This Is What A Typical Day In the Life of A Porn Set Is Like

By KC

Hat - Fight For Love
TRIGGER WARNING

The following post contains descriptions of porn sets, and links to external articles that may be triggering.

It’s often assumed that porn sets are full of glitz, glam, and the ultimate star-treatment—especially since that’s one of the fantasies the porn industry sells.

However, a look behind the scenes of a day in the life of a porn performer paints a distinctly different picture.

Where is porn produced today?

By the early 2000s, the porn industry was concentrated in California’s San Fernando Valley due to low rent and accessibility to the mainstream movie business.

Located just 30 miles north of LA, this was an ideal spot to target actors, directors, and crew who were desperate for work—especially in the ‘90s when mainstream film studios began shipping production abroad where it cost less to shoot.

But by 2007, the internet boomed—fueling demand for a higher volume of “free,” low-budget, amateur porn.

Related: Is It More Ethical To Watch Porn For Free Or Pay For A Subscription?

While some porn today is still produced in studios, this isn’t the norm, and centralized “hubs” for porn production have disintegrated. A lot of porn today is produced in private residences or rented spaces—usually whatever is cheapest.

A typical day on a porn set

In porn, the competition is fierce. Most female performers are dropped or leave after just a few months, but those who do make it must adhere to strict requirements.

Aurora Snow, a former performer who spent a decade in the industry, said, “Performances aside, workers have to contend with other expectations. They’re expected to provide their own wardrobe. Women arrive on set with a suitcase full of lingerie, outfits, and whatever else the director requests—almost always on the performer’s dime.”

She continued, “Any given workday can be physically demanding, mentally draining, awkward, or embarrassing…Whether a porn career spans 15 years or 15 minutes, performers face a lifetime of potential negative consequences.”

Related: Hall Of Fame Porn Performer Sues Production Company After Violent Abuse On Porn Set

One performer described showing up on set: “A lot of porn these days is filmed not on a dedicated set, but in the apartments/condos/vacation homes of directors and other industry folks that all trade with each other.”

Another male performer shared this about porn produced on the street or in other public places: “They don’t have a plan or permit for it, just go and get it done before people start asking questions.”

But no matter the location, many workers report conditions that are less than desirable.

“The hours are long…and the sets don’t smell great”

A former production assistant said, “It can be anything but sexy. The hours are long and grueling. The sets are often stifling because buzzing air conditioners and fans have to be turned off. They often don’t smell too great, either.”

Another performer added, “Most people don’t realize how bad the smell is on set. It’s horrible, especially when shooting fetish porn scenes.”

Aside from the conditions of a set itself, the physical demands are considerable. In porn, there are no defined shifts. Performers can be required to stay anywhere from 3 to 22 hours, depending on the scene. And if a scene is called off for any reason, no one gets paid. (Sidenote: this is why performers don’t often report or publicize abuse in the porn industry—one wasted shoot can cost production companies thousands of dollars, often resulting in the blacklisting of the performer who spoke out.)

One female performer shared, “Viewers really don’t understand how long it takes to film a video and how fake it all is. I’ve been in over forty pornos, they’re usually half an hour long for each scene. But I’m on set for anywhere from 5-12 hours. You are putting your body through a lot for each shoot at least four times a week.”

Related: 10 Facts And Stats You Never Knew About The Average Porn Performer

The physical demands on performers don’t stop there. In fact, many female porn performers are hungry on set. One said, “I remember being hungry a lot because I’d worry about being bloated on camera…there was one time I was filming and the director kept telling me off for staring at a plate of sandwiches for the crew.”

Every male performer has to take “penis pills” to stay erect

Male performers have their own unique set of challenges, too. Director and performer Dan Leal said, “Every man is on penis pill supplements or injects. You have to be, and any guy who says he isn’t is lying. In the real world, you don’t have sex for this long; that’s the reality.”

Other male performers shared the following on Reddit:

“It’s actually pretty hard to get and maintain an erection on set. Making porn is pretty unsexy. Sometimes they use fake j—. Not all the time, but sometimes.”

“Before the video is made, they do a picture shoot and I have to hold positions for up to a minute without moving,” he continues. “I have to take Viagra before I get to work…Once or twice I popped too early, and had to take more and keep going because the shoot had to be finished within a certain time.”

There’s even a myth of porn set “fluffers” (link trigger warning)—women with the sole purpose of helping a performer get and remain erect. In one case, this responsibility unexpectedly landed on a former production assistant (link trigger warning) one day in the middle of a scene.

“I was standing offset watching a scene featuring Damien Cashmere,” she said (link trigger warning). “Next thing I knew, there was a hand on my shoulder and a voice in my ear. It was Rick Savage, the director. ‘Cat, would you mind turning just a little bit so Damien can look at your a— during his scene? He thinks you’re kind of cute.’ I angled my bod so Cashmere got a better view of my backside. The scene went off without a hitch.”

Imagine objectification being a requirement of your job, even when you aren’t performing.

Some production companies are strict with STD tests—others aren’t

Performers are also exposed to a variety of risks on a daily basis, like on-set abuse, surprise improv scenes, and sexually transmitted diseases. They’re supposed to get screened for STDs every two weeks, but that doesn’t mean the environment is safe.

Related: Porn Industry Production Shuts Down For One Week Following Positive HIV Test

Snow shared, “Performers who refuse to shoulder the expense for such frequent testing aren’t necessarily put out of work. Some directors and companies look the other way when it comes to expired STD tests, leaving it up to performers to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, not all performers bother to swap test results before shooting a scene, especially when they’ve previously worked together…

“I’ve had more than a few directors and co-stars try to persuade me to disregard an expired test,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘You know me, we’ve worked together a dozen times, I’m good for it.’ I once refused to work with a major studio’s contracted performer because his STD test had expired. The studio never hired me again.”

In many cases, performers are left unprotected with no policies in place to report misbehavior on set.

Snow went on to say, “In the mostly self-regulated world of adult films, there are few clear rules of conduct and even fewer consequences for bad behavior. The daily grind is less exciting than the hype. It’s a fragmented business with a revolving door of disposable performers.”

What’s portrayed on a porn set isn’t real ecstasy

While this may be the day-to-day reality for many performers, as individuals, they’re often misunderstood.

Performer Summer Brielle says one of the biggest misconceptions about adult performers is that they’re highly promiscuous. “We want to go home to something that has some sort of connection,” she said.

A former wardrobe assistant shared similar feelings: “These people were professionals, but I’d never felt less aroused in my life. All I could think about was how much I yearned for real love. With the sex in porn, it’s very clear that love isn’t on the table. Or even table-adjacent. Three days of sex all around me taught me that I didn’t want to have sex. I wanted to make love.”

One thing that unites us all is a need for real love and connection—something that is clearly not produced on a porn set.

The post This Is What A Typical Day In the Life of A Porn Set Is Like appeared first on Fight the New Drug.