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The Pleasure and Pain of Being a Faux-Incest Porn Star

Although having sex on camera with your "brother" or "mother" is great money, performing porn in the popular fetish genre has its drawbacks.

Actress and producer Ashley Fires's recent film Family Play Date may sound like wholesome children's programming; it categorically is not. Uploaded to the a la carte porno site Clips4Sale earlier this spring, the movie is basically a set piece for a taboo-defying incestuous orgy between mothers and sons, sisters, and cousins. The flimsy premise is that Fires is taking her son Lance to visit his Aunt Lux Orchid and his cousins Anya Olsen and Harlo Adams. It opens with Lance and Harlo making small talk, catching up on shared interests. Then Harlo casually mentions that one of his hobbies is fucking Anya, his sister.

Shortly thereafter (and apropos of nothing), Lux starts sucking her son Harlo's cock. Fires propositions Lance to follow suit. He hesitates at first, but all too quickly gives in after Fires coos about the beauty of keeping it in the family. Eventually, Anya arrives, and the scene descends into an all out familial fuckfest. It ends, to quote Fires's blurb on the site, with "one mom... covered in the precious nectar of her son, while the other mom has a stomach full of it."

For the uninitiated, the clip might seem like the fringe edge of fetish. But for Fires, it's just another day at the office. Since the start of 2016, she has released 17 of these "fauxcest" films, and they make up a substantial portion of her earnings. (The titles include: Mommy Made Me Do It, Little Sister Has to Do The Unthinkable, and Daughter Exchange Club: Double Team Lunch Break .) She's also performed in numerous fauxcest scenes for other studios; in a six-week period this year, she did three scenes of incest at funerals alone.

Fires is one of many adult performers and producers who, over the past few years, have begun to specialize in and define their careers by performing in simulated incest scenes. (There are rare instances of real relations performing together. However, most incest porn features actors pretending to be step or blood relations. It is often referred to as "fauxcest.") And like most rockstars of the fetish, that's a path she never sought out. When she got her start in porn in 2003, she made a living doing mild girl-on-girl or vanilla hetero sex scenes. But over the past five years, demand for fauxcest has grown so rapidly that it's sucked in seasoned performers like Fires and become an inevitability for those new to the adult industry.

"My fans only want to see me as mommy," says Fires, who at 34 has switched from daughter-sister to mother roles. "I am mommy and only mommy."


Photo courtesy of MissaX.com

"The theme of an incest situation, which you only find out at the last minute or after the fact is incest, has been around in literature for a long time," says Karin Meiselman, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of incest victims. "It's always been titillating to people who you could be involved in incest and not even know it."

With precedents running from Sophocles's Oedipus Rex to the Marquis de Sade's Incest: A Tragic Tale, it's likely that incest has had a carnal appeal as long as we've been telling and acting out stories. Fauxcest productions even enjoyed a brief surge in popularity in the late 70s and early 80s, epitomized by 1980s Taboo, a title that's spawned 22 sequels and has kept a following for over 35 years.

"Every mom and pop porn store has a copy [of Taboo]," Holly Kingstown, an editor at the porn news site Fleshbot, tells VICE. "It is a classic title that has to be there, right along with Debbie Does Dallas and The Devil in Miss Jones."

But over the past half-decade, Kingstown says, interest in the genre has massively exploded. Jeff Dillon, vice president of the adult video distributor GameLink, recently estimated that interest in the genre has grown by 1,000 percent since 2011. They saw a 178 percent spike in consumption over 2014 alone. Especially popular among millennials, fauxcest accounted for ten percent of all titles purchased by young adults on the site in 2015. This demand has led some studios and performers to exclusively produce fauxcest, while it's prompted others who'd never tried it before, says Kingstown, to cash in by creating at least one fauxcest series.


Photo courtesy of MissaX.com

As its popularity's grown, the character of fauxcest has changed. In the past, studios producing fauxcest filmed it with disclaimers that the content was not real and made pains to show that the fake relations were just step-whatevers. Now, some distributors take pains to make relations seem real and direct—and the disclaimers they do present usually get chopped off when their videos are published on tube sites.

The scenes have also shifted, Fires and her husband, Jack Kona, a porn producer since 2001, both say, from campy and light to grim and rapey. Fires has received scripts asking her to do things like cry as she seduces and sleeps with her stepdaughter at her father's funeral. The studio Primal Fetish has an entire line of videos in which brothers repeatedly coerce their sisters into sex, replete with sneers of disgust and pained whimpers.

"You have to [have sex with a relation] because you're being blackmailed," says Fires. "They want to see you... surrender to the sexual act and enjoy yourself. But at first you have to have your hand up and say, 'I don't think this is right.'"

No one agrees on why fauxcest is trending or transforming. Some think pieces argue that it's just a new frontier for porn consumers oversaturated with vanilla sex. Odette Delacroix, a 26-year-old mainstream-and-fetish performer and producer who runs several taboo sites, tells me she goes with whatever people are still willing to pay for in the era of free porn, be it fauxcest, diapers, or wearing corpse makeup and passively getting fucked. Others argue that it's a convenient genre for engaging stories, which is what's really in demand. And others still argue that it's a direct offshoot of Cersei and Jaime Lannister's incestuous relationship on Game of Thrones, along with other mainstream media depictions.

But for whatever reason, says Kingstown, "people are going with that Maury Povich shtick. I'm not sure what that says about us as a society. But it is just ridiculously popular at the present."


Photo courtesy of MissaX.com

In the early 2000s, Fires turned down the rare fauxcest scripts that came to her. "I grew up with brothers," she tells me. "One of the scripts, even though it was stepbrother and sister, they seemed pretty close. I was kind of grossed out by it actually."

After several requests and seeing how profitable the niche could be, she finally decided to make a scene with her own film crew in 2006 that was based on a script written by a fan. The script was a point-of-view ass worship scene that originally featured a brother and sister, but Fires switched it to step-siblings. Fueled by the novelty of the taboo, she got into the performance. And at the end, she decided that she might do another scene in the future. Or she might not. Since the genre was so marginal, she thought she'd always have the luxury of making that choice.

But today, both Fires and Kingstown say there's a lot less hemming and hawing about whether or not to take a fauxcest role. The majority of new or incoming performers, they say, will end up doing some form of fauxcest; a 2013 analysis of 10,000 pornstars and their works showed that "daughter" was already the sixth most common role for women, and "sister" was the tenth—rankings which have likely gone up.

Everyone I spoke to for this story—performers, producers, talent agents, and writers for industry rags—said that few performers these days openly express discomfort with these roles. Since the actual sex in this genre is pretty tame compared to popular genres like rosebud porn, performers see it as a welcome respite from the physical extremes and acrobatics that have come to oversaturate the market. They make about as much money for these taboo yet vanilla scenes—$500 to $1,000 per day or shoot depending on the studio and performer—as they would get from more physically taxing heterosexual scenes. "I [don't] have to make the performers do circus tricks anymore," Kona tells me of casting fauxcest films. "I [don't] have to make them shoot things out of their ass or take fists up their pussies... I just [have] to come up with a good scene."

Fires and Kona think the growing number of stars open to fauxcest reflect the ubiquity of the genre in the industry and beyond. Among performers, when everyone sees everyone else doing these scenes, it robs some of the stigma from them—although Fires suspects that a few performers may just be choking down their discomfort to jump on the bandwagon and get a paycheck.


Ashley Fires in 'Mommy Don't Leave.' Photo courtesy of Ashley Fires

Although more people are willing to do fauxcest than ever before, casual observers might wonder if they should. It's easy to think that repeatedly performing simulated incest could have a lasting impact on your psyche, especially when interacting with your real family.

Psychotherapist Karin Meiselman has never had an adult performer as a patient, but she thinks even those uncomfortable with fauxcest can take a role and firewall themselves from any negative psychological impact. It's just like mainstream acting, she says—a sentiment many performers I spoke with share—where playing someone whose morals you disagree with doesn't have to bleed into your life and wellbeing.

Fires says she understands on an intellectual level that what she's doing is a fantasy—her firewall. However, when she's in the act, she sometimes has to remind herself that she's not actually fucking her "brother" or "son." It's a weird situation for her to be in considering she has actual brothers and wants to have her own child one day. And for her, fauxcest isn't an occasional role. She's the Fauxcest Performer, repeatedly typecast in complex-to-dark tableaus. It's become a part of her identity and as the genre continues to grow, there are other performers who are beginning to fall in the same boat.

"You hear a lot of actors complaining about it now," says Fires, "like, 'God, if I could not just fuck my father or my brother, that'd be great.'"


Photo courtesy of Odette Delacroix

These genre performers all have their own ways of disassociating from, rationalizing, or even getting into their regular participation in fauxcest.

MissaX, another performer and producer who frequently casts and stars in fauxcest scenes, feels the work gives her more freedom to act than mainstream porn. "I imagine [that] would get tedious, like working in an assembly line," she says. "You go. You read your two sentences. Then you remember to arch your back and suck in your tummy while another actor has sex with you... [then] leave." She sees her work as erotica and believes fauxcest is at least in part about imbuing porn with a sense of connection in an era of vapid digital interactions. She's even willing to do things—for generally submissive scenes—that trigger dark memories "if the end product is artful and unique."

Delacroix looked underage in most of her early works, which were filmed while she was in her early 20s. She defined those movies as outlets for people with pedophilic urges, drawing on academic research making similar claims. She thinks that the fauxcest films she makes today provide a similar resource—a fantasy that might keep fathers or stepfathers from abusing their children. Fires, on the other hand, says she isn't certain whether the movies she makes are fueling or extinguishing the desire for people with incestuous impulses. Depending on where you come down on that question as a performer can surely tug on your conscience.


Photo courtesy of MissaX.com

One of the things that's kept Fires chugging along in the fauxcest field is her belief that fetish genres like this one often go in cycles. Eventually, the theory goes, fauxcest will oversaturate the market, and once it's lost its edge, demand will fall and performers won't be asked to fuck their "parents" or "siblings" nearly as often. Although Fires is making a good living acting in and producing these films, a part of her hopes that eventually the fauxcest wave will crash, so she can take her earnings and move on to other erotic forms of expression.

"It's been real," says Fires to those who consume the porn genre. "It's been fun. But come on, guys..."

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