They're naive and inexperienced. That's why porn producers want them.

When it comes to entertainment, it's not so surprising to learn that there's often a dark side to the glitz and glamor. But a new documentary from Netflix and Rashida Jones sheds light on the booming amateur porn industry and the young girls who have no clue what they're in for.

Whoa, let's have a pre-porn talk: The trailer below doesn't contain explicit content, but it still might be not safe for work. And while I'm going to talk about the porn industry, this is a no-shame zone. Consenting adults have every right to engage in and enjoy sex activities, including porn — when all involved are definitely both consenting and adult.

"Hot Girls Wanted" is a new documentary, but sadly these industry stories aren't new.

While "Hot Girls Wanted" sheds light on exploitation and coercion in the amateur porn industry, the practice of luring unsuspecting women into adult film isn't a new story.


Linda "Lovelace" Boreman became porn-star royalty after starring in the 1972 hardcore "Deep Throat." But what audiences didn't know is that she had been coerced into the film by her abusive husband.

Image via " The Real Linda Lovelace."

In fact, many of the scenes in "Deep Throat" that audiences were enjoying weren't pretend; they were acts of extreme sexual violence. Sadly, Boreman isn't the only one who's experienced these horrors on camera. The Pink Cross Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports those who want to transition out of the sex industry, features too many stories from former adult actresses who experienced manipulation and sexual abuse on camera.

"I wasn't a woman in any of these directors eyes, I was nothing to them. The male talent at times were nice, but sometimes, they were horrible. I've had men choke me, slap me, thrust me so hard until I couldn't walk and this would happen even after I would tell them to stop. They have no respect for women." — Erin Moore via Pink Cross Foundation's Porn Star Confessions


Image via Kino 2.

But these film-star horror stories aren't even the worst of it. When you hear from the men working behind the lens, it becomes all too clear how the porn industry views its talent.

"Together we evolved toward rougher stuff. He started to spit on girls. A strong male-dominant thing, with women being pushed to their limit. It looks like violence but it's not. I mean, pleasure and pain are the same thing, right?" — Pornographer John Stagliano via Martin Amis, The Guardian

Porn needs to change. Not just for the performers, but for the audience too.

These stomach-churning accounts from adult-film actors and producers signal that a change is necessary, but there are harmful consequences for audiences too. A 2014 Canadian study reported that 40% of boys between 4th and 11th grades admitted to watching porn. For many young people, pornography is their first introduction to sex. The normalization of sexual violence combined with unrealistic body images in these films can lead to some pretty unhealthy ideas about consent and body image.

So what's the solution? How do we make pornography better for actors and the people who consume it?

Independent erotic filmmaker Erika Lust suggested in a 2014 TEDx Talk that we don't need to get rid of porn all together but that what the porn industry needs is more women.

Image via TEDxVienna/TEDx Talks.

In 2004, Lust produced her first film, "The Good Girl," after finding herself frustrated and often repulsed by the images she was seeing repeated throughout pornography. So instead, she decided to take a more feminist approach to erotica, featuring men and women.

When she made the film free to download online, something incredible happened. "The Good Girl" went viral, with millions of downloads in a few short days. Turns out, Lust wasn't the only one looking for adult entertainment that managed to titillate and respect its performers at the same time.

Today, Erika Lust Films has produced numerous films and books that reframe what porn is and can be under a feminist lens.

Regardless what you think about pornography, it's clear that too many women have been and are being exploited by the adult entertainment industry. That doesn't mean all porn is awful or that every adult actress is being abused or manipulated. But from where I stand, even one girl is too many. But through education and filmmakers like Erika Lust, perhaps it's possible to make the adult industry a safer space for those who want to consume it and participate in it.

If you're one of the millions of people who enjoy adult content and want to be part of the solution, check out "5 ways to support ethical porn" to make sure you're supporting the best of the best.

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