Opening the debate about prostitution

After my post “Am I a prostitute?” I have received a flood of emails and comments.

Some people have told me that for the tone I use in the article, it seems that I’m categorizing prostitution as a second-class job. Something dirty and unworthy in which I did not want to get involved .

Nothing is further from the truth.
So here’s a little clarification for anyone who understood something like that:

To say that I do not belong to a group does not mean that I’m in an opposite position to it.
I cannot be in politics because what it offers to me does not seem interesting, which doesn’t mean that I think that all politicians are corrupt scum. It’s just not what I want for me.

I consider prostitution a decent and honest job. And I see it on the same level as to be a porn star. But I do not define myself as a prostitute. That’s all.

Talk about the relationship of porn with prostitution is a complex issue.
I’ve found very few heartfelt presentations on the web that discuss this issue in a sincere and truthful way, without falling into cheap clichés or stereotypes. And none of them was written in first person by an actress or a prostitute, for that reason I decided to write about my personal experience on the subject.

It would be interesting, actresses, scorts and general public who are reading this, that you give your opinion. We could start a little debate to redefine the boundaries of all these terms.

For you:
What is the difference between a porn star a prostitute?

Are actresses prostituting themselves when they record a scene?
And if a girl does only masturbation scenes, without interacting with anyone else besides the camera, Is he selling herself?

Where are the limits?

I will wait for your comments 🙂

31 comments
  1. The definition of prostitution is having sex with someone for money. If you have sex with someone for money you are a PROSTITUTE even if it is being filmed. If it is being filmed you get the extra title of being called a porn star.

    When a woman is filmed masturbating she is selling herself but she is not having sex with someone for money so she is not a Prostitute.

    I hope this clears things up.

    1. Personally I find your argument a little simple. What if I fuck with my boyfriend in a porn movie and I receive money because of it? Am I a prostitute for fucking with my boyfriend? 🙂

      1. All very interesting…think about this: if you had all the money in the world you would ever need, would you do all this porn stuff for free? Just because you like sex so much and are an exhibitionist?

        I guess then, because people always have to put other people in a certain box/category, some people would then call you a ‘slut’, I don’t mean this as demeaning but you then you have to call a certain behavior in a certain way in the dictionary…guys who do the same should be then called ‘sluts’ too of course, equal opportunities, right?

    2. simply put, while both males and females may be creative in their approach…

      prostitutes are providing a service and pornstars are creating.

    3. simply put, while both males and females may be creative in their approach…

      prostitutes are providing a service and pornstars are creating.

      i have no argument against either activity.

  2. Armana why do you have a problem with calling yourself a prostitute. You are both a prostitute and a porn star.

    You are also incredibly beautiful.

    1. My article is precisely to discuss about the differences of porn and prostitution! I do not have any problem in call myself a prostitute, but I want to know that my readers think is the limit for one thing or the other.

  3. Dear Amarna,

    I think PROSTITUTION & PORN are DECENT JOBS.
    Because, PROSTITUTES & PORN STARS are the best ENTERTAINERS.

  4. Interesting question, I think there was a clear difference between the two, but now I’m finding its not so easy to explain. But here goes.
    To me a prostitute offers “SOMEONE” a sexual activity in exchange for money. The money is provided by the receiver of the sexual act.
    A porn star is paid to performing a sexual act in the making of pornography. The payment is for being filmed not for providing the sexual act.

    but in a follow up Question for Sanito, If a prostitute is hired/ paid to masturbate for her/his client and there is no sex between the client and seller. Would you still class this as prostitution?

    As far as my opinion, it is the sex act, masturbation and/or full intercourse both would be classified as pornography and therefore no difference. If a prostitute does the sex act, she is still working still providing a sexual service to someone for direct payment for that service.

    Where things get even more confusing, is is a “Cam Girl” how provides a sexual act for payment in a private session, does this make her a porn star or a prostitute?? I suppose that she is doing it in front of a camera and no direct physical contact has taken place so maybe closer to a porn start than prostitute. But maybe better to give its own category, Prostitute, Porn Star & Cam girl.
    I maybe shouldn’t even introduce a stripper giving a lap dance, where does fit in?? Closer to a prostitute that porn star?
    Ok… my head hurts… I have just confused myself. haha.. So I should stop now… You are correct Amarna it is a very complex issue, more complex the more you think about it.

  5. i think that the most coherent definition of “prostitute” is a person who uses her/his body to provide sexual pleasure in exchange of money.
    so, if we take this as valid: the woman who teeters on the edge of the road wearing high heels and a miniskirt at three am IS a prostitute, as is the telephonic sex-line operator, as is the best stripper of our favorite strip club, as prostitutes can be considered all the pornstars in the business.
    the pornstar case is the only one quite complex: infact the actors enjoy, the company pays, and we pay the company to pay the actors…
    anyway, since the product is made to please us, we can consider ourselves as clients. and since the pornstar is the one trading on her sexuality, she can be considered a protitute.
    this is obviously just an opinion, and much more important, this is not at all an insult.
    i understand that nobody likes to be called “prostitute”… (at least not in normal circumstances)… whether she is or whether she is not…

    thank you,
    john

    1. My problem is not to be called a “prostitute”. In fact I don’t mind it at all and I don´t feel it as an insult.
      My real problem is to be considered a prostitute inherently because I perform in porn. Because that means dozens of emails/messages/harassment every single day of my life to see for how much “can I give you a blowjob”, “can I bend over and offer you my pussy” o “can I destroy you as they do in your films”.
      That’s NOT one of the services I offer and I get sick of so many people asking about it. THAT’S the real problem 😉

      1. Unfortunately both of these professions lack governmental oversight in most countries which could potentially not only legitimize each profession but also protect its professionals from such intrusiveness. The respondent who posted regarding Canada’s(?) understanding of, policing of, and definitions of, these two industries is not the norm yet. Just like same-sex marriage in the US has had to evolve over the years, so to will the understanding of these two professions have to evolve. Until this occurs you and your fellow co-workers in both professions will be subject to these comments and badgerings.

      2. Amarna because we are conscious beings sex, because it is such a powerful force in its own right, has long been something that human beings have grappled with. Our response at a social level has been fear filled efforts to try to push sex, individual or social, out of free public expression and to corral it strictly within the societal norms of the time. This approach has lead to immeasurable individual suffering. As conscious beings the only way open to us to deal with all energies is to first accept them into consciousness so that we can properly and consciously address them.

        Sex can have both a social, that is interaction with others, or an individual, expression, that is interaction solely with oneself, or a vicarious involvement in one direction with others through being knowingly observed in sexual activities of any kind.

        In all of the above one could be involved in them in such a way as to degrade your own sense of your worth as human being. That is absolutely not to be recommended. Equally you could be involved with them in such a way as to feel affirmed in your humanity and self worth. Thus it cannot be that sexual activity itself is a pejorative thing but how and with what intention it is conducted whether the activity is pejorative or not.

        As I understand what you are doing, you are bringing sexuality, of the self affirming kind, fully into public consciousness and for that I commend you unreservedly.

  6. i can barely imagine how annoying that might be…
    but i think that this is the other side of pornography, you shouldn’t forget what your job is, and what people knows about you. for the greatest part of them you’re nothing more than an image. while some of us knows that you’re more than a pornstar, whoever watched any of your scene probably identifies you with your own sexuality.
    obviously that’s frustrating, and sad… but this is porn seen from the other part of the screen.
    but the most unpleasant part of it, is the fact that this is what people looks for.
    i’m sorry to say that people don’t change, and people won’t change. but porn actually can…
    even if it might sound utopic, i hope in a more psychological kind of porn.
    sexuality is a psychological attitude, the physical part is useless by itself.
    and, in my opinion, scenes like x-art’s are sterile, pathetic and so utterly false…
    the climax of the objectification of the actor… without personality, colour and identity.
    however, i’m really sorry for people bothering you, you don’t deserve it.
    but i honestly have no clue on how you could change that.

    have a good weekend,

    john

  7. Hey
    Here in Canada, land of the free and freaking cold, porn actors, actresses, prostitutes, strippers cam girls etc are known as “sex workers” kind of like ‘construction workers’ or lawyers. Its an industry you choose to work in or not.they all have issues of health and safety, wages fair treatment. I think we’d all agree that the issues of human trafficking subjugation of sex workers is abhorrent I wouldnt trouble over the morality of the act itself.
    The important thing is that as an individual you are choosing the life you lead, are healthy happy and thriving. Some have to work in an industry because of economic necessity whether its drug addiction, housing, family needs or whatever. Amarna youve written pieces on being a free spirited nomad, an artist a porn actress and it appears you have taken control of your career (in terrible economic times too I was in Spain in 2011) and are still having fun.You do what you do of your own free will “Giv’er” as we say here, an do no harm, you are an entrepeuneur more than anything. And that means do no harm to yourself too.
    Cheers
    Dave

  8. The exchange of money for the act whether live or taped is the key. If you do masturbation scenes or sleep with your partner ,and then deposit the recordings on the Web for others to see, you are an exhibitionist. If you do those same acts, but then charge payment to see them, you’re engaging in prostitution.

    In the case of porn, the pornstar doesn’t engage in physical sex with the viewer. They have sex with another pornstar Unless it’s cam or something like it, a pornstar rarely accepts the viewer’s money for the act they performed. That money goes to the entity selling the videos.

    I think it’s because of distinctions like this that many pornstars don’t see what they do as prostitution.

  9. I think there is a clear difference, consider a b/g scene:

    Porn – boy and girl are each paid by a 3rd party (the producer).
    Prostitution – boy pays girl, there is no 3rd party.

    For prostitution you can also clearly define the customer and the service provider, with porn the customer is not present (usually).

    Not perfect I agree.

    1. I agree with you Tim 🙂 In fact for me this is the main difference and the reason why I don’t like prostitution: the power exchange is absolutely direct between the person you’re fucking and the person who pays you, and that makes me feel uncomfortable. Thank for the comment! <3

  10. I think that prostitute and porn actress are two drastically different jobs.

    Good pornography perfectely might be considerated as an art:
    The definition of art is when you offer a personal content wich change the moment feel of an audience.
    A porn movie could be fascinating, it could be a piece of art.
    I mean, look at the Kink.com or Young Legal Porn scenes, there’s something so special. A real passion. Actresses looks like they REALLY like what they’re doing.

    Whereas among prostitutes it’s just a guy who’s looking for an ass and a girl who’s looking for money to pay her rent.
    Okaaay, prostitutes who truly love their job must exist… But most of the time, loving fucking is far to be the main reason they do it.

    Anyway Amarna, you have a mental stability and a creativity that I love.

    Stay like you are,

    M-J ^^

  11. Obviously is a teminology question. Beside that, I’d like to say that one can “prostitute” herself/himself in many ways. Millions of people are prostituting themselves every moment. Reguardind the exchange sex-money, I’d prefer to use two different words (don’t know which words…I ought to think about it…) for 2 cathegories of persons: those who sell their body for the money (or basically for the money), and those who use their body to do something they like trying, at the same time, to make money with it (like you, my beloved one!).
    This is also the difference between a graphic designer working for some industry, who works because of the money, realizing, if necessary, things he/she doesn’t like; and an artist who has as main porpouse to express what he/she needs to, and then trying to make money ’cause she/he’d like to live doing what he likes to do.
    IF we would decide that “prostitution” has a negative meaning (1st cathegory), then you, Amarna, would not be called a “prostitute”.

    Personally, I don’t want to have sex with a person who doesn’t like me. I’ve never been with a prostitute, but if I did, before I’d ask if she is glad to have sex with me.
    Ok. At this point there’s a problem. I’m supposed to pay, cause she’s a prostitute, right? But why should I pay, cause I gave something to her too… I don’t know, maybe because he arranged things in a way that let me find easily a person to have sex with… It makes sense… : )
    [I’m thinking and writing at the same time. Sorry for my english too].

    Kisses

    1. Your English is fantastic and your words an inspiration 🙂 Thank you Roberto for participate in this debate, I agree with what you say and I think the answer would be to “create” a new word or change the meaning of the ones that already exist…quite difficult in both cases, but at least I hope this post can help someone to at least think about it! Thanks again! 😀

      1. You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to partecipate in any debate useful to go beyond the many prejudices about sex. It’s a very important issue. It’s a part of life where it’s so difficult to be sincere, so easy to be judged… And a personal problem for me too, since I was a child, a very sensitive one. This taboo damaged my life, and I’d like to rid of it.
        Thanks to you for being so kind! _/\_ 🙂

  12. I wonder why people get so excited about this debate. In reality yes there is a difference between people making porn films and prostitutes. The big difference is the lack of control when you are a prostitute. But one thing is the same, bot jobs bring a lot of money in a short time. And we know that every passing year, the porn careers of actresses seem to be shorter and shorter. So the question is what to do when the porn jobs stop coming. Quite a few porn stars turn to escorting at this point in their careers.

  13. I have never used the services of a prostitute simply because it is not for me, but I would never look down on a prostitute.
    With regard to the difference between a prostitute and a porn actress. I guess it all depends on ones definition of what is a prostitute: If it is simply someone who has sex for mony, then yes a porn actress is a prostitute, but as you already sketched yourself… that is a bit of an oversimplification.
    As a prostitute one is paid by the one who is getting the sex and the sex is the object. As a porn actress, they guy getting the sex isnt the one who is paying.
    Now is that an artificial difference? Maybe because in both cases from the girl’s point of view it is still earning money and providing sex to do so.
    usually ofcourse the working conditions are different… I guess a bit better for pornactresses than for the average prostitute.
    As I don’t look down on prostitutes or porn actresses, maybe for me the question about the difference isnt that important to me. Let’s have a look at some of Hugh Heffner’s ‘girlfriends’ as I understoof from Kendra Wilkinson she was asked by an assitent of Heffner to become Hugh’sgirlfriend and she was receiving money for that. As sex was part of the deal, does that make Kendra a prostitute? and does that really matter.
    Sure can mention a lot of differences between the work of a pornstar and that of a prostitute but I think the essence of the question has a lot to do with a ‘moral’ difference as prostitutes are usually seen as the lowest of society, unless ofcourse they call themselves ‘call girls’ because then sudden;y it has more class.
    Maybe that brings me to the essence of the matter: Generally prostitutes are looked down upon coz they have sex with anybody who pays and of course their customers are all ugly fat stinking guys that she cant afford to refuse. A call girl is seen as more exclusive, picky and ofcourse only has sex with succesful businessmen in expensive hotels.
    Porn actresses contrary to anonymous prostitutes are often desired by men that know they will never ‘have’ her and that makes her “exclusive”
    So, wether or not the fact both get paid for doing sex, I think the real difference has much more to do with perception, exclusivity etcetera. Perhaps with exception to the men who conside every girl as a whore, but those guys arent worth discussing.
    Regardless, I treat prostitutes, pornactresses, docters, lawyers all the same, as people who work for a living, but also I wish every woman the chance to take the professionshe really wants. If a girl becomes a prostitute because she has no other options, I find that sad. If she does it because she likes the work, great

    1. Hi Ed!

      I mostly agree with all your affirmations but one:

      From the girl’s point of view is not the same. Basically because the power exchange that prostitution creates is quite different than the one that is developed in pornography. When the person who’s paying is also the client you must provide what he/she wants (That’s why he/she is paying!). But in pornography, as your money comes from the company or the director you have to follow their instructions, you have to “please the viewer”, not the actor.

      And regarding choices, I think it’s sad that someome has to do something that they don’t like simply by necessity, either to be a prostitute or to be a taxi driver. It is important not to stigmatize any job!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      1. i fully agree

  14. Hi Armana,

    I’m reading your blog because I saw a porn video you did and I was curious. The thing I found most striking and attractive about the first image I saw of you was your smile and the life in your eyes. That is so different from other porn that I’ve seen. Most actors seem to be grimacing and disengaged, so your smile is unique.

    In my mind this question takes a different form: can you be engaged in the porn industry and not be a prostitute? The work that a prostitute does is pornographic. Is the reverse not true? Can you produce pornography without being a prostitute?

    I think of a prostitute as someone who works. They provide sexual or erotic services, usually physical, but this both a broad and narrow definition. As anybody knows, if you start to write down all of the aspects involved in your job – any job – it involves many things. Not the least of which is the way in which you interact with other people. How do you regard a prostitute whose clients have special needs, they are physically impaired or present social or psychological behaviours that prevent them from meeting sexual partners? That is a very specialised role and requires much more than physical contact. When there is any specialisation in work we often redefine the role. Is that worker still a prostitute?

    Pornography is a discourse. It’s a way of communicating ideas, usually erotic or sexual ideas. It’s an ancient discourse that has taken many different forms: carvings, words, pictures, postcards, books, drawings, graffiti, photos and videos. Like any discourse, people of all kinds engage with it, and we participate in different ways. The rich and poor, the powerful, influential and the rest. Each group brings their own words and their own values. We are told that the poor and the bad visit prostitutes. Fortunately, the rich can afford erotica and are seen with escorts, so they cannot be poor nor can they be bad. Their money protects them from poverty and sin.

    In the big, varied discourse of porn, the creators have the most obvious roles and the focus is usually on them. If I think of what they are doing, they are prostitutes. They provided a service, which was to model or act, for a product with a strong sexual or erotic focus, and the producer has printed or published their efforts. But calling these workers prostitutes is problematic, because it is over-loaded with value judgements. The job description “prostitute” and the insult “prostitute” are so often confused. The spectrum of sexual labour and sex services is very broad, to be articulate we need to recognise and describe these differences and nuances. Perhaps your blog is the beginning of that process?

    The audience plays an important role too. What is the name for the audience of a porn video? They clap and cheer (like. like. like.) and pay their money, spending and complimenting their favourites. The difficulty, in talking about the audience, is that there are so many of them. How can we speak about them. Who are they? Why are they looking at the postcard/magazine/poster/video? And then, who cares about the audience? We are so egotistical. Why should we talk about that member of the audience? What’s special about them? We could just as well be talking about me! It’s much easier to concentrate on the performers and to shift all of our dreams and ideas, (with all our prejudices too) onto them.

    It’s great to see you asking these questions.

    1. Hi scrpt! It’s great to read your analyzed comment 🙂 I mostly agree with you, but I have to ask you: why do you think that the work that a prostitute does is pornographic? I see so many differences between pornography and prostitution that I don’t understand that part of your comment. Thank you for being here 😉 xxx

      1. I’m making a connection with the word and the activity. The word “pornography” is drawn from the Greek pornographos “writing about prostitutes.” It hints at what we can expect.

  15. Pornstars are certainly not prostitutes. For a prostitute, customer is the sole audience / service receiver from whom she gets paid. For a pornstar, the whole world is an audience. She gets eventually paid by the audience either directly or channeled through movie makers, studious etc just like mainstream cinema. The difference is only the content .

  16. I think you need to avoid being trapped by terminology and would also encourage you to think about the terms you use and the way you use them. For one thing, engaging in any sort of sex for money isn’t “selling yourself,” it is performing an act or acts in exchange for a direct payment. Even if you think the act is unpleasant, you still are not selling yourself if you do it. A plumber who unblocks a sewer isn’t selling his hands, he’s performing an unpleasant act for money. Sex work is just work like any other work. The use of terms like “prostituted women” is a bit of a trap, as the phrase implies by its construction that some agency has acted on those people, prostituting them; it automatically leads to notions of trafficking, pimps, force, when in fact many people simply choose a job that pays well and they don’t mind doing. After all, what is worse–spending 60 hours a week working at a mindless job for minumum wage, or spending far less doing something that many actually enjoy and others don’t mind for far more money?

    Another thing is that many people who engage in sex work, and I suspect most who do it purely from choice as you do, enjoy sex a lot and want to share their enjoyment with others. In absolutely any other human activity, someone who finds something they enjoy and makes it into a career is applauded; it is an absurd relic of obsolete thinking that this is not true for sex.

    Back to your question, though, to be honest I’m not sure that I see a strong distinction; as others have pointed out (often with a lot of negativity, which I do not share) exchanging sex for money does seem pretty similar whether someone is filming it or not. On the other hand, though, exchanging sex for money seems to me to simply be a more honest and direct transaction than exchanging it for security or protection or a couple of drinks and a ride home or the possibility of a big estate or any of the many other transactions that are sometimes iinvolved, so I don’t see why the distinction is important.

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