Walking Away – Happy, Healthy, and Humble: Op/Ed by Ricky Larkin

Sep 7, 2013
Editorial
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Our editorial position is that the voices of sex workers and adult community members are the essential ones in matters relating to their well-being, rights and livelihood. Toward that end, and in the interest of telling the news honestly, TRPWL does not censor Op/Ed material to conform to its own philosophical views.

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“Thank God for granting me this moment of clarity, this moment of honesty, may the world feel my truths.” ~ Jay-Z

I am a 26 year old male and I have been in the adult film industry on and off for the last 5 years. Fans know me as gay porn star, Ricky Larkin. I’m writing this to share my personal experience and my reasons for walking away from the gay porn industry. I am not speaking for anyone other than myself, but I also hope to educate some of the young men who are either new to or considering a career in porn of the dark road that lies ahead. I want to tell them they have options and that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do – regardless of what some may be telling them.

The topics I plan to address include the pain that goes with the “porn lifestyle,” the agents who are paid to promote us but often do more harm than good, and the risks and dangers associated with (but not openly spoken of) that go along with being a gay porn star.

I may not be the most well known performer, but my resume includes shoots for PRIDE studios, Gamma Ent, Kink.com, Venetian, HPMen, Falcon Studios, Men.com, Gay Room, Raging Stallion Studios, Channel 1 Release, and Rock Candy Films.  Although I have met a few great people in the adult industry with a lot of quality behind their character, unfortunately the majority have been egomaniacs, “bad apples,” and fakes.  Having quickly recognized this, I never looked at the porn lifestyle as glamorous. I became a gay performer out of financial necessity; not because I thought it was cool or it boosted my ego.

In fact, like many performers I’ve suffered permanent psychological damage from my years in the sex trade.  Porn almost always leads its young performers down a path of prostitution and moral self-destruction. I view the sex trade as similar to the war in the Middle East: a bunch of young,  ignorant to-the-facts men and women being used as pawns for corporate gain. Big dollars are being made at the physical, mental and emotional expense of men and women who more often than not turn to drugs and alcohol to mask their hatred of themselves and what they’re doing. Or, in a growing number of tragic cases,  who decide their problems have become too overwhelming and suicide is the only escape.

If you’re new to the adult industry, one of the most important things you’ll need to watch out for are the pimp-minded individuals who call themselves “agents.” These guys prey on performers who are young and naive. They preach glamour and lots of  money – followed by bullying and intimidation tactics.  They urge you to sign bullshit contracts that have no legal authority and then scare you into thinking if you break the contract you’ll face legal action. But the only penalty you’ll truly face are vicious attempts to destroy your credibility both personally and professionally.

Agents pretend to be your “friend” so they can gain knowledge of your personal life and use it to attack you if you try to part ways with them. (One former agent contacted my 15 year old brother through Facebook under a fake profile and messaged him links where he could see me performing gay sex acts.) I’ve sat in agents’ offices and listened to them make back room deals with directors where they conspire to short-change young, inexperienced men on their scene rate and split the difference – cheating us out of getting ahead. Its sick that these people view us as their property or employees when in reality we hire them to work for us.

Agents may also encourage you live in their house under the pretense of “helping you out,” or invite you to come stay with them when you have multiple shoots over a short period of time. They are not offering this to help you but only to gain knowledge and control over what you’re doing and to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do. (This is especially true if they know you can’t fly home or get yourself into a better situation until you do your shoots.) I can’t even begin to tell you how many times an agent threatened to cancel my shoots if I didn’t bow to his demands, and unfortunately I folded just like almost everyone else does. At the end of the day you’re either fucking your agent,  or they’re fucking you out of work.  Don’t trust these people, they are the worst of the worst in the industry.

Before I approach my final topic, I want to apologize in advance if I offend anyone for what I’m about to say. But I find it outrageous and disturbing to see the number of HIV+ gay porn performers who, by using privacy laws designed to protect against social and workplace discrimination, avoid disclosing their HIV status to their sex scene partners. Yes porn is a “workplace” too, but it’s a workplace that involves having sex, so your partners are entitled to know if you are putting them at risk for a life-threatening disease.

If I had a common cold, before you shook my hand I would tell you that there’s a chance I could pass the cold to you –  just as there’s a chance you won’t catch the cold at all. When I hear numbers like “70-80% of gay porn performers are HIV+” but they don’t have to reveal their status to their scene partner, it horrifies me. I don’t think HIV+ performers should be excluded from performing, but I feel strongly that their scene partners should be informed and given the chance to decide whether they want to do the scene.

I see gay performers tweet daily that HIV is “nothing to be ashamed of,” but if that’s the case why conceal your status from your scene partner? Despite that many performers are HIV+ there are many others who still view HIV as their worst nightmare. We’re forgetting how many lives this virus has claimed and continues to claim on a daily basis. For any young men (or women) reading this who are still considering a career in porn, here are some things to remember if you want to avoid the industry pitfalls described above:

1. Attaining super-stardom and financial riches are highly unlikely. Unless having sex on camera is something you truly enjoy doing, either don’t do it, or get out NOW, before its illeffects descend on you and crush your spirit. I’m haunted by  memories of how I sold myself short so many times, and risked my life for no gain other than a mediocre-at-best paycheck. Not to mention the fact that Im viewed as a “gay-for-pay” prostitute by my entire family and hometown. My power-lifter friends wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew about my double life, but more than likely they’ll eventually find out, too. My career in porn is not going to go away because I’m retired; the movies I made will be available for years to come. This is something I will struggle with both internally and in my community for the rest of my life.

2. Represent yourself. Social networking sites like Twitter have made it easier for talent to connect with studios and directors directly. By choosing to represent yourself and be your own agent you can negotiate your own scene rates, shoot on your own terms, and keep your money where it belongs: in your pocket.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for a tested partner, even in a “condom” scene.  Producers are always happy not to spend the extra money for STD testing, but most will agree to give you a tested scene partner if you request one in advance. And for producers who won’t, why would you even consider shooting for them? Value your health and peace of mind more than a quick paycheck, boys.

4.     Make the money – Don’t let it make you. So often performers get a little bit of money and feel the need to flaunt it. You’re a porn performer, not an A-list celebrity. Lifestyles of the rich and famous are for … THE RICH AND FAMOUS. Put away your money. If you need new clothes, shoes and sunglasses every time you shoot, why don’t you re-evaluate what your doing ? It’s obviously not good for your self-esteem if you’re blowing your checks on material goods in search of peer recognition. DON’T live a lie to cover up the pain inside – trust me, I know this first hand – it’ll eat you alive.

5.     Don’t Abuse Drugs or Alcohol and Beware of the Porn/Escort Overlap. Some performers think they’re just using “recreationally,” but it can very quickly become a dangerous – and expensive – lifestyle. No performer I know is able to pay their bills from their porn income alone, which is why many turn to escorting to support their drug habit and lavish lifestyle. For some reason, escorting is not frowned upon by the adult industry even though it’s illegal. But if you’re arrested and convicted for prostitution you’ll become a registered sex offender and that information will be available to anyone running a background check on you down the line.

Don’t Put Yourself in High-Risk Situations: The “one time” you get high or drunk and have bareback sex with a hot stranger from the club, or a fellow performer off-camera, may seem like no big deal but it could permanently change your life. Stay in control of yourself and your environment at all times. The philosopher Plato said that “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” So even though I won’t be in front of the camera anymore, I will continue to use my voice to push for condoms and testing in adult films because its the right thing to do. I encourage all adult industry performers to take a stand and adopt a proactive approach to the politics of the porn industry to make it a safer, healthier place for each other and the next generation of performers. Stay in control of your life, your career, your health and your choices, or choose to walk away like I did: happy, healthy, and humble.

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xml20
xml20
7 years ago

Great reading.
Unfortunately the ones that should follow this advices, won’t.
We are always making mistakes, and we are always hoping that the man near us, do a bigger one that the one we just made.
It’s the human nature.

Gromoy
Gromoy
7 years ago

Funny thing is I think a lot of mainstream gay porn blogs won’t bother reporting it because bareback companies are lining their pockets. Fighting discrimination against people who are HIV+ is important BUT if you’re going to have sex with someone, I think you have a moral duty to tell him that he may be exposing himself to HIV, condom or not. It is not discrimination in this case, sorry. This can be done in porn behind closed doors, a manager handles tests and serosorts performers without disclosing their status to a third party, can’t see how hard that would… Read more »

sxg
sxg
7 years ago

He hasn’t stated anything that most people in the porn industry already know. I think the real reason why he was taken advantage of is because he was just another run-of-the-mill g4p performer. Honestly they’re the ones that are making the gay porn industry look bad. Most show up and do a half-ass job and so many scene restrictions, yet they wonder why we don’t like them. He would have been better off signing to one good studio as an exclusive so he wouldn’t need an agent. Also a good studio pays for your travel costs and hotel stays, those… Read more »

simon
simon
7 years ago

I agree with sxg. Most of the things that Ricky Larkin wrote are already known. And it is not true, as some commenter here remarked, that gay porn blogs do not pay attention to critical writings on the gay porn industry. The Sword has published many critical things about bareback gay porn. But some people can only read very selectively.

disENGAGED
disENGAGED
7 years ago

Sxg did you even read the article ? No where does Ricky talk about companies not paying for flights and hotel stays. It sounds like he is trying to educate young men and women more than it sounds like he is bitching or whining about a bad experience in the biz which is what I thought it was going to be. This guy looks good, performs great and could work more than most of the gay or g4p ‘talent’ (or lack there of) if he chose to stick around. You just sound like one of those hetero-hating self loathing fags.… Read more »

sxg
sxg
7 years ago
Reply to  disENGAGED

You’re right it didn’t say anything about him receiving flight money and hotel stay, because that was an example I was stating about certain studio’s policies and in reference to his experience to staying over at his agent’s house. First and foremost, you and your agent, no matter what field they are in, should keep a strictly business relationship. The agents are there for themselves, and not for you. Why do you think there aren’t more celebrities out in the open? Because their agents/managers keep it that way to benefit them financially rather than see you gain from it psychologically.… Read more »

Who me?
7 years ago
Reply to  sxg

You’re right, it does seem as if all the negative comments from former models are those that are gay4pay or “sexual”. And I do believe it has a lot to do with their state of mind. Doing something you hate i.e. having gay sex when you’re a supposed str8 guy, will mess with your head.

Gromoy
Gromoy
7 years ago
Reply to  Who me?

Erik Rhodes was one of these “sexual” people I guess…? Gay people have a different way of coping with this (substance abuse/reckless behaviour/suicide) because some of these standards are integrated in the “gay lifestyle”, which is pretty bad as a whole when it comes to health and support. And an outsider point of view can – I believe- bring something constructive to the table, it’s not normal that your coworkers can hide their status from you if there is even a slight chance of passing the virus on. Like I said above, serosorting would be a good idea for performers… Read more »

Who me?
7 years ago
Reply to  Gromoy

a) Erik Rhodes was an out and proud gay man
b) He was quite open about his substance abuse problems
c) He was also open about his mental/emotional issues and I don’t recall him every blaming the industry. He took ownership of it. If he did, I missed it.

Gromoy
Gromoy
7 years ago
Reply to  Gromoy

a)Didn’t you read my two first sentences?? I know full well that Erik Rhodes was gay, look up the word “sarcasm”, if you didn’t even get it with the “?” at the end, there isn’t much hope for you! b)His body dysmorphic disorder and substance abuse were fueled by his involvement in porn and escorting, it’s exactly what I’m talking about above; different ways of coping with issues: the bigger he was, the more he was wanted, etc.And the drugs were a way to deal with his escorting. c) YES you missed it completely, Erik Rhodes’ blog was full of… Read more »

Ricky Larkin
Ricky Larkin
7 years ago

I just want to say thanks to the people who support what I’m trying to do .. As you miserable trolls that have nothing nice to say, grow up, I’m trying to make this industry a better place fr the young men who dont know what you seem to think is so obvious. Thanks for running the article therealpornwikileaks.com

Kal
Kal
1 year ago
Reply to  Ricky Larkin

Miserable trolls? You wrote something that is still a major issue with the industry. You’re basically posting verbatim what others have said. Did you think you would be the voice of reason to others?

It sounds like you’re trying to clap back to an audience of zero. You’re vague attempt to sound like “the” victim isn’t flying well. Your recent bareback videos are laughable can one holla double down. Now its possible you’re taking pREP yourself because bareback scenes garner more money.
Honestly “gay for pay” is a gender binary form of prostitution.

Farrah Dahl
Farrah Dahl
7 years ago

I’m very new to the industry and appreciate you sharing~
Thank you very much.

trackback

[…] Thanks to one of my long-time readers, manu, who pointed me to that article Ricky mentioned. It’s on the straight porn blog called The Real Porn Wiki Leaks, Walking Away – Happy, Healthy, and Humble: Op/Ed by Ricky Larkin. […]

mac
mac
7 years ago

Great read. thanks for this. how much is a average scene rate? if i represent myself it would be helpful to know.

Fake Mike South
Fake Mike South
7 years ago

I enjoy seeing these gay performers fight. Any of you up for sword fighting and a bukkake with a fragile 57 year old man who looks 70?

Who me?
7 years ago

@Gromoy A) I never said RL did this to further his career, I’d suggest you take your own advice and reread my posts. B) Erik many times made the comment that HE was the one fucked up and that working in porn was not a good place for people like him. Or for anyone that needed the adulation to make themselves feel good. C) I never made any comment regarding whether or not models should be tested and or sorted according to those test. My only comment was that is seems like most of the negative comment from former gay… Read more »

Gromoy
Gromoy
7 years ago
Reply to  Who me?

So your way to deal with all the issues addressed in this article is “oh he’s gay for pay, his opinion is irrelevant, shouldn’t be in porn” – very constructive position.Plus in his Sword interview he says he is bisexual. Watch his scene with Joe Parker, if he didn’t enjoy it, he deserves an Oscar.

When you can’t deconstruct someone’s arguments, resort to attacking his character…

But it’s good that you find all gay porn stars well balanced and perfectly happy, it’s also the impression I have – most definitely…

tone
tone
7 years ago

Thanx for the insight Ricky. I shall cherish your performances(my fave is the solo glass dildo video) and pics, but most of I will cherish your honesty.

joan lav
joan lav
5 years ago

I need help. I found out my boyfriend lied to me and has been in gay porn. He states it’s his face n body but that he didn’t do the actual sex scenes. It was all edited pics etc…I have details available and have asked him to get proof from the studio on what he states..has anyone heard of this being remotely possible…???

n24rc
5 years ago

Well, Ricky is back in gay porn!

This article should be removed, as it’s been known for a very longtime it was ghostwritten by his ex from her point of view!

David
David
5 years ago

When Ricky Larkin first posted this back in 2013 I was disappointed – beefy Ricky had become one of my favorites. I certainly do give him credit – if he’s gay4pay, he does have a special talent – rugged and beefy Ricky was exceptional at conveying to us viewers a connection when he interacted with his screen partners. It was always VERY noticeable and VERY believable, noticeable maybe because it is predominantly missing from the majority of porn. I missed that when he “retired”, but am glad to hear that he may be back – yay! I also think his… Read more »

Marc Ryan
Marc Ryan
4 years ago

Ricky
I’m sure u get this a lot but u can do anything to me.. I mean anything!

Marc Ryan
Marc Ryan
4 years ago

Love u ricky

Lionel
Lionel
4 years ago

I wish I could chat via email with you Ricky. I admire you take direction of your life at a young age and to realize reality. Good that you took control of your life. I never been in porn but re: taking control of your own life is what I wish I had done at your age. I wish I knew you cause you seem a real great person to be a real friend with.

JUNJUN
JUNJUN
4 years ago

BUT ISNT RICKY BACK IN THE PORN BUSINESS? on men.com. or was that shoot done 3 years ago and an agent is saying it was just shot last week on men.com Its called Neighborhood Part 1. Did he really walk away 3 years ago from the industry?

BOBBY LINDLEY
BOBBY LINDLEY
4 years ago

I thought California passed a law that now all sex workers/porn stars had to be tested before the shoot.

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