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June 07, 2012 11:06 AM Pornography as an Advertisement for Prostitution

By Keith Humphreys

In the indispensable G2 section of the Guardian, Louis Theroux describes how free pornography on the Internet has largely destroyed the pornographic movie industry. An actress’ fee for doing a hard-core porn scene used to be around $3,000. It has now dropped to $1,000 for big name performers and much less for unknowns. Theroux comments on how some women adapt:

It’s an open secret in the porn world that many female performers are supplementing their income by “hooking on the side”. It’s also called “doing privates”, as in private bookings. The official industry line is that it’s dangerous (because clients aren’t tested the way performers are) and irresponsible (because the women could then infect the closed community of professional performers). But the women can make far more money having sex behind closed doors than doing it on film and, in fact, the practice is widespread. For many female performers nowadays, the movies are merely a sideline, a kind of advertising for their real business of prostitution.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
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