The Truth About The Porn Industry, Because It's Time To Dispel The Myths About Women In Adult Entertainment

People love to hate porn. Even if said people are fans of pornographic material, they find a way to either publicly shame the industry by calling its actors sluts, labeling the industry seedy, or discreetly hide the material from their browsers. Despite being more welcoming of the industry than we have been in the past, porn myths are still prevalent and we're still far from accepting it in our culture – I mean, you wouldn’t see somebody renting an adult film from a Red Box like we do a romantic comedy. But why is that? People watch porn – loads of people do. And this truth is far from a secret, yet there’s something indistinguishable keeping porn from becoming a mainstream success. 

I spoke with Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, a leading sociologist who specializes in gender, sexualities, work and organizations, media and technology, and popular culture. Her latest book, Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment, hit shelves earlier this month, and addresses the mysterious phenomenon that is porn, dispelling all known (and unknown) industry rumors, revealing that porn is just a business like any other.

1. Porn Is Actually An Incredibly Innovative Industry

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Porn can be considered innovative in many ways — and not in the obvious “let’s come up with creative yet ridiculous storylines that results in an all-out orgy” kind of way. In fact, their innovation is quite admirable — considering the hurdles they must jump over. According to Tibbals, many web hosting companies won’t host porn-related content, and historical institutions like banks will refuse to fund pornographic projects, no matter how promising and profitable said project may be.

Therefore, those in porn have to work that much harder to get their projects in motion, and Tibbals says that porn marketers would make excellent business professors since they’ve managed to make porn a phenomenon despite so many parties rioting against the material. Believe it or not, even crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe.com won’t publish campaigns for porn-related projects — and if they do, they must meet an essay’s worth of guidelines. Because of this censorship, websites like CumFundMe.com have been amassed, but don’t receive nearly as much traction.

2. Porn-Streaming Websites Are Bad For The Industry

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What you may not know (and I hadn’t known to what extent until Tibbals had informed me) is that popular porn-streaming websites – which Tibbals refers to as “tube sites” — host stolen clips for viewers to indulge in free of charge. The thieves are the website’s users (aka us), who upload these stolen videos onto popular streaming porn websites who then let us watch this material for free; which is great for porn-viewers’ wallets, but devastating to industry profits. These videos then generate funds through clicks — none of which go to those involved in making the porn, but instead to the website hosting the clip.

What’s worse is that these hosting companies aren’t held legally responsible as they aren’t the culprits uploading these videos. Tibbals adds that many of the porn production companies don’t have the resources to sue, so instead of fighting against them, some join them, and provide trailers for upcoming films for exposure — therefore giving the very company robbing them more money through banner ad clicks. “It’s almost like the mob!” Tibbals says.

2. Your Favorite Porn Star Is Also A Very Smart Business Person

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“If there is a porn star we’re publicly aware of, the actor or actress is obviously a smart business person,” Tibbals says. The porn industry is damn competitive, and only the most cunning survive. “Production company in-house marketing teams — who promote their stars — is gone for the most part these days,” Tibbal says, which of course means that this responsibility is now in the star’s hands, who must promote themselves through effective and innovative means. 

3. The Truth About Women In Porn

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“The idea that all of these women are dumb damaged women is sad and stupid,” Tibbals says, adding that making a living in porn is anything but easy. Every job has its share of not-so-smart people, of course, and the same goes for porn ­– it’s no different. Tibbals also points out that, despite what the general public may believe, the average porn star is only making a middle-class income, and they’ve created their own independent business models. “These women are hustlers!”

4. The Truth About Men In Porn

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Despite primarily working with women in the industry during the earlier stages of her career, Tibbals admits that, after witnessing the inner workings of the industry, that men in porn can be just as fascinating as the more lusted after lady-starlets. “Generally speaking, [straight] male porn stars make less money than women,” Tibbals begins, adding the dated-but-still-true notion that porn is traditionally structured to suit the male consumer. “However, male performers have longer careers; which is a big reason why there are so few male porn stars — they make less money, but make it over a longer period.” 

Women, on the other hand, have a higher rate, but their careers aren’t nearly as long as their male counterparts. “As a male performer, you’re part of the fabric that make these videos happen,” Tibbals says. “And even if you’re a known cornerstone in the industry and on set, you’re not what ultimately sells the video.” 

5. The Future Of Porn Is...

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“The public is gravitating toward webcams and cam sex,” Tibbals says – and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’d made this same prediction just over a year ago in an Elle Canada editorial. The reason? “People are looking for a connection instead of one-way media,” Tibbals says, adding that webcam pornography has nothing but increased in popularity over the past two years. And why wouldn’t it? People like interaction, and to interact with a beautiful naked model (usually for funds) is a much more intimate alternative to buying a porn flick on Amazon. “Traditional porn has been leveled by webcam sex and other industry innovations, yet that’s what the masses still view as porn,” Tibbals says.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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Images: bykst/Pixabay, Giphy  

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