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The Gay Porn Industry Is Thriving (And Has Never Been More Lucrative)

Porn star Trenton Ducati talks to IN about the positive impact subscription-based services have had on the industry…and how porn streaming sites like Pornhub aren’t necessarily the evil entity many think it to be
 
By Bobby Box
 
Trenton Ducati, born Zachary David Ivey, has been a prolific gay porn actor for nine years, working with the biggest studios and performers in the business. (He now spearheads three studios of his own: Trenton Ducati, Nasty Daddy and Gentlemen’s Closet. In his near decade of experience, Ducati has witnessed porn go from an industry many thought to be bankrupt, to the best and most profitable it has ever been.
 
“I used to always hear: ‘Porn is dead.’ I’d hear that there is no money in porn, that nobody pays for porn. At the time, it was true. A model would show up and think that this could be their last shoot,” Ducati recounts over the phone. “With the advent of OnlyFans and Just For Fans, it’s become a great time to be a model.”
 
Born in Houston, Texas,and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ducati stumbled on his porn career while working as a personal trainer. One of his clients, porn actor Jimmy Durano, saw potential in the bulky, blue-eyed actor, and unbeknownst to him sent his photos to a porn studio. Not long after, contracts were signed and Trenton Ducati (the name comes from an individual he was crushing on at the time plushis favorite motorcycle) was born.
 
Throughout the conversation, Ducati repeatedly mentions how grateful he is for his career, asserting there has never been a more vibrant energy surging throughout. “Every model I’m around now is inspired, hopeful and innately interested. It’s non-stop,” he says. “I have literally been in the industry from when it was dying to now, when it’s on fire. Models have become their own studios. They are advertising to their own membership base, they’re having to shoot quality content, they’re having to shoot things fans have requested. It’s great!”
 
IN spoke with the 41-year-old porn actor about the evolution of gay porn, the impact streaming sites have had on industry profits, and how subscription services like OnlyFans and Just For Fans have brought new life to an industry many believed was on its last leg.
 
With queer shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race entering the mainstream and gay marriage becoming more widely legalized, have you found gay porn has made similar strides?
In my experience, gay porn,and the entire adult industry, has become far less taboo and more widely accepted. People who are shocked and turned off areminimal these days. I’ve found audiences are far more sex positive, they’re people who understand the art of pornography and see beyond the sex. They see the magic of the movie-making and the creativity that goes into these productions. They see deeper into our industry. They appreciate and understand everything it takes to make it happen.
 
What kind of content is popular now? Have you found you’re filming more of a particular category lately?
The daddy/boy stuff is everywhere. Daddies are always popular, that’s a standard. Bondage is doing very well right now as well. I’ve found that if you choose to shoot a standard guy-on-guy scene, there needs a catch in order for it to be successful; there needs to be something more to it. You know, some depth. For now, that’s the daddy role. It’s really trending,so that’s what we’re working on at my studios. Anything fetish, like feet,never really disappoints either. That’s a weird one, but it’s one of the most searched fetishes in the world.
 
You work with the Free Speech Coalition and the Desert AIDS Project, which, among many other goals, aims to get PrEP to performers on set. What is your personal stance on bareback sex in gay porn?
I think that times have changed. I think the science is proof of that. I think we are now able to make educated decisions on our sexual encounters and our sexual health. I believe in testing, but I also feel that themodelsshould be able to make their own decisions about their bodies. Ultimately, if it’s a safe decision, I have no problem with it.
 
The adult industry is one unjustly wrought with rumors and stigma. Are there any myths about gay porn that you would like to dispel?
A large misconception is people think gay porn stars are on drugs 24/7. These are not the facts. You couldn’t have this job if you had issues with drugs or drinking because of the scheduling, the body maintenance, the physicality of the job and your appearance. It just isn’t possible. When I first came into the industry, I thought the same thing about the drugs. Young people need to know this isn’t the case. This is a real, full-time job that people work hard on. They’re in the gym, they are eating well, they are networking, they are building their careers.
 
I always say: the greatest scenes are made before the scene, not during it. It’s the preparation, it’s the thought, it’s pre-thinking your behaviour, it’s talking with the director, it’s the social media upkeep, the OnlyFans and Just For Fans, it’s being comfortable with yourself. It’s this part – the rest of the story, before and after the scene – that I’m always trying to tell. Like when a model decides to go to the gym and not to the bar with his friends because he has a scene to film tomorrow. That’s what we need to talk more about: the full-time job outside of the filming.
 
Streaming porn sites have undoubtedly hindered industry profits, but have also helped porn actors get better recognized. What’s your personal take on websites like Pornhub?
Have streaming sites hurt us? Yes. Have they helped us? Yes. Have they helped more than hurt? Definitely. In the beginning, these websites did hurt the studios, but they help us now.
 
Pornhub is the empire. Pornhub has everything. And they have been working hard to make it beneficial for studios and performers to have their own channels on Pornhub so we can get ad revenue. Studios benefit from having my scenes up there (stolen or not) because the site hosts millions of viewers. I don’t have millions of viewers on my site. And they’ve created a system where they have gathered all of the eyeballs and direct the traffic back to the studios. In fact, they pay percentages to studios. We make money with Pornhub. It’s a giant advertising tool. It serves as a giant billboard for me, because some guy from Kansas who has never heard of me or my studios, now has.
 
If you work with Pornhub and you do the uploading yourself, that’s fine. But when people steal, Pornhub takes it down immediately. A lot of the stuff we–the studios and models–upload ourselves. I put it up there on purpose. I want my stuff up there free because at the end of the scenes, I put a link back to my site. Therefore, I want these people to see my best stuff and advertise within the scene in hopes that people will visit the sites that I do profit from. As far as my studios are concerned, we’ve already seen that return.
 

Subscription sites like Just For Fans and OnlyFans have had a particular impact on the gay porn industry. As the owner of three porn production studios, do you regard these avenues as a potential threat?
My studios have been growing as far as customers and memberships are concerned. So I can personally guarantee that people are paying for porn on all fronts. I think the ease of how we pay for porn now helps, too. It’s all very easy.
 
I think there is room for both. I am a studio owner and I also have OnlyFans and Just For Fans, so I’m literally doing both. In both cases, the numbers are growing. I think they co-market each other. If you like a particular model, then you might check out the studio websites they work for. On the other end, if you see a certain model you like on the studio sites, you see if they have an OnlyFans. The studios have paved the way so that we can have these amazing platforms. We owe this amazing time period to the studios – who have been super supportive of models using these new, individual platforms – and I’m forever thankful.
 
It seems like the adult industry is in a good place right now, in terms of profit. Which is surprising, considering how much free content is available for consumption. I know it’s a fairly obvious sentiment, but do you find people are beginning to understand that they need to pay for their porn?
Customers can follow their favourite model and are assured the money spent goes directly to that model. I think these new avenues have re-groomed the consumer base to pay for porn. It’s teaching people that if you appreciate the performer, you have to pay for their art. And I feel like the consumers are beginning to understand that. This mentality has translated to the studio side as well: if you like it, you have to pay for it. This transition over the past four or five years has been a re-grooming process (not unlike the music industry during Napster, etc.). These new platforms has energized our industry and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
 

 
BOBBY BOX is a prolific freelance journalist in Hamilton, Ont. He currently works as contributing editor at Playboy.com and has had the privilege of speaking with the world’s most recognized drag queens, including, most recently, Trixie Mattel and Alaska Thunderfuck. While proud of his work, Bobby is not above begging. He asks that you follow him on Twitter at @bobbyboxington.
 

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