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

By KC

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The porn industry is built on selling male and female porn performers as insatiable sex gods and goddesses. With exaggerated body parts to match their exaggerated performances, porn consumers are made to believe the fantasy that these actors actually crave endless and extreme sex.

Even in interviews, these performers maintain that they do porn because they love sex and can’t get enough of it. Because of this, much of society, understandably, believes every porn performer entered the industry in the pursuit of their ideal lifestyle. In fact, we recently received a Facebook message that shows how most people view performers:

Porn hurts nobody. They do it because they like to do it.

These are popular perceptions when it comes to pornography, however, perception is not always reality. The fact is that the porn industry is filled with violence, drugs, coercion, disease, and exploitation. And while active porn performers rarely, if ever, speak out due to fear of being blackballed in the industry or being discriminated against, the majority of those very same performers inevitably end up speaking out on their real experiences once they leave the industry. These personal accounts are never pretty.

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

The fact is the porn industry profits off the sexual exploitation of human beings. While we raise awareness on the harmful effects of porn on consumers, it’s also important to focus on the negative impact that porn has on those who produce or participate in creating it. Their stories show that porn isn’t only harmful to those who watch it, but it’s harmful to those who make it, too.

The following is a list of just a few former porn performers who had successful careers in the porn industry, only to reveal the reality of what it’s like to be in the world’s “sexiest” profession.

Jessica

Growing up in a small town in Colorado and working in youth mentoring throughout her early life, Jessica had a clear vision for what she wanted for her future. Then, one day in her early twenties, Jessica became a victim of rape. This traumatic experience and its effects pushed Jessica on a path that would lead her toward working in the porn industry.

The allure of fame and fortune led Jessica into a 10-year career in the porn industry. She appeared in over 40 porn films and was one of the most popularly searched porn performers in 2009. Eventually, she was able to break out and now she’s living a happier life, but she endured humiliation and degrading shoots for a decade.

Vanessa

The story of ex-porn performer Vanessa Belmond, as shown in the BBC Documentary Date My Porn Star, is one that illustrates just how harmful the porn industry is to real human beings. In the documentary, three porn-obsessed men from England are flown to the United States to meet their favorite porn performers and observe the porn industry firsthand. Near the end of their trip, the three men sit down with former porn performer Vanessa, whose story exposes the gruesome details of what it’s really like to be in porn, far from the glamorous front that they have to put on.

*Warning: Viewer discretion advised. Video contains graphic and sexual language. The content may be triggering for some.*

It is important to point out that before this interview, Vanessa, like Jessica and thousands of other porn performers before and after her, had done a great job at putting on a face and acting as her porn persona. In an interview with AntiPornography.org, she stated:

“Like most porn performers, I perpetuated this lie. One of my favorite things to say when asked if I liked doing a particular scene was, “I only do what I like! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it!” (I would say this with a big fake smile and giggle.) What a total lie! I did what I had to do to get “work” in porn. I did what I knew would help me gain “fame” in the industry.”

To the outside world, performers have to appear as no-boundaries, sex-loving entertainers that make everything sound so sexually exciting. But as you can tell from Vanessa’s story above, the reality is far different than what is seen on camera, or what performers say in interviews.

Greg

As far as performers go, few have had longer and more successful careers than Greg, a former porn actor and director who appeared in approximately 1,000 adult feature films over the course of a 23-year career. Appearing in his first porn film in 1988, Greg went on to become one of the porn industry’s most successful male actors of all time. He was a 4-time winner of the Adult Video News Best Actor Award and in 2002 was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.

However, it was only after Greg left the porn industry in 2011 that he was able to share the reality of why he started doing porn, and how 23 years of this toxic industry affected his life.

It’s important to remember that the harms of porn don’t just fall on female performers. Porn degrades human beings and reduces the act of sex to a selfish exchange of physical pleasure. These harmful effects damage the lives of all involved, both performers and consumers.

Shelley

Shelley Lubben was a popular performer in the 1990’s, and appeared in 15 hardcore movies during her short time in the industry. She has since become an advocate in the world of raising awareness on porn’s harms. Her story begins similarly to many current and former porn performers who entered the industry as a result of sexual abuse, drug use, prostitution, and coercion.

“I’d been sexually abused at nine years old by a teenage boy and his sister,” Shelley Lubben said in an interview when asked why she joined the industry that years later she would eventually dedicate her life to fighting. “And then as I got older … my dad kicked me out on the street for being rebellious, and I ended up in San Fernando, LA, which is ‘Porn Valley,’ and a pimp lured me in, and I was very naïve. He lured me in for $35. I had to escape from him because he became very abusive, and then [another pimp] found me, and it just spiraled on.”

*Warning: Viewer discretion advised. Video contains graphic and sexual language. The content may be triggering for some.*

In 2007, Shelley established an organization called the Pink Cross Foundation, which focuses on reaching out to current performers and offering support to those who wish to leave the industry.

Anonymous

We attend conferences around the country to speak on the harmful effects of pornography and join with other industry leaders in pushing this cause into the light. While at a conference in Washington D.C. a couple years ago, we met a woman who had been in the porn industry and wanted to share her story, but wasn’t ready to show her face. She allowed us to tell her story anonymously.

Her experience shows the inseparable link between porn, sexual exploitation, drug use, and sex trafficking. While there is no well-known face or name attached to her story, it still highlights the very real dehumanization of real human beings who fall victim to the porn industry.

What do we do now?

So, is porn always a harmless personal fantasy? Or is it an edited abusive nightmare? The trouble is, if you’re on the other side of the screen, there’s no way to tell. This is why we are exposing the industry for what it is: a facilitator of abuse and the epicenter of exploitation.

When performers sign on to work in the industry, many of them don’t fully know or understand what it will lead to—sexual abuse, physical abuse, coercion, injuries, disease, difficulty finding a different job after they leave the industry, among many other challenges.

And why would they know any of this terrifying information about the supposedly cool, fun job they’re signing up for? Don’t forget that we live in a world that glamorizes and celebrates the porn industry. It’s sold as an exciting lifestyle where you can be the sex god/goddess that you’ve always wanted to be, and get quick cash for it.

Related: The Cost Of Porn Is High, Even If The Content Is Free

People are not products, and yet the industry sells the idea that it’s “acceptable” to purchase a person with every replay and every view. Real human beings are seen as the supply to meet an unhealthy demand for explicit entertainment.

It’s time we stop buying the porn industry’s lies, and refuse to consume the violent content they produce that’s harmful to performers, individuals, relationships, and our world as whole.

Porn will never come without an expensive cost. We believe that real people, real love, and real relationships should never have to pay the price, and will always be worth more than what porn sells on a screen.

We’re sending out this message to the porn industry as a whole: you might be selling, but we’re not buying. We’ll continue fighting to stop the demand. Are you with us?

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