I first heard of Bryan Slater a couple of years ago when he showed up in, of all places, my People You May Know box on . I didn’t know him, but immediately Googled him and then jerked off a lot. His face is uniquely handsome and his dick is profoundly wonderful, all stony hard and upward pointing. His greatest porn moment, I think, was in the Joe Gage movie Doctors and Dads, where his pervy physician character fucked a patient on the office floor while the young man’s father jerked off above them. It’s ridiculous, but also ridiculously hot.
I talked to Bryan the other day about Bryan Slater’s Wet Dream, his new movie, and we also talked about being typecast as a dad, about his other hobby, and about some more serious subjects.
Read our exclusive interview and see more pics below:
Bryan! Hello! Let’s talk about your new movie.
It’s called Bryan Slater’s Wet Dream, and it’s the first time that I’ve ever had star billing, if that’s the right term to use. I don’t even really know if there’s any such thing as a porn star anymore… It’s the first time that I’ve had lead billing and also the first time that my name has been in the title.
Two years ago I was filming Doctors and Dads, and afterwards Ray Dragon and Joe Gage and I were sitting around having lunch, and Joe asked me what I was up to. I said that I had no offers, and that I felt like I was done. At that point I’d been doing porn for three years, and I sort of felt like I’d overstayed my welcome.
I said I didn’t have an entrance strategy going into porn—I don’t know if anyone does, really—and I was wondering if I should have an exit strategy. And I continued to blather on, and Joe cuts me off and says okay, the industry isn’t done with you just because you don’t have any offers right now. I don’t think you’re done unless you’re ready to be done.
Ray asked me what I hadn’t done in porn that I still wanted to do. And that question hadn’t really occurred to me. I had just been going from shoot to shoot when I had the time and the interest. I think he thought I wanted to direct. But my answer was that I just wanted to cast a film that I was also in. That’s easy, Ray said. We’ll just do it.
I over-think absolutely everything in my life. And so I wrote a treatment for a feature-length porn movie, and it had a cast of twelve people. Due to econonics and the fact that I needed to stop and remember that it’s just porn, we finally arrived at what I really wanted to do.
The first feature-length thing that I had done with Ray and Joe was called Closed Set, and it was a loosely directed sex party. And it was just guys. A nice spectrum of types of guys. And there was really nothing else to it. And it remains one of the most fun things that I’ve ever done.
So I thought we could work with that idea, not copying it, but making a movie that’s just a loosely scripted sex party. Ray loved it, and he told me we could shoot it in two days and that I could invite five people. I was all about a mix of body types and an age range. Everyone was fantastic and showed up on time and got along famously, a lot of the people hadn’t worked together before and it was THE most fun I’ve had on set.
It’s a dreamlike concept, which allowed us to do basically anything. I start out doing a solo, and then Jay Black shows up completely naked. It saved on costume costs. And then people kind of appear and disappear. If everyone knew how much fun that shoot was, everyone would want to be in porn.
This is unofficially my retirement film. I’m not making any sort of grand proclamation. I don’t think I have the stature in the industry for anything like that. I’m really happy with what I’ve done and where things have gone, and I’m not sure that there’s anything else I would do. But who knows, this could be like Cher‘s farewell tour. (My observation is that most people who announce their retirement make a return within a year or two…)
Someone just recently asked me a question, and as they were asking it, part of the language they used was “in your porn career”. And I didn’t answer the question, because I started to giggle. Maybe five years in the industry does warrant that. Honestly, porn has really been the best decision that I’ve ever made. One of the happiest—most selfish, perhaps—but happiest decisions that I made for myself.
You know, I didn’t come out of the closet until I was twenty-eight, and then didn’t have sex until I was twenty-nine. And then I only had sex with one person for the next nine years. So, for me, porn was a celebration of sexual expression. And I was able to do it pretty much on my terms.
So, coming to porn in your forties, do you think you get unfairly typecast as a dad? Or is that something you enjoy?
Well, of course I have a story about that. I’m full of them, I’m Southern.
For my very first shoot, I arrived on set knowing ahead of time who my scene partner was, or at least I had seen pictures of him. I had realized when I saw his pictures that he was younger, but when we were actually on set and he shook my hand, he looked so much younger than even his pictures. And he told me he was 24 or 25, but he looked so much younger that I actually asked to see his ID.
And as I’m handing his ID back to him, it occurs to me that I’m entering this industry as a dad. Now, considering that I was 43 at the time, you’d think it might have occurred to me before. Before I left the set I was asked to shoot another scene, and I asked for 24 hours to think about it, and I had to come to terms with the fact that, in porn, I’ll always be much older than anyone else.
Now I don’t feel like a dad. To me, the visual of a dad in gay porn is someone who’s two inches taller than me and fifteen pounds heavier and all muscle, and who is effortlessly handsome and has swagger. Which is not me. But I’m old, and so I’m a dad.
Outside of porn, I know that you also do a lot of your own photography. Can you talk about that?
Now that I’m done with porn, I really hope to have more time to do that. My father’s a photographer so I grew up around it, and I used to develop all of his film and his prints for him. My earliest memories are all camera equipment.
Then I went to college, and photography equipment at the time was expensive and really messy, and I didn’t come back to it until my father sent me a digital camera for my birthday two years ago. And he told me he wanted me to start shooting again, that I had always had a good eye for composition.
He sent me a Nikon camera body because that’s what he used to shoot with, and in the pre-digital days you needed lots of different lenses. I was used to cameras that knew nothing, and I found digital very frustrating because it was trying to guess every single thing, even in manual mode. So I would just pick it up periodically out of guilt, and I would kind of get frustrated and put it down again, and my father kept asking if I was using it.
Then I was cleaning one day, and I found my old film camera from when I was thirteen or fourteen just sitting in a drawer. My father had told me that Nikon lenses will stick on any Nikon body, even digital ones, and lo and behold it fit. Putting a film lens on a digital body works, but you have to do everything yourself. Aperture, focus, everything. And I said my camera’s not trying to do anything because it can’t, and all of my old skills quickly came back.
Now I’m starting to go back and use some digital lenses again just to understand the possibility of the medium. And one of my dearest friends and favorite photographers also makes lenses, and he steampunks these cameras together out of parts that have nothing to do with Nikon bodies or digital lenses, and I have two of his lenses.
I love photography in a way that I haven’t loved much of anything in a long time. And I feel like I know what I’m doing. Predominantly, I’m interested in portraiture. I understand that most guys expect me to photograph them in sexy positions, but I could photograph the human face for hours and hours and never get bored.
Can we see any of your work online?
Some of it is on . I have a Flickr and a , but I haven’t gone so far as to develop an online portfolio… That’s next.
So what else have you got going on? You mentioned maybe doing some work with a non-profit…
Yeah, actually the . I have a 9 to 5 job. I’m old, I don’t go out, I don’t do drugs, I barely drink. I don’t live whatever life most people assume porn stars lead. It’s very run of the mill and boring. Boring in a good way. There’s the whole issue of some of my colleagues recently committing suicide. This isn’t a very sexy thing to talk about, but I don’t really think that the conversation should be over in that area.
No, no, it’s important.
I recently had the opportunity to do a rare public appearance for Will Clark’s that he’s been doing in the city for like ten years, I think. And for those who don’t know, Will Clark is a former gay porn performer. They basically play Bingo and every week, regardless of who the guest star is, they raise money for a different LGBT charity.
He asked me if I’d do Porno Bingo in May, and my general reaction was to say “no”. I don’t really enjoy public appearances, which is a great subject for my therapist. But he told me that they had partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and that surprised me, because that’s not an LGBT charity, and I said yes, I’ll be there to do whatever I can do.
I don’t mean to make this sound grandiose, but I’m glad to honor the colleagues who have committed suicide in the past year. But I also recently went through a period of depression, which I’d never gone through before. It was a new experience for me. My relationship ended, for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with porn. My depression also had nothing whatsoever to do with porn. But as I was in that depressed period, Arpad Miklos killed himself.
I had considered suicide myself, but it really shook me up when he did. And it continued to bother me, because it was immediately assumed that he killed himself because of the porn industry, or because there were drugs involved. And I was reading blogs, and there was a lot of speculation from people who didn’t know him well at all, or who only knew that he was in porn and, therefore, made a connection that maybe wasn’t there.
I don’t know, maybe it was. I didn’t know him well. What I knew about him was that he was an intelligent and capable man who could have done a lot of things. And it’s completely one-dimensional to assume that he’s just this one thing.
As I was surfacing from the depression, I was going to the gym a lot. Lifting weights made me feel a lot better, actually. And I’m at the gym one day and I look up and Wilfried Knight was across the gym from me. He didn’t live in New York, so I was surprised to see him. And I introduced myself and he was lovely and warm and very articulate, and I told him about Bryan Slater’s Wet Dream, and at the time, we were still trying to refine the casting, and he said that he’d be interested.
He gave me his number, and we talked for nearly an hour, which is really unlike me at the gym. I’m very task-oriented. And I just liked him, I liked him as a person. And he said something about a recent breakup and his boyfriend, and he told me about his experience with depression, and we talked about Arpad. It was fascinating to me. And maybe ten days later, he killed himself.
One of the surprising things about the depression was how disoriented I was. I was unsure of what time it was or what day it was, which was not like me. I was not alone, I had somebody to take care of me, and there would be moments where my friend would go to work, and in those few hours I would completely irrationally convince myself that he was not returning and that there was no one who could or would help me. And the depression would spiral.
But with the depression, there was this odd double consciousness about it, this secondary awareness all the time where I’m constantly looking at myself. And I’m sort of above myself observing this saying, wow, that doesn’t make any sense. And I can remember twice being so depressed that I was scared, and going through every single name in my phone and convincing myself that there was no one that I could call. And I would scroll past name after name, including my family. But I remember thinking why do I feel this way? Why do I feel that none of these people would help me? There was a point at which I grabbed my laptop to try to find some help. I didn’t know what I was thinking at the time but I ran across the website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’s not a hotline or anything, but on that website, you can find a hotline if you need one.
When I was thinking that no one would help me, the reasons I gave myself included that I’d done porn. I’m a sex worker. Who would help me? I’m not worth saving. This is completely irrational thinking, but it’s thinking like that that nearly cost me my life. And there are lots of sex workers, men and women, who might go through this.
In an irrational moment, I had bought into the stigma about the unworthiness of sex workers. I was going to make a phone call to a suicide hotline, and then I said no I can’t, because I’ve done porn. It actually kept me from making that call.
There’s a stigma in general about mental illness in this country. And then you add on top of that any shame you do or don’t feel about being a sex worker. And in that depressed moment, I got into this stigma that I don’t even really believe in. And I said I wonder if there’s a way to let sex workers know that there are places that will help you, and that you’re worth being helped and worth saving. And I don’t know if the way to do it is to put a face on depression or illness in the sex work industry. And suicide with escorts is rarely reported, and when it is, it’s always some tragic drug overdose that may or may not be true.
I don’t know if I have anything else to do in this industry in terms of being in front of a camera. But if anyone who’s in the porn industry or who’s an escort ever is depressed, I’d like to be there to say that you can call anyone and they can help you. No one will ask you what you do for a living, no one will judge you, they’ll just give you the help that you deserve.
I think it’s brave for a national organization that’s not LGBT specific to have no problem affiliating itself with a part time gay porn star.
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