What This Professional Porn "Villain" Can Teach Us About Sex and Consent

What This Professional Porn "Villain" Can Teach Us About Sex and Consent
Source: BBJ
Source: BBJ

A long-haired man in a well-worn leather jacket peeps through a woman's curtains. He leers beneath the brim of his dirty trucker hat as she undresses, unaware she's being watched. After a few moments, he slinks through the window, knife held between his teeth. At the last possible moment, she catches his reflection in a mirror. She starts to scream, but it's too late. His hands close around her throat.

Welcome to the world of Tim Woodman.

Woodman with Tia Cyrus.
Source: ProVillain

Woodman, the man with the stringy, unwashed hair, is an experienced dominant who specializes in hardcore sex scenes that showcase abduction, forced orgasms, molestation and perhaps most controversially, staged rape. He's known as a "professional villain" in porn.

With titles ranging from "Kiki D'Aire Humiliated" to "Dixie Comet and Star Stabbed!," Woodman's content (link extremely NSFW) usually features him dominating women, often in a highly intense, taboo way. His content is unusual and extreme, even within the context of hardcore porn. And in a world where even professional sex performers may struggle with maintaining boundaries, as the recent sexual assault allegations against performer James Deen indicate, Woodman's work becomes all that much more controversial.  

Yet in many ways, Woodman is a laid-back, West Coast-bred average Joe. He was a music theory major in college and played lead guitar in a few heavy metal bands before entering the industry. He drives a '97 Pontiac Firebird and has an abiding interest in astronomy. He's also deeply in love with a woman he calls "my Sweetie." (The two are in an open relationship, and recently celebrated 20 years together.)

Woodman got into professional porn villainy completely by accident, back in 1996, when some model friends randomly invited him to be part of a shoot. "I bought 300 feet of rope on the way home and never looked back," Woodman told Mic.

Soon after, he plugged into the local BDSM community and learned everything he could about rigging, the art of tying and rope restraint. Two decades later, he teaches rope classes at the same club where he first learned how to tie.

According to Woodman, his work is very simple. All he does is play various iterations of a bad guy — no different from what you would see in any other mainstream media narrative. Except because Woodman works in porn, his content taps into secret desires that are generally considered unfit for polite society.

"I play the thug, criminal, monster or whatever — whoever abducts the girl," Woodman explains. "Everybody wants her to be rescued, but first, secretly, they want to see her tied up, stripped and fondled, maybe even tortured or worse. That's where I come in. I'm everybody's inner monster, doing the horrible things they secretly want to so they can enjoy their darkest desires guilt-free."

To play this role on film, "you have to be a special combination of real-life good guy — empathetic and caring — and on-camera demon, one who's capable of despicable, horrible, yet sexy, evil," he added. "I don't know how I ended up with that personality, but I'm sure glad I did."

Dee Severe, the woman behind Severe Sex and Severe Society Films, purveyors of hardcore authentic BDSM content, has directed Woodman in a number of projects, including one where he was a bondage instructor for both beginner and intermediate BDSM practitioners. She said that Woodman is "always in the moment, making sure his partners are having a positive experience. He has a really rare combination of direct communication and instinct."  

"And he's such a nice guy in real life," she added. "But don't tell anyone I said that — it'll damage his Pro Villain reputation."

"I'm everybody's inner monster."

Woodman said his work is akin to being a professional stunts expert, and to a degree he's right. The skill set of a porno villain includes knowing how to safely use ropes and other restraints, as well as whips and other striking implements, without causing harm, as well as how to use sharp and dulled knives, prop guns and various other weapons safely.

Woodman's work also requires a high level of interpersonal skills, such as the capacity to read and respond to a scene partner's particular comfort level. That's important, considering how hardcore the content he shoots is.

"It's actually very demanding work," Woodman asserts, "And it took me years of training to achieve the skill level I have now. This is definitely a 'Don't try this at home, I'm a professional' kind of job."

Chanel Preston, an adult performer who's been featured in nearly 400 porn titles, has worked with Woodman on staged rape scenes multiple times. As she explained it, every time she's shot with Woodman, they've gone through a lengthy process of negotiating the scene beforehand. 

First, they go through what is essentially a series of consent check-ins; then they discuss scene ideas before having a conversation about what she is and isn't comfortable with. For example, once, in a suspension scene where Woodman hogtied Preston and hoisted her up in the air, they had a conversation about restraining her hands behind her back and which types of grips were comfortable for her.

"Sometimes expectations between performers are different initially, so clarity is very important before you begin work together," Preston told Mic. "Also, we communicated what our overall likes and dislikes were so we both could have a good time while working. Even though this is a job, it's possible for both parties to have fun while doing it."

Of course, even though Woodman and his scene partners clearly negotiate their boundaries and establish what is and isn't OK beforehand, it's understandable why the viewer watching at home might believe otherwise. On one hand, a porn film is a highly staged production, making it no different from a new release playing at your local theatre. On the other hand, most people don't know what goes on on set, and if we see something on-screen that's sometimes challenging to process — like, for instance, a staged rape scene — viewers may wonder: How "real," exactly, is it? The fact that Woodman is a man and is often seen dominating women also plays into how many might view content. 

The varying degrees of unease we have with narratives showcasing things like rape and abduction and men dominating women is obvious when we compare Hollywood narratives with Woodman's porn. Consider Fifty Shades of Grey, the erotic BDSM novel that showcased everything from stalking to rough sex and domination. While both the book and film versions enjoyed tremendous mainstream success, it was also subject to backlash and criticism from feminists, who argued that the book's portrayal of a man controlling and dominating a woman was inherently misogynistic — even though it existed purely in the realm of fantasy. 

According to Emily Prior, Executive Director of the Center for Positive Sexuality, rape and abduction fantasies are fairly common among heterosexual women. In fact, Prior told Mic that there have been several studies dating back to the early 1970s that suggest that a sizable percentage of women "have fantasies about being overpowered in a variety of ways. Participant reports change depending on the language used — rape, force, domination/submission, etc — but it still comes down to the same idea."

Contrary to popular belief, Prior told Mic, fantasizing and/or actualizing these sorts of scenarios via consensual role-play isn't "dangerous." In fact, it can be incredibly healthy.  

"There's a lot of support around the idea that fantasizing about things can be quite healthy," Prior said. "Not only does this allow us some creative expression, but it may also help keep us from actually doing harm to ourselves or others."

"People think acting out these fantasies is bad because that's what society says," she added. "There is a lot of rhetoric about not giving into your desires, especially in relation to sex, because somehow this will start you down that 'slippery slope' of deviance. There's really no evidence to support this ... If we can get past that hurdle, acting out our fantasies with a consenting partner in a safe environment can be extremely fulfilling and helpful," she added.

Although the acts depicted in his films are safe and consensual, Woodman struggles to simply make his content accessible to people on the internet. His work challenges informal, long-standing, internal production codes in adult entertainment intended to avoid things like obscenity prosecution and trouble with credit card processing and distribution. Credit card companies and other gatekeepers forbid porn from using things like knives, guns and chloroform in scenes (props included), or even mentioning them in ad copy. 

"I have to do careful workarounds and stay in the shadows to avoid problems and be able to process sales. At the same time I somehow have to let my customers know how to find me," Woodman explains. "It's frustrating sometimes that the taboo of my job creates such challenges. It's totally worth it, but frustrating all the same."

In a world that continues to freak out over sex work, porn and sex that operate outside the margins of conventional acceptability, it's not surprising that Woodman's content is pushing boundaries.

"In real life, these acts would be morbid and unethical. They go against the moral context that we function in daily," Preston explained. "But it's ok to explore outside of this moral context in a safe and consensual way. If fantasies abided by the parameters that we usually function in in everyday life, then there would no point in having fantasies at all."

Though we may know this rationally, the types of fantasies Woodman depicts still strike sharp cords, ones that are tied to ideas of social and sexual propriety, as well as gender.

"Ironically, rape fantasy is one of the most popular fantasies among women all across the planet — but finding a safe way to enjoy it or even admit to it is still very difficult," he said.

"I find myself lying a lot at parties when people ask me what I do for a living," he added with a bit of chagrin.