There was a time when porn stars needed to be good at one thing and one thing only. Fucking. Oh sure, there may have been the odd personal appearance here and there but it always came back to the fucking.
These days an ‘adult entertainer’ can be so much more. He can be a high fashion model like Francois Sagat. He can DJ naked like Pavel Petel. He can slice off someone’s foot and mail it to Canada’s Conservative Party. Ahem…
Or, like Conner Habib, he can be a porn star, college lecturer, a writing coach and now a Sexpert for NewNowNext.com.
The Back Building caught up with Conner to discuss whether porn can be art, outing celebrities and what the future holds…
Do you see porn as art?
Yeah, there’s no doubt that porn is art. It’s sexual imagery that often evokes a strong response from those who encounter it. Some of it’s good art, most of it’s bad art. Anyone who doesn’t think that porn is art is either severing sex from the rest of human experience, or art from it, or both.
Is it a way for you to build your name? Or do you see yourself doing it for a long time to come?
Being in porn was and is one of the primary goals of my life - It’s not a means to an end.
You’ve obviously got some pretty strong political opinions too. Have you/will you be helping to make a difference to gay charities/campaigns?
I’ve got opinions, but I wouldn’t consider myself at all political - I don’t care about politics. I do care about human freedom and compassion, and sometimes that intersects with the political arena, but more broadly, it’s at odds with politics and politicians.
As for gay charities, I don’t do too much work with exclusively gay charities. This isn’t anything against them - I think a lot of them are great and doing important work. My whole life project is about sexual liberation and promoting sex-positive images and attitudes, so it’s constantly giving fuel, I hope to gay causes. I do contribute to other charities regularly though; I think it’s our duty to see more than one facet of human rights (i.e. gay rights) and see how all issues are connected.
What’s your take on celebrities being open about being gay?
Once you get in the public eye, you’ve got different responsibilities. I think being honest includes being open, so it’s good to be out if you’re a celebrity. I also think you have to assume that your secrets will be found out if you’re not courageous enough to be open.
Sex plays a big part of your life, not just in filming it but talking/writing about it too.
I was always a very sexual person - long before I started porn. I’ve tried for most of my adult life to talk openly about sex, my sexual experiences, and my sexual desires. I think that just flowed naturally into the writing/talks/appearances I’m doing now. Even if I weren’t in porn, I’d be thinking and talking about sex in some public way.
Are people often surprised that you are not the stereotypically dumb porn star?
I know what you mean, but I wouldn’t put it that way - I think people are really happy to find out that they don’t have to be stupid themselves to embrace sex. It’s not that they think porn stars are dumb so much as they think they can’t take sex seriously.
And you lecture too?
Aside from teaching college English for three years, I also have given lectures about sex and pornography at colleges. I also talk about spirituality and science from time to time, and run a spirituality/science discussion group here in San Francisco.
There were some interesting responses to the blog you wrote on having sex in public rest stops. What did you make of them?
I think that lots of people consider themselves “progressive” until you start talking about sex. When you do, you start to discover where people truly stand on caring about others. While many people are willing to be there with you when you’re suffering or in pain, they’re also ready to demonize you for the ways you seek pleasure. Until we have understanding and compassion for both suffering and pleasure, we’re not really progressive.
You seem all up on social media and yet you don’t do Facebook. Any reason why?
Facebook is full of problems. Stupid interface, shallow means of communication, ads all over the place. I’m surprised that more people haven’t ditched it by now. Twitter may be addictive and silly in its own way, but I find it to be more good-natured. It lets me interact with strangers more easily and is a better doorway to real communication via email/meeting up/etc than facebook. Plus, facebook has all sorts of pernicious ties to the military and intelligence-gathering groups. It sucks and it’s not worth it.
Would you want to do film/TV acting?
If someone asked, I sure would. I’m not pursuing it on my own though.
What’s next for Conner Habib? Is there an ultimate goal?
Writing more. Getting the play I finished a year ago produced. Being in more porn. Having a TV show. Becoming a nicer person. Reading more books. Starting a spiritual center for homeless people/poor people and doing spiritual outreach for prisoners. Giving talks. The ultimate goal is to keep living my life doing the work I’m doing and staying awake to the rest of the world.