Meet the Man Putting the Sex into Queer Sex Ed

But if there’s an opportunity to create something that allows men to go deeper, it really means having a different approach. So, mainstream porn, it might be two guys fly in in the morning, they shoot a scene all day, they fly out at night, and that’s it. And it works for what it is, maybe. But with Himeros.TV, if the goal is authenticity, it really means having a different approach. So when we film, we pick locations that are really remote. We fly out a group of models. We have a sex coach who facilitates the project, who’s written the concept, and who’ll be conducting workshops throughout the days to connect the models to the concepts and to each other. And we film for four days, and the crew and the models all stay on-site in the same property. It almost feels like queer summer camp. Everyone’s really passionate about what we’re doing, and so it creates a feeling of deep support. Having the sex coach on set, having deep collaboration with the models and the crew, all of this allows for this underpinning of safety and authentic expression.

You work with a lot of models who have been part of other productions. Did they come to you with feedback about what their experience is like on your sets compared to others?

Yeah, the general consensus is that it really is night and day. And that there’s an intentionality in the work that we’re creating that feels really purposeful and fun. We treat the models differently. We do free mental health support for the models. Once they’re done filming with us they get five free sessions with the coach. We have a porn star bill of rights. I don’t know of any other studio, gay or straight, that has anything like that. We believe in fair pay for the models. We have a non-fetishization policy. Instead of just telling models to work with each other, we do extensive surveys to find who’s gonna have the best chemistry. I don’t think there’s a way to capture the authenticity without also having a process that really centers around the models’ sexual, spiritual, and mental well-being.

We’ve all seen a million porn videos where you can obviously tell that the models are just not having a good time. It seems like you’re making an environment that’s more about the models having a really positive experience, and the audience benefits from that almost second-hand.

I think what’s interesting is that consumers demand, like, organic produce, right? They want coffee that’s fair trade, they want clothing that’s sweatshop-free. Why wouldn’t that same approach carry over to the porn that we consume? Sometimes we joke that what we do is like “grass-fed porn.” It’s interesting to me that [porn] feels like the last piece of conscious consumption to really change. But I do think with the rise of OnlyFans, that especially younger folks are recognizing the importance of paying for your porn, and watching porn that’s ethically created. I think that movement might be starting. We’re at the forefront of it, but I would love to see it not just be a top down but bottom up situation as well.

It feels like there’s a top and bottom joke in there somehow.

Probably. A missed opportunity, yes.

How do you come up with the concepts? Is there storyboarding involved?

Each year we film five projects, and we do twelve scenes for each of the five projects. We work with twelve or so different sex coaches because they all have a different perspective and a different teaching style. And it’s nice to present, both to the model and the audience, this smorgasbord of approaches. Whatever it is that we film, the twelve concepts are all connected by some larger theme. What I tend to do is ask the sex coaches about what’s really alive for them right now. Our next project is in France, and I approached our sex coach Matthew Shur about filming something. What was really alive for Matthew was taking a deep dive into fairy tales, and in particular retelling fairytales through a queer lens. So, rather than a concept coming from me, I’d rather it come from the coach. Their passion becomes infectious to the models and the crew.

I noticed on your prom-themed video that a lot of people left comments about how it was a positive take on a situation that was a negative experience for a lot of queer people.

Yeah, that concept was part of an overall theme we called “The Erotic Playground.” It was simultaneously about healing our younger selves but also learning from what our younger selves have to offer. As we get older, we tend to become disconnected from things like curiosity and joy. So half the themes are about reconnecting to that curiosity and joy. The other half are about healing that younger self. And so this scene in particular, a lot of us have this shared experience of missing prom or not going with the person that we really wanna go with. That’s gonna resonate with an audience of mainly gay and bisexual men.

In another release, one of the performers opens the scene by crying as he thinks about his loneliness, and the other models are comforting him. What was the response to that?

I can only imagine, right, someone gets home from work and they take their pants off, and they’re like, “I’m gonna watch the latest hot Himeros.TV scene.” And they sit down with a nice cup of tea and get themselves ready and press play and in the opening three minutes of the video someone’s crying hysterically and pouring their heart out. That’s quite confronting, and something that you don’t typically see in porn, but it’s also a really authentic experience and one that’s important to show. That was part of a retreat for everyday guys that we did in Hawaii, coming out of the pandemic. People had a lot of emotional weight on their hearts and that was the authentic expression at that time. And often I think we find ourselves more almost like documentary filmmakers. And he was brave enough to share his heart, and so it feels important to capture it and share it.

One of your recent scenes, “The Stripper,” you mention that models Oliver Marks and Carter Collins are real-life boyfriends, Alex is Carter’s “porn crush,” and that Oliver enjoys watching other people experience pleasure. That must’ve been a different and fun experience on set.

You know, some of the videos have these deeper concepts and are trying to convey these complex and nuanced truths. That was just watching a guy get his fantasy fulfilled with the support of his boyfriend. And yet another authentic expression of real pleasure, and it was super fun to film that. There were a couple minutes in the midst of it where we all just forgot we were even filming. Like, we were all just totally caught up in it. That’s definitely one of my favorite themes that’s come out this year.

You’re making gay boys’ dreams come true. Mission accomplished.

That’s it.

You’ve spoken about this before, how for queer men, our sex ed is essentially porn, and porn was really never meant to fill that role. How does that impact your work?

You can create porn that demonstrates, in really sexy ways, concepts that we want people to learn and embody. So you can watch a scene, and even if your intention is just to jerk off, there still might be some morsel of truth that you can take away as well. Porn need not be destructive when it comes to our sexuality, and we can create content that is constructive. By showing dynamic consent, by showing real pleasure, by showing models communicating with each other, by showing dicks that aren’t always rock-hard. By showing someone ask for a glass of water. Like, when do you ever see that in porn? And yet in sex, to give ourselves permission to ask for what we need, even if it’s a glass of water, I love it when we are able to capture those moments. When the scenes are being edited, we leave them in. And you can see someone ask for a glass of water in the middle of this scene.

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