Pornography – Heart Healthy?

Some say porn is good for you, good for your marriage, good for your health, others disagree.

Yet, there’s a muffled voice in all of this talk; namely, the lives of the actors used to produce sex films. What are the health risks or benefits of being a porn actress? Is pornography a labor of love or slavery?

The stories of the currently employed, the retired and the dead speak volumes.

Porn Defined

Pornography is derived from the Greek “porne” (prostitute) and “graphein,” (write), meaning writing about prostitutes.

Pornography is prostitution. The actors and actresses have sex for money. They happen to do it on camera. The “soft porn” we see in fashion ads, music videos and movies is arguably also “soft prostitution.”

The Oxford Dictionary defines pornography as:

“printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.”[1]

The viewer is watching people but the purpose is not to see them as people. The aim is to depict sexual objects and separate sex from relationship, ie emotional feelings. The actors are engaging in an intimate moment as a performance.

It’s sort of like a flavoring additive. You get the flavor of watermelon without the actual fruit or any of its nutrients.

Facts of Life

Dr. Shelley Lubben is an ex-porn star and a leading expert on the industry. She’s made it her mission to tell the truth and help the public understand what they’re consuming and promoting. Dr. Shelley speaks nationally, is author of Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn, and penned the song lyric “while you clickin’ me the industry is killin’ me.”[2]

According to experts, the average life expectancy of America’s general population is 78.6 years; but that of a porn performer is 36.2 years. The Dept. of Justice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reported a 7 year life expectancy after entering into prostitution. That is, people die after 7 years of being sexually exploited in “the life.”[3]

Shelley wrote:

“Out of about 2,000 performers working in the porn industry located in the San Fernando Valley, California, 205 porn stars that we know of died from AIDS, suicide, homicide, drugs and premature deaths between 2003 and 2013.

No other industry has these kinds of statistics, not even the music industry which is at least 10 times bigger than the porn industry [emphasis added].

Health & Wellness

A substantial stream of income feeding the American economy stands on the backs of prostitutes. The porn industry generates about $97 billion every year. Of that the USA claims roughly $13 billion, tallying more than McDonalds. In 2012 McD’s grossed some $27 billion worldwide with 32% or roughly $8½ billion of that belonging to the US.

Porn’s big business.

The next time someone talks to you about it you can be in the know. Check out these quick facts Dr. Shelley uncovered during her research (all sources cited on her website).[4]

To keep these numbers in perspective compare these working conditions to other jobs. If we heard similar statistics for McDonalds or Walmart employees how would the public react? For one thing, most of us would start by abstaining from their services.

  • 66%-100% of porn stars have herpes, a non-curable disease.
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea among performers is 10x greater than that of LA County 20-24 year olds.
  • According to a recent study, 48% of the 304 scenes examined contained verbal aggression; 88% displayed physical aggression.
  • Porn performers experience a 20% rate of infection compared to 2.4% for the general public.
  • 2,396 cases of chlamydia and 1,389 cases of gonorrhea have been reported among performers since 2004.
  • 70% of STDs in the porn industry occur in females.
  • 12-17 year olds represent the largest group of porn consumers, adding up to an estimated 11 million teenagers. Our kids are learning how to engage sexually through porn.
  • 58% of child abuse domains/websites are headquartered in the USA.
  • The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (also called divorce attorneys) reported in 2003 that 58% of divorces resulted from excessive viewing of pornography.

Porn Addiction and Recovery

Addiction is addiction. The brain and physiology respond similarly to a sex or porn addiction as to abuse of a substance such as drugs or alcohol.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a pornography addiction there is help. Here are a few options: offers online assessment, access to treatments and community for men and women, both consumer and performer. provides free resources, a healing course entitled 10 Keys to Breaking Pornography Addiction, a free forum and more. offers articles, videos, statistics and tons of free resources, as well as a recovery program. To jump straight to information regarding the program go to is home to the Pink Cross Foundation, Shelly Lubben’s public charity dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking and violence in the workplace. In addition, Pink Cross helps those struggling with porn addiction by offering education.

You can also garner some useful tips and insightful tools as well as links to further resources at Your Brain On Porn: Tools for Change.


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