Typically, when we hear about an adult performer crossing over, it’s them trying to break into the mainstream entertainment industry. Bradley Hamilton’s career has taken the opposite trajectory, however. Last year, he quit his budding career as a traditional actor to embrace life as a porn entrepreneur. Hamilton created an account on OnlyFans, the porn-centric subscription platform, and committed himself to it full-time.
The decision has paid off handsomely. Hamilton, who performs under the nom de plume The Flesh Mechanic, has quickly become one of the most successful performers, of any gender, on a platform dominated by women. It’s rare to be a male porn performer whose fan base is primarily female; Hamilton estimates that 60% of his patrons are women.
Why would someone would give up a “legitimate” acting career for a more taboo type of performing? To understand how and why Hamilton made the jump, Esquire interviewed him for our latest installment in The Secret Lives of Men.
Bradley “The Flesh Mechanic” Hamilton, 30, Ottawa
My friends always laugh at me. They say, “It’s usually the failed actors who go into porn. You were doing well. Why’d you do it?”
I wasn’t overly sexual as a child. My first time watching porn was when I was 11. My friend knew the password to get porn on his TV. He put it on and there were two people having sex on a Harley-Davidson. I was floored. I can’t believe I’m watching two people do this. I wasn’t fixated on it, though. If anything, it made me uncomfortable. I lost my virginity when I was 14 and dated that girl for the next three years.
When I was 22, I got a growth spurt and that’s when everything changed. I got a lot taller, my body filled out, I got my teeth fixed. Women started asking me to hang out and things got crazy. Sleeping with women became my hobby. I didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t do drugs, didn’t party in any way. (Still don’t.) My thing was girls. I was having sex every day. Sex was my whole life. All day, every day, I’d be thinking who’s the next girl and where is she coming from. It hurt my friendships. Guys stopped inviting me to parties because they knew I would show up and flirt with every girl there.
I recognized it as an addiction early on. My mother went to Alcoholics Anonymous my entire life, so I knew about the traits of addiction and how it ruined people’s lives. My mom decided to stop drinking after crashing her car with me and my brother riding in it. After that, she never drank again.
Hamilton started out modeling. As an actor, he landed roles in everything from Netflix films to Christmas movies.
Siren ObscuraThat’s why I avoided drinking, but I couldn’t say no to sex. I would find myself having sex with people even though I knew there would be negative repercussions. I would sleep with a girl even though I knew her older brother or that she was in a relationship. I would sleep with the Airbnb host even though I knew the downstairs neighbor would hear us. The release was more valuable than the potential drama that would come from it. I would rationalize my behavior. Well, I didn’t sleep with anyone for a week, so I can’t be that bad. The fact I even had that thought is proof of a deeper issue.
I went to college to study business management and entrepreneurship, but I dropped out after a year. The teaching was too inside the box. Entrepreneurship is the opposite. There was zero purpose for me there, so I quit.
That’s when I started modeling. My friend submitted my photos to an agency in 2015 and they signed me. After that, I submitted myself to an acting agency and got signed there, too. I started booking all kinds of work. I did Netflix films, Amazon Prime series, Christmas movies, kids TV shows, commercials. You name it.
In April 2020, one of my fuck buddies asked if I would make an OnlyFans video with her. We used to film ourselves having sex. She told me the audience would never see my face, she would shoot me only from the waist down, so I would be anonymous. (It’s called stunt-cocking.) I said, “Fuck it, let’s do it.” We made $2,000 in 36 minutes from that one video. I thought it would take us a month to make that much. It became our lives overnight. It was the beginning of Covid, so being at home and having sex on camera was pretty easy.
I did that for three years. It was nice because I was able to learn about the industry without having to be publicly in it. My main partner started recommending me to other OnlyFans performers. I would literally go to a shoot for a children’s show on Netflix and next day shoot a gang bang.
My thing was girls. I was having sex every day. Sex was my whole life. My shooting partners would ask, “Why don’t you show who you are?” I would tell them because my other career is not super accepting of porn.
It got to the point where the money in OnlyFans was so good — I was making more than $200,000 a year stunt-cocking — that I decided I’m gonna go for it and make my own page. I wanted a thing of my own, to have control. Acting, the normal kind, started to feel like a job. I was sick of doing Christmas movies and projects I wasn’t excited about. That was seven months ago and it’s been a fantastic decision.
OnlyFans has given me a healthier grasp on my sex life. Making sex my career has calmed me down a lot because I have to be more responsible about my sexual health and my reputation. Porn is a small industry; if you’re rude or not on good behavior, people are going to hear about it. I can’t put my body at risk or put myself in bad situations. I can turn down sex now. I don’t spend all my time approaching women at bars or trying to find a girl off Bumble, which I used to do 24/7. I was never able to relax and enjoy myself.
Hamilton was already making more than $200,000 a year “stunt-cocking” on OnlyFans before he decided to launch his own page.
House of DebaucheryFrom therapy, I’ve learned my addiction was due to the lack of attention I received as a child. My dad left after my mom stopped drinking because he realized he couldn’t run around on her all the time if she was sober. My mother worked full-time for us to survive, so we had a lot of freedom. She gave us guidelines — respect, love, courtesy, decency — but she never said, “Do this, don’t do that.” It was more like, “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you.” Nobody ever barked in my ear growing up and told me how to live.
Being intimate with a woman was the only time I ever felt loved. I worked so hard on being good at sex so those women would be obsessed with having sex with me. Half of those girls never had any interest in me as a person, but I loved the fact they wanted me physically.
The solution for me is to be aware. As long as I’m mindful about what I’m doing, I’m okay. Even if I have four shoots in a day, I can take that one moment to check in with myself, to remind myself this is work and not purely pleasure-seeking behavior.
Because I was a film and television actor before I started doing this, I don’t really have the option to stay anonymous. I’m kind of screwed on that one. Sometimes, I think about getting an acting agent again and seeing who’s interested in me, but I have zero aspirations for fame and fortune.
I have absolutely everything I could ever need on the planet. I grew up super poor, so being able to afford to fly wherever and whenever I want is amazing. If my life stays exactly the way it is until the day I die, I will be a happy man.
John McDermott is a writer in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to Esquire. You can follow him on Twitter at @mcdermott