John Millward, a self-described “ideas detective,” has done something intriguing. He cracked the Internet Adult Film Database (IAFD) and used a sample of 10,000 porn stars to tell a story about porn. Here are some of his findings.
The average female porn star, he discovered, was 5’5″ and weighed 117 pounds. She doesn’t have a double-D bra size; she’s a 34B. And she’s not blonde:
She’s also not disproportionately white. Millward found that the racial breakdown among porn actresses somewhat matched U.S. population demographics:
Race % of actresses % of the population
- White 70.5 78.1
- Black 14.0 13.1
- Latina 9.3 16.7
- Asian 5.2 5.0
- American Indian no data 1.2
The average woman begins her career at 22. This has been unchanged for the last 40 years. The average age for men was 29 in the ’70s, but it’s dropped to 24. Careers were longer in the ’70s. Men quite after 12 years, women after nine. Today men quit, on average, after four years and women after three.
Interestingly, success for male porn stars is much more concentrated than for female. There are fewer of them (70% of all porn stars are women) and they’re less interchanged. Millward reports that 96 of the most prolific porn stars of all time — measured by number of films — are men. Women, on average, do fewer films each. Just over half (53%) do three or more.
The IAFD records all of the sex acts that actors do on film. Accordingly to Millward’s analysis, this is what actresses do:
And here are the roles they play:
Wives in porn, by the way, are not typically having sex with their husbands.
For more data porn, visit Millward’s site.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Corey Lee Wrenn — March 10, 2013
Stats that claim women "do" or "take" this or that are really misleading...many women are forced or coerced into doing pornography. Assuming agency really glosses over the inherently exploitative nature of porn...it is a male industry made by men for men. Also, the proliferation of "teen" porn (and "babysitter," "cheerleader," "schoolgirl," "daughter," "runaway" porn for that matter) is really disturbing and speaks to the sexualization of childhood.
Village Idiot — March 10, 2013
None of this data seems particularly interesting or surprising to me or reveals anything about porn that would be relevant to a meaningful discussion about the industry (with the possible exception of the steadily-decreasing length of actors' careers, the "why" of that trend might be interesting to know).
Alex — March 10, 2013
It could be worse, but it looks like you have a population of 114%!
Masha — March 10, 2013
I'm surprised that having sex with someone of a different race is considered 'doing interracial'.
Zuzanna Zofia — March 10, 2013
What? Interracial is a sexual practice like anal sex or taking ejaculation into one's face?
Seriously, I come from a monoethnic country and I wouldn't think of it as a sexual practice...
myblackfriendsays — March 10, 2013
I don't even want to know what some of those infrequently performed sex acts are.
YoungBuck — March 10, 2013
This is just straight porn, right? I think that needs to be clarified.
Andrew S — March 11, 2013
The numbers in the race column add up to more than 100%.
Leilanea — March 11, 2013
So basically porn is all about sex with people inferior to you in age, experience and power. Fantasizing that you can get away with statutory rape. Got it.
Teen, cheerleader, daughter, coed, sorority, schoolgirl, babysitter, runaway.
If you're into sex with women in their late 20s, early 30s you watch MILF porn (that was the average he found for those).
NikkiMic — March 11, 2013
The blonde thing still seems disproportionately high to me, though. If you take the racial breakdown into account, you would guess that between one-third and half of the white porn stars are blonde, and probably much closer to half. (Of course some of the blondes could be women of colour, probably with hair dye, but I think it's safe to assume the overwhelming majority of the blonde porn stars are probably caucasian.) I don't know how that compares to the precedence of blondes among the general population of white people, but my guess would be that it's an extreme overrepresentation; I think the large majority of white people are probably naturally brunette.
The Demographic and Statistical Breakdown of the Internet Porn Industry… | Welcome to the Doctor's Office — March 12, 2013
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M.H. JOO — April 10, 2014
YES, i know all that! i swear to god i know! i just can't help it! i hope buying an unbelievably high amount of porn movies each year (can't help it!) doesn't support this anti-human economy!
Alex Peter — December 4, 2020
I think this would be according to the location, I mean Asian guys love to see Asian people so it would be better if they stream their videos areawise. Visit Sparkyreads!
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