How Much Do Porn Stars Make? It Varies, But Women Make More Than Men

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Former adult actress Jenna Jameson signs copies of her new book 'Sugar' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on October 25, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
Source: Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

While we know a lot about what we like to see (or not see) in porn, we don't really think about what goes on behind the scenes. So the folks at The Daily Dot decided to take a look at exactly how much porn stars make. They point out that, like "every career, the porn industry has it's (ahem) ins and outs, which make calculating how much a porn star earns hard to calculate". And I respect them, for their efforts and for their punning. 

The first thing to know is that there's a lot of variation. The household names make a lot more than the unknowns, for example, though that's not particularly surprising. The second thing is that, it's not as much as you probably think it is. 

Now, there are a lot of different estimates. For example, some put the average income at around $30,000 for men and $50,000 for women, while others estimates $120,000 for women and up to $200,000 for "big names". And that's a lot of money, don't get me wrong, but it's still not a crazy amount of money. And, for the lower estimates at least, that's not a particularly big check for what seems to me to be some pretty strenuous work. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. But that's just my take on it. Here's what else you need to know: 

1. Women Make More Than Men

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One of the interesting things — especially with wage gap in Hollywood (and everywhere else) — is porn is one of the areas where women make more than men. By any estimate of porn pay scales, women make more. So with household names or unknowns, women can expect to take home the bigger pay check. 

2. Differenct Scenes Pay Different Amounts

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One of the reasons for the variation is that different types of porn are compensated differently. Garion Hall, estimated on a Quora forum the following breakdown for his pay scale

  • Nude-only solo: $340
  • Open leg solo: $408
  • Explicit solo: $476
  • Insertions solo: $612
  • Girl-girl: $1,020
  • Girl-boy: $1,020

He also explained: "Generally, more explicit scenes pay more than less-explicit scenes. On average, fetish material pays a little more. Scenes with multiple performers pay more than those with one performer." So there are a lot of moving factors, which is perhaps why getting a solid estimate is so difficult. 

3. There's A Lot Of Opportunity For Other Income

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Another reason that their year income can vary is that porn stars, especially the big ones, have a lot of earning potential outside porn shoots. "Female porn stars also have additional revenue streams, such as feature dancing at strip clubs, where they can earn up to $2,000 a night," The Daily Dot explains. "The real revenue stream for porn stars, however, is promotional work and product endorsements." 

We're talking webcams, promotional work, produce endorsement and more. So, depending on how and where you decide to cash in, porn stars can make a lot of money, on-screen and off.

Images: Giphy (3)

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