How Would Sex Workers Design the Perfect Condom?
It’s very hard to deal with condoms. I imagine it would be very hard to deal with anything that asphyxiates your dick, adds a layer of rubber between a couples’ fun bits, destroys any semblance of sexual spontaneity, and generally makes sex a lot less enjoyable than it should be. All that stuff is still better than risking an STD or a pregnancy, but condoms are undeniably awful.
Hurrah, then, for Bill Gates, who—as you may have heard—is dangling a proportionally paltry $100,000 carrot in front of anyone who can inject a bit more pleasure into rubbering up. Despite the fact that many large medical corporations have ploughed far more than $100,000 into developing more pleasurable protection throughout the past century, Gates is hoping that his prize money will uncover the Popov of prophylactics who’s able to make condoms feel better than unprotected sex.
I’m neither a scientist nor an inventor, so my ideas of how to improve condoms are currently falling pretty short (somewhere around the implausible “make mini ones just for the tip” region). But I am a dreamer, and I dream of one day actually enjoying protected sex. So I thought I’d call up some sex workers—people who use condoms practically every day of their professional lives—and see if they could come up with a design that would make mine and Bill’s dream come true.
Rio Lee, porn star and dominatrix.
VICE: Do you like condoms?
Rio Lee: Obviously I like them because they protect me from scabby diseases, but I don’t like them when a guy gets floppy. I’m a selfish bitch in bed—it’s all about me, me, me—so it’s a problem if a floppy interrupts the sex flow. If you could develop a condom that allows a man to have a continuous Viagra erection that would be amazing.
What about pickling it in Viagra solution so it somehow works its way in there?
That sounds kind of painful, but I am a slight dominatrix, so that might work. Mind you, I want to be able to fuck it afterwards so I don’t want it to scald the skin off or anything.
Could a condom ever be better than unprotected sex?
Well, with modern technology they must be able to make them better. But where the fuck is the extra pleasure with those ribbed condoms? I genuinely want to know. You’d be much better off putting some frozen peas under the condom skin.
So apart from peas and Viagra coating, what ideas have you got to make condoms better?
First off, if you’re reading this, Bill Gates, this is copyrighted and trademarked under the Miss Rio Lee brand. But I’d say you’d need one of those contraptions like a Fleshlight. When a guy’s got a nice hard-on, you slip his cock in and, as it pulls out, it transfers some sort of micro space-age latex film directly on to the cock so it’s super thin and ready to go.
So do you think the whole condom thing is a way for Gates to market himself as a sex symbol and draw some of the youth market away from Apple?
Bill Gates? Sexy? Maybe that’s the reason, but I’d say a new condom is going to appeal more to the health-conscious and professionals—young people just want to have sex regardless of [whether they have a] condom. But whatever his motivation, if he’s going to do something to improve mine and millions of other people’s sex lives and help sexual health throughout society, then good on him.
Living Inside ‘The Canyons’
For an unreleased, unseen film with a tiny budget,The Canyons has attracted an enormous amount of publicity. It’s reportedly a sex-filled noir-ish melodrama set in LA, but that’s about all we know, since it hasn’t come out yet—in fact, it hasn’t even been shown at any festivals. Sundance rejected it, and South by Southwest not only rejected it, a “festival insider” told the Hollywood Reporter that the film had “an ugliness and a deadness to it.” Ouch. I haven’t seen it. You haven’t seen it. So why has so much been written about it?
Well for one thing, The Canyons was directed by the legendary Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver, co-wroteRaging Bull, and directed movies like American Gigolo and Affliciton, both of which he also wrote. The film also garnered headlines for being written by iconic American Psycho and Less than Zero author Bret Easton Ellis, known more recently as one of the most cantankerous bastards on Twitter. And Ellis took great pains to make sure the film featured pornographic movie star James Deen in his first “mainstream” (for lack of a better word) role.
VICE: Before working on The Canyons, you two had another project on deck, a shark thriller. I am a sucker for shark movies—even shitty ones—so a Bret Easton Ellis-penned shark flick sounds like a dream.
Braxton Pope: It was called Bait, and it was a revenge movie about a disaffected kid, a sociopath who endures a kind of humiliation on the beach and through a series of events, and in a very cunning way, he ends up on this charter boat with the kids who humiliated him. They’re in the open water and he pulls up the ladder and prevents them from coming back on the boat, and he chums the water. It was a Lionsgate movie and there was a Spanish financier. We were very close to shooting it, then the finances imploded at the last minute. It was an exercise in total frustration and wasted time. That’s what sparked the idea to create something that we could self-finance.
Bret Easton Ellis: Part of the reason we made The Canyons was the frustration of working for a studio like Lionsgate and trying to get the shark movie made and having that fall through. Everyone from Ed Burns to the Polish brothers are rethinking the model these days.
Is that what Paul Schrader meant when he said, in the Times article, “The American market is just tapped out”?
Pope: The types of movie Schrader was known for in the 70s and 80s wouldn’t get financed by the studios. Dramas or character pieces—those movies are nearly extinct at the studio level today. There’s been a transition toward spectacle movies with budgets of $100-million-plus, Michael Bay and superhero movies, heavy CG movies. Lionsgate is looking for big franchise properties that will generate huge revenue, mass-market films. And typically the movies I put together tend to be smaller, with filmmakers like Schrader, or Gaspar Noé.
Read the whole interview
Have you ever had sex with a Real Doll? One of those sex robots?
No, I haven’t had sex with a Real Doll.
Yeah, I would try anything twice.
It can seem that, in the media, there are always new addictions being coined and discussed: love addiction, internet addiction, etc. Right now it seems that sex addiction is a buzzy topic. As somebody who has sex a lot, do you have any thoughts on the phenomenon of sex addiction?
I think the word addiction is thrown around very loosely and inaccurately, just like the word fetish. An addiction–though it’s obviously better to talk to a doctor or a mental health professional or somebody who is not just some porn star who has an opinion–as far as I understand, an addiction is a situation where a person is physically altered. And also a situation when something starts to affect your life. It’s not just enjoying something.
I really enjoy sex. I really like sex. If I didn’t do porn I probably wouldn’t have the same amount of sex, but I’ve always had a good amount of sex and a healthy sexuality. I don’t think I have a sexual addiction though. Because in the event that I need to do something, I do it. For instance, I had the opportunity to have sex the other day, but my grandma was in the hospital. I went and saw my grandma. It was a no-brainer.
It’s just like a fetish. People are like, “Oh I have a glasses fetish.” No, I just like girls who wear glasses. Girls in glasses are very attractive. I think addictions are miscategorized a lot. It’s like when someone says they have a TV addiction because they watch TV instead of reading books. That’s asinine and incorrect.
-by Kelly Bourdet