Dropping like flies
It would appear that being a popular female porn actress is not perhaps a great career choice for women who are interested in a long and happy life. First Shyla Stylez, then August Ames, then Yuri Luv, and now Olivia Nova, have all been found dead within the space of three months:
I have no desire to speak ill of the dead here, but the fact is that a woman who chooses to go into porn automatically picks a risky and very difficult lifestyle. And yes, the fact is that most women who enter the adult entertainment industry choose to do so.
One of the few scientific studies currently available into the lives of female porn stars revealed some startling facts about the women who go into what is probably the second-oldest profession in the world. The first fact of interest is that the vast majority of women who go into porn do so entirely of their own free will.
Another interesting fact from that same study is that the length of the average porn star's career is anywhere from six to eighteen months, which is why only a very, very small number of female porn stars are actually recognised (or recognisable) after more than a few years.
This needs to be kept in mind when digesting the observation that these same women usually have higher self-esteem than the average woman. Now, granted, this is a notoriously subjective metric- attempting to measure self-esteem is a bit like attempting to measure whether childbirth is "more painful" than a herniated spinal disc- but the rationale for this point actually does make some sense. Women who expose their bodies when performing explicit acts for money in front of a camera have to be able to get past the fact that they are being filmed by a guy sticking a camera in their faces while they are getting porked, and that is not a natural situation for anyone, man or woman, to be in.
It is when one combines these facts that one gets a better idea of just why it is that female porn stars seem to be offing themselves a little more frequently than usual of late. And, granted, four deaths in three months is not a trend, it is a statistical anomaly at this point, but it is an anomaly worth noting.
For, aside from the only slightly older profession of prostitution, the pornography market is about the single most public and efficient way for a woman's sexual market value to be weighed and measured.
Female porn stars are quite literally sex objects. They exist only to be objectified; that is why most of them adopt pseudonyms, because nobody particularly cares if the girl getting railed on-screen is named "Alice" or "Gladys" or "Beth" or any other generic boring middle-class name. Their value depends entirely on how convincingly they show that they are enjoying the sex acts that they perform.
Their value rises and falls almost at random. There are almost zero barriers to entry and the competition is fierce, brutal, and relentless.
And- critically- as with any woman who lets her body be used as a sex object, their shelf lives are short and their careers can end very abruptly.
Every such woman knows, either outright or deep down in her darkest and most terrible insecurities, that she has put herself into a true meat-grinder of an industry with little to no way out. That industry takes a terrible toll upon the women who partake of it.
Porn careers do not seem to end particularly well. They do not have pension plans, they rarely have serious academic qualifications- and yes, I know, a lot of these women play nurses and schoolteachers in their films, please remember, they're acting. And, of course, they sure as hell are not marriage material for any man who wants a loving, monogamous, feminine woman who has not been used as a toilet by dozens or hundreds of other men before him.
A few such women do manage to make life after porn work. Sunny Leone managed it by getting married and going mainstream with a Bollywood film career- which I found extremely funny for a number of reasons. Allie Haze has been dating a guy who looks a bit like a Beta schlub, and got fat. Jenna Jameson... well, judge for yourself.
There are older names in the business- really, really, really old names, like Nina Hartley and Deauxma, you can go look them up if you have the stomach for it- who have been married in polyamourous relationships for decades, and that somehow lets them handle both their family lives and their careers as porn actresses.
However, these seem to be the special cases. The vast majority of porn actresses do not have bright futures to look forward to; witness what happened to Mia Khalifa, once a major "it-girl" of porn, later disowned by her parents and then targeted by the goathumpers of ISIS, who then became a "sports blogger", whatever that means.
That is the likely reality for the majority of popular female porn stars and for just about every single one of the obscure ones.
It is a future without a support network, without a shot at mainstream employment, without a loving husband and family, without children to love and cherish, without the adulation and lust of thousands or even millions of horny young men.
What confronts them is the yawning emptiness of the Abyss.
It is not surprising to me, at least, that when the Abyss stares back, some of these women simply cannot bear it.
It is truly sad to see a beautiful young woman like August Ames kill herself because of the cyberbullying that she received simply for expressing valid and entirely legitimate concerns about the men that she would partner with on film.
But when you consider the fact that such criticisms could have severely dented her porn career and even resulted in serious bodily harm, and that she likely had nothing much to look forward to outside of the industry, then her decision to commit suicide makes a little more sense.
Similarly, it is nearly impossible to imagine any normal, happy, carefree 20-year-old girl at the very peak of her youth, beauty, energy, and sexuality just offing herself for no reason. But when you look at Ms. Nova's tweet on Christmas, it sort of makes a lot more sense.
Judging by what is happening to these women, the life of a porn actress is a very lonely, very sad, and deeply unfulfilling one.
My view on pornography is similar to my opinion about prostitution. I view it as a sadly necessary evil. I argue that both men and women should avoid using it as much as possible, and strive instead to form meaningful connections with real people in the real world, but the fact is that for a lot of people out there- especially young men today- pornography offers a release, an escape, into a fantasy world that is vastly more appealing than the one around us today.
Spare a thought and a prayer for these young women who died well before their time. They may have chosen their careers and are therefore responsible for the consequences of their choices- and in Ms. Ames's case, suffered horrible abuse both before and during their lives as porn stars. But that does not mean that they deserved to have their lives cut short like this.
And if you are a father raising a daughter- remember these women as cautionary tales. If your daughter ends up going into a porn career, you will feel a terrible sense of guilt and shame. You will feel as though you failed your daughter and therefore yourself.
That is because, in fact, you have.