- Anti-Porn, Anti-Prostitution and Anti-Sexual Abuse Writer, Speaker and Activist
- AntiPornography.org Volunteer
Please check out my personal FAQ below! Thanks! :)
NOTE: If you have any other questions about me they are likely answered in the many articles about my life that I've written, or in the interviews that I've done, which are all posted on my main page at the link below:
I thought that the sex industry would be a fun and easy way to make money. Seeing porn stars glamorizing the business on shows like Howard Stern also influenced my decision to do porn and stripping. Additionally, like many women that enter the sex industry, I had very low self-esteem. Because of this I thought that I wasn't capable of doing anything else for a living.
I started stripping shortly after I turned eighteen. While working in a club I met an assistant to a "feature dancer." (This is someone who travels to different strip clubs to do featured shows there. It's usually a porn performer.) The assistant gave me a card for a porn agency, which I then contacted, and I was shooting porn scenes not too long after that.
My parents were understandably devastated and for years our relationship was strained. It was hard to talk to them because I couldn't really talk about anything going on in my life. (I.e. The drugs, the sex, or my job.)
My best friend was worried, but stood by me the whole time. Most of my other friends were either in the industry, or old high school friends that I didn't really talk to once I graduated.
99% of the time, NO! Porn sex is not like sex you have for fun or with someone you care about. It's all about putting on a show for the viewers. Even current porn performers will often admit that porn sex is meant to look good, not feel good. When I was doing porn scenes I was always focusing on saying the right things and making the sex APPEAR "hot and passionate," not on authentically feeling good. Also the directors -- who are constantly telling the performers what to do and how to act -- don't care at all if the female performers have a real orgasm or not, because it's all about the FANTASY and ILLUSION being created for the viewer, not the actual reality of what the women are experiencing. The directors are not at all concerned with performers enjoying what they're doing.
Like most women in the business I did some so-called "lesbian porn" for the paycheck. I actually grew to hate doing lesbian scenes because the other women were often difficult to work with for various reasons. I expand on these issues in my article about my experiences in lesbian porn at the link below:
NOTE: I did have a brief lesbian personal relationship, but I am not bisexual or a lesbian. I got involved with a woman because I wanted a relationship but was so turned off men because of all the obnoxious johns in the strip club I worked at. I write about that experience in my article about it at the link below:
Yes! I got chlamydia and gonorrhea regularly while doing porn. I also had to deal with constantly getting pink eye, the flu, and strep throat almost on a monthly basis. In porn you get tested every month, which means that someone can test clean, get an STD the next day, and then go "work with" other performers that whole month, spreading the STD to everyone they have contact with. Porn sets themselves tend to be dirty, and strip clubs are also a breeding ground for germs. I write more about my experience with diseases and injuries in my article about this topic at the link below:
No, I don't believe in banning things like porn that I don't approve of, that other people are freely participating in, even if it's something that I believe is harmful to them or others. (Unless it's clearly extremely violent, abusive or destructive.) My focus is on education and raising awareness to help reduce demand and supply, by helping people make better choices. Showing people the ugly reality of porn will do a lot more to create a significant, long-term positive change in society than simply banning it. To really get to the root of the problem, we need to examine and change the over-sexualized and sexually exploitative culture we're living in, (and the attitudes and actions associated with it), not just make laws against it. (Note: I do support laws to ensure the health and safety of porn performers and to keep children from accessing pornography.)
All of the apparent "good times" that I had in the industry also happened to be times when I was drunk and high. I can't recall any truly good, sober times in the business. For much of my life, I thought I couldn't have any real fun sober. Now, I see how mistaken I was!
I don't think it's a good choice or "career" for anyone. The sad truth is that even the "top" porn performers tend to have a lot of issues, and ultimately, even if they make a large amount of money doing porn, it usually doesn't last very long. Most women either get used up and thrown out within a few years, or they burn out emotionally and mentally and leave because they just can't take it anymore. No amount of money is worth the physical and emotional damage porn does to a person, not to mention the fact that it follows you for the rest of your life. I would never encourage anyone to get into the sex industry, period!
I felt trapped. With no degree, no real work experience, and with my porn all over the internet, I couldn't imagine any regular employer giving me a chance. So I figured I may as well "make the best of it" and use my "porn name" in things like webcamming and stripping. The sad reality is that I truly felt that I had no other options. Many people in the sex industry feel the same way, which is why they stay even when they are miserable in it. Also I felt that "regular" people would personally reject me due to my past, and that the sex industry was the only place I would ever be accepted. My self-esteem, which was already low when I entered the industry, sunk even lower every year I stayed in it.
I finally broke down and realized that no amount of money would make staying in the business worth it, or could compensate for how damaging it was to me. So I quit, and finally, after months spent looking for a regular job, someone decided to give me a chance!
I saw how porn and the sex industry had affected not only me, but the people I worked with and the consumers. I know many teens and young people are just like I used to be, thinking that the sex industry is fun, glamorous, or even "artistic". I want to destroy those false perceptions and shine a light on the depressing reality of this industry. I don't want other people to make the same life-altering and destructive mistakes that I did.
When I left the business all but two of my sex industry friends dropped me. I was naive enough to think that they wouldn't do that because I wasn't trying to make them leave the industry and I wasn't being critical towards them. But I was wrong. The second I decided to change my life they all disappeared. So now, out of all the people that I met in seven years in the industry, I only talk to a former webmaster/fellow performer, and one woman that I used to strip with. (She quit stripping about two years before me.) To be fair, once I quit porn I also severely cut down on my drinking and stopped partying completely. After I did this I soon found out that my "sex industry friends" and I didn't really have very much in common at all!
Honestly, no! I thought that I would miss the money, or maybe the "freedom" that I thought I had in the sex industry, but I really don't. If anything, I feel more free than ever. I feel like I have gotten out of a prison that I never really knew I was in! When I see old pictures of me partying, or old pictures of me doing porn, I feel nothing but sadness, regret and disgust. I can't believe I managed to stay in the industry as long as I did, and I really wish that I had left much earlier, or even better -- never done it in the first place.
My parents were very happy to see me leave and my relationship with them is healing and getting better every day! My best friend was also thrilled to see me leave the industry, and she recently told me that I seem so much happier now.
I would like to go back to school part-time by next year, and eventually get a degree. I also plan to keep working with AntiPornography.org to hopefully reach as many people as possible with my message of how harmful the sex industry is! I want to eventually get to the point where I can work full-time for AntiPornography.org as their Director of Youth and Sex Industry Outreach so I can help young people avoid the pitfalls of pornography, prostitution, and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. I also really want to help other women and men leave the sex industry, so they can start over with a new, healthier, and more productive life, like I've been able to do.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you'd like to support my work with AntiPornography.org, please feel free to make a secure tax-deductible donation below. It will assist us in helping at-risk young people, help us in stopping people from supporting the porn and sex industries, and help us to assist exploited, abused and traumatized individuals to leave the sex industry and to stay out of it.
Thanks in advance to all good and caring people who donate! Your contributions DO make a difference and are very much appreciated! :)
~ Vanessa Belmond
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Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexualitytakes an unflinching look at today’s porn industry: the stories woven into the images, the impact on our culture, the effects on us as men and women, the business machine that creates and markets porn, and the growing legitimacy of porn in mainstream media. Above all, PORNLAND examines the way porn shapes and limits sexual imaginations and behaviors.
Although we are surrounded by pornographic images, many people are not aware of just how cruel and violent the industry is today. PORNLANDshows how today’s porn is strikingly different from yesterday’s Playboy and Penthouse magazines — how competition in the industry and consumer desensitization have pushed porn toward hard core extremes. And, with the advent of the internet and other digital technologies, users don’t have to wander far to access porn; todaythe average age of first viewing is about 11 for boys, and studies reveal that young men, who consume more porn than ever before, have difficulty forming healthy relationships.
PORNLAND also looks at how our porn culture affects the way women and girls think about their bodies, their sexuality and their relationships. PORNLAND: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality argues that rather than sexually liberating or empowering us, porn offers us a plasticized, formulaic, generic version of sex that is boring, lacking in creativity and disconnected from emotion and intimacy.
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"Dedicated to providing the most accurate peer-reviewed research on the harm from pornography, along with relevant news and opinion."
This outstanding website comprehensively addresses the harms of pornography in regards to all of the following categories: addiction, brain science, children, cybersex, family, Internet, Internet safety, marriage, men, psychological, prostitution, relationships, research, self image, sex trafficking, sexting, sexual violence, societal, STDs, teens, and women.
Have you taken the NO-PORN PLEDGE at NoPornPledge.com yet? If not, now would be a really great time to do so! Please click here or the banner below.
See the list of many people from all around the world who have signed the No-Porn Pledge. Click here.
Read the reasons why they have signed in the No-PornPledge Guestbook. Click here. Don't forget to join them by signing the pledge and sharing your reasons why in the guestbook there as well!
"Join a growing number of people who have made a decision to eliminate porn from their lives. Sign your name, and publicly declare that you won't use porn, or have an intimate relationship with anyone who does."
At AntiPornography.orgwe are working to prevent and combat the devastating harms of pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking and sexual slavery, as well as all other forms of sexual exploitation, through public education and advocacy. We are:
Pro-Education, Pro Safe, Healthy, Respectful, Equality-Based Sexuality
Pro-reasonable regulation of the pornography industry for the health and safety of the performers.
*Please see FAQ for more information on all of the above. Thank you!
RESOURCES, FRIENDS, SUPPORTERS AND ALLIES:
NOTE: All those marked with * are friends, subscribers or followers of AntiPornography.org at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or one of our other social networking websites, or have demonstrated support for our work otherwise, such as providing content for this website or linking to us or to one of our blogs and/or social networking projects. Also please note that the below list is a work in progress and that it is not complete. Please share any errors, omissions or suggestions here. Thank you!
WOMEN AND GIRLS FOCUSED RESOURCES:
(For family, children, men and addiction focused resources, please scroll down.)
ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ORGANIZATIONS GROUPS AND WEBSITES:
Saavi Accountability -- The only online accountability program that works with all online addictions. It is also the only program that sends notifications instantly via text message to an accountability partner so that they can be supportive when an individual needs it the most at the point of weakness, while they are accessing the online content. The software was created by a young man (26) who overcame his addiction and is trying to help others.
ADDICTION MESSAGE BOARDS & DISCUSSION FORUMS FOR HELP & SUPPORT:
(Note: The No Porn Northampton FAQ is in the bottom half of their sidebar. In addition to the usual questions about pornography it addresses questions and concerns about activism against sexually oriented businesses such as "adult bookstores.")
"Pornography is a marketing device for sex trafficking: It normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even inevitable parts of sex, and uses the bodies of real women and children as objects. The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the roots of the words themselves -- porne means females slaves, eros means love -- so pornography, like rape, is about violence and domination, not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to separate pornography from erotica, and to disentangle violence from sexuality."
Gloria Steinem, 2006
For information about Gloria Steinem's important work of fighting against the harms of pornography, sex trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, including videos and an audio interview, please see our page on Gloria Steinem. Click here.
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Please remember that it is not up to AntiPornography.org, the other organizations listed on this page, the government, or "someone else" to do the entire job of fighting against the devastating harms of pornography, prostitution, trafficking, and other forms of sexual exploitation or abuse. It is an enormous job and the responsibility lies with each and every one of us to do our part as part of the bigger team of those who are choosing to be part of the solution of creating a more just and humane world for everyone, rather than be part of the problem.
So thank you in advance for whatever you are able to contribute to the cause, whether in the form of a tax-deductible donation or your actions. What you do does matter, so for the sake of all those across the world who are being exploited and abused, and for the sake of the future of humanity, please do what you can to create a more compassionate and safer society for all.
Thank you for whatever you are able to give or do to help create a better world for everyone, especially for women, children and future generations.
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THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! IT'S VERY MUCH APPRECIATED AND REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE!
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