James Deen is one of the most recognisable porn stars in the world right now. As his fame continues to escalate, with the helpful backing of his loyal fanbase (Deenagers), I spent over a month last year interviewing a handful of honest, funny and intelligent women - of all ages and backgrounds - as to why they really love James and how much of an impact he has had on their lives.
Through the course of this interviewing series, I'll be picking a selection of the women I had the opportunity to speak with and focus on their stories. Why should we hear second hand reasons from media outlets as to why James has such a following, when we can speak to the actual fans and get their true to life version?
A big shout-out to all the ladies that helped me out with these interviews, even if they were used or not, and to the DeenMe blog, who published my call for interviewees way back in August.
There will be further insights into the lives of more passionate Deenagers in the next coming weeks, but first check out what Gaby had to say on the topic of Hollywood sex fantasies and how she was selected for James' open casting call...
Watching Manhandled 4 seems to have been a major turning point for you sexually. Are there women out there that you've encountered - whether online or in person - that have been awakened to different types of sexual experimentation through watching James' films?
I definitely have! Particularly on the Deen Me blog, there was a tag created called ‘Reasons Why We Love James Deen’ and a lot of girls (even married women) were saying how it opened up their view of sexuality and made them try things and accept certain aspects of sex that they hadn't even known about before.
I also began sharing videos I enjoyed with two friends of mine and one became a huge fan. We don't discuss her sex life simply because it hasn't come up, but I'm sure she would tell you he has impacted it in a positive way. It made us realise that it's definitely possible and OK to have more rough sex and still manage to be loving and caring, as he shows in every single one of his films of that nature.
There is definitely a gender stereotype that comes with that, too. Because it is a dominant thing, it will usually be associated with men, and when you put 'rough' into any kind of sentence, people will assume something that is physically violent, not loving and caring and certainly not to do with women who are expected to lay there and do nothing. That's not cool with me.
Definitely! When you pick up magazines like Cosmopolitan you always have those tips to make your guy go crazy and have amazing sex, but reading the actual article, over half of it is dedicated to his pleasure - whether it's you doing something to turn him on, or a new position that'll feel better to him.
I think it's nice that they're making an effort to emphasise the girl taking action, but a girl can be dominant too! I consider myself to be submissive, however that doesn't mean that I can't take initiative and say what I want from a sexual relationship. I have often been the one to make the first move as they say, and the one who asked my boyfriend to be rougher and do certain things. It's not always the guy who wants to try the so called ‘kinky’ things.
|Screengrab from Cosmopolitan website|
With readerships as big as all those magazines it can definitely be damaging. It's all down to the stereotypes we have of people who are of different genders and how we're meant to act in our own intimate relationships.
Through James, there are women who are slowly but surely coming to that realisation that sex isn't the same each time round, like most relationships. There needs to be a lot more openness about sex in our society in general. For example, one of my friend's flatmates told a friend that you couldn't get pregnant if you were having sex standing up. She's my age, 20 years old. Stuff like that just amazes me.
There's a generalisation of sexuality because they feel the need to make sure every girl can relate somehow, and by doing that they end up giving girls a misconception about sexual relationships. I have had friends who have acted in a manner that any educated person would say is immature and ridiculous because they were not properly taught about sex.
After the experience of watching Manhandled 4, has it had an effect on the way that you view yourself as a sexual partner?
It may sound strange to some, but showing your boyfriend or significant other what you want when it comes to sex is a really empowering feeling. After watching it, I really wanted to go and say to the boy I was with, "Hey I wanna try this." So I did.
For whatever reason, I had always felt like sex was cookie-cutter and there were things a girl always had to do in order to please her boyfriend/husband, and that essentially it was all about him. I never really thought about the fact that I could ask if we could try something else, voice my opinion, or basically have a say when it came to sex. I don't know why that is, but yeah, after watching his films and reading his blogs it began to dawn on me that I was more than just a sexual object. He's constantly writing about how a girl’s body is hers and she can do whatever she wants with it so long as it makes her happy. That’s how I began to apply it to my sex life.
|Scene from Manhandled 4|
By you saying that you can now apply James' ethos to your own sexual life, it also debunks the myth that porn isn’t a good teacher of real life sex. Though I don't think porn is the right tool for educating those who haven't had any sexual experience (it’s acting), Hollywood's version of intimacy is far more removed than the adult industry a lot of the time.
It took me a while to realise it, but I did change a lot after discovering James' films. Something inside me just clicked and I didn't even think twice when talking about things I saw in his scenes.
You know, I have never agreed with that whole ‘porn sex isn't like real life sex’ – it is. The only blatant differences are that the majority of girls have perfectly toned bodies, fake boobs, tons of makeup, and a lot of actors have larger than average penises. Does that mean you will never have sex with a girl who is really into fitness? No. Does that mean you'll never have sex with a guy with a big penis? No. Everyone's lives and situations are different so there's a broad spectrum within porn, just like in real life.
Sure, there's websites that cater to different things, like Kink, but if people took the time to do some research they would know there are BDSN communities through which you can partake in similar activities, in a safe and controlled environment.
You can of course learn a lot from porn if you know how to look for the right kind. I know I did! Hollywood and its sex scenes and romantic relationships are cute and fun to watch, but they have never affected me on the level where I have changed the way I view specific things. It's simply too fake to me.
|Unrealistic expectations of romance and sex in The Notebook|
Good point. I feel like the differences I get from it are exactly what you've described, but also the fact you can have a lot of exaggerated reactions. The performers are acting and just happen to be using their bodies in order to do that. Maybe people don't like to compare their sex lives to the ones of adult films? But then you get people who can notice that difference. Bret Easton Ellis said that the young people he's had sex with now fuck like porn stars because of the access to all kinds of videos they have.
I think that's it - people don't like to compare their sexual lives to porn. It’s just like people obsessing over comparing their relationships to Hollywood films. If you ask me, it’s completely illogical. Compare one aspect to film but not the other? Why are people so afraid of that? Why do they let it affect them so deeply? I think this has to do with the societal and religious concept of sex being sacred, virginity, and having sex that is socially accepted (what some call vanilla sex.) I say those are the reasons for which porn is looked down on.
Hollywood, like adult entertainment, is a world built up on fantasy. You have people, look wise, you wouldn't think you'd see down the street, people that could be models, and the adult industry seems to follow that mantra too. James doesn't fit into that generalised trope.
There are a lot of women that build up fantasies of their own, imagining themselves with said person (i.e Ryan Gosling). Because of the way that James physically looks, is he more accessible to other women, including you? Would you say that when watching adult films it matters to have that believability rather than the fantasy that surrounds the industry?
He's definitely an attractive guy; he is really good looking and a sweetheart, so in that aspect he may fit in in Hollywood. So I don't think it's just because of his 'boy I know from maths class' looks.
The thing is, when you look at him, watch him perform, or listen to his interviews, he doesn't come off as unattainable. Ryan Gosling is the perfect example of the stereotypical perfect boyfriend in The Notebook. I know a lot of girls want that - the muscular, sensitive, supposedly passionate lover - but will they ever get their perfect Ryan Gosling? Probably not. By setting their standards so high they miss out on a lot of great guys who have tons to offer. If I had James and Ryan side by side, I would definitely be more excited to meet and talk to James, get to know him and discuss even the lamest of things. There's nothing attractive to me about a cookie-cutter fairytale.
Sometimes people miss out on the fact that not all women are into the beef cake, six-pack model type guys. To me and my own likes, that's boring, especially when you have all sorts of celebrities in the public eye - the majority who look very similar - from musicians to actors to reality stars, who come across as people that are too perfect. They've had training in how to deal with the media, they won't slip up in any conversations that they have because it may affect their career. In the age that we're living in when people can follow and keep track of their favourite celeb they can sink further down the hole of wanting that cookie-cutter fairytale, as you put it.
Oh yes, celebrities have 1001 people telling them what to eat, wear, say, how to talk, when to stay quiet, if they should do an interview or not. It's so controlled. Most of the time their social media accounts are not controlled by them but rather an assistant who makes sure the right things are said at the right time.
|One of the many selfies of James with his cats on Twitter|
Do you think James would have been as popular as he is now without social media?
I think so. I'm pretty sure James had a significantly strong fan base since before he blew up on Twitter. Although, I must say that I do think Twitter, Tumblr, and his blog gave him an extra rush of popularity since it was easier to spread his name and face around.
It's hard to find a famous, genuine person on social networking. They're keeping an image up, and you're right, there are so many people in the public eye that have their PR team dealing with their Twitter accounts. When you see James just tweeting about random shit, it makes him that much relatable.
Yeah, you have a sense of knowing him, you almost want to say "Hey, look at what my friend posted, he's so funny!" because you know it's genuine and it's not meant to impress anyone. When celebrities post funny things there's a huge deal made of it because it's not usual, so it's a breath of fresh air to have someone you look up to be themselves 100% of the time.
When Twilight was a 'thing', a frequent point that was made about it was the fact Bella was a blank slate. The reader was able to imagine themselves in her position because she had no personality and you could pretty much pretend you were her.
The romanticism of the way James performs seems to be another aspect of him that is popular among his viewership. Could you imagine yourself, like fans of Twilight did with Bella, that you are the women in the scenes from the way that he performs intimately?
Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that, but it does make a lot of sense.
I think in some ways I can. Most of the time, though, I enjoy watching him interact with the girl more, I love seeing both their reactions. I know it's acting, but he is simply amazing at making you feel like it's 100% real. It’s more about seeing him connect with the girl for me, and I feel that a lot of other girls will say that.
|James eating on his Wood Rocket series, James Deen Loves Food|
That's interesting that you prefer seeing the connection with another girl than imagining yourself in their shoes. Why is that? Do you think James, with his hoard of adoring Deenagers, is seen as more as someone you'd like to have sex with because of his attention to other women in his scenes? He could even be seen as a friend or someone you confide in, just a cool dude you'd like to hang out with - particularly if you say that there would be quite a few women who prefer watching him do his thing with another woman. I'd still imagine there are a lot of people who are replying to his casting call, though.
I think the reason I enjoy watching him and his leading lady perform and interact is because I enjoy seeing that connection.
A lot of TV shows nowadays have sex scenes where the couple seems so disconnected, yet people enjoy that. So when I watch a true intimate scene, aka porn, I like to see how both respond and their expressions and what their body does. It gets you excited for the next time you'll get to experience that awesome feeling. You learn about connection and human interaction. It's not just a guy putting his penis inside a girl's vagina. It's him whispering in her ear, her grabbing his hair, him staring into her eyes as it's all happening. It's cool.
Actually, I applied to the casting call and got selected! I live about two hours away from Los Angeles and we're trying to work out the process that goes on before shooting, especially now that my school semester begins next week; not to mention the fact that I have to be fit into his very busy schedule!
That's awesome news, congratulations!
How did that come about? Did you apply for the casting call and they contacted you with ideas, or do you get a say in what kinds of scenes you’d like to do? Are these videos more so for personal usage rather than being published on the internet?
I had actually sent in an email a while ago explaining my educational goals, that I was a fan of James; that I would love to try out being in the industry even just for fun. I ended up getting an email about a month or so later. They asked me to send it photos so I sent two head shots, a full body (they didn't require nudes so that was fantastic) and they loved me!
From then on it's been planning to schedule a day to shoot, finding a way for me to get tested via a specific company (unfortunately, they don't have an office near me so we need to figure that out.) I'm not so sure about the creative process but I know for a fact they ask about your limits, what you're into, what you don't want to do.
The scenes are filmed for his website and hopefully I get a copy of the scenes to keep for myself! It'll be pretty cool, I'm really excited to go up to LA and get to meet and work with James.
If there is anything you definitely want to do with James, whether it is a re-enactment of a film he’s shot, or something completely different from anything you've sexually experienced, what would it be? Have you already got a plan in mind?
Oh gosh, I don't! I know want it to be as natural as possible, definitely realistic, I want girls to watch it and relate to it, as if it were a couple having really fantastic sex. That's my goal. I want to have fun and just have a good time shooting and make the best of it.
Since it is his website, I'm assuming I'll be discussing with James the nature of the scene, so maybe then I'll decide what I want to try out. I love kissing! I think it's awesome, so I definitely want it to be a scene that involves that. Whatever we end up doing, I'm positive a great scene will be the end result.
P2 coming soon.