Opinion

The Sexxxtons and the mainstreaming of porn

Photo of Matt Philbin
Matt Philbin
Managing Editor, Culture and Media Institute

Mom always said, “Son, if you want to find a nice, grounded, well-adjusted girl, go to work in the porn industry.”

Well, no, she didn’t really. But it wouldn’t be surprising if somebody’s mom is telling her son that right now — with good reason, if you believe The Journal of Sex Research (and who among us doesn’t?).

The Journal of Sex Research published a study last month comparing porn starlets with similar women outside the adult industry. It turns out that “porn actresses had higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the matched group.” No word on whether being filmed hundreds of times having sex makes them better cooks or handy with a needle and thread, but the implications are clear for any young bachelor looking to settle down with a great catch (STD pun!).

So porn stars are not, the study assures, “damaged goods,” as commonly thought. Sure, they’re far more likely to have sampled a cornucopia of hard drugs, but they’re no more likely than others to have been sexually abused.

In other words, most girls who go into the porn business do so not out of some dark impulse of self-hatred, guilt or shame. Really, it’s the lure of easy money, made even easier now that shame and stigma have been lifted from porn, as they have from just about every other manifestation of sex in the culture — except abstaining from it.

Legitimizing studies like The Journal of Sex Research’s new report are part of the relentless mainstreaming of porn. These studies are part of a larger apparatus that has grown up around the porn industry that includes award shows, trade groups, conventions and even porn historians. In fact, The Huffington Post’s recent story about mother-daughter porn duo Jessica and Monica Sexxxton included a quote from an “adult film historian” named Bill Margold.

Yes, you read that right. Small wonder The Journal of Sex Research found what it did — who wouldn’t have higher self-esteem, positive feelings and social support with Mom right there on-set, maybe even in the same bed?

The Sexxxtons have been making online videos for about a year. The mother, Jessica, is 56. The daughter, Monica, is 22. They got into it because of money problems — and because Monica had a certain aptitude. “‘I’ve always been an exhibitionist and sex just oozed out of me,” she said, adding that she lost her virginity at the age of 12. “It was my idea. I dropped out of school in ninth grade and figured this was a good way to earn money.”

Hmmm, join the cheerleading squad and get a part-time retail job or film porn with my mom? What to do?

“Although mother and daughter have sex in the same room at the same time — often with the same male or female partner — they insist that their encounters are not incestuous,” HuffPo reports. “For legal and personal reasons, they don’t actually touch each other during sex scenes.”

Whew! And you were afraid it was gonna get weird. No, these two have scruples. For instance, Monica doesn’t want to film scenes with her younger brother. “He’s a virgin and I don’t want his first sex experience to be with someone who is just doing it for money and isn’t into him,” she explains. How sweet.