Porn actresses at the 15th "Venus" erotic fair in Berlin (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)
A new study has put to bed the perception that female porn stars have low self-esteem and are less psychologically healthy compared with other women.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Sex Research, said it found no evidence to support the "damaged goods hypothesis" that actresses involved in the porn industry come from desperate backgrounds. Rather, the researchers found the women have higher self-esteem, a better quality of life and body image, and are more positive, with greater levels of spirituality.
The study was conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania's Shippensburg University, Texas Woman’s University and the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation
"Some descriptions of actresses in pornography have included attributes such as drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, desperation and being victims of sexual abuse," the report said. "Some have made extreme assertions, such as claiming that all women in pornography were sexually abused as children.
"Stereotypes of those involved in adult entertainment have been used to support or condemn the industry and to justify political views on pornography, although the actual characteristics of actresses are unknown because no study on this group of women has been conducted."
The team compared data taken from 177 adult entertainment actresses with a sample of women matched for age, marital status and other factors.
The actresses, all of whom had been paid to work on at least one X-rated movie, ranged in age from 18 to 50, with an average career in the industry of 3.5 years. More than one-third were either married or in a serious relationship, and 44% were single.