Just a Dick: The Sad Reality of Being a Male Porn Star

At the annual VENUS International Erotic Trade Fair, female performers are the real stars, while their male counterparts awkwardly stand aside.

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20 October 2017, 11:18am

All photos by Hanko Ye

This article originally appeared on VICE Germany

As you'd expect, there was a lot to see at the VENUS International Erotic Trade Fair in Berlin from the 12th to the 15th of October 2017. But despite all the beautiful people, sex dolls and spectacular fetish performances, I was actually struck most by the realisation of how different the experience of attending a porn convention must be for male and female performers. Wherever I went, I saw female porn stars and erotic performers constantly surrounded by people – photographers buzzing around them or male fans queueing up to talk to them. Largely overlooked at the event were their male counterparts – often left to awkwardly stand aside as their female colleagues enjoyed all the attention.

It was hard not to feel a tiny bit sorry for the men, who all smiled and pretended to be completely cool with being ignored. Since nobody else would, I decided to have a chat with a few neglected male performers, to find out what it's like to be the support act nobody wants to see.

Marcello Bravo, 39

Marcello with his wife, Little Caprice.

VICE: How long have you been in the business?
Marcello Bravo: For about 15 years. In that time, I've starred in over a thousand films. About a year and a half ago, I started working behind the camera as a producer alongside my wife, Little Caprice.

Since we've started talking, five guys have approached your wife for an autograph, while you've been completely ignored. Does that annoy you?
About 80 percent of fans are onIy interested in talking to her, but I don't get that jealous. To be honest, I can't blame them – if I were them, I'd definitely ask my wife for a photo.

What is your biggest talent as a performer?

I can always get it up, even if I'm not in the mood. I used to be an aerial acrobat, which required lots of concentration. I use that skill to make sure that during long scenes, I can stay focused and keep going. That mental strength is my unique selling point.

Rocco Siffredi, 53


VICE: What's it like to be a male porn star at an erotic convention?
Rocco Siffredi: It shows you just how hard it is to be a man in the industry. Most films are created for straight men, so the focus is almost always on the woman in the scene. We're treated more like a prop, rather than a co-star. But it's not all bad – wherever I am in the world, I have fans coming up to me. They often treat me like a long-lost friend.

What do straight guys say when they approach you?
The majority just want to say thanks. Others comment on my performance, and tell me how impressed they are by how many films I've been in.

Which porno you starred in are you particularly proud of?
A film called Never Say Never to Rocco. We made it 20 years ago, with ordinary people rather than professional porn stars. Of course professionals do great work, but when you act too much like a pro on camera, it can all seem too mechanical. But this film wasn't like that at all – it felt very natural.

Porno-Klaus, 40


VICE: Do you know how many other male porn stars are here?
Porno-Klaus: Probably about 20. The industry is really lacking in good male performers because I think most people who buy porn are straight men, and they don't really care about what the guys are doing on screen. I don't actually make films anymore, but I did for five years. The market has totally changed and it's not worth it anymore. All these free porn sites are destroying traditional adult cinemas, and nobody buys DVDs anymore. It's a real problem.

Do more people know you through your appearance on the German version of Big Brother or through your adult films?
Most people know me through porn, but I'm famous for both. I'm actually really popular with both men and women here at the convention. Guys tell me how jealous they are that I've slept with so many amazing women, while women come up to compliment me on how beautiful my penis is.

If you're not making films any more, why are you here?
I'm promoting the "Little Shooter" – it's a drinking cup shaped like a penis.

Manual Stallion, 36


VICE: Would you describe yourself as a successful performer?
Manuel Stallion : Yes, I've made 1,500 films in 11 years. The industry is tough for men, but guys can make a lot of money if they work hard.

Looking around, it seems you do have more fans than most other male performers here.
Yeah, but that's because I've been in a lot of mainstream TV shows as well, so I'm not just known for doing porn. I've also done a lot of reality TV.

Although, compared to the female stars, there still isn't that much interest in you.
As a male performer, you get used to just blending into the background. It doesn't really bother me. It's also not like we don't get any recognition at all – I won a Venus Award for best amateur performer in 2013.

Martin, 37

Martin agreed to the interview on the condition of remaining anonymous

VICE: Since you don't want us to show your face, is it fair to say you don't like attracting attention?
Martin: Yeah, that's fair. I met my girlfriend in 2012 at the bank where we were both working at the time, and we pretty quickly started making amateur pornos together. We've made 380 so far. I'd say I'm in about 370 of them, but I've never shown my face. We don't want viewers to know that it's always the same guy in them – I played a step-father, an uncle or a gardener. People buy it – we even get some comments like, "Ew, you had sex with your uncle!". My girlfriend is the one who appears in the films and speaks to the fans.

So you're actually pretty happy with how little people seem to care about you?
I only want to be known as much as is necessary to sell films. Once, my girlfriend and I were featured with our real names in an article in Germany's biggest tabloid newspaper, Bild. We ended up suing them because of it. And when we were nominated for a Venus Award a few years ago, we politely declined it. But we do conventions because it's an opportunity for my girlfriend to meet fans and show them that we're real.

Has any fan approached you here?
No, nobody. But my girlfriend has had so many people come up to her, I've stopped counting. There have been some long queues of guys wanting to meet her, this weekend.

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