Like seemingly every creative profession in the world, porn is always in a state of flux, and the male porn star is never secure in his work. The rise of free, on-demand internet pornography means actors now have to work longer and harder, and for less money. But that has never deterred legions of horny young men from trying to break into the industry.
However, in the supposedly uninhibited and sexually liberated Netherlands, porn studios are finding it unusually difficult to recruit male talent.
“We get a lot of men who are interested in a shoot and send their details, and then when we call them to make an appointment they don’t show up,” Marie told The Hook. Marie is a sales representative at Video Art Holland, a studio known by Dutch masturbators for their barely-legal teen porn series Seventeen.
“They send us their details in a moment of horniness, and then when we really need someone , I think they regret their bravery,” Marie added.
VAH is the only Dutch pornography studio that still shoots in the Netherlands. However much of its shooting now takes place in Eastern Europe. Other studios like Conan Productions and Playhouse made this move years ago.
Bert Russeter is a 40 year veteran producer in the Dutch adult film industry. For him the decision to move abroad was simple. “The talent is better when you go east,” he told The Hook, “the kind of people who want to do porn here…nobody wants to see them naked.”
The lack of male volunteers – attractive or not – is a Dutch problem. But it’s not a worldwide one.
After journalist Susannah Breslin wrote about male porn stars for Forbes in 2012, she was inundated with emails from men around the world who thought she could be their “in” to a dream career. Spurred on by dreams of emulating their priapic heroes, readers wrote emails like this to Breslin:
“i would very much like to get paid for something i enjoy doing im not shy infront of cameras and i have a wooping 9 inches and i like meeting horny women x x”
Breslin received messages from all around the world, but porn studios can be selective about hiring male talent, and very few men make the cut. Those that do have to contend with a salary that’s often pitiful compared to that of their female counterparts. Men can earn $200 per scene, while women earn $800-2000 for the same scene.
Trends and styles change too. In the 1980s, porn was the domain of gargoyles like Ron Jeremy and John Holmes, whose chief selling points were a superhuman ability to get and maintain an erection and a freakishly large schlong, respectively. Thirteen inches for the curious.
These swamp creatures were replaced in the 1990s by the tribal-tattooed steroid freaks. The new spray-tanned, anabolically enhanced rent-a-cocks could compensate for a lack of natural talent with the newly developed drug Viagra, a real game changer in the business.
Now porn needs a new breed of man. In 2015, women make up a larger share of porn’s audience than before. They demand something more “real” than the ‘roided out hunks of yesteryear. A man who can be rough, but not detached and sadistic: a man who looks them in the eye while he fucks.
That’s why they watch James Deen perform. Deen is the good looking everyman of the adult industry, who manages to connect with women in a way Ron Jeremy and his ilk never could. According to PornHub.com, Deen is the male star most frequently searched by women.
“I’ve heard a lot about James Deen,”said Marie. “Our customers keep asking for more of his material in our magazines. He’s got that star quality, whatever that is.”
Marie has worked with big names in the past, like the notorious Italian rough houser Rocco Siffredi. Now though, her hiring standards are considerably lower.
“Our standards are not that high [in the Netherlands]. They don’t have to be good looking, they don’t have to be a “star”, they just have to be able to perform.”
“Able to perform” is a specific requirement. A budding woodsman must achieve an erection at a moment’s notice, endure hours of athletic power-shagging under hot studio lights, and finally climax on demand when time comes.
Without male stars or performers; Video Art Holland are unable to give the modern porn consumer what (s)he wants. And in an industry based on instant gratification, those consumers aren’t going to lie around unsatisfied for long.