I am a passionate of the topics of body image and self-esteem. I have been researching the topic for the last 4 years.
Today I found a very interesting article at the NYPost that reports the story of a new new study that has concluded that female porn stars are just as psychologically healthy or even healthier than other women.
The latest edition of the Journal of Sex Research has challenged the stereotype that porn actresses have poor self-images and a history of sexual abuse. A report suggests that porn stars have higher self-esteem, a better quality of life and body image, and are more spiritual than their non-adult entertainment counterparts.
Researchers at Pennsylvania’s Shippensburg University, Texas Woman’s University and the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation compared 177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status. Comparisons were based on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life and drug use. Sun News reports that the actresses in the study had all been paid to work on at least one X-rated movie and ranged in age from 18 to 50. Their average career in the industry was 3.5 years.
Results showed that the X-Rated stars were more likely to say they enjoyed sex — no surprise there — but perhaps contrary to popular notions, porn stars weren’t any more likely to have had endured sexual abuse than those in the control group. However, some of the results confirmed popular stereotypes. For example, the actresses reported using more drugs than the control group while they also reported having sex for the first time at a younger age (15) than the control group (17).
“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 report said.
The study has been dismissed by feminist commentator Dawn Foster, however, who says the results have disregarded some of the porn industry’s seedier aspects.
“It is dangerous to generalize about a huge industry: women who are successful and in control of their careers in one pocket don’t speak for women in the less scrutinized parts,” Foster said in the Independent. “The study’s main objective seems to be to prove that not all women in porn are exploited: no one has argued that. But glossing over the exploitative aspects helps no one.”