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Porn Stars: Actually Not All That Messed Up

• November 30, 2012 • 4:34 PM

Those interchangeable ladies who have sex on film for profit – everyone knows they’re drug-addicted products of broken families and abusive relationships, right? Not necessarily, says a new study in the Journal of Sex Research (and yes, that’s a legit journal, published by the respected Taylor & Francis Group.)

Researchers at Pennsylvania’s Shippensburg University interviewed 177 porn actresses about their emotional well-being and compared their answers to a group of, um, non-porn-actresses. They found the screen-sex women had “higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the matched group.” Also, they reported no higher instances of childhood abuse, though they were more likely to use drugs.

Sure, that’s a small sample of the estimated 1,000-plus people who have sex on film for money every year in Los Angeles County alone. And those answers are all self-reported. Still, at the very least the findings make you think twice about what the authors call the “damaged goods hypothesis” about porn actresses.

Vince Beiser
Vince Beiser is an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter @vincelb.

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