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What It’s Like to Be a Guy Named Riley Reid

‘I kept receiving requests from men I didn’t know, who kept saying they wanted to have sex with me. After a while, I stopped checking my inbox altogether.’

“I want to fuck you so hard in the ass.” “Hey baby… let me come [all over] your ass.” “Would you suck my dick… sexy lady?” These are just a few of the more SFW messages Riley Reid has received over the last month. Such dirty DMs are standard practice if you’re the world-famous porn star Riley Reid, who nears the top of Pornhub’s search results in pretty much every country the tube site operates in.

Not so much, though, if you’re Riley Reid, British paramedic and father of two.

As such, when Reid (the paramedic) set up his LinkedIn account back in 2015, he didn’t expect his inbox to become so filthy. “I didn’t even know what LinkedIn was!” he laughs, adding that he mostly only goes online to check soccer scores and watch Netflix. Initially, the 42-year-old Reid had merely wanted to network with friends and colleagues. But in less than two weeks, he recalls, “I kept receiving requests from men I didn’t know, who kept saying they wanted to have sex with me. After a while, I stopped checking my inbox altogether.”

Reid (the paramedic) also didn’t know who Reid (the porn performer) was — making him one of the few men on earth unfamiliar with her. “I think some of my friends knew what was going on,” he tells me. “They kept saying I should Google myself and then I’d find out.” When he did, he says, “I don’t think I saw my record of employment on the [National Health Service] website until 10 or so pages in.”

Sharing a name with a porn star isn’t uncommon — especially if those names are simple and easy to remember (e.g., Alex Adams, Emily Willis or Nicole Aniston) — but in a world where everyone Googles each other, it can make applying for a job or going on dates tricky. Just last week, a parent wrote to Nicole Cliffe, Slate’s advice columnist, asking whether they should force their child to change his “otherwise unique” name, because he shared it with a well-known porn actor. Indeed, even on Reddit, people who have faced the same dilemma have contemplated legally changing their names, or adopting their middle names, just so those Googling them can find something other than links to Pornhub, Redtube and xHamster. 

People who share the same name as a pornstar, how is it? from AskReddit

A cursory search on LinkedIn turns up more than a dozen people — both men and women — named Riley Reid. They do everything from technology consulting to sales management; one even works at NASA. The vast majority also refused my interview request. “That name has ruined my life enough,” one writes over LinkedIn’s chat function.

Other Riley Reids, however, find the humor in their plight. “I’ve been dealing with this since I was 16,” says Riley Reid, a 24-year-old videographer in New York City. “I remember waking up one morning in high school and receiving a congratulations message from my friend because Riley Reid was at No. 1 on Pornhub.”

Like Riley Reid (the paramedic), Riley Reid (the videographer) also receives frequent messages from men around the world, asking if they can fuck him — something Reid (the videographer) is always surprised about “considering that they do so through my website, which clearly shows I’m a guy who makes films.” What’s more, Reid (the videographer) has gone as far as using his middle name, Neville, in order to distinguish himself online. He similarly made a video for his vlog to make sure people knew the differences between him and Riley Reid (the porn performer).

Unfortunately, Reid (the videographer) tells me that his efforts have largely been in vain. He still receives three or four dirty emails a month, and when an extended family member Googles his given name, they continue to be bombarded with links from tube sites. But again, he tries to keep a sense of humor about it. “There’s this awkwardness, especially when I introduce myself somewhere, or if I’m going crossing the border, where they’ll look at my name and smirk, before getting embarrassed and remembering to put on a straight face,” he laughs.  

He has reached out, a few times, to the woman who has made his name infamous. Like most guys, though, he hasn’t received a reply back. But he hopes that one day he’ll get to meet her. After all, he says, he wants “to introduce myself as an original Riley Reid.”

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