Pornographic actor

Infobox Occupation

caption= Jenna Jameson, one of the most famous porn stars
official_names= Pornographic actor/actress, porn star
activity_sector= Entertainment
competencies= Physical appearance (female), ability to have and maintain erection and ejaculate on cue (male)
employment_field= Film, television, theatre, photography, live shows
related_occupation= Actor, extra, screenwriter, film director, theatre director
average_salary= US$40,000/year; see Pay rates

A pornographic actor/actress or a porn star is somebody who appears in pornographic films or photographs, live sex shows or peep shows. Most actors and actresses may appear nude in films (usually filmed in explicit sexual genres). Most genres have specialists who achieve most of their recognition in a specific niche market such as bondage, strap-on sex, gaping, general anal sex, double penetration or 'teenage' girls.

Some legal jurisdictions consider commercial pornography as a form of prostitution, though most commercial sex film performers do not regard themselves as prostitutes for various reasons. Most notably these performers are usually not paid directly by their sexual partners for the sex, but through a studio. Some sex film performers do not receive money at all for their inclusion in such films. In this instance, they do so for promotion of their other works such as artistry paintings and sculptures, or have no sex in the films such as repeat performers in the famous "Girls Gone Wild" film series.


Many performers had appeared in various sex films since the beginning of photography. Many so-called "penny arcades" of the early 1900s had early hand-cranked films and "rotoscope" (Holmes-style Stereoscope) glasses that featured "racy" pictures of women, mostly in topless pictures, though a few actually showed women in full frontal nudity with fewer still showing them in actual sexual couplings. There have been many films and photographs that showed sexual acts including the World War II series of erotic German home movies known as the "Sachsenwald films," recorded secretly in Nazi Germany 1941. [cite web |url=,11710,1146258,00.html|title=Porn und Drang|last=Harding|first=Luke|date=2004-02-12|accessdate=2007-04-18|work=The Guardian|quote=Before submitting his manuscript to his publisher last summer, Kunkel had researched long and hard into one of the most subterranean aspects of the Nazi era - a series of erotic home movies known as the Sachsenwald films, shot secretly in 1941. Officially, pornography was forbidden under the Nazis; in reality, however, the films were not only screened privately for the amusement of senior Nazi figures, but were also traded in north Africa for insect repellent and other commodities.|language=English] But performers of these early photograph and film recordings usually chose to remain anonymous due to extreme social pressure and legal banning against open sexual actions. The generally acknowledged first porn star with specific (stage) name recognition was Linda Lovelace from the United States, who starred in the 1972 feature "Deep Throat". The success of this movie, which grossed hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, spawned a slew of other films and pornographic film stars such as Marilyn Chambers ("Behind the Green Door"), Gloria Leonard ("The Opening of Misty Beethoven"), Georgina Spelvin ("The Devil in Miss Jones"), and Bambi Woods ("Debbie Does Dallas").

This era has been termed by some to be "The Golden Age of Porn" when porn films were being shown in public theaters and thus accepted for public consumption or at least tolerated for such. [ Second wave: Feminism and porns golden age] . "Radical Society" Oct 2002 by Loren Glass] This time frame lasted until the late 1970s, with some saying the early 1980s, whereby these sex films had specific story-plots and promotional budgets and the performers became notable. Such legendary performers of this era include John Holmes, Ginger Lynn Allen, Veronica Hart, Nina Hartley, Seka, and Amber Lynn, who became well known in this era.

Attempts were made in the 1970s to outlaw pornography in the United States by prosecuting porn stars for prostitution. The courts in California were where the case was initially made, and stopped short of advancing the case to the United States Supreme Court for a final decision. It was this decision and acceptance to let stand whereby the California Court made a legal distinction in the case of People v. Freeman between someone who took part in a sexual relationship for money (prostitution) versus someone who takes on the act of merely "portraying" role where a sexual relationship was engaged in on-screen act as part of their acting performance. It is this specific legal distinction between pornography and prostitution in California law that has allowed California to become the porn center of the United States.

At present, no other state in the United States has either implemented or accepted this legal distinction between commercial pornography performers versus prostitutes as shown in the Florida case where sex film maker Clinton Raymond McCowen, aka "Ray Guhn", was indicted on charges of "soliciting and engaging in prostitution" for his creation of pornography films which included "McCowen and his associates recruited up to 100 local men and women to participate in group sex scenes, the affidavit says." [Cite web | url= | title= Webmaster Ray Guhn Arrested in Florida | accessdate=2006-06-26 | publisher=""] The distinction that California has in its legal determination in the Freeman decision is usually denied in most states' local prostitution laws, which do NOT specifically exclude performers from such inclusion.

In some cases, some states have ratified their local state laws for inclusion to prevent California's Freeman decision to be applied to actors who are paid a fee for sexual actions within their state borders. One example is the state of Texas whose prostitution law specifically states:

:An offense is established under Subsection (a)(1) whether the actor is to receive or pay a fee. An offense is established under Subsection (a)(2) whether the actor solicits a person to hire him or offers to hire the person solicited. [cite web|url=
title=Texas Penal Code, Chapter 43: Public Indecency|accessdate=2007-04-18|publisher=Texas Legislature

The ability for people to view adult movies in the privacy of their own homes, owing to the popularity of the VCR (and now DVD) created a new adult market that has exceeded the scope of the previous theatre centric era. Additionally, the prevalence of the Internet has served as a catalyst for the increased sale of pornography. In the late 1990s, Jenna Jameson, Juli Ashton, Ashlyn Gere, Asia Carrera, Racquel Darrian, Tera Patrick, Briana Banks, Stacy Valentine, Jill Kelly, and Silvia Saint emerged as new wave of porn stars.

Some state that the production values of adult films have decidedly declined in the attempt to create a constant amount of new films to fulfill the ever increasing demand. Others argue that sex films are merely being more true to their source as some have stated that people only watch these films in order to see these performers have sex - paraphrased from (To which the only answer is "No, they watch her movies to see her fuck.") [Cite web | url= | title= The golden age of porn | accessdate=2002-04-13 | publisher=""]

As a result of this, there are hundreds of adult film companies today, releasing tens of thousands of directly recorded-on-video with minimal sets, including so-called web cam recordings annually, with thousands of people working on both sides of the camera to meet the demand for these films.

Male performers

While the primary focus of heterosexual sex films are the women in them, who are mostly selected for their on-screen appearance, there is a definite focus on the male performers who are able to fulfill the desires of the male watching audience as their on-screen proxies. Most male performers in heterosexual pornography are generally selected less for their looks than for their sexual prowess, namely their ability to do three things: achieve an erection while on a busy film set, maintain that erection while performing on camera, and then ejaculate on cue.

Ste 'Rent-a-cock' McNichol (Anal scenes only) Rocco Siffredi, Ron Jeremy, Robin Helsing (only gay movies), Peter North and John Holmes are probably the most famous male performers in heterosexual films. Peter North is known for his ability to launch above-average amounts of semen at notable velocity from his penis on-screen which most other male performers can not do. Ron Jeremy is known for his large penis and an appearance very unusual for a porn star (he is overweight with large amounts of body hair). Adding to his fame, Ron Jeremy has been a staple in the industry since the '70s and has become something of a cultural icon.

Pay rates

According to some sources, most male performers in straight porn are paid less than their female counterparts. Ron Jeremy has commented on the pay scale of women and men of the sex film industry: "The average guy gets $300 to $400 a scene, or $100 to $200 if he's new. A woman makes $100,000 to $250,000 at the end of the year." [ [ Ron Jeremy: Penetrating society since '78] ] and "Girls can easily make 100K-250K per year, plus stuff on the side like strip shows and appearances. The average guy makes $40,000 a year." [ [ Jeremy spoke in class today: An exclusive interview with porn movie legend, Ron Jeremy] ]

Some state that gay male porn generally pays men much more than heterosexual porn; a number of male performers, including North, have appeared in both heterosexual and gay pornography. [ [ 'The Bigger the Better' (1984)] ] However North strenuously denies that he has ever actively performed in homosexual acts other than his earliest times. Ostensibly, men who perform in gay pornography but identify themselves as heterosexual are said to do gay-for-pay, that is, perform in gay movies only for the paycheck, not because of any personal attraction they have to other men.

According to notable producer Seymore Butts who runs his own sex film recruitment agency as well as produces sex film "depending on draw, female performers who perform in both straight and lesbian porn earn more than those who do normal sex (Boy/Girl) usually make about US$200-800 while those who only do oral sex (blow job) usually only make about US$100-300 for the scene. [Cite web | url= | title=How to become a porn star and get in the Porn business | accessdate=2007-04-14 | publisher=""] It was also noted in an interview conducted by Local10 news of Florida that individuals were offered $700 for sexual intercourse while shooting a scene of the popular series Bangbus in 2004 [cite web|url=|title= Porn Bus Shoots Sex On The Move|accessdate= 2008-06-29|date= 2004-11-17|publisher= WPLG]

While some pornographic actors perform in a wide range of genres, most genres have specialists who achieve most of their recognition in a specific niche market such as bondage or strap-on sex. With over several thousand usually one hour long sex films produced each year from several countries, the most accessible usually made and released from within the United States, many performers will complete a film every one or two weeks. However, many of the highly regarded and thus highly paid performers, such as Jenna Jameson, only star in actual sex films a few times a year, due to the substantial pay rate they charge for their inclusion in film releases.

Pornographic actors and STDs

Because of the nature of their work, usually involving sex without condoms, pornographic actors are particularly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

In the 1980s, an outbreak of HIV led to a number of deaths of erotic actors and actresses, including John Holmes, R.J. Reynolds, Wade Nichols, Marc Stevens, Chuck Vincent, Casey Donavan, Al Parker and Lisa De Leeuw. This led to the creation of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which helped set up a system in the U.S. adult film industry where erotic actors are tested for HIV every 30 days. All sexual contact is logged, and positive test results lead to all sexual contacts for the last three to six months being contacted and re-tested. The use of condoms became standard in films featuring homosexual anal sex.

In 1997, John Stagliano tested positive for HIV. He contracted the virus recreationally after having unprotected anal sex with a Brazilian transsexual in Rio de Janeiro. [ [,,458058,00.html A rough trade | By genre | Books ] ]

In 1998, a second outbreak occurred. Sharon Mitchell, Director of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, announced on April 30, that Marc Wallice was HIV-positive. Wallice's career was effectively over, with rumors and speculation that he also infected several actresses, including Brooke Ashley, Tricia Devereaux, Caroline, Jordan McKnight, Barbara Doll, and Kimberly Jade. He denies the rumors, but they continue to resonate with many in the business. After all, Marc had been caught with a fake AIDS certificate only months before the scandal broke. [ [ Marc Wallice, Marc Wallice Porn Star DVD Movies and VHS Video Films at ] ]

In 1999, Tony Montana and a Florida female performer tested HIV positive. [ [ HIV scare hits US porn industry | World news | The Observer ] ] On January 18, 2000, Niki Lae tested HIV positive. In January, 2001, Tori Coca Flame tested HIV positive.

In 2004, a male performer, Darren James, tested positive for HIV; [cite web|url=
title=Darren James Diagnosed HIV-Positive|accessdate=2007-09-22|date=2004-04-13|publisher=AVN
] after engaging in unprotected anal sex with Brazilian porn star Bianca Biaggi for a scene in the video "Split That Booty 2" in Rio de Janeiro. [cite web|url=|title=HIV Case Airs Secrets of Porn Industry|accessdate=2007-09-22|author=Alan Clendenning|date=2004-04-29|publisher=Miami Herald|archiveurl=|archivedate=2004-04-30] By the end of the month it was discovered that three actresses who had worked with James shortly after his return to the United States (two of whom were involved in the same production) had also become infected with the virus. These were Canadian newcomer Lara Roxx, Miss Arroyo, and Czech-born Jessica Dee. While it was announced that the viral load tests showed that James was "Patient Zero," [cite web|url=
title=Viral Load Results Indicate James was 'Patient Zero'|accessdate=2007-09-22|date=2004-04-26|publisher=AVN
] others in the industry have stated they feel that Lara Roxx is truly the source of the outbreak [cite web|url=|title=Lara Roxx, Patient Zero?|accessdate=2007-09-22|author=Gene Ross|date=2004-05-08|publisher=AdultFYI] as she was previously working as a street prostitute in her native Montreal before coming to Los Angeles. [cite web|url=|title=Lara Roxx More Like 30|accessdate=2007-09-22|author=Gene Ross|date=2004-04-27|publisher=AdultFYI] Following the release of this information the heterosexual porn industry voluntarily reduced their workload for the next 30 days, as various contacts with both individuals, as well as others within the industry, re-evaluated and expanded upon their original programs dealing with this possibility.

Accurate information about the extent of infection among those in the adult industry is unknown because no organization has ever done rigorous studies. The existing data suggest that pornographic actors have a much higher rate of STDs than the general American population. [cite web
url =
title = The Adult Film Industry: Time to Regulate?
accessdate = 2007-10-01
last = Grudzen
first = Corita R.
coauthors = Kerndt, Peter R.
date = 2007-06-19
work = PLoS Medicine
publisher = Public Library of Science, U.S. National Library of Medicine
pages =
language =
doi =
archiveurl =
archivedate = 2007-08-06
quote = Among 825 performers screened in 2000–2001, 7.7% of females and 5.5% of males had chlamydia, and 2% overall had gonorrhea. These rates are much higher than in patients visiting family planning clinics, where chlamydia and gonorrhea rates were 4.0% and 0.7%, respectively.... Between January 2003 and March 2005, approximately 976 performers were reported with 1,153 positive STD test results. Of the 1,153 positive test results, 722 (62.6 %) were chlamydia, 355 (30.8%) were gonorrhea, and 126 (10.9%) were coinfections with chlamydia and gonorrhea [10] . Less is known about the prevalence and risk of transmission of other STDs such as syphilis, herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B or C, trichomonal infection, or diseases transmitted through the fecal–oral route.

ee also

* Erotic capital
* Exhibitionism


* "Zen and the Art of Pornography", Harold Johnson, 2008 (ISBN-10: 1438204302)
* "Per amore e per forza", Ilona Staller, 2007 (in Italian)
* "The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz", Ron Jeremy, 2006 (ISBN-10: 0060840838)
* "Porno - Ein Star packt aus", Kelly Trump, 2005 (in German)
* "Secretos de una pornostar", Celia Blanco, 2005 (in Spanish)
* "", Jenna Jameson, 2005
* "J'assume", Nina Roberts, mai 2005 (ISBN 2350120201) (in French)
* "Sex Star", Clara Morgane, 2003 (in French)
* "Traci Lords : Underneath It All", Traci Lords, 2003
* "Raw Talent", Jerry Butler, 1990 (ISBN-10: 087975625X)
* "Ich, Gina Wild. Enthüllung.", Gina Wild, 2003 (in German)
* "Hard", Raphaëla Anderson, 2001 (ISBN 2253154490) (in French)
* "Lights, Camera, SEX!", Christy Canyon, 2005 (ISBN 0972747001)
* "Penetrating Insights", Peter North, 1994 (ISBN-10: 1885591225)
* "The Secret Lives of Hyapatia Lee", Hyapatia Lee, 2000 (ISBN-10: 1587219069)


External links

* [ Internet Adult Film Database] (contains nudity)
* [ Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation] : Frequently asked questions

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