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Time for Seriousness¦

Recently, I received an e-mail from a customer who was uncomfortable with pornography. Specifically, as a victim of sexual abuse, she was concerned about the women who act in these films.

Her primary concern was that, as she understood it, a vast majority of women who act in adult films have been the victims of sexual abuse and are re-enacting their abuse by taking part in something that can be considered demoralizing and demeaning. Because of their ˜issues’ with sex, stemming from abuse, these women were putting themselves in a position to relive their traumatic experiences and doing so for the pleasure of, predominantly, male audiences.

It was an intense e-mail.

Here’s my take on the topic:

No study has ever been done to determine how many adult film actors have been sexually abused. No study has been done to see if there is a correlation between sexual abuse and the adult film industry.

The idea that the majority of porn actors have been sexually abused is part of a larger conservative view of the industry. The conservative stance, which typically opposes sex for pleasure (versus reproduction only), is that people in porn are “sick and don’t know better. The reason for the supposed sickness is explained by the idea that porn actors were abused, thereby skewing their ideas about right and wrong in relation to sex.

It’s easy to make the argument that victims of sexual abuse have different relationships with sex than others. Most typically do. But here’s the thing “ different experiences, good or bad, affect our relationships to every aspect of our lives. It’s really that simple.

And furthermore, even if some porn stars have been the victims of sexual abuse “ does that make them incapable of making sound decisions about what they choose to do with their bodies? Are survivors of abuse forbidden from ever having a positive attitude about sex because somehow they’re now damaged?

Jenna Jameson openly admits to being the victim of a violent sexual assault. Quite a few other stars discuss past sexual trauma, but that doesn’t mean that they are incapable of having a sound relationship with sex.

A personal friend of mine who works in the industry explained to me that for her, becoming comfortable with sex was more about reclaiming her identity than it was denying what happened. She came to terms with the abuse and with that, gained a greater understanding of what she is and is not comfortable with. Working in porn, for her, is something she truly enjoys and anytime she’s approached to do something she’s not comfortable with “ she declines -easy as that. She probably has the best attitude about sex amongst all the people I know. And I work here.

I should clarify that I’m not going to defend all porn here, because there are films made that feature incredible violent imagery that I, personally, am not comfortable with. That said, there are a lot of films that I do defend because they feature beautiful women, comfortable with their bodies and their sexuality and are a positive (and typically hot) depiction of sex.

The customer responded to my e-mail, with gratitude (which is always super nice) and I hope that this blog will help inform others on this matter.

Best,

V.

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