Dante Dionys : « Everything is political, especially porn. »

For quite some time now, we have been following Dante Dionys, an outstanding German performer who has successfully built up a presence on the European independent scene. For the first time, they agreed to answer our questions.

Hi Dante! Would you please introduce yourself first? 

I am Dante Dionys, an adult performer and sex worker from Berlin. My name is a combination of Dante Alighieri, the medieval Italian writer who wrote La Divina Commedia also known as ‘Inferno’ and the Greek god Dionysos, who stands for joy and ecstasy. Since I am both a sadist BDSM-Master but also like playful and light-hearted orgies, I thought it would fit. It is showing the fluidity of sex that can range from a « hell ride » to friendly sensual play.

How and why did you get into porn, was it before or after starting escorting? 

I already did escorting before I got into porn. I have to thank Paulita Pappel at that point for reaching out to me and casting me for a movie – after its release multiple directors from the so-called alternative porn scene worked with me. Up to this date performing in front of the camera is something I really enjoy doing, not because I would be an exhibitionist but because I like the atmosphere on set, working with other professionals and performers and realising a vision of a movie together. I believe that a huge part of sexuality is performance and it is exciting and important to play with that.

Since when have you been making your own videos

I started making my own videos around fall 2018 which felt like a natural and logical thing to do. One reason is that it gives me more freedom and space for experimentation. But also it is fun to film a scene with a befriended performer or spontaneously take the camera out when you are alone and horny. I quickly realised that my fans were literally waiting for such content and these private intimate moments are what they want to see on my Only Fans. If you yourself are an adult performer I highly recommend getting on it and start to create your own content.

What do you think about the evolution of the industry over the last few years, especially since the Covid pandemic? Do you think the future of porn is in those self made videos?

Those sure are interesting times for the porn business. Already before the COVID19 pandemic, there was a trend towards some sort of decentralisation in production, with performers creating their own videos and uploading it to the big (and small) online platforms. The pandemic accelerated that process, « lockdown masturbation » videos became wide-spread content and even big porn companies were paying people to film themselves at home instead of showing up at a set where a crew is busy setting up. This for sure will grow in the future, but as platforms are becoming more known and accepted by “mainstream society“, a risk rises of excluding the very people those companies’ growth came from: sex workers. Nonetheless, studios will still want to film a glossy, professional film with a plot and dialogues so I don’t think that this will disappear completely. With generations of film makers that grew up with online porn, we probably will also see more of a ‘porn aesthetic’ in cinema – I believe the lines between porn and art movie will be even more blurred.

Dante Dionys in Ovidie’s last movie « Chloé l’embrasement »

What do you think of the growing opposition « evil mainstream big productions » VS « good ethical feminists alt-porn makers » supported by some mainstream media and porn producers? 

I think this binary is often a bit blown out of proportion and sometimes more a marketing strategy then based on facts. I think it comes down to the way how porn is produced and what rights and power is given to the people in the process instead of simplifying it to an aesthetic or label. Concrete questions that need to be asked are: Were performers and crew paid fairly and equally for the same labour? Are different bodies, sexualities and identities portrayed or stereotypes just reproduced? Not to say that you can’t play with stereotypes, but then it needs to be subversive and turn assumptions upside down ! Are performers given a chance to earn from the outcome of their work, for example through affiliate programs or royalties? In the end, it is the porn performers that are naked online for the entertainment of others and face the risk of being a projection screen for society’s stigma around sex and porn. If we ask these questions, it becomes obvious that there are mainstream companies with ethical practices as well as feminist porn companies with unethical practices. It never is a simple black and white, good and evil. The debate should be centered around the well-being of the performers. If we all (and that includes everybody from performer to camera person to the company’s CEO) are open to learn and hold ourselves accountable, then I think the porn business can be a lot of fun for everybody involved.

Photo : Chris Nutt

You are quite involved in political activism (anti-fascism, anti-racism, pro trans-rights or sex-work rights…). Do you think politics belong in porn?

Good question! While some may disagree, I dare to say that everything is political, especially porn. I have been politically active since I was an early teenager, starting to go to demonstrations at the age of 14. I learned that it is best to ‘fight where you stand’, meaning that your political practice and views should derive from who you are and what you do in your life. Getting into sex work and porn, it was completely out of question not to organise politically around that and fight for our rights – especially since it is such a loaded topic and sex worker’s rights are repeatedly under attack worldwide and considering the fact that we heavily rely on a supportive community for our survival and to thrive in our work.

To take these politics away would be a gross voyeurism and appropriation and I am not willing to give a viewer this fake comfort. I know some don’t want to see that as I can tell by the handful of unfollows whenever I share my opinion but I am willing to accept that. People need to understand that porn performers and sex workers are people with lives and opinions and they should be happy and feel privileged that we share those with our audience. In fact, the porn and sex worker community is often very political and I have seen some of the most radical statements and mutual support network come from these communities.

For me personally, it has been a huge joy when I realised that the porn icons I watched in the times of my sexual awakening like Stoya, Asa Akira or Jiz Lee also had something important to say and it made me understand more why I was attracted to those people in the first place.

Dante et Ray dans « On the Edge »

You shot a few bixesual scenes with other male performers. Would you say that comparatively to the US, the European porn industry is more accepting regarding bi male performers?

I really cannot answer that since I have not worked in the US yet (but I want to, Hello!). It seems that because European porn productions often have that vibe of being „alternative and different“ there is an openness towards male bi-sexuality – but I can’t say how that relates to the US. Some of the male bi-sexual performers I enjoy are in the US and it seems like they are doing well (like Wolf Hudson or Lance Hart). Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma and refusal around male bi-sexuality and those performers get ‘blacklisted’ as supposed HIV-risks and it is harder for them to get booked. But I also know from my experience as a queer, bi-sexual performer that there is a widespread literal ‘bi-curiosity’. It is still widely under-represented although more and more viewers want to see exactly such scenes. Over the last years, we have heard how manhood would supposedly be in a crisis, toxic masculinity and heteronormativity get rightfully called-out and Oh surprise! it turns out women actually watch porn – even gay porn! What is the answer to that? I say it is a strapped-on FMM genderfuckery!

Dante and Maria Riot in « Sex work is work »

Who has been an influence for you in this industry?

My work and accomplishments are heavily based on the people who uplifted me. Paulita Pappel casted me for my first videos and remains a supportive friend and milestone in the industry. Stoya showed me that a lot of sexual tension is radiating through your facial expressions and is transported via eye contact. Bishop Black and Wolf Hudson as well as Lance Hart are inspiring in their work as bisexual male performers. Vex Ashley from Four Chambers and Lina Bembe have been very influential in their sharp-minded outspokenness and their artistic work, as well as Maria Riot who is a great sex worker activist, besides being an amazing and smart performer. They are just a few examples and there are many more who have been inspirations to me.

You are privately into BDSM and that is also one of the service you offer as a sex worker, but I dont think I have seen you in BDSM scenes. Why so? 

That is a very good question and I can’t explain myself how that could happen. I am planning to have more BDSM-scenes in my clip sale in the future but also am happy to work with studios on solving this issue. A problem with that is that there is a lot of BDSM-practices that are not allowed on all platforms: for example I would love to shoot a kidnapping and interrogation scene but that unfortunately falls under prohibited content. But yes, expect some more BDSM-scenes from me in the future.

What kind of porn do you watch? Is it different from the one you do?

[laughs] At this point it is mainly my own porn while editing it and while it sure is worth it in the end I can say that it is not an easy way to get to the climax, because it takes me ages to finish an edit. When I am curious in what other performers are up to then I usually buy content directly from the performer simply because I think that is the most direct and best way to support them.

What porn do you want to shoot in the future? And who do you want to shoot it with?

I am open to a lot of things actually. I would like to shoot more own videos with other performers and am also always open to be contacted about that. Casual sex tapes as well as BDSM-scenes are on my list. I would like to work with people in so-called ‘mainstream porn’ just because I am curious about it and have so far mainly worked with people in the ‘feminist alt-porn’ world. Also some real radical queer stuff would be great! Since I enjoy story and dialogue as well I am also up for short of feature movies with more plot. But anything goes really, once the pandemic is over I actually really just want to start performing again, meet some new people, work with old friends and see where it takes me.

Dante by Romy Alizée

Do you see yourself becoming a director? What type of content could you shoot? 

I have huge respect for a director’s work and don’t see myself taking up that task. There is an idea for a psychological horror porn movie in my head for a while now and I have a few interested talents who could help in front and behind the camera, but I think this would rather be a collaborative production than me taking up the role as a director and there have been no concrete steps yet in realising it.

I know you are very much into music. Have you produced anything related to porn? Where can we listen to your work?

I have produced some smaller scores to porn clips, also bigger soundtracks, for example the Vice documentary « Sex Sirens«  about the Dutch ballroom scene by Poppy Sanchez for whom I already performed in porn movies so that was a fun crossover episode. I don’t want to say too much about what I am working on currently because then people will ask me in a year „Where is that project you talked about?“ but I am working on a few songs that also include the voices of some befriended porn performers. You can find my music and stay updated here Band Camp, Soundcloud or Mix Cloud.

Follow Dante’s work on social media linktr.ee/dantedionys 

Header photo by Ero Rose.

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