Well, well, well… look who was on JOY 94.9 FM in Melbourne!

As you may already know, Dirk and I just spent over a week in Melbourne, Australia helping the Victorian AIDS Council promote safer sex practices, healthy relationships, and safe play. We participated in lots of discussion forums, Dirk gave a couple of practical BDSM seminars, and we went to a ton of bars and clubs to promote VAC’s community health initiatives. Plus, Melbourne is very lucky to have one of the world’s only 100% LGBTQI-focused broadcast radio stations, JOY 94.9 FM… and Dirk and I were on three shows in three days!

The first of our appearances (on June 2) was on the Well, Well, Well program, hosted by members of VAC. Dirk and I talked a lot about our experiences in the adult film industry, why we believe it’s important to use condoms in porn, and the age-old question — top or bottom? You can listen to the podcast through the SoundCloud player at the top of this page; alternately, you can find the Well, Well, Well archive here. I’ll be posting our other podcasts over the next several days!

As a little extra treat, I shot video of Dirk’s segment on the program… watch the video below (in case it doesn’t play, the alternate link is here). My hubby’s voice is so sexy, isn’t it?

The 'Well Well Well' Crew

Horned Up: Dirk talks music with Queer the Air

The following interview with my hubby Dirk Caber appeared in Queer the Air magazine on January 28, 2015. Dirk, as you may know, is a professional classical musician and composer, and he really enjoyed the chance to sit down with guest columnist Cyn Duby to talk about his true passion. It’s a fun and informative read… check it out below, and be sure to visit QueerTheAir.com for more LGBT-related entertainment news!

Queer the Interview: Dirk Caber
By Cyn Duby, Guest Columnist

QTA1I do love doing an interview with someone who is a study in contrasts and breaks stereotypes to smithereens. Such a person is Dirk Caber. We all know he’s hot and a big name in the gay porn industry. We also know he and his fiance, Jesse Jackman, are not only adorable together, but also very intelligent and giving men, They are always doing their part for our community whenever they can. But, to pigeonhole Dirk as just a porn star with a heart is underestimating him so grossly, you could miss some of the most essential facets of this remarkable man.

I had the opportunity to pose some questions to Dirk about his first love and one of his greatest talents: music. Yes, you heard that correctly. He can sing, play several instruments, and compose wonderful original classical pieces. It is just that subject on that this interview focuses.

*       *       *

QTA: You seem to have a fairly large body of work as a composer. How many years have you been writing classical music?

I seem to have been writing since childhood; I honestly can’t remember a time I wasn’t devising tunes for poems or banging out some harmony or something at the piano. I first was consciously writing in fifth or sixth grade; I suppose that would mean I was eleven or twelve when I started.

QTA: Were you raised in a musical household?

I was. My grandparents were singers, pianists, organists. My mom sang and played piano. My dad’s interest in music was mechanical and I grew up in a house full of musical instruments that played themselves, music boxes of all sorts and sizes, mechanical organs, and the centerpieces: six reproducing player pianos. Sometime when I was about ten and dad could no longer tell the difference between the piano roll playing and me imitating it afterwards, he decided it was time to find me a piano teacher.

QTA: What was the first instrument you learned? What instruments do you play now?

I was always singing, although my first formal singing lessons weren’t until college. My first lessons were on violin, then piano. In junior high and high school I had a reputation for picking up instruments and learning them well enough to play on stage in a matter of weeks, so I was given a succession of all the odd ones: contra bassoon, French horn, English horn, contra bass clarinet, harp, etc. Finally I was given the one I fell in love with: tuba.

QTA2QTA: Do you have formal education in music? If so, what?

I have degrees in music composition from two institutions, the second from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. I also studied organ and harpsichord on top of piano, sang a lot of Renaissance and baroque music, dabbled in a number of Renaissance instruments, and, of course, play tuba.

QTA: What is the easiest instrument to write for?

They all pose challenges and have aspects for which they’re perfectly suited. I think because I’ve always been singing and because so much of my music is inherently singable, I’d have to say voice is easiest for me.

QTA: What’s your inspiration? Where do you find it easiest to write? Any quirky habits that help the muses speak to you?

Some of my inspiration is literary; many of my works are responses to poetry or a passage of text somewhere. A few things have been similarly a mood inspired by a painting. Most of my music however simply starts off with the discovery of a sonority I find unique or compelling, or when I discover a melody with some really rich and fascinating contrapuntal potential. Much of my musical inspiration is, in fact, musical. I can write nearly anywhere. It’s better to be in a slightly noisy place; somehow working in silence just doesn’t feed my muse. Some of my best music has been written at tables in cafés, or in the middle of work meetings.

QTA3QTA: How does your mood affect what you write and if you can write?

My productivity is best when I’m either really unhappy or really happy, i.e., when I’ve the most emotional energy to channel. The music that results doesn’t necessarily reflect that mood, though; I can write quiet music in an ebullient moment as easily as ecstatic music in a somber mindset.

QTA: Which orchestra/s do you work with?

I don’t work with one in particular. In fact, as a tubist I tend to avoid orchestra work simply because there’s often a lot of sitting around twiddling my thumbs while the strings do all the work. I’d rather play with bands, brass quintets, Dixieland ensembles, groups where I’m the principal bass instrument and play most if not all the time.

QTA: How do you “hear” what you write? Do you hear the melody when you write or all the parts? Do you hear each instrument separately?

It’s like writing words. Despite these little black characters representing sounds which our brains translate into meaning, we don’t need to sound out every word as we write it to know what it means. This however is something we learned how to do; as children we had to mouth the words when we were first reading. It’s the same with music; with years of practice I’ve arrived at the point where I can write a score for a hundred instrumentalists, and know what every note for any one instrument sounds like, and how it sounds in context. This isn’t to say I start and the top and write out the score fully-formed. I start with sketches. I’ll make a “short score”, sort of an outline, and make successive versions until the piece is fully fleshed.

QTA: When did you first begin to compose music? Do you also conduct?

I think the earliest tunes I remember I probably dreamed up when I was five or six. I first wrote music down when I was eleven or twelve. And I’m no virtuoso conductor, but I can keep time for an ensemble and provide cues. I’d much prefer to actually be part of the group though.

QTA: What music do you listen to for pleasure?

Pretty much anything and everything. Because I delight in picking out the weird moments in music, the odd incongruous moments, and all music has these somewhere, I’m always listening. The problem becomes that music can overwhelm me. If I’m at home and need to be thinking about other things, I love silence, or just the sounds of the neighborhood and the house around me.

QTA: Who are your inspirations?

Poets. Authors. Painters. Sculptors. Other composers. Actors.

QTA: Many of your songs, especially the Eclogues, would go very well as scoring in a film. Is that something you’d like to do someday?

I’ve been really interested in film scoring at times, and might still dabble someday. Film music should compliment the action but must never distract from it, so it needs to be simple and direct. What I’d find challenging is being that understated… So much of my music is so “concerted”, it would tend to overwhelm an audience’s attention, I’m told.

QTA4QTA: The woodwinds in Danzas Cubanas No. 1 are very nicely highlighted. Tell me about this number.

This was written for a Cuban man in NYC, an excellent clarinetist, with whom I was obviously rather smitten. The four movements are impressions of four Cuban dance forms.

QTA: Eclogue No. 4 and Eclogue No. 6 fit their names perfectly as pastoral musical poetry. The conversation between the instruments is very well done. All the parts have their creative versions of the melody, but it feels as though they’re talking and the melody is but the theme of the conversation.

The Eclogues were really my exercises for myself to learn how to orchestrate, how to break music up over larger ensembles with balance and flow. This is actually a rather difficult skill. Different instruments “talk” to each other and “get along” with each other in very different ways, and these are relationships you really can only learn how to utilize by trying and making mistakes. The reason we have Eclogues 4, 5, and 8 is that they’re most successful. The others have nice passages, but for whatever reason they just didn’t work as well.

QTA: When listening to Edification and Amusement I feel I’ve been transported back into time. Was that your intent?

Particularly in high school I had a fascination with Joplin and Scott and Confrey and other writers of ragtime. Having good friends who also played piano meant a chance to write four-handed repertoire; this is just such a little piece of musical “candy”.

QTA: The Miniatures for Piano are very short but complicated pieces and more varied than I expected.

There are 24 miniatures now, of which 12 are recorded. They are miniature in name and duration only; none is longer than two minutes. Most of them are exceedingly challenging to play though! They’re certainly well beyond my skill as a pianist. Someday soon I’ll have the whole cycle recorded.

QTA: Your Mount Desert Island Suite feels like day at a North Atlantic beach. Is there significance beyond the obvious beauty in this composition?

The four movements reflect aspects of Mount Desert Island and its environs in Maine. It’s a little love letter to my home state and to its rocky Atlantic coastline.

QTA: When I hear Nocturne, I picture a mother with her child at bedtime.

You know that this was written for my mom? It was a birthday present for her several years ago. It’s also the one recording where you actually hear me playing.

QTA: One of my favorites by you is The Good Morrow. It reminds me of the Gregorian chants. It’s simply gorgeous!

This was a Christmas gift last year for my now-fiancé Jesse. The poem is an early love poem by John Donne, with spiritual overtones interleaved with subtle sensual hints. I need to make a proper recording, playing the piano, and as I wrote it for my own voice, with me singing. The tune, usually presented in some canon with itself, is long and meandering, often slipping away from the “beat” of the accompaniment, which might explain why you hear the breathlessness of Gregorian chant.

At Home for Christmas: Our new interview with Dirtyboyz magazine


When we were in London last month, Dirk and I sat down with Dirtyboyz magazine to be interviewed for their annual holiday issue… but little did we know that we’d also end up on the front cover! We discussed our porn origins, what it’s like working as a couple (and apart) in the industry, and — most importantly — what we’re getting each other for Christmas. I’ve posted the article below; please be sure to visit Dirtyboyz.xxx for the latest industry news and information about events thought the UK!

One couple who seem to have the whole porn relationship deal sorted are the kings of hairy bear and daddy porn Jesse Jackman and Dirk Caber. The couple celebrated their third anniversary last month, were in London at the launch of Eagle London’s Men Inc and are planning their family Christmas together. For our seasonal interview, Paul Stag discovered how Jesse and Dirk keep their relationship on track whilst being such high profile porn stars and what their plans are for Christmas.

*   *   *

How did you both get into porn?

JESSE: Over July 4th weekend in 2011 I met Hunter Marx, a Titan model, and his partner Ethan Anders in Saugatuck, Michigan. They were hot. We fucked around a lot and had a ton of fun, so much so that I started idly wondering if what we did might be reproducible in front of a camera. A week later, back in Boston, I happened to run into Roman Wright, an old friend, and half-jokingly asked him if he thought I could work in porn with no serious intent to ever do it, despite my curiosity. He said he thought I could, but that I shouldn’t. Roman knows me pretty well, and thought I wouldn’t deal well with the inevitable criticism that comes with public performance. Then, out of the blue, I got a message on Facebook from Patrick Finger: “Hi Jesse, I handle casting for Titan Media. I’m standing here with Roman Wright, and he’s telling me that you’d like to work with us. You’re a great looking guy. Are you interested?” Within a couple of weeks I flew to San Francisco to film my first scene — with Hunter Marx, the Titan Man from Saugatuck, of all people, for my first TitanMen film, Surveillance. I eventually got to shoot a scene with Roman too, a flip scene in Command Performance.

DIRK: I came from a similar place of curiosity, and with about as much intent. I’d had a background in BDSM in the New York scene, and I’d made a lot of friends in that world online. One was Paul Wilde, who turned out to be the director of the Rough line at Titan. He said that it was a rare guy who both knew his way around a flogger and a hank of rope and also looked the role, and thinking I did, he asked if I would ever consider porn. I declined politely and gratefully, thinking nobody ever really would want to watch me on screen, and he understood. We stayed friends, though, and every so often he’d reissue the invitation. Eventually I figured he was the professional and probably knew what might work better than I did, so I decided I’d make just one. Okay, maybe two. Titan I was certain would then find someone younger, better looking, more hung… and that would be that. That decision was made in January of 2010, and I filmed my first scene in July, in which I tie up the very sexy and perfect first scene partner Tony Vega in Kennel Master. I had no expectation that four years and some eighty-odd scenes later I’d still be at this.

How did you both meet?

DIRK: In September of 2011 Jesse had just signed with Titan and was having a couple of misgivings about his decision to enter porn. A mutual friend in San Francisco mentioned to Jesse that he knew someone who had been in the industry a while and who might be able to help him come to some understanding. I lived in Chicago and he in Boston. But our buddy introduced us almost by surprise at Beatbox during Folsom of that year; he brought Jesse across to the bar and cornered me there.

JESSE: I had seen Sting starring Dirk and had jerked off to it several times. When I first agreed to film with Titan, they told me that my first scene partner would be Hunter Marx. I started watching his movies as “research”. I wanted to learn a little about Hunter — what turned him on — so that we could film the best scene possible together. And there was Dirk right alongside Hunter and another Titan man, Shay Michaels. My first thought was, “Oooh, who’s that hottie getting spitroasted on the conference table?”. Little did I know what the next three years would bring.

What are you doing for Christmas?

DIRK: Christmas is usually a family affair for me, with my parents and siblings and their families and kids. Adding Jesse and his mom to that mix has come entirely naturally; my folks have always been amazing at accepting any friend of mine as instant family. Indeed, I’ve friends I started “adopting” at holidays in my college days 20-odd years ago who still come to my family for holidays more often than they do their own — they’re as much siblings at this time of year as my own brother and sister, and we’re always adding more.

JESSE: Our moms are both great cooks, as is Dirk’s sister, and his brother-in-law makes some pretty incredible pies. The day starts with a huge breakfast, then we open presents, then we eat and eat and eat some more… to the point where I feel like I’m going to explode. Perhaps the greatest gift I give myself on Christmas Day is to forget about my diet! But I think the best part of the holiday for me is being around Dirk’s nieces and nephews. I grew up with such a tiny family, essentially just me and my mom. Now to have all this instant family and Dirk’s four nieces and nephews who actually call me “Uncle Jesse” running around is just an awesome part of this holiday I really never thought I’d get to experience or enjoy.

What are you giving each other for Christmas?

DIRK: Undying love and affection. Daily internal back rubs. World peace. I suspect Jesse’s had my Christmas presents stashed away somewhere for months already. Me, I’ll still be shopping on Christmas Eve!

JESSE: Actually, I honestly don’t know yet. I’m always on the lookout for good Christmas (or, in my family’s case, Hanukkah) presents all year round. If I see something that I think would make a great present, I’ll buy it even if Christmas is months away. For example, I gave Dirk a pocket watch last year that I bought for him in September! This year, nothing has jumped out at me yet. I suspect that’ll change soon. In the meantime, I have a pretty good back-up plan, but if I tell you what it is it’ll ruin the surprise!

How do you handle jealousy, knowing that one of you “is walking around outside a building while his partner is inside being fucked by half of San Francisco”, to use a well-known quote from a former porn star couple?

DIRK: “Half of San Francisco” really isn’t quite a fair description. I film about two scenes a month, meaning I have sex with two guys (and maybe some statistical fraction more, to account for the very rare threesome) on average a month. Jesse films even more rarely, about eight scenes a year. There isn’t much justification to get jealous when this is such a non-occurrence. Our envy strikes more often when one of us has the opportunity to work with someone the other has lusted after. We generally joke about it though, because we know full well that in a few weeks the tables will turn and it’ll be the other’s opportunity to be envious!

Is being a known couple a help or a hindrance to your ongoing adult careers?

DIRK: There are a lot of porn stars out there, and more all the time. It’s a huge advantage to be able to distinguish yourself somehow from the general mass of cute faces, sexy bodies, big cocks, and tight asses. Being an established and secure couple in that world has proven a very strong advantage. There aren’t many of us couples, after all: Tomas Brand and Logan Rogue, Josh West and Peter Axel, Seth and Billy Santoro, Austin and Tyler Wolf. Those come to mind mainly because they’re good friends of ours.

What is the horniest thing you have done on set?

JESSE: In Loud and Nasty, I shocked Dirk with a 500,000 volt taser, pissed in his mouth, then fucked him on a pommel horse. It was horny and raunchy and oh so much fun.

DIRK: My most extreme scene for Titan was a threesome in Invasive Procedures with Tibor Wolfe and Ethan Hudson. It started with Tibor inflating his scrotum with a saline drip until it was stretched to the size of a grapefruit. Seems watersports figured in that scene too somewhere, but I’d have to go back to see. We finished the scene with me and Ethan taking turns fisting Tibor and stroking his engorged ballsack until he came.

Dirk, you started in BDSM, what are your favorite fetishes and sex acts?

DIRK: I’ve always been a big bondage nut; I love elaborate ropework and shibari and such, but I also love just slapping a guy in a set of leather cuffs and straps. I love to flog a guy, partly because I love a good flogging myself — it’s seriously the world’s best back massage, and done right, it opens some internal emotional portals you didn’t know you had. I love building and confirming the sense of trust a sub has to have in me to put himself into my hands in any of these situations. Indeed, the biggest thing to understand about BDSM in general, regardless of how mean or serious a player you are, is that it is still a very, very deep form of intimacy.

Is both of you being involved in the adult industry a strength or a weakness in your relationship?

DIRK: It certainly makes sure we always have something to talk about! Between the news and drama of the industry, keeping an eye out for friends, and just trying to juggle our disparate schedules, there’s never a dull moment. We do on occasion have to sigh and just say, “Babe, can we PLEASE talk about anything else for a while?” We laugh. And change the subject. For about ten minutes.

How do fans follow all your sleazy goings-on and hear about your latest film releases and personal appearances?

JESSE: The best place to follow me is on my blog, at www.JesseJackman.xxx. My Facebook page, at facebook.com/JesseJackman, is happily still up and thriving. And I’m on Twitter at @JesseJackmanXXX.

DIRK: My blog is at www.DirkCaber.com, though Jesse’s blog often has far more news and information. A little of my music can be listened to on a page Jesse set up at www.soundcloud.com/JesseJackman. I’m also on Twitter at @DirkCaber.

Dirtyboyz, December 2014 - Cover

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Fisting for Compliments: Dirk and I talk gay-for-pay, family life, and on-set disasters with Adam Baran from The Sword

On the set of Extra Firm

On the set of Extra Firm

For me, the trip was entirely unexpected. Dirk was appearing at Hustlaball in New York that evening, and I had not originally planned to make the trip. When I woke up that morning, though, I realized that I didn’t have all that much going on — nothing I couldn’t postpone, anyway — so I jumped on good ol’ BoltBus and met Dirk in the Big Apple early that afternoon.

Hustlaball rehearsal took place at a club called Slake at 2 pm; as usual, it was great to see many of our industry friends all gathered in one place. When Dirk was finished, we left with a gentleman I’d never met before named Adam. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it was Adam Baran, author of the weekly column Fisting For Compliments over at The Sword. We walked over to the Tick Tock diner on 8th and sat down for a late lunch. Adam had arranged to interview Dirk that afternoon, but in essence I crashed the party; what was originally supposed be a solo affair turned into a couple’s interview for one of the most well-respected publications in the industry. Adam was kind enough to have me along, though, and seemed pretty satisfied with the result. I hope you will be too. -J.J.

NEW YORK — It’s 4 pm on Hustlaball Sunday, and I’m at a crowded Midtown diner, sitting across from one of the evening’s big stars, Dirk Caber, and his partner Jesse Jackman. Though under normal circumstances these two gorgeous muscled porn papas might cause something of a stir amongst the other customers, the presence of dozens of costumed attendees en route to the nearby New York Comic Con allows Caber and Jackman to keep something of a low profile. Clearly, these are unusual circumstances. Caber, who, we recently noted, just filmed yet another installment of his Men.com hit series Stepfather’s Secret, and Jackman, a Titan Exclusive, are a sight to behold. Only a few hours later, Caber will be flogging a fellow star onstage at Hustlaball later and getting punished himself, while Jackman will be a proud observer. In the short period between rehearsal and costume fittings, I spoke with the pair about their worst on-set disasters, how they broke the porn news to their families, and why they think Men.com has so many gay-for-pay stars.

Adam: Dirk, how long have you been doing fetish and leather stuff?

Dirk: I came out of a relationship in spring of 2005, and just before that happened, my boyfriend discovered that I had a bit of a fascination with bondage. His opinion was that anybody who had any interest in the S&M world had to be certifiably mentally unsound. I knew three guys at the time who were in that world, and they were some of the most grounded, creative, intelligent people that I knew. I started talking to them and ended up making a beeline for that world. It’s been nine years now. In the course of that I’ve gone from being a complete neophyte with it to teaching classes, coaching couples in S&M techniques and safety. It’s ultimately what got me into porn.

On the set of Extra Firm

On the set of Extra Firm

Dirk: Pretty much, yes. I had a reputation for knowing my stuff, and I brought my body back into line with itself. One particular director at Titan, Paul Wilde, befriended me online and said it was rare to find anybody who knows the shit and looks the role. He said, “If you’re ever interested, let me know.” My response was, “This? Are you kidding? Do you know how fat I am? You don’t want me on camera, trust me.” It took about two years of him reiterating the invitations for me to say, “Hmmm, maybe I should think about this.”

Jesse, you’re a Titan Exclusive right?

Jesse: Right. Third year running.

When did you guys start doing Hustlaball?

Dirk: This is my second Hustlaball. We did Hustlaball together in London a year ago. That was the first one I actually performed at. I’ve been in this venue, for the first Hustlaball, five or six years ago, when my ex performed. It was a really chaotic event. They were trying to figure out that unusual space. I’ve certainly attended before, but this is the first time I’ve been onstage in New York.

Jesse: I don’t do as many shows as Dirk does. I like being the plus-one. I like coming to observe and take it all in.

How long have you guys been together?

Dirk: Three years and how many weeks? Two weeks?

Jesse: One thousand, one hundred, and seventeen days. Don’t ask how I know that.

How did you guys meet?

Dirk: I had been in porn about a year when we went to Folsom three years ago. He had just signed on as a Titan Exclusive. He was having a few misgivings about whether he’d done the right thing or not. We had a mutual friend in San Francisco that Jesse would stay with and he was talking to him about this and the friend said, “I’ve got somebody that you should talk to about this. He’s got his head pretty square on his shoulders and he might be able to help you figure out what you’re thinking.”

Jesse: At this point I’m rolling my eyes and thinking, “Oh great, here we go, another set-up.”

Dirk: My response to him was also, “I really don’t need you playing yenta. I don’t need a boyfriend right now. Stop it.” He’s a big old romantic who wants to see everybody happy, a sweetheart, but I was like no. No, no, no, no. But he snuck up on me with Jesse at Beatbox in San Francisco and said, “Dirk meet Jesse.” I said, “Okay, yeah, he’s hot.” We got to talking, not so much that evening, I guess, but in the course of the weekend we were both in the Titan booth at Folsom and hanging out at other venues and getting to know each other, I thought, Okay, good I’ve made a really good friend. He lives in Boston, I live in Chicago. At the end of the weekend, we all go home but we’re staying in touch. Our text messages back and forth were epic. We were on the phone a couple times, but two weekends later, he’s going to the gay flag football tournaments in Houston and Jesse stresses out a bit when he’s packing. We were on the phone until four in the morning while he was packing. He’s packed, exhausted. He really thinks, “he won’t say yes because it’s too close to the weekend already.” But he says —

Jesse: I don’t know what I was thinking but I just said, “You wanna come down to Houston with me?” It was 4 am Thursday morning, the tournament started Friday. It’s a big last minute drop-everything flight for a guy I knew a total of weeks. I just blurted it out, thinking he’d be polite in his rejection. He actually said, “Well actually, I don’t really have much going on this weekend. Let me think about this.”

Dirk: I looked up how expensive flights were and it was manageable. I arrived on Saturday to watch him play the last two plays of his last game. We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out, and with the team and getting to know each other very intimately. By the end of the weekend we figured out there’s actually something here.

Jesse: Next time was Halloween. Thanksgiving I met his family. He met my mom shortly after. His family invited me back for Christmas and by then we were pretty well sealed.

What are you guys like in your families? Do they know what you do?

Dirk: Both of our families know.

Jesse: I’m an only child; it’s just me and my mom. She’s a university professor, and also a powerlifter so I sort of have the gym-workout mentality. She actually competed for a while, up until her sixties. We’re very close. She found out about the industry stuff because — long story short — she saw a bank statement from a deposited check from Titan, but it was from Adult Resource Management which is their parent company. She saw it and was like, “What is this?” Being a professor, she did her research; she looked it up and traced it back to the Titan homepage, which that week was featuring a video of Dirk and me right on the front page where I’m bound to a St. Andrews cross and he’s shocking me with a violet wand.

Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman in TitanMen's Loud and Nasty -- the scene that Jesse's mom found online.

Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman in TitanMen's Loud and Nasty — the scene that Jesse’s mom found online.

Oh my god.

Jesse: I found out she knew because I had gone over to her house during the day and I needed to look up something on her computer, and it was open to my Facebook page where I had just been talking about my activities, where I’d been and some events I’d been working. So I knew that she knew but she didn’t know that I knew that she knew. I freaked out and immediately called Dirk who was LA at the time and asked him to come to Boston now because I didn’t know what to do. Couple of days later we had dinner with her and after dinner I said, “I need to tell you something. I was over here and I had to use your computer for something and it was open to —” and she filled in the sentence: “Your Facebook page.” The first thing she said after that was “I’m so glad we’re talking about this.” She had known for about a month. Originally, she freaked out. She said she thought a part of her had died when she saw me on this cross being tortured by my relatively new boyfriend.

Did she think Dirk talked you into all this? “Not my baby, he couldn’t do that.”

Jesse: Exactly. Only child of a Jewish mother.

Dirk: But Jesse was saying, “Okay, I know she’s been looking at it for a while. I’ve seen her since then, she must still love me. It must be okay somehow.”

Jesse Jackman and his mom.

Jesse Jackman and his mom

Jesse: Her initial reaction had been full of concern for my health, along with “What has Dirk done to my baby?” But then she started reading my blog, and by reading some of the stories I’d written about with my interactions with fans and about my experiences, she saw that there were a lot of great things that had come about. She learned about how I met Dirk and how he changed my life. She’d known him for about six months at that point. She loved him. She was able to put it in perspective. I still don’t think she quite understands it all. She’s of a generation that’s not quite as sexually liberal as we are these days. But she’s always supportive. She loves me no matter what. She follows the blog and will talk to me about the articles I’ve written. I’ll talk to her about them. I wrote a story about her for the Huffington Post on Mother’s Day.

What about you, Dirk?

Dirk: I was keeping it on the down low for a while there. I’m definitely the black sheep of the family. I have two siblings, both with kids. I’m the oldest, too. For a long time I was held up as the model of the bunch, but I’m also the one who’s completely uncontrollable, and off to do his own thing. But as Jesse was starting to become more and more known, I started to wonder if it was only a matter of time before somebody held up a picture of Jesse and me and said, “Is this your son?” I figured it would be best if they heard it from me. I sat them down before Christmas last year. I said “I need to tell you about this. First of all, these are the really wonderful things that have happened to my life because of this.”

The cart before the horse.

Dirk: So I built it up and said, finally, “So what I’m telling you is, I’m in porn.” My mother’s first response was, “Oh god, I was so afraid you were gonna tell us you had cancer.” They’re far more fascinated with the whole thing than freaked out about it. My mother’s response was like Jesse’s, mostly about the health ramifications and safety; I told her about the studios we work with and how concerned they were with both of those things. My father gets on his computer and looks us up and finds us everywhere and goes, “My god, you guys are famous.” He’s fascinated by the technical aspect of how you put together porn. His final word was that the only thing he doesn’t like is that he has absolutely nobody he can brag about this to.

Dirk, I feel like you’re becoming really well known for your Men.com daddy stuff. Stepfather’s Secret is a big hit and Son Swap — I can’t tell you what a huge load I shot to the second episode of that.

Dirk: Awesome. Working with Luke Adams, wow, what a sweetheart.

What I think is so interesting in that scene is that I really felt like it was the first scene in a while where the acting was good, the writing, the build up to that story, it takes a good six-seven minutes before you get to the sex scenes. It feels really organic and believable. By the time the sex starts I’ve already shot my load.

Dirk: Awesome.

I’m curious what your experience is like working with Men.com? You’ve done some of your best work for them.

Dirk: They’ve been very generous with me. Possibly the ability to do the B-roll, all the things that lead into the sex and provide the sex with a story, that’s probably part of why they value me.

Jesse: You had a non-sexual role in one of their films too.

Dirk: Right. With Rafael Alencar. For me though, you go back and look at porn 15-20 years ago or even further back then that, and go back to the days when porn was looking for creative ways to keep guys in the theater and look at the storylines they would create or the interesting ways they would have of presenting sex. The amount of creativity that went into everything around the sex, that was so much more a part of the filming. The actual sex used to be a relatively small part of the film. Nowadays it’s all very scene based. You go online and rent the one scene you want to watch. Nobody wants to spend huge amounts of time watching dialogue first, you want to get on with it.

Also back in the day they didn’t do twenty minutes from this angle, twenty from that. They cut it like real sex. It would take time for the sex to happen and then it would be quick.

Dirk: It’s a lost art now. The reward was the sex, not just the cumshot. It’s fun to have something like Men.com which does a little bit of scripting. We make it as brief as possible, and of course with anything like Son Swap where there’s an older figure and a younger figure, you do need to set it up so that nobody’s looking at it and thinking it’s pederasty. That kid’s of age, he knows what he’s doing. In many cases, like the one with Luke Adams, it’s the kid who initiates. It becomes really important to establish certain things.

TitanMen's Extra Firm with Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman

TitanMen’s Extra Firm with Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman

Lots of young guys have that fantasy.

Dirk: How many of us at a young age wished we had somebody? My first sexual experience was with a guy my own age, and neither of us had a clue what we were doing. We were on a dock in the middle of a lake. We were trying to figure out — okay, we know this piece goes inside of that. Does it involve needing a foreskin? How does it work? It was probably on our third night — I don’t know how we didn’t injure each other trying, but we realized, um, maybe this is what KY is for? How many times I wished I had somebody who would say “this is how it’s done.”

Jesse: I also think a lot of people share that experience of fantasizing about their gym teachers or other masculine role models and not being able to have experience that fantasy when they were younger. Something like Stepfather’s Secret takes that fantasy and, I don’t want to say exploit it, but —

It capitalizes on it.

Jesse: Right. A lot of us have this unfulfilled experience, and now watching as an adult can identify with it and appreciate it more.

Is Luke Adams your favorite co-star at Men.com?

Dirk: That’s a good question. Billy Santoro may be my favorite. Luke is way up there.

I was just watching the movie you did with Billy.

Dirk: Neighbors.

Jesse: You had great things to say about Scott Harbor too.

Dirk: Scott Harbor was great. He has a little trouble with his cumshots at the end of scenes, but other than that he’s sweet, sexy, friendly, straight but has no difficulty with the content he’s working with. He’s really awesome. He also has a very interestingly shaped ass.

I feel like some of what people rag on Men.com for is that there are a lot more gay-for-pay stars. Do you find that to be the case, and is it a problem?

Dirk: I don’t find them a problem, usually. There’s certainly nothing that they’re doing that causes a problem. Most of them are very professional. It is a little daunting when, okay, I’m into my scene partner, and it’s hot. Part of porn is making a connection with the other person, because you’re about to stick your dick in them. You have to have some kind of friendliness. Part of that is knowing you turn them on as well. When you don’t have enough tits to turn on your scene partner, it can be a little frustrating, when you film for thirty minutes, he loses his hard-on because he’s not turned on, and he has to go take a shot or watch titty porn. In the meantime I lose my hard-on. I don’t understand why it’s necessary to hire straight boys to do this when there’s probably huge numbers of perfectly willing and capable gay men who can do the job.

Jesse, do you have the same problem?

Jesse: No. Titan has a policy of working with only gay performers. With the gay-for-pay people there’s levels and degrees. You’re taking a chance that there’s not going to be that connection. There are some people like Scott Harbor who are awesome and laid-back.

Dirk: Yeah, there are guys out there who are just sexual beings. I didn’t get to do a scene with him but Paddy O’Brian was an absolute sweetheart. We were supposed to do a scene together for COLT but circumstances intervened and we weren’t able. Ricky Sinz, I think if it had two legs and he could split them he could fuck it. That’s not a bad thing!

Jesse: I understand Titan’s desire to work with only gay performers because it takes that element of chance out of it. I don’t understand why other studios choose to work with gay-for-pay performers, but hey, sometimes the chance can pay off big.

Dirk: The only theory I have with Men.com is that they are part of a larger umbrella company that does mostly straight porn. The straight side is not as constrained about safer sex rules as the gay side — a lot of straight porn is bareback — but they are concerned about transmission of diseases. The straight side generally requires testing for various STDs. And though Men.com’s company is very strict on set, they don’t work with any HIV positive performers, so I just wonder if it’s simply easier to hire people who aren’t going to be quite as exposed. As a result there are a slew of really great performers that they can’t hire because they’re positive.

Jesse: It’s a shortsighted policy, though. Sex on a porn set is the safest sex you’ll ever have. You have multiple people looking at what you’re doing with a high definition video camera. If there were any potential risk of HIV transmission they’re going to know about it right away and they’re going to be able to treat it, give you a fresh condom if you need it, etc. It seems like overkill to not allow HIV positive performers. I don’t know what status my scene partners are, and honestly, I don’t care.

What is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on set?

Jesse: I’ve got a good one. I was filming with Joe Gage. Caught in the Act. Jessy Ares was a special request of mine. I met him at Folsom and really wanted to work with him, and the schedule worked out. We’re doing the oral part of the scene and he’s a rather hung individual. At the end of the oral scene, while Jessy’s dick was still in my mouth. I puked. In my mouth. A lot of it. I thought, “Shit, I’m going to ruin this scene if anyone gets a hint that just happened.” So I closed sealed my lips really tight and swallowed it. And no one knew, nobody was the wiser. That was pretty horrifying, like, when I was filming for Joe Gage of all people.

Dirk: The closest to a disaster I’ve come is that you get one cumshot and you have one chance to catch it. One of the companies I work with has a lot of rules about where bodily fluids go. They don’t do facial cumshots. My scene partner was lying flat on a table. I’m jerking off over him. I know I’m aimed at one o’clock. His head’s at 12 o’clock. But it still comes out and I’m not usually a long distance shooter and it still went directly into his face. All I hear is the director from behind the monitor go, “Oh shit!” My scene partner just laid back like nothing happened. We had to look at the three cameras and found one that didn’t show you where it landed. So they couldn’t extend the cumshot part of the scene like normal.

You also escort, right, Dirk? Is there a market for the daddy rentboy?

Dirk: Oh absolutely. But it’s not often that I get a young guy hiring me looking for a daddy. Most of my clientele is people my age or older, who want somebody who has a little more culture and conversation. Often sex never enters into the occasion. They want you there on the bed curled up and talking.

Jesse: Half-escort, half-therapist. A lot of talking and listening, at least that’s how Dirk describes it.

Jesse Jackman and Dirk Caber relax at Island House in Key West

Jesse Jackman and Dirk Caber relax at Key West’s Island House

How do you two keep your relationship afloat?

Jesse: When we were getting started, Titan director Paul Wilde, who was already a good friend of Dirk’s and had just met me, cautioned Dirk against a relationship.

Dirk: He had seen so many porn couples not survive because the relationship was based on what you did as porn stars. He said, “This never ends well.” It’s not even about personal jealousy, it’s about professional jealousy. At any given moment, one of you is gonna have a star on the ascendant and the other is going to be on the wane. And you’re going to be looking at the other, saying, “What’s wrong with me?” Paul said, “That really will tear people apart. And if the only thing you have in common is this industry… This industry is not a long-term career for anybody. The average career is two years. When you don’t have something else to sustain the relationship, what do you have?” Walking into this warned, we were able to think about this and say, you know, we have so much in common besides just porn. We have our family alliances. We have a mutual dorky nerdiness. An appreciation of music and arts. A whole slew of stuff. We said we would give it a try. As far as the professional jealousy thing goes, it just became a running joke between the two of us that at any given moment; one of will look at the other and say, “I’m feeling a little left out here.” Two weeks later, the other will be saying the same thing.

Jesse: The most difficult part of the relationship is really a normal thing for most couples. It’s the traveling. Dirk’s away a lot. He films a lot more than I do. I’m home alone. But that’s typical of what every couple goes through. I miss him terribly and am so happy when he comes back. He’s going to Berlin soon for a week and half and I’m going to miss him like crazy. But if that’s the worst problem we face, then I’d say we’re doing pretty damn well.

Adam Baran is a filmmaker, blogger, former online editor of Butt Magazine and co-curator of Queer/Art/Film. His short film JACKPOT, about a porn-hunting gay teen, won Best Short Film at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was recently featured on The Huffington Post, Queerty, and Towleroad, among others. He is a features programmer at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival and NewFest in New York. In his spare time, he complains about things to his friends. “Fisting for Compliments”, his weekly musings about the intersection of sex, art, porn, and history, will appear every Monday on TheSword. You can contact him at Adam@TheSword.com and follow him on Twitter at @ABaran999. Check out his previous columns in the Fisting for Compliments archive.

He Said/He Said: “Around the World” with Dirk and Jesse

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Yesterday, I announced that Dirk and I will star together in a brand new TitanMen feature, SWEAT (click here for a free preview), coming next week exclusively to TitanMen.com. This will be our 4th Titan scene together (joining Loud and Nasty, Extra Firm, and Foul Play), and we’re both really excited for this latest one! With that in mind, the timing of the following brand new interview is pretty great. Dirk and I – along with 78 of our porn colleagues – were recently interviewed for a new book entitled “Around the World in Eighty Gay Porn Stars.” We were all asked the same 20 questions, and our answers are printed verbatim in the book. Since Dirk and I wrote our answers separately, I thought it would be fun to share them as a sort of “he said/he said” feature. Most of our responses are below; for the bonus question “Are you a porn star when having sex off-camera?” (as well as answers to the same 20 questions from the likes of Buck Angel, Conner Habib, Marco Wilson, and many more) you’ll have to buy the book. Happily, it’s just $6.75 at Amazon.com!

How, when and why did you become involved in the porn industry?

JESSE: Back in 2011 I met Hunter Marx and Ethan Anders in Saugatuck, Michigan. The three of us hooked up and had a really great time; I didn’t even know they were a porn star couple until Hunter mentioned something in passing the next day. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a fun life they must have. I wonder if I could do it too.” Coincidentally, about two weeks later I ran into an old friend of mine, Roman Wright, who had worked with TitanMen and other studios. I asked him if he thought I could be a porn star too. He said that while I probably could do it, he actually advised me against it; he thought I wouldn’t like being in the public eye because of all the potential for criticism.

In any case, Roman mentioned to Titan’s casting director that I’d been curious about the industry, and the next day I got a call from the studio asking me if I wanted to work with them. I thought about it for several weeks, and the more I considered it, the more it sounded like fun. I felt like I could handle the criticism, and I decided I had nothing to lose by at least giving it a shot… and besides, if I never tried it, I’d never know what it was like. So I jumped in… and I loved it. Still do! Although to this day I don’t read reviews of my scenes.

DIRK: I’d been involved in the NYC BDSM scene for some years when I befriended online Paul Wilde, director of Titan’s ROUGH line. He said it was a rare guy who actually knew his way around a hank of rope or a flogger who would also look the part on camera, but that I could fit the bill; would I be interested in porn. I politely declined, as I didn’t think I was physically anything anyone would want to see on camera. He understood, and didn’t press, but we stayed friends, and every so often he would reiterate the invitation. Two years later I realized that he was the pro and probably had a better sense for who had potential than I did. So I agreed. I figured I’d make one, maybe two films, I’d have had some fun, and that would be the end of it. Four years now after I’d said yes, I’ve worked with some dozen studios, filmed sixty-odd scenes, and am still going strong!

Does your family know, and if so, are they supportive?

JESSE: Last year, my mother found out that I make porn. She accidentally saw my bank account statement with a deposit from Titan Media, wondered what Titan was, and googled it… and I was on the front page of Titan’s website. She kept it to herself for several months before we finally talked about it, but when we finally did talk, she was great. She had been upset at first, but then she read my blog and saw my Facebook page and realized that working in porn had made me happier than I’d ever been. She’s still not a huge fan of the idea, but she’s been incredibly supportive.

I’m also glad to say that my family has expanded as a result of my porn work. Shortly after I started working with Titan, I met my partner Dirk Caber, a fellow actor who has filmed with Titan, COLT, Kink, and many other studios. We worked together at the Titan booth at the Folsom Street Fair in 2011 and have been joined at the hip ever since. We’ve even filmed four scenes together! He’s a truly amazing man, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. He recently “came out” to his family about our porn careers, and they’ve been awesome too; in fact, his father said that the only bad thing about it is that he doesn’t have anyone he can brag about it to!

DIRK: They do. Sometime before Christmas last year, partly because Jesse and I were becoming ever more publicly known outside the adult world as industry figures, I sat down with my parents over dinner for a second “coming out”. In preparation for their scepticism, I prefaced the revelation by listing all the awesome things that have come into my life as a result of being part of the porn world, from close friends to non-porn work to the opportunity to travel… to the coup de grâce, the love of my life, fellow porn actor Jesse Jackman, whom they adore. When I finally revealed what I’d come to say, my folks of course had to get online and look us up, and decided that we must be famous. I’d figured they’d probably be of the mind that I’m an adult and can make my own life decisions, but I was entirely unprepared for my dad’s response: “The only thing I don’t like about this is that I’ve got nobody to brag about it to!”

Do you find your job has an effect on your relationships?

JESSE: Not really. Except for improving my confidence a bit, I don’t think porn has really changed me all that much. My friends are still friends, my family is still my family, and Dirk is still my Dirk.

DIRK: It has, though perhaps not in the way you might expect. I fell in love with a fellow porn star. Before I started in the industry that would have sounded like a pairing destined to fail, and indeed we were even warned against it by colleagues. Recognizing that we both have lives and passions and families outside of porn, which are even stronger ties to each other than this little short-lived avocation we also share, however, we decided to give it a go. We’re now nearly three years in, a major record for both of us as far as relationship durations go, and we’re only more in love than ever. As far as either of us sees it, we’ve found our life partner, and to both our astonishments we met through porn.

Describe your perfect romantic date.

JESSE: It involves food, of course, as I’ve always been a major foodie. We’d find an out-of-the-way restaurant with a funky vibe, friendly service, and, naturally, kick-ass grub. Dessert is a must, because it gives us a great excuse to go home and work off the extra calories.

DIRK: Hmmmm. Jesse and me at home on the sofa. Football, baseball, or hockey on the TV. An extra large Hawaiian pizza, vodka, and maybe ice cream. Dozing off with my head on his chest, or the other way around… And then burning off all those calories in the sling a few hours later.

Where is your favourite city and why?

JESSE: This answer might seem like a cop-out, but it’s Boston. My home. There are so many things to love about this city… the culture, the character, and the history… and yes, even the weather. London, San Francisco, and Montreal, however, are right up there.

DIRK: I have different favourites for different reasons and at different times. Prime ‘urbs for me would be New York City, London, Chicago, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rio de Janiero, and San Francisco. Usually it’s the combination of high culture, steamy underbelly, and the friends who live there that make it a city I’d thrive in.

What’s your typical weekend?

JESSE: Dirk and I usually sleep in a bit, mostly because it’s so difficult to extricate each other from the tangle of arms and legs, which usually results from a night in bed together (and yes, the extrication process often involves sex). Then we’ll go to brunch (a.k.a. “gay breakfast”) and head to Starbucks to do some writing, or hit the gym for a couple of hours. The evening usually involves something social, like having dinner with friends or going out to a club.

There are a couple of big exceptions, however. The first involves sports: I play flag football for several months of the year which takes up a lot of my Saturdays, and when the Patriots are playing on Sunday you can’t rip me away from the TV. The other is travel: Dirk and I both love to travel, so on any given weekend you might find us in New York or Chicago or Montreal or San Francisco or any number of other destinations. My friends have even started to ask me when I’m going to be in town rather than out of town.

DIRK: There isn’t one. Truth be told, with two essentially “freelance” careers going on, I work as much on the weekend as I do during the week. Traveling as much as I do also erodes any sense of a seven-day cycle. Add to that the necessity of daily workouts and domestic routines, and my Saturday and Sunday don’t differ much from any weekday.

Breakfast, Afternoon Tea or Cocktails?

JESSE: Breakfast all the way. It’s my favourite meal of the day, especially when it involves blueberry pancakes.

DIRK: Breakfast. Jesse wakes up horny, but I wake up hungry. We usually take care of Jesse’s needs first, and then it’s time to start the coffee and cook Oeufs Quel Surprise!, our almost invariable breakfast repast: eggs scrambled with green vegetables, chicken or tuna, and cheese.

Who’s your favourite author?

JESSE: Douglas Adams. I liked the Hitchhiker’s “Trilogy” and the Dirk Gently books well enough, but his Last Chance to See has cemented him at the top of my favorite author list for a long time to come.

DIRK: I love so many. Graham Swift, Richard Russo, Neil Gaiman, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Chris Adrian, Alessandro Baricco, Vladimir Nabakov, Richard Russo, Jonathan Letham, Jasper Fforde, Philip K. Dick, Italo Calvino, C. S. Lewis, Jonathan Franzen, Umberto Eco, Michael Chabon…

What’s your happiest childhood memory?

JESSE: When I was a kid I was quite musically inclined. After a couple of years trying to learn piano, and after brief flirtations with the violin, clarinet, and snare drum, I finally settled on baritone horn. (I’d actually wanted to play tuba, but was told that it was too large for me to carry.. I really enjoyed performing, especially when I got the chance to do it with others. At age nine I played in my first public concert as part of a youth ensemble in the Grand Rotunda at Boston’s Quincy Market. Our program included selections from Mame and Hello, Dolly, among other things. I remember playing my heart out and being so, so proud of what I’d accomplished.

I put the horn away in high school, but it has a habit of reappearing in my life from time to time; I played it in a drum and bugle corps for a couple of years in college, and then in 2013 I dusted it off again to play with the Lesbian and Gay Band Association in President Obama’s second inauguration. (Dirk, a professional tuba player, just might have a hand in convincing me to do that.)

DIRK: I must have been five or six. In the middle of the night, in the dead of the Maine winter, my father woke me up, bundled me up in my heavy blanket with a bear on it (which is still on my bed to this day), and carried me outside into the cold. He and mom and I stared up at the sky for I don’t know how long at the ghostly flickering drapes of blue-green light. I’ve read somewhere that I was lucky enough to witness one of the most extraordinary displays of aurora borealis that far south in the twentieth century. There was no wind, and everything was perfectly still. There was no moon, and at least in my memory, there was more star than there was sky between the stars. The ocean reflected the light, the snow reflected the light, the windows of the house reflected the light… There are Maxfield Parrish paintings of night scenes with a cool surreal illumination to them that remind me of that night.

Which Disney character best describes you?

JESSE: Chewbacca. Hey, he’s Disney now, right?

DIRK: Archimedes.

What’s your favourite sexual position and why?

JESSE: Missionary, because I get to look into my partner’s eyes.

DIRK: If it involves Jesse, I’m pretty happy with it. But I’m pretty versatile. And game.

What are your thoughts on the rise of barebacking in porn and do you have any health concerns?

JESSE: I’ve found that certain elements within the porn industry are glamorizing the practice of barebacking, eroticizing it as something exciting and hot. I believe this sets a very bad example. The first association that most people make with bareback sex is the risk of HIV transmission, but there are plenty of other STDs out there (gonorrhea, Chlamydia, hepatitis, and syphilis, just to name a few), and condoms currently represent our best blanket defense against their transmission.

I’ve heard stories from my friends in the escorting business of clients who insist on barebacking because “so-and-so porn star does it.” Barebacking in porn sends the message that unprotected sex is okay, and potentially encourages people to gamble unnecessarily with their health. One of the reasons I chose to work with Titan is that the studio eroticizes safer sex, and gives me an opportunity to set what I believe is a good example rather than a perilous one.

DIRK: I feel that adult men should be able to tell the difference between the fantasy of a film and the practical concerns of reality. It’s certain that younger gay men garner misconceptions of what constitutes reasonable sex practice from porn, but that’s only because other institutions, family and schools and such, are too cowardly in the United States to be the responsible sources of this knowledge that they should be. What really pisses me off is the blatant proselytizing of raw sex I’m seeing in a few bareback studio productions of late. These studios tout recent developments in HIV-preventative medication as carte-blanche justifications to actively dispense with condoms, sometimes actively on camera.

They completely gloss over the more deadly threat of Hepatitis C and the strains of antibody-resistant gonorrhea on the rise in a few parts of the world now, which probably won’t kill you but can leave you maimed and impotent. There’s the certain possibility that being as freely libidinous now as we were in the 70’s might produce yet another epidemic, much as that one rather devastatingly did. Returning to HIV, in the past six years I myself have lost two friends (and nearly a third) to HIV-related infections, one to Hodgkin’s lymphoma and one to cranial encephalitis. All were on medication, all were undetectable only shortly before, but for certain reasons the medicine stopped working (luckily in the third case, only temporarily). It is true that HIV is tremendously more manageable an infection these days than it was twenty years ago, but anyone who tells you that you can’t die from it anymore isn’t telling you the whole story.

I have nothing against bareback porn in and of itself, but for a studio to actively and blithely suggest that there’s no longer anything unsafe about unprotected sex is just beyond reprehensible. Personally, I feel that there are times and situations where unprotected sex is entirely appropriate in real life; committed partners have every reason to want to enjoy that degree of intimacy, for instance. I wouldn’t be so silly as to dictate that all sex must involve a condom, but I understand the risks I incur as an active sexual creature. Hence I protect myself, and my partners, accordingly and appropriately off-camera, and will always project the responsibility I feel on-camera.

What’s the most pleasant porn adventure you’ve had?

JESSE: This whole journey, albeit not without its challenges, has been great. Here’s one particular moment, though, that I’ll always look back on with a smile. When I was starting to come out in my early 20s (I didn’t have sex until I was 22… late bloomer, I know!) the shape of my cock was a major source of internalized embarrassment (when hard, it has a dramatic downward bend). I used to be very nervous that anyone seeing it for the first time would get really freaked out, or even laugh at me. With experience, though, I’ve learned that there’s a multitude of unique things I can do with it, and no one has ever said anything negative about it. But the best moment was my first day on the Titan set back in 2011 when director Brian Mills described me as having a “dick made for cock-sucking.” He said it in such a perfectly matter-of-fact yet complimentary manner that, perhaps for the first time in my life, my penis felt like an asset instead of a liability. And it felt pretty amazing to know that I could be successful in the industry, even if I’m shaped like a boomerang.

DIRK: Filming the black and white sequence with Josh West for director Jake Deckard’s film for Ray Dragon, Men in the Sand. Josh has been the best of colleagues and is a good friend; the joy and playfulness and affection, which I’m told is so palpable in that scene, is entirely real.

What’s the most unpleasant porn adventure you’ve had?

JESSE: In 2013 I filmed a movie with legendary porn director Joe Gage called Caught in the Act. My scene partner was Jessy Ares, who’s a great guy… and very hung. Towards the end of the oral part of the scene, I… um… actually puked while deep-throating him. A lot. But I didn’t want to disrupt production, and I didn’t want to do anything to upset Joe, so I wrapped my lips tightly around Jessy’s cock, pulled back, and swallowed hard. I didn’t spill a drop, and we continued on. After we’d finished filming, I shared the story with the production team over dinner; it turns out nobody had even noticed what happened. Disgusting as it was, I’m actually really proud that I took one for the team.

DIRK: I’ve been lucky; there haven’t been many. And the few odd unfortunate moments I have had I think just don’t think are interesting enough to bear repeating.

How do you deal with fan requests, being recognised etc?

JESSE: While some of the details of my life are more public than usual because of the nature of what I do, there are some aspects which I choose to keep private. Family, friends, and my non-porn professional life (I have a day job in the healthcare industry) are pretty much off-limits. I draw a sort of curtain between the two parts of my life; I call it the “velvet veil.” As long as fan requests stay on the public side of the veil, I do my best to oblige; I’m happy to answer questions about my experiences in the industry, for example, but not about my family.

Being recognized in public is a bit of a trip for me; I’m basically just an ordinary guy from the suburbs who has a white-collar desk job (albeit with an interesting side-career), so it’s a bit weird that I can be walking down the street in another fucking country and someone knows who I am. I’m always appreciative when it happens, though, even if I’m still a little dumbstruck that it happens at all.

DIRK: Fans are absolutely no problem. Really, nearly everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or interacting with has been charming and friendly and occasionally a little awkward (me, intimidating? you gotta be kidding). I just wish I had enough time in a day to be able to reach out more.

Do you think gay porn objectifies men?

JESSE: Sure… but I think men generally tend to objectify people, be it straight men objectifying women or gay men objectifying men. Porn just capitalizes on that phenomenon.

DIRK: Of course it does. And I’m pretty sure there’s nothing inherently wrong or degrading about that. For me, working in porn has been empowering, increasing my confidence and by sometimes surprising twists and turns enriching many non-porn aspects of my life. Practically, though: do we really think we, as gay men, would stop objectifying each other if there were no porn? We are male, after all!

Are you a porn star when having sex off-camera?

JESSE: No. Well… yes. I am who I am when I’m having sex, whether or not it’s on camera… so I guess in that regard I’m a porn star all the time, or none of the time, depending on how you look at it.

DIRK: Nope. I’m passionate and goofy and sensual and all that, but I’m way too much into having my fun and participating in my partner’s fun to be worried about what our sex looks like.

Do you see a long future for yourself in porn?

JESSE: That’s hard to say. Jerry Greenfield, one of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s (Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream for the win, by the way), has a saying: “If it’s not fun, why do it?” I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment; as long as making porn is fun and rewarding, I’ll do it. And I’m still having fun.

DIRK: Porn is nearly never a long-term avocation. Sure, Casey Williams and Dean Monroe are legends with 20-year careers, but the average porn run is only two years. I’m closing in on four, so I figure I’m already cashing in on that “long future” aspect. I also started out perhaps ten years older than many guys are when they retire. I figure long as I’m having fun and guys out there still want to watch, though, I’ll keep making more.

Any advice for guys wanting to get into the porn industry?

JESSE: First off, take time to consider the ramifications of your decision. Will your job be cool with it? Your family? Your friends? Don’t assume they’ll never find out, because they will. And if you do decide to give porn a go, start at the top. Apply to work with the best of the best; don’t settle for some fly-by-night internet outfit that’s really just a guy with a webcam in some sleazy hotel room. Also, keep in mind that the average porn “career” only lasts about two years, and the amount of work you’ll get won’t necessarily be consistent, and it frankly doesn’t pay enough to be your sole source of income. It’s fun while it lasts, but don’t expect it to last forever.

Finally, when you become a commercial porn performer, you’re really creating and marketing a “brand.” It’s up to you to determine what that brand will be. One component of that decision is whether or not to go condomless. While the decision is ultimately yours, be aware that some of the top studios will not work with you if you’ve filmed any bareback scenes elsewhere. Barebacking — even so-called “responsible” barebacking — still puts people at greater risk for contracting not just HIV but other STDs as well… and certain companies don’t want to promote that brand. So if you want to last longer in this industry, it’s better to start out only doing high-end condom films. Condom-only will help maintain your personal brand from the start; you can make other decisions later in your career if you so choose. If you do go raw, just keep in mind that besides potentially jeopardizing your health and the health of your partners — both on-screen and in your private life — you’ll be limiting your professional options down the road.

DIRK: I’ve far more advice than you have space for here. I think the first thing I’d ever say is that porn is something you will do for fun first and for a little extra cash second; nobody can count on porn to be a primary source of income, and there is essentially no long term career in it. Don’t give up your day job, and definitely have a post-porn plan for your life.

Second would be to know that there are generally two career trajectories: do a ton of work just as you start out, be a big flash in the pan, and burn out in two or three years, or pace yourself, choose the higher-production-value projects and higher-level studios, don’t glut your market, and work longer. Know which of those you’d prefer to follow.

Third, make friends in the industry, especially with your co-stars. There’s no union for porn stars, so when things go wrong (and they do), your colleagues are what safety net and support circles you have. It also makes for better on-screen chemistry if you legitimately like each other, and having friends who mention you to other directors and studios as someone they’d love to work with again can only mean more work for you.

Fourth, keep tabs on your health, both physically and emotionally/mentally. I don’t need to go into the fact that even in a safe-sex-only studio it’s still possible to catch an STI (it’s happened even to me), so get tested regularly. More insidiously, as this work so involves sex, which is so much an aspect of how we identify our self-worth and manhood, it’s very easy to take a lull in work as a slight, or conversely to let the thrill of celebrity spin out of control. If you’re of a depressive nature or have manic tendencies, there’s a lot of forces in the porn industry that can only enhance either of those. Be vigilant, and if you sense your balance slipping, nobody will think the worse of you for taking a break for a while to regain your equilibrium, and you can only come back stronger, healthier, and wiser.

Fifth, remember that porn is in fact work, and often you have to find a way to make it fun. You’re not gonna get rich, so you may as well at least enjoy it, no?

What have you found to be the most surprising thing about doing porn?

JESSE: I’d have to say I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve learned about myself through my work in the industry. For example, I realized that I’m a far more confident person than I’ve ever given myself credit for, and with that confidence comes a level of pride I never thought I could attain. I don’t just make porn; I make the very best porn I possibly can, and I’m damn proud of that fact… which means that I can be proud of who I am, no matter what I choose to do.

DIRK: I think I’m most surprised by how much my porn life and real life have melded with each other. I’d started out carefully maintaining the usual “velvet veil” between my on-screen persona and my real-life self. As that curtain has proven difficult to keep completely closed, I’ve discovered that having a colorful little side career has been actually oddly advantageous to my arts career, often helping make me more memorable and hence more likely to be hired.

Friends have nearly universally been supportive, even those I’d always considered more conservative. I’ve already mentioned my own family’s response. Going in the other direction, being able to demonstrate life and skills outside of porn has definitely intrigued fans and encouraged them to engage on a deeper levels than “I loved your scene in…”, and has led to some really interesting dialogues on my Facebook page and on my blog. I don’t think I’m quite prepared to list “porn star” on my professional résumé yet, but perhaps in another five years…?