By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
In blooper scenes included on the soon-to-be-released gay porn feature Behind the Set, we see a decidedly mirthful 19-year-old Christian Valentino dancing and clowning about, all smiles as he bounces his flaccid penis off the heads of other actors.
The reel also reveals another side of the Phoenix-based Valentino, a behind-the-scenes perspective of a gay porner grimacing as he struggles to relax his sphincter using a large, rather reluctant dildo. The hindmost loosening, prefaced with an all-cleansing douche, is necessary; once the shooting starts, Valentino is the anal recipient of a rigid 10-inch penis. The gent brandishing said genitalia shows little mercy on the spindly limbed Valentino. What's more, shooting for that particular scene lasted hours.
Valentino is Behind the Set's star. He will grace its DVD/video box cover. He plays a pouty, passive hetero raped by a burly, masked femme wielding an overtly articulated lust. In the scene, Valentino's yelps of pain are feigned, or so he claims. He says he enjoyed the sex scenes, and his crow and matching distressed countenance were shot for added drama after the actual intercourse took place and later edited in.
Nick Richmond, head honcho of Los Angeles-based Premier Pictures, is optimistic about Valentino's porn future. Premier, a heavily financed concern spanking-new to the jiz biz, is considering offering the actor a fruitful contract that would tie him to the company. An exclusive deal means simply that Valentino would earn a base salary for a fixed number of sex scenes. He'd be flown everywhere and, in a sense, treated like a star. Valentino came to Richmond's attention through the local all-nude male cabaret The Hideout.
"He's talented," Richmond says, sounding like a cigar-in-the-mouth studio head of yore. "When this guy works, people take notice. Is he arrogant? Sure. But that's okay, that's part of it. He may have a few problems, but I think he's got a future."
Almost by default, gay male porn is Valentino's budding career. His first calling was the military. Late last year, after serving nearly two years, the Navy released Valentino with an honorable discharge when his sexual bent became public. For this story, Valentino requested I not use his birth name.
"That [the Navy] was something I wanted so bad, and they stole that," he says. "They ended up taking my career. During the exiting process in Maryland, I was getting death threats slipped under my door when it was found out that I was gay. The exiting process usually takes 24 hours. 'Pack your shit up, get out, because your life is usually in danger' type of thing. Especially in a case like my mine, which was around the time a military man was killed for being gay."
Valentino doesn't conform to gay porn's long-standing, boundary-blurring image of the queen with a flattop and gym-assisted body. The 19-year-old is lithesome with dark skin and close-cropped hair. His dark eyes reveal a doe-eyed accessibility not yet thwarted by the possibilities of regret, or the downside to dubious decision-making. Not much different from the photo on his military ID taken a few years back. Valentino is cosmetically closer to his jazz-age namesake than he is to, say, porn's most identifiable gay male star, Jeff Stryker.
He says the homophobic nature of the military made him put up a complete front. "When I was in the Navy, I was the straightest man," he says. "When it came down to it in court, there were people testifying on my behalf saying the Navy had it all wrong. I had so many people standing up for me, trying to protect me, my career. From the day I walked into boot camp, my RDC Division Commander knew that I wasn't gay. They had understood how much the military meant to me.
"Honestly? I had more fun in boot camp than I think I ever had in my entire life," he continues. "They ended up putting me in charge of so many things. While I was in boot camp, they ended up making me a religious petty officer, which meant that I was in charge of everybody's religious well-being. They tested my IQ, then made me an education petty officer. I worked hard, day in and day out."
When Valentino speaks, he's mannerly in a kind of contrived urbane way, in full sentences with a slight New York twang. He graduated high school a year early, plays piano, paints, is an aspiring club DJ, and he says he knew he was gay long before he was blacklisted as such by the Navy.
"People in the Navy wondered because I walked around in Gucci when I was off work," he says, laughing. "I had grown accustomed to dressing well. They didn't question my actions, the way I walked, or the way I did certain things. In full contact sports -- wrestling, basketball, football -- I was kicking ass."
The irony, he says, is in the fact that he relished in more sex while serving in the Navy than any other time in his life. He says the sailors are reduced to jerking off in the showers. Valentino wouldn't have any of that.