The ‘Real’ Adult Entertainment Industry | Part I: The Couples Interview with Damon and Veruca James.
In this new series of in-depth articles, we dive into the porn industry and what really happens and how a pornstar couple can manage to survive a relationship. My aim is to visit every side of the porn industry. I will be conducting interviews with current pornstars, ex-pornstars and people who are against the industry. Every opinion will be given and then you can decide for yourself what life is like in the ‘real’ adult entertainment industry.
Recently, I’ve been in contact with Damon and Veruca James, a couple who have starred in multiple pornographic films together and have maintained a professional manner and managed to keep their relationship intact; an achievement that many of we non-pornstar outsiders would find existentially hard to fathom.
I’ll add here that after interviewing dozens of subjects in my journalistic career, Veruca and Damon James were surprisingly the most courteous and down-to-earth people I have ever had the pleasure of cross-examining and so in advance, I would like to publicly thank them for their involvement and for the time they set aside to make the publishing of this article possible.
WORDMEAN: So Damon, how did you meet Veruca and were you two were already involved in the porn industry?
DAMON: I met Veruca in Chicago one night in a bar. We were both casually dating other people when we met but quickly got rid of them and started dating. Veruca had not shot any scenes yet. She was working for a major accounting firm. I was bartending and doing promotions for Burning Angel. My links to the industry were through throwing weekly Burning Angel events and hanging out with the girls.
Editor’s note: Burning Angel is a popular adult website.
WORDMEAN: Have you ever reached a moment where you question what life with your partner would be like after you’ve both chosen to retire from the industry?
DAMON:We think about it all the time. We can’t do this forever and that was one of the reasons we decided to take the plunge in the first place. We’re both pretty ambitious and driven so the idea of what life would be like after we get out is completely uncertain. We have a lot of options already. Neither one of us started doing this because we were young and had nothing better to do. We’re a bit older and we’re exhibitionists. We could walk away at any time and be fine but we’re too busy having fun.
WORDMEAN: Do you (or have you) ever feared for the safety of yourself or Veruca during your time as professionals?
DAMON:Never. Working on sets is so professional. Honestly, it’s not even very sexual. Shooting usually takes the entire day and everyone on set is extremely friendly. I’m sure there are some sketchy porn people out there but we’ve had the opportunity to work for major companies and it’s a very safe environment.
VERUCA:I haven’t either. I’ve only worked for well-established professional companies, so I haven’t been exposed to some of the shady business that I’ve heard other girls go through. Also, when I chose my agent I knew that we shared the expectations for professionalism, which was important to me. As far as me, as a professional, in my personal life, Damon is always with me and he’s obviously a huge creep deterrent. When it comes to STDs or other physical ailments, I have resigned to the fact that certain things just come with the job and anything serious is addressed with testing protocols and common sense.
WORDMEAN: Would you consider any part of your life as “private” from the outside world? For instance, you two are both very open about the photographs and artistic angle of pornography but do you ever feel that sometimes there are parts of your relationship that the public or fans should keep out of?
DAMON:If you see us in public don’t be a douchebag. That’s all. Occasionally people recognize us and they buy us a shot or want a picture with Veruca but everyone’s pretty nice. I think being covered in tattoos is a pretty big deterrent for most people to act up around me.
VERUCA:I actually have a very private side to me which mainly pertains to my life before I entered the industry. I’m very honest about my career before I entered the industry because I’m very proud of my accomplishments, but at the same time I don’t think porn fans should pry into that life or dig for facts that I did not wilfully offer up. People need to remember that before I entered into the industry I was not “Veruca James” and while “Veruca James” is on public display, me as a non-performer is not. And that is not just out of a desire to keep my personal life private, it is also out of respect for everyone (people and companies) that I was acquainted with before I became a performer. My and Damon’s relationship over time has evolved into a very public relationship, and doesn’t just apply to our non-performer life. Damon and I are in a serious relationship in our personal and professional lives, which we are both very happy with; I don’t hide the fact that I have a very serious boyfriend from my fans and I expect that they know and respect that. That’s just me though; I know lots of performers who like to keep their personal relationships separate from their performer persona in order to keep the “fantasy” alive for the fans.
WORDMEAN: Is “sex just sex” when it comes to your personal sexual relationship versus your professional sex career?
DAMON:The sex that we have while no one is watching is the most intense sex I have ever had. Besides an unexplainable emotional connection I felt with her when I met her there was also a connection on a primal level. Her touch, her taste, her smell all had me hooked. So when we have sex it’s extremely passionate and personal. Whether it’s laying on our side having sweet passionate sex or grabbing her by her throat and trying to perforate her organs with my dick so that no life will ever be able to inhabit her insides. You can’t just “make” that with anyone else.
VERUCA: I completely agree with Damon’s response. I think at this point it’s impossible to have “just sex” with Damon. That doesn’t mean we only have lovey dovey passionate sex, it just means that our sexual energy for each other is derived from something subconscious that makes it impossible to separate the sex from the person. Damon gets to have “real” sex with me. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy sex as a performer, nor does it mean Damon doesn’t get the same energy and sluttiness that I bring to my performances. It just simply means that Damon gets a variety of types of sex with me. He gets the passionate love making, lazy hungover sex, quickies in our friends’ bathrooms or in the car, as well as the performance style sex. Also, because of our personal connection, it naturally translates to our professional sex. We genuinely love being watched and watching ourselves, so when you see us have professional sex; it’s not just a performance. Ideally we would like to enjoy professional sex with other people together.
WORDMEAN: Do you take precautionary measures so that you and Veruca don’t contract any sexual infections and do you work within an environment with any strict health regulations involved?
DAMON: Absolutely! We are very strict about whom we have sex with in our personal life; we don’t just have sex with any random person. We want to be confident that the person tests regularly for STIs and has the same expectations for other people they have sex with. As professionals we are required to test for STIs anywhere from every 14-28 days, depending on the company. As long as performers are honest and lead safe and responsible lifestyles outside of porn there is rarely an incident. There is also a database APHSS that keeps performers testing records. That way a producer or director can check to see if the performer has a valid test. STI’s of course can happen but it’s actually fairly uncommon. Most sets are sterilized and there’s always baby wipes, towels, purell etc. on hand.
WORDMEAN: In a completely different subject; what are your feelings towards online piracy and copyright infringement. Do you believe that there have been any significant consequences to the pornography business due to this? Likewise, what is your attitude towards internet censorship and the countries that have (or are preparing to) deem pornography unsuitable for the internet?
DAMON:I have mixed views on this one. The porn industry is definitely taking a hit because of online piracy. I think that people just need to adapt and evolve if they want to keep up in an ever changing technology driven market.
Without even going into a tirade I am against ALL censorship.
WORDMEAN: And finally, is there anything you would like to specify to the ‘outside’ world regarding who the real Veruca and Damon James are as individuals outside of the porn industry and what your “secret” is to having an openly sexual relationship whether it be professional or otherwise? And what would you like to say to the critics or the “ex-porn stars” that are against what you two do.
DAMON:I am an open book. I let just about anyone in on my online persona but there is an entire different world that they don’t see. It’s a world that I like to keep safe and protected and only my closest friends get to see it. It can be a balancing act sometimes being Damon the loving boyfriend and the Damon that people know from our online lives.
The secret with having an open sexual relationship such as ours comes down to honesty and communication. We don’t hold anything back from each other. We set up boundaries that we both agree upon as far as what is deemed acceptable and we try it out. It’s not always easy, it doesn’t always work. It takes a lot of time and a lot of trust. As long as we communicate our feelings no matter how big or small we’ve found a way for it to work.
As far as critics or ex porn stars who criticize us they can go fuck themselves. If I was the type of person who worried about what everyone thought about me I’d be a mental wreck and I’d never leave the house.
VERUCA:Honestly, while there is a private side to “Veruca and Damon” that only our friends’ see, it’s really not different than what you see publicly. It’s just more honest regarding how we feel as people. A lot of people assume that we “swing” or are “open,” but I find that most people’s definition of these relationships don’t fit ours. Damon and I do not have sex with other people outside of our relationship, except professionally. And we don’t have sex with strangers in our personal life, if we invite someone to have sex with us, it’s because we actually know them. Damon and I have spent our entire relationship communicating and evolving with regards to boundaries. We are brutally honest with each other and completely respectful of the agreed upon boundaries. But, just like “normal” couples, we deal with jealously, being “open” doesn’t mean you don’t feel jealous, it just means that you trust that “sex is just sex” and you learn to turn that jealousy into a stronger desire and passion for each other. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s better to have my feelings hurt with the truth than my trust broken with lies. There’s no point to lie or cheat in our relationship, because we can just tell each other what we want. Our only rules are don’t lie and don’t disrespect the relationship. I’ve never actually heard of anyone criticizing us or relationship and if someone did, they would most likely be judging based on an inaccurate assumption about us.
And so there we have it. I have to admit I could never truly understand how it works but these two are an inspiration to those who say that a healthy relationship combined with the adult industry is impossible. The truth is, I am not a porn star and so of course I don’t quite “get it” but I would again like to encourage the readers to discuss the interview (healthily) and I will throw a shout-out to Damon James who is also a very talented photographer. You can view his website and portfolio at http://damonjamesphoto.com/