CharlieNo matter where you get your data it is clear that online pornography is very big business.  Whether you look at attempts to measure page views for the top porn sites (over 5 billion per month), porn web sites (4%), porn search engine searches (10-15%) or numbers of sites blocked by filtering software programs (2.5 million in CYBERsitter) internet porn is huge.

The number of Hollywood porn films produced have exceeded that of mainstream movies, with the 2006 porn industry revenue of $13.3 billion making porn bigger than the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball combined.

The sex and porn industries employ a large number of women and there is a recent explosion in the number of women in the webcam pornography sphere.

How are the women in the online porn industry faring?

I came across some interesting data through an organization operated by former porn and sex industry workers.  They report on the results of “a cross sectional study based on the California Women’s Health Survey” which compared the mental health of female adult performers with that of other young women in California.

As children:

37% women in porn had been child victims of forced sex compared to 13% of women not in porn

21% had been placed in foster care compared to 4% of women not in porn

As adults:

33% of women in porn met the criteria for depression vs. 13% of women not in porn

34% of women in porn experienced domestic violence in the past 12 months vs. 6% of women not in porn

27% of women in porn experienced forced sex as adults compared to 9% of women not in porn

50% of women in porn lived in poverty in the past 12 months vs. 36% of women not in porn.

On the other hand…

An article called “Female Porn Stars Have High Self-Esteem, Study Says” describes a study in which the self-reports of 177 porn actresses suggested high levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction and spirituality.  But at the same time the study found that porn actresses had sex at an early age, had more sexual partners and were more concerned about contracting STDs.

Others have claimed that porn can be empowering for female performers and that for some it offers a chance to escape poverty and go on to college.

The sex industry generally

Jennie Ketcham, a blogger for Huffington Post has been quoted as saying that being a porn star is traumatic and that she experienced symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the industry.

This is not a big revelation.  In studies of women in various aspects of the sex industry, including prostitution, have been found to have a an incidence of PTSD that is about on a par with combat war veterans.

Women in various aspects of the sex industry have been found to have higher rates than the general population of

Drug addictions

Sexually transmitted diseases

Violent assaults, and

Mental health problems

Also 73% of women in prostitution have been raped more than five times (U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime) and 89% of women in the sex industry reported that they wanted to escape but had no other means for survival. (www.protitutionresearch.com).

Webcam porn sites

Forbes.com interview with the author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts: reports that

“The single most popular adult [porn] site in the world is LiveJasmin.com, a webcam site which gets around 32 million visitors a month, or almost 2.5% of all Internet users.”

And

“…what men prefer the most is watching women strip on a webcam and being able to talk to them while they do, telling the women what they want to see. Once this became available (through high-quality broadband streaming of webcam video) it just shot to the top of popularity; it’s even more popular than the tube sites like PornHub and RedTube.”

The Forbes article reports that almost all the performers in webcam porn are from eastern Europe and southeast Asia.

“At $8-$15/hour with no benefits, it doesn’t pay enough for American women… except teenage girls and college students.”

I have not found any studies yet on the mental or physical fallout from performing in webcam porn.   Find Dr. Hatch on Facebook at Sex Addictions Counseling or Twitter @SAResource

 







    Last reviewed: 10 Jun 2013

APA Reference
Hatch, L. (2013). Women in the Porn, Sex and Webcam Industry: How are They Doing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2013/04/women-in-the-porn-sex-and-webcam-industry-how-are-they-doing/

 




Check Out Linda Hatch's books,
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