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“I Thought I was Keeping Marriages Together”: True Stories from a Former Porn Performer

By November 9, 2018 December 4th, 2018 No Comments
TRIGGER WARNING
The following post contains descriptions of pornographic and abusive scenarios.

Some seek it out on their computer or phone. Others see it accidentally through pop-ups and online ads. Others still are shown it by their friends. These are the ways kids usually see porn for the first time.

However, that wasn’t how it happened for a former porn performer, “Emily”—not her real name—who we recently sat down with for an exclusive interview.

Here’s her story.

A childhood of porn, exploitation, and being sold for sex

We’re protecting Emily’s identity because she’s literally and consistently been threatened since she left the porn industry. But she wants her story to be told, nonetheless.

From a young age, porn was part of Emily’s everyday life due to her parents’ open habits. Her mother showed her porn multiple times, normalizing graphic material and making Emily believe commodified sexuality was casual.

“By first grade, my 10-year-old sister and I thought it was normal to strip for our neighbor’s kids,” Emily said. “These kids also posed a younger boy and me together to take nude pictures like what is common in the movies.”

Related: 10 Popular Ex-Porn Performers Reveal The Brutal Truth Behind Their Most Famous Scenes

Even the involvement of Child Protective Services (CPS)—a government service that provides protection for children who are at risk of, or are experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or emotional or physical neglect—didn’t stop Emily from “finding [porn] that would ‘magically’ reappear after the CPS had left.”

When Emily turned 18, her friends and the pimp they introduced her to would sell her to other couples “to help [the couples] connect,” or to women who would use Emily to “keep their husband around.” This was her introduction to the commercial sex industry.

“I thought I was doing the world a favor… I thought I was keeping marriages together,” Emily recalled.

Watch: Fight the New Drug’s third documentary episode, “The World,” reveals the reality of porn and exploitation

Introducing Emily, the porn performer

Her friends and the pimp pushed her into more dangerous and disturbing work, so when Emily was approached with the opportunity to enter the porn industry, felt she would be safer because the industry was “supposedly regulated.”

She described the decision as a no-brainer.

“[The] only other option at that time… was to stay in a hotel room not knowing if that would be the night I was murdered. When offered a chance to do porn, I thought, ‘Well, at least if I get killed there will be a witness.’”

It wouldn’t take long for her to see that the sets she would eventually shoot porn on weren’t much different from the hotel rooms where she was sold for sex.

Violence, pedophilia, and masking the pain of the industry

Emily immediately began to see that all aspects of the industry were anything but “normal.”

She directly witnessed and experienced how porn was becoming more and more extreme.

“Because regular sex wasn’t satisfying the buyers anymore, directors would tell me [that] more violent scenes [would sell better]…because they were ‘hotter.’ They would step on a girl’s neck or choke her until she couldn’t feel anymore. They [would] say that pain increases pleasure,” Emily explained.

But violence wasn’t the only surprising violation Emily saw and experienced. She saw how pedophile culture and young teen obsession were influencing the very scenes she was in, too.

A producer Emily knew was compelled to make a porn series portraying teenage-looking girls, even though this producer would break down and cry, due to the fact that “his daughter was [approaching] the age of the girls [who were being] portrayed.”

Related: This Popular Performer Stopped Doing Porn After 3 Months—See What She Says About The Industry, Years Later

And yet he, along with other directors and performers, would still participate in purchasing underaged children in other countries for sex because of how accustomed he was to seeing extreme and fetish-oriented sex, even in the U.S.

In order to disassociate from his work and his use of underage children, the director began to take pain medications to “numb out.”

Emily observed that performers, including herself, faced similar identity crises and would also heavily abuse drugs to “[mask] what they were going through.”

Related: Creating Porn Performers & Ruining Lives: Real Confessions Of An Ex-Porn Producer

The way porn affected producers and performers, such as herself, created an initial alarm for Emily, but what really woke her up to the dangers of the toxic content and the reality of the industry was a phone call she received from a mourning wife whose husband had just committed suicide.

An obsession that turned deadly

A couple of days before she received this call, a male fan had unexpectedly shown up at Emily’s office in Los Angeles with her favorite cookies—bought from her hometown in Arizona—and requested that she sign his porn DVD collection.

Initially flattered, Emily eventually found out from the distraught wife, after the fact, that this fan had stolen his family’s savings and driven from Georgia, through Arizona, to California in order to see her.

Related: WATCH: 5 Ex-Porn Performers Who Are Now Anti-Porn

After arriving home, guilt and shame ravaged the fan as he came to realize how he had used Emily for his own voyeuristic pleasures. More specifically, he had come to see that she was not simply a sex object, but a real person with feelings and hopes and dreams—and when that “reality broke, it was unbearable” for him, according to Emily.

When his wife asked him to unplug the computer and leave his fantasy world behind, his reaction was to kill himself in front of her. He left children behind, as well.

Emily had never known that porn could be so destructive and all-consuming, but she saw it first-hand with this fan and his family.

Related: Popular Male Porn Star Talks About The Difficulty Of Being A Part Of The Industry

As she attempted to process the phone call from the fan’s wife and share with her boss what had just occurred, his response was surprising and cold: “That’s what happens. Get back to work.”

It was at this time that Emily realized she desperately desired something more than “being dehumanized and dehumanizing others.”

She wanted a real life, filled with love.

Where is she now?

Today, Emily is happily married, runs her own gym, and has even gone back to school to earn a master’s degree.

After realizing that her work “actually harm[ed] people, sometimes to the point of death,” Emily decided to ditch porn and never look back.

The truth is, Emily’s experience isn’t unique. We receive and discover stories from porn performers from all over the world, revealing the reality behind the cameras. The porn industry puts up a convincing front that their performers and producers are living their best lives, but more often than not, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

This is why we’re fighting to change the conversation around porn by releasing a three-part documentary series, called Brain, Heart, World, that reveals how porn affects the consumer, relationships, and our society. Check out what expert Taina Bien-Aimé, interviewed in the third episode, “The World,” has to say about how porn and trafficking overlap:

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