My ex-boyfriend David told me he was a porn star on a Tuesday. I remember the day exactly because it was also my time of the month and mother-nature had started a war somewhere south of my abdomen. Needless to say, I was already functioning on a short fuse.
At first I thought he was joking, but the sincerity in his eyes proved me wrong. "Baby say something," he said. I tried to make words but I couldn't. I was speechless. We were seated on opposite ends of the couch in the living room of my apartment when he told me. I stared at him in disbelief before reaching for my glass of wine.
"I know what you're thinking...," he started. Instantly I found words.
"Oh you do? Then why aren't you shielding your face?" I snapped, placing the glass down.
David and I had been together for 5 months and we were on the fast track to building a life together. We met at the gym. He was in the weight room training a client when I walked in. My vision was slightly skewed after narrowly escaping death in a cardio kickboxing class from hell--the view in each eye was distorted, but I certainly saw him. We locked eyes and that was it. The attraction was instant and soon after came love. It was fast and crazy, and it was ours. We loved hard, laughed like best friends, and had sex until we were dehydrated. It was a whirlwind. I had finally found my man, but the man I knew was not in porn.
"I'm a personal trainer and I do porn," he explained. "Oh, well aren't you just the overachiever," I hiccupped. I was drunk by then. I had switched from wine to a bottle of whiskey that I gulped at intervals as I paced the room trying to process his revelation. "Babe, stop it. You're going to be sick," he fussed. He reached for my bottle and I jerked it out of reach. "No--don't!" I sat back down on the couch and stared up at him, confused. "Why didn't you tell me the truth upfront?" I asked. He kneeled down in front of me. "Each time I've tried to date women outside of the business they left as soon as I told them. I didn't want that to be you. I was wrong, but I love you so much." I looked everywhere else but his gorgeous brown eyes. I wanted to ignore all of this and continue to move forward, but I couldn't. My alternative? To taste the whiskey once more. "You put my health at risk," I accused, swallowing. "I get tested monthly and I haven't had a scene since we started having sex. I wouldn't do that to you or anyone else," he assured me. "When will you have another scene?" "Next week," he muttered. I was livid. I went to stand up but the bar in my stomach prevented me from executing it gracefully. The next try was a success. "You need to leave," I demanded. "Babe, I'm not leaving until we finish this," he protested. As always, David never moved unless he wanted to. "Get out," I reiterated. He didn't. Instead he proceeded to stretch out on the couch and turn on the TV. Deep down I was turned on by his insolence- which pissed me off even more. "Get out of my house!" I screamed. Again, nothing. "Get out of my house or I'll call the cops and tell them that a porn star is in my home and disturbing the peace!" My words were smothered in alcohol. He saw the hurt in my eyes and conceded. He turned off the TV and walked up to me. "I'll go. I love you," he said, defeated. I held back my matching "I love you" and watched him take the remainder of my whiskey as he walked out the door.
I was alone. I knew it was over and it hurt like hell. I couldn't continue to build a life with a man who did porn. Each time he returned from set I would know that he had been unfaithful under the guise of "work". I couldn't handle that. And what if we had kids? What would we tell them? I walked into my bedroom and plopped down on my bed. If it weren't for the overwhelming urge to vomit I would have cried there instead of sprinting to the toilet; a complicated task when you're under the influence, but I made it. After multiple contortions I sat down in front of the toilet and there, that's where I cried.
I spent the next morning in bed ignoring David's phone calls and watching his work online. He told me his porn name and my curiosity got the better of me. Before we go any further, I should mention that I'm no prude. I watched porn on occasion, but I never wanted to date a porn star. One of the videos I watched online that morning involved David and a brunette with overly-lined lips having wild sex on a patio. And yes, watching your man's porno is as uncomfortable as it sounds. I sat in front of my laptop with my hands covering my mouth, uneasy yet impressed. David was always excellent in the bedroom and now I knew why. When you've had sex with over a hundred women it's pretty much illegal for you to be horrible in bed. Google informed me that he had been in the business for 4 years, scored a couple of awards, and was up for another in January.
I expected the information I found online to help me come to terms with the fact that he wasn't the guy for me, but it only complicated things. Something happened when I watched David's porn that morning. All of the bad acting and camera aimed content helped me to realize that it was all play for the consumer. The sex was real, yes, but it was also a job. Initially I considered porn to be a deal breaker for me, but it wasn't that easy. After the shock, anger, and alcohol left my body, I really thought about it. I loved him, and I wasn't against the idea of staying with him. I'm open to most things by nature. I've been known to gravitate towards the abnormal and if I brought a porn star home to meet my family, trust me, they wouldn't be surprised. David was the kindest man I knew. I met him after having my heart smashed by men who turned out to be the most organic of trash. Men who were business owners, medical students, and athletes. Men who were nestled in jobs that earned respect and automatically colored their character a non-offensive shade--those men hurt me. But a porn star, a man who's seen by a percentage of society as taboo, a womanizer, or a sin against God, treated my heart like the treasure I knew it was. My man loved me unconditionally. Still, I was almost certain that I wasn't built for an open relationship; essentially that's what it would be. Nonetheless, we had something special and I couldn't just walk away without giving it further thought. So I did.
David and I hashed it out at the kitchen table over Italian takeout. He knew the fastest way to crack my shell was to bring me cheese ravioli. The bastard. "I don't know about all of this. I'm so upset with you!" I poured out all of my uncertainty and conflict and laid it before him. He nodded throughout, signaling the comprehension of my feelings. The room grew quiet until I found the courage. "Is it always just sex?" I asked. He looked at me surprised. "Yes, it is. There's no emotional connection-- well unless the person is better than you," he joked. "Do you understand that there are knives in here?" I shot back. He smiled and moved closer to me. "I wanna be honest with you about everything. I can't say that I don't enjoy the sex--obviously it's pleasurable, but I'm detached. It's work. My focus is on positioning and trying not to pop too soon." I laughed at that last part unexpectedly. "It's my money. My livelihood. I don't wanna think about losing you, but leaving my job is not an option." I was unsure what to think until it became clear; porn provided him with financial security, and if he walked away from it he wouldn't be happy. Therefore we wouldn't be happy and to try would be pointless. "I get it," I said. "Oh, and I watched some of your work earlier," I added. He laughed. "And?" "And... I love you. I want this to work." I barely got the last word out before he pulled my face close and reminded me why I decided to proceed. I'm not talking about sex. He kissed me, and those familiar butterflies had grown in size. I would adjust.
I adjusted, but I was never comfortable. The deeper we fell in love the more I suffered when he worked. David could have walked away from porn, but he didn't. And I wouldn't have wanted him to because he was invested. He was a good man, but in the end I couldn't handle sharing him--and I shouldn't have to if I didn't want to. I hurt daily and it hurt him to see me hurt. We resisted facing the inevitable for a while in order to maintain the love, but there was no peace. So one day I did us both a favor by finally doing what was best for me. I walked away- freeing both of us to independently find a love even stronger and better suited for our open-minded souls.