Homo Consumericus

The nature and nurture of consumption

Why Do Women Become Porn Actresses?

I do it for the money, sex, and attention

In a 2012 article published in International Journal of Sexual Health, James D. Griffith, Lea T. Adams, Christian L. Hart, and Sharon Mitchell asked 176 porn actresses to describe the reasons that drove them to their profession, as well as their likes and dislikes of their chosen career. The responses were coded and categorized, and the frequencies were tabulated into three tables (Tables 1, 2, and 3 on pages 170, 172, and 173 respectively). The response categories along with their percentages are shown below. The percentages add up to more than 100 because respondents could list multiple motives, likes, and dislikes.

Reasons for Getting Into Porn

Money                       53

Sex                           27

Attention                  16

Fun                          11

Related Industry        7

Acquaintance            7

Chance/Confusion    6

Creative Expression 5

Personal Growth      4

Disliked Prior Job    4

Coercion                <1

 

List of Likes

Money                            41

People                            39

Sex                                 21

Freedom/Independence 18

Attention                         13

Fun                                   8

Creative Expression         7

Personal Fulfillment         4

Rebellion                          1

 

List of Dislikes

People                           39

STD Risks                      29

Exploitation                    20

Work Conditions            10

Social Stigma                  7

Drugs                              7

Politics                            6

Discomfort                      4

Outside Relationships    2

Notwithstanding the potential bias that might be inherent in such self-reporting, the findings cast doubt on the stereotype of the exploited, abused, and broken woman forced into porn servitude. The results discussed here are in line with those that I reported in an earlier article that seemed to dispel the notion that porn actresses were “damaged goods” albeit it is instructive to note that the former porn actor Dave Pounder suggested otherwise when I interviewed him last summer.

These cumulative findings pit two opposing camps of feminists against one another (see my earlier Psychology Today article The Pros and Cons of Feminism). Is the proper position the one that seeks to emancipate women from the clutches of “porn patriarchy”? Alternatively, would such protection not be a form of benevolent sexism (as it assumes that women need protecting) and as such women should be free to choose their vocations as they see fit?  Ah the quandary!   For critiques of the nonsense inherent to benevolent sexism, see my earlier Psychology Today articles titled The Acronym of Benevolent Sexism is BS: The Linguistic Irony is Delicious, and Exploring the Items Used to Measure Benevolent Sexism.

Finally, see the links below for some of my other Psychology Today articles on porn-related topics:

Obama Got Re-elected, Time for Some Porn!

Unrealistic Depictions of Women’s Genitalia in Porn Movies?

Which Types of Images Drive Sales of Porn DVDs?

Men: Reject Porn and Embrace 'Positive' Erotica?

Money Shots, Masturbation, and Sperm Motility

Pornography: Beneficial or Detrimental?

 

Please consider following me on Twitter (@GadSaad).

 

Source for Image:

http://bit.ly/1jRZejL

 

Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing at Concordia University and author of The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption and The Consuming Instinct.

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