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The Damaged Goods Hypothesis (the DGH) has been thrown into question by a recent study suggesting women who perform professionally in pornos have higher self-esteem across a number of different qualities than the average woman.
DGH states that women who perform in porn do so because they have “higher rates of childhood sexual abuse, psychological problems, and drug use compared to the typical woman.” However, the study (which was recently published in the Journal for Sex Research) compared female porn stars with a standard sample and found that female porn stars surpassed the sample in many qualities associated with self-esteem.
“Self-reports from 177 porn actresses
showed high levels of self-esteem.”
Specifically, the study found female porn stars enjoyed sex more, felt more satisfaction, felt more positive emotions, had stronger relationships with their social structures, and held a more spiritual outlook on their lives than the average woman.
Compared with a previous study published in the same journal more than a decade ago, one thing becomes clear — there’s nothing wrong with female porn stars. Society shares a cultural perception that there’s something fundamentally wrong with women who enter the sex industry, according to the research.
This study was one of the first serious publications open to viewing female porn stars in a positive light, as the assumptions about childhood abuse and adult unhappiness have long dominated the (sparse) literature investigating porn actresses.
The rise of Internet porn has been attributed with changing cultural perceptions of female porn stars, as the Internet has allowed porn actresses to communicate with their audiences and demonstrate the other sides of their lives and personalities in a manner that previously was impossible.