But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
I saw this article on my Twitter feed. It hits close to home for me because my husband’s porn addiction destroyed our marriage. Addiction to pornography is just like being addicted to cocaine or alcohol. It affects the way the brain works, the way a person behaves, and their interaction with others. It also breaks the heart of the person who has been betrayed.
In this article, a young woman describes how she got into the porn industry. She gives a behind the scenes look at truths about porn that no one really considers when they are clicking on inappropriate websites. She talks about the effect her upbringing had on her decision to go down this dark, demonic path. She gives an insider’s view on the satanic world of pornography.
Praise God, however, that there is redemption. There is a loving, kind, compassionate Father in heaven, Who loves and will restore those who want to be redeemed from this lifestyle. I prayed for so long that my husband would come to know that redemption, but to this point, he has not. If you are bound by a porn addiction, or if you are involved in that dark industry, there is hope. Cry out to Jesus and He will save you.
This former porn star is exposing porn’s secrets: and it should make you very, very uncomfortable.
“If porn is as bad as you say it is, why does anyone still work in porn?”
This is a common response to anti-porn advocates who argue that pornography is sexually violent, the visual celebration of rape and a perverse glorification of the degradation of women and girls.
There are, of course, many answers to this question: Some women are desperate for money; many, if not most, have been sexually abused; still others have been deceived into thinking that the porn business is a glamorous and sexy business (the mainstreaming of Playboy and the increasing crossover of porn stars into other entertainment industries has certainly contributed to that).
But to find out what women experience inside the porn industry firsthand, I decided to call someone who’d been through it herself: Shelley Lubben.
Shelley Lubben was a porn star in the 1990s, having entered the industry as a prostitute at a very young age. The “sexual exploitation industries,” as Dr. Mary Anne Layden refers to the various aspects of the sex business, soon began to take their toll.
“It’s a vicious circle [being] a sex worker, because you’re stripping, taxi dancing, and you just get burned out in prostitution,” Lubben told me. “After prostitution I got burned out, and I was lied to that I would be safe from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and I would make all this money. I was a single parent, so what the heck, might as well do sex on camera. But it was completely and utterly the worst, darkest thing I’ve ever been involved in.”
For starters, Lubben had assumed that unlike in prostitution, where many of the johns didn’t want to use condoms, the porn industry would at least keep her safe from STDs. It didn’t—and that’s because, as Lubben tells it, the entire porn industry is rife with them.
“We didn’t use condoms in porn,” she said bluntly. “There’s no condoms allowed, so we’re forced to do unprotected sex—and I can’t tell you how many people alter their tests. Just last year, they had 4 HIV cases, a high bunch out of a very small group of people…we know that most of the porn stars have had an STD at one time or another, and they estimate between 66% to 99% have herpes. They don’t test for herpes, so all these people are involved with rampant STDs.
“Even the LA Public Health Department shows they’ve been monitoring and they came up with thousands and thousands [of cases] of chlamydia and gonorrhea. They’re the highest group in California to have that many STDs. So when people click [on porn], they’re contributing to sex trafficking, they’re contributing to STDs, they’re contributing to people who are mostly alcohol to drug addicts. Now I’m speaking of the majority. Not every porn star’s a drug addict, but the majority of them are. And I can’t tell you, when I went through recovery, I had PTSD. I had all kinds of disorders, serious traumas.”
It’s a story I have read time and time again in my research on the porn industry, so I had to ask: why did she get involved in the sexual exploitation industries in the first place?
“Well I’d been sexually abused at nine years old by a teenage boy and his sister,” Shelley Lubben replied. “So I experienced very shocking heterosexual and homosexual activity at a very young age, and at the same time I was raised by the television – I was allowed to watch R-rated movies, horror movies, movies with sexual content, so I learned about love and sex from abuse and from basically parental neglect, because they would just allow us to watch these things.
“And then as I got older, I was rebelling because my dad was not very involved in my life, and I began to look for sex with boys because the boys would say they loved me. So it was this cycle that I felt in my head that I’m loved if I have sex with a person. My dad kicked me out on the street for being rebellious, and I ended up in San Fernando, LA, which is Porn Valley, and a pimp lured me in, and I was very naïve. No, I was rebellious, I was not naïve. He lured me in for 35 dollars, and then he… you know, I had to escape from him physically, because he became very abusive, and then a Madame found me, and it just spiraled on.”
Once she was embedded, Lubben felt trapped in a cycle of degradation and destruction.
“I would hate prostitution, feel guilty, then I would do stripping to survive,” she said. “I had no education – most of these girls that enter porn do not really have an education, there’s gonna be maybe a few that say they have degrees, although I have yet to see one – but most of the girls don’t come from, like, healthy families, where they have a healthy self-esteem. I haven’t really met porn stars with really healthy families. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but maybe they exist in their mind because of course different girls are gonna wanna say they’re empowered by their sex work, because what you can’t beat, you’re gonna join. You don’t want people to think you’re weak when you’re in porn; you wanna act like you love it and you love rough stuff, and you love being violated, and called degrading names. It’s all just a pack of lies. People do porn because they need the money, and most of them don’t have other options or education.”
The porn industry is dark, evil, and incredibly violent—and it has been that way for a very long time. I read Lubben some of Dr. Gail Dines’ research on how pornography is becoming more violent, and then asked her if that reflected her experience.
“Absolutely,” she replied. “It was even violent back in my day, but I got involved in hardcore porn just because I was still filled with rage from my parents. But yeah, in my day I would have never let anyone rip my mouth or put some weird gadget in my mouth or do something where they’re causing a rectum prolapse, I wouldn’t have done that. I would’ve walked away. Nowadays, girls have to end up doing that stuff, ‘cause that’s what sells. So it’s really sad this is a lot of our society that, but you know, everyone’s so desensitized to vanilla sex now. They want it harder, and grosser and darker, and you know, I can’t imagine what our society will be like in 20 years from now. I can’t, I don’t think I… I’ll have to like move to the mountains or something, because I doubt any normal girl could walk the street at that point.”
It’s shocking in some ways that the porn industry is so mainstream and so popular, considering that at the same time there had been a chorus of voices speaking out against sex trafficking. Doesn’t the porn industry, I asked Lubben, feed into sex trafficking?
“A lot of people think that pornography fuels sex trafficking and it does,” Lubben said firmly. “But it does that because it is sex trafficking. It’s called [a] cutthroat business because it’s trafficking; all of us have been coerced into doing a scene we didn’t wanna do. We went to fraudulent doctors or fraudulent clinics they sent us to. In fact, their clinics – the main porn star clinic closed down a couple years ago, because a lot of us were standing against it – but we had a former porn actress who has a PhD in sexology, and she would put on a white lab coat and tell the girls, ‘Call me Dr. Sharon Mitchell.’ So all these girls think that she’s a medical doctor, and they would go there for her medical advice and for STD treatment and testing. So that’s just one way they’re fraudulent.
“Another way [is that] pornographers make false promises: ‘If you do this scene I promise that you’re going to get this money, or you’re going to get the box cover’ or, ‘You won’t have to do this kind of scene anymore.’ It’s all based on lies. And so you’ve gotta be tough to be in that business.
“You know, most of these films are made in private locations, and private mansions, or hotel rooms where’s there’s no government access. So it’s like two young girls, 18, 19, 20-year-old girls on a mostly older male set. The producer’s male, the crew’s male…so of course, we’re intimidated into doing scenes we don’t wanna do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve showed up and they said, ‘You need to do this scene,’ [and] I said, ‘No, that’s not what my agent said,’ or ‘That’s not what I was told to do,’ and they’re like, ‘Well, you’re gonna do it or we’re not gonna pay you, we’re going to sue you.’ And now with the Internet they tell the girls, ‘If you don’t do this scene, we’re going to send your porn to your family members, we’re gonna ruin your reputation, you’re never gonna work again, we’re gonna take away your finances, we’re gonna physically hurt you,’ or they threaten to sue them. This is sex trafficking. Every porn star has been trafficked at least at one time or another in the porn industry.”
It is because of this that Shelley Lubben, after eight years, finally left the porn industry after meeting a pastor, who later married her, sticking with her through ten long, painful years of recovery. In 2007, she started the Pink Cross Foundation, which works to bring porn actresses and porn actors out of the porn industry, offering them hope and healing, and warning young people enamored with the industry of the darkness and pain that awaits them within.
Before I hung up the phone, I asked Shelley Lubben one final question: “If you could say one thing to someone who’s looking at pornography, what would you say?”
She barely had to pause. “You’re contributing to your demise,” she answered. “And to your family’s demise, and your wife’s. I can’t tell you how many porn addicts have lost their families and jobs. It’s really sad. And they’re contributing to children being raped. I’m like—for a better reason not to click on porn, [think about] child porn. Just think, right now as I’ve been talking to you, there are little children that are being drugged and raped. How could anyone click on porn knowing that?”
And indeed, after hearing Shelley’s story, many, many people have come to just that conclusion: Porn is a destructive force. Porn has ruined many lives. For the good of our families, our society, and ourselves—it’s time to count the cost, and cut porn out for good.