The Sexxxtons and the mainstreaming of porn

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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.

Monica continues: “I enjoy the sex and I enjoy being with my mom. During the scenes, I think about how we’re going to be filthy rich.”

Filthy certainly, but the aforementioned Margold isn’t so sure about rich. “The adult industry is not that stupid,” Margold told The Huffington Post. “They have enough problems without creating on-camera incest.”

And thankfully, incest still does pose problems, at least in Connecticut. There, 46-year-old George Sayers Jr. and his daughter, aspiring porn actress Tiffany Hartford, 23, were arrested for “third degree sexual assault, obscenity and conspiracy to commit obscenity,” according to the New York Daily News. Now, this would be just another feel-good story of a dad trying to help his daughter get her career started by filming her having sex with her girlfriend and selling it on the Internet. Except that he wasn’t just filming, and Tiffany has the son/brother to prove it.

Grossed out? Get used to it. These two stories are extreme now but probably not for long. Would HuffPo circa 2016 find the Sexxxtons worth dedicating an article to? A recent Onion headline went “Victoria’s Secret Show a Hit among People Who Don’t Know that Pornography Exists.” It’s funny because it gets at an important truth. To a growing segment of the population, beautiful women strutting provocatively in various states of undress is a yawn — a hint of stocking, as it were.

It’s part of human nature to look for the old illicit thrill, a flash of the forbidden. In a porn-sodden culture where less and less is illicit or forbidden, human nature has to go farther afield to get its kicks. Taboos fall like slow-motion dominoes. A generation ago, it would have been unimaginable that porn would be as mainstream and ubiquitous as it is today. If you really think about, it’s unimaginable that an act like the Sexxxtons will earn even a shrug a generation hence.

So our cultural suicide is moving along at a brisk pace. But at least the porn stars are happy.

Matt Philbin is the managing editor at The Culture and Media Institute.

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