LOS ANGELES – In a first-person essay published Friday afternoon in the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times, under the subhead “Modern Love,” adult performer Kayden Kross writes at length about her journey from a 21-year-old earning her way through college stripping, to her meteoric rise to the heights of adult entertainment success, to her current life as mother to an infant daughter and fiancée to adult superstar Manuel Ferrara, performing occasionally and only with Ferrara or other women.
Titled, “For Kayden Kross, the Family Business Happens to Be Porn,” the thoughtful piece serves as an explanation of sorts for her decision to settle down with a man she calls “decent” and “charming,” and who pursued her over years, in spite of her existential fear of letting “a relationship derail my contract.” A fear borne out of a childhood spent observing her “mother’s penny-pinching anxiety” after being abandoned by her husband, Kross’ father.
To many, that fact will be all they need to hear about a story that on its face fits the mold of what so many people assume is the common past of adult performers. But Kross’ writing exhibits nary an iota of self-pity, and neither does it read like a plea for understanding. Instead, it reads like a simple love story, a personal tale of a journey by a young woman made of tough stuff, courtesy of her mom, who made mostly the right choices for herself and the people she loves, and continues to do so.
Speaking of the apparent double standard in her relationship that restricts the type of performing she does now with the work Ferrara continues to book, she explains, “Yes, it’s a double standard that Manuel gets to perform with other women while I don’t with other men, just as it’s a double standard that he still works full time while I have cut back. But I am the mother of an infant daughter, and caring for her is my priority right now, just as providing for us as best he can is Manuel’s priority. In the end, our calculation isn’t so different from the choice millions of other working couples face these days.”
She brings similar introspection to explaining how she maneuvers their unconventional relationship. On the one hand, she owns her jealousy. “I’m human,” she writes, “and I admit I size up the women in the makeup chair. Is she sexier than I am? Smarter? Better in bed? No woman can be everything. For example, she can’t be the next woman.
“But here’s the thing,” she adds. “If we lose our lover’s attention to someone else, it doesn’t matter if that erosion happens on a porn shoot, with a secretary at the office or between two academics attending a conference. My sizing up a woman will have zero effect on whether my relationship unravels when I’m not looking. There is simply no way to know.
“The only safeguard, for any of us,” she concludes, “is how we maintain our love along the way and the care we take in choosing a partner in the first place.”