Female porn stars are psychologically as healthy or healthier than other women, according to a new study, which challenges feminist driven views about women in the adult entertainment business.
Adult entertainers were found to have higher self-esteem, a better quality of life and body image, and to be more positive, with greater levels of spirituality. They also had higher levels of sexual satisfaction and, perhaps unsurprisingly, many
more partners than other women.
The American researchers, who report their findings in the Journal of Sex Research, said they found no evidence to support the damaged goods hypothesis that actresses involved in the porn industry come from desperate backgrounds and are
less psychologically healthy compared with typical women. They said:
Some descriptions of actresses in pornography have included attributes such as drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, desperation and being victims of sexual abuse. Some have made extreme assertions, such as claiming that all women in
pornography were sexually abused as children. Stereotypes of those involved in adult entertainment have been used to support or condemn the industry and to justify political views on pornography, although the actual characteristics of actresses
are unknown because no study on this group of women has been conducted.
The psychologists compared data taken from 177 adult entertainment actresses with a sample of women matched for age, marital status and other factors. The actresses, all of whom had been paid to work on at least one X-rated movie, ranged in age
from 18 to 50, with an average career in the industry of 3.5 years.
One of the main claims by commentators on the industry has been that actresses have frequently experienced sexual abuse in childhood, but the results show no statistically significant difference between the two groups of women.
The study also shows that the actresses sleep better and have more energy. On the negative side, industry workers had a history of more drug and alcohol use, and problems possibly linked to sensation-seeking personalities.
The study was undertaken by researchers at Shippensburg University, Texas Woman's University and the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation.