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Laura’s Story: My Boyfriend Convinced Me to Do Porn and Webcamming

“I dated a guy who was really into porn. He introduced me to a porn site that he visited often and encouraged me to join and become a model.”

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

Trigger warning: This story discusses suicide ideation that may be triggering for some. Reader discretion is advised.

My name is Laura. I just turned 38 this past June and I live in a small town located in Pennsylvania. I work full-time as an administrative assistant, and in my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and photography.

But my life hasn’t always been this balanced and healthy.

Growing up, I knew that my parents loved me, and my mom was great, but my relationship with my dad wasn’t so great. My dad worked to provide for our family, and working more than a 9-5 job was his way of showing love to our family.

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

But his temper put a wedge between us and kept us from having a good father-daughter relationship, and later in life, that filtered into my dating life and how I viewed what a healthy relationship looked like.

Another thing that also warped my view of relationships was porn—specifically, my time as a porn performer and webcammer.

My start in porn

I was first exposed to porn when I was in middle school through a friend whose dad had some videos, and out of curiosity, we watched it.

It didn’t really phase me much at the time because I knew a lot of my peers watched porn and mostly all the guys I knew also watched it. I just thought it was a normal thing, and not really a big deal.

I just remember thinking that the women involved were doing porn because they were really confident and liked having sex. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I saw firsthand that what I believed about porn was not all true.

In my mid 20’s, I dated a guy who was really into porn, and he wasn’t shy about it. Right off the bat, he introduced me to a porn site that he visited often and encouraged me to join to become a model.

I wasn’t interested at first, but then I thought that if I didn’t he would break up with me, and if I did what he asked, he would love me more.

Related: 5 Real Stories of Trafficked Performers in the Porn Industry

My view of love was not healthy at this point in my life. When I joined, my activity started off pretty slowly, only posting semi-nude photos of myself, but then as time went on, they became more and more explicit until, one day, my ex and I had a fight and I let my emotions push me toward just letting it all out.

I started posting fully nude content and interacting with other members in a more provocative manner. All I wanted was to feel seen, to feel beautiful, to be wanted, and as twisted as it was, I was getting that from this site and that kept me posting more and more.

I had connected with a few of the models and other girls on the site, and something that became very apparent early on was that all the girls I talked to were struggling with something—an abusive relationship, an abusive past, drugs, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, a rough childhood, and the list goes on.

It was really sad, but I could relate to them because of my issues with my dad. I was no stranger to those things. I had struggled with depression pretty heavily and had a few moments where I really wanted my life to end.

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What doing amateur porn was like

Though I had experimented with drugs in the past, drinking was never really something I was into until I got involved in the porn industry. I never felt forced by my ex to be involved in all this, but in my own mind, I felt I needed to in order to keep him in my life.

Once I was on the site for a bit, my ex then encouraged me to become a “camgirl”—someone who does sexual shows via webcam for viewers—which I was hesitant about. When I saw the money you could make, I changed my mind and dove into that as well.

The whole camming experience took my mind to another level and my drinking got worse at that point. I was at a point where I was really disgusted with myself. My ex and I fought a lot, and when we were intimate, I never felt like it was real. I always felt like I was performing or that he was expecting me to be like the other girls on the site and other sites he frequented.

People may think I shouldn’t have stayed with someone like that. While I did, I didn’t know any better because of my male role model growing up and what I believed love, sex, and relationships to be like. I felt completely alone.

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

The only comfort I found was in drinking and the connections I had made with the other girls on the site I was part of.

No one in my life knew about any of this except for my ex and the girls I was connecting with through the industry. Looking back, it’s tough even to believe that was my life for a time, because I am not that girl anymore.

Fast Facts

What led to the end of porn for me

My relationship with my ex ended when he broke things off because I found out he was making connections with other camgirls.

When I confronted him about it, he told me I was crazy and that it wasn’t a big deal. Though that break-up was one of the worst I had gone through, it was a good thing for me.

What I did not expect was the full spectrum of harm that was done to me during this time. At this point, I was still involved with the website, though I had stopped doing the camgirl thing, I was still active on my other profile.

Related: Mia Khalifa’s Story Shows How Predatory the Porn Industry Is

Because the community of struggling women I had grown to know and relate to on this porn site seemed to all be searching for a place to belong and for someone to make them feel wanted, I had come to realize that it wasn’t healthy for me to be surrounded by that mentality all of the time.

I had grown to adopt that perspective—constantly searching for validation from unhealthy places.

One night when I was driving home, I came to a bridge and all I could think about was how badly I wanted to drive my car off the bridge and end things. End the pain I was in, end my search for meaning and desire for belonging.

That wasn’t the first time I had thoughts about taking my own life, but it was the most intense. After that I knew that I needed to get to a better place, a place of peace…I needed healing and a new life.

I ended my time in the porn industry after that night.

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Finally leaving porn

In the weeks following, I had managed to shut out everything and completely blocked that part of my life out of my mind.

I acted like it never happened and thought if I kept that mindset, it would all just disappear and wouldn’t exist.

Fast forward to my mid-30’s. Sex trafficking was something that I was always aware of, but I didn’t really know much about it. Once things became public about the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein trafficking young girls, sex trafficking awareness was all over the place.

I began to educate myself more on the issue and research trafficking to see how I could help. I learned the link between trafficking and porn, and thinking back to my time in the adult entertainment world, I started to recall things I had blocked from my memory.

I can remember one of the women I knew from porn telling me that since I had braces, I could pull off making myself look younger because the consumers would pay more for girls that appeared to be younger.

Related: “I Didn’t Know If They’d Kill Me”: What Happened When This Jane Doe was Trafficked by GirlsDoPorn

Back then, I didn’t really think about that much, but once I started seeing the connection between the porn industry and trafficking, it really was a tough thing for me to process. Something that drew some customers to me is the same thing that would draw them to a young exploited girl.

Sex had become this thing that wasn’t special or even enjoyable. To me, it was just something that was done to please the other person. It was an act, a show, and nothing more.

Finding healing and purpose outside of porn

It’s taken a lot of time to bring me to a place of healing and a place where I can now talk about my experience with porn.

I still struggle at times with guilt, in thinking I was part of something that fuels trafficking and I struggle with the idea of being intimate with someone if I ever get married. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

Porn took something away from me that I am only now starting to get back slowly, and I want people to know the reality behind the cameras and understand the harm that happens to both consumers and performers.

I want people to see the people involved in this industry not as porn performers, but as human beings who might be in an unsafe situation. They could be hurting internally. I know I can’t speak for everyone involved in the industry—I am simply speaking from my personal experience and what I saw when I was involved for the time I was in it.

Related: How Porn and Sex Trafficking are Connected

I am at a really good place now, though. My relationship with my dad has gotten better and there has been a lot of healing within our relationship over the last few years.

All the things I was looking for I thought I could find in other people, or in the industry, or in a relationship. I thought I needed another person to give me purpose and to feel beautiful, but it turns out you don’t need any of those things to have happiness and peace in your life.

I am so thankful that I never went through with taking my life and that I decided to keep driving across the bridge that night. Now, I have a life now that I would not trade for anything.

I’ve also found that the more I share my story, the more and more healing I find. Life is beautiful, and I am so thankful I am still here to live it every day.

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About the Author

Laura grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania but had a difficult childhood. She didn’t have a good relationship with her dad, and porn was normalized in her life from a young age. Her warped understanding of love led her to seek validation from men, eventually leading to her working in the porn industry. You can connect with Laura on Instagram @its.laraleigh or email her at [email protected]. You can listen to more of Laura’s story on our podcast, Consider Before Consuming. Listen now by clicking here.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.

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