It's definitely possible to dabble. The adult industry isn't some monster that will eat you if you're not careful.
Photo credit: Jason Merrell
In order to get her foot in the door of the magazine editing world, Jessane Collins took on a job at Playgirl, where she hoped to conflate her childhood dreams with sifting through penis centerfolds. A time period she describes as, "a dream come true wrapped in an existential nightmare," the years she served on the editorial team of the renowned dirty mag gave her a lot of wisdom, and better yet, a lot of writing material. Her first e-book, How To Be a Playgirl, is out this month and is a tell-all that explores everything from adhesive underwear to jobs we take in order to achieve the impossible.
Playgirl was initially conceived as a magazine for women, but it has attracted a gay following that has been increasing over recent years. Do you think that what the average woman and what the average gay man find attractive differs, and, if so, in what ways?
I do think they are different, though how, exactly, is a tough thing to sum up quickly! But for the sake of making a probably oversimplified case, I think women, in general, tend to be turned on by content that has a bit of subtlety, a bit of suggestion or tease. Not to say these have to be things that aren't explicit, necessarily. But things that provoke some imagination. Whereas men — again, I'm speaking in general terms — are perhaps more open and responsive to the more straightforward "let's see what you got!" type of pictorial or other visual content.
How do you think the attitude toward magazines like Playgirl has changed over the years and what direction do you think it'll go into in the future?
Playgirl was founded in the '70s, and originally it was the type of thing about which you could say, "Oh yes, I read it for the articles! As well as the sexy men, of course!" These days it's not really that. Porn got popular, and Playgirl got more porn-y and kind of fell off the mainstream radar. I think that while porn has become more ingrained in our pop culture, in a weird way, we've become more conservative at the same time. Like we don't really want to acknowledge it overtly — and this is the case especially if we're talking about something involving naked men. We're scandalized by the idea of a penis in a magazine. Whereas in the '70s, it was a revolutionary thing, and something to take kind of seriously.
So, how does one become a Playgirl? How has the process changed over the years?
If you look up "playgirl" in the dictionary, the definition is something like, "a woman who lives life in pursuit of pleasure." My definition, and my story, twists that a little, or expands it. What I'm ultimately saying is that the pursuit of pleasure—the pursuit of satisfaction, really—is a multilayered, complex thing. Desires take all kinds of shapes—beyond the sexual, there's the creative, the professional, etc. How do we get what we want out of any of it? My answer is that we remain open to adventure, but also that we take a role in and a responsibility for our own fulfillment. We identify what we want, and go out and take it.
What's your favorite person to pose for Playgirl and who's an actor that you would have liked to pose for you?
There's an '80s issue with Mark Harmon that I adore. He was hot then and he's hot now. I secretly love NCIS. I would have taken him back in a heartbeat.
What advice would you give to men on how to turn a girl on?
Make eye contact. Say smart things. Actually smart things, not just things you think sound smart. Be smart, I guess. Watch her mouth when she talks. Engage with her brain.
Now some sex advice from our readers:
"Every time I go out with a guy, he's all romantic and sweet during dinner and then I never hear from him again after we sleep together, which sometimes really hurts my feelings. My friends always say that the only way to avoid this is to not have sex with the guy for at least a month, but I have needs! What's your advice on how to avoid this?"
Don't play games. Do what you want, communicate openly, and don't settle for less in return.
"I've been on countless dates over the last three years but haven't seemed to able to make anything stick with anyone. Is there something wrong with me?"
I think there's someone (multiple someones, really) out there for everyone. But people who are trying to "make something stick," can give off vibes that turn people off. Maybe stop trying to make things happen, and just enjoy whatever happens to be happening right now.
"As a man in a long-term relationship, I hate always being the one to initiate sex with my girlfriend. Is there any way I could cajole her into being the aggressor?"
Don't cajole her. Empower her. Make sure she knows how much you want her all day, every day — not just when you want sex. If she picks up on your desire for her, that'll turn her on. Is my educated guess.
"I was on my boyfriend's computer the other day and noticed that he had a folder of porn on his desktop. I was curious, so I peeked. All the women were the exact opposite of me—brunette, very busty and curvy, olive complexions. I'm petite, with a boyish figure and dirty blond hair. Now I feel worried that I'm not his type sexually. Should I bring it up? Dye my hair?"
I don't believe in "types." Especially not when it comes to real-life relationships. The fantasy world is different than the world-world, and people like things on paper for different reasons than they like other flesh-and-blood humans. Assuming you have a good relationship, it's safe to say he likes you for you and he likes porn for porn and those are two separate spheres.
"I'm European and where I'm from, we don't care so much about body hair on a woman. I shave my legs and under my arms, but not very often. American men seem to be bothered by a woman not entirely hairless at all times. Should I just give in and shave every day or are opinions changing?"
Oh my god, I have no idea! Except, no, you shouldn't shave if you don't want to!
"I am thinking about doing some topless and lingerie modeling in New York to help out with the bills. I feel fine about showing a little skin, but my roommate seems to think it's a slippery slope and that it might interfere with my future career if someone finds them. Is it possible to just dabble in the adult industry or is it a lifetime commitment?"
It's definitely possible to dabble. The adult industry isn't some monster that will eat you if you're not careful. You have to work hard at it, like any career. We're all adult enough to know that anything we do now is public record. Think about what you want for yourself now and what you might want later, and then, knowing at least a little bit of all of those things, follow your heart. Not your roommate's heart.