Austin Wolf has an exit plan, but he won’t give me many details. “I’m superstitious like that. I like what I’m doing at the moment. I think I’ll give it at least a three-year try and I’m about a year and a half in.” Charming, kind and surprisingly down-to-Earth despite his 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound, Herculean stature, Randy Blue’s favorite top and multiple award-winning escort is filled with insight into what brought him to the place he’s currently at, what his circumstances say about him, and the realities of a long-lasting future in a fickle business.
But Austin’s wisdom didn’t come without a cost. After bulking up and having his good looks set in around age 27, guys soon started throwing themselves at him and he developed a serious sex addiction which cost him a relationship and many friends. “Life has a way of happening whether you want it to or not. There’s nothing you can do to stop, there’s nothing you can do to speed it up. All you do is keep your side of the street clean and everything kind of happens,” he says, reciting a key lesson he learned from years of therapy and treatment. Over dinner the first of three he’s scheduled to eat tonight we talk at length about the unusual childhood moments that made him a better escort, why sex work doesn’t pose a threat to his sex addiction issues, his relationship with porn star Tyler Wolf, and that oft-commented-upon belly-button tattoo.
Adam: Do you interact with other porn stars a lot?
Austin: No. I’m not very good with making friends. My definition of friends is a little different than most people in this business carry around. I’ve only got like four that live in the city. I’ve got more that live in L.A. Some in Chicago. But only really four here.
Why do you think that is?
For me New York is a fickle place. Everybody just wants something. It’s hard to find someone to trust here.Do people just want sex from you?
Not always. A lot of the time yeah. But I mean, that just means hopefully I’m doing a good job. Now it’s like they’re supposed to want that now. But water does seek its own level a little bit. I think all of my friends right now have done this kind of work at some point in their lives. At some point they evolved, so they get it. We’re all just as crazy as each other.
You don’t seem like a crazy porn star type. You actually strike me as very level headed and down to earth.
I don’t like attention. It’s the downside of the business to me. And generally I feel like most kids do this on the basis of getting that attention, and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that. I mean, when I was younger, yeah, I wanted to be beautiful to get people to look at me too. But I’m handling it okay. I get stopped a lot. People recognize me now. It doesn’t bother me. They’re not obscene or anything bad. They just want a photo or to say hi. I didn’t know how it was going to be. I wondered if they were just going to start grabbing on me. But it might be my size too.
People are intimidated by you. With bigger guys people naturally assume they’re assholes.
Most of us are, actually.
Why is that, the steroids?
No. I think most naturally attractive people are assholes, just because they were never humbled by being too ugly or fat or skinny. You know I didn’t always look like this. I got made fun of in high school a lot. I had glasses and a bad haircut and I was extremely thin growing up.
I’m 6’2″ and so I have the same experience being a skinny very tall person.
Your head looks bigger, your nose looks bigger, your ears stick out. I’ve filled it all in but it used to be really bad. No matter how big I get or how good looking people tell me I am, when I look in the mirror I still see skinny arms, skinny legs.
At what point in childhood were you getting made fun of?
Mostly before puberty. Because my voice was kind of high too. I sounded like a little girl. I think that probably had a lot to do with it. Plus I got so tall so fast at such a young age. So kids just tend to pick on the kid that stands out anyway. So when everybody else is running around at 5’2″, and I’m 6’2″ that kind of was the different. I don’t think that they meant anything by it. I was just the one who got noticed because I was so tall and then of course 2 more inches gradually came after that. By the time I was 13, 14 I was 6’4″ and 135, 155 pounds. Now I’m 245. There’s a hundred-pound difference.That’s extremely skinny. At what point did you start to get bigger?
I started trying almost immediately when I moved here, 21, 22, though I was not successful at all. I think I was just too young and the metabolism was just too high no matter how much I ate, it was never going to do any good, and I refused to do steroids to get bigger. I was pretty afraid of it at that point. The stigma behind steroids was pretty stupid to me. I’d say about 26, 27, it started slowing down a little and I started gradually gaining weight. I moved here at about 155 pounds. I’d say by 27 I might have gotten up to 170, and then 27, 28 it was 190 or so. Other than the abs I built it all from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m genetically gifted. We don’t really get to choose where this weight falls. Your body kind of handles that by itself to a point. Thanks Mom and Dad for that. I gradually got bigger. Luckily it wasn’t all just like, big. I think that’s the reason I kept it up the way I have.
So you start to get bigger and do you have a moment early on where you realized people were treating you totally differently?
I don’t think I necessarily noticed it but I did develop a problem. Because it’s New York City, there’s a lot of boys, and being attractive was not something I was used to. I didn’t handle it very well which was part of the reason my relationship ended, because next thing you know I was sleeping with all these people. And somehow along the way developed a sex addiction, and what happens is whenever you go from being unattractive to not just attractive, but a couple of steps above, at least that’s how you’re being treated. It was so easy, and I identified with getting guys to sleep with me, how many could I get and of course at the time, I didn’t know that this was happening. I eventually did end my relationship and then probably six months after that I was told by my best friend that I had to go to a meeting. He wasn’t giving me a choice and when I went to the meeting I figured out within ten minutes of sitting there that I had been doing some pretty horrible things to the people around me and I didn’t really realize what was going on. So about two years straight, every single day, sometimes two to three times a day, I went to meetings for sex addiction, and then I also saw a therapist to help me figure out why was I doing this. And I did. I figured out that it was my identity. I didn’t know who I was without it. And eventually you figure out that you just don’t need it. As long as you’re not a complete and total asshole you just automatically start realizing that you don’t want to do this. I love my friends as much as I love my family and I realized that I was neglecting them and what they would tell me after the fact is that, “We hated going out with you because as soon as we got out you were just looking for the next piece of whatever. You didn’t hang out with us at all.” I didn’t notice I was doing that. Then when you put yourself in the moment with the people you love, it’s a whole new world. That happened five years ago.
That’s pretty intense. Was there a rock bottom low that you remember?
The day I went to the meeting it was really interesting because people were talking about their individual problems and most people just had a small individual problems like, “I go to video booths,” or “I masturbate too much.” Or “I jump into relationships and it’s all I ever do.” Or –
Yeah. We’re not allowed to say Grindr in the meetings you’re supposed to say “Application on my telephone.”
Because it’s a trigger?
Yeah because what if the guy next to me doesn’t know what Grindr is. Now he’s gonna go home and look it up. You have to be very careful in these meetings. The problem with sex addiction too, is that you can’t stop having sex, you have to find a way to moderate it. With alcohol and drugs you can stop, cold turkey, but this is different. So I sat there and listened to them video booths, masturbation, etc. And I didn’t just have one of their problems, I had all of them. Just because it was being thrown at me from every single direction and I was reaching out and grabbing it. I cried all the way home. It was very upsetting. I called my ex Mickey immediately and apologized, and he’s never once not talked to me. He’s always been my friend. I did lose a couple of people along the way and all you can do is apologize. Write a nice email, send a letter, leave a voicemail, send a text. And after that if they don’t want to read all four of them, they don’t have to. But I’m not going to dwell on that either. That was my rock bottom. After that I put a lot of work into it, and then when I started doing this work I thought it might be a bit of a problem, but you know it’s not, because none of the appointments are about me.
They’re all about someone else.
That’s the whole point. The clients coming to me, 9 times out of 10, most people just want to feel beautiful. They want to feel what I feel every day waking up, for a short period of time. To a point, that’s work. That’s not for my enjoyment. It’s for theirs. So it’s not like, first off, it’s not always sexual, and it’s definitely not like, I have to have it. And then the video stuff is the hardest work there is. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on set. But it’s not the funnest thing to do. People always message me, “It must have been so hot to fuck so and so” and I’m like actually it really wasn’t. If we’d been alone together maybe, but even then, 9 times out of 10 my guys are straight. I’d rather not.
I think that’s an interesting point, but there are people, let’s say, to just play devil’s advocate, like people like our Sword commenters would say, “Well he’s a sex addict, he goes into porn and escorting, he’s delusional.”
I just had an interview done by Rentboy that was posted by Queerty, and some really nasty comments were posted. No matter what I do I’m gonna get nasty comments. Generally they’re going to be coming from people that have never done this. It’s really easy to sit back and say these things when you’ve never done it, and that’s all I would say to anybody that would want to make a comment about me being delusional, do you want to come to an appointment, because I promise you one appointment and you’ll have a whole new outlook on what I do for a living. Sex is the last thing on the plate. I’m not a hooker, I’m an escort. I do a lot of therapy for people. I get at least two first-timers a week. The only reason I do the porn is because it advertises for the other. You don’t make a ton of money being a porn star, I can vouch for that. And again popularity, not exactly my favorite part of this business. But I guess the reason I don’t feel like I’m delusional is that I may have gone through all of those things, but they weren’t in vein. Because practice makes perfect. I had a lot of sex. But you know what? I learned a lot of stuff. And I can do a lot of things that a lot of guys can’t do. My reviews can vouch for that. There’s a lot of knowledge that comes in with hooking up with a lot of people. Am I proud of it? No, definitely not because it was damaging to a lot of other people’s emotions.
But it happened.
It did happen and next thing you know times got tough. When the 2008 crash happened my job tanked a bit and I tried little things here and there, but it wasn’t really cutting it. I had to pay the bills that’s what it came down to. I was not planning on doing this for an extended period of time. I was going to put my ad up for a couple of months to get my bills paid, and then I was going to get another job. That was my reality at the time. I ended up being really, really good at this. I don’t know, if there’s some cynical people that frown upon that too. But just know that if you think anybody could be good at it, take your best shot. This is not a job for everybody. I’m a good listener. I read people. This is the reason I was good at sales before this. I read people very very well. Especially knowing what somebody wants even if they don’t.
Were you always intuitive in that way?
I get it from my father. I watched my dad a lot. He always talked a lot about whether people have their hands in their pockets, are they looking in their pockets, did they meet your eye…
But not about sex work?
Sadly no. But Dad would have been good at it. He was a womanizer, big time.
So sex addiction is an inherited trait?
Definitely get it from him. He’s on wife number seven. He’s a good guy, just a little misunderstood. So he would say, “Handshakes are they flimsy, stiff, strong?” He would talk about stuff like that. He owned businesses and stuff like that. He was like, “I want you to pay attention to things like that.”
Did you tell your parents what you do?
Yes. I told my mother, my sister, and a couple of cousins immediately. I didn’t want anybody else telling them, in the wrong way. You can go and look at that Queerty thing, my very first boyfriend, Gino, from when I was very young and very stupid, who’s just completely fat and disgusting when I’m saying disgusting it’s not because he’s fat it’s just he’s a disgusting person. Bald, hairdresser, he’s just terrible. He made a lot of comments on that site, and he would have been one of those guys who would have sent it all to my mother. The thing about telling anybody you love about something is framing it in the correct way. As long as you do that, you empower them. So now when my ex goes up to my mother and says whatever, she would say, “Yeah and he’s really fucking good at it.” I promise you that’s what she’d say. My mom and family trust me. It’s a lot easier when your son is this big too. She’s knows I’m not ever in any danger. Also my uncle is in the American Karate Hall of Fame. So needless to say…
There’s some kooky characters in the family.
My mom’s nickname was Muscles when she was going up. I went to the same high school. My principal was their power-lifting coach. We grew up kinda rough. Like I may have gotten made fun of but nobody ever wanted to get in a fight with me because they knew who my family was. You learn a lot from an uncle that does all that kind of karate stuff. Mom knows I’ll always be okay, so when she found out about this she definitely had questions because she’s a very curious lady. I tell her about guys all the time. There are certain clients I’ve introduced her to. I get treated extremely well. I have a couple of clients in Dallas I’m from Texas and they took us all out to dinner once.
So I’m picturing a kind of no offense meant a higher class Hatfields and McCoys-ish kind of clan.
No. Very low class. A tad trashy, but
Charming and sweet, and surprisingly smart when you’re not expecting it.
Who was the first guy that you actually had as a client? Do you remember it?
I won’t say his name, but I actually don’t let him hire me any more. He was a top, and I just don’t like that. I don’t like bottoming, I’m much more low-impact if I have to do it. He was very nice, but he wasn’t the one that made me want to stay. Number two made me want to stay. He came to my apartment and was very nervous. I mean, shaking. He was so nervous. He was averagely attractive, I’m not sure if that’s descriptive, but like maybe he wouldn’t have turned your head walking down the street, but if you talked to him for two seconds you would have started to find him sexy. Completely unsure of himself, unaware that he was sexy of course. He wanted to bottom for me, and of course I was kind of into the whole thing. I liked him a lot. And I remember I stood up on the bed and I reached over and I grabbed a condom and he’s lying down in front of me, and as I’m putting the condom on without even touching himself he came, just from kind of looking at me. I don’t believe I’ve ever gotten a better compliment in my entire life. He was so apologetic and embarrassed. I was like “Absolutely not, it’s probably the nicest thing anybody’s ever not said to me.” He was like “Really?” That was a little a-ha moment there.
So it ended up validating your self-image more than what people consider normal just sleeping around?
This doesn’t validate anything, no. It was just a compliment that someone found me that attractive. That’s not just someone saying you’re attractive, it doesn’t get any more real than that compliment. None of this validates me. What validates me is my mother, my sister, my best friend that calls me almost every day. If not he texts me. My other friends. My long-term relationships have been 12 years and 2 years. Those are the things that validate me. The people that tell me that no matter what happens, because this life, or Austin Wolf if he were real, his popularity is real short lived. It’s porn. You go up fast and go down even faster. And then through the ground. But a lot of guys sadly we’ve seen them not handle it well. We’ve had a lot of suicides over the past couple of years that have been very sad, and I think that’s large part to do with that. I think we get older and have to come to terms with you know what, none of this is real. I knew that going in. So when it fades away, it’s not going to matter. My friends aren’t going anywhere. My family’s not going anywhere. That’s all I need. I mean that wholeheartedly and truthfully. Those people are what tell me that that’s how I know who I am.
Were you having sex when you were a teenager in Texas?
With girls. A whole lot of girls. Sadly never got anybody pregnant. I guess that’s only sadly now. I felt lucky back then.
You would like a kid?
Yeah. I mean I would and I wouldn’t. Mainly because I wouldn’t want to subject them to my lifestyle. My family’s extremely important to me, and to be able to give those people to someone else would be a goal well met. My mother would be very happy to have a grandchild.
When was the first time you were with a guy?
First real time, I was 16 and he was 16, and he was my stepsister’s boyfriend at the time. Who is now her husband. They’ve got like two or three kids.
It’s okay for us to publish that?
I don’t like her very much. I’ve never told her, but it’s a great way to tell her. She’s not actually my stepsister anymore. My dad’s got a new wife now. They were 16 so they weren’t allowed to sleep in the same bed together so he had to sleep on the sleeper sofa with me. And it’s like anybody who’s ever had a buddy sleepover we all remember this. This slow all night creeping towards each other, where your heart is pounding so hard, you’ve probably lost 18 pounds by the end of the night. Right as the sun comes up that’s when it happens. We fooled around and it was the first time I had ever been with a guy. It was intense. I remember that one pretty clearly.
Did you continue to sleep with him or hook up with him?
Once more after that. He initiated it actually, not me. That was it. He was so much cuter back then. Now he’s not so cute. He was a baseball player.
Have you had sex with famous movie stars?
Yeah. A lot of A- and B-listers sure. It’s not as exciting as you think it is. I haven’t gotten Brad Pitt or any of the good ones. Also, not all of my celebrities have been men. That’s something that I’m able to do that others are not able to do.
So you get a lot of female celebrities?
I get a lot of women in general. I get a lot of couples. Most of the time the men just want to see the wives getting fucked. Which I get because it turns me on to see my boyfriend getting fucked. It’s a turn-on. So it’s something I understand. And it’s always a short appointment because as soon as he sees it and it’s not just that but a guy like me fucking your wife, a younger more attractive guy, I’m sure that’s gotta be totally hot for him. Because most of these people are fairly average and normal. Living in Connecticut with three kids. They come into New York and spice up their love life.
Let’s talk about you and Tyler? How’s things going with you guys?
We’re good. Same old. It is what it is. It’s never overly easy when one is more popular than the other. But I think that’s the same with any job. If we were Broadway actors and I got the big job and he was a chorus boy, it would be the same problem. It’s nothing to do with porn. There’s just a lot more people with his height, his weight out there. Most guys in the industry are his size. There aren’t many guys my size. This is what my friends and coworkers have told. I’m not better at stuff than him. He’s very sexy, but the market is just oversaturated. He’s with Randy Blue now and very happy about it.
Did you worry about when you got together, how you would suddenly become this other entity the porn power couple? I would be worried to lose my identity…
Well, his outlook on things is a little different than mine and you know he likes some of that stuff that goes on that I don’t even know about. I didn’t think about it then, and I certainly didn’t think about it after. Listen, I’ll tell you straight up, if we do break up it’s never gonna be because of the business. We have normal problems. He’s also very family oriented as well, he’s got an amazing family. He’s very down to earth, very sweet, a lot of great morals. Overall, a really really good person. We’re not what everybody thinks we are.
You seem like you’re in such a different place in your life as I am. In a good way.
In what way?
You seem like your future is much more certain.
No, I have no idea what’s going to happen. No matter whether Tyler leaves me tomorrow or not, I’m never alone. I have really good friends and family. I’m pretty sure about certain things. Career-wise, not so much. Just because this is a very shifty business. I do by the way, go to Los Angeles on Wednesday to shoot a scene with Randy Blue.
One last question, tell me about when you decided to get that tattoo on your belly button?
It was to piss my mother off. I was dating the guy Gino that made all those horrible comments on the Queerty article. I knew I wanted a tattoo and of course she was against it mostly because she hated Gino, which makes sense because he was awful. But yeah it was to piss my mother off.
Do you like it or regret it?
I regret it. But getting it removed just puts a scar there, and I never openly get negative comments. Every once in a while you hear a guy being like, “It’s not my favorite.” But nobody ever tells me it’s ugly. And now it’s become a kind of defining trademark, almost. I could almost use it on a t-shirt at this point.
That would be great, make a t-shirt with it right around where the belly button would be, around a fake belly button. A flesh colored t-shirt, with nipples.
My body in there!
We’re gonna make that.
We’re gonna make a lot of money off it. But yeah, that’s what the story is. Nobody ever asks about that tattoo. They always ask about the other ones, but nobody asks about that one.
Adam Baran is a filmmaker, blogger, former online editor of Butt Magazine and co-curator of Queer/Art/Film. His short film JACKPOT, about a porn-hunting gay teen, won Best Short Film at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was recently featured on The Huffington Post, Queerty, and Towleroad, among others. He is a features programmer at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival and NewFest in New York. In his spare time, he complains about things to his friends. “Fisting for Compliments”, his weekly musings about the intersection of sex, art, porn, and history, will appear every Monday on TheSword. You can contact him at Adam@TheSword.com and follow him on Twitter at @ABaran999. Check out his previous columns in the Fisting For Compliments Archive.