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Gay Porn Stars Don't Party Like You Think They Do

Tagging along with one of the hardest working guys in the industry at the Oscars of porn disproved everything I thought I knew about the adult entertainment lifestyle.

Mike Miksche

Trenton Ducati til Grabby awards. Alle billeder af skribenten.

"I think the assumption is that people in my line of work just have sex 24-seven," Trenton Ducati told me this past weekend as we sat in the lobby of the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, the partner hotel for the Grabbys.

If the cis male gay porn industry had an Oscars, the Grabbys would be it, with categories like Best Threeway and Hottest Bottom. First held in 1999 at the infamous Man's Country bathhouse, the awards have since expanded into a ritzy long weekend where the industry converges to toast and roast itself. Ducati was there to mingle, network, and even make a flick or two.

In other words, he would spend the next 24 hours proving to me that if anything, making it in the modern, arguably declining porn industry is far from a party. It requires a grinding work ethic and lots of patience. As an extremely successful performer in his own right, awardee of some of the industry's top honors (link NSFW), and co-owner of Ducati Studios (link NSFW), a porn production house, and his own talent agency, Ducati is the paragon of the modern porn scion—a workaholic with a lifestyle that's a far cry from what many imagine when they think of a "porn star." Sex? Sure, there's plenty—but no drugs and very little rock and roll. Over the course of the Grabbys, he would disprove much of what I thought I knew about porn stars.

Trenton Inception as Ducati stumbles upon a life-sized facsimile of himself

Things kicked off on Friday night with a party celebrating the tenth anniversary of the birth of the FleshJack, a popular male sex toy. After rubbing elbows there, we hit a party for gay porn juggernaut Falcon Studios; rather than turn up there, we slipped out early for a burger. Soon after, Ducati was back in his hotel, sending files from a scene he'd shot earlier that day to his editor in Los Angeles. He was in bed by 11:30.

There are two reasons to which I can attribute Ducati's near-puritan (by porn standards) lifestyle. The first is the fact that he's just too busy to be a party boy. Between producing and directing anywhere from ten to 12 scenes per month, appearing in a few of his own, managing his own company, and all of the invisible labor that goes into keeping up a porn star's career—fan outreach, social media posting, coordinating shoots, and travel and side gigs—his life is nothing like Boogie Nights. He produced three scenes over the course of the Grabbys weekend alone. Hard partying just isn't conductive to a fully realized professional lifestyle, even in this industry.

There's also the fact that Ducati has been sober for ten years. His backstory goes far in explaining his professional demeanor today; by age 14, he'd started using drugs, and by 22, he was living on the streets. Throughout his 20s, Ducati said he'd been in and out of jail about 20 times. "Mine were all money-related crimes," he explained—fraud and financial charges. By 30, he knew he'd need to change his life quickly or he'd soon be dead, but luckily he found a good rehab program, and took the first steps toward where he is today. (He now runs the Kill Meth Foundation with his mother, which raises funds to assist drug addicts in need of emergency services.)

"The reason I took the job the first time was to pay back all my restitution to the court system," he said, explaining what initially attracted him to porn. He was working as a personal trainer when a client, porn star Jimmy Durano, landed him his first audition. That was just six years ago. "I didn't really feel good about myself: The stealing and everything else," he said. "How can I make this right? I'm at least going to pay it all back, and how could I do that making $70 a day as a personal trainer?" With a harsh criminal record, his employment options were limited.

"These are the cards you've been dealt, right? So I did the best I could with that," he said. "I take this opportunity I've been given, and I'm going to do everything within this industry I possibly can."

Trenton helms the camera as a scene goes down in his room.

On Saturday afternoon, models Jack Hunter and Michael Delray arrive at Ducati's hotel room, and between hustling to set up lighting rigs and check cameras himself, Ducati sees to it that they're well taken care of—gummy bears and ample bathroom time are on offer for the stars of the scene he's helming today. The concept involved two boys hooking up in a hotel after a party, which then evolves into the pair deciding to record their own porn on a phone, selfie-style. At any given moment during the shoot that ensued, one of the actors would hold Ducati's phone while having sex—something that took a bit of hand-eye coordination. But they managed.

Ducati worked the camera while giving direction to his performers. He moved around the room like a pro, capturing a variety of interesting angles. I admired the performers' ability to turn their sexuality on and off between takes, and it was hard to tell where the line between acting and genuine enjoyment lay. By the end, Ducati seemed pretty proud.

"Chemistry is obviously the goal as a director, so if there isn't chemistry, it needs to be created," he explained. "Performers have to create that." For him, chemistry and connection are the guts of great porn, coupled with a model's good looks and an innate respect for the type of sex being had, particularly when shooting fetish porn—there's nothing sexy about screwing that up. There's nuance to certain types of gay porn, and the Grabbys are a celebration of porn as art.

This year's awards were held at the Metro Chicago, a concert venue in the city's Wrigleyville neighborhood. The show began around 7:30 that night, and Ducati's attention was completely absorbed by the stage the entire time. There was no cocaine or sex to be found. There was just subversive musical numbers, sexy trophy boys, and good, old-fashioned roasting of industry elites. That, and a palpable sense of love and admiration for the hard work of the talent sitting in that room. Ducati was inducted into the Grabbys Wall of Fame that night (link NSFW), an honor the industry confers upon veterans who have stood the test of time, and an acknowledgement of his prolific career.

That night, he didn't hit the sack until two in the morning. But it wasn't because he was celebrating—after the awards, he went right back to his hotel room to send more files to his editor in Los Angeles. He was just working late.

"The Grabbys is more than just me connecting with business. It's about supporting our whole industry family," Ducati told me. "It's good to come together. It's good that we have a place to work. I'm thankful that we have the industry." And the industry, clearly, is thankful to have him too.

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