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4 Reasons Porn Stars Are Nothing Like You Think

Porn star is one of the few professions that comes with its own cultural shorthand: Whenever someone mentions the job, a very specific picture pops in our minds, just like when someone says "cowboy" or "gangster."

Monkey Business Images/Monkey
Or "Internet comedian."

Too bad these images in our head are often ridiculously off the mark. The stereotypical cowboy look was made up by movies, and most Internet comedians are actually rather less attractive than that (Soren Bowie notwithstanding). Likewise, that standard "Stripperella with daddy issues" image we as a society tend to mentally assign any and all porn stars is actually pretty damn far from the truth.

Here, let's take a closer look at people who are probably distracting you from work in another browser window:

#4. The Average Porn Star Looks Nothing Like You Think

Geribody/iStock/Getty Images

Quick, imagine a porn star. Don't pretend it's difficult, you have plenty of experience. Chances are, you're picturing a tan platinum blonde with low self-esteem, a solid minimum of 99 problems, and, most importantly, bulbous breasts that look like they're lovingly crafted by a special-effects team with a grudge against realistic proportions (which, in a way, they are). There may be a tramp stamp or a dolphin tattoo in there somewhere. It's the image everyone conjures when they picture a porn star. It's also totally inaccurate.

Sure, these Rob Liefeldian physiques are still present in the industry, but they're far from the all-encompassing porn presence they may or may not have been back in the days when we used to pretend Mr. Liefeld's work was anything but a desperate cry for help from a man possessed by balloon demons. Bleached silicone goddesses are actually an exception rather than a rule. Brunette performers outnumber blondes two to one, and the average breast size among porn stars hovers at around 34B, which is actually somewhat smaller than the American average, 36C. This means that the girls in those other 17 browser windows you have open statistically look less like this ...

MichaelBuckner/GettyImagesEntertainment/Getty
Nine out of 10 ladies experience back pain merely seeing this picture.

... and a lot more like this:

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty
That's Sasha Grey, which you already knew unless you're reading this at work and have to pretend that you don't know
because holy shit your boss is standing behind you and you are looking at a picture of Sasha Grey.

We know all this thanks to a writer called Jon Millward, who noticed a distinct lack of porn star data in the world and spent the better part of a year mining International Adult Film Database (link exactly as NSFW as you suspect) for intel on professionals of on-camera boning. Millward published his findings in 2013, and while a lot of them were pretty much what you'd expect (most porn stars are Caucasian, anal is fairly common), there were plenty of unexpected gems, such as the hair color and cup size tidbits above. Millward has also created this composite image of the 10 most popular porn stars, and damn if it doesn't look exactly like your sister:

Jon Millward
Or your mom, provided tequila goggles are allowed.

OK, so porn stars are actually pretty normal and girl-next-door compared with the bleach devourettes with zeppelins strapped on their chest that are the historical staple of the industry. Still, surely the other part of the classic porn star image is correct? Surely, most -- if not all -- porn stars are basically a bundle of mental issues verging on complete breakdown, opting for a sex industry profession in a desperate attempt to show them all and/or keep their shit together?

#3. Porn Stars Are Not Insecure Bundles of Mental Issues

Jack Hollingsworth/Hemera/Getty

Surprise! they're not!

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying every porn star out there is a paragon of sanity. It's absolutely a profession with a potential to draw in people who are overcompensating for something, or have issues with substance abuse, or work in the field out of sheer desperation that is slowly eating them away. However, the exact same thing can be said about, say, the workers of your local Walmart or favorite fast food joint. Ain't no Bible-thumping aunts attempting to rip their throat out at family gatherings.

On average, it looks like porn stars are in fact mentally a lot stronger than the average person. Far from the subservient slabs of meat the public opinion likes to see them as, the self-esteem of triple-X thespians actually seems to be pretty damn OK. Interestingly, porn stars also tend to be more spiritual than your average person, which is presumably why they scream "Oh God!" all the time. I will not apologize for making that joke.

The heaping helpings of self-esteem porn stars seemingly possess are speculated to be due to a trait called sociosexuality, a form of social promiscuity that makes the person more willing to indulge in sexual relations outside their normal relationship. This trait, which you may recognize as the exact description of the profession of a porn star, is usually present in people who tend to be socially bold and assertive.

In other words, porn stars aren't willing to bone in front of the camera because they have shit for self-esteem; their self-esteem is generally just fine, because they're the kind of people who are willing to bone in front of the camera.

IvanMikhaylov/iStock/Getty Images
Turns out, having a killer body and a willingness to use it doesn't automatically plunge you into the pits of self-loathing.

What's more, it looks like the old "porn stars are damaged goods because of all the abuse they faced when they were kids" adage is largely bullshit too. On the whole, research indicates that porn stars are no more likely to have a history of being sexually abused than the average citizen is. Again, this doesn't apply to everyone -- the industry definitely has its share of heart-rending stories of abused people who bury their pain in booze and pills and designer goods and fast cars they may or may not drive off a cliff in a moment of desperation. Still, they're far from the only ones out there.

Tons of porn stars show all the signs of normality. They mess around on Twitter and photo-blog their life with every sign of enjoyment. They make art and dabble in politics. They read books, and play tons of video games, and go to Mensa meetings, and love, and hate, and exercise, and occasionally drink too much, and sometimes have their hearts broken, just like you and I (except for exercising and the Mensa thing, let's be honest here).

It's almost like they're actually people. Who knew?

LuckyBusiness/iStock/Getty Images
"Surprise! We have feelings, yo!"

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