photo: Sam Morris
These ten women and men aren’t afraid to expose their naked bodies to fight against stigmas around sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
It’s a struggle for freedom of expression on a slippery slope. With their work these brave ten blur the lines of art, pornography, sex work, political activism, or what’s considered “professional” work. They face the dangers that come with the openly sexual nature of their work or digital persona. Their explicit representation on and offline is not a green card to sexual consent, what sounds like a no-brainer is something many people do not understand. “I’ve found myself in some very dangerous, and uncomfortable situations,” our cover model Sam Morris told Gay Times, “I have been sexually blackmailed, assaulted, verbally harassed, and raped. These situations have involved photographers, prolific magazine editors, and other gay men I’ve met along the way.” Physical harassment, slut-shaming, and tensions in personal relationships are something all of them have encountered but they found ways to deal with these situations. For erotic filmmaker and performer Anarella Martínez-Madrid, it’s as simple as this: “If being a slut means being able to enjoy your sexual life, and get to know yourself better, then I am a slut”.
Sam & Valentin, photo: Spyros Rennt
In a city with a longer tradition of nudism than glossy Instagram feeds, a female nipple has suddenly become a problem. Social Media are supposed to be the modern age tool for self-expression and human connection but have become a way for global companies to spread conservative norms formerly unknown to Berlin. “Sex is a bodily need, like food. Imagine we would censor food and ban it from social media,” Berlin-based dancer and erotic performer Valentin told iHeartBerlin, “Censorship distorts our body image and teaches us a weird secrecy and shame about sexuality and nudity. It prevents people who are not sexually active yet from learning and asking questions about it. It’s a vicious circle and I hope to make a difference by sharing my story.
So, don’t take them for narcissists. They strip down their panties to inspire us and a new generation of social media users to feel comfortable with their bodies, sexual desires and keep Berlin sexy. After all, It’s just naked skin.
No doubt: Undercut, tattoos, piercings; Jasko serves you Berlin underground queer rebel girl at first sight. The Berliner-by-choice started to work in porn over four years ago. “It was a super quick gut decision,” Jasko told us, “I surprised my then non-exhibitionist self.” Recently, the 33-year-old has worked with the independent pornographic short film project Four Chambers headed by performer Vex Ashley, and with director Erika Lust for her Xconfessions series. The Swedish filmmaker stands for ethical porn that turns the infamous genre upside down: No male gaze, no humiliation or shockingly horrible lighting. It’s feminist porn, and Jasko personifies that attitude perfectly. She has already starred in sensually explicit movies such as Goodyn Green’s “The Toilet Line” (2017), alongside New-York-based performance artist Ze Royale, “An Illicit Affair”, and “The Bike Club” (2018), with Dante Dionys, directed by Poppy Sanchez, both also featured. “Explicit content has a lot of power in this society on sexual education, self-exploration and gender norms,” Jasko said in our interview, “I do see my work in porn as a feminist practice to empower me personally and create more aware and ethical porn.”
Check out her Instagram.
Jasko & Dante in “The Bike Club” by Poppy Sanchez on Erika Lust’s Xconfessions, photo: Natália Zajačik
Alex & Matthias
Amusingly shameless. That’s probably the best way to describe Berlin’s Insta power couple numero uno. Think bulges, butts and toilet selfies. An Insta game, somewhere in between art, vanity, activism and pure lol’s. The muscle-packed German-Italian duo’s adventurous sexuality and open sex life is no secret, and muse to Berlin’s skin-obsessed photographers such as Florian Hetz or Spyros Rennt. But behind thirst traps in sexy poses, you’ll find deeper intentions: “Pro Hoe,” reads Matthias’ straight-forward Instagram bio. They were cover models to the “Sex on Prep” campaign of BLU magazine, Matthias co-founded the “Travestie für Deutschland” project against right-wing populism with Berlin Drag Queen and personal friend Jackie-Oh-Weinhaus and, in a collaborative effort, they started the first kinky and sex-positive party “Buttcocks” at SchwuZ, Berlin’s famous gay club – Don’t judge a book by its zero body fat percentage and picture-perfect face, huh? “Sometimes I am a Jock and sometimes I am the biggest Show Queen,” Matthias told gay dating app Planet Romeo, “The gay verbiage is often shallow. I am what I am and it’s changing all the time. Label yourself if you want to, but some of us just don’t fit in.”
photo: Spyros Rennt
It was her move to Berlin that helped photographer and performance artist Natalie Portnoy to truly embrace her own sexuality and sexual orientation. “In Poland, my home country, I’ve been affected by slut-shaming as a teenager and in my early 20’s,” Nat told IHeartBerlin. The self-proclaimed “multi-fetishist” and multidisciplinary artist started posing nude for photographers and drawing classes about ten years ago but living in Berlin boosted her confidence enough to show her nude body in moving pictures. Sharing the screen with Valentin and Bishop, the now 31-year-old stars in a new sultry movie about a polyamorous relationship by no one but Bruce La Bruce, one of the most respected pornographic filmmakers to date.
Check out her Instagram.
photo: Peter Vr
“I am an Escort and Adult Performer. I know how to enjoy an extraordinary adventure without ever settling down to fit into a box,” Dante states on his website. What started as an alternative to his 9-to-5 job in early 2017 quickly became a perspective he wanted to explore more. “My work has taught me a lot about people, my sexuality, and has increased my body awareness,” The Berlin-born Dante Dionys told us, “There’s this belief that sex work wouldn’t be work. That it would be unhygienic and dangerous. This is part of a century old stigma which continues to make sex worker’s lives and labor unsafe and pushes us to the margins of society. Today, I am more in control of my life than I was before.” As an erotic performer, he has worked with filmmakers such as Erika Lust, Vex Ashley, Poppy Sanchez, and Berlin performer Jasko Fide as well as the internationally known Maria Riot.
Dante & Jasko in “The Bike Club” by Poppy Sanchez on Erika Lust’s Xconfessions, photo: Natália Zajačik
“Sometimes I dance. Sometimes I porno,” Bishop writes jokingly on his Instagram. But when he does it’s hard to take your eyes off him. Anyone who has seen the 33-year-old perform will agree. The British artist has set his foot on a variety of stages in the capital switching from theatre, dance, drag, Burlesque, to erotic movies at ease. His body is his politicized tool to express his views on sexuality, gender, and race. He is “A sexual being,” as pornographic filmmaker Noel Alejandro put it. “For me, gender is about the self-exploration of my own body and my preferences,” Bishop told Siegessäule, “I want to express myself, my gender fluidity and want it to be recognized. Being present with my work is already a political act.”
Check out his Instagram.
photo: Natalia Portnoy
Voted one of 2017’s top 100 eligible bachelors in Out Magazine. We don’t object. There’s nothing like a handsome, butt-naked British guy playing the Ukulele. His enticing Instagram with almost 90 thousand followers is only the prologue though. Launched in 2015, his website offers “a candid look at sexuality through art and reality” of himself, “And other Boys & Lovers”, if you are willing to pay for that fantasy. “My site is a way for me to explore gay erotica in a romantic and shameless way,” Sam told us, “Something to engage with. It also gave me the power to make a living from the work I create.” In soothing lighting, the former dancer’s perfectly defined body rolls over white linens, in between plants, vintage furniture, and hardwood floor, alone or in handsome company. The intimate familiarity of the scenario is what makes it so sexy. Not a newbie in front and behind the camera, Sam has been captured by international photographers like Luke Austin or Ryan Pfluger, appeared in Berlin’s fashionable Kaltblut Magazine, and invited a gorgeous entourage of boys in front of his own lense, including Alex & Matthias.
photo: Sam Morris
Making erotic art came very natural to the young Amsterdam-born artist. “I’ve been quite a sexual person from a young age. When I was in art school I made a lot of work related to sex, ” Poppy told IHeartBerlin, “When I was 21, I was randomly offered to make a porn film for one of the biggest production companies in the Netherlands and I took the offer straight away.” Recently, Poppy collaborated with adult filmmaking icon Erika Lust for her XConfessions series and released the movies “Moist” and “The Bike Club”. “I loved Poppy Sanchez’s fun, bright, sexy and totally original porn when I first saw it,” Erika Lust writes, “She’s so cool – and so are her films.” The young filmmaker has made it her mission to create dreamy cinematic worlds full of desire and intimacy. “I’ve made cool stuff,” Poppy told us, “But I feel like its time to break the mold a little and get a little more freaky in the near future.” Stay tuned for this ambitious and talented artist on her way to break down some boundaries.
Check out her Instagram.
photo: Romy Alizée
“Sluts don’t exist, it’s a word made up by jealous people,” Valentin mischievously answered when we asked him about his experiences with slut-shaming. When you’ve watched his steel-like bum run and roll through the desert in Goldfrapp’s video to their single “Everything Is Never Enough“, you could imagine people being jealous of these assets. 29-year-old Valentin is the example of how the lines of art, porn, and mainstream culture can be blurred in one person. It all started in 2015 when his collaboration with Berlin’s kinkiest collective Pornceptual took off. “I didn’t plan on it or intended to pursue a career in that field at all before I met Chris from Pornceptual,” Valentin told us, “Maybe I never would have become a porn actor. But it all makes sense looking back.” Like many young gay boys, Valentin grew up in a small town sheltered from queer culture and ways to explore his sexuality. “The absence of LGBTQI people in my life and nobody to talk to censored vast parts of my personality,” Valentin said, “Being a porn actor helped me to get rid of the bullshit that I gathered in teenage years and brought into my twenties. I guess, I am trying to be the role model that I didn’t have when I was 15 years old.”
Check out his Instagram.
photo: Spyros Rennt
Anarella Martinez-Madrid is a film producer, performance artist and event promoter living and working in Berlin. She found her way into erotic art while studying arts in her hometown Valencia. “My family has always been very open in terms of talking about sex, and I was always curious,” 34-year-old Anarella told iHeartBerlin, “I used my studies to explore and get to know myself, and my body in an artistic way. I like to flirt, I like sex, I like to try new things, but always with mutual respect, and consent.” As an event promoter Anarella has started the platform Fecunda Lab where she organizes events such Lick&Listen and Porn Corn to change perspectives on pornography. In Berlin, she founded the project SexSchoolHub, an online platform that offers explicit sex education films surrounding particular topics like consent, communication, and identity. The site will be launched at the end of the year. “Our ambition is to stop the ignorance, stereotypes and stigma’s surrounding sex and help evolve your sex life,” Anarella writes for SexSchoolHub.
photo: JP Welchering
If we got you hooked, these ten aren’t the only Berlin-based and international sexfluencers fighting censorship.
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