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Award-Winning Male Performer Reveals Difficult Realities Of Doing Porn

By March 14, 2018 January 3rd, 2019 No Comments
Cover image by Getty Images.
The porn industry works to maintain a glamorous image, but behind the camera is a crumbling world of prescription drug abuse, performer mistreatment, and an industry that’s working to keep up with free tube sites. One male performer shares his firsthand experience after years in the industry.

Behind the millions of views and billions of dollars in revenue is an industry that’s struggling to keep up with demand. Porn isn’t something that many people in our society think of as a healthy, well-adjusted business to work in, and we’re seeing just how true that is as more and more performers reveal what goes on when the camera stops rolling.

Regardless of all the overwhelming research and countless personal accounts exposing the dark reality of the porn industry, many consumers still buy into the glamorous fantasy that the porn industry works hard to maintain. The truth is, many performers (though not all) do porn because of desperate financial circumstances or coercive situations.

Not only that, but performers also often have to rely on drugs or medications to endure shooting scenes for hours on end—but with editing, these videos look seamless and like the perfectly tailored sexual fantasies consumers crave. All this goes down, along with the difficult conditions and minimal pay that performers endure, all at the mercy of the growing demand for more extreme porn that they’re often pressured to do in order to continue their careers.

These are just some of the situations performers endure that many consumers don’t realize, and one-by-one, former performers are shedding light on what goes into maintaining one of the most powerful industries on the planet.

One Male Performer’s Story

In recent interviews published by Forbes, Newsweek, and Independent, one performer is giving a look behind the curtain. Popular former porn performer “Chris” opened up about his prescription drug abuse on set as well as his experience with the overall downfall of the adult industry. And while his views of the industry don’t fall in line with our organization, we think his perspective gives much-needed visibility to the harsh realities of doing porn.

His beginning starts out like many other performers—Chris got into the adult industry shortly after starting college. He was looking for a way to put himself through school and pay bills, and fell into the adult industry as an easy way to make money. He first found pornographic photoshoot jobs from Craigslist, and then transitioned to more hardcore, extreme porn for a well-known bondage website.

Now, Chris says he’s phasing out of the industry after doctors told him the damage to his body could be long-term, and he realized it wasn’t worth it to continue. He continues to live in Los Angeles, and is now working on personal writing projects as well as launching numerous brands, including books, and hot sauce.

But that’s the short version of a longer, more painful story.

Relying On Drugs To Continue Performing

After eight years of performing in hardcore porn videos, Chris ended his adult film career overnight because of the damage that porn had done to his body. Speaking to interviewers, he detailed his dependence on erectile dysfunction drugs to keep his performance consistent. Like so many male performers, Chris had become reliant on male performance-enhancing prescription medication to continue his career.

Related: 5 Ex-Male Porn Performers Share Their Real Experiences Doing Porn

“In porn, we take Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, injections. It’s very common,” he said. “As a result of taking those types of medications, I ended up in the hospital.”

He was treated numerous times for painful, prolonged erections, and doctors warned him about long-term damage if he kept abusing the drugs.

“So I quit. The job wasn’t worth putting my health at risk. And I wasn’t the type of person who could perform in mainstream porn without pharmacological assistance. Not with such consistency,” he said.

The Changing Industry & Rise Of Abuse Porn

Among many surprising things Chris witnessed during his career, he experienced first-hand the deterioration of the industry because of free tube sites and piracy.

“I saw the crews shrink, the number of shoots drop, and work dry up for a lot of people,” Chris said. “It had plenty to do with the rise of piracy and with free tube sites. The business model completely changed, and aside from one company—MindGeek—porn has yet to really catch up.”

This breakdown of the profitable porn empire is responsible for lower pay for more extreme sex acts, as detailed by former performer Lisa Ann in a recent interview with The GuardianIn an industry where pay rates have continuously declined for performers, extreme acts pay more, with the most radical commanding up to $2,500 per scene. Chris was willing to work in niche markets of porn, but it’s not worth it for many performers who aren’t willing to put themselves through extreme abuse for long periods of time.

Detailing more of the deterioration of the industry, Rashida Jones, producer of Hot Girls Wanted, sat down for an exclusive interview with VICE to address the harmful porn culture that has been created in our society. She described the cycle young women face when they start making amateur porn that she says encourages them to participate in more extreme scenes.

Related10 Popular Ex-Porn Stars Share The Raw Reality Behind Their Most Popular Scenes

“Generally if you’re 18 and go to Miami, you’re done in a year, because there’s not enough amateur jobs for you. You can get some other jobs, but the niche stuff pays more, and the niche stuff is harder on your body,” she said. “The pay can be $800, $1000 a shoot, but they still have to pay for hair and nails and make-up and travel and clothes – plus, they’re trying to live in a lavish way, so it ends up not being cost-effective. It’s not worth it… Then you have to make further negotiations with yourself, like, ‘Will I do torture porn? Will I do fetish porn? Will I do […] forced blowjobs?’ and things that you never expected to do.”

The high demand for more extreme, violent sex acts and fewer performers who are willing to do them means relying on amateur performers or fresh, young recruits. And on top of that, piracy and free tube sites make working conditions often unsafe, putting the content before safety or health of the performer.

“The focus is on quantity over quality. Day rates are often much lower than in mainstream film and television,” Chris said. “The reality that performing is no longer a way—for most people—to make a lot of money. I see very little upward mobility.”

Phasing Into Real Life After Porn

Like many other former performers, Chris experienced difficulty with transitioning completely out of the porn industry and adult entertainment. Now, he’s focusing on his music interests, as well as publishing books and launching a hot sauce brand.

“Sex is not a skill that translates very well into other professional environments. Certainly, it’s not something that I can put on my resume if I want to work another job,” he said. “It takes a lot of effort and rejection to break into another field. So, yes, I’d say it’s challenging to walk away from the sex business.”

We wish Chris all the best as he works on phasing out of porn. His experiences shed light on why porn can be a difficult, unhealthy career path for young college-aged performers. And when it’s all said and done, for many performers, working in porn can mean limited post-industry career options.

In the end, it it truly worth it? Many former performers would say a resounding “no.”

As long as there’s a demand for porn in society, there will be a demand for the sexual exploitation of real human beings. Part of fighting for love is spreading awareness on the harms of the porn industry, and the lives it harms. Clicking pornography is contributing to the demand for more stories like these to happen.

 

We are always looking for powerful personal accounts. If you or someone you know has been involved in the porn industry, we want to hear your story

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