After Porn Ends

Over the holidays, I watched a documentary called 'After Porn Ends'. It's the stories of a number of people who were in the porn industry (mostly actors). Some of them are still in the industry in one way or another but most of them no longer do it for a living.

All of the various arguments I've heard and have had about porn, seem to come back to the question of whether the industry is inherently exploitative and abusive - ie. will doing porn mess you up for life?

This documentary made something quite clear to me that Nina Hartley - former porn actress and current porn producer and director articulates in the film. If you are someone who is lonely, craving attention, prone to addictions, vulnerable to abusive relationships, and/or confused about how you feel about your body and the value of sex, you will probably find and be attracted to in porn exactly what you don't need. You will find people who will prey on your insecurities and who will take advantage of your vulnerabilities. You will likely be confused about how you feel about it and ultimately end up feeling shameful and regretful. You will likely have an extremely negative experience. If you are someone who is confident about your body and who understands how you feel about and value sex, if you are someone who is confident about yourself in general and is able to handle yourself and set good boundaries that makes sense for your life, you will likely find in porn exactly what you need. You will find opportunities to make money and build a career whether in the porn industry or outside of it. You will feel good about what you're doing because you will understand the things that make you feel bad and will avoid them. You will stay in the industry as long as it works for you and when you feel that it is hurting you or is no longer beneficial, you will get out.

So are there a lot of victims of abuse in the porn industry? Are there a lot of alcoholics and drug addicts? Are there a lot of people who regret what they've done? Yes, yes and yes. But look at it from another angle and you can see that this is the case with any type of entertainment genre. You could say exactly the same thing about movies, television, music, and modelling. In fact, there are a lot of industries about which you could say the same thing. Is it necessarily the sex aspect that causes the problem? I think that's only a small part of it.

The documentary shows both scenarios pretty clearly. There are several people featured who were abused and/or feel that what they did was abuse. They regret their involvement in it and some have even dedicated a good part of their life to trying to keep others from doing it. There are others who feel that it was very beneficial for them. Some of them built big names and big careers for themselves. Some of them just enjoyed having sex on camera for a living.

I think the experience will depend mostly on the individual and then mainly on the people they meet and work with in the industry. There is good and there is bad.

'After Porn Ends' is not an exhaustive look at all of the aspects of the porn industry but it offers very interesting perspectives from the people that know it best - the people who have done it.

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