“I went from having a ‘respectable’ job to doing sex work and I’m happier now”
Working with cancer patients has changed how AXELL OLIVEIRA sees life. “I want to spend my time making real connections.”
Words by Caspar Pisters, all pictures courtesy of Axell Oliveira
“Working in porn can mess with your head a lot. You have these big exchanges of energy with people you often don’t really know, you never know how it will turn out. I don’t always feel the connection, I’m not always comfortable. For quite some time I wondered how I was going to cope mentally, and if I would actually be able to do this work and save up some money to live a more comfortable life.
Having my husband by my side helps a lot. I was already doing porn when I met him, 1,5 years ago now. With him, I can share everything that happens to me in a day, the good and the bad experiences. He doesn’t judge me and he understands that what I do is work. It really helps to balance me out, I feel more comfortable now, and safe.
I’ve always been very sexual and curious about sex. I kissed a guy for the first time at age 11, he was 14. I had seen in porn that sex starts with kissing, so in my mind, to have sex I needed to be a good kisser first, I had to start practicing, haha.
“While judging a guy for doing porn, you are clicking on his video to jerk off to it. That doesn’t make sense to me at all.”
I started doing porn almost 1,5 years ago because I was completely broke during the pandemic. Throughout the years I consumed a lot of porn, you could say I’m an enthusiast, haha. I always enjoyed filming myself having sex. I talked to some friends who were already in porn. First I did some videos without face. When I realized I can make good money with it, I started doing it full-time.
Before porn, I worked in healthcare with cancer patients, a very serious job. Apart from the salary and benefits, I didn’t like it at all. I was the only person of color in a team of thirty persons. The main focus of the organization was not on people but on numbers and money. I felt I didn’t belong there, at all.
But working with cancer patients has changed how I see the world. I saw that people are so fragile, no matter the money you have, no matter where you live or come from. We are all just people and life is so short, you better spend it living.
“My husband is fine with me doing porn. Probably he’s going to be jealous sometimes, but it’s okay.”
So, yes, I went from having a ‘respectable’ job to doing sex work. I believe the social consensus about sex workers comes from people not being honest with themselves. Because at the same time you are judging a guy for doing porn, you are clicking on his video to jerk off to it. That doesn’t make any sense to me at all.
Now that I do porn, I feel so much happier, I have the power to choose my options. It was a thing that happened naturally in my life. I was already very connected to the nights of my city, I did drag for some three or four years. The way I see it, every time you work with your image, if you do it well, it is an introduction to new connections. Doing drag I met a lot of people that like my work, and they stayed around, looking into my life through social media. It gave me a base when I uploaded my first videos on OnlyFans.
I met my husband on Grindr. It took us almost four months to meet up – I’m a very bad person to date, haha. At some point, he said: ‘If you’re not going to come today, you don’t need to come anymore because I’m tired of waiting for you baby’.
“Dealing with anxiety and depression since I was 11 years old has been the battle of my life.”
So I went. We had great sex, we listened to music, we ate together. After this, I saw him every day for four months. In the fifth month, I told him about my work. It wasn’t a problem at all, he sees it as any work in the world. Probably he’s going to be jealous sometimes, but it’s okay. So we started dating and now we’re here.
He’s a very young guy, 19 years old, but we have a cool relationship. From all the partners I had, with him, it’s the clearest and most natural. We are one hundred percent open. We have sex with other guys together and alone, our communication about these things is easygoing. We give each other space to be individuals, and we are great friends before we are a couple. I’m truly happy to be with him.
I have suffered from anxiety and depression since I was 11 years old. Dealing with those things was the battle of my life. As you can see I’m a very talkable person, I’m always happy to connect with others, so a lot of people don’t get that I have these problems. My big smile is one of my biggest saboteurs. And I think that it’s here where the most precious part of my relationship comes in because my boyfriend has anxiety and depression problems too. We are always very supportive of each other, besides therapy and everything else that it involves. When we’re not feeling good, we don’t have to pretend otherwise. We are here for each other. Life is not happy all the time, and we need to deal with this in the best way possible.
“I make my work about connecting. If you don’t really see and listen to the people you meet, you’re just passing through them.”
I tried to kill myself four times, the first time when I was 12 years old, the last time at 20 years old. It started when my parents divorced, I felt completely lost. It was a new feeling that I didn’t know how to deal with. Right now I’m in kind of a good place, but crisis feels close by always. There are days in which I cry a lot and do not do my work.
But I’m sort of stable now. I have my husband, a wonderful network of friends, I enjoy my work, the relationship with my family is great nowadays. I do therapy still but I don’t use pills anymore. After all those years I have a routine of mental exercises that help me to not go into these dark places too easily.
Looking back, I can see that I was simply not comfortable with myself. I wasn’t happy with the people I was living with, with who my friends were, with my job. And how could I be, because I was not happy with me. At all. It wasn’t the world that was the problem, it was me. Right now I’m a good person to myself, and to everyone else around me. And because of that everything that I do is more easy now.
I really, really, really take the freedom that my job gives me to make connections. Because if you don’t, you don’t really see and listen to the people you meet, you’re just passing through them. I want to know more, see more, be more. I needed the good and the bad in my life to understand who I can be in the future. In the coming years, I hope to make some money to live comfortably, be a better guy for me and for the world, and try and give back in a cool way.”