Why Do Gay Porn Stars Kill Themselves?

Picture: See Ming Lee

Conner Habib writes at the Good Men Project:

Whenever a porn star — especially a gay porn star — commits suicide, theories show up, and people act very, very certain about them.  Arpad Miklos, who was as much as a porn “star” as anyone can be in a time when we are hyper-saturated with porn, killed himself on February 3rd, 2013, at the age of 45.  As usual, many people felt sure they knew why he committed suicide, without much evidence.  It was drugs, it was studios not treating him well, it was the feeling of dehumanization, it was the vague but all encompassing “porn industry” that did it, it was the feeling of being hollow, it was it was his loss of validation after being a star for so long.

I can’t claim any special knowledge about his death, I didn’t know him very well.  We met in passing on a set; he’d just finished a scene, and I was about to start mine.  He was huge and handsome; I’m not saying anything new.  If you met him, you were impressed by his smile and his body and his presence.  Looking at him almost made you feel a sense of unbalance in the world, like his handsomeness and flawless physique were proof of some deep inequality between people.  But then you’d forget that feeling and be drawn back into the intense attraction.

He gave me a kiss and his phone number and asked me if I’d like to spend time with him later that night.  My scene ran over schedule, and I was exhausted, so I told him I couldn’t meet.  We communicated a few more times over the years by text and phone, and that was that.  I mention all of this to say:  I don’t know his motivations or who he “really” was.  We kept passing through each other’s lives without ever truly meeting.

But others who knew him even less than me flooded twitter, wrote articles, posted to Facebook about what had happened.  The theories appeared as soon as the news did.  It was immediate, like flies to a corpse.  Theories arrived before grief, before honor and love and the experience of loss.  When a gay porn star dies, instead of an outpouring of grief, what we are usually witness to is a buzzing.

All of this is to say that not even death can trump many people’s confused and hostile attitudes towards porn and porn performers.

That is how deeply injured we are as a society when it comes to sex, sexuality, and love.

♦◊♦

It’s natural to turn events like suicide into cultural concerns.

Tragedies are supposed to pose questions to us — the feelings of discomfort that sadness brings can create meaningful action.  But these actions are always most effective when we don’t bypass grief and compassion to get to them.  Unfortunately, the people that make up the largest group involved in porn — the viewers and consumers — may not understand what it’s like to be a performer or to work for a studio.  The porn industry remains obscured by unexamined attitudes towards sex.  So compassion isn’t always available.

There’s a general outsiders about performer motivations for making porn, how much money they make, what happens during a shoot, what health and safety precautions are in place, how a scene is organized, what it feels like to be a crew member and more. The result is that a monolithic image of “gay porn star” and the “gay porn industry” is formed.  But unlike ideas of other industries — banking or agriculture, say — people’s perceptions are colored by a broader societal confusion: a difficulty in thinking and communicating clearly when it comes to sex and desire.This confusion is generated by many factors, most importantly by social and cultural institutions that have historically leveraged sex as a way to control people (I address some of those forces here, and will write more about them in the future).  Because these forces create pressure and guilt around sex, when someone like Miklos, who had sex publicly, kills himself, people tend to think he was sad because of his public sex life.  They don’t focus on the fact that he was trained as a chemist nor do they ask what his relationships were like or if he was generally happy.  Instead, a knee-jerk reaction links his sadness with porn.

People want to know: How was porn involved in this death?

Read more here.

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  • revmichaelsmargolin

    Suicide is empowerment, you’re the one calling the last shot. It’s the ultimate “F” this place I’m out. Of course this isn’t the most common state of mind but no matter what brought a person to suicide it is an underlying factor.

    • Gergith

      I’ve always seen it very similar. It’s literally the LARGEST act of free will conceivable. I can’t think of an act of free will with larger consequence in terms of how our brain functions. To actively choose to be permanently inactive knowing that it’s an inevitable anyways.

    • Calypso_1

      Have you been around many suicidal people?

    • Calypso_1

      Have you been around many suicidal people?

      • revmichaelsmargolin

        Not many but the ones that came to me for help were Christians that couldn’t live with the lie they were raised with. I pointed out, that though they were raised in a fantasy that does not negate the beauty and wonders of this universe. That life is even more worth living now that they escaped the Christian mind frame. The ones that lived went on to be happy Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Thelemites and Satanists. The others joined Christ.

        • Calypso_1

          In my own experience & in that of many of my colleagues, there is a strong correspondence to mental health challenges & the realization of a personal declination towards previously enveloping xtian belief systems.

        • Calypso_1

          In my own experience & in that of many of my colleagues, there is a strong correspondence to mental health challenges & the realization of a personal declination towards previously enveloping xtian belief systems.

    • mannyfurious

      Eh, I have mixed feelings. I respect a person’s right to make that kind of decision. But it’s sort of difficult to answer, definitively, whether it’s an act of ultimate courage or cowardice. Perhaps it depends on each situation. Personally, I leave suicide open as an option, particularly if I ever become severely immobile or diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or something along those lines. However, admittedly, I think killing myself under those circumstances would be probably cowardly, since I don’t have the will, desire or courage to live under conditions that make my life significantly more difficult.

      • revmichaelsmargolin

        How is tolerating pain and unhappiness brave? Besides desperation it takes some balls to end your own life. You use the word coward to manipulate people into tolerating something they don’t have to accept. Your use of the word coward is merely childish name calling.

        • mannyfurious

          I’M not sure it is or isn’t. That was sort of my point. I could just as easily ask you how isn’t it?

          • revmichaelsmargolin

            I’d have to say that judgement either way is up to the person in the situation not onlookers for they aren’t fully aware of the persons state of mind or condition.

  • tibby trillz

    maybe grinding your genitals all over a stranger leaves you feeling hollow inside? i know this is the age of sexual freedom and i have no problem with homosexuality bisexuality etc… but if thats all you feel you are good at in life (the act of sex, not sexual preference) then your life is shit and it makes you depressed. our bodies are shells that contain a much more beautiful product inside. if we focus too much on the scratches on our bumper maybe we forget to check if the alternator is shot and the driver got lost? i know we’ve made great strides to break away from the trappings of christianity as far as sexuality is concerned but lets not forget that we cant use our sexual organs like its a lever that dispenses crack pellets. sexuality is sacred and she be treated as such. im sure this guy was a wonderful person inside who got treated as a fucktoy by jagoffs who wanted to make a buck off of him and this is absolutely 100 percent not the standard that we should be striving for.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      What evidence do you have that our bodies are shells? Could that be a false dichotomy that creates a mind/body split? `

      I am not promoting porn, just saying that this attitude of the mind or spirit being separate from the body seems unjustified to me.

      • tibby trillz

        obviously i have no evidence and you bring up a good point, i am presenting it as fact that we are driven by the soul which operates through a physical body and im not sure that is something that can ever be proved to be true. my point is that sexuality like drugs can be a rewarding deep personal experience, or it could be a empty thrill on par with crack addiction.

      • jnana

        the fact that when you die, the body is empty of life, but the soul lives on.

        • bobbiethejean

          That’s not a fact, that’s wishful thinking, faith, an assumption, or a belief but it is not presently known to be factual. Believe me, I wish it were. I’d love to know for certain if there were souls and afterlives.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            See here is the thing. I disagree with both of you guys. The Body is the soul. Its a manifestation of the soul. The soul is the Body’s organizing principle that organizes itself from the elements in the environment. But there is an “inner body” that cannot be separated from the soul or the body. If you try to separate it, it causes suffering.

            A lot of people in the West have screwed themselves up with a mind/body split

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            See here is the thing. I disagree with both of you guys. The Body is the soul. Its a manifestation of the soul. The soul is the Body’s organizing principle that organizes itself from the elements in the environment. But there is an “inner body” that cannot be separated from the soul or the body. If you try to separate it, it causes suffering.

            A lot of people in the West have screwed themselves up with a mind/body split

          • mannyfurious

            I agree. Especially with your last sentence. It’s hard to express exactly what I feel about the “soul.” Materialists have a tendency to dismiss it outright because they can’t measure it. But I just think they aren’t using tools that are big enough. We’re not even exactly sure what “matter” is. So why are we convinced that matter, for a lack of a better term, isn’t “spiritual”? It’s sort of a simple way of thinking. “It’s JUST matter.” But “just matter” continues to do absolutely awesome (in the truest sense of the word, before it got bastardized to describe things like bike riding or tv shows) things like form consciousness and life and weather and planets and galaxies and stars, etc.

            That doesn’t quite catch what I’m saying. I’m saying there’s obviously something more to matter than we think. And our bodies, made of matter, are direct expressions of whatever it is that makes matter so amazing.

          • jnana

            Knowing what is Soul, what is Body, what is the world, what is the Spirit, what is Knowledge, etc is an experiential knowledge, we can talk about it all day and talking is an experience too, but Gnosis is almost sensual, perhaps like a sublimated sensual experience, which is really a Spiritual Experience. If one has not had a Spiritual Experience all one knows is mundane sensual experiences and maybe pseudo-intellectual experiences(being tainted or mixed with matter)

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            So are you saying that people who don’t ascribe to a mind body dichotomy are simply unenlightened? Its sounds like that is what you are saying. If so I think you misunderstand.

          • jnana

            No, because I couldn’t say I’m enlightened, nor would I say I have received the fullness of gnosis. But it’s my understanding matter is lifeless and unperceiving without the Spirit.

            Jesus said: If the flesh came into existence because of the spirit, it is a marvel. But if the spirit came into existence because of the body, it is a marvel of marvels. But as for me, I wonder at this, how this great wealth made its home in this poverty.

          • jnana

            No, because I couldn’t say I’m enlightened, nor would I say I have received the fullness of gnosis. But it’s my understanding matter is lifeless and unperceiving without the Spirit.

            Jesus said: If the flesh came into existence because of the spirit, it is a marvel. But if the spirit came into existence because of the body, it is a marvel of marvels. But as for me, I wonder at this, how this great wealth made its home in this poverty.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Right, no offense but there is a disconnect. Probably my fault for not explaining it better. But I am not arguing from the perspective of materialist reductionism.

            See, I think what the problem is, is that Gnostics introduced this erroneous idea(or misinterpreted other Gnostics with the right idea) of a dichotomy between the Spirit and the flesh, and then Atheists kind of ran with it and then denied the Spirit. Everything is mostly empty space. Its all energy vibrating at different speeds. There is no matter. Just energy. This idea of there being solid matter, is an illusion in a way. So then this can get garbled up into the idea that since the Flesh is matter, it is therefore bad.

            I think that is erroneous. The physical body is not bad. Its just temporary. I don’t really think however, that its useful to think of the Spirit leaving the body at death like these are two separate things. As if the body was a Jar and at death you just take off the lid and the Spirit floats away. I think its more like Cymatics. A living body is like a pattern formed by an electromagenetic current, holding a certain frequency. (If frequency is the right word)

            With cymatics, you turn off the electricity and then you just get iron filings. Just like after death, you just have a body with no animating principle. A pile of meat. Then it rots away. The Spirit didn’t shed anything, the body just got unplugged. I have no proof, but I have no reason to believe that this frequency, this energy signature couldn’t live on, but It just won’t be animating that particular pile of meat any more. Perhaps it might move to a new body through reincarnation, but anyway, the body is part of the pattern it is not separate from the animating principle. It illustrates the animating principle.

          • jnana

            Matter is recognized as evil when one struggles to live by Love. It becomes apparent that matter is a force in its own right. Have you ever glimpsed the Beauty behind this reality? Why do we not see it all the time. Because we’re occluded by matter. Matter isn’t indifferent. The suffering caused by being in the flesh is no coincidence. Neither is massive ignorance of Reality a coincidence. There is an occluding force and it is Matter. Observe the laws of Matter. No 2 objects can reside in the same space at the same time. Unity is impossible, though we strive for it through sexuality. But Unity of Spirit is an eternal reality matter can not destroy, though it can obscure it.

          • jnana

            Matter is recognized as evil when one struggles to live by Love. It becomes apparent that matter is a force in its own right. Have you ever glimpsed the Beauty behind this reality? Why do we not see it all the time. Because we’re occluded by matter. Matter isn’t indifferent. The suffering caused by being in the flesh is no coincidence. Neither is massive ignorance of Reality a coincidence. There is an occluding force and it is Matter. Observe the laws of Matter. No 2 objects can reside in the same space at the same time. Unity is impossible, though we strive for it through sexuality. But Unity of Spirit is an eternal reality matter can not destroy, though it can obscure it.

          • Andrew

            Thought-terminating clichés.

          • jnana

            Or are those ideas just too hard to accept because of their implications. And despite my abhorrence of thought terminating clichés, clichés do tend to be true.
            I’d like you to prove to me how the ideas I expressed “terminate” thought and are untrue.

          • jnana

            Or are those ideas just too hard to accept because of their implications. And despite my abhorrence of thought terminating clichés, clichés do tend to be true.
            I’d like you to prove to me how the ideas I expressed “terminate” thought and are untrue.

          • jnana

            The real though terminating cliché is that duality is evil and dualism is untrue, a much too common assumption in modern spirituality, be it Christian, new age or what have you

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            I give adherents of Scientism a lot of shit, but I do think it is good to test things. So is this a testable assertion you are making here that “matter is evil”?

          • jnana

            What is evil, but coercion? Is there anything more coercive than laws, specifically laws of the material realm, laws that restrict freedom? Don’t take my word fpr it, though. Ask yourself honestly, “What is evil?” Build a place for Truth in your mind, and surely it will come when you ask it.
            I think few come to the realization that matter is evil, because it is too terrifying and overwhelming an idea to accept. It shakes everything up, it’s the ultimate “conspiracy theory”, too “paranoid”. But let’s be honest, has Good ever triumphed in our world, is anyone really free?

          • jnana

            What is evil, but coercion? Is there anything more coercive than laws, specifically laws of the material realm, laws that restrict freedom? Don’t take my word fpr it, though. Ask yourself honestly, “What is evil?” Build a place for Truth in your mind, and surely it will come when you ask it.
            I think few come to the realization that matter is evil, because it is too terrifying and overwhelming an idea to accept. It shakes everything up, it’s the ultimate “conspiracy theory”, too “paranoid”. But let’s be honest, has Good ever triumphed in our world, is anyone really free?

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            well, its an illusion. That is a scientific fact. Nothing is solid. Everything is composed primarily of empty space. But as far as it being “evil” I think that is a stretch. I mean, we are constrained by the laws of physics, but I am don’t really feel I am “coerced” by the laws of physics. I have argued elsewhere that the laws of physics allow us to have free will. That is because they operate impersonally and thus impartially.

          • jnana

            Summer Harvest: a poem by Valentinus

            In the spirit I see all suspended,
            In the spirit I know everything held:
            The flesh hanging from the soul
            The soul held aloft by the air
            The air suspended from the ether
            Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth
            A child emerges from the womb

            Explanation By a Later Teacher

            He means this: “flesh” is matter which is “hanging” from the “soul” of the Craftsman. “The soul held aloft by the air” means the Craftsman held aloft by the Spirit that comes from the Fullness (i.e. Achamoth). And “the air suspended from the ether” means that the exterior Wisdom (Achamoth) is suspended from the inner Limit and the entire Fullness. “Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth” having become the complete emanation of the Aeons from the Father.

          • jnana

            Summer Harvest: a poem by Valentinus

            In the spirit I see all suspended,
            In the spirit I know everything held:
            The flesh hanging from the soul
            The soul held aloft by the air
            The air suspended from the ether
            Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth
            A child emerges from the womb

            Explanation By a Later Teacher

            He means this: “flesh” is matter which is “hanging” from the “soul” of the Craftsman. “The soul held aloft by the air” means the Craftsman held aloft by the Spirit that comes from the Fullness (i.e. Achamoth). And “the air suspended from the ether” means that the exterior Wisdom (Achamoth) is suspended from the inner Limit and the entire Fullness. “Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth” having become the complete emanation of the Aeons from the Father.

          • jnana

            No, it is an experience, like any other experience. Just because not everyone has experienced it or remembers experiencing it doesn’t mean no one has.
            For example, what if only a few people ever experienced being underwater, and they told people what it was like, being totally immersed and wet, and experiencing more gravity and a world full of strange creatures, yet it was only a few people who had fully experienced it, sure others have been a little wet before and have even tasted water, but they never really experienced the Ocean, well that doesn’t invalidate their experience. I’m sure scientists could say that was just neurons firing in their brains or a hallucination, but what isn’t?
            Anyways, if you wanna know anything for certain, start from the beginning. What did Descartes say? Everything could be a hallucination, nothing can be known for certain, except that I AM.

    • jnana

      I largely agree with you, but it seems to me theres a reason sexual organs dispense crack pellets so easily. I’m a person who believes resistance is fertile, but I have a very anticosmic attitude which is frowned upon these days, so I can see why omebody would fck flippantly. Its natural.

  • ishmael2009

    Who’s making these theories up? What exactly is the writer here referring to? (Not the actor, I mean the response.) This seems like a story that’s been got up over a whole lot of nothing in order to justify an article about how “deeply injured” we are about sex.

    • Matt Staggs

      Let’s see if we can get Conner to come by and address your questions.

    • Matt Staggs

      Let’s see if we can get Conner to come by and address your questions.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Just looks like a normal dude to me. I know what you mean though about how some people are intimidating because they seem flawless. I’ve known four or five people who committed suicide. Just acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors etc. Its one of those things where its very final, but the reasons why may not be clear, but you know, once you pull the trigger there is no turning back.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Just looks like a normal dude to me. I know what you mean though about how some people are intimidating because they seem flawless. I’ve known four or five people who committed suicide. Just acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors etc. Its one of those things where its very final, but the reasons why may not be clear, but you know, once you pull the trigger there is no turning back.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Ok, so here is a question I want to pose you. If there were no sexual repression would there be any porn?

    • Eric_D_Read

      People would undoubtedly still be creating sexual artwork. But I think the term “pornography” might become obsolete.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.garrison.31 Jacob Garrison

    Grizzly bears only live 23 years in the wild. Just saying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.garrison.31 Jacob Garrison

    Grizzly bears only live 23 years in the wild. Just saying.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    How many people googled him and brought up a bunch of gay porn? Be honest now!

  • http://www.facebook.com/write.zilla Write Zilla

    This was a bright man. If he kept his chemist job, instead of deciding to be a whore, he’d still be alive. He probably became a porn star as a way to get out of Hungary and see the world.

    If you don’t smooch your way up the ladder in porn (directing, producing, etc.), suicide or a destitute life is imminent. You can’t be a performer forever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/write.zilla Write Zilla

    This was a bright man. If he kept his chemist job, instead of deciding to be a whore, he’d still be alive. He probably became a porn star as a way to get out of Hungary and see the world.

    If you don’t smooch your way up the ladder in porn (directing, producing, etc.), suicide or a destitute life is imminent. You can’t be a performer forever.

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