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Arch Sex Behav. 2013 May;42(4):637-47. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-0033-5. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

Characteristics of pornography film actors: self-report versus perceptions of college students.

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Psychology Department, Shippensburg University, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257, USA.


The assumed characteristics of individuals in the adult entertainment industry have been used to advocate positions for and against pornography. Although prior studies have investigated perceptions of porn actors, no data on the actual characteristics of this group exist. The present study compared the self-reports of 105 male and 177 female porn actors to the perceptions of 399 college students on childhood sexual abuse (CSA), self-esteem, work and non-work sexual behaviors, and safe sex issues. College students were asked to identify the characteristics associated with either a male or female porn star. College students provided underestimates for both female and male porn actors on self-esteem, age of first intercourse, lifetime number of partners outside of work, ideal experience in a romantic partner, concerns regarding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), enjoyment of sex, and condom use during a first time sexual encounter, but overestimated earnings. Additional differences among male porn stars included an underestimate of the number of partners at work. For female porn stars, college students underestimated their enjoyment of work, the probability of catching an STD, and having unprotected sex. Although there were no significant differences on perceived rates of childhood abuse of porn actors, the incidence of CSA among the porn actor participants were within the ranges of the general population. The majority of college student stereotypes were not supported regarding the perceptions of porn actors. These findings were discussed within the context of attributing unfounded characteristics of individuals to an entire industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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