A pornographer’s worst nightmare is the actor who can’t get erect. The moviemaker must then either shoot the scene “sim (simulated)” and cut in hardcore close-ups from previous shoots or pay the flaccid actor a “kill fee (a small goodbye payment)” and hire a replacement. At least the pornographer has options. But the poor guy who can’t perform suffers a worse fate: no more work. Men have suffered nervous breakdowns over penis limpus and at least one (Randy Potes—AKA Cal Jammer) has committed suicide. To continue in a lucrative career, porn studs develop unique ways to get aroused.
(Note: Passages from SKINFLICKS are in italics)
Having a beautiful woman available may not work. She was every surfer boy’s fantasy: blonde and petite, with breasts that stood out from her tan like scoops of ice cream fallen on smooth sand. But Gayle Monica’s patient fellatio didn’t “fluff up” her porn-partner husband. He wasn’t looking at her. (Too familiar?) Instead he stared at Boobs ‘n Buns magazine. It didn’t help. Then, male star Mike Ranger strolled into the room, sat on the bed and began fondling Gayle. Her startled husband suddenly became hard. Lesson: The unexpected can work wonders.
On the same shoot was a guy whom Ranger derisively dubbed “Right Sider.” He had to lie on his right side and masturbate in order to function. When ready, he’d scramble to get in a few pumps with his female co-star before he lost it, then he’d revert to his right side.
With big bucks dependent on male performance, the “reliables” hogged all the stud work. (My favorites: Jamie Gillis, Billy Dee, Willem Lowen, Joe Elliot.) One of the best, the late John Leslie, insisted that his craft was a form of method acting—drawing upon emotions and memories to play a scene. In one of the first loops I ever shot (in 1977), Leslie demonstrated his “method.” Ignoring his female co-star, he’d close his eyes and stroke himself up.
A man whose performance depends upon the charms of his partner won’t have a long porn career. The best men rely on fantasy imagery, ironically doing exactly as the fans who envy their access to porn queens: they’re masturbating.
Richard Pacheco learned this lesson during his porn debut, in Candy Stripers. In an Erotic Film Guide article, he described going limp after seeing Nancy Hoffman grimace from 45 minutes of kneeling on concrete: “People were lying around sleeping, snoring, just plain waiting for me to get it up…Nancy even fell asleep on my thigh…I sat there masturbating myself and praying for the Russians to launch a surprise attack.” Finally, Pacheco had an inspiration: “I closed my eyes and started all over…I was back on the couch of some rec room with the first girl who ever let me finger her. I could hear the Kingston Trio on the record player. There was life in that old memory yet.” When Pacheco reached his climax, he “heard the cheering of millions.”
The late director Henri Pachard claimed that the best way to treat stud failure was through ridicule. “Point a finger at him and go, ‘Ha ha ha! Look at this wimp! Look at that shriveled little putz! Guy thinks he’s a stud; he couldn’t get wood in a lumberyard.’
“You get the guy mad, get his blood pumping. Next thing you know it’s ‘wood city.’ Works every time.”
The Pachard theory reportedly worked when Matt Daniels failed during Anthony Spinelli’s The Party. His screen partner—and real-life girlfriend, Heather Lere—cussed him out and according to witnesses, the agitated actor slapped her butt and proceeded to—in Lere’s term—“spring board.”
The most unusual hard-on aid I’ve ever witnessed was moi ! That’s right: yours truly. I was working “boom.” The job is physically taxing. You stand there with arms raised, holding one end of a boom, which is a long pole (“fishpole”) that has a microphone on the other end. The mike is suspended over the scene, above the camera frame but still close enough to capture crisp dialogue. Holding the pole in position is damn tiring. I was standing on a chair, near the ceiling, the hottest part of the room. I was sweating, muscles straining. I had a weird feeling of being watched. I glanced down and into the eyes of an actor (a known bi-sexual) who was furiously stroking himself. And staring hard at me! I turned my gaze to the microphone, and froze in position, like a statue. (Literally a “statue of David,” but thankfully with pants.) The actor was able to perform with his designated actress.
Glad I could help.