Sex & Relationships

Why I Quit Working in Porn

I didn’t leave the porn industry because I object to porn. I left because I love it.

Sixteen naked young women stared at me from a contact sheet of photographs. Some stood tall; others cocked their hips in a coy slouch. One girl with short, curly hair smiled broadly. The rest seemed to be searching for something in the camera.

I scanned through each photo, noting hair color and style. I looked for tattoos and piercings, for stretch marks and scars. I searched for the right one.

Each girl held a paper with a name scrawled on it—not in front of her, but to the side.

They didn’t want to hide their tits.

When I found the one, I circled her stage name with a red marker. Sharon. Sharon glowed with a light tan. Her hair shimmered with natural blond highlights. She smiled with her big blue eyes while her full lips curled in a faint grin. And her pale pink nipples stood pert—like perfect little gumdrops. She looked like a cheerleader. Athletic. Clean-cut. Shaved.

“Does she do anal?” I asked.

My boss rustled through some papers, and then shook his head. “No, but she does boy/girl.”


An Eye Full

Maybe you know me. I’m the one who stays quiet, simply listening, as other women discuss the evils of pornography. At risk of outing myself, I choose not to share my opinions. But I have quite a few. After all, I spent three years working behind the scenes for a company publishing porn websites and DVDs.

What started as a position copyediting business proposals for an empire of porn paysites quickly evolved when my boss noticed I had an eye for photography. When he began developing a new site focusing on a select handful of premium models, he assigned me with the task of selecting them.

I spent hours watching videos, fast-forwarding through long hardcore scenes, listening to interviews and sifting through thousands of images. My role was part quality assurance, part production manager and part casting director. I called photographers to criticize them for unrealistically faked cum shots and bad lighting. I emailed models to thank them for taking the time to fill out tedious surveys about their personalities and hobbies.

I sat in my office with my hand on my mouse and made decisions that would affect the budding careers of young models who would never know my name or face.

East End Girls

Eastern Europe supplies the porn industry with thousands of fresh faces each year. Thanks to several premier erotic photographers and adult production companies in Budapest and Prague, pretty girls don’t have to look far to find work. Though video is king, photography remains popular—especially for magazines and websites marketing to US audiences.

A college student from the Czech Republic can be transformed in a flash. Oksana becomes Andrea. Stepanka becomes Stephanie.

Though not mainstream, adult industry work doesn’t have quite the same stigma in most of Europe as it does in the US. The girls I surveyed and emailed preferred modeling and acting to dancing or escort work.

Of course, not all the girls are in it for part time work. Every year a handful makes it big, leaves the world of amateur style porn for the high end DVDs and glossy magazines. One or two become legitimate porn stars, usually leaving Eastern Europe for Los Angeles.

We chose to work with Eastern European models to cut costs. Once we put the word out, our European photographers submitted hundreds of models, most of which were far too experienced. They were already all over the web, with a dozen different stage names.

But a little over fifty were truly brand new to the industry. I began to narrow them down.

Break it Down

From thousands of miles away, in an unassuming office in a strip mall, I flipped through contact sheets and dozens of handwritten biographies on my hunt for the next big thing.

I learned that Svetlana only modeled only on weekends. During the week, she studied biochemistry.

I learned that Zuzana worked as a veterinary assistant and modeled to help pay off her student loans.

I learned that Ivania wanted to model full time and hoped to move to the United States where her cousins owned a produce store.

I learned that Polina gave up competitive swimming after a shoulder injury.

I learned that Dorota danced for a local ballet company—and then I requested that she be shot dancing in nothing but her ballet slippers.

In the end, I chose twelve girls. Like a loving puppeteer, I gave them names. Secretly enchanted by their stories and their real lives, I directed my team to keep as much of their true stories intact when creating their web pages.

Though deep down I knew that few would really care about the details.

Conflict of Interests

As soon as I chose my twelve models, they began a blitz of photography and video shoots. No one was getting any younger.

Within two weeks, the content began rolling in. As I reviewed hundreds of videos shipped overseas on digital tape, I marveled at the nonchalance exuded by models speaking in broken English. They gestured with lit cigarettes, chatted on cell phones in between each take. They licked their fingers and rubbed spit on their pussies for lubrication. They giggled over shaved balls and laughed in the middle of blowjobs.

In the spirit of documentary-style amateur porn, I’d ordered genuine masturbation videos. Despite the detailed coaching we’d provided (keep the lights dim, keep the set quiet, give her a good vibrator) many of the girls still faked it.

They laughed nervously. I grinned knowingly.

I judged. Too much cellulite from that angle. Her tattoos need covering—try Dermablend. Don’t let her smoke during interviews. Never use blue eyeshadow. Have her ass crack waxed next time.

I ordered a girl’s first threesome on film. Another girl’s first experience with anal beads.

I brainstormed locations and chose costumes.

I wrote erotic stories to accompany their photoshoots—spent hours building onto their personalities until they became dear friends confiding to me in hushed whispers.

I locked my office door fell in love, just a little, with my beautiful starlets.

And then I quit.

Hey Ladies

I didn’t leave the porn industry because I object to porn. I left because I love it.

The models I worked with were smart, funny and gorgeous. They were daring and sensual. They chose to do porn not out of desperation or coercion, but because they saw an opportunity to make good money in a way that didn’t compromise their morals.

They came on set, performed, and left the work behind them. But I took it home with me. I started going to clubs and categorizing women in my head. I saw college students on the street and wondered if they’d be better suited for our hairy girl site or our teen site.

The business of producing pornography overshadowed the excitement of consuming pornography. I became blasé about what had always been my biggest turn-on.

I like porn. I like it a lot. Porn helps me get off, it fuels my fantasies, and it gives me an outlet when I need a dirty little break. Instead of spending hours saturated in hardcore videos, I sneak onto my husband’s computer and explore his collection.

And I don’t learn anyone’s names. 

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