Conner Habib may have attracted a loyal following of fans as a porn star, but he’s also a whip-smart blogger who unabashedly discusses sex and sexuality, as well as everything from music to medicine to health. While he hasn’t made any films thus far this year, Habib has been finishing up his forthcoming book The Sex Book: Myths, Positions, Taboos, and Possibilities (Disinformation Books, 2015)

Mirror chatted via Skype with Habib about sex, his work, and sex work.

You seem to have established a niche as both a porn star and someone who deconstructs the industry. Why play both sides of the fence?

I wanted to do porn for most of my life. Thinking about it and writing about it is who I am. I could be a firefighter or a banker and write about that. It’s a natural activity for me to do both. More to the point, I don’t want people to think sex and thinking are two different things. I wanted to present myself publically and be an integrated person.

Most folks find it difficult to talk about sex. How do you make it seem so easy?

If we just approached sex with what we’re comfortable doing, then no progress will be made because everyone is uncomfortable with it. My experience talking about sex — at a university lecture, or with people you don’t know, or your friend’s mom — is that I find more often than not, people are relieved to talk about it because they don’t often have an outlet. It requires boldness because it’s taboo. But gauge the individual, and don’t push people too hard; have respect for their humanity and individuality. There’s a way in which being too roundabout when it comes to talking about sex plays into the silencing that’s already going on. I think that sex in general is problematic for people in our culture.

What interests you about the way porn is created and consumed?

I think for me the most interesting part of pornography — though I find it everywhere I look — is the line between what’s real and imagined. It’s an amplified version of where does our imagination stop and reality begin? People are having real sex, but they are not having real sex. Someone is watching images of sex but having pleasure and feeling by watching others having sex. That blending is really exciting to me.

I read that you thought porn stars were like rock stars. How have you created your image as a porn star/rock star?

I’m not quite sure. I’m not really conscious of how I try to construct [me]. It’s less a calculated thing; it’s more “be myself.” I think at first I was creating a persona, but then I realized it wasn’t anymore of a persona than any other part of me. We have lots of different roles in our lives: sons, fathers, brothers, lovers, teachers. There was an aspect of me that was a porn star. I had to get into it, but it wasn’t really a persona, more part of who I am.

Was it necessary to make adult films to gain the following you have cultivated?

Totally, It could have been through something else. I went to grad school for creative writing and biology. There are plenty of people who are academics and write books and they remain ensconced in that world, and get trapped in it. I wanted to live in the world in a way you can’t if you’re only an academic. I wanted to do something more interesting than being an English professor — not that that can’t be a serious or noble pursuit, but it wasn’t interdisciplinary enough for me. Porn is an interdisciplinary thing for me, and what I want to explore and understand. My fan base could have come from my being a singer or an undertaker or a janitor or a police officer — not that I would ever be a police office. People are interested in what I do because I’m not just an academic or a writer. It brings different eyes to what I’m doing. I’m writing a lot more.

Can you discuss your way of interacting with fans?

It’s really great to have people encouraging you as you’re doing things because there’s an entire culture discouraging you. Porn performers and sex workers are grateful to interact with their fans. You are plagued with discrimination. It’s awesome to have people care about what you are doing. If I cared so much about what others thought, I wouldn’t venture out to do anything new. Or only write about sexual topics. I have a lot of other things I’m interested in. I have gratitude but also focusing on what matters to you.

Speaking of which, can you discuss your upcoming book The Sex Book?

My book is about the history, sociology, science, and psychology of sex; where we got things wrong, how we developed our cultural attitudes towards sex, and how we can do it better. So that’s what you would expect from me. In the meantime, I’m writing about medicine and health and music. I’m branching out. We’ll see what happens. I’m just following where my interests leads.

Since you mentioned your other interests, what is something folks would be surprised to know about you?

Gosh. One of the things maybe is that when I was 18, I started a punk rock record label. That’s not a part of my life I’ve talked about it.

Follow Conner at @connerhabib on Twitter. Visit ConnerHabib.wordpress.com to learn more about him.


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