A Work In Progress: The Life Expectancy of a Porn Star

A Work In Progress: The Life Expectancy Of A Porn Star

The average life expectancy in America is 78 years. The average life expectancy of a porn star is only 37 years. No, I don’t mean career life expectancy. I mean actual life. Take a minute and think about that. Have you ever heard of another career where the people involved have a life expectancy less than half the national average? I doubt it. This a cold hard fact, yet probably one of the least talked-about and least looked-into fact in the world we live in today.

Now that I am on the outside looking in, I can clearly see the dark cloud looming over the industry in which I not only managed to survive, but thrive. That is not the case for everyone. There is a mix of common causes of death among porn stars, but some that may surprise you. Overdoses and suicides are what you might expect, but maybe murders are what you least expect. As is the case with mostly anything, however, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that a majority of the performers I shot most of my movies with in the 1990s are no longer with us. When I look back at the trips we took, the fun we had on set, it is hard to accept they are gone.

The new generation of porn star faces an unspoken risk to their lives. In the past, we were mainly focused on the toll of the destructive lifestyle prevalent in the industry, filled with drugs and alcohol, which led to the tragic car accidents, suicides, or accidental overdoses. But the murder of porn stars is often overlooked –  I feel most people just assume the worst and think absolutely nothing of another porn star’s life ending too soon.

The hardest thing for me to accept is the unknown and the uninvestigated. These murders are often considered a “trick gone bad,” and no one puts any interest or time into looking deeper. The authorities are not looking for the agents who are illegally booking jobs for porn stars, or finding answers to any crimes that may result as a consequence. Murder is a crime, no matter what you do for a living and no matter who you are. Sadly, these scenarios are considered low-priority cases, with little interest from anyone in law enforcement in defending the rights of the victim.

In my years in the industry, it was common for talent to come and go, with no form of further communication once they left the industry. In conversation, most people referring to stars who disappeared from the scene would simply say that they “got out of the business.” When I took the time to look further and troll through the devastating number of dead porn star videos I found on YouTube, I came across more and more familiar faces, finding myself at a greater loss. The most disturbing was reading the cause of death.

The lack of compassion for these lives, in and out of the industry, leads me to a place of concern and confusion. A business that is so incredibly profitable, with no union, no support groups, and no internal guidance, has left itself out in the cold while breaking the hearts of families everywhere. Every time I see and read a story of a new death within the industry I think the same thing.

Last weekend, the industry was faced with another death as Amber Rayne was found dead in her Los Angeles home. She was only 31 years old. When I heard the news, I went to her timeline and looked back through her photos noticing that just this past Easter she had shared time with her family. This is any parent’s worst nightmare and most likely was their biggest concern while their daughter or son entered the industry. It is their absolute worst-case scenario. As I looked through the photos, without knowing her family, I could still feel their pain. I could also feel everyone else in the industry doing the same, reading her timeline, while feeling that dark cloud looming over.

I still stay connected with a small group of friends from the industry and we always speak to each other at times like this. Last weekend was no different. We all spoke and made sure our heads were in the right place, and talked through our fears. I see things differently, yet clearer than ever, being farther removed from the industry. When new talent enters the industry, they are clueless to what will be waiting for them on the outside – I know I sure was. Though I have been very fortunate to cultivate a new life and career for myself, I am still discriminated against and not welcome in many places.

It is not easy to move through the world while the odds are against you. The fear of trying to reestablish a new life and attempt new relationships can be worse than that of a criminal out of jail. I have witnessed first-hand the lack of regard people assume I have for myself, people who ultimately feel I deserve no respect due to my previous career choices. I look at the sadness hovering over the business and am constantly trying to come up with a way that I can help in the future. I hope that by the example I am setting in my new career, combined with the way I lived my life while in the business, can be an example for the talent in the industry today.

What I can do from the outside in is reach out to all of you through my writing and express the facts, and hopefully build some compassion. We never know how weak someone may be or what he or she may be dealing with. We do know this – they are people. All people matter, all lives matter – even the life of a porn star.

Photo Credit: BBC

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Lisa Ann

In 2014, Lisa Ann retired as the most popular porn star in the world. Trading in your fantasies for fantasies of her own, she pursued a new career in the world of Fantasy Sports, landing her own show, Lisa Ann Does Fantasy, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Lisa's autobiography, The Life, is a tell-all of what it was like to live in the clear heels of an adult star. Living with her pre-retirement mantra “it’s time to get out of bed and put some clothes on!,” she is doing just that, expressing herself in a new way, while wearing clothes.

  • Johnny

    Well said. I didn’t know that about the life expectancy. Wow. That’s a startling number.

  • Mark

    The “study” by Rev. Daniel R. Jennings, M.A. was based on “the death ages of 129 porn stars over a period of roughly 20 years,” which leaves out the thousands who survive. One doesn’t calculate life expectancy by averaging the ages of people who died over a 20-year period. Thousands of porn stars are still alive and many are older than 37, with more to come. Even Lisa Ann, 43, is not averaged into this number. Not saying there isn’t a problem in the adult industry, but that the number stated as a “cold hard fact” is steaming bullplop.

  • Arnold May II

    I still dont understand why people hate on pornstars. Their job is to do what everyone is already doing at home and to enhance that

    • ReyBow

      I am convinced porn stars actually prevent sexual assault. Giving lonely people an outlet for their urges. That way frustration doesn’t build to the point where unconsenting victims get assaulted for a glimpse of flesh.

      Respectable work in my humble opinion!

  • ReyBow

    I’d been following Amber’s Twitter account since about the time she retired. Though I didn’t know her personally, her tweets painted a lovable, quirky human being with a good heart and a kind word even for those who didn’t really seem to respect her as a person.

    When she’d notice one of my tweets I’d do that silly little squeak and hand flapping thing that happens when I’m overjoyed. Caught up in my own things I didn’t notice the few sad-ish tweets she sent out. It broke my heart that now I won’t ever have the chance to make her day a little brighter.

    But if I can shine a little light into someone else’s dark day I will. Everyone is valued, including those with jobs that aren’t rated as “high class”. No. ESPECIALLY those with jobs that aren’t white collar or ‘high brow’.

    It would have been so awesome to see what she’d do next. She seemed full of potential and great ideas. All now stolen :-(

  • Milan Pijanovic

    Hello Lisa,

    My suggestion: People in that industry are just another subculture or alternative culture in the world and recognizing that, one will be aware, that such generally have a worse stance in life. I have much respect for such alternative cultures and I consider their “harsher” life quality as a result of a society, where there is an unspoken plan for everyone on how to live your life (Go to school, get children, work until you are 60 or 70 and die). You may have a longer live by applying yourself to such plans, but I would also say, life i s about doing what you want yourself and I think, some of the industry’s stars managed to do so, while some did not. As a sub culture, you cannot totally NOT give a damn about average people living their average lives. If people in the industry would take care about some key issues, they could acually receive more acceptance from society. One thing could be to help your environment, which does not mean the industry itself, but the life outside of it. The industry does not pay as much as does music or movies, but if, e.g. you be spending for charity, this could be the first step. There is need for an adult industrie’s philantrophist. Another thing would be shutting down sites showing amateur stuff, as most of the “bad things” happen there and there is no sense, why proffesionals should be considered as criminals for some real ones. There are children working on construction sites in India, but that is no reason to criticize the “construction-site-Industry”, do you understand what I mean? Instead of talking from an outside perspective, the industry most open itself more, so there are fewer rumors.

  • Milan Pijanovic

    Poor statistics. First: life expectancy is measured by calculating the average of all the people having died SO FAR! People STILL LIVIN are of course not included. If you want to now the live expectancy for actors today, you would need to calculate the average of the ages of death when the last actor of the present has passed away. The low amount of less than 40 years is a consequence of the first people having died also being relatively young then. If you make this average you get such low numbers. Second: look at it this way: how would you explain a value like 78 for actors? Even the oldest actors today including the pioneers from the 70s can hardly be older than 50 or 60 and most of them are even younger as the most active time was The 90s and 00s. People having worked then are less likely tobe older than 40. So how should actors as an isolated group have an average of almost 80 then? Calculate the average in 2040 and you may be surprised.

  • Milan Pijanovic

    No offense, but theese statistics are of no worth. This study averaged the ages of performers having died during a 20 year period (like Mark correctly remarked) – not including the thousands of actors STILL LIVING. If you want to now the life expectancy of all performers having worked UNTILL TODAY, you would need to wait until the last one dies and THEN you make the average.
    Or take another look at it: How should actors today as a group have an average of 78 years anyway? If you look at ALL actors having ever appeared in adult movies until today, you will not have a hard time to see that most of them are not older than 40 years (Lisa Ann is considered one of the oldest and even she is only 43 or 44 years old). Keep in mind that most of the actors worked in the 90s and the 00s and were on average about 25 years old when active. Or can anyone name someone having performed AND being 78 years old today? Such a person would have been already 70 years old in the 00s and already 60 in the 90s. Such people do hardly exist.
    You still don’t believe me? My advice: Do the same study with rappers. I bet you will have the same numbers then.

  • Milan Pijanovic

    Even though it does not dirctly refer to the topic of that article, I want to show another example of working wrongly with statistics: There are statistics claiming that youger people have a higher tendency to commit suicide than older ones. The arguement is the following: While suicide among older people makes up a share of about 2%, the same is about 30% for younger people (I don’t know the actual numbers. The point is, that the percentage for the younger is massively higher). How can this be? Let us think again about what this numbers say: 2% of the older population die because of committing suicide, the rest (98%) of natural causes like a heart attack, old age and so on. ALL these causes of death MUST add up to 100%, otherwise something’s wrong. Now think about it: Why is suicide that much more prevalent among younger than older human? Because they are MUCH LESS LIKELY to die from natural causes. Or have you heard of many people, who already died from a heartattack before they turned 30? Me neither. For that reason There is another way to lokk at that topic: You calculate how many out of 1000 people in each group have died because of suicide and there is evidence, that this number is SIGNIFICANTLY SMALLER for younger people than for older one. By the way and to maybe get back to your article: You may see, why many of your colleagues have died from unnatural causes like being murdered: they just did not happen to be likely to die from natural causes because of their young ages.

  • Ricardo GL

    I dont understand why you cannot be welcome in many places. I WOULD LOVE to talk with you without any judgement to you or your choices…in the end you made a lot of men happy for so long..

  • I hope Spanking Teen Brandi and many of my past favorites are doing great in life.

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