If only the reality was as sexy as gay porn makes it seem like. Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, a documentary about gay porn star Jonathan Agassi, will be shown at Love & Anarchy in September 2019.

Lush beaches, breathtaking views and bronze, chiseled male bodies. Men of Israel (2009), the gay porno epic by Michael Lucas, is often seen as a turning point for both on-screen man-on-man action and the discourse of the LGBTQ+ population’s status in Israel. Not only that, the film was also a breakthrough for one of its stars Jonathan Agassi, who has later been seen as the standard babe in gay pornography. According to Agassi’s biography on the production company Lucas Entertainment’s website, he is the son of artists, loves underwear, performing and sex, and whose special talent is fucking, naturally.  

If only the reality was as sexy as gay porn makes it seem like. It is often said about pornography that if it looks good, it feels bad. And Jonathan Agassi is feeling really, really bad.

It is often said about pornography that if it looks good, it feels bad.

While it is true that Agassi is a son of two artists, his biography omits crucial information concerning his father. Tomer Heymann’s (Mr. Gaga, Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, HIFF 2016) new documentary Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life reveals the distant, toxic relationship between the two men, set ablaze by Agassi’s father’s homophobia and abusive behaviour. Agassi’s childhood was not only characterised by beaches and abundant travels, but also by bullying, violence and abuse, as shockingly portrayed in the documentary.

As it happens behind the scenes of the gay porn industry more often than not, Agassi is found self-medicating with sex and hard drugs. If you can’t ejaculate in front of the camera, don’t expect to get paid, and if you can’t get it up, penile injections are entered into the equation. As gratefully and proudly as Agassi speaks of his career, it is difficult not to read between the drug and sex infused lines. This borderline way of living escalates in a lubed-up nightmare of a trip, hauntingly monitored by Heymann’s camera.

If you can’t ejaculate in front of the camera, don’t expect to get paid, and if you can’t get it up, penile injections are entered into the equation.

However, Agassi himself is not ashamed and neither should the spectator be. The restless porn star is primarily confident and sex positive, and not the other way around, even if he is not fully revealing his demons.

Nevertheless, one can’t help but hear a glimpse of sorrow as Agassi speaks of intimacy: “People pay to sleep with me, so I can make them hug me too.”

Original Finnish text and translation: Arttu Manninen