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Special report: Gay-4-Pay in Prague

In the dark corners of Eastern Europe, economic crisis drives straight men into gay porn.

Bohumil Dolezal, a former Czech dissident, says that although the country now has freedom, it doesn’t yet have a firm moral standard. The problem is that, after communism, “all constraints and values fell,” he says. “And now, the society is rotten with pigs.”

On the website CzechBoys.com, Czech-Canadian owner Pavel Rada offers his own explanation. “Part of it comes from an incredibly open minded culture, and part of it comes from the after-affects [sic] of 40 years of communism, but you won’t find 100% str8 [sic] boys anywhere in the world that will drop there [sic] pants as fast as a CzechBoys model when he knows there’s a ‘reward’ for his efforts!” he writes.

Simple economics is also playing a role. While the supply of Czech gay porn is plentiful, it is merely meeting strong demand. Higgins estimates that 80 percent of his customers are in English-speaking countries, primarily in the U.S., because Americans are used to paying for porn, while everyone else just downloads it for free.

Steve Shay, a producer from Citiboyz, a central Illinois-based studio that distributes the films of the studio Czech Boys, asserts that porn is in high demand in the U.S. because Americans are so religious.

“There is a lot of engrained repression in this country,” he says, arguing that Americans wouldn’t need as much porn if sex wasn’t stigmatized. “The anti-porn movement here is actually making porn more popular.”

Every time protest groups announce an anti-porn-month initiative in the Midwest, Shay says to himself: “Great, I’ll sell more.”

The prince of "Twinkopolis"

Alan Capier, an AVI Films porn star and cameraman, who has also performed under the names Felix Wallace, Alan Clarke, Filip Nowotny and Pavel Vlasek, among others, has been in the business for almost six years. He's worked for Higgins, Eurocreme, Man’s Art and others. He has been with more than 600 men and appeared in more than 100 hardcore films.

As an openly gay man, Capier is a rarity on the Prague market and one of the few who can perform without erection-enhancing drugs. “It’s practice, like anything else,” he says.

Over svarak, a popular wintertime drink of spicy red mulled wine in a cafe across from the gay club Valentino, Capier talks about his career in porn openly and enthusiastically.

Alan Capier.
(Nora Stribrna/GlobalPost)

“Others hide it, but not me. I am an exhibitionist,” he says. Capier, whose real name is Marek Tomsu, says he has no secrets. His family knows about his career, and they are fine with it as long as he promises to be careful about his health. Being in the bareback business, he is careful by getting tested once a month.

Although he has never had sex with an HIV-positive man that he knows of, he has encountered models with syphilis and he sees others with chlamydia and genital herpes regularly.

Like virtually all the men in gay porn here, Capier is uncircumcised, which customers in the U.S. find exotic, and like most other Czech models, he looks younger than his age, 26. Prague, after all, has been nicknamed Twinkopolis for producing some of the best such talent in the world, popular primarily among older, Western gay men.

Capier has soft features, brown, shaggy hair with blond highlights, immaculate peach skin and smart, green eyes. He speaks rapidly, with a pleasant smile, and jumps from topic to topic with an elegant giddiness, frequently adjusting his hair and touching his nose.

He was a paramedic in his home town Olomouc, in Moravia, when he posted nude pictures of himself on a gay matchmaking website. The scouts of AVI Films saw his pictures, they contacted him with an offer to come to Prague and “do some photos.”

When Capier arrived, he found out it would be a sex scene with two other guys, with him playing the “passive role.” The director giggled and said his fellow model was a “25/6,” referring to his impressive anatomy in centimeters. That meant almost 10 inches long, and two and a half inches in diameter.

“I said ‘no, I can’t manage that’ and the director laughed and said ‘yes, you can.’ And I did,” Capier says. “I got 13,500 crowns ($675) cash and went back home.”

Those were the golden days. Back then, when the internet didn’t offer as much free material and models weren't so easy to find, Capier made as much as 130,000 crowns a month ($7,303), more than 10 times as much as he earned as a paramedic. But he was one of the highest earners in the porn business. Most models never dreamed of making more than $2,000 monthly. Still, it was a nice income, often for no more than three actual days of work a month. Those days are over. There is too much competition now.

Some of Capier's fellow models are students, many of whom get used to making a lot of money quickly and then have a hard time quitting. They get used to spending lavishly and buying generous gifts for their girlfriends. Capier says he has seen models quit school because they no longer saw the point.

“Today, they have nothing. They are too old to shoot,” he says. “It’s all gone. The nice hotels, the fans. All gone.”

Most of them end up doing escort work, a polite term for prostitution.

Life with an alter ego

The majority of the Czech gay porn models, especially the occasional models, have regular day jobs and girlfriends. Some are married. There are college and high-school students, bartenders or unemployed. It’s not unusual to see cops, firemen and nurses. They typically keep their porn alter-egos secret.

Producers pledge confidentiality to the young Czech men cast in the movies, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide their real identities online.

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