The Cruelty and Compassion of Porn

In the first post, I examined the conceit of pornography and explained how this pride and self-focus often leads us back into pornography, not freedom from it. Now I want to expound another perspective of pornography that is often ignored in evangelical circles: The performers of pornography. Now you may be wondering what the purpose of such would be, so allow me to explain.

In order to be released from the grip of pornography, we must not only stop our selfish pride and self-pity. We must see the reality of the pornography industry because we often only know the actors to the extent of our own fantasy we have constructed in our minds. However, if we gain empathy for the victims that make these films (and yes, most are victims), it is often easier to stop seeing the actors, or just people in general, as objects for our own gratification.

Most people are unaware of the cruelties that underlie the life of most pornographic film stars, but many are bringing those into the light to reveal the vile and inhumane conditions of the industry. Nate Larkin, author of the book Samson and the Pirate Monks, uncovers the truths about the porn industry in a new film entitled Sex + Money: A National Search for Human Worth. Nate’s book is great and though I have not seen the film, I imagine it does a great job portraying truth about the cruelty of industry and growing compassion for those that work in it.

So what is the truth? In a two part post by Shelley Lubben found here, the former adult film star discusses many untold truths about the industry. Shelley now has a ministry formed to help many of the hurting souls trying to leave the business find a refuge. But what is most interesting about the industry? Here are a few fun facts:

  • Performers typically get paid between $400-$1000 per film and see no proceeds from sales- a multi-billion dollar a year industry.
  • Nearly every performer (reports range from 80% to 99%) has an STD, more than likely herpes.
  • Most women actors are used as prostitutes and have passed along STDs to others.
  • Many performers are on drugs, only because they know no other way to keep doing what they are doing.
  • Physical and verbal abuse is rampant. Actors, especially women, are often beaten and berated.
  • Trafficking: Many pornographic actors are women and young girls that were kidnapped from their homes overseas (usually Eastern Europe or Asia), drugged, and brought over to the US to perform acts of prostitution and pornography.

Now, that is a small taste of the truth, but it definitely effects the desire to click that next link when we realize that the person in that film is not some man or woman that thinks you are amazing, or that everything you do is amazing, and wants to do amazing things with you. It is quite the opposite. He or she is more than likely an underpaid, abused, drug addicted, kidnapped STD infected victim that is someone’s brother or sister, son or daughter. They need to be redeemed by being set free from this slavery, and from the whip of our mouse clicks that continue to drive the sex for sale industry. We feed the demand and we justify horrific acts by continuing to invest our time, money, and energy into pornography. And if we are feeling low at this point, I urge you again to reread the previous post or this one from the Desiring God blog about seeking humility and accepting the forgiveness we have in the Cross.

And finally, look at Jesus’ disposition with the Samaritan woman (John 4) at the well. He loved her and her saw her as a human when he engaged in conversation with her. He did not see her as an object for the gratification of others. He freed her from being seen as such by treating her as a human with compassion. This is a posture we must grow in if we want to be free from pornography. True freedom will come when not only we are set free, but those young women and men that make up the industry are set free as well. Will you take time to see your issue not only as a personal problem, (again, our conceit at work), but one for the actors as well?