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I Almost Did Porn Because I Thought It’d Be Easy Money

"This is what porn did for me. It reduced me to feeling ashamed of myself because I didn't have the 'confidence' to hurt or humiliate on men for money."

By August 11, 2022No Comments

Trigger warning: This article contains descriptions of abuse. Reader discretion is encouraged.

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.

One woman reached out to us to share with us why she almost joined the porn industry, but didn't. From her experience, we can learn how not everything is as glamorous and pleasurable as it seems on screen.

Thank you so much for what you do. I wanted to share my story to add just one more voice to the many I have read on your site talking about how pornography affected their view of themselves, sex, and life in general.

You can share it if you like, but please keep it anonymous.

A childhood interrupted by technology

I can’t even remember my first encounter with porn, just like so many other people these days. My parents were and still are very into technology and tend to dive headfirst into new tech without thinking about the potential consequences.

Related: “I Thought I was Keeping Marriages Together”: True Stories from an Ex-Porn Performer

I had a computer in my room from early childhood and unlimited internet access since basically its inception. I never had any of the “online predator” experiences we are all afraid of, but I did have a lot of experiences with pornography and violence, and the two often went together.

I was a curious child and did not have the self-control to protect myself from the harm these images caused. I saw images of death, murder, bestiality, torture. A lot of it was shock-value imagery, but a lot of it was pornography as well.

I felt so much shame for years over these images. I felt like I was a terrible person for having seen them, that they would forever be a stain on my heart.

I know now that as a child, I had no control over the addictive nature of this kind of trauma. I know now that this was a common problem for people my age and countless others have been traumatized by their parents’ leniency, or their friends at school showing them things for shock value, or their desire to be cool in the eyes of friends who “weren’t bothered” by these images.

Related: Desperate for Money and Validation, I Joined the Porn Industry—This is How It Changed Me

I know that these images haunt thousands of others, and I hope they can know that it wasn’t their fault.

There was also, of course, a lot of “normal” pornography in my life.

Porn before the internet, and after

Before the internet, there was my dad’s Playboy collection and grainy images on the in-between channels on the TV in my parents’ bedroom. After the internet, of course, it was a free-for-all.

What I remember most is the exploitation of minorities, sex being all about a man’s pleasure, nonexistent foreplay, and the need to pursue increasingly weirder and more extreme videos for sexual gratification.

Related: What Causes People to Choose to Go Into the Porn Industry?

I remember from the beginning of my exposure to porn feeling very shameful about sex, like I was always being watched and must hide what I was doing.

I developed a habit of keeping my sexuality a secret, as quiet and private as possible. This didn’t mesh well with the idea pushed in pornography that the louder a woman is during sex, the more she is enjoying herself and the better she is pleasing her man. Just another reason to feel less-than for years and years, thanks to porn.

I’ve always been called a “prude.” I felt so ashamed of myself that my friends all had sex before me, with more people, and seemed to enjoy it more. I tried having casual sex, but it always ended up more awkward than sexy, and I always ended up feeling more shame.

I felt a natural pull toward not exploiting myself and my body, but my programming from the porn that I watched told me otherwise, and loudly. Porn told me that having sex right away, and unprotected if he wants, was the way to make a man love me, or at least desire me.

Related: Shaming and Victim-Blaming Porn Performers Is Never Acceptable or Necessary

A man once told me during sex that there was no way he was going to orgasm “just from sex,” and so, knowing he was not going to get that, he just stopped and went to sleep. I was offended and confused until he told me that he watches porn so frequently that “normal sex” just doesn’t feel good for him.

I didn’t stick around long enough to find out what he needed from me in order to be fulfilled, but later on, he told me about how an ex-girlfriend of his loved when he would pretend to break into her house and rape her. That’s what porn had taught her to fantasize about.

Store - Love

My run-ins with the porn industry

I used to live in Los Angeles, and in that extremely over-sexualized city, I had a fair number of run-ins with the porn industry.

My first was with a temp agency that had me interview with a company that produced porn DVDs. The job was for editing and photoshopping the DVD covers. At the time I felt like it would be a cool and edgy job and it got me thinking—why not work in the adult industry? Isn’t it time for me to stop being such a “prude?”

Related: If You’re In the Sex Industry and You’re Thinking of Leaving, This Article Is for You

In between jobs, I started looking at “adult” job boards as a way to make easy money. I told myself early on that I would never do anything that involved actual sex acts or pornography.

If I had chosen that route, I would have been the perfect poster child for the “empowered” porn actress. I would have been able to proudly say that I, a college-educated, white, upper-middle-class, empowered woman was making the conscious choice to be in porn because I celebrated my sexuality instead of being ashamed of it.

I felt an inkling then of what I know now—that had I made that choice, it would not have been an empowering one. It would have been a choice made chiefly out of shame…a particular kind of shame created by the porn industry, which made me feel as if I was worthless for not wanting to exploit myself.

And that choice would have haunted me for the rest of my life.

Related: Are There Any Issues With Watching Consensual Porn?

Luckily for me, the quiet voice of reason in my head and my unwillingness to be on camera saved me from this fate. I did consider a pretty wide array of other gigs, though. I also weighed the pros and cons of being a lowkey cam girl. A lot of men posted ads for their own personal sexual fantasy objects on these sites.

One man was looking for a woman to be his personal assistant at his home-based business—but she had to wear mini skirts, heels, and pantyhose to work.

I actually went out and bought some pantyhose, put them on with my shortest shorts and highest heels, and made it out to my front steps before calling off the interview.

Looking back, I realize how right I was to follow my intuition, and that this man could have so easily and so quickly turned from my employer to my rapist.

BHW - General

My encounter with the BDSM world

My final encounter with The Industry was after seeing an ad for a dominatrix company. They offered to train any woman to be a dominatrix and promised very, very generous compensation in return. Curious, I applied.

Related: Not All Porn is Consensual. Don’t Believe It? Just Ask These Performers.

A tall, muscular, shaved man led me through the dimly lit dungeon through rooms that smelled strongly of bleach and were filled with leather bondage equipment and cardboard boxes of office supplies. He closed the door to the bedroom behind us and started explaining the particulars of the job.

He was very upfront and detached while he described the things his employees did for their clients. How they teased and humiliated them, how the clients were often wealthy, powerful, famous men who enjoyed being controlled because they were always the dominant ones in their personal and professional lives. He described what a trio of dominatrixes had done to a man right there in the shower the day before.

Store - General

Long story short, I didn’t get the job. “It’s not about looks,” he said, “it’s about attitude and confidence. If these men see you crack, it ruins the fantasy for them.”

Related: 7 Cases of Nonconsensual Porn and Rape Tapes Pornhub Doesn’t Want Consumers to Know About

I asked him to give me a chance, to teach me, but he showed me to the door as my fantasies of easy money and brushes with celebrity faded away and I felt a hot shame at my awkwardness that had cost me this opportunity.

This is what porn did for me.

It reduced me to feeling ashamed of myself because I didn’t have the “confidence” to hurt or humiliate on men for money. I stopped watching porn completely a few years later and I’ve never, ever looked back.

What I gained from not watching porn

I stopped largely because of the influence of my now-husband, who explained his reasons for not watching it and surprised me with the fact that there was a human being on this earth who said they didn’t watch porn and wasn’t lying about it.

Related: If the Porn Industry was Ethical, Would that Make Porn Healthy to Watch?

I realized for the first time that I didn’t have to be a mindless consumer of porn, that I didn’t require porn for sexual gratification and that I didn’t have to compare my sexual performance with that of actors on a screen. I’m so glad for it, and I’m not ashamed anymore of my natural desire for privacy.

I know I am going to be much more careful to protect my children than my parents were, and I’m thankful for organizations like yours that spread the reality of the harm that porn has on children and our society.

E.

Fortify

Real exploitation of real people

Performing in porn is no “regular” job.

Think of it this way: no other job, career, or industry permits the abuses the porn industry does. Again, for some, it’s not even a choice they make completely freely.

Some performers enter the industry out of financial desperation and coercive circumstances that force them to endure situations they naturally would never accept. And, sure, people pursue less-than-ideal jobs all of the time out of financial desperation, but do they also involve what the porn industry seems to require like being violently raped or sexually exploited to pay the rent?

Money is often the greatest motivator for why people enter the porn industry. Performers may face physical and verbal abuserapeand addiction in the industry but not speak out because they don’t want to lose the paycheck they desperately need.

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

Understanding that coercion occurs when someone or a situation forces a person to act in a way they may not choose to on their own is part of understanding how exploitation and human trafficking happen in the industry.

Porn performers can enter into trafficking situations in the industry because of coercive personal situations, while others can be trafficked into the industry by the force of other people. The saddest part? There’s no way for porn consumers to know if they’re supporting exploitation or not.

We are not claiming that all porn is nonconsensual, but rather, raising awareness that there is often no way to tell if the porn a consumer views is completely consensual or produced with coercion.

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