The porn industry is built on selling male and female porn stars who are marketed as insatiable sex gods and goddesses. With exaggerated body parts to match their exaggerated performances, viewers of porn are made to believe that these porn stars crave endless sex in extreme ways. Even in interviews, these sex workers maintain that they do porn because they love sex and they can’t get enough of it. Because of this, much of society believes that porn stars are there because they want to to be and that what is being sold on camera is a depiction of pleasure and excitement. In fact, we received a Facebook message that shows how most people view porn stars:

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Porn hurts nobody. They do it because they like to do it. These are the popular perceptions that many people have when it comes to pornography and the performers who produce it. However, perception is not always reality. The fact of the matter is that the porn industry is riddled with violence, drugs, coercion, and disease. It’s true that active porn stars rarely, if ever, speak out due to fear of not getting work or being persecuted, the majority of those very same performers inevitably end up speaking out on their stomach-turning experiences once they leave the industry. These personal accounts are never pretty.

RelatedPopular Male Porn Star Talks About The Difficulty Of Being A Part Of The Industry

The fact is that the porn industry profits off the sexual exploitation of human beings, which means that it’s a shady world of violence, drugs, abuse, and illegal activity. While we raise awareness every day on the harmful effects of porn on viewers, it’s also important to focus on the negative impact that porn has on those who make it as well. Their stories show that porn isn’t only harmful to those who watch it, but it’s harmful to those who make it, too.

The following is a list of former porn stars who had long, successful careers in the porn industry, only to pull the curtain and become some of the top voice against porn after finally being able to break free.

Jessica

Growing up as a preacher’s daughter in a small town in Colorado and working in youth mentoring throughout her early life, Jessica had a clear vision for what she wanted for her future. Then, one day in her early twenties, Jessica became a victim of rape. This traumatic experience and its effects pushed Jessica on a path that would lead her to working in the porn industry.

The allure of fame and fortune led Jessica into a 10-year career in the porn industry. She appeared in over 40 porn films and was one of the most popularly searched porn stars in 2009. Eventually she was able to break out of the harmful life of porn and now she’s living a happier life, but she endured humiliation and degrading shoots for ten years.

Vanessa

The story of ex-porn star Vanessa Belmond, as shown in the BBC Documentary Date My Porn Star, is one that illustrates just how harmful the porn industry is to real human beings. In the documentary, three porn-obsessed men from England are flown to the United States to meet their favorite porn stars and observe the porn industry firsthand. Near the end of their trip, the three men sit down with former porn star Vanessa, whose story exposes the gruesome details of what it’s really like to be a porn star, far from the glamorous front that they have to put on.

*Warning: Viewer discretion advised. Video contains graphic and sexual language. The content may be triggering for some.*

It is important to point out that before this interview, Vanessa, like Jessica and thousands of other porn stars before and after her, had done a great job at putting on a face and acting as her porn star character. In an interview with AntiPornography.org, she stated:

“Like most porn performers, I perpetuated this lie. One of my favorite things to say when asked if I liked doing a particular scene was, “I only do what I like! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it!” (I would say this with a big fake smile and giggle.) What a total lie! I did what I had to do to get “work” in porn. I did what I knew would help me gain “fame” in the industry.”

To the outside world, porn stars have to appear as no-boundaries, sex-loving entertainers that make everything sound so sexually exciting. But as you can tell from Vanessa’s story above, the reality is far different than what is seen on camera, or what even the performer is saying in interviews.

Greg

As far as porn stars go, few have had longer and more successful careers than Greg, a former porn actor and director who appeared in approximately 1,000 adult feature films over the course of a 23-year career. Appearing in his first porn film in 1988, Greg went on to become one of the porn industry’s most successful male actors of all time. He was a 4-time winner of the Adult Video News Best Actor Award and in 2002 was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.

However, it was only after Greg left the porn industry in 2011 that he was able to share the reality of why he started doing porn and how 23 years of doing it deeply affected his life.

It’s important to remember that the harms of porn don’t just fall on female porn stars. Porn degrades human beings and reduces the act of sex to a selfish exchange of physical pleasure. These harmful effects damage the lives of all involved, both performers and viewers.

Shelley

Shelley Lubben was a popular porn star in the 1990s, and appeared in 15 hardcore movies during her short time in the industry. She has since become one of the leading advocates in the world of fighting against porn and raising awareness on its harms. Her story begins the same as many current and former porn stars, who enter the industry as a result of sexual abuse, drug use, prostitution, and coercion.

“I’d been sexually abused at nine years old by a teenage boy and his sister,” Shelley Lubben said in an interview when asked why she joined the industry that years later she would eventually dedicate her life to fighting.  “And then as I got older … my dad kicked me out on the street for being rebellious, and I ended up in San Fernando, LA, which is “Porn Valley,” and a pimp lured me in, and I was very naïve. He lured me in for $35. I had to escape from him because he became very abusive, and then [another pimp] found me, and it just spiraled on.”

*Warning: Viewer discretion advised. Video contains graphic and sexual language. The content may be triggering for some.*

In 2007, Shelley established a faith-based organization called the Pink Cross Foundation, which focuses on reaching out to current porn stars and offering support to those who wish to leave the industry.

Anonymous

We attend many conferences around the country to speak on the harmful effects of pornography and join with other industry leaders in pushing this cause into the light. While at a conference in Washington D.C. a couple years ago, we met a woman who had been in the porn industry and wanted to share her story, but wasn’t ready to show her face. She allowed us to tell her story anonymously. Her experience shows the inseparable link between porn, sexual exploitation, drug use, and sex trafficking. While there is no well-known face or name attached to her story, it still highlights the very real dehumanization of real human beings who fall victim to the porn industry.

What YOU Can Do

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