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10 Ex-Porn Performers Reveal the Brutal Truth Behind Their Most Popular Scenes

Everyone knows about porn, but not everyone knows about the brutal treatment and abuse that performers often go through to create it. Hear from 10 popular performers reveal what it’s really like to be part of the world’s “sexiest” job.

By April 29, 2021July 14th, 2021No Comments
Cover image credit to Getty Images.
TRIGGER WARNING
Frank discussions of abuse are included in this article. Many readers may find the following accounts to be graphic and/or disturbing.

There are many people in our porn-saturated society who think that porn is harmless, personal entertainment.

Many people believe those in the adult entertainment industry love to have sex and get paid for it, why wouldn’t that seem like a dream? No one’s getting hurt when I watch porn, is a common thought pattern many consumers have. And, we get it. Why would you have any reason to believe that the mainstream porn industry is anything less than professional, fun, safe, and sexy?

Regardless of all the overwhelming research and countless personal accounts exposing the reality of trafficking and exploitation in the porn industry, many still buy into the fantasy that the porn industry works to maintain.

Related: 5 Male Ex-Performers Share What It’s Really Like To Do Porn

A lot of people have a similar mindset as this guy who messaged us on Facebook:

“Porn hurts nobody.” “They do it because they like to do it.”

What the average porn consumer might not know is that the industry is filled with sexual violencecoercionand exploitation.

Consider that while active porn performers rarely, if ever, speak out due to fear of being blacklisted in the industry or being discriminated against, many of those same performers end up speaking out on their real experiences once they leave the industry. These personal accounts are very often in stark contrast to our culture’s narrative about porn. And for those who do decide to leave, the porn industry still controls every image and video clip that the person can never get back.

Watch Jessica’s Story – My Life in the Porn Industry

To put an end to the “glamorous” and “sexy” facade that so many people in our society buy from the porn industry, we’ve assembled stories from ten former porn performers and their stomach-turning reflections on their time doing porn. These stories are from a now inactive organization that worked with former performers.

These stories are from women who have left the industry, but if you’d like to read stories from men who were in the industry, click here.

Related: This Anonymous Performer’s Reddit Post About The Realities Of The Porn Industry Is Chilling

*READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED: We did our best to find quotes that weren’t too explicit while still preserving the true nature of the stories. Regardless, many may find the following accounts to be graphic, disturbing, and/or triggering.*

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Alex

“[One particular film] was the most brutal, depressing, scary scene that I have ever done. I have tried to block it out from my memory due to the severe abuse that I received during the filming. The [male performer] has a natural hatred towards women, in the sense that he has always been known to be more brutal than ever needed. I agreed to do the scene, thinking it was less beating except for a punch in the head. If you noticed, [he] had worn his solid gold ring the entire time and continued to punch me with it. I actually stopped the scene while it was being filmed because I was in too much pain.”

*FTND Note: In our research, we found that the obscenity of the film Alex is talking about caused the distributor to forego covering any further releases from the film studio. A critic on a popular porn review site wrote that the film was “one of the most morally repugnant pornographic movies I have seen” and “is the sort of movie that the government would cite when trying to arrest pornographers and outlaw pornography.”


Alexa

“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.”

*FTND Note: Vanessa Belmond (real name) is now outspoken on the harms of the porn industry and has been featured in several news sources. Click here to hear more of her story.


Jessi

“It was the most degrading, embarrassing, horrible thing ever. I had to shoot an interactive DVD, which takes hours and hours of shooting time, with a 104-degree fever! I was crying and wanted to leave but my agent wouldn’t let me, he said he couldn’t let me flake on it. I also did a scene where I was put with male talent that was on my ‘no list.’ I wanted to please them so I did it. He stepped on my head… I freaked out and started bawling; they stopped filming and sent me home with reduced pay since they got some shot but not the whole scene.”


Andi

“After a year or so of that so-called ‘glamorous life,’ I sadly discovered that drugs and drinking were part of the lifestyle. I began to drink and party of out control—cocaine, alcohol, and ecstasy were my favorites. Before long, I turned into a person I did not want to be. After doing so many hardcore scenes, I couldn’t do it anymore. I just remember being in horrible situations and experiencing extreme depression and being alone and sad.”

*FTND Note: Andi left the porn industry in 2010 and joined an organization that is a group of ex-porn performers that speak out on the harms of pornography. However, in 2014, Andi announced on her Twitter page that she was returning to porn.


Regan

“I got the s— kicked out of me… most of the girls start crying because they’re hurting so bad… I couldn’t breathe. I was being hit and choked. I was really upset and they didn’t stop. They kept filming. [I asked them to turn the camera off] and they kept going.”


Anita 

“I have been a performer now for 14 years in the adult film industry in many countries, states…all over the place. I have worked for most of these companies, and I was around for the once-a-month HIV-positive outbreak in ’98. Yes, I was, and I got to see those performers that nobody knows about—that nobody claims that got HIV, that are not a part of the statistics—walk out the door as non-performers, not to be counted. Yeah, there are a lot of cover-ups going on. There is a lot of tragedy. There are a lot of horrible things.”


Jan

“Of course I lied to my fans. I led them to believe I lived a fantasy life that was far from the truth. I fed into their fantasies. I said I wanted sex 24/7 and made it seem like I absolutely loved what I did and was living this happy life. I gave them hope and insight into their relationships by telling them what to do. I started to feel like an important nobody, they knew Elizabeth [the porn star], but they would never care to know Jan [the real me].

I had to do whatever the producer pleased and I had to accept it or else no pay. Sometimes you would get to a gig and the producer would change what the scene was supposed to be to something more intense and again if you didn’t like it, too bad, you did it or no pay.”

*FTND Note: Jan Villarubia (real name) eventually left the porn industry and worked with an organization that helped to rehabilitate former performers, and now independently works on books and documentary features to spread awareness on the harms of the porn industry and help other porn performers get out of the business.


Jessie

“People in the porn industry are numb to real life and are like zombies walking around. The abuse that goes on in this industry is completely ridiculous. The way these young ladies are treated is totally sick and brainwashing. I left due to the trauma I experienced even though I was there only a short time. I hung out with a lot of people in the adult industry, everybody from contract girls to gonzo actresses. Everybody has the same problems. Everybody is on drugs. It’s an empty lifestyle trying to fill up a void. I became horribly addicted to heroin and crack. I overdosed at least three times, had tricks pull knives on me, have been beaten half to death…”


Jenna

“It was torture for seven years. I was miserable, I was lonely, I eventually turned to drugs and alcohol and attempted suicide. I knew I wanted out, but I didn’t know how to get out.”

*FTND Note: Brittni Ruiz (real name) did eventually get out and now uses her story to spread awareness of the harms of the porn industry.


Genevieve

“The abuse and degradation were rough. I sweated and was in deep pain. On top of the horrifying experience, my whole body ached, and I was irritable the whole day. The director didn’t really care how I felt; he only wanted to finish the video.”
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BHW - General

The harms to performers, relationships, and society

No matter the industry, no matter the person, no one deserves to be sexually harassed or assaulted. Mistreatment should never be expected because of a job, even for those who voluntarily enter the porn industry. We can do better than blaming victims of abuse—they deserve better than that. Consider porn’s glamorous perception in society, and how people likely didn’t fully know about the possibility of assault or rape off and on set before signing up to perform in porn.

But the harms of porn aren’t just confined to the ones in front of the camera—they also apply to those behind the screen.

There is a growing body of research that shows how consumers, relationships, and society are all harmed by porn. This isn’t a moral argument, it’s simply something to consider, given the facts. Click here to read more about the proven harmful effects of porn, and make a decision for yourself about whether you want to support and contribute to it.

Related: Joshua’s Story: Why I Left The Porn Industry After Winning Awards And Performing In Over 1,000 Films

Research indicates that while most porn consumers are generally unconcerned about the potential mistreatment of porn performers, about 70% of those who do learn about mistreatment in the porn industry take some form of action to combat it.Tollini, C., & Diamond-Welch, B. (2021). American adult pornography consumers’ beliefs and behaviors related to pornography studios mistreating their performers. Sexuality & Culture, doi:10.1007/s12119-021-09872-3COPY  Now that you understand more about the pervasive mistreatment in the industry, what will you do to combat it?

Those who perform in the porn industry are human beings, and they don’t deserve to be degraded and treated like objects. Part of fighting for love is spreading awareness on the harms of the porn industry, and the lives that it harms. Clicking pornography is contributing to the demand for more stories like these to happen to real people.

Consider before consuming, and fight for real love.

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