74 And Sunny: A Civilian At The Sex Awards

Esquire's US correspondent discovers how porn stars let their hair down.

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At the Sex Awards in Hollywood this month, one of the organizers assured me: “It’s not live. Showtime’s airing this in January, so you know, what goes on at the event tonight doesn’t really matter because we’re going to fix it in post."

Wise move. Because as awards shows go, this was definitely the porn version – low budget, slightly shambolic, presenters-fumbling-lines. A bit school revue, truth be told. But that’s OK. It’s all part of porn’s slapdash charm. And it was the first ever Sex Awards, so it’s unfair to expect the Bentley perfection of the Oscars. A clattering, tit-jiggling jalopy works just fine. Bumpy ride, but more fun. And a miracle the wheels didn’t fall off altogether.

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I went with Mike, another married guy whose ring wouldn’t come off even if he tried (swollen knuckles). So yes, we were two middle-aged men, wandering about a room full of nubile fantasies, a living museum of masturbation. But we weren’t alone. There’s no shortage of grubby old men in porn.

It’s about time LA hosted a porn awards. This is where the industry lives after all, it’s like Detroit and cars. For years, Vegas was the place, famous for the “Porn Oscars”, the industry-voted Adult Video News awards (AVN’s). The Sex Awards is the fan-voted version. So a million frenzied fappers used their spare hand to tick a box online, and sure enough, the girls took the 101 south from the valley, and showed up on the red carpet, a parade of knickerless beauties, all heels, curves and smouldering looks.

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It was a tough crowd, though, for an outsider, or “civilian”. The girls were often huddled in cliques or rushing off to make-up. Many were under the protection of some grizzled guy – boyfriend, manager or minder, it was hard to tell. And there was a lot of catching up going on. Apparently the industry doesn’t get together that often, so when it does, there’s a lot to talk about. These people have been fucking each other for years.

It was a tough crowd for the entertainment too. No one listened to the opening comedian, Sam Tripoli. No one sang along to the dodgy musical number, “I Eat Your Ass”. And equally no one much cared when the presenters fluffed their lines, despite the giant autocue, even having to walk off, and walk on again at times. To be fair, that cringey on-stage banter goes wrong at the Oscars, too, and that’s with the highest paid actors in the world, not the cast of Anal Fanatic 5.

“You think it’s weird because you’re a civilian,” said Evan Stone, a veteran male star. “This is normal to me.” As he said this, he was wearing a giant yellow-blue wig and a sea captain’s jacket. Behind him were a couple of girls wearing unicorn masks, admiring each other’s bare butts.

It was an evening of random encounters. Such as:

Skin Diamond: “Dating a civilian can be tough. This one guy had a friend who said, ‘I watched one of her pornos and it was disgusting.’ But it wasn’t! I had a speculum inside my pussy and then I put a shoe inside of myself, and a lot of it was my idea!’” 

Bonnie Rotten: “There was a crazy fetish party at the first AVN that I went to. This guy was tied up and getting kicked as hard as he could in his balls – girls were just lining up to nail this motherfucker. You know, with guys like that, they’re like, ‘kick me three times because the first two times you hold back.’”

Evan Stone: “Here’s something I never thought would happen – I came on another guy’s chest. We were doing an orgy where I had this girl bent over the couch and Tommy Gunn’s down there, with a girl on spoon. So I’m supposed to pull my cock out and come in the girl’s face, but as soon as I get in position, Tommy pops the girl really hard and she falls right off the couch, and I shoot him in the chest! It was like a Vietnam wound man, it was horrible – he had no body armor! I’m like, dude, I’m sorry. It was friendly fire!”

The afterparty was a strange end to a strange night. I’d expected a riot of conspicuous sluttery, perhaps a midget or two, but no such luck. It was a rudimentary do, upstairs at the Avalon – just your basic DJ and paying bar. Not enough to keep the girls interested. So after a brief surge, they started trickling out, until Mike and I looked around and saw nothing but guys like us, all wondering where the totty had gone.

When we went to close up at the bar, though, there was some kind of kerfuffle underway.

“Oh my God, where’s my purse!” Jessica Drake was in a tizzy. Stunning in a red backless dress, she’d been the main host for the night, the Sex Awards’ Billy Crystal. But she’d left her purse on the bar unattended, just for a moment, and now it was gone. These are headlines you don’t get from the Oscars: “Billy Crystal’s Wallet Lifted at Vanity Fair Party”.

Never mind Jessica. They’ll fix it in post.

The Sex Awards, at the Avalon Theater, airs on Showtime this January.

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