Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Adult stars answer questions about porn

Courtesy of Kate Cygan

“As St. Francis said, where there is hate f—, let there be love,” porn star Lance Hart declared, to the amusement of a crowd of students that filled Graham Chapel Friday evening.

Hart and fellow adult film stars Tori Black and James Deen answered questions as a part of a Sex Week panel event, moderated by Susan Stiritz, a professor of sexuality studies.

Hart, a former software salesman, both acts in and films pornography usually targeted at specific fetishes and kinks. Black, currently expecting her second child, is more known for mainstream porn. She is the first performer ever to win two Adult Video News Female Performer of  Year Awards. Much of Deen’s work is popular with women and teenagers, earning him the moniker “the Ryan Gosling of porn.”

Despite the absence of retired porn star Sasha Grey, whom the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) initially booked to speak on the panel, students arriving late were turned away because the event had reached capacity.

The questions, selected from a predetermined list submitted by both students and sexual health experts contacted by Stiritz, ranged from whether porn sets unrealistic standards for its viewers to the most interesting sexual experience each of the panelists has had. The latter was the source of Hart’s St. Francis remark, which referred to a personal experience with “hate sex.” Deen, smiling rakishly, revealed that he once tied a naked woman to a water tower.

Not among the topics discussed, however, was Deen’s public opposition to Los Angeles County’s Measure B, passed in November, which requires adult film actors to wear condoms while performing sex acts.

SHAC declined to comment on the planning of the panel, but according to the Sex Week FAQ on the organization’s website, the purpose of the panel was to foster dialogue about aspects of the porn industry that are not typically discussed, such as sexual health.

In response to a question about how the porn industry addresses the topic of race, Black, a white woman, recounted her own experience being encouraged to delay filming scenes in which she was performing with a black man so that she could charge a higher fee for interracial scenes.

“It’s pretty incredible that there are a lot of girls in the industry that do charge more [for interracial scenes], and I think that’s disgusting,” Black said.

Black’s fiance, African-American porn director Lyndell Anderson, was also present and addressed the audience twice during the panel.

“In a nutshell, we turn the lights off—we’re all black anyway…I don’t think there’s an all-white type of porn or an all-black type of porn. It’s what you like,” Anderson said.

The final question of the night, seeking advice from the panelists about getting involved in the adult film industry, caused a stir among students in the audience.

When Deen asked students who might be interested in becoming porn stars to stand up, only three students did so. Black cautioned against rushing into the industry, noting the difficulty of keeping a career in adult entertainment a secret.

“I thought most of the questions were really good except for the last one. That’s not very applicable to…most people there [at the panel], considering there were three people who raised their hands, and most of them were probably joking,” junior Varun Sablok said.

Most students seemed to enjoy the panel as most of the panelists’ responses were punctuated by applause and laughter from the audience.

“I really liked the panelists. They played off of each other really well, and they told entertaining stories,” junior Colin Rice said.

Motivations for attending the panel varied among students in the audience.

“I have a lot of friends [involved] in Sex Week planning, and they told me to come,” Rice said.

“I don’t know anything about the porn industry,” said sophomore Nicole Ahmed, “so I was curious.”

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  • billy says:

    well any idiot who gripes about what ADULTS in college do (they are over 18 you know) needs to keep their trap shut. So, you don’t like your ADULT kid listening to a porn class. So what, YOU aren’t there, they are. They as adults obviously wanted to attend the lecture, so again, keep…your..uneducated..biased…worthless mouths shut. If you don’t like the class or lecture, don’t go. If others attend it, not your business.

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  • Emm Dee says:

    It is your JOB to produce an environment that promotes healthy sexual practices- not one that coerces young adults into conforming to sexual violence. SHAME ON YOU!

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  • iamcuriousblue says:

    I notice that there’s an active smear campaign against this event, led by Gail Dines, who has been actively trying to censor the voices of porn performers and sex workers from Sex Week type events for several years now. Considering the number of college-age people who view porn (often with very little good sex education otherwise thanks to “abstinence only” sex ed policies in many high schools), sane, contextualized, and nuanced discussion of pornography in a learning environment is more needed than ever, and the voices of those who actually perform in this medium are among those who absolutely need to be heard. If we can’t have these discussions in an academic environment, just where, pray tell, can we have them? I would urge people to ignore the voices of hate and disrespect, and the calls for censorship, and welcome events like this in the future.

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  • nick says:

    The work done by dean and others on kink.com is mild but made to look painful because that’s what the audience wants. I’m not making that up I have worked there. Also they recruit girls who enjoy the fetish they preform. I wonder how many of you whom are so angry that these people had a conversation in an open forum of their own fee will has ever purchased ponorgrapy? Maybe if we don’t judge and instead teach our kids acceptance rather then judgment and dismissal we won’t have so many outsiders and so much hate. Grow up maybe your kids will to.

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  • lml says:

    I am so sorry to hear the ADULTS at the school allowed the panel to go on. This is completely irresponsible. College is a time when many young people are leaving their families of birth and possibly dealing with sexual abuse for the first time ever. It should be the safest possible place for ***everyone****. Some students rights’ to have orgasms just do not outweigh other students’ rights to a safe campus.

    Environments such as the one described, where there is applause and laughter and a packed room, make it very difficult to speak out against the panelists. But I am quite certain there were plenty of students on campus quite upset about the support the panelists received from the adults on campus.

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    • anon says:

      “I am so sorry to hear the ADULTS at the school allowed the panel to go on. This is completely irresponsible. College is a time when many young people are leaving their families of birth and possibly dealing with sexual abuse for the first time ever. It should be the safest possible place for ***everyone****. Some students rights’ to have orgasms just do not outweigh other students’ rights to a safe campus.”

      I agree that there should be a safe space for victims of sexual abuse, although I am not sure what a porn star panel does to make our campus a more dangerous place. In fact, the whole point of Sex Week is create a more sex positive environment in our community.

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      • lml says:

        I understand the point is to create a more sex positive environment. I graduated from college May 2012 and we had a pornographer speak at my school. There were many women on campus who were extremely upset by the event, but no one felt safe even speaking out. Not to mention that there is really no way to argue with an orgasm.

        You do not know how many students have had pornographer forced on them or who have had pornography made of them as children…or now, even in middle and high school, have had nude pictures used without their permission. Celebration of pornography has gotten us to our current level of cultural misogyny and idiocracy. Is this really the society, sexual and otherwise, that we want?

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  • DHD says:

    No child of mine will ever attend Washington University if your idea of educating future generations is glorying and whitewashing violence against women and the sex industry. Don’t kid yourselves into thinking this was a balanced panel by any means. If you have any decency (which I seriously question) you will hold another panel with women who have been hurt through pornography and sex work….or better yet the children who suffer at the hands of the porn culture we’ve created.

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    • joe says:

      porn does not equal violence. but hey, that doesn’t seem to conform to your opinion it must be wrong.

      and how did you know the panel was unbalanced? were you there? are you now fully knowledgeable on the matter because you read a 1 page news story on it?

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  • MAR says:

    That’s disgusting? To be racist is disgusting, I agree… but there are more disgusting things, like being a porn star, for example?!?!?!

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  • Summer says:

    How tacky.

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  • ulysses says:

    James Deen’s work at kinkdotcom is torture and gang-rape of young women, totally hate porn. He seems to prefer controversial religious themes woven together with his sadism as he likes hurting people. NO Ryan Gosling by any means. This Sex Week lecture sounds like it ended up as a student career forum for the adult film industry and James Deen personal porn model recruitment.

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  • anonymous says:

    James Deen was by far the best. Why did the moderator cut him off at the end??

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878