I used to think more porn actors, per capita, frequented the LA Fitness I worked out at than any gym in America, and now I feel similarly about my neighborhood grocery store. While that might reinforce Atlanta’s debaucherous reputation for some, it establishes, from the outset, that those who get paid to have sex on camera are people, too, and they need exercise and eggs just like anyone else.

One of my favorite porn stars looked adorably ordinary last weekend walking through his building’s hallway to let me inside, wearing a plain white V-neck, athletic shorts and slippers that appeared as comfortable as I felt. Gone were the churning nerves I had to calm before our first hook-up about seven Halloweens ago, or even during our most recent encounter just before the holidays, and his low-key appearance made him seem less an erotic actor and more a friend with benefits.

Having sex with porn stars is no less thrilling when it goes from novelty to somewhat routine, especially when you realize some desperate trolls, as pathetic as they are monied, are out here paying $130,000 for the experience. I was just walking to the liquor store to grab a bottle for a card party when I got a text message from the porn star, and my Sunday night plans suddenly changed.

Once inside his place, I sat on his living room sofa and lit a blunt when his bedroom door opened, and another porn star appeared. He, too, had been part of the threesome that made that Halloween my favorite ever (and several threesomes and one-on-one encounters since then), so my initial shock upon seeing him last weekend quickly gave way to unadulterated joy.

The porn star who invited me over lit a matching blunt, and the three of us shared marijuana as we were about to share each other, passing the cigars ’round and ’round, the smoke filling our insides and dizzying our heads. We enjoyed the dual benefits of an NFL playoff game (the competition and as soft-core porn) and talked about how it was disrespectfully early for Hollywood to launch a new “Tomb Raider” franchise, until we did the math and realized it’s been 15 years since Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft.

When halftime arrived, we turned off the TV and lights, took off our clothes and … I’ll leave at least a little for one’s imagination, the most important part of all sex. I’ll give that it was spiritual, out-of-body intimacy, where, even though there were no cameras, it felt like I was watching myself, or more precisely, being watched by myself:

By the 10-year-old boy who used to get jealous of characters in raunchy NWA and 2 Live Crew songs; by the 18-year old who was the first to check “sex with a porn star” off his freak bucket list; by the reporter who spent the last few days surveying the religious right’s latest battle plan against homosexuality, and understands, this is why they hate you; by the diner at brunch just a few hours earlier, who rolled his eyes at his friends’ vicarious excitement from one of his missionary-caliber sex stories, but now thought, wait’ll they hear about this.

All of these versions of me were present, all synced and satisfied and proud; all recognized, appreciated and reciprocated by my partners.

When I stepped back out into the warm January night, I thought about how many people grow up dreaming of being the perfect wife or ideal father, how it is OK if I always wanted something different and how there is existential fulfillment in being the type of lover porn stars contact when they want to fuck for pleasure.

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