Posts

Love is Love.

WOW… it’s been a whirlwind 36 hours. Perhaps you’ve read the Huffington Post article about this whole “banned kiss” ordeal, or read about it on Joe Spunk (who first broke the story… thanks Joe!), SFist, The Sword, Queer Me Now, KRON4, DanNation, or any of the other fine blogs and news outlets that picked up the story. I’m thrilled to say that, as of a couple hours ago, the banned photo of me and Dirk kissing has been fully restored to my Facebook page! (You can see it here.)

Dirk and I want to wish the warmest of “thank you”s to ALL our incredible fans your endless, amazing support! And in celebration of this wonderfully heartening turn of events, and the fact that love always wins out over bigotry and hate, here’s a whole gallery of Dirk and I doing what we love to do more than (almost) anything else. Thanks again for everything… and always, always remember that LOVE IS LOVE, and LOVE CONQUERS ALL!

With much love as always,
Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman

On condoms, safer sex, and the One Rule

Chi Chi and I agree... always wear a condom!

Chi Chi and I agree… always wear a condom!

 
Dirk and I have only one rule in our relationship: “Never bring home anything you don’t want to share.” It works on all sorts of levels. In a having-sex-with-others context, it means we don’t keep anyone to ourselves. If Dirk meets someone he thinks is hot and wants to hook up with him, I’m always invited to join them… or I can feel free to say “No thanks, but you boys have fun.” I’m extended the same courtesy. It fosters a sexual openness that is both liberating and exhilarating; as long as I feel included, I’m not jealous at all, and neither is Dirk.

There’s more to the One Rule, though, and it pertains to sexually-transmitted diseases. We have what some people might term an “open relationship,” and on top of that we both work in the adult film industry. The bottom line is that we’re having sex with men other than just ourselves. And accidents happen.


Use a condom.

Use a condom.

Let me tell you a story. A few years ago I dated an amazing man. We were together for two years and we’re still the best of friends today. We originally met online; he lives in a different city, and we decided to meet in person while I was there on vacation late one summer. We really hit it off. It was the middle of a record heat wave, my hotel room didn’t have air conditioning, and I’d been miserable for the first two days of my visit. He kindly offered to put me up for the remainder of my stay so I checked out of my hotel early and moved my stuff to his place. We were inseparable; our chemistry was great and we had a ton of fun. By the time the week was over, we knew we wanted to try dating (despite the distance). We saw each other every two weeks on average. We had sex… lots of it. He and I had both tested HIV negative, but he’d lost a former partner to AIDS and was adamant about having safe sex. We always used a condom.

Fast forward four months. The holiday season was approaching, and there was a benefit fundraiser in Boston that I was really looking forward to taking him to. Two days before the party I got a very strange voicemail from him. His quivering, quiet voice said, “Hey, it’s me. I can’t come to Boston this weekend. I don’t even know if we can be boyfriends anymore. Anyway, bye.” Needless to say, I freaked. Things had been going great. What could possibly be the problem? I called him back, shaking as I dialed. When I spoke to him, he was choking back tears.

He’d just tested positive for HIV.

Use a condom.

Use a condom.

He said he hadn’t slept with anyone but me since we’d met, and I believe him; he’s a man of unimpeachable character. Nor had I; I’d been focused entirely on him. But about a month before he’d met me, he’d hooked up with a guy who didn’t disclose his status. My boyfriend had used a condom, of course… but as I mentioned earlier, accidents happen. Who knows… maybe the condom leaked or tore (it happened to Dirk once… more on that in a bit), or — and I prefer to think this didn’t happen, but who knows — perhaps the other guy pulled off the condom intentionally at one point and my soon-to-be boyfriend didn’t notice. In any case, he’d unknowingly taken a full load of HIV+ spunk. A month later, he’d gotten tested (as he, and I, always do every three months) and the result came back negative because he was still outside the detection window (HIV tests can take up to 12 weeks to show a positive result). Not having any reason to suspect he was positive, he assumed he was negative.

If you only take away one point from this blog post, make it this: NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.

Use a damn condom, already!

For fuck’s sake… USE A CONDOM!

I love my ex-boyfriend to this day, and I trust him. I had every reason to suspect, for the first four months of our relationship, that he was negative. He wasn’t. And the only reason I’m still negative is that he and I used condoms. Now he’s on medication and undetectable, but the entire experience has been one big headache for him. He experienced tons of nausea and terrifying nightmares while adjusting to the meds, still needs to tweak the dosages once in a while (causing even more discomfort when he does), and pays thousands of dollars a year in medical expenses just to keep the infection at bay. He has to go to the doctor all the time to monitor the medication’s effectiveness and track his T-cell count. And the psychological challenges it posed to him were enormous: He’s encountered tons of AIDS phobia (including people who consider him “unclean”), and on top of that, due to a sense of guilt over having become infected in the first place, he withdrew from the gay community. Our relationship changed; we were nowhere near as social, and he was exhausted a lot of the time because of the nightmares. While our relationship didn’t end because he became HIV positive (when we did break up two years later, it was more a case of the distance between us simply becoming too great a challenge), I can definitely say it was a huge stressor. No one wants that shit.

As I referred to earlier, Dirk had a somewhat similar experience. In December of 2011, a few months after he and I started dating, he was in New York visiting friends. Dirk and I had been open from the very start; our first sexual encounter, in fact, was a threesome with our good friend and fellow actor Dolan Wolf. Anyway, when he was in New York, he hooked up with an old friend of his who’s HIV positive… and the condom broke. It separated at the ring, leaving the balloon wedged up inside my boyfriend along with his friend’s load. Dirk and his friend were both quite upset, but Dirk called me right then and there to tell me the news, and first thing in the morning he went to Callen-Lorde’s Sexual Health Clinic in Chelsea and got himself on post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. (PEP is essentially a morning-after pill for HIV exposure that you need to take as soon as possible after you’re exposed, and absolutely no later than 72 hours; it’s available from almost any doctor or clinic. You should learn more about it. Now. Go ahead… I’ll wait.) And, sweetheart that he is, he bought me a cool gift tin of different condoms and exotic lubes for us to try. Who needs roses with a gift like that?


So far I’ve only talked about HIV, but there are plenty of other STDs out there, and condoms are our best blanket defense against their transmission. According to the CDC, condoms provide an “essentially impermeable barrier” for such nasties as HPV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. These are all diseases that can be transmitted from skin-to-skin genital contact, so simply not ejaculating inside your partner isn’t enough. And I don’t want to seem alarmist, but there might be all new nasties forming out there that are poised to enter the scene, just like HIV did back in 1981. Condoms are cheap, widely available, and one of our best protections against all of the above. With the addition of PEP in situations when accidents happen, you’re as protected as you can be against HIV and all that other stuff without sacrificing your ability to be a happy, horny, sexually active gay male.

My point here is that you never know what’s going to happen. That’s why Dirk and I always play safe. For my part, if I didn’t, I’d probably be HIV positive right now… and I simply don’t want all that hassle and cost, not to mention the inevitable guilt and anti-HIV stigma that my ex-boyfriend had to endure. It’s just not worth it.

Besides, I don’t want to break the One Rule; an STD is something that Dirk and I definitely do not want to share.

Something in the Way; He Moves

Home 01

Home sweet home!

I owe a lot to the porn industry. When I first took the plunge back in August of 2011, it was definitely a stretch. I’d always been kind of reserved; porn was something I never would have considered. When the guys at Titan contacted me, I thought about it for weeks. It would definitely be going out on a limb, but I’d come to understand that “out on a limb” is exactly where the fruit is; every time I’d tried something outside my comfort zone I’d been richly rewarded. So I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m learning new things about myself every day; it’s been a great self-esteem builder and an amazing opportunity for expression and sexual growth. I’ve never felt so confident and connected. I’ve met some amazing people and made lots of new friends. But when I started, little did I know that my foray into this new and exciting world would bring me the greatest reward of all.

When Dirk and I met while working the Titan booth at the 2011 Folsom Street Fair, our connection was immediate and strong. When we got together in Houston a few weeks later, our suspicions were confirmed: This could be something great. Since then we’ve been engaged in an extended game of transcontinental ping pong. Every three weeks or so (on average) one of us would board a Southwest (or, god help us, Spirit Airlines) jet bound for Chicago-slash-Boston, or we would rendezvous in such metropolises as Baltimore, Orlando, Denver, San Francisco, Kansas City, Washington, Columbus, and Fort Lauderdale. We love being together, but the incessant travel — not to mention the cost of all those flights — has really been getting in the way. There have been many, many nights when all we’ve wanted is to hold each other, but we’re 800 miles apart. There’s even a certain hallway in Logan Airport’s Terminal E that we call the “sad corridor” because it’s where we’ve always had to say goodbye. But not anymore. After a year and a half, we’ve decided to take the next step.

We’re moving in together.

Memorial Day will be Dirk’s last weekend in Chicago. We’re gonna hit a few of the events at IML (Dirk will be doing bondage demonstrations for Bound Jocks at the Mr. S booth on Friday and Saturday, and we’re gonna attend the Grabbys), then on Monday we’re loading all his stuff into a truck and driving to Boston. Driving home.

Our street

My Our street in Boston

I’m a little nervous. Okay, that’s an understatement… I’m actually scared shitless. I’ve never lived with a partner before; everyone I’ve ever dated has had his own place. Dirk and I are both confident that we’ll be okay, though. My three-bedroom house (the one in the pictures) will give us plenty of room to spread out. The master bedroom is huge, plus we’re converting one of the spare bedrooms into an office so Dirk can have space to work (he “daylights” as a composer). Another thing we have going for us is that we lived together in Boston for the entire month of June last year and managed not to kill each other.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Oh look, another porn couple… I wonder how long it’ll take until they self-destruct.” To those people, I’d like to say that I believe Dirk and I have a better-than-industry-average chance of survival… and here’s why. Physically, he’s the stuff of fantasy, to be sure. But corporeal beauty eventually fades; as Dirk once said in an interview for Grab magazine, “it isn’t what’s going to sustain your love for the guy when you’re together at 75.” He’s so much more than a walking wet dream, though… he’s whip-smart, creative, passionate, loving, generous, devoted… not to mention confident and sexy as all hell. He’s everything I could have ever wished for in a partner. And, for whatever reason, he seems to see a lot of good stuff in me too. We complement each other so amazingly well in so many ways; it’s a true partnership. When I look at Dirk, I know — don’t ask me how, because I can’t really explain it — that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together. He knows it too. The elements are in place to sustain us until we’re 75, 80, 85… and beyond.

The last eighteen months haven’t always been easy. Like most people, we mostly share only the good stuff on our blogs and on Facebook… but in reality, we’ve faced (and worked through) plenty of challenges just like all couples do. This is certainly going to be a big adjustment for us; we’re both pretty stubborn people and we’re used to being on our own, so we’re expecting a few bumps along the way. But we love each other… and we’ve been apart for long enough. This feels so right. And we know in our hearts that we’re going to thrive.

As long as he remembers to put the toilet seat down.

Update: Several people have asked me why Dirk’s moving to Boston instead of me moving to Chicago. There are a few reasons, actually. We both have New England roots: I’ve lived in Boston my entire life and he grew up in Maine. Both of our families are here. I own my house (a 1200 sq. foot 3-bedroom in a nice suburb) and have an awesome job at an amazing company with great benefits; Dirk’s a freelance musician and can work just about anywhere, plus he gets to be on my health insurance as my domestic partner. While we both love Chicago — we have lots of friends there and we’ll definitely be back to visit — it simply made more sense for him to move here.

By the way, he’s bringing his dungeon bed with him, and we’re planning to film plenty of new home movies in my (much bigger) master bedroom… and all over the house…. so stay tuned……

He had me at “conch shell”

Dirk and me at Folsom 2011

I was just updating my BigMuscle profile and was reminded of a story from when I met Dirk. (As an aside: I’ve been a member of BigMuscle.com since the very early days… to give you an idea, I’m profile #6531 out of nearly 154,000! Andy and Bill, who run the site, are fantastic guys and good friends. They’re friends of the company too, having collaborated with Titan on a film starring Jake Deckard.)

Anyway, I was looking at my profile and remembered that once, long ago, I’d created a “pal” link to Dirk’s profile, and tagged it with the comment “You had me at conch shell.” I read that again and smiled. You see, back when Dirk and I first met at Folsom in 2011, he dropped a couple of references in a single sentence that I’d never forget. We were in the middle of that fateful lunch, and it was only minutes before “the email” arrived. (Read the whole story here, if you haven’t already. It’s a good read.) We’d been discussing how to balance porn life with romantic life, and Dirk was making a point about how porn sex is very different from love. He suddenly realized that he’d been steering the conversation for a while, and promptly apologized: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to take the conch shell… or the red scrunchie!”

Seriously? A Lord of the Flies reference and a Heathers referencein the same sentence? Needless to say, this got my attention. “Who is this guy?” I thought. “I already know he’s really hot and sweet… but smart and well-rounded too?” And so began my fascination with a man who has never ceased to — if you’ll pardon the expression — amaze the pants off me. We had only just met when he dropped that line, and if things had gone any differently we may never have fallen in love… but at that moment I knew that we were going to be in each others’ lives, in some way or another, for a long time to come.

Here are some more pics of us from Folsom 2011. Can you tell that my interest was already piqued?

 

One sleepless night

As my devastatingly sexy hubby and I close in on 9 months together, I’m starting to get a little nostalgic. I’ve already written about how the two of us met, but with Dirk 3,000 miles away right now (doing a photo shoot for Mr. S Leather) and me having a bit more free time than usual, I thought I’d take a moment to continue the story.

I have difficulty sleeping when I travel… or rather, when I’m about to travel. I get inordinately stressed out when I pack, focusing too much on unnecessary minutiae while overlooking major details (such as, oh, remembering to bring my wallet or passport). I stress about getting to the airport, which once left me so distracted that I actually locked my keys in my car at the Park-N-Ride lot on my way to San Francisco to film Command Performance. I stress even when there’s no reason to stress: if I have an afternoon or evening flight and I’m all ready to go, I can still barely focus on my work during the day. Needless to say, the anticipation of travel is not my friend. (Oddly, once I’m actually seated on the plane I’m perfectly fine.)

Gay Bowl XI in Houston, TX

Last October I participated in the national flag football championships in Houston (despite having a rather significant leg injury and having played a grand total of 2.5 flag football games in my entire life… but that’s another story), and right on cue, I couldn’t sleep the night before my flight. I had just met Dirk two weeks earlier at the Folsom Street Fair (read the full story here), but we’d been talking on the phone almost daily since then (he lives in Chicago and I’m in Boston). He’s a night owl, so he offered to keep me company telephonically while I packed. The conversation started at about 1 am and lasted for several hours… I remember we talked about our experiences in the porn industry, about our families and childhoods, and about the nature of relationships (sort of a continuation of our ongoing conversation that had started in SF). By 4:15 am, I’d finally finished packing and was exhausted. “Well, I think I’m ready to go,” I muttered sleepily. And then for some reason I blurted out, “Wanna join me?”

I didn’t expect him to say yes.

Rather than answering “Oh, I’d love to, but it’s so last minute…” or “That would be too expensive” or “Thanks, but I have plans,” Dirk responded with “Hmmmm… what an interesting idea!” He had an uncharacteristically free weekend with only one lunch date that he could postpone, and he’d just gotten paid for his work at Folsom so he had a little extra cash. I jumped online and found a great last-minute fare from Chicago to Houston. And the next thing you knew, we were together in Texas.

And it was electric.

Thank goodness he didn’t arrive until the very end of my very last game (he got to see me in a grand total of two plays) because I might have been too distracted to play. We went back to our hotel room… and we didn’t leave it for 24 hours. The sex, needless to say, was incendiary. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. That man can hit some pretty amazing spots (I get hard just thinking about it!), and some of those sounds he made when I topped him… well, I’d never heard anything like it. But there was more to it than that. We were really bonding. In the space between our hot fuck sessions, we talked about love, art, music, politics, poetry, douching techniques… anything and everything. We were just so comfortable with each other. We cuddled on the couch watching Don Hertzfeldt shorts (“My spoon is too big!”) and episodes of QI. Finally, exhausted from a sleepless night, at 7 am we walked over to Le Peep restaurant on Westheimer Road, hand in hand, knowing we’d finally found each other.

It was far and away the strongest connection with another human being I’d ever felt. And my flag football teammates noticed. When it came time to take the team photo, we were supposed to meet at the hotel pool at 1:30 pm, but I didn’t get the message until 5 minutes beforehand (I’d missed the original messages because Dirk and I had been “busy” in our hotel room). Just before photo time, I got a text from one of my teammates:

We hastily pulled on our pants and ran to the pool, somewhat red-faced but happy.

Our last day in Houston was bittersweet. My flight back to Boston left about an hour before Dirk’s left for Chicago, so he was able to see me off at the gate (I can’t remember the last time anyone did that, what with FAA restrictions about who can and can’t pass security). We were pretty sad… but we both knew that this wasn’t goodbye. It was more of a “see you soon.” Although we officially consider the day we first met (September 22, 2011, during Folsom weekend) to be our anniversary, one could argue that it was that moment, standing in Terminal A of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, somehow knowing that our life together had only just begun.

Dirk and I say goodbye see you soon in Houston

More details of our many adventures to come…