Can Porn Stars Be Good Parents?

Family Matters on 05.03.12
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Porn is not a topic that comes up a lot on a parenting site like Parentables. (Although we have explored the shocking news that teenage boys like to masturbate. A lot.) But as society seems to be adopting increasingly liberal attitudes about adult entertainment, it may be time to start discussing our attitudes - not just toward porn itself, but toward the people who work in the industry.

After all, every single porn star is somebody's son or daughter, and many of them are also parents themselves. This was the topic of the recent Dr. Drew show, featuring adult movie actress Alana Evans, asking whether porn stars can be good parents. Alana, for her part, argued that porn gave her a way out of an abusive relationship:

"Porn saved my life. It gave me a way to be with my son, to be with him every day after school. It gave me enough to take care of myself to take care of him, to pay our bills without being on welfare and stay off public assistance."

Meanwhile former porn actress Shelley Lubben, now a leading figure in the faith-based anti-porn group Pink Cross Foundation, argued that the damage can remain undetected for years, and that children of porn stars are inevitably hurt by the unconventional career choice of their parents.

For me, it's not really a question of whether doing porn is a wise choice for parents, but rather who should be the person to make that judgment. From joining the Navy Seals to working long hours in a law firm, there are plenty of career choices that are less than optimal for people with kids. Each parent should weigh up carefully whether the decisions they make are going to have a negative impact on their children. But given that porn is currently legal; and given that a huge section of the population watches adult entertainment of one kind or another, it is high time we got off our high horses and remembered that judge not should be the first rule of parenting.

Yes, the porn industry has serious issues with working conditions and labor rights. Yes, one could argue it contributes to issues around self esteem and the objectification of women. (Andy Hinds' piece on not telling his girls they are pretty is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to rectifying the sorry state of discourse around the role of women in our society.) And yes, in a world where sex slavery is rampant, we must be wary of simple "freedom of choice" arguments. A powerful case can even be made that the world would be better off if porn didn't exist. But that's a society-wide discussion. In the meantime, to judge the men and women who work in the industry and suggest that they are not fit parents because of what they do is as dangerous as it is counterproductive.

Good parents come in all shapes and sizes. And they do all sorts of things to make a living.

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