall, roughly the size of a canvas by Rubens. Ideally, I would also have another one fixed to the ceiling so I could stare at the action from all angles, but I realise this might strike conquests as being a bit cheesy. And besides, any pleasure I got from it would be cancelled out by the fear of it falling on top of me in the middle of the night. Aside from my other neuroses, I suffer badly from anxiety about death.

This desire to see myself naked has nothing to do with narcissism. I know I am in awful shape. Christ, yes. My gut is so flabby that my sunken navel looks like a bullet wound. My breasts are bigger than many women’s. Further north, my gums are receding. When I brush my teeth, I spit blood into the sink. So it’s not vanity, this craving to see myself having sex. It has darker origins. Due to a combination of bad skin and social awkwardness, I didn’t get laid until I was well into my twenties. I had nearly ten years of failure and rejection until a drunken nurse finally let me do it, and obviously this messed up my psyche. So now it’s not enough for me to have sex, I have to witness it as well. As I glance at my reflection and see my penis going in and out, some damaged part of my brain thinks, “That’s a visual! We have confirmation!

Someone actually likes you enough to have sex. Phew!” And so the pain is relieved… But like the high of cocaine, this feeling never lasts long. No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to remember any details about the sex I’ve had. After a few weeks, I will have completely forgotten what a girl’s breasts felt like, or what colour her eyes were, or what her technique for fellatio was. Even the best experiences, the ones that make every nerve end fizz and tingle, fade like a sunset. And this is particularly annoying to me because I have amazing powers of retention when it comes to useless trivia. I can tell you instantly that the state capital of Wyoming is Cheyenne, or that there are eight bottles of champagne in a Methuselah, but I have no sense memory at all of caressing my first love’s pussy. What we shared for three years might just as well never have happened. It’s like I have a rare disease: Sex Alzheimer’s.

Hopefully, this explains why I wanted to make porn in the first place. But it certainly doesn’t excuse the facts of my first effort. Too ashamed to ask my girlfriend’s permission, I wedged a Sony Handycam between a pile of jumpers and filmed her in secret. This taboo behaviour made the sex especially thrilling, and when she left I hurriedly rewound the tape, my penis as hard as mahogany in anticipation.

But it was terrible. Instead of an erotic masterpiece, it looked more like one of those cheap TV shows which use hidden cameras to expose dishonest plumbers. What’s more, my performance – which had seemed athletic and skillful to me at the time – was the worst thing about it. I was clearly a tubby midget with no sense of rhythm. I could even imagine Roger Cook doing the voiceover: “A normal lover would have found her clitoris and finished the job in five minutes. This joker has been blundering about for over half an hour…”

Deflated, I shelved the idea for a year, until I met a girl who actually volunteered, out of the blue, to make a “home movie”. This time, there would be no mistakes. I set up proper lighting. I choreographed it so that we’d only film a blow-job, with me standing up, so I couldn’t be spooked by any wobbling rolls of flab. And noting that ‘proper’ porn actors trimmed their pubic hair to make their penises look bigger, I got to work with some scissors.

Sadly, I did this in the bathroom, where the only mirror is at head height. So I was looking down, trying to get the sides even, and it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. Scooting back to the bedroom to get her opinion, I was greeted with nervous laughter. “Er… why have you given your dick a haircut like Hitler?” she asked. I checked my reflection: she was right. There was a black fringe swooping down from one side, making my genitals look as much like the late Führer as genitals can. I rushed back to the bathroom and did some more hacking. By the time I finished, my pubes were at skinhead length. I’d gone from Hitler to Hitler Youth in three minutes, and was poised to make the world’s first fascist sex film. But even this couldn’t derail my enthusiasm for the task in hand. She was naked and beautiful and kneeling in front of me, I had the camera whirring in my hand… what could go possibly wrong?

Well, the first problem was my orgasm. Given the frenzy of excitement, it was a real bodyshaker, one of those ones that make you close your eyes and go weak at the knees. Fine in bed, but not so good if you’re supposed to be capturing it on tape. Watching the playback while she had a shower, I saw the shot go from a close-up of her eager lips to a sudden, blurry zoom on the ceiling.

By the time the camera returned to her, she had semen on her breasts but no definite proof of where it had originated from. It was like the Zapruder film of JFK’s assassination. There’d been a climax, sure, but where had it come from? For anyone watching, there might have been a second shooter. Perhaps a CIA man? Or a Cuban behind my sofa? The second problem was her reluctance to try again. Apparently the camera made her look “fat”. And her hair wasn’t right. So my dream got shot down for a few more years. I was beginning to think God didn’t want me to be an adult film star…

And just to make sure I got the message, he really rubbed it in on my third and last adventure with the genre. I was making a travel show about sex on cable TV, and we were in the San Fernando valley, home of LA’s porn industry. Specifically, we were on the set of Screw My Wife Please #18, part of a long-running series in which real people bring their wives or girlfriends along to be serviced by a well-hung professional porn actor.

Only, there was a problem. One of the husbands had got cold feet at the last minute, and the director needed somebody to fill the role while the wife – a rangy blonde named Deidre – got boned six ways till Sunday. My producer suggested I step in, but being petrified of AIDS, I refused. However, once he’d assured me that a) I could keep all my clothes on, and b) I was only there to observe, not participate, I said okay.

The scene took place outside by the swimming pool. Deidre and I sat on a bench next to the compere of the show, an elderly man who announced himself with a T-shirt that read: “Dave Cummings. I’m 60 with a RAGING hard-on!” He asked us some stuff about where we’d met, and I played along gamely, saying how much I loved “my gorgeous gem” and how I was happy to let her fulfill her fantasy by shagging an expert. “I’m hoping it will bring us even closer together,” I added. At which point, enter the gladiator.

A strapping stud with a member that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a wildebeest. As he proceeded to put Deidre over the jumps, I sat watching from a few inches away, occasionally getting nudged by Dave. “Heh, your missus is loving that cock!” he’d say, in a comical ‘English’ accent. “Makes you look small, I’m guessing, guvnor! Ahahaha!”

I didn’t mind, of course. It was all quite amusing. But then came the words which still haunt me to this day. Just as the actor reached his orgasm, ejaculating so much spunk over Deidre’s face that she looked the victim of a custard pie attack the director said, “Now kiss your husband.” In slow motion, like a car crash you can’t avoid, she turned, pulled me towards her, and gave me a lavish snog, coating my lips and tongue with still warm jism. I went paler than milk, and spent the rest of the scene wiping my mouth with my jumper and coughing like a cat with a furball.

I know this because my friends bought me a copy of the DVD when it came out. And it turns out I was right all along. Putting a sexual encounter on film does mean you’ll never forget the vivid details…