Why Porn Performer Asa Akira Isn’t Sure She Wants To Be A Mother

Photo: Courtesy of Cleis Press.
The following is an excerpt from Asa Akira's recently released memoir Dirty Thirty.

Another year of wasted eggs because I chose to whore instead.

“Do you wanna hold him?” I did. I wanted to hold him and squeeze him and kiss his tiny peanut forehead and pretend it was I who had given birth. I wanted to softly swing him side to side in my arms, like I had done as a child with my Cabbage Patch dolls. I wanted to put my nipple in his mouth and see if he would latch on with his perfect little lips, as he looked up at me, silently thanking me with his eyes for giving him life, love, and food. But I was scared. The reality was that I had never held a baby. It looked easy enough, until I had the opportunity to do it. Maya must have seen the nerves on my face. “Just hold him. You’re not gonna drop him.” Smiling, she held him out to me, one hand under his head, the other under his body. I positioned my arms into a cradle and thought how bizarre this moment was. At 27, Maya was my first friend to pass on an abortion. It seemed that while the rest of the country had been starting families and getting fat for the last half decade, the two coasts were busy making careers, experimenting with drugs and online dating, not yet ready to stop being selfish. When she first told me on the phone she was pregnant, my response had been not congratulatory excitement, but sympathetic apology. “Oh shit, that sucks. I’m so sorry. Do you know whose it is? How far along are you? Do you feel like shit?” “This Brazilian guy I met in Japan. It’s been three months. I’m throwing up everyday.” It wasn’t until I asked if she needed a recommendation for a clinic that I realized she was planning on keeping it. I flew back to New York and saw Maya a few times throughout her pregnancy. We had known each other since we were two years old, when our mothers enrolled us in a Saturday Japanese School in order for us to have some sense of our culture. Both of us being only children of Japanese immigrants in New York City, we saw each other more as family than friends, and we often pretended to strangers that we were twins. To this day I refer to her as my cousin, and her parents are my auntie and uncle. As I saw her belly grow with each trip to the city, I couldn’t quite believe she was going to be a mother. I was ready for her to give up at any second, go in for a late-term abortion, or maybe even reveal it had all been a joke—anything would be more believable than Maya having a baby. Even as I touched her stomach and felt the little legs kicking against my hand, I didn’t think this thing in her stomach would ever become an actual being. This was a girl I had done drugs with since age 13. We had shoplifted together. We had snuck out of our houses and gone boy-hunting at 3 a.m. together. We had spent hours constructing elaborate lies to tell our parents. And now — now, she was going to be a parent. This kid’s first word was going to be “fuck.” As a child, I was extremely drawn to pregnancy: my preschool teacher, Maria from “Sesame Street,” that girl from “Degrassi Junior High.” In kindergarten, my friend Sally had a photo on her fridge of when her mother was pregnant with her. I used to stare at that photo whenever I went over for a play date, using any excuse I could to go to the kitchen once more. I’d trace my fingers over the bump, and when I got home, I would go to my room and touch myself, imagining her announcing to me over and over, “I’m pregnant.” I don’t know where the fascination came from, or why it made me horny. At the time, I didn’t identify the feeling, or even masturbating, as sexual — but looking back, it was definitely horniness I was feeling. I had not yet learned how babies were made, but maybe it’s the kind of knowledge that’s ingrained in us on some sort of a primal level — at least, this is what I’ve told myself to make it less weird. Even now, nothing turns me on more than when Toni cums inside of me. When he starts picking up the pace, and makes that face he only does when he’s about to cum, it makes me orgasm instantly. “Cum inside me, make me pregnant!” I’ll yell, right before we orgasm at the same time, which is ridiculous, considering I’ve been on birth control since I was 15. Aside from getting cream-pied, though, I hadn’t given pregnancy much thought as an adult. So when Maya got knocked up, my questions were more scientific. “Are you afraid you’ll get fat?” She’d shrug and answer, “I haven’t even had time to think about it.” As shocking as the reply was, I believed it.

I flew home to L.A. sure I would never bear a child. It was too late for me.

Her answer remained the same once Kai was born. “Honestly I don’t even care. My whole life is different now — it revolves around him,” she’d tell me on the phone. I was desperately jealous. A life without the fear of weight gain was unfathomable to me. I wanted to feel that — I wanted to know what it was to have something so important that it didn’t even matter if I got fat. “Maybe I should have a baby,” I’d think as I hung up. Then I’d drive to my set for the day — a double penetration scene — and imagine myself going home later that evening with cum in my hair from two men who were not my husband, who were not the father of my imaginary baby. I’d decide I was not yet ready. “See? You’re fine!” Maya encouragingly smiled, patting Kai’s head as I held him. He was heavier than I had anticipated — probably because Maya had insisted how light he would be for my Barry’s bootcamp-trained arms. I sat frozen, scared to stand, move, or even breathe. I wondered if it was possible that I looked at all natural holding this little person in my arms. “Where’s your phone? I gotta take a picture of this,” Maya clapped her hands together. “Over there,” I nodded toward my purse. As Maya took the photo of us, I felt guilt hit me the way an ecstasy tab does — inching closer and closer, so slowly you weren’t sure if you were just imagining it — until it finally just encompassed you in an undeniable way. I didn’t deserve to be in this photo. I didn’t deserve to hold this little human. Only three days ago, I had been sitting in something called a blowjob cage. What if Kai looked back on this picture one day and felt disgust? What if someone found this photo and thought it was part of a porno? What if this kid grew up to be a politician? If this picture surfaced, his chances would be over. I let Maya take the photo on my phone, but swore to myself I would delete it as soon as I left. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching Maya be a mother. Kai would go in and out of naps as she folded his tiny little laundry, breastfed him, and burped him afterward. She looked so natural, as if she were a whole new person — she was so good at being a mother. Not for one moment did she look how I felt when I had held Kai. I tried to imagine myself doing the same things. There were moments I could, but there were more moments I could not. I flew home to L.A. sure I would never bear a child. It was too late for me. I had done too much. Not only had I fucked too many people, but too many people had seen me fucking too many people. It wasn’t something I regretted — but I supposed this is what they meant when they said you couldn’t have it all. It saddened me. The same way I knew if I had never done porn, I would’ve forever looked back and regretted it, I knew that if I never had a child, I wouldn’t feel fulfilled in life. I pulled out my phone and looked at the photo of me and Kai. As my finger hovered over the “delete” button, another feeling hit me like an ecstasy tab — only this time, the feeling was hope. I let my finger back away, so slowly I wasn’t even sure if it was moving. Finally, I told myself I didn’t have to delete the picture right away — I could keep it for myself for now and make that decision later.

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