At the age of four, Crissy Outlaw was molested and sexually abused—something no child should have to experience. A pattern of abuse continued throughout her childhood and teen years. When she became an adult, various decisions and pressures to please the men in her life led Crissy to start working as a performer in pornography.
Crissy’s experience with childhood sexual abuse is not unique to women in the sex industry. A report from the US National Library of Medicine shows that 66–90% of women in the sex industry experienced sexual abuse as a child.
Crissy performed in pornography for seven years—enduring years of physical and emotional abuse, including surviving several suicide attempts. Her never-ending search for love and approval kept her in the porn industry until she broke free in 2006 and never looked back.
Now, Crissy shares her story in hopes of helping women in different parts of the sex industry break free. She’s shared her story with several news outlets and magazines, including GQ and Playboy.
Porn’s cheap counterfeit for love
In her conversation with Fight the New Drug, Crissy shares vulnerable personal experiences, including what pushed her into the porn industry and how she got out.
Her survival of sexual abuse is, sadly, common for performers in the porn industry. She says that from the hundreds of women she mentored, she doesn’t know of any who weren’t sexually abused as a child.
Crissy blamed herself for the ongoing abuse she endured—especially without an open line of communication or love from her parents at home.
She learned how to dissociate when experiencing the abuse—a coping mechanism that would get her through the abuse she experienced in the industry. She says many other women do the same or turn to drugs, alcohol, or pills.
Crissy describes a pattern of longing for connection and love that carried into her adulthood, but only finding a false sense of it in her relationships and eventually as a porn performer.
A common theme in her romantic relationships was that her partner had a challenge with porn, and she never felt like she was enough. She began to develop false expectations of herself that porn only perpetuated. She even got cosmetic surgery because she didn’t feel adequate.
At age 21, out of revenge, she told her ex that she would one day be like the girls he looked at in porn. She never imagined that statement would come true just a few years later.
After posting bathing suit pictures of herself on dating websites, people started contacting her online to do porn. She had no interest, but when a renowned photographer offered to get her photos in Playboy, she agreed.
When he pressured her to do more on set, she felt she had no choice but to agree and dissociate like she learned to do as a child to survive. She was lured into the industry at a shoot in LA a few months later, where she met and signed with a manager who would coerce and manipulate her for the next seven years.
Crissy shines a powerful light on how, to the viewer, it always appears like the performer wants to be there and that everything is consensual in porn. But she was never herself on set.
The porn industry sells a glamorous fantasy, and those involved in its production tell performers exactly what to do. They edit the final piece to show only the parts they want you to see—but it’s calculated and not reality. She describes crying in some scenes, but those moments never make it into the finished product. People don’t want to know or see your genuine emotion; it distracts from objectification and kills the fantasy.
She also talks about the average time it takes to produce a video—hours, or sometimes days if the man can’t finish due to erectile dysfunction—which is common. She says she was blamed and even beaten when the men couldn’t perform.
Crissy finally breaks free.
Crissy became the fantasy she thought she needed to be, but it wasn’t enough for her romantic partners. Devastated, she realized that the men in her life shopped for women like commodities, objectifying women depending on what they wanted that day—sometimes a brunette, a blonde, a different ethnicity.
It all changed for her when she met a man on set who helped her see that she didn’t have to stay stuck in that life. For the first time, she felt hope. She left the industry and never went back. She eventually learned that the false expectations and toxic comparison porn had instilled in her weren’t healthy, weren’t real, and that she deserved more.
Crissy has been happily married for six years, runs a support group with women who have come out of the sex industry, and travels the world telling her story.
Crissy’s is a story of strength, hope, and the power of real love and connection. Listen to her full episode here on our Consider Before Consuming podcast.
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