Since its inception, the adult entertainment industry has been widely stigmatized in society, and those working within the industry have long faced personal, social and legal obstacles to succeeding as pornstars. Despite facing such adversity, the adult entertainment industry has experienced a noticeable professionalization in recent years. From recognized awards programs to college courses dedicated to learning pornstardom, the nuances of this controversial career stand out.
Critics of adult entertainment fail to recognize that those working within the field are engaging in their profession as a legitimate business, and often forgo other opportunities with the same purpose – namely, to make money and to do something that engages them. The increased professionalization of the adult entertainment industry may well challenge many conceptions of what it means to be a pornstar. It is important to understand and evaluate the evolution of sex work in the context of the broader adult entertainment field.
To understand the professionalization of pornstars, one must first understand what it is they do. Pornstars are performers – actors, dancers, singers, and models – who appear in pornographic films (also known as adult films). Pornstars are often recruited or hired to perform in adult films, and they are typically expected to perform multiple sexual acts including fellatio, cunnilingus, and masturbation. Pornstars often have their own websites, and many maintain a presence on social media in an effort to make money, increase their visibility, and build a fan base.
There is no single type of pornstar. Some are experienced performers who have been in the adult entertainment industry since it began. Others may have had some prior experience in television or print modeling, but are only new to adult films. The rise of the internet has also allowed for a much wider variety of pornstars, as platforms such as OnlyFans and PornHub offer a platform for aspiring pornstars to make content of their own and to get compensated for it directly.
In recent years, the porn industry has become significantly more professional. Awards shows, such as the AVN Awards and XBIZ Awards, recognize pornstars for their achievements and performances. Many of these awards are modeled after mainstream awards shows, such as the Oscars and Golden Globe awards. Education has also grown in importance within the industry, and some universities in the United States are beginning to offer courses dedicated to the study of pornstardom.
In spite of the increase in professionalism within the adult entertainment industry, there remain significant challenges. Pornstars are often subjected to a wide array of stigmas, and many may be discriminated against in the areas of healthcare, housing, and employment opportunities. In addition, pornstars may experience a wide variety of mental health challenges and difficulties due to the nature of their work.
Despite the challenges faced by pornstars, it is clear that the adult entertainment industry is becoming increasingly professionalized and respected. Awards ceremonies, education programs, and the rise of new digital platforms have opened up new opportunities for those working within the industry. As society continues to recognize the value of sex workers, the professionalization of pornstars will no doubt only continue to grow.