With issues like porn, you’re either part of the solution or the problem. Many people aren’t even aware that they’re part of the problem. Casually surfing the web for their favorite nude celebrities, looking up extreme stuff because the basics no longer do it for them, or even just watching porn videos, many people don’t recognize the effect they are having in the world. By choosing to watch a Pornhub video, you’re adding to the cycle of supply and demand. If you watch a woman be anally penetrated, you’re causing that genre to be demanded so the industry wants more women to do that. I read that popular websites online are designed by and created for men: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Unsurprisingly, these websites are bombarded with porn and dating ads. These websites also post porn and revenge porn. It is a man’s world, and many women suffer because of that. Many men I’ve spoken to say that the women in the porn industry are there because they want to be. While a small amount of women are there because they enjoy being a sex worker, many porn stars, much akin to prostitutes, are employed in the industry because they want to make a lot of money. Sasha Grey at one point gave a speech and told women to be porn stars if they want to close the wage gap with men.
Shelley Lubben, an ex porn star, wrote an article for Covenant Eyes. The first part of the article gives some intetesting statistics. 85% of all porn in the world is produced in Chatsworth, California. Many agencies have a requirement that their actors don’t wear condoms.
Shelley Lubben gives some more interesting statistics: “It is estimated that there are 4.2 million porn Web sites—12% of the total amount of sites—allowing access to 72 million worldwide visitors monthly. One-quarter of the total daily search engine requests, or 68 million, are for pornographic material, where 40 million Americans are regular visitors. According to comScore Media Metrix, 71.9 million people visited adult sites in August 2005, reaching 42.7 percent of the Internet audience. The United States adult film industry produces 4,000–11,000 films a year and earns an estimated $9–$13 billion in gross revenues annually. An estimated 200 production companies employ 1,200–1,500 performers. Performers typically earn $400–$1,000 per shoot and are not compensated based on distribution or sales. Lobbyist Bill Lyon told 60 Minutes that the porn industry employs 12,000 people in California and pays the state $36 million in taxes per year. When 60 Minutes first spoke to Lyon, he was running the free speech coalition, a trade organization that represents 900 companies in the porn business.” 17% of heterosexual performers use condoms, many feel pressured not to use condoms in order to keep their jobs. 80% of porn stars, male and female, interviewed by Lubben state they’ve caught an STD. As much as 99% of the industry has Herpes.
Many female porn stars work as escorts as well. “Pornographic performers usually prefer escorting because the pay is much higher and sex acts are not as degrading or physically demanding. They receive approximately $100 an hour for working in pornographic films or $1500 an hour for escorting. Adult industry workers who are also pornographic performers get paid higher than other adult escorts due to their celebrity status and can book 2-3 hour appointments and make approximately $3000 a day. Agents also lie to women in the adult industry and lure them into prostitution. Porn Star Erin Moore says, “some agents lie to the girls and tell them they are shooting a scene when instead they set up prostitution acts for them.” Lubben was paid thousands of dollars by porn consumers to have sex with them, and she recalled a story where she gave Herpes to a man and his wife.
The second part of Lubben’s article discusses drug abuse in the industry. In a blog post I will post on my other blog I want to discuss drug addiction. One actress says, “Guys are punching you in the face. You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you. It’s never ending. You’re viewed as an object—not as a human with a spirit. People do drugs because they can’t deal with the way they’re being treated.”
Another male actor says, ““Drugs are a major, major problem in my business. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you. I can’t tell you the number of girls who have disappeared and dropped out of the business because of their drug problems. It is unbelievably sad to think about, and seeing some of them fall into a downward spiral hurts me more than others. But I think we all can agree that a huge majority of drug users will never change unless they get professional help. I have seen all manner of drugs on set, at parties, in cars, everywhere. If I had to guess, I would put marijuana use at 90 percent of ALL people involved in the industry (performers, directors, crew, agents, drivers, owners, office workers, etc.). I have been on a set where a girl has passed out during a sex scene with me (she was abusing oxycontin). Just recently a girl overdosed on GHB (a party drug that is a clear odorless drug that doesn’t mix well with alcohol) on set. I have seen a girl win a prestigious AVN Award, not show up to accept the award, and then fall into the throes of drug use that caused her to lose at least 50 pounds and drop off the face of the earth. Why is drug use so prevalent in our business? Well, let’s figure that out. First of all, remember that the business is populated largely with girls aged 18-21. And the majority of those girls are uneducated (many haven’t graduated high school). Add to that the fact that many come into the business because they have no money and are working at menial jobs like fast food places. So you have young girls who are uneducated with very little money entering the business.” He is correct: a majority of porn stars are 18-21, there for 6-18 months on average, and many come to the business because they’re uneducated and have no money. “Once they are in the business, they are now making ten thousand dollars a month and working maybe 5 hours a day 10-15 days a month. There are predators out there that can smell these girls and prey on them like sharks. Young, uneducated girls with lots of money, lots of free time, and very little supervision. This is a really bad equation (unless you are a drug dealer of course).”
Lubben discusses a study of strippers where 100% report some kind of physical or verbal abuse on the job, and 91% report abuse with no punishments for the abusers. Despite the fact that it’s illegal to touch a stripper, 88% have been grabbed by the arm, 73% have been grabbed by the breast and 91% have been grabbed by the butt. They’re often attacked in public too. Jenna Jameson stated in her book, “Most girls get their first experience in gonzo films — in which they’re taken to a crappy studio apartment in Mission Hills and penetrated in every hole possible by some abusive asshole who thinks her name is Bit***. And these girls, some of whom have the potential to become major stars in the industry, go home afterward and pledge never to do it again because it was such a terrible experience. But, unfortunately, they can’t take that experience back, so they live the rest of their days in fear that their relatives, their co-workers, or their children will find out, which they inevitably do.”
Many porn stars claim to enjoy what they do. Sasha Grey claimed that she genuinely enjoyed her job, had 75% genuine orgasms and that it was sexually positive to be a porn star. Yet she claimed that 99% of porn orgasms are fake, expressed disgust at some acts she had to do, and wouldn’t want to be abused by a real life partner like how she was in porn. Ms. Grey was exposed to porn at a young age and saw it as an opportunity to jump star her Hollywood acting career. “‘Sasha pointedly decided to have an extreme presence to achieve entree to Hollywood,’ says Nick Jarecki, executive producer of the new Mike Tyson documentary, who met with her last year about a role in another movie. ‘My impression of her attitude is that porn, while part of her pastiche, is ultimately a gateway to her mainstream ideas and acting career.'” She used porn in order to further her career. Many young girls have the same idea, and it’s sad. Ms. Grey is definitely among the minority to achieve success from porn.
G told me about a college classmate he had. She was freshly 18 and a college freshman. She dropped out towards the end of the semester because G’s class found out about a porn film she made. She seems to have regretted it if she dropped out after people found out about it. Many young women go into careers like porn, stripping and prostitution because they feel they have no options. Many times these women don’t finish high school and get tired of working at a fast food joint. Many of these women are intelligent and have no other place to turn to. Many are abused sexually and want to take control of their sexuality. And many, like Sasha Grey, use porn as a stepping stone to get into a traditional acting role.
Like the 99% and 1% in finance, there is the 99% and 1% of the sex industry. The 1% are from good homes, have stable lives and decide to do porn, excel at it and say it’s empowering. Meanwhile, 99% burnout quickly (6-18 months), develop/develop worse drug and alcohol addictions, and don’t make much money. Because men seem to respond more visually to sex, porn is popular. Some women seek to have independence and safety by filming porn in their own homes. Irregardless of whether the actors involved want to do it or not, porn is a social cancer. It teaches us that other people are here for our entertainment and orgasms, and that porn is the only way to masturbate. Many people nowadays don’t even know how to masturbate without porn. Many people overtime become damaged because of the industry: when they realize that they’re looked at as an object rather than a human being.
This is not to say that there aren’t some women who genuinely enjoy doing porn/stripping/prostitution. There are, but they’re in the minority and arguably have psychological issues of their own. I’d say the average person is disgusted at the thought of being a sex worker, and that if you think it is empowering you have deep insecurities that you’re trying to solve with being a sex worker.
Regardless of whether a sex worker genuinely enjoys her job, makes money, doesn’t catch a disease or becomes an addict, sex workers teach us that it is okay to allow ourselves to be objectified. That it’s acceptable to aspire to have sex with strangers. When you watch porn, you are creating a demand and cause many women and men to join the industry. By creating a supply for some dangerous acts, you are allowing people to be abused, catch diseases, become addicts or become deeper addicts, and you are telling young girls that they should aspire to be sex workers if they want to make money. Women who are sex workers often do not want to be in that field of work, but cannot find better work that will pay them well. Many sex workers are lured with promises of wealth, but are taken advantage of. Many start at age 18 and younger (yes, many porn features minors and is illegal), and it’s an industry that chews these girls up and spits them out.
Even Shelley Lubben is lucky, because many ex porn stars don’t have opportunities to become anything else. After her career is up, a porn star may become a prostitute or stripper because no one will hire a known porn star. With sex and porn being so mainstream in our society, it is sad that many young girls continue to model this behavior. Music is sexual, movies are sexual and even commercials are sexual. It all sends ideas to women that why not become a sex object if it means making some money? The average female porn star makes less than a male porn star. I read an article where Levi Johnson, Bristol Palin’s ex fiancé, made $200k to pose for a magazine shirtless. That is more than the average porn star makes in a year.
Women are strong and beautiful creatures. They are intelligent and observational. When a woman is loved and cared for, she will flourish. These women often become doctors, lawyers and other careers. Some women aren’t so lucky and come from broken homes and struggle with school (Sasha Grey was a depressed teenager who didn’t feel happy at any of her high schools and her parents were divorced) and look for love and control by finding careers as sex workers. The average confident woman who goes to college doesn’t assume a career as a sex worker. The average woman studies in order to find a career where she is respected. Choosing a career that involves objectification so directly is indicative of psychological issues. My brother dated a woman who became a stripper and he said she was from a broken home, was abused sexually at a young age and she ended up getting pregnant at 15. She’s married now and is happy, but her first child lives hours away with his father because he’s not happy that his mother did amateur porn and stripping.
Porn, stripping and prostitution aren’t healthy careers. They are often sought by women who are nymphos, drug addicts, have low self esteem, are sexually abused at a young age or who want to use porn as a stepping stone. Look at Kim Kardashian: she got excessive plastic surgery because she wasn’t happy with her looks, used porn to jump start her career, is arguably a sex addict and was forced by her mother to get famous. Kim Kardashian is not someone who most people would want to be, yet why are people like her always in the news?
We need to work to lower the presence of porn or at least make it less abusive towards women. We need to empower young women so they don’t feel they have to take their clothes off and have sex with strangers in order to feel confident. We need to show young women that there are options for them that pay a lot and they won’t be abused. We need to work together to end this abusive industry.