BRENT Corrigan is arguably the best known porn star in the world. His career is the stuff of legend, kicking off with a highly-controversial series of videos when he was just 17. Those early years even recently inspired a Hollywood film called King Cobra starring James Franco.

But in stark contrast to how some might picture the now 30-year-old porn industry veteran who has never really known anything else career-wise, Corrigan appears to have his head on straight. He is well-spoken, intelligent, and is in a committed relationship with JJ Knight, a relative newcomer to the porn industry.

The couple met three years ago while filming a scene together, in what sounds like a classic case of love-at-first fuck. Corrigan loves to describes the instant chemistry as “palpable”.

“He loves big words,” JJ adds.

While being in a relationship with a porn star might seem like it would come with its own unique set of problems, Corrigan argues that they deal with all the same issues as normal gay couples – if not, at times, a little bit heightened.

It is something that Australian porn star Leo Rocca has experienced firsthand. His most recent relationship, which was also with a co-star, ended after they struggled to deal with common issues in the gay community like drug use and fidelity.

BentleyRace.com star Luc Dean also agrees that there is most definitely a noticeable effect on relationships.

“I have a boyfriend who I have every intention of marrying and he doesn’t like it, although he doesn’t mind watching it,” he says,

“It’s an interesting dynamic. We just make sure we talk about it, make sure everything is ok with him. Usually he’ll say yes, but he has said no in the past.

“But it’s more about his concern for me after previous experiences at other studios.”

Leo is from Newcastle originally, but moved to Sydney in 2011. He names Brent as his porn idol, who inspired him to allegedly use a fake ID to become a porn star at the age of 17.

“But every time I do a film, I hope Brent comes in,” he says, with a laugh.

“I would love to meet him.”

The truth is Leo got into porn after being spotted by talent agents from All Australian Boys, while he was competing in a magazine topless competition in Queensland.

Initially he thought he was just going to be doing modelling, but quickly realised it was actually for porn.

“I used to do escorting so I was used to getting paid for something I love doing,” he adds.

Luc was involved in the gay porn industry for a couple of years working with a studio on the Gold Coast, but decided to take some time off.

“I didn’t have a very good time,” he says.

“I started looking around for other Australian companies and found one in Melbourne called Light Southern that mostly does straight stuff. There wasn’t much for me to do there.”

When he decided to move to Melbourne from Brisbane, he did another search for companies and found BentleyRace.com.

Payment in Australia varies depending on the company and what the performers are expected to do.

Luc says Bentley is very much in line with the industry standards.

“A solo shoot is about $300 if you’re taking your clothes off, which you probably will be. If there’s any sort of orgasm it’s about $400. Any duo work jumps up to about $500, penetration is about $700 to $1000.

“It’s a reflection of the Australian porn industry – it is just very small. Even straight porn is limited. Australia is a big country but there’s not a lot of people here. We don’t have a hub like New York, Los Angeles and Florida,” Luc says.

But Leo is currently paid between $150 to $250 for a scene – which is usually about two to four hours worth of work.

The American porn industry is not much different when it comes to lowscene rates these days. Brent says illegal downloads are killing the industry, with the “once grossly inflated” rates dropping rapidly.

“We’ve been saying it for a couple of years, but the truth of the matter is if you’re our number one fan put your money where your mouth is and get a subscription because that’s what pays our bills. As much as we love what we do, we still need to put food on the table.

“People are still consuming and they are consuming the kind of pornt hat is putting people at major risk without considering what that risk is.”

But unlike America, stars in Australia aren’t usually contracted and just wait for the occasional job offer.

Zahra Stardust is part of the small but vibrant and growing DIY subculture called queer porn, which aims to change the face of pornography by “making an intervention into the genders, bodies and sexualities represented but also into the ethics and processes of production.”

She said there has been a noticeable shift with queer sex workers increasingly moving behind the camera to document experimental possibilities for mediated sex.

“Performers usually supplement porn with other work to diversity their income streams,” she says.

For example, Leo – who is a keen cyclist – has recently started a part time job riding for Deliveroo.

Porn performers working on the side as an escort, or moving into other parts of the industry like directing, are pretty common occurrences, according to Brent. He says a lot of performers are unable to finding normal nine-to-five day jobs because they have become so well known.

“As uncomfortable as it might make people, the reality is I can’t as Brent Corrigan, can’t go hold a day job. I can’t ever walk into any room without my name preceding me,” he says.

Luc has also struggled with the ‘fame’ aspect with his porn career colliding with his day job. As he is filming more and more videos, he is getting recognised even more in public.

He admits to even avoiding wearing his day job’s name tag out of the office so people don’t learn his real name.

“Being a part of the Australian gay community, quite a lot of my friends have also stumbled upon my stuff – that’s always been interesting,” he says.

Testing procedures and regulations for porn performers and companies are also quite different in Australia compared to America.

Lawsuits in America following HIV infections have seen the creation of Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, which have implemented programs like mandartory testing, alcohol and drug treatment, and even “life after porn” scholarships.

Brent says the American porn industry has some of the healthiest men in the gay community having some of the riskiest sex, so acting like PrEP revolutionised porn isn’t the right rhetoric.

“They have been serosorting for years, and being undetectable is a real thing but there are so many ways of having safer sex but we don’t talk about that much.

“We’ve created a dichotomy if you’re negative and on PrEP you are invited into the bareback-oriented stuff.

“On the other side of things, condoms are really not part of a lot of people’s lives these days and we need to think about this.”

Leo, who is undetectable, claims from his experience Australian companies “aren’t very fussed” and don’t test their stars.

“From what I’ve heard, (agencies) overseas do no matter what,” he adds.

Luc puts it down to the small size of the industry in Australia compared to America.

“There’s not always a lot of time between telling you there’s a shoot available and a shoot happening,” he says.

“I’ve never barebacked (in porn), I’m certainly not opposed to it as long as they can provide documentation of testing.”

Zahra says with new technologies and the changing definitions of safe sex, porn performers now have the option of choosing between a range of risk reduction strategies on set, like condoms PrEP, serosorting and maintaining undetectable viral loads.

“Sex workers in Australia have low rates of HIV and STIs and high levels of sexual health literacy and it’s important that producers provide time and space for performers to negotiate their scene confidentially and in advance.”

But both Luc and Leo admit they are usually notified about potential scenes not long before the shoot takes place – which means things like testing are not possible.

“You can certainly turn it down, I’ve never really felt pressure,” Luc says.

“You don’t stay in the industry unless you find something you enjoy about it. You don’t come back for more if you have a terrible time, for whatever reason.

“Everyone who is there is there because they want to be.”

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