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Facing Stigma with Strength: Ryan Carter On Mental Health and Adult Entertainment

SWCEO Interviews Ryan "RC" Carter

Blog Post Written By: MelRose Michaels

 

How does one navigate the complexities of public perception in an adult space while advocating for mental health? How can adult content shape societal views on empowerment and self-expression?


MelRose Michaels, an independent adult creator and the visionary behind SexWorkCEO, sat down with Ryan Carter in a recent Twitter Space to discuss the intersections of identity, profession, and societal impact. The following blog is an excerpt from that interview.


Ryan Carter is an adult industry performer and licensed mental health professional. He quickly rose to prominence through the fan pages as part of the muscle daddy duo “RCandDigger” with his husband, Digger. He has performed in over 400 videos as both a top and bottom. Ryan has done studio movies for Icon Men, Bareback That Hole, Falcon, Treasure Island Media, and Raw Fuck Club. He has also been nominated for multiple adult entertainment awards. In addition to being an adult performer, Ryan has a private psychotherapy practice in LA where he specializes in sex & relationships and trauma and addictions.



MelRose Michaels: Ryan, your career spans being a celebrated adult performer and a dedicated mental health specialist. How do you navigate these complexities?


Ryan Carter: Navigating these roles involves a lot of self-awareness and transparency. I focus on the empowerment aspects and how my visibility in the adult industry and my professional practice in mental health can help positively shift public perceptions.


MelRose Michaels: Speaking of empowerment, how can adult content influence societal views on empowerment and self-expression?


Ryan Carter: Adult content has a significant role in shaping societal views. It not only provides a platform for diverse expressions of sexuality but also challenges and expands the norms around sexual identity, which is empowering for many people who feel marginalized or unrepresented.


MelRose Michaels: You have a unique background and story. Can you share with our listeners how your journey began and what led you to become a licensed mental health professional?


Ryan Carter: Absolutely, it’s quite a story. In my twenties, I was a musician, deeply involved in the party scene, which was fun but also chaotic. As I approached 30, I realized I needed a change. I got sober, and that sobriety helped me rethink my path. I found a connection between music and therapy—both are about connection. That realization led me to pursue a master’s in clinical psychology, focusing on addiction, sex, and relationships.


MelRose Michaels: And how did that transition into working in the adult industry?


Ryan Carter: My entry into the adult industry was almost as introspective as my professional shift. After my divorce, I embraced a more adventurous approach to my sexuality, which coincided with the rise of fan platforms. My husband, Digger, and I started creating content that truly resonated with people, and it just grew from there.


MelRose Michaels: Ryan, considering our diverse audience at Sex Work CEO, some of whom are gay male creators, could you share some specific strategies or approaches that have worked for you?


Ryan Carter: I’d be happy to. For gay male creators, and really for anyone in this industry, authenticity has been the cornerstone of our success. When Digger and I began, we started filming what we enjoyed—authentic and real interactions that reflected our lives and interests. This authenticity resonates with viewers. It creates a genuine connection, which is incredibly important in such a personal industry.


We found that consistency was just as crucial. We didn’t just post sporadically; we committed to a schedule and stuck to it, ensuring our audience always had something new to engage with. This helped us build a dedicated following.


Also, being kind and approachable has made a significant difference. This industry thrives on networking and collaborations. Being someone that others enjoy working with and can rely on goes a long way. It enhances your reputation and opens up more opportunities for growth and collaboration.


MelRose Michaels: That sounds incredibly empowering. How do you think these practices impact the broader perspective on gay performers in the adult industry?


Ryan Carter: They help break down stereotypes and show the diversity within the gay community. Our work allows us to represent ourselves as we are rather than fitting into preconceived notions. This visibility is key—it not only empowers other creators to express themselves freely but also educates the audience, broadening their understanding and acceptance.


MelRose Michaels: What strategies would you recommend to someone managing dual careers, particularly in fields as contrasting as yours?


Ryan Carter: It’s crucial to maintain integrity in both fields. For me, that means upholding ethical standards in my practice while being authentic and open about my life and work in the adult industry. Transparency helps bridge the gap between these worlds and diminishes the stigma.


MelRose Michaels: Given the challenges and stigma associated with adult work, how do you protect your mental health?


Ryan Carter: Prioritizing mental health is paramount. I ensure to set boundaries, seek support when needed, and always keep a check on my stress levels. It’s also about enjoying what I do as a therapist and performer. Loving my work greatly reduces the potential for stress and burnout.


MelRose Michaels: During our conversations, we touched on adult content's significant role in empowerment. However, we also face societal challenges, particularly regarding the stigma and shame often associated with this industry. Could you speak to the impact of shame on mental health and how you've navigated this in your dual roles?


Ryan Carter: Shame is a powerful emotion that can have profound negative effects on mental health. In the context of adult work, shame is often weaponized, which can perpetuate a cycle of silence and stigma. From a therapist’s perspective, I see the damage it does—how it can distort self-image and impede genuine self-expression.


In my practice, I emphasize understanding and processing these feelings rather than suppressing them. It's about recognizing that the work we do in the adult industry does not diminish our worth or our professionalism. Overcoming shame involves a lot of self-acceptance and community support, which are crucial for mental resilience.


MelRose Michaels: How do you believe we can combat this stigma and reduce the shame associated with adult content?


Ryan Carter: Education and visibility are key. The more we talk openly about adult work, the more we normalize it as a legitimate and respectable profession. Also, showcasing the diversity and the real, human aspects of those in the industry helps dismantle misconceptions.


Personally, being forthright about my roles both as a therapist and a performer has allowed me to challenge some of the stigmas head-on. It’s about showing that one can maintain professionalism and ethics while being part of the adult industry. This transparency not only educates people but also helps reduce the stigma, making it easier for others in the industry to stand proudly in their truth without shame.


MelRose Michaels: That’s incredibly insightful, Ryan. It sounds like fostering an environment of openness and acceptance is crucial.


Ryan Carter: Absolutely, MelRose. We need to create spaces where people feel safe to express themselves without fear of judgment. This openness not only supports individuals in the adult industry but also contributes to a more accepting and inclusive society overall.


MelRose Michaels: Lastly, Ryan, any advice for our listeners who may be navigating similar paths?


Ryan Carter: Embrace who you are and find what you love doing. Whether it's in adult entertainment or any other field, authenticity and passion are key. And remember, consistency over time is crucial—it's not just about quick success but building something sustainable that you're proud of.


MelRose Michaels: Thank you, Ryan, for sharing your insights and experiences with us today.


Ryan Carter: Thank you for having me, MelRose. I'm glad to share my journey and hope it can inspire others.

 

Some parts of the above interview have been condensed or edited for clarity. Listen to the entire Twitter space for the full interview with Ryan Carter.


Follow Ryan Carter on Twitter.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SexWorkCEO or MelRose Michaels. Anything said or written is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone else.



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