The Sensual Sighs of Sully Savage

Sully Savage, photographed by Gram Ponante
Sully Savage, photographed by Gram Ponante
Sully Savage photographed by Gram Ponante

We’re waiting for the talent to show up, and Ivan, one of Porn Valley’s beloved directors, is only a little worried.

Ivan, photographed by Gram Ponante

“You can tell by the oattern of texting when someone is gonna flake,” he says. Today’s talent is Sully Savage, who shows up right on time, but still, Ivan is more anxious before call-times these days than he was a few years ago.

“You’ll set up the time and date and location and then, on the day, you’ll start getting these texts,” he says. “They’ll act surprised and go, ‘oh, the studio is where?’ or ‘at what time?’ like you haven’t told them already,” he says. “Camming is killing production.”

Camming has undoubtedly empowered and enriched women who are comfortable getting naked on camera, but Ivan says it is at the expense of traditional porn video companies.

“If they can just get on a camera at home, what incentive is there to show up for a shoot they’ve booked?”

“Legacy” cam companies like Flirt4Free have been joined by upstarts like ManyVids, Chaturbate, and MyFreeCams. The latter is a major sponsor of both the 2020 AVN and XBiz Awards.

Ivan estimates that, these days, “30 percent of talent just doesn’t show up (to a traditional porn set).”

Sully Savage and her dog, Atlas, photographed by Gram Ponante

Then Sully Savage walks in, tiny dog in tow. His name is Atlas, and his toenails on the hardwood floor and nervous growls form the ambient soundtrack of the sexual exertions that follow.

Savage, as she will tell you, is a piece of work.

There’s stories of porn performers actively dissociating during scenes. Generally, according to OSHA, if one chooses to leave one’s body, it’s not a positive reflection on the job. One moment she’s “present,” then she’s not. Then there’s Sully Savage, who says she isn’t exiting her body as much as working it in shifts: She has Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder). One moment one of her personalities is there, and then there’s another one in its place.

Sully Savage, Ivan, and Sascha,, photographed by Gram Ponante

“I’ve transitioned during scenes,” she says, describing three distinct personalities—Sully (“my old soul; in control”), Kitten (“scared of things”), and Savage (“an Internet Badass”).

Savage has lived in Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida (where she shot her first scenes), and now resides in Las Vegas. On the flight to L.A., she got to carry Atlas on her lap.

“I’ve always known that I was a witch,” Sully says, after we’d spent a moment talking about non-witchy Lynchburg, VA. “I don’t believe in God. Hail Satan.”

I didn’t see the connection between Lynchburg and witches (aside from our tendency to occasionally lynch people we think are witches), so I ask Sully if she just transitioned.

She sighs, and says, “No, my voice changes and my eyes change color when that happens.”

Sully Savage, Ivan, and Sascha,, photographed by Gram Ponante

You’d think that having sex with a woman possessed of DID would be like a gangbang in one, and perhaps you’d feel inadequate because there aren’t multiple versions of you. But I am meeting Ms. Savage in the studio of Alt Erotic, which also houses a tattoo parlor, and is owned by Sascha, Germany-born and the most tattooed dude in porn, and I feel like this place, of any place, is multiple personality-friendly.

Sascha is one of the adult industry’s more enterprising people in a business that is especially dependent on enterprising people. In addition to working as a performer, he has owned several studios around Porn Valley that he has used to shoot his own movies and that he has also rented to other production companies. I’ve been to the sets of a few dozen flicks shot at one of Sascha’s locations, including the movie that began a mini-boomlet of films starring Lisa Ann as Sarah Palin, 2008’s “Who’s Naylin’ Paylin?”,

(Lisa Ann’s character was originally listed as “Serra Paylin” to avoid the litigious wrath of the Republican National Committee. She rode this resemblance to greater fame than she’d ever achieved in in her then-dozen-year-career, appearing as the Porn Palin in an Eminem video.)

Having a dog myself, I understand Sully’s desire to take Atlas everywhere. But this is the first time I’ve seen a dog on a porn set and I wonder if, like my dog is wont to do when I have someone over, Atlas will try to cockblock Sully. We’ll see.

Sully Savage and Sascha,, photographed by Gram Ponante

Today’s budget is a mid-tier one for porn. One step higher and there is a small crew, craft services, and a rented house. One step lower and it is what your uncle does on Craigslist. That is why the margins are so low in porn and why people like Sascha need to be especially crafty and to work all the time. In the next room is a bank of computers and a part-time site developer/video editor. This guy is part of Porn Valley’s unheralded Webmaster Class, usually heavier-set, amiable and bespectacled dudes with goatees. I’ve never stopped being impressed by and trying to quantify the special personality types that coalesce on a porn set to provide a safe environment in which people perform intimate, strenuous, and often wacky acts on each other while everyone else stands around clothed and filming, typing, or taking lunch orders.

Sully Savage, photographed by Gram Ponante

Finally, wielding the camera and directing the scene is Ivan. Ivan dresses like a hockey-playing polar bear who pimps on the side. His scenes and movies are delightful and ridiculous, featuring women best described as “game.” Examples from either end of his career include “Texas’s Asshole Massacre,” starring Kami Andrews, and 2019’s “Ho Hunters,” which is up for several AVN awards, in which Ivan and his team search for spectral Hos (spoiler alert: they find some spectral HOs).

Savage, Sascha, Ivan, and I crowd into a room with a tattoo chair. I call it a tattoo chair but it could be a barber’s chair or a dentist’s chair. We take some provocative shots of Sully, then we take some of Sascha and Sully as if they’ve just engaged in the Blessed Marital Act to completion. This is done with some Lubriderm. The reason a fake ending is shot before the real ending is because the real ending will be sweatier and messier, and what if Sascha intends to ejaculate on Sully’s face but instead it glances off her forehead and flies into infinity? Thus, Lubriderm or some similar product is used to simulate Sascha’s essential fluid, and is dolloped liberally on Sully, then wiped off before they actually have sex.

“I love girls with tattoos, ” Ivan is saying. “They’re so expressive. Five blonde chicks with big tits are replaceable.”

Ivan does most of the filming but for one shot, later, Sascha grabs the camera himself to get a critical angle that it would be indelicate for anyone else to film.

Being a porn cameraman/director (budgets are such that it’s often one person doing both jobs) is an occupation that requires intimacy and familiarity. Ivan tells me the story of when he had to hold the tip(s) of Sascha’s tongue apart when the latter got his bifurcated.

“It was gross,” Ivan says of the procedure. “I could see the muscle. It was vibrating.” Despite literally possessing a forked tongue, Sascha seems straightforward and clear to me.

The scene as it progresses is nothing new. If I were to write the logline and pitch the idea to Hollywood producers, I would say, holding my hands apart like bookended letters L: “OK, are you ready? Tattooed Girl Gets Fucked on I Think A Barber’s Chair by Guy with Forked Tongue.” The Hollywood execs would then give me lots of money.

But what makes the scene kind of mesmerizing is the occasional sigh piping out of Sully. In our conversation she has sighed several times and I don’t know if it is world-weariness or annoyance with me orpleasure. I can’t tell because they don’t sound as if they are instigated by anything.

She later tells me it’s asthma.

I have to tell you that I have never found respiratory complications to be so powerful and charming and discombobulating as I have today, because these sighs happen at different times during the day while Sully is in varying states of undress. It seems like foreplay.

Sully tells me that she wants to get a black light tattoo on her clit “for men who can’t find it.” I spend a lot of time looking at her from different angles to see how the tattoos relate and intermingle, and keep coming back to the idea of Pain. I know it’s a rookie question, and so many of my friends and neighbors have tattoos, but I have to ask Sully if it hurts.

“Well, I won’t do multi-day tattoos because I worry that I might not go back,” she says. “But if I’m in the chair for eight hours, I’m committed. Sometimes the tattoo artist taps out.”

I think about how tattoos are permanent but they are also such a marker of change, and transition. And I like the way serious ink people mark the passage of time by documenting their own bodies. I have the same feeling about tattoos as I do about heroin: I worry that if I start, I’ll like it too much to stop, so I haven’t done either.

Ja,” Sascha says when I tell him this. Sascha is open about being a recovering alcoholic. “First you start by bleaching your hair, and you finish with amputation.”

Oddly enough, shortly after filming this scene, Ivan has a diabetic attack that lands him in the hospital. He almost gets a toe amputated. “I am the Viking King!” he exclaims in his many recovery videos.

Today is my first day on a porn set in several years. I like the camaraderie, the work that is also not work that is also hard work, the sense of not having to explain everything, and the open communication. I don’t pay too much attention to what seems like a running theme of permanence and change until I think about it later.

I ask Sully how public she is about her special dissociative quality.

“I’m very public about it,” she says. “If people are curious, they have someone to talk to. Sometimes several people.”

See also: Alt Erotic
@sullyfuknsavage on Instagram

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Nailin’ Paylin for America

About Gram the Man 4399 Articles
Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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