Sex and food aren’t always the best mix. As "Savage Love" guru Dan Savage reminds readers every Valentine’s Day, the key to a successful romantic evening is to get busy before you get dinner. A heavy meal can leave you feeling bloated, exhausted, and not particularly sexy; best to treat food as a way to refuel after the action rather than the overture to an erotic evening.

For most of us, this is solid advice. But what about people for whom acrobatic, energetic sex isn’t just a regular occurrence, but an essential part of their work day? How do porn performers handle the sex and food question—and, specifically, what do they do for breakfast? Is it better to hold off on eating until after you’ve shot your scene, or will abstaining from food leave you too tired and cranky to turn in a good performance? And are there certain food items that aid performers looking to ace a scene—or others that’ll tank an entire day on set?

I reached out to some of the denizens of Porn Valley to find out how they handle breakfast. Not surprisingly, there was no one single answer; like the rest of us, porn performers are a diverse group with their own particular tastes. But of the handful that I spoke with, no one copped to skipping breakfast before a scene (sorry, Dan Savage!). In fact,everyone was pretty set on the importance of breakfast. 

“As a performer, I could be on set all day waiting to shoot a scene, so I usually just eat and suffer the consequences of feeling heavy rather than starve myself,” says Chanel Preston, a six-year veteran of the adult industry and president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. Ryan Driller—whom you may recognize from star turns in porn parodies like Superman XXX, Batman v Superman XXX, and Supergirl XXX—notes he’s “not really a breakfast person,” but still underscores the importance of eating before getting on set. “The sex that I have on set is more of an acrobatic, endurance, marathon. The positioning is more complex than in your private life; in more precarious situations, and with a minimum 25 [minutes] of sex footage required... You want to eat something that will fuel you, and keep you going.”

The closest anyone came to outright avoiding eating was VRTube.XXX founder Ela Darling, who prefers to eschew traditional food choices in favor of a glass of Soylent. Before she discovered Silicon Valley’s favorite meal replacement, Darling would prep for a scene with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and a green coffee drink from Starbucks; but “Soylent makes me feel a hell of a lot better and it doesn't add all the carbs and calories.” Darling also notes that “[Soylent] makes me feel satiated but not full and just generally good”—all important things if your job involves looking sexy on camera.

For those who prefer to keep their breakfast in the realm of more traditional food items, there are a number of different breakfast options, though who you are, and what’s expected of you on set, can have an effect on what you choose to eat. Male performers—who are often tasked with the more aerobic role in a scene, particular in straight porn—put a premium on food that’ll ensure stamina and energy throughout the day. For Seth Gamble (who picked up the award for Best Male Newcomer at 2011’s AVN Awards), that means four eggs, four pieces of bacon, a piece of toast, and a bowl of maple-and-brown sugar oatmeal; Driller favors an Evol Lean & Fit Egg White Kale, Roasted Tomato, and Goat Cheese Sandwich or a Simple Truth Turkey Sausage Egg Sandwich

Female performers, on the other hand, tend to focus on food that’ll keep them sated without leaving them feeling full and bloated. For Preston, something light like yogurt and cheese, oatmeal, or cereal; girl-girl-only performer Jenna Sativa is more relaxed about what, exactly, she eats, opting for whatever she’s craving (be that an açai bowl, coffee and a bagel, or even pizza), just making sure to keep the portions small. Breakfast-obsessed performer and director Joanna Angel (“I can’t do anything without eating it”) is a little more specific about what she’ll start her morning with: “I eat one piece of flax seed toast, a hard-boiled egg, and some sliced avocado and black coffee just about every day for breakfast... If I'm performing I will have a few scoops of almond butter as well.”

That said, there are certain types of scenes that can change what, or when, a performer eats beforehand. If you’re shooting a rough deepthroating scene, it’s best to get breakfast done early: anything you eat in the hours before runs the risk of making a cameo during your scene. And—to the surprise of absolutely no one—anal scenes can definitely change a performer’s diet, with performers watching what they eat a full day before (because, you know, the end product of digestion takes a bit of time to process). On the day of an anal scene, there are a few precautions that performers will take: Darling avoids coffee before shooting an anal scene, to avoid any laxative effects, while Sativa opts to fast entirely, avoiding both breakfast and lunch.

You may notice a common theme among all of these breakfasts. While the food selection vary from person to person, pretty much every performer chooses something healthy to start their day with—no one I spoke with talked about chowing down on, say, massive stacks of pancakes or sausage patties before a scene. Part of that is an issue of sheer practicality: Driller notes that, “Heavy foods require more blood being sent and used by your stomach to digest the food, not being pumped to the penis for an erection.” But it’s also a testament to the fact that porn stars tend to be pretty cautious about what they eat, generally. When your job involves regularly getting naked on camera, you have added incentive to eat right.

And although copying a porn performer’s diet probably won’t magically grant you their sex skills (or impressive physique), there are a few tips we civilians can take away from porn star breakfasts—particularly those of us who are wondering what to eat before that marathon sex session we’ve got planned. Angel notes that any kind of fast food is horrible to eat before sex (apologies to those who find Egg McMuffins arousing!) and that hard-boiled eggs, in particular, are an excellent choice. “High-protein stuff that gives you energy and fills you up is great to eat on the long set days,” she says. Salade Niçoise, anyone?