“Sex and disability are two awkward subjects that most are afraid to discuss individually,” adult film performer Daniel James tells Queerty. “By combining the two, you create this pornographic material that is controversial enough to get people talking and sharing. I don’t care if they enjoy it, question it or hate it; at the end of the day they’re still clicking and watching.”
James is not your average adult film performer. Sure, the 22-year-old Canadian enjoys sex and has been filmed having it–lots of it. But there’s one thing that sets him apart from all the others: He has Cerebral Palsy.
James says he may be a disabled adult film star, but don’t call him inspirational or brave.
“It’s straight up bullshit [when people use those words],” he says. “[By using those words], people are basically reducing us to the characteristics of our disabilities.”
We recently chatted with him about his disability, how that affects his job, his thoughts on going gay-for-pay, and what he has to say to anyone who says he should be ashamed of his work.
Check out what he had to say…
QUEERTY: So, let’s cut to the chase. Like me, you have Cerebral Palsy. Unlike me, however, you’re an adult film performer. How does your disability affect your ability to do your job?
DANIEL: People develop this screwed up notion in their mind that all individuals with disabilities are physically incapable of sex. Sex when you’re disabled all comes down to the technique and thinking of ingenious ways to use the surroundings to your advantage. I would say that the biggest roadblock I face is finding studios willing to work with me, and I obviously understand why they would be hesitant. But there are hundreds of other weird genres already out there. My goal is to hopefully demonstrate to them that this is an opportunity to create material which will cater to a new demographic, whether that is other disabled viewers or not.
How did you get into doing adult film? I can’t say I know of many disabled folks doing it.
I sort of fell into it by accident to be completely honest. One night I was drunk in my dorm room sitting in front of my computer and decided to do some research on producers based here in Canada. I discovered a local indie company that featured alternative looking performers. With low expectations, I sent them an email expressing my interest, along with some Facebook photos of myself. To my surprise, they responded. And a few months later, we shot the thing.
I used to think that I would never get laid because I’m disabled. Fast forward to now and look at what’s happening. This is all because I noticed an opportunity and took action. It’s like any other side hobby or business, you have to grind and put in the work every single day if you want to make things happen.
Are there certain limitations or things you absolutely cannot do when shooting?
I do have my limits. Some of these include aerobic positions and partner support where I can’t pick the person up off the ground. Basically, I can’t hold you up, or stand for prolonged periods of time without my leg muscles tiring. But there are ways to shoot around that.
Have you had any odd experiences because of your disability, such as fetishizing or discrimination?
I can’t say that I personally have been fetishized strictly because of my disability. The only hardships I face is navigating the dating world. They’re either immediately turned off due to my physical shortcomings caused by the disability, or they’re weirded out by the stuff they read online or from the photos of me with random naked people. That’s just part of the territory when you live differently than everyone else.
Recently on Twitter you said you wanted help breaking into the “gay scene.” I gotta ask, being Queerty and all, would you ever do gay scenes?
I’m not sure if it’s going to take a python or micro penis to change any doubts in my mind about trying something like that. What I can tell you, from my experiences frequenting sex positive spaces, is that I’ve seen more penises in person in my 22 years than most men ever see in their entire lifetime. I guess I just haven’t found that perfect dick for me yet.
Have you ever been with a man outside of work?
I have loads of gay male friends I regularly hang with, and I’ve been inside a decent number of bathhouses and clubs here in Toronto’s gay village for interviews and promotional stuff. I’ve been involved in a few photoshoots where I developed some strong business relationships with gay models and performers as well. I guess you could say that I’ve been around a decent number of big dicks.
So is it safe to say you are straight, bi, or… How do you identify, exactly?
I’m whatever you want to imagine.
So many people look at adult films as something “shameful” or something you need to hide. A lot of people have lost their day jobs because of it. How do you respond to this?
How does that one saying go? “Be a slut, do whatever you want.” We’re all a certain degree of perverted. I know that I’ve been hypersexual for as long as I can remember. It started out so innocently: Going from holding hands with the girls during reading time in elementary school, to typing ‘boobs’ into Google on the computer when my mom would go grocery shopping. But these days I would rather frequent the sex clubs and swinger parties at friends’ apartments. Some of us are just more open and expressive about it than others. We all like to jerk off and we equally enjoy it when other people jerk us off, so who cares. Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.