Dear Mr. Mayer,
Do you mind if I call you John? I know we’ve never met, it’s just that you seem like the type who’d rather be called “John” than “Mr. Mayer”. We’re not friends, but I really dig your music. In fact, I listened to your latest album, Battle Studies, twice on my flight back to California from the East Coast yesterday. Right now I’m listening to a “John Mayer” mix on iTunes while I write this at my favorite coffee shop.
I read part of the interview you did with Playboy. I’m not gonna say anything at all about the racial stuff – besides, you’ve recanted all that, and I respect you for doing so. I’ll keep buying every album you release, as I’ve done in the past. I hope what I write here actually helps you, John – and I think it’s very possible the words that follow can do just that.
I want to discuss the part where you said you’d like to produce pornography. I know a bit about this: I was a porn producer for 9 years. In fact, Playboy was one of my clients. I produced for their ICS department and also traveled the country for a bit as part of the team recruiting for Special Editions. One of the girls I’ve photographed even made Miss February in the main magazine, and another of my first timers was featured as well, but I don’t remember which month anymore. I could go ask, I suppose, as she owns a business less than two miles from where I sit right now. But that really doesn’t matter. You said in that same interview that you probably see 300 vaginas a day while looking at porn before satisfying yourself. That being the case, you’ve undoubtedly run across my work at some point: I released more than 2 million pornographic photographs and hours of video footage into the world during my career. Since porn’s such a strong interest, you may have seen the debate I participated in at Yale University with Ron Jeremy, Monique Alexander and Craig Gross when it aired on Nightline ABC (click the link and scroll down to where it says “Nightline Face-Off: America Addicted to Porn?“).
That brings me to what I wanted to share with you: What is it like to produce porn? You might notice from my website title that I’m now a Christian. I have no idea how you feel about that, but just in case you don’t look favorably on such things I’ll try to keep the Jesus stuff out of this. Let’s just have a conversation about what goes on behind the scenes in porn world. With or without “Jesus Stuff”, I think I can share a few things with you that you’ve never before considered… and that’s my goal: to educate. Who knows, you might even read something that will free up your time a bit. Porn just might not seem so attractive if you finish reading this article.
John, don’t get me wrong… I definitely had some fun times producing porn. The money was good, the freedom was great, most of the people I knew in the business were fun to party with, and even being the overweight opposite-of-eye-candy that I am, I slept with more than my share of models. But, honestly, the naked girls part got old very quickly. Sex related work does weird things to people, John. I watched college girls come through my doors with bright eyes, then watched that light fade over the coming weeks. It’s kinda like seeing someone die inside. I dunno about you, but I didn’t find that very sexy.
I definitely want to share more on how porn affects the girls involved as actresses, but first, let’s remove some of the glamour of producing from a different angle. I need to caution some of my readers that I’m about to copy and paste something I wrote on this blog back on March 5th, 2005, when I was still producing porn. I’m not gonna censor the language I used , as I’m tempted to do in order to prevent my current audience from being offended. This is a letter from me to you, John, so I’m just gonna say what I need to say by copying/pasting what I wrote back then:
When mentioning my profession to other males the response is almost always the same:
“Man, you have the perfect job!”
Or something similar. But the truth of the matter is that it’s a lot more work than you might think. And then there are the shitty assholes. By “shitty assholes” I’m being 100% literal.
On more than one occasion I’ve had a model come over for a shoot. I’ll start photographing her only to discover that her asshole is covered with shit . Seriously!
A specific example comes to mind: I noticed a smell in the room when photographing one particular model. I continued the shoot anyway. When I transferred the photos from my compact flash card (I shoot with digital SLRs: Nikon D1x, Fuji S2 Pro, Nikon D100) and looked at them on the computer I noticed that there was shit all over the model’s ass. I couldn’t fucking believe it! I don’t know why the hell a girl would come over to my house to pose naked and forget to clean her ass.
Which brings me to the subject of toilet paper…
Does anyone ever stop to think that moisture is usually necessary for proper cleaning? I mean, think about it… would you clean up oil with a dry towel? Why would you clean your ass with dry toilet paper? If you really want to be clean, invest in some flushable baby wipes! I have some sitting on the back of the toilet in every bathroom in my house.
That doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it John? But that’s not the part that I really want you to know about. The biggest deterrent to producing porn is watching what happens in the lives of those who act in it. I’ve shared my story with more than 4 million people now. One of the things I’m often asked is whether or not I’m attracted to porn anymore. I usually respond to that question with a few of my own. You ready? Here they are, John:
What’s attractive about a model curled up in the fetal position in a corner between takes, sucking her thumb because her mind is so blown by what she’s just done to herself? Do the porn companies share, in the credits, a line similar to this one: “this girl had to have surgery to repair the damage done to her body by the scene you just found so enticing”? Of course not! That’s just not sexy, is it John? Nobody’d be spankin’ their monkey if stuff like that was thrown on screen, would they?
Lots of my former models are dreamin’ with broken hearts now, John. And the wakin’ up? That’s the hardest part for sure… because every morning when she does wake up, the stuff she shot for me is still there, as it will be for life. It isn’t ever, ever, ever going away. When she’s old and grey, when she has grandkids running around the house, that content is still going to be out there circulating somewhere, John.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m ALL FOR free speech. But just because we HAVE freedom to do something doesn’t mean that we HAVE TO DO IT or that it’s a GOOD IDEA to do so.
Funny thing, John… I just took off my Beats by Dr Dre headphones, through which I was listening to my John Mayer iTunes playlist, only to hear you playing over the radio here at the coffee shop. We love your music, man.
Here on my website I’ve shared with my readers a few stories about some of the things these girls have gone through. You can find them by scrolling through the porn stories category. But be warned, my friend… they just might remove some of the fantasy of pornography and replace it with a little un-sexy reality. I don’t know about you, but if I was looking at some photos or solo-video of the very attractive girl who wrote this email to me it might be a little bit harder to masturbate to those things knowing that, in her words, she is now “freakin suicidal!!! freakin sick over this….throwing up, cannot sleep at all…” It just doesn’t seem as sexy as it used to be when she tells me that (pasting her words again) “I know I did those pics and yes it was my fault, I want to get them OFF the internet. Is there anyway possible to do that ASAP? I will pay you the money back, whatever it takes. This will and is ruining my life.”
When I received a round of emails and phone calls from a beautiful girl who was begging me, in tears while sobbing so hard I could barely understand her, to get her content off the Internet as it had ruined the relationship she had with her father… that wasn’t a very lust-inducing experience either. See, what happened in her case was this: daddy was leaving his office with his buddies. They were planning to go grab a beer together. But when daddy and his buddies got to his car it was covered with photos of his daughter in various explicit poses. Dad was rather humiliated, John. He was instantly ashamed of his little girl. When he shared this incident with her, she was rather ashamed herself. I shot the photos that ended up on daddy’s car, and when I did so it didn’t cross my mind that she wasn’t someone to visualize while chokin’ the chicken – that she was actually somebody’s baby girl, somebody’s future wife, somebody’s sister… a beautiful person who was born to be loved, not lusted over by millions of men.
In the past three and a half years I’ve attempted to apologize to former models/actresses I recruited into the business. When I tried to befriend one on myspace I received this email as her response:
I’m sorry, but I can’t be your friend. People found out about the pictures I did and I came really close to killing myself over it. I need to forget about it and move on. That does not mean I blame you or anything, but that does mean I have to cut ties involving it, and that does involve you. You’re more than welcome to write me, etc… I just can’t have you on my friends list. I’m very sorry and hope you understand.”
Let me tell you, John… I’d fantasized for months about that girl following the photo shoots I had with her way back in my early porn producing days. She really got me going. But hearing that she, too, almost killed herself over PICTURES? Knowing that, a person would have to be rather emotionless to be able to still look at those photos and be aroused by them.
Are you picking up what I’m laying down, John? Producing porn pretty much killed my sex drive DEAD, John. Between me and you, I’m kind of afraid that when I’m finally married again I’ll be so screwed up in the head over what I’ve witnessed that my sex life with my wife will suffer. I’ve spoken to counselors about that, actually. I’ve seen how fake porn is, my friend, and after shooting it for so long I can’t seem to help associating anything sexual with it. That shouldn’t be the case, John: God created sex to be beautiful and fun, and He had reasons for asking us to confine it to committed relationships – I swear to you, He didn’t ask that of us in order to take our fun away or so He’d have a reason to send us to hell if we didn’t follow His plan. It was more like this: “I know how you’re wired. Wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t have other people in your head when you’re making love to your wife? Wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t have to worry about who was in your her head when she’s with you? You can do whatever you want, but I wish you’d trust me. I really do want the best for you.”
The reality of what porn has done to real-life people isn’t pretty. No amount of justification removes what I’ve seen. It doesn’t matter how often people say things like, “they were adults making their own adult decisions” and “well, if our puritanical society didn’t make such a big deal out of sex this sort of thing wouldn’t happen!” Those words are so shallow and meaningless after seeing so many lives personally affected. There is a letter in the Bible where Paul writes to the people of Corinth that sexual things affected us on a deeper level than anything else. John, I believe Paul on that one. I have personal experience that gives evidence he’s right. From my model Karma, who has a baby who will never know his father (because men decided to rape here while she was passed out at a party – after all, she’s a “porn star” so why not take what they want, right?) to the girl who called me in humiliated tears after going to her college campus one day only to find photos of herself stapled on trees all across campus, I have seen the fallout from sexual “sin”. It makes me ashamed to be a man sometimes, John. Indeed, the female body is a wonderland, my friend, and so many of us use our hands… and lose our heads and hearts… over it.
Trust me, John… you don’t want to produce porn. You don’t want to be responsible for devastating lives. And no matter how good your intentions might be, that’s exactly what you’d be doing.