Welcome to Now Loading, a column by award-winning editor and journalist Chris Roney. This week, we explore the ins and outs of gay porn stardom with Cole Connor. A relative newcomer, Connor shot onto the scene in 2020 after COVID-19 drove his personal training business online. In the years since, Connor has become one of gay porn’s most recognizable leading men. Cheery and effervescent, Kentucky-born Connor is full of laughter; he exudes the same good Judy energy IRL that listeners of “Sorry For Asking,” his no-holds-barred podcast with Adam Ramzi, already know well. More than one year past a widely reported mugging that left Connor with a fractured eye socket, among other things, it’s nice to know that his shine hasn't dulled. Here, Connor muses about vintage porn, his off-camera sex life, and how to direct a group scene.
Chris Roney: Tell me about the first time you ever watched porn.
Cole Connor: Well, I’m sure I saw some magazines first, but the first time I ever saw video sex? I guess I was in high school, maybe freshman year — I was friends with a group of seniors, and one of ‘em had gotten his hands on some video…
CR: On tape?
CC: Yeah, VHS. [laughs] In the house I grew up in, we had this downstairs living room where the one computer was. I remember us popping it in down there when my family was, like, fully upstairs — we just had the sound off. We were watching and we stopped on a DP, and it’s burned into my brain because I thought it was so hot. I was like, oh my god, I can’t wait to watch this by myself.
I remember at one point, one of the guys pulls out and comes on the girl’s ass, but also all over the guy on the bottom, and my friend was like, “Oh, I’m sure the guy on the bottom really appreciated that.”
CR: And you’re like, “Well, I would.”
CC: I’m like, “yeah, I bet he did.” But I could never find that scene again, and I would always be looking for it. I could remember things about it, though, like the lead-up: the woman is in there with these two guys. It cuts to a hallway and there’s another woman, probably the same age as the original woman, sort of looking through the hallway, saying, “Mom? Mom?” [laughs] She opens the door to the woman sucking the two guys’ dicks, and [Mom] is like, “Get the f*ck out of here!” [laughs] Then, the guys are like, “Who was that?” And she says, “Don’t worry — it’s just my daughter.”
CR: That brat. I love Mom.
CC: I thought that was really funny. I did find that scene in the last few months: I can’t believe I didn’t remember, but it was Peter North and some other hot guy who I haven’t seen much of? But they were both hot, and they were young, and it was a good scene. Coming back to it after so many years of wanting to see it again was like, oh yeah, I was right: this is just as hot as I remember.
CR: That's gotta be validating.
CC: I like the look of vintage porn. I go back and look at old Falcon porn, old straight porn, and I think it’s really hot. Because I also know these guys didn’t really have any help… any assistance.
CR: They didn’t have the circling camera guy and sound grip.
CC: No, they didn’t have the Viagra, the Cialis — that stuff didn’t come ’til later.
CR: They didn’t have the Popstar, now available for sale.
CC: [laughs] I guess they had herbal stuff? But nothing like Viagra or Cialis. And definitely not Trimex, the injection.
CR: Honestly? God’s strongest soldiers. But were you instantly like, yeah, that’s gonna be me, or did wanting to do porn yourself take time?
CC: I don’t know. I always worked in restaurants — I never thought about porn as a job. I just thought, this is the kind of sex I want to have: good sex that looks fun and people are into, not fumbling around in the dark with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
When I moved to LA and started to meet people who did porn, I’d be like, “I would do it if I didn’t have family that would feel embarrassed.” But then COVID hit, and I was personal training, and that switched over to online coaching. I was just really bored and not enjoying it, and I was like, who the f*ck cares? Look at the world right now: nothing matters. Who cares if someone is gonna be embarrassed by what I do?
CR: Right. And also, judgy people are gonna judge us for being slutty, on camera or not.
CC: Yes, but it was also all in my head! My family’s not judgmental like that. When I told my mom, I’d been doing porn for eight or nine months; it was going well. I was on the way from a shoot in Palm Springs and I was feeling really good about what I’d been doing. I was making good money; I was happy. We were in this conversation, and it was small talk, and it made me feel like I was closeted again.
CR: I was about to say! This feels like a coming out.
CC: I just hated that it created this distance between my parents and me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. So, I knew that it was not gonna be okay for me to put it on the back burner and hope they didn’t find out about — I don’t want that kind of relationship with my family. So I told her, and she was receptive. She said, “I’m glad you’re doing something you’re happy doing.”
CR: That’s beautiful. And also, it’s nice to be able to say not only am I doing this, but it’s working out, and it’s gratifying.
CC: Totally. My second year in porn, though — it was sh*tty because it started off with that attack. It really messed up a lot for me as far as my ability to work: financial stress, physical stress. If I had been coping with something in the past, I could always focus on fitness, eating right. But I didn’t have that outlet, so it was hard.
CR: I know this may be touchy, but I was surprised by how cruel and just calloused people were about the attack online, calling into question if you were attacked at all. I imagine if I’d been in your shoes, that would have pained me way beyond the attack itself. How was that experience for you?
CC: I just knew I couldn’t give it any attention: I never responded, I never defended myself against it. People who think like that are terrible, and it doesn’t matter what they think. The only thing that mattered to me was getting through it.
I think it was later on when people I knew had taken an opportunity to turn my getting Monkeypox into something else — that hurt. I discovered that I was becoming symptomatic with Monkeypox on a set and canceled the scene before anything happened, and some people heard that and assumed the worst. Like, “Oh, he tried to go to set and still shoot a scene even though he knew he had Monkeypox.” Now that’s a shitty accusation!
CR: There’s a whole rabbit hole we could go down when it comes to the harm blaming and shaming over STIs does to public health: the girls get tested less, they disclose less, and then sh*t gets worse.
CC: I know. And Monkeypox is such a weird thing. It came out of nowhere and now nobody thinks about it anymore. I’d rather have COVID 20 times than f*cking Monkeypox once.
CR: It was that bad?
CC: Yeah! It took a month to go away, and I didn’t even have it that bad — just around the base of my dick, like, five sores. They look innocent in the beginning, and then it comes on fast. So when I left for set that day, nothing was there. And then after shooting some B-roll and stills fully clothed, they shot a whole other scene with two other guys while the two of us were waiting. My scene partner left and went home to douche, and I just took a nap in one of the rooms in this house we were shooting in…
CR: Top privilege — carry on.
CC: … By the time I wake up and start getting ready, I look down and I’m like, oh, this is something. I don’t know what it is, but I definitely can’t shoot a scene where a camera is inches away.
CR: A responsible move!
CC: Especially because there were models on other productions that got sent home who actually did show up with visual things on them, and I’m the one who canceled my own scene! There were models who had to be told, “You can’t shoot this.” In my situation, I did the right thing! So, why not go after those guys?
CR: You recently made your directorial debut with a scene that involved playing Jenga with your dick; Quentin Tarantino was never heard from again. What can we expect next? Maybe a Scrabble moment? Hungry Hungry Hippos?
CC: [laughs] I’m hoping a Twister moment… no, I don’t have the same amount of space I had in the Jenga video. I moved since then: I had to get out of that apartment because I had moved in right before that attack, and that year I had three major surgeries and Monkeypox. Five months of the year, that was a hospital room for me. So I was like, I don’t want to live here anymore!
CR: Not the vibe!
CC: It wasn’t the vibe! I’ve directed other things — I always have my cameraman, so I’m always kind of telling him certain shots I want to make sure I get, certain angles. I like to direct groups because I watch a lot of group-sex porn, so I try to make something I would want to watch. When I direct a group, I like to talk to everyone beforehand and explain where we’re going with it. So, when he moves into this room, there should already be three people in the shower doing stuff, and then we’re gonna move into the bedroom, and there’s already gonna be you, you, and you doing stuff. But I’m also like, don’t do stuff until you’re on camera: save it.
CR: It’s a whole orchestra, really. The mechanics of it: be in this place, at this time, doing this. It’s giving “Tár.”
CC: [laughs] Right, and the sex was great. When I first started doing OnlyFans and reaching out to people for collabs that I don’t think I would ever get to have sex with had it not been a collab, they were always super receptive.
CR: Literally, even.
CC: I think I shot something every day in that first month — every day except Thanksgiving.
CR: Speaking of, people who do sex work have sex lives outside of work: chefs cook outside the kitchen, after all. But, how would you say your recreational sex life differs from what’s on-camera?
CC: My recreational sex is a lot faster — a lot more efficient, you know? Not that I don’t enjoy filming, but I have to make it last on camera, so it’s nice to get to have a quickie and not be worried about a camera, and opening up to it, and putting yourself in a weirder position. Porn is like, if you’re comfortable doing it, you’re not doing it right. [laughs]
CR: Is there anything surprising you about yourself lately, sexually speaking?
CC: It’s always been easy for me to come with bottoming or jacking off — from topping, I have not always had an easy time. For shooting, it would kind of stress me out. Like, what if I can’t just pull out of this guy’s hole and come? And by the way, that usually doesn’t happen. That’s why they cut to the come face, then back to the dick actually coming: because there’s a break in between where the top works up to get his load out.
But I’m having a lot easier time coming from topping, and it’s always a really good orgasm when I come from just that stimulation. I think I’ve just built up more confidence in it, to not let it stress me out. In my last studio scene, I came so easily just from topping — like, I actually fucked him until I almost came, then pulled out and came on him. So I was like, pat on the back for Cole.
CR: This follow-up is literally giving sponcon, but do you feel more confident knowing you can take Popstar and be sure you’re gonna come more?
CC: Yeah! I’ve never had huge loads, so taking Popstar has been really beneficial to me. I’ll shoot something, and I come, and we see it, and my cameraman puts the camera down, and we look at each other and say, “Wow. That was a big load." I don’t know if I was very self-conscious about it, but anything I can use to help a performance.
CR: This is a big question, but how has becoming an adult film actor shaped your relationship to sex, be it as a performer or in your personal life?
CC: Doing porn has only made my sex life better. It’s made sex more pleasurable for me and, I think, for my partners. Like, when I have sex with somebody recreationally, just from Grindr or whatever, I always feel like — not to toot my own horn — but they’re kind of blown away. And I’m like, yeah, yeah you are. So, it’s made it more fun.
CR: Alright, rapid-fire: What’s your favorite sex position, and why?
CC: I really like reverse cowgirl. I think it looks really good on camera and I can come that way pretty fast if I’m the one being fucked.
CR: What’s your favorite sex position as a top?
CR: Awe, that’s cute.
CC: I know, I like kissing. The kissing helps me come faster; it makes it more pleasurable. I like looking at their body, their chest, and their abs with their legs up — missionary is definitely it.
CR: Wildest place you’ve had sex?
CC: Mmm, the butt. [laughs]
CR: You know what? Yeah.
CC: No, the wildest place I’ve had sex… I’m trying to think… a stairwell? In a hotel.
CR: Even mine is less tame! I want more from you.
CC: Public stuff makes me nervous! And I can’t enjoy myself unless I’m in a safe-space group situation. If there’s a chance of me getting in trouble, I’m not having fun: I don’t need the police to show up and call me a sex criminal.
CR: Touché. And, if you could change the taste of your partner’s cum to any flavor, what would it be? Ours is, of course, pineapple.
CC: I mean, you’re talking to someone who actually likes the taste of cum, so…
CR: Would you keep it cum-flavored?
CC: Would it be crazy if it was, like, vanilla? Vanilla icing, like, toaster strudel icing.
CR: I mean, visually they’re very aligned.
CC: Very aligned, so I think it would make sense for your mind-tongue connection. You’d be like, “Oh yeah, this is toaster strudel icing. This is delicious.”