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Tom Katt: From Porn Star to Evangelical Preacher

by Nightcharm
“From the sublime to the ridiculous, it is but a step.”
– Napoleon

Sacred Heart of Tom Katt“I didn’t hit rock bottom, and I didn’t turn to a particular church,” says David Papaleo, better known to us as the big-muscled porn star “Tom Katt”.

“I just started praying. I asked God to help me with what my life was becoming.”

God told him his life “wasn’t correct,” the big man tells the Dallas Voice, a gay and lesbian community paper. And so the former Falcon posterboy, former “bisexual,” former steroid bunny became not only a born-again evangelical, with aspirations toward the pulpit, but a born-again heterosexual, as well.

Tom Katt in the all togetherExclusively heterosexual, if we are to believe the newly corrected Papaleo, right, who admits, with admirable frankness, to having had more boyfriends in his life than girlfriends:

“I felt I had to stay away from women because, hello, I was doing gay porn; no woman was going to have anything to do with me.” (An assertion the Dallas Voice let pass without comment but that we find odd — and somewhat unobservant in light of the current data on the overwhelming number of woman turned on by man-on-man porn.)

“It just didn’t click,” he says of his many boyfriends. “It can’t just be a physical thing. And I never really found that I could have an emotional-spiritual connection with another guy.”

Of course, having an intimate connection with anyone is hard when your primary relationship is a needle full of wacky juice jammed into your arm. “I made a lot, and spent a lot,” the former porn star concedes. “I thought I was having the time of my life. But I started partying with my money — constantly altering my mood with chemicals to convince myself I was having a good time.”

This, of course, didn’t work — it never does. “Deep down, I was miserable,” he says.

And then along came Jesus. “I remember being on a porn set, and the guys all laughing at me because I was reading the Bible.” Long story short: Papaleo got married to a Georgia woman three months ago, relocated to Florida and enrolled in a seminary.

“What I found is that so many people — including myself at one time — believe those crazy so-called Christians who say if you’re gay or bi, God doesn’t want you. That’s a big piece of crap.” In a bold move, Papaleo promises to feature, rather than hide, his glory days as a porn star when he becomes a preacher.

We guess this was acting“There’s nothing at all wrong with sex,” he says. “God made sex, too… I believe that sex is the strongest physical expression of love for another person. But porn is not an expression of love — it’s empty and cold.” [An assertion Nightcharm debates in the commentary that follows.]

Papaleo will also speak in favor of gay-marriage. “The Bible says don’t go against what is natural — it means going against what’s natural for yourself. If you are naturally heterosexual and you’re having sex with men, well, first, you’re treating that guy unfairly.”

And consequently, following this rationale, gay sex is only unnatural for straight men and straight women. We doubt Sean Cody, Chi Chi LaRue and all those girl-on-girl porn producers will be genuflecting at this church any time soon.

Tom has his hands fullAs Tom Katt, Papaleo appeared on floats in gay parades — celebrations that were heckled by contingents of Christian fundamentalists, holding signs that featured the words Hell and Sin being consumed by flames. The Dallas Voice wonders if Papaleo will make that his mission — to refute the hate-mongers waving Bibles. A good question, and the Dallas Voice seemed satisfied by the former porn star’s rather generic answer:

“So many people are shunned or feel like they’ve been pushed away from God — that God doesn’t want anything to do with them. I want to tell as many people as I can that that is an absolute lie. God made everyone. He loves you the way you are.”


Nightcharm was impressed by Papaleo’s plain-spoken honesty but wished to mull over some of his more questionable assertions. Webmaster David K. and executive editor John Calendo discuss:

John: When Tom Katt says porn is “empty and cold” — I think he should add “for me.” But why empty and cold? Is Tom Katt really talking about masturbation, porn’s practical goal? Isn’t masturbation one form of the sex he says is so natural. Sorry, but solo sex is not necessarily a lonely or unpleasant experience, which I think is what is meant by “empty and cold.”

David K: I think I see his point though. Porn is “empty and cold” when the person performing it is empty and cold. That seems a fairly simple equation to me.

John: No, David, he made a blanket statement — all porn is empty and cold. An opinion that will not be out of place in the most sex-phobic or politically-motivated Christian churches, which have long condemned any sex that doesn’t result in the birth of future church-goers. Gotta keep those collection baskets full.

David K: Porn is like the Rorschach inkblot test. You see in it what’s already in your mind.

John: Right, either you can embrace the little shocks and pleasures of being alive or you can’t.

David K: I guess we shouldn’t be surprised if a lot of porn stars live unexamined lives and finally learn late in the game that they dislike their work. Happens to a lot of people, in a lot of professions.

John: Once you work in any aspect of pornography, you get marginalized, typecast. You become a fantasy figure in fantasies both good and bad — as we ourselves know from doing this site, although we’re basically disembodied entities to our readers. That’s how powerful pornography is. It’s a commonplace to believe that porn is worthless. But really? Among the first cave drawings are wildly exaggerated female fertility figures, whose worship I’m sure involved a lot of hand jerking.

David K: John, you’ve uncovered the missing link! — The connection between porn and religion.

John : The fact that pornography attracts a lot of amateurs and is notorious for cardboard dialog, bad lighting and routine action obscures the fact that occasionally a porn movie really delivers, really demonstrates what porn can do so powerfully, namely, hand you a fantasy that you would never want to bring out of Fantasyland into your real life. I’m thinking of Kansas City Trucking Co., [right], with that great suck-off scene through the springs of an upper bunk bed and the dick is just hanging there like a cluster of grapes. What is that from, the 70′s, and it still takes me where I want to go. But the guy in the top bunk pushing his dick though the mattress springs …

David K: And so much dick!

John: … couldn’t have been comfortable. You would never want to really do that — though the vision was absolute dynamite.

David K: Thank you for reminding me of that dangling hunk of cock meat in Kansas City Trucking Co. — truly one of queer porn’s signature moments. I can’t wait for the Criterion Collection to get hold of Joe Gage’s oeuvre.

John: Tom Katt was pretty terrific on screen and he always gave you, as my English friends say, “good value.” I wish him the best.

David K: Here’s what fascinates me about this story. Why is it drug addicts, escorts, porn stars have no alternative left but to go to God? Is it because they go so far beyond the fringe of society all that’s left is … the supernatural? Take Shelly Lubben, for instance, a former porn gal who now denounces her former profession in the name of Jesus.

John: She has a wild site, with disco music and a photo gallery, all the while condemning her old life

David K: And it’s not a one-way street either . We’re always hearing about priests and ministers getting busted for picking up hookers, diddling choir boys, having sex with trannies — condemning on Sunday morning what they do on Saturday night!

John: It’s an old story, isn’t it? Perhaps priest is the second oldest profession. Wasn’t it St. Augustine who said, “Lord, make me chaste … but not just yet.”

David K: It seems very Psych 101 to me — the notion that what you repress, what you split-off from your psyche, comes back to bite you in the ass.

John: Which is why Tom Katt — reborn now as David Papaleo — is such a breath of fresh air. He’s going to be sex-positive and promises not to draw from that dark, shadowy well of sexual repression.

David K: We’ll see how far he gets with that — evangelical America being what it is.

©2006 Nightcharm

31 CommentsLeave a Comment


  • Danny

    8 years ago

    I don’t know the man personally, but upon reading the quote, I took the words “empty and cold” to be a description of the porn BUSINESS, which was his perspective.

    I can see what he means. Of course, I’ve never worked in the porn industry and can only insert myself into it through imagination, but I can see how he would say that. Modeling and other entertainment industries are often charged with being cold-hearted flesh-factories that give little satisfaction (apart from lots of money and ego gratification) to those who earn a paycheck from them. And the drugs and hard-partying lifestyle that all too often go with these lines of work are as soul-sucking as the crack pipes littering Crenshaw Boulevard.

    Naturally there are those who do not fall prey to these traps and lead happy fulfilling lives providing images for others to project their fantasies on. Also, we hear little of those who move on to less controversial careers.

    Mr. Katt/Papaleo did not get what he needed in front of the camera and has moved on to more spiritual pastures — more power to him. It’s to his credit that he is not really bashing on his former profession, but merely sharing his change of heart with others. As for the whole “straightening-out” thing…mm-hmm. Heard that one before….

  • LAO

    8 years ago

    An interesting phenomenon for Mr Katt. In his videos he seemed to me always rather unattractively effeminate, despite his obviously male physical attributes.

    If he actually goes on to become an evangelical preacher, it would be interesting to know how his congregations might react — although all those videos suggest a wonderful theme for Wednesday night prayer meetings and a possibility for reaching out to many previously unexploited demographics.

  • Jamie C

    8 years ago

    Very Interesting! Personally, I was excited to see Mr. Papaleo make the point that for a gay man, sex with women is as “unnatural” as homo sex is for straight men. After a number of years of sleeping with women before coming out, that is exactly how I feel. Except, I wouldn’t use the word “unnatural”, I would say “emotionally unfulfilling” or “deadening” or even “soul killing”.

    Sex without attraction is merely physical gratification and for some people, me included, it was deadening to be so close to another living soul and yet so alone. But that didn’t stop me from chasing that gratification just like an addict might chase a high. It really was a high and I really did chase it.

    Presumably the women I slept with had emotional needs too that were far from met by this closeted man in their bed, though physically everything worked. For me, being gay is about falling in love with men, having real attraction.

    I’ve wondered whether the church’s stance against gay sex is really meant for straight men, for whom gay sex may be perfectly natural (my term) but emotionally and spiritually deadening because it is strictly phyisical. As a gay man who found himself having sex with women, stopping that was the first step toward saving my soul and getting where I needed to be which was out as a gay man.

    We often assume that a straight married man who is sneaking off to have sex with men is actually gay, but what if he isn’t? What if he is a straight man engaging in emotionless carnality? It could be as bad for his soul as my behavior was for mine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with religions pushing their views on people. I think spiritual help is only helpful for people that need it and seek it out. It would great if more church groups understand what Mr. Papaleo does which is that God (if you believe) loves you the way you are and wants you to be yourself.

    In my opinion, believing anything else shows a total lack of faith and is really a perversion. If church groups accepted this fact, then perhaps they would be concerned with ministering to those gays in their community who might need real spiritual guidance.

  • Tom

    8 years ago

    Having been married to a woman for eleven years I have a pretty good handle on how difficult it is to make the desire for guys go away when you’re gay. Behavior can be modified, sure, but attraction and sexual desire or response seem to stem from something that I believe is hard-wired into the brain.

    I hope for the sake of both Papaleo and his wife that they can find a way to make things work because the odds are against them when it comes to marriages between gay men and women. Very few survive their discordant sexual desires. Just telling the world you’re straight or bisexual when in fact you’re gay, doesn’t make the innate responses in the brain go away. If anything, the denial heightens them.

    As gay men we are often perfectly capable of loving women emotionally, intellectually and socially. But the sex thing seems to a be a whole lot harder for most of us to resolve. I wish Papaleo and his wife all the happiness they could ever hope for – I just know that every time I hear about a “former” gay guy taking up with a woman I feel sadness for both of them.

    I’ve worked for a number of years in a non-professional capacity counseling gay married Mormon men and one thing has become perfectly clear — religion doesn’t solve anything. It often just makes things worse. Papaleo is taking on both religion and a heterosexual identity fresh off his run as a gay porn star. I wish him well but I think he’s got a tough road ahead of him. Turning pandas into parakeets is tricky business.

  • Danny

    8 years ago

    To Jamie C.: Good point. I was tripping out on that too (in a good way) when I read it. I have to agree with you. Even though I didn’t indulge very extensively in the straight realm before fully coming out, I did have several very (physically and emotionally) satisfying experiences with women, but they simply could not light the same fire that men do for me. What is natural for one is not necessarily so for another, and we all have our own paths to follow.

  • Tom Bacchus

    8 years ago

    As I said when I wrote about this on my blog, I hope for both their sakes that wifey’s got a strap-on.

    His Christian straight butt is gonna be needin’ a lil somethin’ soon enough.

  • Randi

    8 years ago

    There’s that one line in his interview that just floors me:

    “I felt I had to stay away from women because, hello, I was doing gay porn; no woman was going to have anything to do with me.”

    Yes Tommy, you avoided women because you prefer(ed) cock. End of story.

    Also, please note while rewatching your Tom Katt “Best Of” anthology that he was a crazed, gyrating, insatiable bottom too.

    This just doesn’t ring true for me, at all.

    Paging Dr. Freud!

  • tess

    8 years ago

    Methinks the gentleman protests too much.

  • mdrew

    8 years ago

    The use of “Hello” as an interjection is pretty damning as well.
    Or maybe he just “picked it up” from all the homos he was around…for all that time…having sex with…on camera…

  • Presley

    8 years ago

    Tom Katt: Ugh. Just an ordinary woman in a muscle mary body.

  • Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian

    8 years ago

    He is porn again! Glory!

  • Marcy

    8 years ago

    Are not porn stars also spiritual people who long for a higher purpose and destiny like most other people? Don’t get upset that like non-porn stars they come to a deeper understanding of life and eternity.

  • Go Into the Light, Children

    8 years ago

    Thanks for the belly laugh, Marcy, but I could flip it around so easily:

    Are not porn stars able to be as fucked-up psychologically as the other cultists who need religion (and especially evangelical forms of it) to fill the vast void in their lives? Don’t get upset that porn stars aren’t bastions of mental health and intelligence and fall for the KKKristian shit.

  • RAFE 1938

    8 years ago

    Yo, so where’s his church? I wanna worship.

  • Andres

    8 years ago

    HOla respeto mucho la decision de Tom Katt, ya que interiormente es un ser humano como cualquiera y se respeta toda decision , si el llega algun dia a leer mi mensaje pues le deseo lo mejor y que siga con su labor de predicacion, si alguien tuviera su mail donde le pueda escribir se lo agradeceria mucho , saludos
    bye

  • Ray

    8 years ago

    Strange how it took Ms. Katt so long to come to this conclusion !

  • island guy

    8 years ago

    can a hetero male take it up the ass from his wife’s strap on,and still be straight and Christian?…Stay tuned

  • Mike

    8 years ago

    I dont know. Is this really a new story? He sold his soul to make porno films, regretted it and now he thinks he found his soul in religion. As far as him not finding any man he could click with emotionally-spiritually.. um.. he treated sex as his business, what on earth was he thinking? Especially in the porn industry, I mean, I wouldn’t expect it to attract a lot of spiritual types. I could be wrong, I guess.

  • Tom Katt Admirer

    8 years ago

    Hmm, so this is what happened to Mr. Katt/Papaleo. It’s a shame because his muscled, naked body is what got me into working out. No, really; when you take a good look in his physique, it’s really hard not to feel your own body to be “a little pathetic”.

    Didn’t knew about his “needles” problem either. But that doesn’t make him inferior or whatever; in the US (and specially in pornbiz), this sort of thing is incredibly common … that’s why NightCharm has a special section just for dead celebrities.

    Of course I wish him the best of luck in his “new life”, even though I’m incredibly skeptical of “born-again” people; IMHO, if he had found a nice guy (in the way he describes) he wouldn’t have done such a radical move.

    It’s highly unlikely, though, that he’ll ever show us his naked body again. What a shame it is! I *DO* hope that he’ll keep himself fit, however.

  • Robert

    8 years ago

    Tom Katt is ALIVE? I thought he died years ago! I hope he preaches in a jockstrap!

  • Roland

    7 years ago

    …And another one bites the dust. c. Queen

  • Mike Sanders

    7 years ago

    Tom is one of the great gay porn stars. Whether he now denies his sexuality or not, he will never really be straight even if he is married.

    You can tell in his movies how he really gets off being with another guy. The first movie I ever saw him in was a leather flick where he drinks his own cum he was blowing another guy and was so excited he was shaking. I think I was hard for a week after seeing that one.

    Tom come back mate, all is forgiven.

  • Keith

    7 years ago

    I knew Dave way back when he was touring gay bars with Chi Chi and the rest of the Falcon crew. Speaking as someone who works in the sex industry, I think what David was trying to convey is the vibe on set, it is ‘empty and cold’ just like any performance, some people get caught up in the role that they’re playing but most don’t, it’s just a character they’re portraying. Ever been on a porn set? It’s not exactly conducive to actual intimacy.

    -Keith

  • John

    7 years ago

    David if thank it’s cool u made a change in ur life. All the best pal.

  • Fredeick

    7 years ago

    David it’s ur life, proud you’re making the best of it man.

  • aL

    7 years ago

    David, good for you… Don’t forget to visit the holy land and you will find something over there. Don’t mess up with arabs & jews ppl there. Ignore them. May god gives you another signs of HIM. :)

    Bleszzz….
    -aL

  • ajay

    6 years ago

    well…. i think that u r either gay or straight. u cant’t be bi.
    david says he’s become straight….but we all know that he is lying to himself.
    i dont understand why gays marry and ruin their partner’s life. I hope david realises soon that he is gay and accepts it sooner or he’ll loose precious years of his life.

    Anyway…..I just want to say that He could be one of the sexiest gays in history of porn and i love to watch him more than any one else.

  • on tom katts side

    6 years ago

    why is it so hard for people to except this is what he wants? why is you so negative?
    i know many men and women who have be successful with heterosexual relationships for many years. is it that deep down people are affraid they could do it themselves but just don’t want to.it seems to me for a community that believes in the freedom to be who they want to be you are very judgemental.if a transgender can think that that is their destiny, why is it so hard to believe that is tom katt’s destiny.gays point their fingers hating the religious for spreading hate on others and call them hypocrites. it seems to me that the ones pointing the fingers showing hate and anger at the religious are the hypcrites.the gay community has spent years using the slogan ‘embrace the differences’. but, then they want to take away marraige and say it’s the same when it’s not. get a union and change the law on what that means. you want to worship go to that nasty cathedral of hopelessnes in dallas where they want
    multipal partner unions and the right to marry a pig and take communion with your trick from the night before.dont go in to their churches and use it for a political post to further your cause.or, go into the schools of their chilren and use their chilren as political pawns for your agendas. christianity is for people who know they are not perfect and that is why they need jesus.what’s really sad is when tom spoke about the emty feeling he felt in that life style many of you dismissed it.if he fells fulfilled now whats it to you.who are you people to tell him how to feel. isn’t that what you bitch about others doing to you. hypocrites indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave

    6 years ago

    I am glad he has turned his life around after all you cant do porn forever can you?

    I also have to add that his videos made my world a better place, that fur, thise muscles and ooooooooooooooooooh those nipples!

    Going to book a PT session with him, just wanna meet him in the flesh, even though nothing will happen.

  • Shandra

    6 years ago

    I have seen many of Papaleo’s aka Tom films. First off, for all of his manly musculature and looks he always seemed quite effeminate. Next, I never thought him a very good actor, though beautiful to look at he is, therefore I do not think all of his bottoming and that look and sound of joy he exhibited was “acting” — the man enjoyed every fuck he got camera or not. I do not believe the Bible changes anyone’s natural inclinations and Tom certainly seemed quite the gay one to me. If this man is/was so much the bi or the heterosexual he now claims to be why did he offer his behind in his films? He certainly “acted” loving every cock he had up his male hole. Regardless of the facets of his life and looks, because let’s face it, at times Tom got quite fat to the point of looking rather unattractive, his ass was always ready to take a good cock. What can we expect from Tom with this new venture, a gay/heterosexual version of Tammy Fae?

  • Michael

    9 months ago

    While I commend him making a 190 degree turnaround, I don`t think he can`t look at an attractive guy and just not be turned on anymore. It`s much more complex than that. You just can`t be “bisexual” one day, and “heterosexual” the next. It don`t work that way. So he is fooling himself and his wife. He just needs to come clean and admit he`s still attracted to guys.

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