She lives somewhere between the 20th & 33rd floors of my building and rarely leaves the grounds of the Flamingo Resort. A few years ago, she was an “A” lister’s essential for a night in South Beach or a yacht afterparty harbored in Biscayne Bay. But alas, those nights of glamor and overindulgence are gone. What remains is a caricature of youth and beauty created by a plastic surgeon who should be imprisoned. My God, she paid dearly for perfection and was destroyed in the process.
I have no idea her name and have never seen her eyes, she wears those massive Versace sunglasses only Jewish women wear on South Beach. I assume she is somewhere between 35 and 50. It is impossible to even guess accurately because she has done as so many before have done… gone under the knife to stop the aging process. She stands about 5’5″ but her clear heeled platform shoes push her over 6 feet. At a quick glance, she could pass for a 1972 version of Cher with jet black waist length hair extensions and deep tan. Like so many men and women in Miami Beach, she’s had a Brazilian butt lift which in itself would seem enormous even by Kardashian standards … but then she turns and you see them… breasts so large they defy gravity. Even in Hollywood, where I lived with adult film stars nothing compares to her. I was told she works in fetish films now and the implants have a staggering combined weight of 46 lbs which restrict her ability to walk more than a short distance without sitting.
So daily, I see her sitting in the lobby of the glass towers we call home waiting and texting with the eraser end of a pencil. The 3-inch talons she has as nails prevent her from using the CZ encrusted iPhone which is her lifeline. On a few occasions, I’ve heard her screaming hysterically in Spanish (I think) to someone who I assumed missed an appointed. This is one mean bitch. Watching her rise from the lobby sofa is almost painful. She holds to an arm of the sofa and pulls her self up. Once standing, she gathers her composure like a high fashion runway model and glides to the automatic glass doors, exits the building and retrieves her next client at the resorts security checkpoint. She says nothing. She merely points to the waiting man and he is ushered into the Flamingo Resort.
The men are always black and as huge as NFL players. Their identities are hidden by ball caps and aviator glasses. Most wear hoodies for added protection from the paparazzi. These men never drive. They arrive like so many do in South Beach by Rolls, Bentleys or Escalades with windows as black as night. Drivers quickly open doors and drive away. In silence the stallions and the woman head to the elevator. No one enters with them out of fear and respect. Somewhere above the city skyline and white beaches of South Beach, a fantasy is fulfilled and another month’s rent is paid. This is South Beach… a tropical destination where souls are lost 30 minutes at a time.
Every city on earth has “street-trade”, men, and women selling their services behind dumpsters, parked cars or cheap motels. Everyone knows that. Miami certainly has its share. What sets South Beach apart is the number of gorgeous Barbies and Kens who work in the adult entertainment industry. They swarm the 5 Star resorts on Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive in their spare time for a massage or to visit a client for an hour or so. These perfectly sculpted celebrities depend on the internet to keep them bankable. In Hollywood, an adult film star has restrictions imposed by laws demanding the use of condoms and union regulations that prevent top pay for a day’s work. Miami doesn’t have any of those limitations.
Today, Miami boasts a multibillion-dollar adult film industry which has ranked it as the top producer of erotica in the nation. Why? Because unlike Hollywood and Van Nuys Miami remains unregulated by laws governing the industry. Sex sells and in Miami it is sold at a much higher profit margin. Much has changed in the porn industry from the days of Linda Lovelace, John Holmes, and Harry Reems. No longer do performers produce hundreds of “action scenes” for little pay only to be spliced into 1,000s of films creating millions for a studio or production company.
In 2018, the average Miami adult film actor generates on average $64,000 annually from studio work and hundreds of thousands more in escort appearances and live pay to play sessions from home computers. In some of the seediest sections of Miami/Dade County warehouses and rundown buildings are now sexual wonderland. These are the stages of desire where men and women pay $1000’s to watch an actor play out fantasies in backgrounds that look like classrooms, locker rooms, churches, saunas, luxury bubble baths, barns and even doctor examine rooms. With a credit card and home computer, you can tell your dream lover to do anything you command. Welcome to the new age of sexual satisfaction… as long as you’ve got credit… your wish is their command.
There are over 3,400 male adult film actors using a single studio address on Lincoln Road, which is a drop in the bucket considering there are 13 studios in the same block. Twice the number of female actors share the same locations. If you want it … you will find it.
Beauty is a fickle bitch and the camera is unforgiving. Those who work in the industry recognize human flaws are unforgivable and spend every second improving their assets. Go to any gym or plastic surgeon in south beach and plan on waiting in line for service. These enhanced Barbie and Kens realize in order to make money you have to spend money. Dolly Parton said it best… “it costs a lot of money to look this cheap”.
So what does it take to make it naked? As with everything in my life… I turned to Google for the answers. If you’ve gotten this far into this article you might as well know the facts… here goes. The average male and female performer are the same height as the average American man and woman: 5’10″ and 5’5″ respectively. However, porn stars are quite a bit lighter. At 117 pounds, the average female performer is a considerable 48 pounds under the national average for women, and the average male, at 167.5 pounds, weighs 27 pounds less than the national average for men.
Apart from differences in the average heights and weights of performers, race seemed to make pretty much no difference to any of the other averaged stats. For instance, the data shows that the average age of a woman when she gets into porn is 19 years old—and it has been for the last 40 years—and that’s the case for all women, regardless of race. Men have been progressively getting into the business at a younger age, though: in the 1970s their average debut age was 29, but now it’s 22. Porn stars of both genders have also been progressively retiring earlier: in the ‘70s, men stayed in porn for an average of twelve years, and women for nine. Now men on average quit after 2 years, and women after three.
Sometimes when I hear people railing against porn, declaring it as the downfall of society, a poison infecting masculine minds and demeaning female ones, I wonder what kind of porn they’re talking about. To me, porn seems a lot like sport. I don’t mean the sex in it looks like a sporting activity (maybe it sometimes does, but that’s a separate point), but rather that there are as many types of sex in porn as there are forms of sport. Take synchronized swimming. This could be seen as lesbian porn, or ‘solo scenes’, in which women casually masturbate for your viewing pleasure. Next, consider a vigorous game of badminton: this might be your standard boy-girl scene. Pretty vanilla stuff, with maybe a dose of anal sex thrown in if the match is really heated. How about a gory mixed martial arts fight? That would be comparable to a 10-man midget gangbang, maybe. They’re all sports, all types of sexual activity, but they differ wildly in who’s involved and what they’re doing with, or to, each other.
So when I hear somebody claim that porn is ‘degrading’, I can’t help but ask: which porn? Is an anal scene involving three men and one woman more or less degrading than a scene in which three women have sex with strap-ons? How about a solo scene in which a woman appears alone? And if they’re equally degrading because they’re all part of the same industry, is homemade porn that couples sell on their own personal websites part of the same monster? Much like sport, or violence in films, or cruelty to animals, I don’t think you can really drill down into the topic on an intellectually respectable level until you’ve strictly defined your terms.
Just in case “porn” comes up on Jeopardy sometime here’s some interesting facts… of the 100 most prolific porn stars of all time (that is, the ones who have starred in the most films), 96 are men. Next, the ten most prolific male performers, on average, have slept on-screen with 1,013 different women each (45 a year for an average career length of 22.4 years). Whereas the ten most prolific women on average have slept with 148 different men (8 a year for an average career length of 17.7 years). Nina Hartley, for instance, who made her porn debut in 1984 and has starred in more porn flicks than any other woman on earth (938), has slept with 199 different men on film. Tom Byron, on the other hand, who has more film credits than any other man (2,549), and who made his debut only two years earlier than Hartley, has slept with over five times more people of the opposite gender than her: 1,127 different women. Men in porn… in an almost absurd parody of the masculine stereotype… really get around.
Now that I think about it… this may be information you don’t need at any time in your life.
It’s not easy for a man to break into porn and join the ranks of the top woodsmen, mind you. To do it, you usually have to bring a woman into the industry or know a guy who knows a guy. It’s much easier for women to get into the skin business. However, according to some anti-pornography websites, the majority of women who try porn get the hell out of it right away. Who could blame them?
I’ve never known an adult film actor and yes, I know quite a few… who even enjoy sex. I’ve never met a female actor who wasn’t a lesbian and most male actors are only “gay for pay”. Ain’t it strange how money changes everything?
Finally… I had to ask the question: “How many people work as webcam models in South Florida or the state? In truth, there’s no telling, although hundreds likely work at least part-time. It’s not a category that shows up in labor statistics, and streaming companies don’t make their stats public, although at any given time on numerous internet sites, hundreds of models appear live. But the industry trend line clearly points up.
Last week, two cam sites ranked among the top 50 most visited in the United States: LiveJasmin at No. 40, ahead of sites such as Zillow, Apple and Bank of America, and Chaturbate at No. 47. That’s according to the Amazon-owned website Alexa, which tracks web traffic.
About 2,000 people signed up to attend Cam Con, (think Comicon for pretty naked people), a 40 percent increase from the previous year, according to organizers.
At the SLS Hotel on South Beach, Cam Con has rented out the entire property and is being joined for the first time by Inked Con and Cannabis Con, which promote tattoos and weed — two other industries that have been in the process of burnishing once-seedy reputations. Adult star Stormy Daniels… yes, the one embroiling a certain president in a scandal is scheduled to appear at the Neon Night Swim Soiree at Hyde Beach.
At XBiz Miami at the Mondrian South Beach hotel, scheduled events include a “Booze-n-Buns” poolside mixer, models-only “speed networking” sessions, and panels about cryptocurrency, tackling cyber bullies, video editing techniques and lessons on organizing business records and finances. All of it topped off by a “Cam Model Olympics” competition and an awards night at the swank Liv nightclub at the Fontainebleau Hotel.
While old-school downloads and video clips still dominate the internet sex business, the social media age is also reshaping porn allowing customers to more directly interact with performers. With reality stars and celebrities interacting with fans endlessly on social media, cam clients also want to build relationships, if even virtual ones, with their adult entertainers.
Offering more personal interaction in the sex business can raise risks for some models… bullying is common, but some customers also can be downright scary. This month, Miami prosecutors charged a wannabe rapper named Michael Belanger, 39, with stalking after he allegedly terrorized a cam model he met through Chatstar, a service that allows adult entertainers to exchange messages and calls with fans without revealing their real contact info.
Even though the unidentified cam girl blocked Belanger, he continued emailing her daily and even showed up at her condo, police said. Even after a court issued a restraining order, he assumed the identity “George Costanza” on Camsoda and OnlyFans.com to keep contacting and professing his love for her. Belanger, of Plantation, has pleaded not guilty.
Webcams have been around since the mid-1990s. But in the early years, the adult entertainment industry was dominated by large production companies like Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures that signed up stars, shot their films and promoted them at industry events and strip clubs. But the same economic downtown that shrank the 401Ks of America’s office workers a decade ago also gutted large porn production companies.
In the aftermath, many performers had no choice except to go independent and into webcam work and with that came the rise of websites such as YouPorn and Pornhub, which generally earn money from advertising while letting people watch X-rated video clips for free. Couple that with cheaper everything internet connections, smartphones, web camera equipment and a proliferation of streaming websites, and many webcam “stars” were born. In actuality, a model might even be your neighbor, though you wouldn’t know it unless you were trolling for sex services online. Most models work from home. My neighbor on the 31st floor, originally from Russia, began camming two years ago to supplement her job as a ballroom dance teacher in South Florida (she occasionally shows off her steps for viewers). She works for a few hours every night, after her classes. Her niche: online fetishes, sometimes dressing in rubber and latex outfits, armed with gloves, whips, handcuffs, chains, and masks.
Day or night, at any hour and across a dizzying array of sites, models of every shape, age and ethnicity perform all sorts of acts for group audiences, most of them I refuse to mention because the acts gross me out. Private, one-on-one chats cost extra. The tactics to maximize profits might even include raffles one model recently offered tickets for 99 tokens (about $100), with the winner getting a dinner date via Skype.
But for all the strange fetish fixations that can be found in the digital world, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the live cam trade is the large share of viewers who say they want to watch models just doing everyday things: folding laundry, sun tanning, maybe some homework. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in sociology to guess what’s going on. There’s a lot of lonely people out there and camming provides a safe outlet for them to be able to interact.
Social media has finally created an antisocial society where no one gets hurt or even touched. On a human level, everything about adult entertainment is tragic… for the actor and consumer.
So as night settles on Miami Beach and I look at the 100s of TV blue windows in high rises along the shore and across the bay and I wonder which are making money on the lonely hearts tuned in just to be recognized by someone unobtainable and beautiful. Then I take the dogs out and see them… Barbies and Kens and average Joes… never interacting until the webcams and credit cards bring them together… and deep inside I know… everything that glitters isn’t gold and no one gets love for free… Sex sells everything. It’s a sad world beyond my front door…
This is my journey… this is my life.