Carter Cruise is a porn star with brains, who is as passionate about women’s sexuality and freedom as she is about having sex on camera. She’s just won a bunch of AVN and XBIZ awards over the past year, and we spoke to her about sex, the porn industry, freedom and having the balls to do what you want with your life.
Hey, so obviously you’re in an industry most people would consider to be an extreme one… how did you get into it? What was your childhood like? Were you a restless kid?
I grew up in North Carolina, in the suburbs. You know Stepford housewives? It’s just like that; lots of golf courses. There are even rules about what colour you can paint your house. Since I was five years old I’d wanted to live in New York city. All the energy there was really appealing. I wanted to do all these crazy, amazing things, and everyone was doing those things in NY and LA. And I wanted to be amongst those people.
I liked to read erotic stories and go on Wikipedia and just read about fetishes, BDSM, homosexuality. I was interested in it partly in a sexual way, but mostly just out of curiosity about what other people do in secret. I just wanted to understand them.
When did you start to feel as though you had a different attitude to sexuality?
I think I was pretty aware of that from a very early age. I was super interested in sex since I was really, really little. I found out about it when I was about five – I just thought it was so cool. I was very inquisitive about it as a child, and peppered my mum with questions, so finally she told me everything. And I was masturbating really early – like when I was five or younger. At the time I didn’t connect the two things – masturbating and sex. But when I was in middle school – when I first got internet access – I liked to read erotic stories and go on Wikipedia and read about fetishes, BDSM, homosexuality. I was interested in it partly in a sexual way, but mostly just out of curiosity about what other people do in secret. I just wanted to understand them.
So partly it was discovering your own sexuality and partly it was anthropological?
Yeah. I love to understand people, I’ve always read about all types of people. I went through a phase during which I was obsessed with serial killers. I’ve always loved and been attracted to the darker sides of humanity, whether or not it’s extreme stuff like serial killers or sexual “perversions”. I’m really interested in the things people hide about themselves. Whether or not they’re actually bad, or just perceived to be bad, I’ve always been drawn to those things. Even though on the outside I’m a well rounded, socially conventional person – at least when you first meet me.
If you’re interested in serial killers you should read about Ted Bundy.
Oh! I actually have a book about him that I really love. He’s fascinating.
I had sex with lots of guys in college, but it was always the same sex, over and over again. I wanted to learn, to know all these things about my body. In porn, all these people know everything you could know. To me, this is almost like a field study.
When did you think porn might be something you could get into as a career?
I happened really fast. I never really thought about it, but I read VICE a lot, their NSFW section, and they had a lot of porn stars writing articles. Then I came across Sasha Grey, and I watched interviews with her, and Stoya… I felt like I could really hang out with them. Like I’d be more comfortable with them than with anyone I knew. So then I watched a bit of porn, and saw some artsy stuff that I really liked. I always imagined it as super cheesy, pizza-delivery-guy style stuff. Then I saw some porn that was really hot, the sex was really good and there was chemistry. So I became really interested in the industry, just reading about it. Then I started to see what they had done with their careers, and I thought they were just so free. At the same time I was really frustrated, sexually. I couldn’t experience the things I wanted to experience. So eventually, one day, I just thought “what if I did porn?”
The idea stuck in my head. I knew I wanted to do it, but it wasn’t until I did a nude photoshoot I realized I could be naked on camera. And then I was like “well yeah, I can definitely fuckin do it.”
I’ve always wondered about this – you’ve mentioned that you wanted to use porn as a starting block to build a career, but surely the idea of doing porn was a turn on for you personally?
Oh yeah, of course. There were so many reasons I wanted to do it. There’s the business, the connections, the money. But the main reason I wanted to do it was to experience these sexual things. But when you do porn, it obviously closes a lot of doors. It makes certain things harder. So I could have never justified doing it purely for the sexual experiences. Because I needed to know that it wasn’t going to ruin my life afterwards. For example, I’ve always kept a journal, and I’ve always loved memoirs – they’re my favourite types of books. I love getting into the psyche of another person. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to write a book in which people can get inside my head. And in order to do that, you have to live an interesting life. Some of the decisions I’ve made, even if they don’t look like the best decisions from the outside, are about that. I always look at the worst possible outcome, and ask “can I deal with the worst possible outcome, and is it worth the story?!”
Yeah, you can’t always take the boring option.
Totally. I’ve done things in my life that I knew were going to end badly, but I knew that I could handle it, and I knew it was going to be a great fuckin story! I wanna feel things and know things myself, I don’t want someone else to tell you about it. And the more experience you have, the better you can know people you come into contact with. It gives you a lot more social power – if you can understand people you can give them what they want.
Is the physical side of working in porn challenging?
Yeah, definitely. It’s like being an athlete.
A lot of the negativity you hear about porn these days refers to the damage it does to women’s bodies, how the physical acts can really cause harm.
Well, first of all that’s a dumb argument. If you play football you can die, and nobody is saying we should get rid of the NFL. I was watching a NASCAR race, and a car blew up, and killed spectators.
I do think there should be better education for girls entering the industry. For example, getting an HPV shot, which can help prevent cancer. I thought a lot about what it would do to my body before I got into porn, but I still didn’t think about getting an HPV shot. If wasn’t until my friends experienced some harm due to not getting the shot that I thought about it. So that, for example, should be a requirement for anybody working in porn. There does need to be some education about how to take care of yourself. When you have multiple sexual partners who themselves have multiple sexual partners, you’re really exposing yourself.
But I think it gets better the longer you’re in the industry. When I would work with a girl who had been around for five years or so, I’d ask her what she’d do to make sure her body was ok before and after scenes… now I have way less problems. It’s really in the first few months – when your body is exposed to all these new things – that it takes a little getting used to.
Porn really is like a professional sport. You need to eat healthy, make sure you’re body is ok. The vagina is a very sensitive part of the body. But when you’re doing anal on top of that, it’s going to completely change the way you eat. Because if you’re using an enema you’ve gotta take probiotics to replace that bacteria, for example. A lot of girls don’t research it, they don’t ask, and they don’t take care of their bodies. But that’s my personal responsibility, not the industry’s and not society’s. I’m an adult; I can take care of myself.
You said one of the reasons you got into porn was that you weren’t getting the kind of sex you were getting in life. What is it about porn that gives you the sex that you want? Why can’t you find the sex you want in life?
I think it was more about the people in porn and the trust that’s there. I lot of the things I wanted to try were very unconventional. Where I’m from, people are not very open minded when it comes to sex. So I would want to try something and they’d be like “oh that’s weird”. I would usually never tell guys what I wanted, I had trouble working up the nerves to ask. One day I eventually asked a guy I was with to slap me on the face. And he got so offended – he was this good southern boy. It really made me feel wrong for what I wanted. With porn, people are a lot more open minded. And they’re more experienced. I had sex with lots of guys in college, but it was always the same sex, over and over again. I wanted to learn, to know all these things about my body. In porn, all these people know everything you could know. To me, this is almost like a field study. It’s not always about the sex, it’s about discovering new things that I like.
Also, there’s this impression that women are the conservative ones in bed. But that’s not always the case. A lot of guys find that scary.
Yeah, totally. A lot of guys think they’re dominant. But I have a lot of energy, both in life and sexually. So a guy might be able to physically restrain me. But to be able to be mentally dominate – I was never really able to find that. They were never really getting in my head – I liked the sex I guess, but I was never engaged fully in it. So when a guy walks in the room and you can feel their dominance, that’s really sexy to me. I really enjoy being submissive, but I’m not doing it just to be submissive. I have to respect you and want to give you that.
One of our writers wrote something a while back about women’s desire to have sex with multiple men, which is one of the few remaining taboos… and that’s another thing that you explore quite openly.
Oh definitely. I did a gang-bang and it was so awesome. It was one of the coolest experiences. But I would never have had the opportunity to do that in normal, every day life. Because it’s impossible to find six dudes who are clean, who I trust, and who can keep their dicks hard! So it’s really cool to be able to explore those kind of fantasies. After the first time I did two guys on camera, I thought it was so much fun that I was like “oh my god, I can’t wait to do a gang bang!”
It’s gotta be nice to be the centre of attention.
Exactly! I never have threesomes in real life, because it’s very difficult to get the chemistry right. There’s so many weird things that can happen. But at work, I love doing them – I’m just having fun with some friends.
You’re quite passionate about women taking control and being empowered by their sexuality. Why do you think people are still so scared of it?
I don’t know. I feel like we’re past the whole inequality between the sexes, for the most part. I think its religion. We’re desperately holding on to these books and what they tell us about the meaning of life, and religion plays such a huge part in telling us how a woman should be sexual – which is not at all, except for her husband.
Maybe it’s power, too. I think if most women realized how much power their sexuality has, they’d be kind of shocked by it.
That’s very true. But I have a huge problem with that too. A lot of girls have realized that power, and they use it. They have guys buy them things, and the use their sexual power to manipulate people. We either tell women to not be sexual at all, or tell them to use their sexuality to get what they want. All that does is make men resent women. I think women should take control of their sexuality, but I don’t think they should use it to manipulate.
Source: Sneaky Magazine