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Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis


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The damaged goods hypothesis posits that female performers in the adult entertainment industry have higher rates of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), psychological problems, and drug use compared to the typical woman. The present study compared the self-reports of 177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status. Comparisons were conducted on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life, and drug use. Porn actresses were more likely to identify as bisexual, first had sex at an earlier age, had more sexual partners, were more concerned about contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and enjoyed sex more than the matched sample, although there were no differences in incidence of CSA. In terms of psychological characteristics, porn actresses had higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the matched group. Last, female performers were more likely to have ever used 10 different types of drugs compared to the comparison group. A discriminant function analysis was able to correctly classify 83% of the participants concerning whether they were a porn actress or member of the matched sample. These findings did not provide support for the damaged goods hypothesis.
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Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis
James D. Griffith
Department of Psychology, Shippensburg University
Sharon Mitchell
Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation
Christian L. Hart
Department of Psychology, Texas Woman’s University
Lea T. Adams and Lucy L. Gu
Department of Psychology, Shippensburg University
The damaged goods hypothesis posits that female performers in the adult entertainment
industry have higher rates of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), psychological problems, and
drug use compared to the typical woman. The present study compared the self-reports of
177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status. Com-
parisons were conducted on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life, and
drug use. Porn actresses were more likely to identify as bisexual, first had sex at an earlier
age, had more sexual partners, were more concerned about contracting a sexually transmitted
disease (STD), and enjoyed sex more than the matched sample, although there were no dif-
ferences in incidence of CSA. In terms of psychological characteristics, porn actresses had
higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spiritu-
ality compared to the matched group. Last, female performers were more likely to have ever
used 10 different types of drugs compared to the comparison group. A discriminant function
analysis was able to correctly classify 83%of the participants concerning whether they were
a porn actress or member of the matched sample. These findings did not provide support for
the damaged goods hypothesis.
Pornography is a multibillion-dollar industry and has
been a morally debated social issue for decades. Some
individuals have claimed pornography is harmful to all
those involved (e.g., MacKinnon, 1993), whereas others
have suggested it is fairly benign (e.g., Strossen, 1995).
There exists a gender disparity in pornography such that
most adult films are produced and consumed by men
(Dines, Jensen, & Russo, 1998). Some have suggested
this gender inequity may be related to the view that porn
actresses are sexual objects because adult films empha-
size sexual acts that are primarily arousing to men
(Sun, Bridges, Wosnitzer, Scharrer, & Liberman,
2008). For example, a recent study found that approxi-
mately 90% of top-selling adult films contained aggress-
ive acts toward women; of those, more than 95% of the
targets of the aggression provided a response that was
either neutral or pleasurable (Bridges, Wosnitzer,
Scharrer, Sun, & Liberman, 2010). These common
portrayals of women in adult films may be related to
how society views porn actresses. Stereotypes of those
involved in adult entertainment have been used to
support or condemn the industry (Evans-DeCicco &
Cowan, 2001) and to justify political views on pornogra-
phy, although the actual characteristics of porn actresses
are unknown because no systematic study on this group
of women has been conducted. What is known is that
attitudes toward pornography vary across individuals
(Senn, 1993), and those attitudes are related to opinions
Correspondence should be addressed to James D. Griffith,
Department of Psychology, Shippensburg University, FSC-
Psychology, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257. E-mail:
JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH, 50(7), 621–632, 2013
Copyright #The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
ISSN: 0022-4499 print=1559-8519 online
DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2012.719168
toward the actresses who perform in adult films (Polk &
Cowan, 1996).
A series of studies (Evans-DeCicco & Cowan, 2001;
Polk & Cowan, 1996) examined how individuals per-
ceived actresses in the adult entertainment industry. In
the first study (Polk & Cowan, 1996), porn stars were
viewed more negatively than the average woman and
movie stars but more positively than prostitutes. In
addition, negative attitudes toward pornography were
shown to be positively related to the attribution of
negative characteristics to porn stars. Furthermore,
those who viewed pornography as harmful were also
more likely to believe that porn stars did not like their
work. A later study (Evans-DeCicco & Cowan, 2001)
reported that individuals believed porn stars came from
backgrounds with sexual and physical abuse. In
addition, porn stars were rated more negatively than
women in general on a composite measure consisting
of a variety of dimensions (e.g., psychological health,
self-esteem, drug use, shame). Last, a positive relation-
ship was found between attitudes toward pornography
and beliefs about pornography actresses. Although not
causal, a strong correlation showed that more negative
views of pornography were associated with more
negative beliefs toward porn stars. Although both stu-
dies (Evans-DeCicco & Cowan, 2001; Polk & Cowan,
1996) provided valuable data, a shortcoming was that
the studies offered information on individuals’ percep-
tions of porn stars rather than on porn stars’ self-
reported characteristics.
These stereotypical perceptions of sex workers can be
referred to as the ‘‘damaged goods’’ hypothesis. The
damaged goods hypothesis is not a scientific postulate;
rather, it is the public perception that actresses involved
in the pornography industry come from desperate back-
grounds and are less psychologically healthy compared
to typical women. This negative perception has been
reported in several studies (Evans-DeCicco & Cowan,
2001; Polk & Cowan, 1996) and in other literature as
well. For example, some descriptions of actresses in por-
nography have included attributes such as drug addic-
tion, homelessness, poverty, desperation, being pimped
out, and being victims of sexual abuse (e.g., Dworkin,
1989; MacKinnon, 1993). Some have made extreme
assertions, such as claiming that all women in pornogra-
phy were sexually abused as children (e.g., MacKinnon,
1993). However, without data, claims regarding the
attributes of pornography actresses lack support.
At present, very little is known about the actual char-
acteristics of porn actresses. The limited amount of infor-
mation from individual actresses that does exist is in the
form of personal reports (Lovelace, 1980), case studies
(Faludi, 1999), anecdotal evidence (Campbell, 1990;
Gittler, 1999; Strossen, 1995; Wilkenson, 1994), and
qualitative studies with small sample sizes (Abbott,
2000; Stoller, 1991; Stoller & Levine, 1993), which have
provided both positive and negative accounts. Stoller
(1991) and Stoller and Levine (1993) conducted ethno-
graphic investigations using interviews of a few actors,
producers, and writers in the pornography industry
and reported that all participants were hostile or ambiva-
lent toward accepted social conventions, lacked employ-
ment options, and had experienced CSA. The most
extensive study on women in the adult entertainment
industry was conducted by Abbott (2000), who inter-
viewed 31 actresses. Abbott’s qualitative investigation
examined motivations for becoming a pornography
actress and factors associated with staying in the
business. The study indicated that the primary reasons
for entering the adult entertainment industry included
money, fame and glamour, freedom and independence,
opportunity and sociability, and being naughty and
having sex. With regard to the sexual aspect, a career
in pornography provided actresses an opportunity to
go against the norms of acceptable sexual behavior.
Similarly, money was the primary factor for keeping
actresses involved in the industry because other jobs with
the same amount of freedom and flexibility were difficult
to find. The fame and glamour aspect of being a per-
former as well as admiration from fans were also impor-
tant incentives to keep actresses in the industry.
Although the study did provide some information on
the motivations for beginning and continuing a career
as a pornography actress, no issues regarding other char-
acteristics of the women were investigated, and the small
sample size restricted generalizations.
The main obstacle in conducting research on
individuals in the adult entertainment industry has been
the extreme difficulty of gaining access to this
population. For example, Stoller (1991) was unable to
find a single male actor willing to talk with him.
Similarly, Faludi (1999) had difficulty gaining access
to individuals and documented the lives of only a few
male porn actors, focusing on an actor who committed
suicide. Abramovich (2005) highlighted that no studies
provide quantitative data on porn actresses. There are
two primary reasons why researchers have had difficulty
accessing this population. First, there is an issue with
identifying and locating porn actresses. There is no
public registry of actresses, and individuals outside of
the pornography industry are not granted access to pro-
ductions. Thus, there are few settings in which a large
number of performers can be found at a given time.
A second and related reason is that the pornography
industry is a fairly closed community. Due to the nature
of the work, much of society may consider this group of
women to be ‘‘deviants’’; thus, porn actresses tend to
associate with others in the industry rather than be
shunned by those with different views (Abbott, 2000).
To date, the authors are unaware of any systematic
study that has collected data on a large number of porn
actresses; thus, the perceptions that individuals hold
regarding this group of women is assumptive. Evans-
DeCicco and Cowan (2001) suggested that a large-scale
study investigating the characteristics of women in por-
nography would be useful as an initial step in supporting
or disconfirming some of the stereotypes of porn
actresses. The present study fills a gap in the literature
by identifying actual characteristics of porn actresses
in the adult entertainment industry in the areas of sexual
behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life, and
drug use, and comparing the self-reports of porn
actresses to a matched sample to test the damaged goods
The participants in this study represented two groups:
pornography actresses and a matched comparison
group. The pornography actresses included 177 female
performers in the adult entertainment industry. An indi-
vidual was classified as a pornography actress if she was
paid to work as an actress on at least one X-rated movie
in which she participated in a sexual act. Female por-
nography actresses were on average 26 years old
(range ¼18 to 50), with a mean of 3.5 years in the adult
entertainment industry (range ¼1 month to 30 years).
Regarding marital status, the majority were single
(44%), followed by single but in a serious relationship
(22%), married (15%), divorced (12%), separated (7%),
and one was widowed. In terms of ethnicity, the
majority reported being Caucasian (63%), while the
second highest category was other (13%), followed by
African American (9%), Hispanic (9%), and Asian
(6%). The comparison group was matched on age,
marital status, and ethnicity; thus, the percentages
across groups were identical on those demographic
Data from the pornography actresses were collected
via convenience sampling at the Adult Industry Medical
Healthcare Foundation (AIM) located in Los Angeles,
California. AIM was a nonprofit organization that
served the health needs of sex workers and individuals
in the adult entertainment industry from 1998 to 2011.
AIM provided a variety of services, including HIV and
STD testing, psychiatric testing, individual and group
counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, information
about and access to more than 50 support groups, infor-
mation on cosmetic surgery, and educational work-
shops. Specifically within the adult entertainment
industry, AIM maintained an HIV database that
allowed producers to confirm that actors were compliant
with the industry’s testing program. That testing pro-
gram required performers to have documented negative
results for an STD test within the last 28 days in order to
be allowed to work in a production. During the time of
the data collection, AIM tested approximately 1,200
performers a month. Although the population of porn
performers fluctuates and is not specifically known, it
was recently estimated that approximately 200 pro-
duction companies employ 1,200 to 1,500 performers
in Los Angeles County (Kaiser Daily HIV=AIDS
Report, 2004), suggesting that the majority of porn
actors and actresses used AIM for HIV and STD test-
ing. AIM staff included physicians, nurse practitioners,
phlebotomists, chemical dependency counselors, and
licensed professional counselors. Arrangements were
made with the executive director and chief medical offi-
cer of AIM to collect data for four months. Partici-
pation was strictly on a voluntary basis. Participants
who completed the survey instrument had their name
put in a lottery in which two prizes of $300 in free
STD testing was available. The comparison group was
recruited using convenience sampling at university and
community (i.e., airport) settings and matched on the
basis of age, marital status, and ethnicity. There were
68 (38.4%) women recruited from university settings
and 109 (61.6%) from an airport.
Participants completed a survey asking questions on
a variety of behavioral, social, and psychological dimen-
sions. The survey consisted of five distinct sections. The
first section of questions included demographic back-
ground information (i.e., gender, age, ethnicity, and
marital status).
Sexual behaviors and attitudes. The second section
asked 10 questions regarding sexual behaviors and atti-
1. What is your sexual orientation?
2. What was the age of the first time you had sexual
3. Were you a victim of childhood sexual abuse?
4. How many different sexual partners have you had
in your lifetime? [The porn actresses were instructed
not to count partners within the industry, unless it
occurred outside of their work.]
5. How many different sexual partners have you had
during the past 12 months? [The porn actresses
were instructed not count partners within the indus-
try, unless it occurred outside of their work.]
6. Assume that you are considering a relationship
with someone and the topic of their ‘‘sexual his-
tory’’ comes up. What is the ideal number of sexual
partners they should have had?
7. On a 10-point scale (1 ¼not concerned at all and
10 ¼very concerned), how concerned are you about
catching an STD?
8. On a 100-point scale (0 ¼none and 100 ¼definite), if
a person had unprotected sex with someone whom
they just met, what would you estimate the prob-
ability that they might catch an STD?
9. On a 10-point scale (1 ¼not at all and 10 ¼very
much), how much do you enjoy sex?
10. On a 100-point scale (0 ¼not likely at all and
100 ¼definitely), estimate the likelihood that you
would use a condom if having heterosexual sex with
someone for the first time.
Self-esteem. The third section consisted of the
10-item Rosenberg (1989) Self-Esteem Scale. Baranik
and colleagues (2008) indicated the Rosenberg scale is
the most often used measure of self-esteem—and one
which has demonstrated sound psychometric properties
over a large number of populations for several decades.
The items were anchored on a 4-point scale (1 ¼strongly
agree and 4 ¼strongly disagree). Values could range
from 10 to 40, with higher values suggesting higher
levels of self-esteem.
Quality of life. The fourth section assessed 10
dimensions of quality of life as developed by the World
Health Organization, and this instrument has demon-
strated strong psychometric properties across a wide
range of populations and countries (The WHOQOL
Group, 1998). Each of the dimensions was a 4-item
instrument and used one of two 5-point scales anchored
on satisfaction (1 ¼very satisfied and 5 ¼very dissatis-
fied) or frequency (1 ¼not at all or 5 ¼an extreme
amount). Values could range from 4 to 20, with higher
values suggesting higher levels of that dimension. The
10 dimensions included were in 6 different facets of
quality of life. The physical facet included three dimen-
sions consisting of energy and fatigue, sexual satisfac-
tion, and sleep and rest. The psychological facet
included three dimensions consisting of positive
feelings, negative feelings, and body image. The social
relationships facet included one dimension consisting
of social support. The environment facet included
one dimension consisting of financial resources. The
spirituality=religion=personal beliefs facet included one
dimension of spirituality. Last, there was one dimension
concerning overall quality of life and general health
Alcohol and drug use. The fifth section assessed
alcohol and drug use. Alcohol use was assessed using
the Short Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (SMAST),
which has demonstrated strong reliability and validity
across a range of samples (Selzer, Vinokur, & Van Rooi-
jan, 1975). SMAST is a 13-item list of common signs
and symptoms of alcoholism. Participants indicate (true
or false) whether they have ever experienced each symp-
tom of problem drinking during their lifetime. Item
scores are equally weighted and added together to form
a total score, which can range from 0 to 13, with higher
values indicating problem drinking. The customary
cutoff of 3 or more was used to indicate a clinically
significant history of alcohol problems (e.g., Chang,
2004). Drug use was assessed using the 15-item TCU
Drug Screen (Knight, Simpson, & Hiller, 2002), which
has demonstrated high levels of reliability and validity
in both community and correctional settings. The 15
drug categories included alcohol, inhalants (glue, spray
paint, liquid paper, etc.), marijuana, hallucinogens (LSD,
PCP, mushrooms, psychedelics, etc.), ecstasy, crack,
cocaine, heroin, street methadone, other opiates (opium,
morphine, Demerol, etc.), methamphetamine (speed,
ice), other amphetamines (uppers, diet pills, etc.), tran-
quilizers (Librium, Valium, etc.), barbiturates, and other
sedatives (hypnotics, Quaaludes). Participants were
asked if they had ever used the drug. The second section
examined drug use during the past six months and asked
individuals how often they used each of the 15 categories
of drugs during the last six months on a 5-point
scale (0 ¼never and 4 ¼about every day); thus, higher
numbers indicated more drug use.
Data collection from the pornography actresses
occurred for four months. Flyers detailing the study that
mentioned the incentive were posted in the reception
area of the waiting room of AIM. All clients that visited
AIM were required to check in at the reception desk
where the flyers were in full view. When clients checked
in, staff at the reception area informed them of the study,
encouraged individuals to participate, and referred all
interested parties to the chief medical officer. If inter-
ested, the chief medical officer provided further details
of the study and gave the self-administered question-
naire. Participants were first provided with a consent
form and ensured that there was no way to match their
identity with their responses. The participants com-
pleted the questionnaire in the waiting room prior to
receiving services. After completion of the question-
naire, participants gave the survey to the staff at the
reception area.
The matched sample data collection began after the
data collection from the porn actresses was completed
in order to match them on the basis of age, ethnicity,
and marital status. A checklist was created specifying
the exact number of females of a certain age, ethnicity,
and marital status that were necessary to acquire an
exact matched sample using those three factors. The
matched sample participants were rejected or accepted
based on those quotas. Initial sampling was conducted
at several university settings where specific criteria (i.e.,
age, ethnicity, and marital status) were listed as a
requirement to participate. Four data collectors initially
recruited participants at the university using the three
criteria; students were given extra credit in a class for
their participation. For those cases that remained
unmatched, the same data collectors were provided
access at a regional airport where they used a screening
process to identify individuals who met the criteria and
agreed to participate in the study. There was no incen-
tive provided to respondents at the airport, although it
was believed that the airport setting would provide an
environment with access to a variety of women who
had time available to complete a survey. Data collectors
approached individuals on the basis of their assumed
ethnicity and estimated age, stated that they were
recruiting subjects for a study, and explained that a
matched sample was required for the project, thus stres-
sing the importance of the demographic information.
The matched sample did not know that the questions
were being asked of pornography performers. If inter-
ested, participants were asked their age and marital
status. To confirm the appropriate marital status and
ethnicity categorizations, potential participants were
given a list of the six categories of marital status and
five categories of ethnicity so they could identify the
appropriate categories of their relationship status and
ethnicity. After the participants agreed to complete
the instrument, the data collectors left the respondents
with two large folders; one contained several completed
consent forms and the other contained several com-
pleted questionnaires. This was done to reassure parti-
cipants that there was no way to match their identity
with their responses. Upon completion of the question-
naire, participants were instructed to put each portion
of the survey in its respective folder and return the
folders to the data collector, who was waiting at a
distance. This process continued until an exact matched
sample was achieved. Of the women who were
approached and met the demographic criteria, 29%
agreed to participate.
Data Analysis
The analyses consisted of a series of independent t-
tests, chi-square tests, logistic regressions, and a discri-
minant analysis. For sexual behaviors and attitudes,
self-esteem, quality of life, SMAST scores, and drug
use during the past six months, independent t-tests were
conducted. Two of the behavioral measures in the sexual
behaviors and attitudes domain (i.e., sexual orientation
and CSA) and problematic alcohol use were categorical;
thus, chi-square analyses were conducted. Examination
of the 15 categories of lifetime drug use used a series
of logistic regression analyses to examine group differ-
ences if a particular drug was ever used. To test the
robustness of the findings, a discriminant analysis was
used to select factors most important in predicting
group membership.
Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes
There were 10 items examined in this domain, of
which 5 related to behaviors and 5 related to attitudes.
Sexual orientation was the first factor examined. How-
ever, because only three women identified as lesbian
(one porn actress and two in the matched sample), those
cases were eliminated from the chi-square analysis; thus,
sexual orientation had two categories. There was a sig-
nificant finding for sexual orientation, v
(1) ¼131.93,
p<.001. Among actresses, 32.9% were heterosexual
and 67.1% were bisexual, whereas among the matched
sample, 92.9% were heterosexual and 7.1% bisexual.
Clearly, there were more bisexuals among the porn
actresses and more heterosexuals among the comparison
group. A chi-square test was also conducted on the
question regarding CSA. There was no significant differ-
ence on this item; 36.2% of actresses reported being vic-
tims of CSA, whereas 29.3% of the matched sample
indicated they were victims.
The three other behavioral measures of sexual beha-
vior included age of first intercourse, total number of
lifetime sexual partners, and number of sexual partners
during the past 12 months. For descriptive data on sex-
ual behaviors and attitudes, refer to Table 1. Porn
actresses first had sex at an earlier age, had more sexual
partners during their lifetime, and had more sexual part-
ners during the past year compared to the matched com-
parison group. Porn actresses had significantly more
sexual partners in their private lives during their
Table 1. Comparisons of Pornography Actresses and the Matched Sample on Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes
Porn Actresses Matched Sample
Question N M SD N M SD t
Age of first intercourse 177 15.12 2.80 165 17.28 2.32 7.72
Number of lifetime sexual partners 162 74.76 159.64 171 5.18 5.56 5.70
Number of sexual partners in the past year 168 9.64 18.80 173 1.46 2.32 5.71
Ideal experience of a partner 102 21.40 51.68 157 3.43 3.96 4.34
Concerned about catching an STD 173 8.30 2.67 177 5.86 3.62 7.15
Probability of catching an STD 173 62.71 27.71 176 60.13 24.72 .92
Enjoy sex 174 9.40 1.19 168 8.28 1.90 6.64
Likelihood of using a condom 174 83.06 29.60 176 87.57 26.43 1.50
lifetimes and in the past year compared to the matched
sample. The data were skewed for sexual partners (both
lifetime partners and partners within the past year)
across both samples, so medians were calculated, which
were 20 and 4 for the actresses and 3 and 1 for the
matched sample, respectively. It should be noted that
the sexual partners for the porn actresses did not include
partners during their work.
There were five attitudinal questions regarding sexu-
ality, including the ideal number of prior partners in a
long-term romantic partner, concern about contracting
an STD, probability someone would contract an STD
if not practicing safe sex, enjoyment of sex, and likeli-
hood of using a condom if having heterosexual sex with
someone for the first time. First, porn actresses were
more permissive by wanting their ideal partner to have
more sexual experience compared to the matched sam-
ple. It should be pointed out that the question regarding
the ideal number of partners is an underestimate for the
actresses. Specifically, 75 actresses (42%) did not offer a
numerical value for that question. Those who did not
provide a numerical value typically offered remarks such
as ‘‘Don’t care,’’ ‘‘Whatever,’’ ‘‘Unlimited as long as
they are safe,’’ or ‘‘As many as they want.’’ Thus, nearly
half of the sample did not have a limit on the number of
prior sexual partners by a current romantic partner. In
contrast, only 11 (i.e., 6.2%) participants in the matched
sample provided a response of 10 or greater, and not a
single individual provided a response indicating she
did not care=unlimited. Of those participants in both
groups who did provide values, they preferred to have
partners with less experience than they had. Specifi-
cally, porn actresses had an average of 74 lifetime sexual
partners but preferred a partner with 21, whereas
women in the matched sample had 5 and preferred a
partner with 3. Further examination showed that 31
(18%) of porn actresses and 136 (77%) of the matched
sample preferred an ideal partner to have 5 or fewer
prior sexual partners. Second, porn actresses were more
concerned about contracting an STD compared to the
matched sample. Third, the porn actresses’ ratings of
enjoyment of sex were higher than the comparison
group. In fact, 119 (69%) porn actresses marked a 10
as their enjoyment of sex, and 3 (1.7%) responded with
a value of 5 or less. In contrast, 58 (32.8%) marked a
10, and 21 (11.9%) responded with a value of 5 or less
in the matched sample.
There was a significant difference between the groups on
self-esteem, t(332) ¼4.80, p<.001, with the porn actresses
reporting higher self-esteem (M¼34.69, SD ¼5.56) com-
pared to the matched sample (M¼31.82, SD ¼5.24).
Quality of Life
The third domain examined 10 indicators covering
physical, psychological, social, environmental, and spiri-
tual aspects of quality of life. For descriptive data on
quality of life measures, refer to Table 2. There were sig-
nificant differences between the groups on sexual satisfac-
tion, positive feelings, social support, and spirituality. In
each case, porn actresses had higher scores than the
matched sample.
Drug and Alcohol Use
The SMAST was examined in two ways. First, the
scores were summed and the total scores were compared
across groups; this did not yield a significant diff-
erence, with both groups having means less than 2
(porn actresses M¼1.45, SD ¼2.14; matched sample
M¼1.24, SD ¼1.63). Another way to look at the
SMAST is to use 3 as a criterion. More specifically,
scores of 3 or higher are indicative of an alcohol prob-
lem. Thus, the total SMAST scores were categorized
into low (less than 3) and high (3 or greater) levels. A
chi-square test indicated a significant relationship,
(1) ¼4.31, p<.05, with more porn actresses (23.7%)
having a history of alcohol problems compared to the
matched sample (14.5%). In terms of drug use, porn
Table 2. Comparisons of Pornography Actresses and the Matched Sample on Quality of Life Dimensions
Porn Actresses Matched Sample
Question N M SD N M SD t
Energy 173 13.57 1.80 175 13.40 1.81 .89
Sleep 170 14.26 2.31 176 14.07 1.91 .82
Sexual satisfaction 171 14.07 1.88 171 13.52 2.04 2.60
Positive feelings 162 15.38 2.94 166 14.45 2.87 2.91
Negative feelings 173 8.51 3.37 175 8.93 3.06 1.22
Body image 173 13.77 2.02 175 13.63 1.94 .65
Social support 174 12.06 2.14 175 11.66 1.54 2.03
Financial 173 13.28 2.31 175 13.00 2.24 1.15
Spirituality 175 15.60 3.80 176 13.98 3.88 3.95
Overall quality of life 173 10.57 2.18 175 10.46 1.82 .51
p<.05. p<.01. p<.001.
actresses were more likely to have used 10 of the drugs
(i.e., marijuana, hallucinogens, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin,
other opiates, methamphetamine, tranquilizers, barbitu-
rates, and other sedatives) compared to the matched
sample (refer to Table 3). In each significant finding,
porn actresses were approximately 3 to 9 times more
likely to have tried each of the 10 drugs. Drug use across
the 15 categories during the past six months was also
examined and yielded only one significant difference:
marijuana, t(220) ¼3.73, p<.05, with porn actresses
using more often (M¼1.68, SD ¼1.46) than the com-
parison group (M¼.99, SD ¼1.15). Based on the
self-reports of drug use, it appears that porn actresses
have tried many more different types of drugs compared
to the matched sample, although there was only one sig-
nificant difference related to recent drug use.
Discriminant Analysis
A discriminant analysis was used to predict group
membership (porn actress or matched sample) based
on the measures that were found to be significantly
related to that grouping variable. A stepwise selection
procedure was used which selected the single best dis-
criminating variable, and subsequent variables were
included according to their ability to contribute to
further discrimination. If a factor was found to not dis-
criminate, it was removed and the analysis continued
until only those variables that were found to discrimi-
nate were left. The function of the analysis was to deter-
mine the extent to which the factors best discriminated
between porn actresses and the matched sample. The
factors that were used to predict group membership
included the measures that were found to be significant
at the p<.001 level in the univariate analyses. There
were six predictors used from the sexual behaviors and
attitudes domain, which included sexual orientation,
age of first intercourse, lifetime sexual partners, sexual
partners during the past year, concern about contracting
an STD, and enjoyment of sex. Although the ideal
number of partners was found to be significant at the
p<.001 level, it was not used because of the large
number of missing values. In addition, sexual orien-
tation was used in a dichotomous manner (heterosexual
and bisexual) because of the distribution, as there was
one lesbian in the porn actress group and two in the
matched sample that were not included in the analysis.
The quality of life domain included spirituality. The
drug use domain included six categories of lifetime
drug use, which were marijuana, hallucinogens, ecstasy,
cocaine, methamphetamines, and tranquilizers. Thus,
the analysis simultaneously incorporated 13 predictor
variables. The stepwise discriminant function analysis
generated one significant function: Wilks’s K¼.46;
(8, N¼302) ¼228.53, p<.001, and had a Canonical
R¼.73. Eight variables predicted group membership
(refer to Table 4). The order of importance, in descend-
ing order in terms of successful prediction, were sexual
orientation, concern about contracting an STD, ecstasy
use, enjoyment of sex, age of first intercourse, spiritu-
ality, number of sexual partners in the past year, and
methamphetamine use. Classification results revealed
that these eight variables were able to correctly predict
group membership in 83.4% of all cases. Accuracy was
74.4% for the porn actresses and 92.9% for the matched
sample. The findings suggest that the eight variables
were useful as predictive factors in discriminating
between porn actresses and the matched sample.
The results of this study were used to examine the
damaged goods hypothesis, which is the general public
Table 3. Comparisons of Pornography Actresses and the Matched Sample on Lifetime Drug Use
Porn Actresses Matched Sample
Drug f%f% Wald Odds Ratio (95% CI)
Alcohol 168 94.9 164 92.7 .77 1.48 (.62, 3.56)
Inhalants 18 10.2 10 5.6 2.42 1.89 (.85, 4.22)
Marijuana 139 78.5 85 48.0 33.73 3.96 (2.49, 6.30)
Hallucinogens 69 39.0 23 13.0 28.65 4.23 (2.51, 7.28)
Ecstasy 89 50.3 18 10.2 56.79 8.93 (5.06, 15.79)
Crack 16 9.0 7 4.0 3.57 2.41 (.97, 6.02)
Cocaine 78 44.1 26 14.7 34.01 4.58 (2.75, 7.63)
Heroin 17 9.6 4 2.3 7.25 4.60 (1.51, 13.95)
Street methadone 7 4.0 2 1.1 2.51 3.60 (.74, 17.59)
Other opiates 28 15.8 9 5.1 9.88 3.51 (1.60. 7.67)
Methamphetamine 48 27.1 10 5.6 24.80 6.21 (3.03, 12.75)
Other amphetamines 47 26.6 33 18.6 3.14 1.58 (.95, 2.61)
Tranquilizers 46 26.0 10 5.6 23.31 5.91 (2.87, 12.16)
Barbiturates 13 7.3 3 1.7 5.514.60 (1.29, 16.43)
Other sedatives 15 8.5 5 2.8 4.813.19 (1.13, 8.96)
p<.05. p<.01. p<.001.
perception that pornography actresses are victims of
CSA, psychologically unhealthy, and use drugs. These
negative views of actresses in the adult entertainment
industry are widespread (Evans-DeCicco & Cowan,
2001; MacKinnon, 1993), although stereotypes of por-
nography actresses have not been systematically exam-
ined because of the lack of access to performers. The
current study examined those claims by comparing
self-reports of porn actresses to a matched sample, and
the results did not provide support for the damaged
goods hypothesis.
Examination of sexual behaviors and attitudes
resulted in distinct differences between the groups. For
example, women in pornography were much more likely
to identify as bisexual compared to the matched sample.
The literature on sexual fluidity (Diamond, 2008) sug-
gests that it is common for women who initially ident-
ified as heterosexual to develop same-sex sexual
attractions and interests as they grow older and are
exposed to situational factors that may facilitate
same-sex attraction. This development is often related
to an increased awareness of sexual fluidity over time
and situational circumstances and opportunities. There
is evidence that women’s attraction has a capacity for
change over time and situations (Diamond 2003a,
2003b; Weinberg, Williams, & Pryor, 1994). It has also
been reported that some women engage in sexual beha-
vior that is counter to their stated attractions and iden-
tities (Diamond 2003a, 2003b; Rust, 1992; Weinberg
et al., 1994). In other words, some women who identified
as heterosexual had sex with women. These behaviors
may have been in response to changes in their attrac-
tions, environments, and relationships. Given that por-
nography offers many opportunities for same-sex
experimentation for female performers, it is possible
that the adult entertainment industry acts as a facilitator
of sexual fluidity by providing a supportive culture of
same-gender sexual interactions and offers financial
rewards for engaging in those behaviors. It is not clear
if porn actresses who indicated they were bisexual
actually identified as bisexual or indicated that they were
bisexual because they engaged in bisexual behavior. It
may be the case that some performers engaged in bisex-
ual behavior for work and in their private lives,
whereas others may have only engaged in bisexual or
same-gender sex for work and maintained heterosexual
relationships in their private lives. In addition, the study
did not address whether actresses self-identified as bisex-
ual prior to entering the pornography business. Examin-
ing the sexual fluidity of actresses in pornography would
be an ideal setting given the opportunities for bisexual
behavior, but it would be a challenging task given the
limited accessibility to female performers.
Pornography actresses also first had sex at an earlier
age, had more sexual partners, were more permissive
with regard to number of prior partners of an ideal part-
ner, were more concerned about contracting an STD,
and liked sex more, compared to the matched sample.
Although porn actresses reported first having sex at an
earlier age than the matched sample, the self-reports
of age of first intercourse provided by the porn act-
resses are similar to what has been reported recently
(i.e., 15; Wells & Twenge, 2005) in the general popu-
lation. Another finding was that women in pornography
had more sexual partners in their lifetime and in the past
year compared to the matched sample. In fact, on aver-
age, porn actresses had more sexual partners in one year
than a typical woman has in a lifetime (Laumann,
Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994), whereas the distri-
bution of sexual partners reported by the matched com-
parison during the past year and lifetime was similar to
findings from a recent national study (Chandra,
Mosher, Copen, & Sionean, 2011). The majority of porn
actresses were not married, reported a very high enjoy-
ment of sex, and may have had ample opportunities
for partners (e.g., others in the adult entertainment
industry with whom they have not worked), which
may account for the high number of sexual partners.
Abbott (2000) indicated that pornography offered an
ideal setting in which to violate social norms of sexuality
Table 4. Standardized Function Coefficients and Correlations
Variable Standardized Function Coefficient Correlation Coefficients with Function
Sexual orientation .62 .70
Age of first intercourse .23 .70
Number of lifetime sexual partners .28
Number of sexual partners in the past year .18 .29
Concerned about contracting an STD .40 .42
Enjoy sex .24 .31
Spirituality .19 .22
Marijuana .22
Hallucinogens .30
Ecstasy .29 .38
Cocaine .30
Methamphetamines .18 .17
Tranquilizers .28
Note. Higher function and correlation coefficients indicate that the variables are more consistent with the generated function.
with limited or no criticisms. Specifically, female
performers have many opportunities for sex in their
private lives as a result of being involved in the por-
nography industry, and individuals involved in norm-
violating subcultures are likely to have nontraditional
views toward sex and sexuality. Porn actresses were also
more permissive regarding the experience level of an
ideal long-term partner. If actresses have more sexual
partners, it follows that they should be more accepting
of others who also have more sexual partners (Milhausen
& Herold, 1999). Supporting prior findings, both groups
preferred their ideal partner to have less sexual experi-
ence than they had (Oliver & Sedikides, 1992; Sprecher,
Regan, McKinney, Maxwell, & Wazienski, 1997). It was
also found that porn actresses were more concerned
about contracting an STD compared to the matched
sample. This finding is fairly intuitive because the
actresses had many more sexual partners compared to
their counterparts. In addition, porn actresses are
required to have STD tests every month to legally work
as a performer in the pornography industry; thus, they
are faced with the reality of contracting an STD and
dealing with that possibility more often.
One of the most common stereotypes regarding porn
actresses is that they are victims of CSA. The current
study found no differences in reported history of CSA
between the groups; further, both groups had rates
within the range (i.e., 20% to 40%) of those reported
in community surveys (Bartoi & Kinder, 1998; Briere
& Elliott, 2003; Kinzl, Traweger, & Biebl, 1995; Meston,
Heiman, & Trapnell, 1999; Randolph & Mosack, 2006)
and less than studies on prostitutes (e.g., Potter, Martin,
& Romans, 1999; Widom & Kuhns, 1996) that reported
CSA rates ranging from 60% to 73%. MacKinnon
(1993) claimed that all pornography actresses were vic-
tims of CSA, although she had no empirical data to sup-
port her assertion. It is possible, however, that
self-reports of individuals regarding CSA in the por-
nography industry may have been different 20 years
ago when MacKinnon offered her opinion. Based on
indications from a single question about CSA, there
was no evidence that porn actresses had higher levels
of exposure than other women. However, as the mea-
sure was superficial (or limited), the conclusions are
therefore tentative and further research is required.
It was found that porn actresses were not less psycho-
logically healthy compared to the general public. In fact,
the opposite pattern was found, although self-esteem
is only one component of psychological health. This
finding does not support the beliefs held by the general
population found in prior research (e.g., Evans-DeCicco
& Cowan, 2001), which reported that individuals believed
porn actresses were less psychologically healthy com-
pared to women not involved in pornography on a com-
posite measure that included self-esteem. It should be
pointed out that the matched sample did not have low
self-esteem scores. In fact, the matched sample had
self-esteem scores comparable to averages found in other
studies (e.g., Baranik et al., 2008), so it was the case that
the porn actresses had higher scores than the general
population. Some evidence of high self-esteem ratings
that may be related to the current findings were reported
by Herold, Corbesi, and Collins (1994) who found that
women who were topless at a beach had higher self-esteem
than women who were not topless. Topless women
reported a sense of personal freedom, whereas women
who were not topless reported embarrassment. Porn
actresses are typically nude in their scenes and appear in
front of camera crews and audiences who later watch
the movies in which they appear. It is likely that low levels
of embarrassment are experienced among porn actresses,
and being able to be completely naked in front of others
might be associated with an elevated self-esteem.
Although exhibitionism was not measured, that may also
be a common characteristic of porn actresses. For an exhi-
bitionist, performing in an X-rated film may be associated
with an environment where that characteristic is
rewarded. Self-esteem has been conceptualized as the
extent to which one values, approves, or likes oneself
(Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). Thus, if porn actresses
are exhibitionists, it may be the case that performing sex
acts on film are associated with heightened feelings of
self-approval because they may be receiving reinforce-
ment from management, coworkers, and fans, which
may subsequently be related to elevated levels of
Another view of psychological health may be related
to the quality of life findings. Similar to the pattern
found with self-esteem, porn actresses did not have
poorer quality of life scores compared to the matched
sample. There were differences on 4 of the 10 quality
of life measures. In the areas of sexual satisfaction,
positive feelings, social support, and spirituality, the
porn actresses had higher scores than the matched
comparison group. The difference found with sexual
satisfaction provides further validation of the very high
enjoyment of sex as reported by porn actresses in this
study. The social support difference may be a reflection
of the fact that porn actresses are a stigmatized group.
As such, they may spend both their professional and
personal lives with coworkers, as reported by Abbott
(2000), who indicated that the pornography industry
is a cohesive group of like-minded people and many
actresses consider coworkers to be family. Winnick
and Bodkin (2008) suggested that stigmatized groups
may avoid social interaction with out-group members
as a way to manage dealing with the stereotyped beliefs
regarding them. Providing and receiving support within
a stigmatized group such as pornography industry insi-
ders may be associated with higher levels of social sup-
port. This pattern of social support is common among
stigmatized groups and has been reported with other
sex workers, including exotic dancers (Bradley, 2007).
The positive feelings and spirituality differences may
be associated with the high levels of sexual satisfaction.
Prior research (Smith & Horne, 2008) reported a posi-
tive relationship between spirituality and sexual satis-
faction. This sample of pornography actresses
reported a high level of sexual satisfaction, which
may be related to using pornography as a means to
express their sexuality as well as access and opport-
unity to gain experience. In being able to do so, their
sexual expression may be a reflection of their belief sys-
tem regarding sexuality, and that expression may be
related to the elevated positive feelings because they
have found an acceptable outlet and supportive
environment in which they can do what they like to
do. These factors may be associated with each other
such that the porn actresses have chosen a career in
pornography as a way to express their sexuality which
gives meaning to their lives and may be related to them
feeling good about themselves for making that choice.
Overall, pornography actresses had higher scores on
several psychological dimensions and appear to be as
healthy as or healthier than the matched sample.
Porn actresses had a history of more drug use than
the comparison group, but they differed on recent drug
use only on marijuana. Porn actresses were more
likely to have had a problem with alcohol, used 10 more
different types of drugs in their lifetime, and used
marijuana more during the past six months compared
to the matched sample. As a side note, it should be
pointed out that lifetime drug use reported by the
matched sample across categories of drugs was similar
to what was found in a recent national-level study
(Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2011).
One consideration is that drug use differences may be
related to sexual orientation. Approximately two-thirds
of porn actresses reported being bisexual, and prior
studies have reported more drug use among sexual
minorities (e.g., McCabe, Bostwick, Hughes, West, &
Boyd, 2010; Trocki, Drabble, & Midanik, 2009). What
remains unclear, however, is whether drug use occurred
before or after entering the pornography industry. The
TCU scales do not measure chemical dependency; thus,
it is important to recognize that they are not a measure
of drug addiction but only of whether a drug has ever
been used. Interestingly, examination of recent drug
use during the past six months found differences only
on marijuana use, so recent drug use between the
groups was quite similar. It should be pointed out that
all of the actresses were residing in California where
medical marijuana was legal during the data collection;
thus, it is possible that some actresses were using
marijuana legally. Another interpretation of the findings
is that porn actresses may be more likely than other
women to have sensation-seeking personalities. If this
is the case, porn actresses may be prone to indulge
in more experimentation during their lifetime, which
may include drug use and sexual behaviors. Future
work on porn actresses may benefit from examining
personality dimensions of these women, particularly
sensation seeking.
Although this study provides valuable information
on porn actresses, several limitations should be pointed
out. First, random sampling was not used in recruiting
porn actresses or the matched sample, which reduces
the generalizability of the findings. Pornography actress
participation rate is unknown because the size of the
population is largely unknown. AIM tested approxi-
mately 1,200 performers a month, and it was estimated
that there are 1,200 to 1,500 performers working in
Los Angeles County (Kaiser Daily HIV=AIDS Report,
2004), but these numbers fluctuate and there was no
way to distinguish between actresses working for major
production companies, cyberporn sites, or both. Essen-
tially, actresses working for production companies must
be tested once every 28 days to legally work in Los
Angeles County. Others working for cyberporn sites
are not required to get tested but may choose to do so
for different reasons. AIM was one of dozens of facili-
ties where individuals could go for testing. AIM had a
large number of clients from the adult entertainment
industry because the organization had many employees
who had worked in the pornography industry or had
extensive experience with it. There is not a registry where
performers have to be licensed, so there is no accurate
way to calculate exactly how many performers there
are at a given time. It is certainly possible that there
was a self-selection bias such that those who chose to
participate were different from those who chose not to
participate. This is an important methodological issue,
but it should be pointed out that although there has
been interest in the characteristics of pornography
actresses for decades, there has been a lack of studies
because of the difficulty in accessing this population
(Abramovich, 2005). With regard to the matched sam-
ple, university and community samples were combined
to gather a comparison group to control for age, eth-
nicity, and marital status. Although the matched group
may not represent the typical woman because of the
sampling procedures that were used, their responses
were similar to other studies with regard to measures
of sexual behaviors and attitudes (e.g., Breyer et al.,
2010; Lindley, Barnett, Brandt, Hardin, & Burcin,
2008; Wells & Twenge, 2005), self-esteem (e.g., Baranik
et al., 2008), quality of life measures (e.g., The
WHOQOL Group, 1998), and alcohol and drug use
(Johnston et al., 2011). Thus, the matched sample does
appear to be a representative sample of typical responses
of women found in national-level studies.
A second issue has to do with the definition of a porn
actress. The Internet has greatly changed the scope of
pornography in terms of how it is produced, presented,
and viewed. These are all important factors that have
changed since the advent of the widespread availability
of pornography on the Internet. Today, it is possible to
use a camcorder to film oneself having sex, upload it to
the Web, and charge users to view it. Podlas (2000) sug-
gested that a gender power shift has occurred because of
the Internet such that women who emigrated from the
traditional sex industry now operate successful cyberporn
sites where they have gained more control of salary, work
environment, and flexibility in scheduling. The Internet
has created more opportunities for entrepreneurial
women interested in a career in pornography and may
represent an economically rational career choice for some
women (Podlas, 2000; Strossen, 1995). The characteristics
of women who run their own cyberporn sites may be dif-
ferent from actresses who are hired by production compa-
nies. Thus, the findings from this study should not be
extrapolated to all female sex industry performers.
Third, some of the measures were problematic. Some
measures used for sexual behaviors and attitudes were
single-item indicators with unknown validities and reli-
abilities. As an example, participants were asked if they
were victims of CSA without further clarifications or
definitions. Thus, it is quite possible that a given beha-
vior in a particular situation may have been perceived
as CSA by one individual but not by another. Another
issue with regard to measures is that education was
not examined. Education has been found to be related
to a variety of sex-related constructs and would have
been a sound matching variable, and its inclusion should
be strongly considered in future studies.
This study represented a systematic investigation that
reported responses of porn actresses across a variety of
domains and compared them to a matched sample.
The characteristics of porn actresses have been largely
assumptive, although much debate has surrounded the
issue. Perhaps this study can provide some information
that can be used to make informed decisions regarding
porn actresses, rather than rely on stereotypes from
sources lacking empirical data. Assumed stereotypes
concerning this group of individuals were not found,
as the damaged goods hypothesis was not supported.
The majority of indicators of recent functioning sug-
gested that porn actresses are not impaired compared
to the matched sample with regard to CSA rates, quality
of life, self-esteem, and recent drug use, and that they
appear more similar to women not employed as porn
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... One set of particularly strong assumptions, the Damaged Goods Hypothesis, is the belief that female performers are more likely to have been sexually abused in childhood, have more psychological problems, and use more drugs compared to other women. Although this hypothesis could not be confirmed by Griffith et al (2013a), stigma often prevails despite a lack of evidence. This can be especially problematic for those performers who are active on social media, as it puts them at risk for cyberbullying which can negatively impact mental health severely (Alhajji et al, 2019), going as far as being related to suicide attempts (Hinduja and Patchin, 2010). ...
... While Grudzen et al (2011) clearly find worse mental health and a higher incidence of having suffered through adverse experiences in female porn performers, two other studies (Griffith et al, 2012, Griffith et al, 2013b do not show similar findings. Further, another relevant study by Griffith et al (2013a) was not among the results within the searched databases. The authors compared the responses of female performers to a matched sample from the general population and find no evidence for poorer mental health in performers. ...
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Purpose: Much has been debated about the impact pornography has on the health of those who consume it. But how is it affecting the people starring in it? Performing in porn is a unique profession which requires a person to have sex with other–often unfamiliar–people in front of a camera for a living comes with various kinds of stigma, and is accompanied by several health risks for professionals and amateurs. This brief report aims to compile available evidence on the mental health of performers in porn. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses the PRISMA approach to systematically review existing research from health sciences and psychology to provide an overview of what is known about mental health in porn performers. Findings: Only three US studies examine the topic and none of them are recent, which may be because of porn performers being a population which has been described as hard to reach for researchers. The existing knowledge on performers’ mental health is inconclusive at best, but points towards significantly poorer mental health and higher prevalence of mental disorders in some, but not others. New general research on the topic is needed to close this gap; more importantly, granular investigation into which populations are at risk of developing poor mental health and because of which circumstances are needed as a basis to support vulnerable performers. Social implications: The lack of insights into the mental health of performers may be related to prevailing stigma. This should be investigated. No sufficient evidence exists to inform policy which could improve performers’ mental health or prevent mental ill-health. Originality/value: To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first systematic review compiling existing evidence on mental health of porn performers. An approach to address the lack of research is proposed.
... An unknown number of people produce amateur porn or work independently of the major studios, and relatively little is known about them. We do know that approximately 1,200 to 1,500 performers are employed by 200 porn production companies in the Los Angeles area, 38 yet only a handful of researchers have interviewed porn actors, directors, or producers or conducted observations at film production sets. This means that the (usually negative) depictions of those involved in the pornography industry are rarely based on anything more than anecdotal tidbits. ...
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This book presents thought-provoking research and data about pornography that will prompt readers to reconsider their positions on a highly controversial and current issue. Why do people use pornography? Is porn addiction a fact or myth? What is revenge porn and is it illegal? Can pornography be more diverse? This interdisciplinary collection presents well-researched facts and up-to-date data that encourage informed discussion about controversial and relevant issues in contemporary society. Chapters address topics such as the history and cultural trends of pornography, labor and production practices in creating porn, the effects of technology, current issues in obscenity law, and myths and facts about the effects of pornography. New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law challenges assumptions about this popular yet controversial industry. Contributors include top scholars from media studies, sociology, psychology, gender studies, criminology, politics, and the law. This book provides a comprehensive overview of pornography that will help students, educators, and general readers deepen their understanding of this provocative subject.
... Pornography has long been a contentious issue, but there hasn't been much research done on the people who work in this industry. A study by Griffith et al. (2013), which examined whether pornographic actresses were 'damaged goods', received big attention. ...
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Love/sex and self-esteem are two basic human psychological needs. These two topics have been addressed worldwide across various disciplines from ancient times until now. This current research reviews modern psychological and sexual research on the relationship between love/sex and self-esteem. The findings show that there are complex relationships between love/sex and self-esteem (mutual effect, exchange, moderation/mediation with other factors) at individual and interpersonal levels that need more effort in the future to clarify. Moreover, there has been a wide range of inconsistency in findings regarding the existence, the extent, the relevance to other factors of the investigated relationship. The review provides a discussion on what potential factors may lead to those inconsistent findings and how to apply the relationships of love/sex and self-esteem in building and maintaining a satisfactory and happy state for our mental and sexual health.
“Sex work” involves the exchange of sexual services or performances for material compensation. This entry examines research on pornography, strip clubs, and different kinds of prostitution.
“Sex work” involves the exchange of sexual services or performances for material compensation. This entry examines research on pornography, strip clubs, and different kinds of prostitution.
Modern pornography performers face a variety of different and rapidly changing working conditions and have a range of obstacles to navigate in order to stand out from their peers and attain stardom. As well as learning on-set skills that focus on sexual activity, performers need to quickly develop a range of skills offset, from branding to social media management. However, one aspect that also needs analysis is the relationship between performers and their fans. In my doctoral research into the experiences of women working in pornography, performers outlined some of the positive and negative aspects of maintaining an accessible relationship with fans. These relationships included both online and real-life interactions at expos such as the AVN expo in Las Vegas. While some performers noted that fans flew across the world to meet them, others revealed disturbing interactions tinged with violence. These interactions ranged from physical violence to stalking and family harassment. This behaviour of ‘trophy hunting’ from fans will be discussed in the context of exploring labour conditions and the management of the identity of ‘porn star’ that performers navigate.
Most pornography research has examined negative consequences of use among heterosexual men. Scant research has explored the benefits of using pornography among women, though research does indicate several potential benefits, including increased sexual self-esteem, sexual knowledge, and sexual communication. Research suggests that women may maximize these benefits when they perceive pornography to be authentic. To more fully understand the importance and perceptions of authenticity in pornography, we analyzed qualitative interviews with 24 women in the U.S. who reported recent pornography use. Ages ranged from 22 to 53 (M = 30.33, SD = 6.91), 62.5% were white, and most (79.2%) reported a sexual identity other than heterosexual. Thematic analyses indicated that authenticity was important for most women’s enjoyment of pornography, partially via its utility in reducing guilt and emotional labor (i.e., the work needed to enjoy or believe the content). Furthermore, women’s intersectional identities, such as race and sexual orientation, influenced their experiences of guilt and emotional labor. Finally, women determined authenticity within pornography in three primary ways: analyzing appearance, performance, and intimacy. Results suggest research, clinical, and educational opportunities to support women’s sexual exploration and pleasure via engagement with pornography.
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This paper aims to dissect how a pornstar comes about. The adult film industry is faces backlash for causing immorality in society. The expression of female sexuality is frowned upon and stigmatized. Such inhibitory mechanisms constrain woman's power in society. Mia Malkova is the subject of this paper because her rise to fame correlates with deviation to patriarchal constraints of female sexuality and emancipation of female sexuality.
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Although it is typically presumed that heterosexual individuals only fall in love with other-gender partners and gay-lesbian individuals only fall in love with same-gender partners, this is not always so. The author develops a biobehavioral model of love and desire to explain why. The model specifies that (a) the evolved processes underlying sexual desire and affectional bonding are functionally independent; (b) the processes underlying affectional bonding are not intrinsically oriented toward other-gender or same-gender partners; (c) the biobehavioral links between love and desire are bidirectional, particularly among women. These claims are supported by social-psychological, historical, and cross-cultural research on human love and sexuality as well as by evidence regarding the evolved biobehavioral mechanisms underlying mammalian mating and social bonding.
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Both pro-pornography and anti-pornography advocates have used the attributed characteristics and motivations of women working in pornography to justify their political stands. What are the beliefs about and stereotypes of pornography stars? Are they seen as actors or as prostitutes having sex for money? This study investigated college students' stereotypes of female pornography stars relative to those of female movie stars, prostitutes, and women in general. The sample consisted of 160 female and 99 male college student volunteers. Participants gave percentage estimates on traits, behaviours, and work-related motivations of members of the four groups. Across all measures, pornography stars were seen as between movie stars (and women in general) and prostitutes, more negatively than movie stars and women in general, but more positively than prostitutes. Attitudes toward the harm of pornography and the importance of free speech were related to stereotypes of pornography stars.
What do porn films tell us about our own erotic impulses? What can we learn about our culture's sexual attitudes, fears, and fantasies from the ways that porn films are designed and produced?.