He’s recently answered an interview about his life and our work together, and I thought you’d like to check it out. Good reading!
Hi, Valentin, who are you and what do you do?
I am Valentin from Germany. 27 years old, dancer and performer. I mainly work for theaters and dance companies. At the moment I work for a dance ensemble called Company Thor in Brussels. Besides that, I am also an actor in erotic movies . It’s been 2 years and 5 movies.
How did you start in the erotic world, and what were your impressions on it back then?
Out of curiosity I guess. I didn’t really plan on it, it happened almost by accident. It all started when I met a guy from Pornceptual, the art/porn collective from Berlin. We got to talk a bit and when he found out that I am a dancer, he asked me if I would be interested to collaborate with Pornceptual sometime. Curiously I said yes — I hardly knew about their work at this point — and a few weeks later he invited me to see their studio and told me about his idea of making an erotic movie. At first I had concerns, I didn’t know if I would be comfortable. I guess I expected my first acting to be something more artsy and less explicit. But then I just thought ‘Why not?! Give it a try!’, and agreed.
I remember being very nervous and doubtful about what was about to happen when I was on my way to the shooting. But then, the more time I spent in front of the camera, the more comfortable and confident I felt, and eventually I was able to let go completely and focus on the scene.
Later on, the film got picked by the Berlin Porn Festival curatorship, and I went to one of the screenings to watch it for the first time. That was quite an experience. It’s rather bizarre to watch yourself masturbate and orgasm on a big cinema screen, together with a big audience full of strangers. I have never seen myself having an orgasm before, and it was a little bit of a shock, but I also remember being very proud of the movie and of myself for doing it.
Since I first worked with Valentin Braun in Thank you…, I’ve been wanting to tell you more about him. He is a German actor, dancer and performer whose talent and expressivity really leave a marks in his works. He is the star in our upcoming release Call Me a Ghost (you can watch it here), and we’re currently working on our third film together (I won’t tell you much but I’ll tell you this: a threesome is coming!), which means you’ll be seeing his face frequently around here. And this makes all of us very happy, yes sir. Valentín is perceptive, passionate about art and history, a delight to work with and to talk to. We share a lot of thoughts about art, cinema, life, porn, which just makes our collaborations more and more interesting.
How did doing porn affect your daily life? Do people recognize you on the street now?
First of all I want to say how happy I am that I found porn, or that porn found me, because it really helped me to become a better and stronger person.
I used to struggle with a lot of anxieties, which stem from my early teenage years when I struggled with my body and sexuality, and with being social. My years of being “in the closet” were horrible. I used to be terribly scared of how the rest of the world would see me. I was very reserved and insecure, living in a bubble of fear. To express myself and my sexuality seemed just impossible for me. Getting involved in porn definitely helped me to get to where I am today. It has been a long journey and things are much better now.
I’m aware that doing porn is the opposite of being in the closet, and to me this means freedom and empowerment. It has helped me to discover and understand myself much better, it put me very much in touch with my sexuality, I overcame inhibitions and in general it gave me a lot of confidence.
And no, people don’t recognize me on the street (or at least they do not approach me if they do). I am not a porn star, after all I have only done 5 movies with small alternative porn studios so far. The only thing that has noticeably changed for me is my Facebook: I suddenly started to receive a lot of friend requests and messages. There has been everything from fan art, dick pics, invitations to dates, compliments and video calls from masturbating strangers from every continent. It’s been fun.
Still photo from “thank you…”
You’re already a familiar name in Noel’s films and you’re the protagonist in his next release. In your opinion, what is interesting about Noel’s work?
This was my third time working with Noel and we also got to hang out outside of work as we are both based in Brussels. I am very happy to have him as a friend, he is super fun and I admire his courage and passion for his work.
I find that porn nowadays isolates horniness too much from all the other emotions. It shows sex for the sake of showing sex and most likely there is no other emotion displayed. Noel’s approach is exactly the opposite: In real life, sex comes from somewhere. There has to be a build up, since sex is a result of multiple events. There must be a context. Also, having sex makes you go somewhere, it brings you closer to or further away from your partner. Sex will always affect your relationship with your partner. I don’t think that you can have a sexual interaction with somebody and then walk away from it without it having changed the way you relate to this person. This is the context that Noel is interested in. He wants to show the journey that leads up to people sharing sexual intimacy, and how it continues after that.
You just came from shooting a new explicit film with Noel Alejandro. How was the experience? Can you tell us a bit about the film, and your favorite parts of it?
It was fun day, but quite exhausting. The shooting was in mid December, and the days in Belgium are quite short then, so we had to be very time-efficient in order to finish before sundown. The film is about a guy who needs to find himself a new room to rent, and goes to check a potential place in a flat share with two other guys. It talks about the blurred line between being flatmates, friends and lovers, which is something I can relate to, as I tend to mix up all three…
I think my favorite part about the shooting was that there was a cat in the set. I love cats, and this one was quite curious and loved to walk around. During the sex scenes we put him away into a separate room, but during all the other scenes he was free to run around while we were shooting, and he did, so we got to improvise with him. I hope his scenes make it into the movie as well.
What do you think about mainstream porn?
I grew up consuming gay mainstream porn from my 14 years on and I still consume it today. In a way it helped shaping me into the gay man I am today. I never got the sex talk from my parents and during sexual education at school we would only learn about heterosexual stuff. I was the only gay in the village and was completely left alone with growing up gay, so I don’t know where I would be today -or rather who I would be today- if I hadn’t had access to gay porn. It is hard to say if or not I would have been a better person, had I grown up without consuming porn.
Before my first movie I knew very little about the porn business. My only knowledge of it came from my daily jerk offs to free porn videos. It was after my first shoot that I started to actually think about it, and gathering information about porn became my hobby, but still I don’t know enough about the universe of pornography to give a clear or final statement here. This is such a complex topic. However, there is one thing that I can say: I believe that porn is very often misunderstood as something inferior, dark and perverted. There are a lot of groups, movements and institutions worldwide denouncing pornography, without knowing what porn really is. In my understanding, porn is an art form which intends to celebrate the human sexuality and document it for others to share, inform and of course pass on the joy and pleasure. Porn, and sexuality in general, can be just as loving, constructive and enlightening as it can be dark, scary and destructive, yet all we ever seem to be talking about is the negative side of it.
Picture by Manuel Moncayo
So what is good about porn?
This might sound sad and pathetic, but when I grew up, porn was there for me when nobody else was. It helped me to understand that I am neither alone in this world nor perverted and very much normal. It also helped me to discover my sexuality and made me curious enough to eventually reach out to the real world. I know that’s just my personal story, but that’s exactly why it’s important to me.
Porn is an art form that focuses on the human sexuality. It reflects our approach to sexuality by turning our sexual realities and fantasies into visual works for everybody to see and share. In theory, porn is as diverse and inventive as our imagination is, although in actuality the diversity of porn is limited by the market, the rules of supply and demand apply here. Besides its obvious purpose of sexual arousal, porn has the power to teach and educate us about sex. The world of porn will show you how diverse human sexuality is and will help you to figure your own sexuality out. Of course you will encounter a lot of things that are not going to be your cup of tea, but that will also teach you something about yourself,and as long as nobody gets hurt against his will (I had to phrase it like this because of all the S&M porn), we all should just live and let live.
Erotica remind us of the fact that we are sexual beings. Today’s world still declares sex as a sin and is still ignorant and repressive towards sexual needs. Talking about the most natural and for the survival of our species indispensable thing is something that still offends people. In my opinion, the concept behind porn can be seen as one of the antidotes to this hostile mentality.
Does your family know about your movies?
Yes, my family knows, or at least my close family does, and so do all of my friends. My mum even met Noel when she came to visit me in Brussels last year. I think it was more awkward for Noel than for my mum.
When I started to prepare for my second movie, I made the decision that I will not try hide my ‘little side job’, as my mum calls it. I didn’t want to be in the closet all over again so I told everybody about it, which turned out to be no big deal.
What do you think about the blend art + pornography? Are there special cares to take into consideration?
This genre has existed since thousands of years — just think of the prehistoric cave paintings, ancient Greek mosaics or the Renaissance painters — but I think the new media give us a whole new perspective on it and offer new possibilities for us to explore, which is very exciting. Think about all that virtual reality technology that has just come out recently for example.
Generally I think it is very important in the arts to blur the line and work interdisciplinary. I would say that if you want to blend art with pornography, then your two main concerns should be: make good art AND make good porn. Other than that, just express yourself, freely and uninhibited.
What would you say it’s missing in contemporary erotica?
I am not sure if there is anything. Actually, I think there are already a lot of exciting things happening today, it’s just not that easy to find them. It’s a bit like finding new music that’s not on the charts. There are lots out there, you just have to know where to search.
Still from Call Me a Ghost
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