interview with an office admin in the adult industry

I recently started talking with someone on Twitter who sent me an amusing story about her work in the adult industry, and I of course had more questions I wanted answered so she kindly agreed to let me interview her, and here’s our conversation. (She also comments here as Carrie Oakie.)

Tell us a little about your work.

I work for a company that takes content created by our studio partners and helps them monetize it in ways beyond what they’re doing. My job there is to make sure that everyone gets what they need to work with, to make a schedule for the production process and keep everyone on it. We’re constantly improving our process to streamline it, so I have to keep an eye on the train, so to speak, to keep it on track. Some months we’re right on schedule, other months we’ll have 20 of 51 new movies in on time. Then I get to figure out what went wrong and how we can prevent that from happening again. I also do operational tasks that the company needs done, creating workflow procedures and helping everyone be more organized.

We started talking on Twitter because you told me about a very holier-than-thou job candidate who’d applied not knowing you work with adult content and you explained to me that you don’t indicate that right up-front in the ad because otherwise you’ll get a bunch of inappropriate responses. When you do let people know when you call to invite them to interview, what kinds of responses do you normally get?

Yeah, we don’t want to list “adult industry business” on job postings, because some people will flag it just for their own moral consciousness, others will reach out asking to be IN the movies (that’s not how it works) or an applicant will have zero of the skills or qualifications but just want to work in adult. Most of the responses are kind of a “huh… ok…” and then they will ask questions, like “will I have to watch it” (yes, sometimes) or “is it filmed there?” (no, we’re not a studio). Other times it’s a very unsure “okay, I’ll give it a shot.” People will come interview, see that the office is no different than any other business, and get a feel for what it would be like. The few who aren’t interested are, for the most part, polite about it. It’s not for everyone, but at the end of the day, it’s just a job like any other — except I can dress casually and swear out loud in the office without anyone blinking an eye. (The swearing is mostly for naming scenes and movie titles, not just general swearing.)

Do you get job candidates who initially say they’re fine with it, but then as they progress through your interview process realize they’re not up for it after all?

We do, and that’s always a letdown. Especially when you have an interview, they seem really interested and they meet our qualifications, and you make the call to offer them the job, only to be told it’s not really what they want in their career. I respect their decision, of course, but man we lose a lot of great candidates who could really go far and help make the industry better.

A few companies ago, we had hired someone to come help with scanning legal documents we’re required to have. The whole job was just scanning documents, making sure it was in our system, move on. The only exposure to the content they had was the performers’ personal data. They came in on time the first day, left for lunch, and never came back. They called saying that the job was too “in your face” about the adult content. Unfortunately, it’s more women who have this reaction than men. But in my experience, the women in this industry are very strong and are shaping the way things work more and more, which is really important! Women have excelled behind the scenes, embracing and adapting to the industry shifts better than a lot of our male counterparts.

Tell me more about that. What kinds of changes do you see women pushing for and achieving?

I see more women heading up companies as well, and a lot of the behind-the-scenes work — accounting, inventory, scheduling, contracts, etc. are often done by women. We encourage each other and support each other’s hustle, even as we hop from job to job. You keep tabs on each other and we congratulate those who are earning accolades and keep an ear out for things that might help someone take a step in a new direction.

There are also more women working on the actual productions, either as producers or directors. Which is great, because women do look at porn differently than men. If you look at the older style of pornography, just from when I started 15 years ago, everything was “gonzo” style, which is geared towards the male perspective — kind of guerilla-style filming, cheesy storylines, no focus on the woman’s pleasure, just focus on the sex and the male … completion, so to speak. Now, women in the industry take the time to look into what the audience views are, what the trends are, and they tend to look for different things to shoot. Some are more couples-friendly, some are softer storylines and glamorous feels, some are just more realistic sex, and of course there’s still good old fashioned porn. There was an entire demographic being underserved and, in my experience, it’s the women who will make sure that is no longer happening.

There’s even been a change in how the female performers are being treated. Consent is a big deal in this business, and (hopefully) women now are encouraged and feel safe enough to speak up if they’re not comfortable with what’s happening and stop filming. Gone are the days of a “contract” girl, but there are a lot of performers who have an understanding that this business isn’t built for the long-term, so they’ve learned to utilize social media and websites to give themselves longevity.

What’s your office environment like? Pretty similar to other places you’ve worked outside the adult industry, or are there differences?

It’s very similar to other jobs I’ve held. One (adult industry) office was very fancy, corporate dress, corporate culture. But for the most part, it’s very casual, we’re all here just doing our jobs trying to earn a dollar. The only difference has been that it’s common to hear people talk about sex, in a non-sexualized way. I think that’s where a lot of people can get uncomfortable, coming from a strong corporate culture to one that’s mixed this way.

There’s also the kind of employee who, seeing that it’s a little more casual, oversteps and can’t tell when they’ve become offensive. For instance, at one job, we had an IT tech who we all were comfortable with, and we’d have good banter. But this led them to feel that they could say more illicit comments, which felt wrong as soon as we heard it. It was something about talent, a comment on her body in a way that we don’t do. So we do need to be comfortable knowing our boundaries and letting people know when they’ve crossed them.

I wanted to ask about that! I imagine there are particular challenges your workplace has to navigate around sexual harassment when you’re dealing with such sexualized material as a core part of the job.

Early on, a company I worked with had a sexual harassment seminar. I felt so bad for the host, because all anyone could do was make fun of the fact that she was telling us not to say offensive things, but half of the movies we worked with were extremely offensive at the time. But, overall, my experience has been that the generation of industry peers who are “holdovers” from the “Golden Age” of adult are less aware of what’s socially acceptable now; they’re more set in their ways (calling the ladies “sweetheart” affectionately, telling inappropriate stories, making lewd jokes, women doing secretarial/housekeeping tasks). This can make the younger generations coming in uncomfortable in some cases, but in other cases it’s made more people confident in saying “that’s not acceptable” and trying to foster a better environment.

There are a few people I’ve worked with who are more of an a-hole than they would be in a different industry because they can get away with it more easily. A lot of these companies don’t have a true HR department, so if you have a complaint you’re often going to that person’s boss, who’s been allowing them to get away with that behavior to begin with. Overall, I’ve had more good than bad experiences, and all of the bad ones have been lessons that I would’ve learned in any other industry, unfortunately.

Thinking about how you mentioned you don’t put “adult industry” right up-front in your job ads, I imagine that when you meet people socially, you use the same sort of approach — like just saying you do production work for web content without specifying that it’s adult content? Because otherwise you get leering dudes, weird judgment, and other irritating reactions? (I would be delighted to find out I’m wrong about this though.)

I won’t tell people in a first meeting what specific industry I work in, I always wait to see if they’re open-minded … and if it’s a creepy dude. (Sorry to the dudes!) Women tend to judge a little more harshly and vocally, and men tend to assume right away that it means I’m interested in sex all the time/with anyone/in any way. And that’s not the case … at all! When I was single, I’d wait a month or so before saying where I worked, because if you say it up-front, a lot of guys no longer take you seriously as relationship potential. It’s interesting that the reactions between men and women swing so far apart, I wish there were more middle of the road reactions. My favorite reaction is the person whose eyes go wide with surprise, then suddenly have so many questions. You can tell a lot about a person and what generation they grew up in based on their questions!

What kind of generational differences do you observe? That’s very interesting!

The younger generation is always excited to learn I work in adult. It’s a cool job to them, I guess. There’s no hesitation to admit they watch porn, they’ve told me where/how they watch, sharing is not a problem. They know all the different ways to consume adult content, and they tend to ask questions geared more towards the “how” it’s all done. They’re also more familiar with the terminology and acronyms for different sex acts, which they teach me because there’s only so much I can Google! Ultimately they’re the generation that will carry the torch and direct what the business does, in terms of getting content out there to be seen. They’ll determine if online is the wave for years to come, or if there’s a new avenue yet to be created.

Then there’s the 30-50-year-old generation, the ones that are between millennials and boomers, who transitioned from DVD to online consumption. They’re more likely familiar with certain performers that they prefer, certain brands. They tend to be more interested in knowing what it’s like on set, have I met performers they like, do I go to the conventions. (Answers: hot, probably, not anymore thankfully!) I think because I’m more their age, it’s easier to relate and more of a conversation that’s filled with questions about what they’ve perceived the business to be like back in the ’70s-’80s.

After this group, I find that the 50+ crowd is not only unimpressed by my industry, they think it’s a stain on my character. Not all, of course — there are some pleasant exceptions. But I’ve learned not to share with older friends and relatives until they’ve had a chance to get to know me as a person. For this group, it’s often a lot of judgment, because their perception is that the talent are all on drugs, they’re forced into the work, etc., which is a stigma that’s no longer true. (I can’t speak for everyone, of course.) It’s frustrating, personally, because I’m a whole person outside of the business I’m in, but some people refuse to see past that. When I was younger it bothered me, but now I just feel, “Well, that’s your loss.”

There’s even a difference along gender lines, though that might be somewhat predictable. My boss pointed out that if the parents at her children’s school knew where she worked, there are two reactions. From dads, it’s “Cool!” and some curiosity. From moms, it’s more of “Oh, well, we’ll make sure they’re not invited to the playdates” reaction.

What do you like best about the work?

I get to do a lot of organizational work, which turns out is something I enjoy! I’m with a company now that uses programs and services that are new to me and I really enjoy learning them and implementing what I learn in a way that helps others. I have the opportunity to get my projects done on time and celebrate when it works, instead of just moving on to the next project. There is some of that, of course, but I do get a clear sense of accomplishment on project completion that I didn’t have a lot elsewhere. And there’s some creativity involved as well, it’s not just documents and spreadsheets all day — naming movies and scenes is no walk in the park, there’s a science to it! The best part is that I’ve met a lot of great people and mentors who have guided me and encouraged me to grow, both professionally and personally. I feel that, in just the past two years, I’ve grown into a stronger version of myself and it shows through my work.

{ 289 comments… read them below }

  1. Clementine*

    I can’t be onboard with the idea of hiding what the industry is, although I understand that inappropriate applications would be a problem. I would hate to go to the trouble of creating a customized resume and cover letter for an industry I don’t want to work in. The posting should say something to indicate the high likelihood that many people might find it contrary to their personal preference to work there. For the inappropriate applications, the posting could clearly indicate that inappropriate applications will be ignored. Otherwise, you are just putting the time burden on your applicants rather than the resume screeners.

    1. Danielle*

      Yeah, I tend to agree. Also, it’s unclear whether they tell the applicants what industry the job is in before or during the interview. If it’s during, I would be especially irritated if I took time off work and went through the trouble of preparing for an interview only to find out it’s in an industry I would not be comfortable working in. I hope they at least tell the applicants before they come in to interview. (For whatever it’s worth, I’m in my 20s and don’t judge people who work in the adult industry, but I don’t think I would be comfortable working there personally.)

      1. Carrie Oakie*

        While we don’t post “adult industry” in the ad, some places I’ve worked at have noted that there are materials that may be uncomfortable for some. This still gets the inappropriate applicants, unfortunately. And on some places people will flag the ad as “inappropriate” even though there’s nothing inappropriate about it. I’ve also found that fewer qualified people will apply if they see this in an ad.

        What we do is call the candidates we’re interested in meeting with and I explain right away, “Before we move forward, I’d like to let you know that we are in the adult entertainment business. Is this something that would be an issue?” A lot of applicants don’t have a problem with this, and that’s when I’ll schedule them for a phone interview. We don’t bring anyone in without explaining that first – it’s not only a waste of their time, but ours as well.

      2. Clementine*

        They tell when they phone the candidate to come in for an interview, from what I understood. Which is better than later, but it still leaves a lot of people who wasted time applying to something straight up unsuitable for them.

        1. Carrie Oakie*

          I will say, one thing I have noticed when I’ve been involved in helping with hires, I don’t get many cover letters. The few that we do I can tell are generic because we don’t list any specific variables on the job listing, so we get a lot of “I’d be a good candidate as I meet your criteria” if any. The more corporate business did list the company HQ address, and some applicants obviously took the time to Google that before drafting a letter.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            This is pretty standard these days across all industries! I can count on one hand how many cover letters I’ve seen over all the years of hiring. I still send them because I know this, it’s even more beneficial since it’s going by the wayside so fast.

            We even request them but if we ruled out people for not submitting them, we’d have no luck what so ever in ever filling most roles.

            Most people aren’t taking any time when they apply on job boards. Indeed lets you just hit the button to send your resume without fussing with asking if you want a cover letter or not. It’s actually detouring people from writing those, you have to LOOK for the feature to actually do it.

              1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

                Do you think it’s to do with job boards involved though? Do you use a lot of the generalized job boards or more specialized platforms? I’m thinking mostly of those of us who use Indeed as their posting source because that’s my only experience outside of Craigslist.

                I was thinking it was a “role” based thing originally but really, I’ve hired management with pretty impressive backgrounds that still didn’t submit a cover letter. They’re always crossover kind of people too, so that’s why I’d assume it was across industries. I’ve had a lot of tech background folks due to the area apply over the years and they’ve never submitted a cover letter.

            1. ampersand*

              Re: Indeed–this drives me crazy! I WANT to submit a cover letter, but Indeed makes it difficult.

              I can’t remember: which industry are you in, if you don’t mind sharing? I’m so curious which industry isn’t requiring/receiving cover letters from applicants!

              1. Elenna*

                Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever applied through Indeed, I always go to the actual job site and apply there. (I’m in an industry where basically all the places I’m applying are medium-to-large companies that have their own job sites.) My (possibly incorrect) feeling is that the company will like my going to the effort to find their specific site, figure out where to apply, and use their specialized process that asks for a bunch of different things. Plus I might find more positions I’m interested in on their site.

        2. Yvette*

          Exactly, there is still sort of a “bait and switch” vibe.
          ” I’ve also found that fewer qualified people will apply if they see this in an ad.” That alone says a lot.

          1. Kaio*

            ” I’ve also found that fewer qualified people will apply if they see this in an ad.” That alone says a lot.

            Agreed… I mean, wouldn’t that be a good thing? The earlier people can self-select out of a job they wouldn’t accept anyway, the less time and effort wasted all around. There’s probably at least a few who, when surprised by this on the phone screen, then feel obligated to go through the process because they DID get a call — a bit of people pleasing to the other person on the phone, with a dash of sunk-cost fallacy. So they’ll get farther along in the process before reaching that pressure point where they have to admit they’d never accept this job.

            If nothing else, this should be stated in an email when they ask to schedule the phone screen. That way no one is put on the spot and they can take time to think about it before responding.

          2. Hey Nonnie*

            ” I’ve also found that fewer qualified people will apply if they see this in an ad.” That alone says a lot.

            Agreed… I mean, wouldn’t that be a good thing? The earlier people can self-select out of a job they wouldn’t accept anyway, the less time and effort wasted all around. There’s probably at least a few who, when surprised by this on the phone screen, then feel obligated to go through the process because they DID get a call — a bit of people pleasing to the other person on the phone, with a dash of sunk-cost fallacy. So they’ll get farther along in the process before reaching that pressure point where they have to admit they’d never accept this job.

            If nothing else, this should be stated in an email when they ask to schedule the phone screen. That way no one is put on the spot and they can take time to think about it before responding.

            1. Danielle*

              Good point, I think an email would be better than a phone call, because the person isn’t put on the spot. I think I would feel a little uncomfortable/hesitant to say “Actually, never mind, I don’t want an interview after all” to the recruiter/hiring manager on the phone. I admit I should probably work on becoming more comfortable saying no to people, but I think a lot of people have that weakness and would feel similarly uncomfortable.

            2. Avasarala*

              I totally agree. I would be caught aback to find that this job was actually in the adult entertainment industry and I would not be comfortable with that… but if the phone call came suddenly and OP was really sweet I might hastily agree to an interview! I understand they’re trying to weed out weirdos but I wish they would state the industry ASAP.

        3. LawBee*

          Yeah but people apply for jobs that are straight up unsuitable for them all the time. Including me, last month. I didn’t know it was unsuitable until the interview, but I learned then, and the fact that I did a lot of work beforehand didn’t really play into it. It’s part of job hunting.

        4. Elizabeth West*

          Eh, it’s not that much time. FWIW, I’ve been applying to jobs long enough that it’s kind of a rote process even when I customize my materials. I mean, when you think about it, I’m wasting more time applying to jobs that never get back to me at all.

          I’d rather know before coming in for an interview, and this seems like a good way to handle it.

      3. Quill*

        Honestly, if they mentioned it post application, pre interview, they’d be far more legit about it than half the recruiting agencies I’ve worked with who are gathering your resume for a “fortune 500 client.”

      4. Lucette Kensack*

        Totally agree. I understand their reasons for leaving the industry out of the ads, but it’s a problem the employer needs to solve without putting the burden on applicants.

    2. Zephy*

      You could go to all the trouble of preparing a resume and cover letter for a job and find any number of reasons to pass on it immediately upon getting to the interview stage, though. I wouldn’t consider “industry isn’t one I want to work in” any worse than finding out the office is located in a seedy part of town with questionable parking even for employees, or the building has a severe mold problem, or they’re currently only hiring for third shift, or it’s right next to a noisy/smelly/otherwise annoying place (dog kennel, waste management facility, bus station, etc.), or you get there and someone on the existing staff immediately trips every Skeevy Person Do Not Engage alarm that your brain has. The list goes on.

      You could find out many of these kinds of things by Googling the company name before applying; if you find the listing through Indeed or something and the company name is obscured, as it sometimes is, you can self-select out of applying for these Mystery Jobs or accept that the listing may be for a place you wouldn’t want to work at if you knew what it was.

      1. Now I feel like I should be Anon*

        Exactly! I’m fascinated and would be interested in working (in the office for) this field! I’ll have to look for clues!

      2. Delphine*

        Sure, but a company deliberately concealing the industry they work in is a different beast than learning that the office is in a seedy part of town or next to a bus station.

        1. IndoorCat*

          Mm, kinda reminds me of those ads for “marketing” jobs that are actually just direct sales / MLM shenanigans. Real let down when you finally get callbacks from a *real* digital marketing firm after, say, sending out your portfolio and cover letters post-college, only to find out during the interview that it’s just a misleading ad and they call everyone back.

          This isn’t as bad, like I feel like it’s not inherently unethical the way MLMs are (usually), but I also feel like… I’d probably have the same disappointed + frustrated feeling. Especially when, for example, the job search is dragging and you’re trying to figure out what you’re willing to compromise on just so you can get decent pay and not stress about money, like, all the time.

          And it’s like, I don’t want to be surprised out of the blue with an internal dilemma, like, “I don’t want to work in adult entertainment. But, do I want the chance to try for more financial stability *more* than I want to not work in adult entertainment?” I dunno. It was a stressful time; I’m glad I’m not job hunting anymore, and through that lens I can imagine that scenario causing needless extra stress.

        1. Carrie Oakie*

          I wouldn’t consider it “deliberately concealing” when we do in fact reach out and say from the start, “this is an adult business” prior to any other questions. (Well, ok I did say a lot of “how are you today?” before I made that statement.) But I respect your feelings on the issue. :-)

          1. Yvette*

            But again, that is after the application process. You have even admitted to the lack of qualified applicants when it is in the ad.

            1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

              Which I think is a good reason not to have it in the ad initially. It’s been a problematic industry. Qualified candidates will improve and change the industry for the better. It sounds like they do bring it up relatively quickly – there isn’t even an interview schedule at that point. It sounds like the ad is vague so there (ideally) shouldn’t be much time or emotion invested in the application.

              Is it the best way to handle it? Probably not. But neither is subjecting the hiring manager to inappropriate applications. And regardless of what you put in the ad, people will be inappropriate because “it’s okay” even though it’s not.

              1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

                Yeah, I mean, one could argue that it’s the company’s responsibility to keep their employees from being sexually harassed (which it is), and this is the only way they’ve found to do so.

                1. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

                  This is where I come down. Aside from the various ways that this is better for the employer than for applicants, it’s a plain fact that the company has a responsibility to protect their employees from harassment. If they know that putting up the ad specifying it’s in the adult industry causes their resume reviewers to have to deal with an onslaught of dick pics and unsolicited videos, omitting that is a reasonable approach IMO.

                2. SimplyTheBest*

                  Exactly. I said this below and I’ll say it again. As a woman, I am more than willing to be slightly inconvenienced by taking the time to apply somewhere it turns out I don’t want to work for if it mean less women (or just people in general) are being sexually harassed in their workplace.

              2. JustaTech*

                This has been my observation as well (my spouse’s family business is in/tangential to the adult industry). Because so very many people self-select out of any part of the adult industry (even the non-entertainment parts) it’s really easy to be a total rock star. Big fish in a small pond and all that. But it also means that there are a lot of pretty mediocre people who succeed just because it’s such a limited pool.

              3. wittyrepartee*

                It sounds like they end up sifting through a lot of non-sequitor applications if they put it in the ad. I get it, I think they’re handling it reasonably well.

            2. Sorrischian*

              I can absolutely believe that there are people who wouldn’t apply for a job listed as being in adult entertainment but who wouldn’t actually have a problem taking/doing that job.

          2. Dagny*

            Honestly, this sounds like those men who lie about their age in online dating profiles so that they can date younger women. “I get more dates this way!” Yeah, but what about the other person’s obvious desire to not date someone 15 years older than themselves?

            You’re just delaying the inevitable… and then putting it on them when they don’t want to do this.

            1. Mommie.MD*

              It’s not deceitful. They just want to screen out the creepers. They are told upfront in the process.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              They’re told before there’s any interview. That’s really not that far away from companies that don’t name themselves in their ad, but when you talk to them you find out they’re a military contractor or something else you might object to. Loads of companies don’t name themselves or their industries in their job ads; it’s pretty common.

              1. Free Meerkats*

                There are many industries/companies I wouldn’t want to work for (e.g., crisis pregnancy centers, PETA, Hobby Lobby, Chik-Fil-A, oil companies.) Should all calls for applicant have the name of the company/type of industry included?

                That’s literally the only way to avoid this problem. And saying the the adult industry is special this way is wrong, that’s only showing your personal bias.

                1. emmelemm*

                  Yeah, like the person saying below “Don’t they have the company name?” Sure, on LinkedIn maybe it has to include the company name, because LinkedIn is all about companies? I don’t know, I barely use LinkedIn.

                  But have they really never seen an Indeed ad without the company listed? Because in my partner’s recent job search, that was sooooo many of them.

              2. londonedit*

                Literally every job ad I’ve seen that’s handled through one of our industry recruitment agencies won’t list the name of the company. Because obviously the agency wants to handle the applications themselves in order to get their commission, so they don’t want people knowing which company is recruiting and going off and applying directly. They’ll just say ‘A leading publisher of non-fiction books based in central London’ or whatever. You only find out which company it is when you get in touch with them and they verify that you’re someone they’d be happy putting forward for the job. So to me, it’s pretty normal not to know exactly which company it is (even though it’s annoying, because in a small industry the name of the company really matters!) and it doesn’t feel like anyone’s ‘concealing’ anything.

            3. Grapey*

              It doesn’t sound like that to me. It’s not like this employer is saying “you will be working full time with a charity organization that works with [obvious lie that is not the adult industry].”

              It’s not ‘inevitable’ that people don’t want to work for the adult industry otherwise there wouldn’t be one. And it’s already up to an applicant to decide they “don’t want to do” the job anyway.

          3. A Reader*

            How does this work, though, that people don’t know you’re in the adult entertainment industry until after they apply? When I look at jobs on LinkedIn, for instance, it’ll have the company’s name. Is the listing under something like “confidential name” on job boards, or does your company have a generic-enough name that people just don’t bother Googling it?

      3. Alton*

        Honestly, in terms of misleading ads, I think temp agencies posting ads for positions that don’t really exist just to add people to their rosters is a more common (and annoying) issue than this. It’s not ideal to conceal the specifics, but I’m not too bothered by it if people are informed before they accept an interview.

        Also, maybe I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that if a company name is listed, even if it’s not obviously risque, it might be possible to connect it to the adult industry by Googling it.

      4. Clisby*

        Also, if you’re in the middle of a job search is it really that much trouble to prepare a resume and cover letter? I mean, if you’ve been applying for jobs as an engineer and then suddenly decide to apply to this one, you’d have to pivot; but if it’s more for some sort of admin job, would there be that much difference in the resume/cover letter? If you’re right at the beginning of a job search, you likely need to update your resume anyway, so no harm, no foul.

    3. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I understand that, and in theory I agree with you and for most other controversial industries (reproductive rights, weapons/defense, and religious organizations) I would agree. But I think that the adult industry is not only controversial (to some) but the issues that were mentioned people sending in appropriate remarks, people flagging the post due to their morals, and trying to use it to get in the movies out weigh the time cost to applicants. When job searching applicants will spend a lot of time on resume and cover letters that they might not ever get a call back on. The OP lets people know when they are invited to come in and interview.

      Honestly if you don’t know the industry or the company you are not able to create as customized of a letter as when you know the specific employer or industry so you won’t be spending that much time anyway.
      I have applied to several jobs where the job and duties were listed, but I did not know the employer or industry that it would be for and it was a generic title like office assistant/manager, mail clerk, secretary etc….

    4. cmcinnyc*

      Yeah, I once got a temp job that turned out to be admin work in the facilities office at Penthouse. People were very nice, and (mostly) very professional, but yes, I sat in an office next to a file cabinet that held all sorts of lingerie sorted by type (clearly labeled on the outside so you could find the garter belts quickly). I would not have accepted the assignment had I known. Like I said, people were very nice. But I did not want to work in that industry, period.

      As for (mostly) professional, when it was time to take me around and introduce me to everyone, my supervisor, a guy in his 50s who did/oversaw the facilities work (think guys on ladders replacing lightbulbs) grabbed my hand and towed my around like that. That was completely normal there and honestly, I got no creepy vibe. Still. I did not and do not want to work in a company where people go hand-in-hand to meetings. I’d be seriously annoyed to show up to an interview and find out it was adult industry.

      1. Carrie Oakie*

        I know that place, there are a few old school folks there who will still hold your hand. I was at a company a few years ago with an owner who took to calling me “girl” and treated the ladies like princess they had to protect. It was a cultural thing and it took me off guard at first. It did start to annoy me the longer I worked there, but I think that was because I was also very much over that company as a whole. Some companies are little more progressive than others in this industry. Rest assured, very few of us hold hands on our way to meetings – we’re more likely to be holding our phones and coffee!

    5. Parcae*

      Yes, hiding the industry bugs me too, though I’m sure the creepy applications are exhausting and probably worse than I’m imagining. I can’t imagine they actually spring it on applicants *during* the interview. That would get WAY too many negative reactions, so it’s probably part of the call or email setting up the interview. I’m curious what percentage of applicants withdraw at that point, and how that number compares to the icky applicants when the ad is more upfront.

    6. Junior Assistant Peon*

      I remember seeing an article about a Starbucks location in CIA headquarters. The employees all got the job by answering a vague ad because the CIA explicitly does not want anyone who’s itching to get near secret stuff. I guess this is the same thing – anyone who’s itching to work for a porn company will probably be a problem employee!

      My friend who used to work in the industry got hired by answering an ad for a video editor. Same idea – the ad didn’t say what kind of videos!

    7. Jamie*

      I am in manufacturing and many jobs I applied to didn’t list the name of the company or what specifically they manufacture. I’d apply and if pre-interview I’d found out they manufactured something I was averse to supporting I’d decline, no harm/no foul.

      There is a certain degree of lack of transparency in job hunting in the public ad stage for various reasons on both sides, as long as they make sure applicants know the industry before coming in to interview I don’t see how it would be any different.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*


        It’s always been standard for the most part to really not put too much company information out there in job postings. They try to focus on the job not the industry even. Sometimes it’s nice to see manufacturing since I know it’s in line with my history. Otherwise it’s just “office needs a manager, who wants dis?”

        I had one of these end up being a medical office. I declined as soon as I found out because no thank you, I have no desire to ever be in the healthcare industry. That was weird though because usually medicine/healthcare is pretty up front so that gave me extra warning signals needless to say!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Generally, I avoid blind ads because I can’t do my due diligence on the company if I don’t know who it is, but yeah, an application does not obligate you to actually work for anyone.

    8. RabbitRabbit*

      I had a temp job that was for an organization specifically campaigning against unions. There are a lot of things people can find offensive, and being from a proud pro-union family, that really set me on edge. That being said, it is not uncommon to run into a more ‘screened’ job lead, and people have to adapt.

      There’s no big harm in getting a screener phone call and finding out that it’s not your thing. And at least they disclose at that point – I’d run into a Primerica interview that hid who they were, lied about the type of work on the phone, and I showed up to find it was a big ‘cattle call’ pitch to recruit people to sell their financial services MLM-style, rather than a one-on-one interview for an office job.

    9. AngstyAdmin*

      Unless they’re hiding the company name as well, I don’t see how an applicant couldn’t just find out in one quick Google search?

      1. Olive Hornby*

        They may not include the company’s name in the posting. I’ve seen a lot of job postings on boards that use something more general (e.g. “Boutique Talent Agency.”) It’s not uncommon in certain industries–partly for reasons like the OP’s or related reasons (e.g. an actor searching for a personal assistant wanting to screen out stalkers), or because the company doesn’t want to announce the departure of a prominent person yet, or because the ad was posted by a recruiter wanting to make sure applicants go through them and don’t just google the listing and apply on their own.

    10. Jennifer*

      I was going to say the same thing. At least put the name of the company and let people Google and figure it out on their own. I wouldn’t be happy about taking time off from work and driving across town only go find out the job is something I’d never accept.

      I think the ad could be worded in a way to make it clear it’s not not an ad for performers.

      1. Door Guy*

        Part of what I took from the interview was that they were getting the ads reported/blocked/removed by people with an objection to the adult industry as well as the influx of creepy responses. Hard to hire someone if your ad gets removed.

        That said, even if they DO word it in a way to be clear it’s not for performers, that won’t stop anyone. I’m sure anyone who had done even a small amount of hiring will confirm that people just don’t read through everything on the posting. I got a resume just last week that was so wildly out of sync with the position I am hiring for that after we got done laughing and head scratching, it went straight into the bin. We put in doors, we are a construction industry, and our ad is straight to the point about what we are looking for – a field service technician. The resume in question had an MBA degree, had worked in nothing but schools and offices (at least that was listed), and their objective was full of information about office management and managerial skills.

    11. Kramerica Industries*

      As someone who worked in marketing for one of these adult content companies, they ended the interview by asking me if I the adult content would be an issue.

      From a company perspective, I get why they wouldn’t want to scare away potential employees who may be more “on the fence” about adult content. If I had seen that the company deals with adult content in the job posting, no way would I have applied out of my biases that the company is icky and sketchy. But having done the interview first, I was able to learn more about the people and culture, which outshone my initial discomfort with the content.

    12. MissGirl*

      Yep, I would not be happy to know I applied to a company whose product I would never be comfortable in promoting or supporting. Don’t waste my time. I spend a couple of hours preparing a resume, time carving out an open spot in my schedule, and the anxiety of anticipating an interview.

      I get you don’t want to deal with questionable applicants but that falls on the recruiter to filter out resumes properly. Also I would look at that as the cost of doing business.

      I know my local sports team has to deal with a lot of applicants interested in the sport but not the job. They figure out how to filter them out.

      1. MissGirl*

        I realize at this point it’s a phone call but I still go through all that prior to the phone screen.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I agree that crafting a job industry and company specific resume/cover letter can take time. But if you don’t know the industry or company name, I don’t think it should take you hours to craft a job specific resume and cover letter. To a certain extent a admin assistant or receptionist position at a law firm and an adult business will be similar.

          Last time I applied I sent many applications to companies whose name I did not know. The only info I could really use was what was mentioned in the job posting. I had a couple generic resumes depending if the job was for an admin assistant, receptionist, or office manager etc… Yes if a particular job listed certain duties that I had experience in I would change it up to highlight that, but it certainly did not take me hours.

          My understanding is that before OP even offers an interview time candidates are told it is an adult industry job. I imagine it goes something like this:

          OP: “Hello is this Jane Smith?”
          Jane: “Yes it is, who is calling?”
          OP: “This is OP, you responded/applied to llama grooming position on 11/14/19.”
          Jane: “Oh yes it is good to hear from you.”
          OP: “First I want to say that this position is for a company in the adult film industry, but if you are still interested we would like to set up an initial phone interview?”
          Jane: “I am sorry, I am not interested in this position, but thank you.”
          OP: “Okay have a good day.”
          Hang up click….

          I think that would take all of 30/60 seconds tops.

              1. CmdrShepard4ever*

                “Llama drama farm”

                It is about a llama groomer that seduces the farm owners kid. Since the actor is not an actual llama groomer, they need to hire a real llama groomer to keep the llamas coat well kept. The llama was the biggest diva of all the talent, spitting on people, requiring the biggest dressing room/pen, wanting a ton of water and hay.

            1. CmdrShepard4ever*

              No I have not, but that just about how most of my initial calls for potential phone interviews have gone. Minus the adult film industry part, usually people will ask “if I am still interested/available in the position?”

      2. Kramerica Industries*

        But this isn’t too different from companies that don’t display a salary range, is it? I go through the same long process of building up a resume and cover letter only to find that the salary range is too low for what I’m looking for. How is this different?

        1. Quill*

          It’s not, I get jerked around on pay and schedule all the time for much less legit reasons. (i.e. we don’t pay a living wage for this job, we don’t want people to know it’s third shift / split shift from the ad…)

          It’s the risk that you take. That and having your inbox flooded with random recruiters, the time someone “borrowed” my social security number because all the recruiting agencies ask for it before they’ll submit you…

          1. Kyle's mom*

            “That and having your inbox flooded with random recruiters, the time someone “borrowed” my social security number because all the recruiting agencies ask for it before they’ll submit you…”

            Wat wat wat? That sounds very dodgy. I’ve never heard of this!

      3. LJay*

        Why don’t you just never apply to a job ad that doesn’t list a specific company name, then?

        There are plenty companies and industries I would not be interested in working for due to my personal beliefs. It’s never been an issue before, but I wouldn’t be mad at the company if it turned out I applied to somewhere I wasn’t interested in working for.

        If it was a really a big deal, I would just not respond to ads that don’t list a company name. I generally don’t anyway because there tends to be a much higher chance than not that they’re actually temp agencies gathering resumes than a real job opening anyway.

      1. Jamie*

        Do you feel the same way about other employers who don’t list their industry? Or critical info like salary range which could cause you to opt out after a phone call?

          1. Jamie*

            Fair enough, I’ve skipped over a lot of listings for various reasons. Not sure how that’s wasting your time though.

            1. Fiddlesticks*

              What I meant was that it’s wasting my time to apply to job listings that don’t say right out what their salary range is or what field they’re in. If you can’t say who you are, what you’re looking for, and how much you’re willing to pay, chances are good there are reasons you didn’t want to be upfront – you’re an industry/company with a negative reputation, and/or you want to pay your staff peanuts.

      2. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

        It’s worth considering that part of what they’re doing isn’t just filtering candidates; they’re literally protecting their employees from randos sending them various kinds of inappropriate material that they then have to look at. There was a big thing recently about people who work for Facebook and have to review all kinds of horrific images and videos in order to remove that stuff quickly from the ecosystem, and it takes a huge emotional toll. The fact that they have chosen to work in the adult industry does not mean that they should have to tolerate random people sending them terrible images. This seems like a perfectly reasonable approach to protecting their employees from harassment (which is something the company has a legal and moral responsibility to do).

      3. SimplyTheBest*

        When you realize it’s in large part to cut down on gross people calling and sexually harassing the recruiters (as posted below) do you still feel the same? Or is your time more important?

    13. Lyra Silvertongue*

      I live where a very well-known, maybe the most well-known adult site is based, and they’re big hirers in the tech industry. None of their job advertisements are upfront about what they do. I find it really disrespectful towards candidates. There are reasons to be opposed to working in this industry that don’t come down to prudishness. I wouldn’t work there, because though I’m sex and adult industry positive, I highly disapprove of the amount of content that this specific site steals from sex workers.

  2. jhhj*

    Then there’s the 30-50-year-old generation, the ones that are between millennials and boomers,

    Poor underappreciated generation X. But millennials are up to 39 years old now.

    1. E. Messily*

      That sentence made me laugh, too. If only that generation had a name! But also 30-50 is (for people who care) widely understood to currently include older millenial/younger gen x, and “over 50” is older gen x plus all boomers.

      1. Quill*

        Yeah, my mom (55) is either the oldest gen x or the youngest boomer, depending on how you place it.
        Gen X is I guess the 40-50 crowd because so called “millennials” started in like 82 and the generation apparently didn’t stop until the late 90’s…

        And yet, for the last 20 years, people have called everyone under 30 a millennial and everyone over 45 a “boomer” when in reality we have gen Z coming out of college and into the workforce now… or have had them for the last 5 years depending on if your cutoff is “born before 1999” or “is actually old enough to remember the last century.

    2. Carrie Oakie*

      I am Generation X! We were talking about this in the office the other day, we had to Google which years were Millenials now to see where we “fit in” LOL

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        Yep! We started out invisible and ignored, and we’re ending up… still invisible and ignored! LOL

        1. emmelemm*

          Suddenly the Boomers and the Millennials are fighting it out in Thunderdome and we’re over here going, “Yeah, uh, stuff sucks for us too?”

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Came to the comments as soon as I saw it, to make sure it’s been noted. Also an X. I don’t mind, it really is a running joke at this point, plus I hate being the center of attention so being the invisible generation is perfectly OK with me!

    4. JamieS*

      I was a bit surprised to see 30 and 50 year olds grouped together in the first place. A 30 and 50 year old are a parent-child duo not part of the same generation.

    5. Librarian1*

      Yeah, also I feel like a lot of 30-somethings didn’t really watch porn on DVDs, it was mostly online.

  3. ThatGirl*

    My only teeny complaint is that milennials are now pushing 40, so Gen Xers are gonna be in the 40-60 year old range and are the ones “between milennials and boomers”.

    but overall, this is really interesting, thanks Carrie!

    1. Aquawoman*

      Teeny complaint about your teeny complaint–Gen X tops out at about 54. 55 and older are boomers.

  4. Detective Amy Santiago*

    This was so interesting to read! It sadly doesn’t surprise me that people are judgmental about the job and it’s a shame considering that they have probably consumed the type of content that is produced there at some point in their life.

    1. Dagny*

      Plenty of us would not want the job and have never consumed that material in our lives.

      Yes, a lot of people are hypocrites – think the creeps who harass actresses they recognise in the films, shaming them for acting, but obviously consuming it – but there are plenty of people who have actual principled opposition to such work, and that ought to be respected.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I don’t think anyone here has said that everyone should work in the adult industry or be forced to do it. That is why OP’s process of telling people before they even agree to an initial phone screen is a great idea. If you mean that not including in the job posting that the company is an adult business is disrespectful to people who oppose that kind of work I disagree.

        I would say that I have principled opposition to certain companies, but if I responded to a job posting that didn’t include the company name or industry, but was told about it when trying to set up a phone interview I would politely decline and move on, but I would not feel disrespected.

      2. Joielle*

        Sure, but no need to get a righteous tone in the comments that you know the OP is reading. She’s a person too, with her own principled opinions, which are not incorrect even if they conflict with yours.

        I think this is fascinating – thanks, OP and Alison, for bringing us this interview!

      3. Dagny*

        Context, people. I was replying to Amy Santiago, who implies that the people who get “judgmental” about the job are hypocritical for doing so. That take is, IMHO, wrong in many circumstances, and she is the one who should back off the tone.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          If they had said everyone who is judgmental is a hypocrite, I would agree with you. But they said that and considering that many people have consumed adult content in their life.

          I would agree consuming adult content and then begin judgmental about working there or applying is hypocritical. But that is different from consuming said adult content, and saying in a polite non-judgmental tone, I’m sorry but the position isn’t for me. Even within the adult content industry companies vary, some people might be okay with xyz adult company but not abc adult company because of various practices.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        Um, no to what?

        If it is to “it’s a shame considering that they have probably consumed the type of content that is produced there at some point in their life.” I don’t think the stats are on your side.

        A 2018 study found that out of a sample of 1,392 adults aged 18-73, 91.5% of men and 60.2% of women admitted to consuming any type of adult content in the past month.
        Authors Solano I, Eaton NR, O’Leary KD
        Citation J Sex Res. 2018 Oct 25:1-12.

        Again that is reported use, and just in the past month, if you were to expand the time frame to 1/5/10 years or lifetime the rate might be higher. I know it’s not 100% because sure there will be plenty of total number of people that have never consumed it, but I imagine as a percentage the number would be smaller. I think now that adult content has gone online and is easier to obtain vs. when you had to purchase a physical DVD/VHS/Magazine that consumption rates will be even higher.

        1. Dagny*

          Define “adult content,” because from the abstract I can find online, it includes the written word.

          Whatever one’s own stance on those issues, I see no problem with people who, e.g., read a novel with an erotic scene declining to work in an industry that uses actual human beings to produce the content. There is a very logical line between written fiction and “this actress, who is a real person, is actually having X done to her.” (This is incidentally why a fair number of people are okay with watching movies that depict murder – because the actual actor or actress is unharmed – but not adult content, in which the actors and actresses are actually engaging in the act.)

          1. CmdrShepard4ever*

            Yes adult content does include adult novels, movies, videos, pictures in the study and it does indicate that women are more likely to have consumed books/stories than men.

            I mentioned it above, but you can decide that you don’t want to work there without being judgmental about it even if you have consumed adult content, that is the key difference.

            1. Blueberry*

              This thread is reminding me of the last time I saw vegans comment on a food blog’s steak recipe. On the one hand people indeed have strong opinions about the subject; on the other hand the particular article probably isn’t the prime battleground for
              winning society-wide changes.

              On the third tentacle, there are certainly subjects I feel strongly enough about to comment on, such as the post that broke me from my lurkdom. *contemplates*

  5. KimberlyR*

    One thing I’ve really thought about since reading this blog-every industry has some similarities. You can compare this interviewee to any admin at the most conservative business ever and there are tons of overlap. Sure, Susie Secretary at Big Name Accounting may not be naming porn movies and scenes. But there are tons of transferable skills that have nothing to do with actual sex. Its fascinating. And something that isn’t necessarily readily apparent until you talk to someone in the middle of it all.

    I would like to know how long the OP has been in this industry and how she got into it. (Random ad on a job board? Knew someone who knew someone hiring an open-minded person?)

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      You’re absolutely right, there’s a lot of overlap! And I’ve gained so many skills that I didn’t have before, I could transfer them easily to another job.

      I’ve been in this industry now for 15 years! I fell into it, which is how most of us ended up here. I worked at a preschool, that job unfortunately wasn’t paying well. One of the parents worked as a higher up in a big adult company and had hired the former preschool assistant director, and they needed help with compliance work. She knew I was looking for a new job, and viola! I spent my first 2 years watching the majority of a companies video library comparing movies to the IDs provided and making sure the movies were cleared. I’ve come a long way since then!

        1. Carrie Oakie*

          My friends thought “your job must be so much fun!” until I explained, imagine doing something you really enjoy for a living. But you’re taking meticulous notes while you do it. And you have to do it ALL DAY. No matter what. I had to watch the movies, pause to try to make sure it was the right performer, match up all the documents for the scene, make sure they’re in the correct order, signed off on, and then mark all the different types of “action” that there was in the scene.

          I did get a lot of free samples though – which sat in a box in my trunk. My friends got first choice, and then I learned you could trade the DVDs for things like parking lot concert T-shirts, a discount on an oil change, little things like that.

          1. CmdrShepard4ever*

            This might be too personal of a question. But did you find that part of the job lessened/dampened your enjoyment of that afterwards?

            I have known some people who loved to cook and cooked a lot at home, but once they started cooking for a living they cooked less often. One chef said that his wife gets asked asked a lot “you must get great home cooked meals all the time?” he said that he actually rarely cooks for her.

            1. Blueberry*

              I was just wondering this too. I read the comment you’re replying to and thought “Yeah, that’s why I only lasted a year in catering [even though I love to cook]”.

          2. Door Guy*

            That reminds me of people who think video game testing would be the greatest ever. Nope, you replay the same portion(s) time and time again searching for bugs or glitches, or doing specific things over and over.

    2. Zephy*

      Exactly, any business in any industry surely needs someone to organize and maintain files of one kind or another. Increasingly, businesses have a need for people to curate and maintain web content of one kind or another. Even restricting your view to media production, it’s not like there’s special and unique Porn Cameras or Porn Lights or Porn Editing Equipment that are only used by people making adult media. Whether you’re using Final Cut Pro to edit an adult film teaser or a Meow Mix commercial, you’re still using the same features in the same software program for the same purpose.

      1. just trying to help*

        The same can be said of the other IT and office administrative and organizational skills needed – web content provisioning, server and storage farm management, IT networking, subscription and paywall management, legal, accounting, project management, etc.
        The porn industry has over the years also provided the internet with being one of the first industries to try new technologies and push development in making some of these technologies mainstream. You might not like their content, but the industry embraced the internet long before many other fields.

  6. Brett*

    I’m curious if someone has brought data science to this industry yet. The science of naming movies and scenes would be as easy start to that, but there could also be plenty of data science that goes into advertising and marketing decisions, casting decisions (imagine applying advanced analytics here similar to professional sports), what types of scenes to combine to constitute a movie, etc.
    From my previous experiences with mobile platform advertising, a lot of online advertising in general is surprisingly still based on intuition and spreadsheets.
    What incredibly wacky random forest models could you run here, possibly disproving rule 34 of the internet. Or what interesting applications of computer vision could you come up with (possibly accelerating training set labeling to create even more extensive machine learning or even deep learning to drive decisions).

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      There’s some level of data science I’m sure on the internet side of the business. A lot of it is just watching the consumer trends, there are waves. For naming movies, it comes down to trends as well. For instance, saying “MILF next door” might have been a good idea for a title last year, but this year “Wife next door” sells better. There’s not really any rhyme or reason that we’ve been able to decipher as to why, but it does. One of my favorite stats that I have yet to confirm though, I heard years ago, that the sales numbers increase during republican presidents, though regulations become stricter than during Democratic presidencies. I’d like some real figures on that!

      Honestly, a lot of what we do is just common sense and keeping up with current trends. We know if we’re building a movie that’s a certain genre, then 70% of a scene needs to fit that genre. Using Thanksgiving meals as an example, you have the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cream corn, green bean casserole, etc. That’s clearly Thanksgiving. But if you only have a turkey and stuffing, that’s just any turkey dinner.

    2. Hiring Mgr*

      There is plenty of data science in the marketing for that industry. The adult and gambling/gaming industries have been FAR ahead of more traditional industries in terms of understanding the value of customer data and how to use it. ( I used to work for a company that worked with these types of companies for this..)

      1. Brett*

        I figured the marketing side would be, at minimum, have a ton of predictive analytics. I wasn’t sure how much machine learning and deep learning is being employed there. What kind of problems are being solved with those?
        The production side though, that’s where it could get very interesting to start applying machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision. Functionally, you would have AI systems watching porn to introduce changes into it that would optimize the consumer experience (rather than just marketing the experience better). I’m thinking something like pornhub suggestions, but taking to the level of how the content itself is structured and produced rather than suggesting already existing content.

    3. Theory of Eeveelution*

      Yes. Listen to Jon Ronson’s podcast “The Butterfly Effect,” it is about this very topic.

    1. Amber T*

      OMG I didn’t even notice. Thank you Alison – I’m on my work computer and maybe wouldn’t want to explain this to IT!

  7. PJ*

    Interesting read!

    I’d definitely consider working with an adult entertainment company in an admin support role. I think my only reservation (didn’t see this addressed, apologies if it was) is how to describe it on my resume/LinkedIn. I think it would depend on how the company is named or described itself?

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      Some companies have names that they’ll use for those who wish to not list and adult business on their resume. Even the larger well-known names will sometimes have an alternative option. There are the well kn0wn studio names, but they will actually have a different corporate name tied to them. In my case, when I was looking for work outside the industry, I let those on my reference sheet know I was looking for work outside of adult to make sure they don’t mention the content.

      1. Rainy*

        My husband is a video editor and he’s applied a couple of times with a local shop for a porn channel, and they have a plain-brown-packaging company name if you don’t want to list PORNSHOP LLC as your employer. :)

    2. Adalind*

      Thanks for asking that. I had the same question!

      What an interesting read. Thank you for sharing, Carrie Oakes!

  8. Funny In Other Ways*

    What a great interview! I’ve never given any thought to the administrative side of the adult entertainment industry until now. There’s something satisfying (pardon the pun) about learning that pretty much every industry has its humdrum aspects.

  9. Gator time*

    Seems like “Adult Film Industry” is a more fitting headline than “Adult Industry” which could presumably mean many many more things?

    Great and interesting post!

    1. JustaTech*

      Adult Entertainment is a subset of Adult Industry, which also includes toys, lubes, safe-sex materials (condoms etc) and clothing. (My in-laws are in the Adult Industry and I have to say, their warehouse is just as plain and boring as any other warehouse. Brown cardboard boxes to the ceiling.)

      There’s an interesting/weird intersection of the adult industry and public health, which means sometimes get business cards at trade shows or conferences that look a bit out of place.

  10. 7310*

    This interview makes saying, I work in condom factory, a lot easier.
    Impressed with your candor, Carrie Oakie! While not as taboo an industry, we encounter many of the same issues and assumptions (no, we are not hiring condom models, and no, we do not make the molds for our product from live models).
    On the flip side of your topic, the product was also not disclosed to me when I accepted work from the temp agency- I was only told the company name. Imagine my surprise when I saw the logo on the sign! Apparently the guy who was called in before me saw the sign, turned around, and left!

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      We’re companion industries! There are a lot of toy manufacturers around, I’d assume that condoms would be done in similar fashions. It always kind of baffles me that people have such a strong reaction to any job that’s sex related; it’s natural, it clearly happens as we can see by the growing population, and it’s an industry that’s hiring more often than not.

  11. MMB*

    Carrie, thanks for sharing this! I definitely think you’re taking the correct approach with job ads and resume submissions.

  12. Emmie*

    How does your company craft its sexual harassment policies? I’m pretty fascinated in that. It seems difficult to write those policies because some sexual language and actions are okay, but others are not.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      Sexual harassment policies are pretty straightforward. We can’t touch each other, verbally harass each other, etc, just like you couldn’t in any other company. We’ll say out loud to each other “what do you think of this title, I (blank) her (blank)?” and know that is not harassment. We’d never go up to a coworker and say, “Hey, I (blank) her (blank)” and expect that to be ok. Just because we work with adult words and actions, doesn’t mean we’re allowed to weaponize them. There have been cases where I have felt “that’s not okay” with things a coworker has said or done and would either tell them directly or speak to a supervisor. In most cases, that person will be spoken to and told they crossed a line and warned. Some companies are better at this than others, but with society as a whole changing, I’m hopeful that more companies will take this seriously and protect their employees.

      One thing that makes it hard in this business, in my opinion, is that some people are okay with joking about inappropriate things, whereas someone else might find that joke offensive. So it’s a fine line of 1) know your audience, 2) have common sense and 3) think if what you’re about to say really ads value to the world.

      1. Emmie*

        Thank you for answering that, Carrie Okie. It sounds like making it clear that your talking about a sexual topic verses making a sexual comment matters. I bet this is something modeled by others in your office too.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      Thanks Kimmy! (Say hi to Titus and Jackie!) I think most of my job can be pretty mundane at times! We have weekly meetings, I use spreadsheets a lot, and I move a lot of files. A LOT. There are days where all I do is reorganize a file, move it to it’s new home, and move on to the next.

  13. Cee*

    This is a really interesting interview, but I’m not sure if I can be on board with this person acting like it’s judgmental or “a letdown” of women to be turned off by their company blindsiding candidates with the fact that the job is in the adult industry. I personally view the porn industry as a serious contributor to some serious endemic issues with misogyny in our culture, and I would also not have a positive reaction to having that brought up after I’d already taken time to customize a resume and so forth. Not to mention that it could probably pose serious challenges if you ever decided to move outside of the industry.

    1. Rainy*

      The same thing could happen if you applied for an admin job that turned out to be in an ammo factory or the front office of a contractor that does fracking, or a “summer camp” that turns out to be a conversion camp, though.

      And really, this happens literally all the time with sales jobs that are billed as something else and then turn out to be sales. Some of those jobs they don’t tell you til you are partway through the interview, too!

        1. SimplyTheBest*

          Read her response below to get a clearer picture as to why. Personally, I’m more than happy to be slightly inconvenienced if it makes it less likely for other women to be sexually harassed at their work place.

        2. Mid*

          Before candidates take time off of work to interview, they are told the company name. When I was hired for my current position, and didn’t know the name of the company until I went in to their building for the second round interview. It’s not uncommon and it’s not dishonest, as long as candidates are told before they invest significant amounts of time into the process.

      1. Cee*

        I agree with MissGirl — it’s not okay to purposely hide possible dealbreakers until candidates have already invested effort in applying, whether it’s at an ammo factory or a conversion camp or wherever. All of these places should be open about the environment potential candidates will be working in, especially if they could be found to be morally objectionable.

        I don’t really think the comparison to getting tricked into taking a sales role is relevant for a lot of reasons, but mainly because 1) that isn’t okay either, and 2) sales isn’t deeply intertwined with our cultural issues with misogyny the same way the porn industry is.

        1. Grapey*

          Gotta admit I laughed at “sales isn’t deeply intertwined with our cultural issues with misogyny the same way the porn industry is.”

          Entire marketing campaigns are directed towards gender and age demographics. It’s a testament to how inundated sales is with “cultural issues with misogyny” that you don’t even notice it! Ever hear of Booth babes? Or the term ‘Sex sells’? I also think it’s quite misogynistic to think that women can’t enjoy being in/consuming/working around porn.

          1. Anonymouse*

            Sure there’s sexism and misogyny in the sales industry (and many others) but to pretend it is on the same level as the sex industry is disingenuous.

          2. Cee*

            …Sales is different than marketing? And I never implied that women can’t enjoy porn, just that a core aspect of misogyny is the mistreatment and objectification of women.

      1. Carrie Oakie*

        For what it’s worth, I am a woman. :-) I absolutely agree that this industry can contribute to some of the misogynistic issues within our culture. But I also see how other industries are larger contributors and dont make changes to improve. Adult has made a shift towards being more conscious of the impact left on viewers. I can’t say this is true of every business of course, but there are many who are making changes.

        And a big part of that is the women in the industry, who’re changing the way it’s made, how it’s marketed, etc. I personally would love to work with more women, as the companies I’ve been in that have a large female employee pool have been the most productive environments, creating a sense of camaraderie and support that was not there in male-dominated offices. The males I’ve worked with, for instance, select the same type of body/pose for artwork every. single. time. Whereas the females, we’ll look for interesting poses, shots that flatter the talent, different body types, etc. I think it’s easier for me to see the changes because I’ve looked at it every day for the last 15 years LOL!

        1. 1LFTW*

          Interesting. I teach figure drawing, and occasionally I meet someone (inevitably, a man) who thinks this means that the whole job is Looking At Young Hot (read: thin) Naked Chixxx. No, dude, that ain’t how it works, because:

          1. Men are people, so drawing the human body means learning to draw men as well as women. (Sorry, bro!)
          2. Likewise, learning to draw people means learning to draw all body types, not just thin ones.
          3. Being a good model is about creating and sustaining a visually interesting pose, not a whole lot about whether you’re “attractive”.
          4. For that reason, the best models I work with are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. They have the experience to know what poses they’re capable of sustaining for how long, and they’re developed a feel for what poses make a good/interesting/challenging drawing.

          More rarely, I meet a woman who says something like “Oh, it must be so embarrassing to look at naked people like that!”. I’m always like, no? Because if I were embarrassed by nudity I would, you know, NOT teach nude figure drawing…

          Anyway, it’s interesting that women in the industry seem to view the talent with a more artistic eye. I guess I would think that men would approach it with the same professional/aesthetic goals. Thanks for sharing!

          1. Carrie Oakie*

            The best way to explain it is that men look at what they personally like and that’s what they’ll put on a box cover or as a main image. Women tend look for the best option available, regardless of name (unless of course it’s a really popular girl) or amount of undress.

            The performers can sell us on an image by making good (non stereotypical) faces (not pouty Mouth or finger in the mouth, for example) strong eye contact, body language and position. If you go to an online retailer and look at the box covers, there’s going to be some variety, but there’s also going to be a larger chunk that all looks the same. We try to be the ones your eye stops at in that sea of options.

        2. Avasarala*

          I’m definitely for the changes you’ve said women are bringing to this industry. For those of us on the outside though, I wonder how much of an impact they’re having as a whole. What portion of businesses in your industry are run by women, how much content is consumed by women? Old school adult stuff has really influenced other industries like marketing and it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to make marketers stop using headless women to sell stuff, for example.

          1. Carrie Oakie*

            I don’t have exact figures unfortunately. But what I can say is that there are a lot more female executives now than there were 15 years ago. And a lot more females in command of productions, deciding what will be filmed, what new site to launch, etc. There are a lot more women consumers as well, either on their own or with a partner. Adult content does tend to be replicated more in mainstream, as the old adage goes, “sex sells.” We’ve been seeing more plus sized performers in a flattering way the past few years, and in mainstream that trend is (finally!) taking hold.

      2. Womonster*

        As a hard core, unapologetic feminist, I gotta say: sister, get thee looking at some feminist porn.

        As womyn, we are sexual beings, whether that means we are lesbian, straight, bi, or anything else. For centuries MEN tried to repress this essential nature of our identity. They tried to say it was only part of MALE identity. “Get thee to a nunnery” was Hamlet’s way to silence an uppity womon. Prudishness is cementing patriarchy.

        Of course MEN producing porn for other MEN made the product all about MEN. Big surprise there. That is why we need to reclaim the industry like we do all others. We need more confident, dominant, kick-ass womyn everywhere. I for one applaud OP for being.part of this.

    2. Grapey*

      I used to agree with you. But I’ll choose to believe OP when she says that women are the ones making in-roads to make it a safer (and more enjoyable) working environment.

      I didn’t get the impression that she directly told candidates about her disappointment, and in fact seemed to take it in stride as a given that many people would say no. There are plenty of interviews that don’t make it to the offer stage even with “customized resumes” so I don’t know why so many people are harping on that one bit. How can you customize a resume to a vague job offer?

  14. HailRobonia*

    “What are you doing, HailRobonia, goofing off on your computer with Excel files? You are supposed to be watching porn while you’re on the clock!”

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      A recurring joke at every company I’ve been in: (walks into coworkers office) “Ooooh you’re watching poooorn! I’m telling the boss!”

      1. i'm baby*

        got this joke a lot when I worked in adult! it decreased in frequency after the first week but stuck around :)

  15. Donkey Hotey*

    Ha! Reminds me of a friend who worked as a DJ at a strip club.
    “The first 15 minutes of work are AWESOME! After that, it’s just a job.”

    1. UKDancer*

      Yes. It’s rather like when I went to a German “textile free” spa where clothes weren’t allowed in Cologne. After about 5 minutes one stops noticing that nobody is wearing clothes. It’s remarkable how quickly one adjusts to something like that and it stops being at all interesting.

  16. Red5*

    This is a great interview; thank you for sharing! It’s especially interesting to see the different perspectives across generational and gender lines. I’m glad to hear that, overall, sex work is becoming more destigmatized by society and safer for the workers.

  17. Cucumberzucchini*

    Just curious, if the fact it can be more challenging to hire due to the Adult nature of the content means the salaries are a little higher or substantially higher than a commiserate role in a non-Adult office would be?

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      It varies from company to company and which sector of the industry you’re in. Salaries are often a little less than the mainstream equivalent in same cases, because a company in adult will be smaller than a mainstream company. For example, if you look up Production Manager, you’ll see salaries in the 50k range, but there are few adult PMs making that salary. It will depend on which company you work for and what you’re doing.

  18. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

    This is very interesting. We have a friend, male, who worked in the industry for a while in, I think, distribution. Eventually he was laid off and had a hard time finding his next job. He said that interviewers would be interested but as soon as the type of job he’d had came out, they dropped him. Whether or not this is true I don’t know.

    I’m one of the 50+ people who is disapproving. At one point when my husband was unemployed and desperate he briefly considered asking our friend about getting him a job – he was in a position to do it – but decided he wouldn’t be comfortable working in the industry.

  19. Carrie Oakie*

    There have been a lot of comments on our leaving off the adult business portion off a job posting that I figured would be best to address as it’s own comment. When we post jobs, we do so under the categories that the job relates to on Indeed or Craigslist or Ziprecruiter. So you know if it’s warehouse or office-based, we list the tasks you’d perform, the skills we’re looking for, we put the location in (there is a well-known area here where it’s mostly adult entertainment companies) and there are certain phrases that signal “this might be different.” Primarily, “open-minded individuals” is used A LOT in postings, as well as “non-mainstream entertainment industry.” Some will list the company address instead of a name, which is easily verified with a Google search as well.

    We also get more than our share of people who call our offices, having found a number online, saying they’d like to know more about the job, only to then go on and sexually harass the person on the phone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come in to a voicemail from someone saying my name repeatedly while describing lewd acts. That is one thing that I assume most other hiring managers don’t have to deal with – no one is calling HR at Apple telling them what they’re going to do to the Apple once they’re hired. For these reasons, experience has taught us self preservation by using vague terminology at the starting point.

    Prior to any actual interviews, we’ll reach out to our preferred candidates and state right away, “this job is with an adult entertainment company, is this something that would be an issue?” We’re very polite about it, never mean and respect those who turn it down. (There was exactly one person who I did share with Alison who was judging me harshly in her rejection, which left me taken aback, but I stayed polite and respectful because it’s just business.)
    More people remain interested in the job than not, at which point I’ll give them a quick rundown of what we do, to give them a better picture of what they’re getting into. Most people in this industry do not seek it out, we fall into it.

    In regards to getting better candidates, it’s been my experience in the last 15 years that when ads say “Adult Entertainment” people who do not meet qualifications apply more than those who do. It may be because it’s viewed as a “lesser” industry, but that does not change the fact that there are companies looking for specific candidates. We need skilled and qualified employees as much as bank or Big Box retailer does. There is, from my perspective, no bait and switch as mentioned in some comments – we are clear on what we need from a candidate, and we hire for that need. I’ve had job offers from non-adult companies that offer one thing, hire for that thing, then turns out it’s a completely different job. That has happened to me once in adult.

    The people in this industry are just like everyone else; we’re moms and dads trying to support a family, we’re new to business looking to get some experience in an office, we’re entrepreneurs looking to leave a mark, graphic artists who want to be paid to create, filmmakers who need to work between seasons, etc. You may look at teapot designs or trending statistics of fast-food chains, but at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make a living in this ever-growing expensive world. (Did I mention the perk that some of us get to travel? Cause some of us get to do a lot of international travel.)

    With that said, I respect all of your opinions and understand where you’re coming from, just as I hope you do mine as well. I really am surprised to see such pleasant dialogue and appreciation for the post.

    1. Electric sheep*

      Since you’re getting a lot of feedback on this, I’d like to say that I think it’s eminently reasonable to take steps to avoid being harassed by creeps, and your approach is fine.

    2. Rainy*

      I very much enjoyed your interview, and your comments here in the comment section. It’s always interesting to hear from people who work in different sectors than I do! Thank you for doing this.

      I also find it moderately hilarious how the commenters performing disapproval and moral rectitude are really just proving why you have to recruit the way you do.

    3. So Cal No Cal*

      “(there is a well-known area here where it’s mostly adult entertainment companies) ”

      Hells, I’d opt out of manufacturing Bibles if it was in the San Fernando Valley.

  20. Tenebrae*

    Genuine question: is the ser hot as in sexy or hot as in you keep the heat turned up because people aren’t dressed?

    1. Commercial Property Manager*

      Not OP, but have worked with stage lights a lot, and they run HOT, as in, feels-like-you’re-in-direct-sunlight hot. I’d guess that’s why.

  21. ModernDayAbolitionist*

    I must say that this persion is profiting from the misery of others and should be ashamed of herself. She’s probably profited off the sale of movies created by trafficed women. And her blithe, “that’s not a problem anymore” attitude is more than a little disengenuous. It takes sex industry claims at face value. Posting this sort of pro-trafficing propaganda on your website makes it less credible on every other issue.

      1. Mid*

        Sorry, for context, I work in counter-trafficking in the US and abroad. And I’ve worked in adult entertainment as well.

        I’m not going to derail the conversation further, but I strongly suggest you look into modern statistics around human trafficking and pornography.

        1. Carrie Oakie*

          Now yours is a job I’d be interested in learning more about! It seems like it could be a natural transition as well.

    1. anon111*

      seriously thank you for saying this…I know it’s not a black and white issue but the immense harm this industry does to women (though maybe not every woman) and not to mention children simply cannot be removed from the equation.

      1. ModernDayAbolitionist*

        Yeah, speaking of protecting children, does “Carrie” actually think all of those “teens” and “twinks” she’s seen are _really_ over 18!?!

        1. cmcinnyc*

          When I was 18 I looked 14. I moved to NYC and I was literally chased by pornographers. They tended to hang around near the university. They see super-young looking me hanging out with obviously college-age people and pounced. “Are you over 18!?!? Can I take your picture?!? Here’s my card.” blah blah blah This was pre-Internet, so this probably happens in a very different way now.

          I think that experience permanently turned me off the adult industry. No, I don’t watch.

          1. Carrie Oakie*

            Wow, ok this thread! I understand this POV but, allow me to explain the way that reputable industry businesses work. There is a legal US code 2257 that requires anyone creating adult videos to be able to provide a valid color ID and a second form of ID for all performers. Performers have to sign a model release that explicitly explains what they’re being asked to do, how much they’re being paid, etc. At any time, the FBI can show up at a company and demand to see the records for a movie and it must be provided. The laws are pretty strict and I’ve seen studios go through this. There’s nothing blithe in my comment about it not being a problem – I never said there are not producers out there who may not be a problem. But the majority of them are professionals who follow the laws. They don’t film girls who are high or drunk, they won’t let them be harmed without expressed written and video consent both prior and post-filming.

            There are talent agents out there, and they won’t chase you down on the street 9 times out of 10 – people will reach out to them for the work.

            1. EggEgg*

              You are great, this is is all so interesting (I used to work in an adult-adjacent field, so some of it is familiar but other pieces I never considered), and I’m grateful to you for sharing with us!

            2. Clisby*

              “…they won’t let them be harmed without expressed written and video consent both prior and post-filming.”


                1. Carrie Oakie*

                  If you’re a performer and you’re hired for a specific fetish style scene, at lot of producers will have the performer do a quick “you’re going to be doing this today, you’ll be asked for x, y, z, is this something you’re comfortable with?” on camera. And then they’ll come back at the end of the scene, “did at any time you feel unsafe?” etc. A performer has the ability to say no and stop production if they’re uncomfortable. Again, there are the exceptions to the rule with some less reputatble people trying to just “get the shot” so to speak. But these people are much fewer and farther between.

                  Basically, nowadays, if you’re looking to get into adult, you have a lot more resources thanks to the internet to be able to research who you want to work with, what you’re willing to do, where you should go, and so on.

            3. cmcinnyc*

              I just have to say… yes, I was chased, harassed, bothered, cornered because at the time I fit a specific type. You have all the right business vocabulary but I know I was harassed and saying “wow this thread so judgmental here are the actual boring business details” does not erase that. I’m not going to be gaslit about my own actual street experience because we’re all supposed to be cool with porn now.

            4. PJ*

              For anyone who has watched an adult film/video, this is outlined the screen at the very beginning of the movie – it shows 2257 compliance details, including the name and address of the employee who is the contact at that company.

              Or so I’ve heard ; – )

        2. Michael*

          This is a bad comment for a lot of reasons, not the least is your ridiculously self-important username.

        3. i'm baby*

          there’s a thing called compliance and everyone’s legal ID is required to even step foot on a production set.

    2. Cee*

      Agreed. Pretending that people with issues with the porn industry are closed-minded or holier than thou is kind of crazy to me, and will definitely shape my thinking around other things Alison posts here.

    3. SoccerSoccerSoccer!*

      Thank you. I was really shocked to see this interview being conducted in a way that just assumed that of course this industry is safe and moral and empowering, and that the women who take issue with it are just prudes.

        1. Anonymouse*

          She literally used the phrase holier than thou to describe people with objections to the industry during the interview… Very neutral.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I heard the details of the call she was referring to there (it’s how we started talking). It was holier-than-thou — the person basically said women with children couldn’t possibly ever work in that industry. I stand by calling that holier-than-thou.

          2. Carrie Oakie*

            The one person I used that phrase to describe was very clear that because of who they were, this was beneath them. Their tone went from friendly to rude in no time. In a way that was very clearly meant to let me know they were above me. My response was a happy, “No problem, I understand. Enjoy your day!” They couldn’t be bothered to return the sentiment before hanging up. *shrugs* She was no better than me, I am no better than her. I wish her the best.

        2. SoccerSoccerSoccer!*

          Please don’t user multiple user names to comment in the same discussion; it comes across as sock puppetry (which may not be your intent)!

    4. Chronic Overthinker*

      I understand your sentiment, but the adult entertainment industry has changed rapidly in the last few decades. There are tons of female run, empowerment forward production companies that keep their actors safe and healthy. Yes, of course there are some “bad apples” and improvements can still be made, but the adult entertainment industry is overall getting better and needs to be de-stimatized.

      1. anon1111*

        I understand there’s a “mainstream” and therefore more regulated version of the adult industry, and that certainly Carrie seems to be a part of that side of things. But personally, it’s hard to reconcile the assurance that the industry is “improving” when child porn for instance is literally an epidemic, with more than 45 million(!) photos/videos documented last year according to the NYT. Even on mainstream services like Pornhub, we KNOW that a certain percentage of those “teen” videos actually involve teens/children. For me, it’s like this: if I want to watch porn and I know that even mainstream sites contain child porn, what % of that content is acceptable? for me the percentage is 0, and as far as I can tell we’re only getting further away from that number.

        1. winter*

          Ok but you are conflating what’s “out there”, which could have been produced in whatever conditions possible in some remote location and be located on a different country’s server altogether to circumventexisting law with a regulated industry in the US.

          By the way sites like pornhub also steal content of legitimate performers – thereby stealing the money they’re trying to make as independent performers in safe conditions.

          Experience with treating sex work and sex workers over the decades has shown a) sex work will always be there b) the more illegal you make sex work the more people involved will be harmed. If your core message is “people shouldn’t be harmed” your argument should not be pro abolition.

          And I’m happy to let you know that I don’t watch porn because I’m not comfortable with that myself. But that doesn’t mean I can’t listen to sex workers.

    5. Former Academic Librarian*

      Definitely not true. There is such a huge difference between consenting adult performers and human trafficking! Attitudes like yours are what keep anti-prostitution laws on the books and put sex workers in more danger, while having very little impact on actual human trafficking. I’d argue that’s far more harmful than working for a reputable company .

  22. Anonya*

    This was a fascinating read, although I can’t say it’s changed my mind about the adult industry in general. On one hand, I guess I’m glad that women are making the industry better and people are being treated better, but to me, that seems kind of like … internalized misogyny at its worst? I still judge it pretty harshly and don’t think adult content is consequence-free, for the individual OR for society as a whole. 39-year-old woman, for what it’s worth.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      I appreciate your comments, I’m definitely not trying to change anyone’s mind about the industry as a whole – I don’t have that kind of energy! I don’t know anyone I work with who thinks this is consequence free, however we make conscious choices every day about how to make even a small difference. The industry isn’t going anywhere, so we try to make it better than it was before we got there. Porn is something that shouldn’t be consumed with the assumption that it’s normal – there’s been a lot of shows that explain this on Netflix and HBO. I would hope though that people can be respectful of those who’re looking for work and may have no other option but to answer the phones for an adult company; just because you work there doesn’t make you a bad person. A job is a job. I think that’s more what I’d like to be able to convey.

      1. Bowserkitty*

        A job is a job. I think that’s more what I’d like to be able to convey.

        This is exactly what I took away from your interview. I don’t think I even figured in normal office work for this industry and now I know it exists, and some of the tasks sound a lot like what I used to do in my old life as an admin assistant.

    2. AnonAcademic*

      What about women who make adult content marketed to women and/or hetero couples? Clearly there’s a demand.

      1. Carrie Oakie*

        There is a demand and that has grown over the years. There are companies now that focus on lesbian couples, using real lesbian performers. Couples friendly movies have a more intimate feel to them, there are very distinct differences between the larger genres like this. Some studios will focus solely on one consumer mindset and do it very well, while others prefer to try a little bit of everything & satisfy a variety of consumer. It’s no different than a grocery store stocking their shelves; they know what their customers consistently purchase and make sure to have that in stock, but sometimes a new item comes out that does well and they need to make space on a shelf.

      2. The credible hulk*

        It seems to me that there’s a lot more porn out there that appeals to women by objectifying men and focusing on the male body in a get context!

  23. Mid*

    Sorry if this has already been discussed, however do you see any retired talent switching to the back end work? (Not an innuendo!) I could see them having a valuable perspective, and they clearly wouldn’t have any qualms about the industry.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      I have worked with some talent who went on to do graphic design and office work. Sometimes it’s a good fit, others not so much. It’s the same as with any other job.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      Vivid and Wicked are the studios who typically did this. They’d sign a girl to a contract and you could only see them perform in movies from that company. They’d go to stores and do autograph signings and special events. They got paid a specific amount per year, whereas non-contract performers are paid per scene.

  24. noahwynn*

    Super cool to read. One of my favorite jobs ever was as a travel coordinator for a gay, adult entertainment site. It was really more of an overall admin role than just travel coordination, but it wasn’t a huge place either. The atmosphere was surprisingly professional and fun. I understand the struggle explaining to people what you do though. I had is fairly easy in normal conversation but in job interviews after I was always asked what the company did. Saying “make online videos” wasn’t super common in the early 2000’s and just seemed to grab their interest more.

  25. Veronica Sawyer*

    Oof. I once had an interview where it was sprung onto me that it was in the adult industry. The ad said they were a marketing agency for several different industries, with some vague language implying open-mindedness. I thought the worst that it could be was some of their clients were to do with online gambling, dating, cryptocurrency or something. I did not expect to find out in the interview that they did work exactly in one area only, a specific sex fetish. I am indeed open minded, but I do not want to spend every day researching, writing about and promoting this fetish all day, every day in excruciating detail. The whole thing was super uncomfortable, especially I felt put on the spot as a woman being interviewed by two men and being shown work samples. A total waste of my time and theirs, as they could have filtered me out from the start by being upfront that it was an adult business. The best thing I learned was that I should follow my gut feeling, I really should have walked out of that interview as soon as I felt uncomfortable.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      I’m sorry that this happened to you. It’s not a good representation of any company in any industry.

  26. Barefoot Librarian*

    Okay, this is pretty cool. I would definitely be the kind of 40-something who would be fascinated and asking questions. I’ve never really understood the stigma around sexuality and adult entertainment (much to my Catholic parent’s dismay, I can tell you). Consenting adults watching something other consenting adults do in the simulated bedroom (or kitchen or hood of a car or whatever) is only scandalous if we let it be.

    1. TechWorker*

      Well… yes… but let’s not pretend that porn is totally neutral either or always models consent. A lot of porn *is* violent and misogynistic and imo damaging for teenagers and younger kids to watch without context (which they definitely do…). That’s obviously not to say every production company is like that, or that there’s anything ‘wrong’ with violent sex if that’s what you’re into – and sure it’s just fantasy… but if people see abusive behaviour towards women in particular as the norm then that’s concerning.

      1. SimplyTheBest*

        That teens and younger kids are watching porn is a parental issue, not an issue for the porn industry.

        1. TechWorker*

          I mean it’s kind of a societal issue caused by the internet and easy access to porn so I don’t fully agree :) but that’s ok. (I also think that teenagers watching porn is essentially inevitable but the type of content makes a difference? Hence my point that it’s not totally neutral as a concept even if some porn producers are great – which I’m sure they are!)

          1. Barefoot Librarian*

            Oh I totally agree that a certain maturity is required to participate in porn viewing. A lot of it IS misogynistic and problematic. I’m more concerned with that kind of behavior in real life or in the industry itself than in a consensual fantasy. Perfectly normal people can be aroused by some strange things.

            That being said, young people view some pretty extreme stuff these days and it’s often long before their brains are fully developed. That concerns me too. My daughters (college age) have always been really willing to discuss the kinds of things they come across online and so we’ve had those conversations about why these things are problematic and unrealistic, but most kids don’t. Noticed I didn’t say I was successfully able to shield my kids when they were teens, but at least I could engage them about it, which is more than most parents get. I don’t know what the answer is here, honestly. When I was a kid you had to check porn out from a video store, which meant you had to be ID’d (and it was arguably very embarrassing). Now you can stumble upon it accidentally. I definitely don’t want to censor it, but there’s got to be some kind of middle ground.

          2. Blueberry*

            Why is it as a society that we don’t seem concerned that teenagers will think it normal to shoot fifty people like Rambo does or kick a hundred in the face like Neo does, but that porn will be seen as normal? I’m not snarking here — this is an interesting question of how sex changes our calculations, on how what’s seen in shows and movies can be considered normal or not. It’s also beyond the purview of this particular post, but I’m pretty sure this will come up in the Saturday discussion thread.

          3. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

            To me, that’s a compelling reason for parents to give their teens access to the kind of porn that isn’t horrifying. You can never control for all the bad things on the Internet. No amount of making the adult industry illegal would solve that problem.

            But picking a good, non-exploitative company and just buying your 14 year old a subscription (and maybe using filters to ensure they’re not watching it, like, 18 hours a day) ensures they have access to porn of a wide variety but which is consent-centered and non-misogynist, hopefully reducing their desire to prowl the internet looking for low-hanging porn fruit.

      2. Fikly*

        Abusive behavior toward women is the norm throughout American society, not just in porn. Teens are seeing it in school, walking down the street, in the news, on social media, everywhere.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        A lot of porn *is* violent and misogynistic

        I agree that, historically, it is. So maybe let’s work on improving that (as Carrie Oakie indicates that her employer is doing)? Not banning the whole industry or shaming people for working in it. The industry will not go away no matter what, since almost everyone is a consumer (myself included).

        1. emmelemm*

          That’s what surprises me about some of these comments. Porn is not going away, no way, no how. They were making pornographic drawings in caves, I fear. So, since it’s not going away, don’t shake your finger at the people who are trying to make it better and follow the rules (age, STI screening, consent, etc.) Yes, there is still porn being made in shady ways, but if we stigmatize those who try to better it, it will *never* get better.

  27. Anonymouse*

    I’ve found some really great advice on AMA especially surrounding sexual harassment and women’s rights (in the workplace) and so to have an interview which glosses over sexual abuse, drug use and trafficking endemic in the industry is really disheartening.

    It seems especially tone deaf given the recent news stories about underage, sex-trafficked girls appearing in porn movies online, which occurred despite all the checks which were mentioned in an above comment. Normalising jobs which enable the porn industry is really not the direction I expected this blog to take.

    1. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

      This is a derailing thread, but I’m going to respond here anyway to say that sex work is work. Yes, we should combat trafficking. Yes, studios should prevent abuse. But OP has made it clear that those are not issues at their company, that they actively work to keep that the case, and that the stereotype that all sex workers are drug addicts is outdated (and, I’ll add, insulting). It is not the fault of consensual, voluntary sex workers that bad people do bad things in the world. They should be allowed to sell their labor in a safe, legal market, just like anyone else who isn’t doing harmful work.

      1. anon for this*

        And it’s not like porn is the only industry to have its issues with trafficking and sexual abuse. But when yet another case of trafficked farm workers or sexually assaulted military recruits or exploited textile workers makes the news, it doesn’t draw this same “shut the entire industry down” reaction. Even when the industry IS systematically toxic.

  28. I Choose Choices*

    Allison and Carrie, thank you for this post! I found it really interesting to hear about some of the nuances in the day-to-day work that may differ from non-adult companies. I’m on board with screening and filtering from the pervs – it’s important to have employees who don’t continue to perpetuate and enforce misogynistic views. As a woman, I definitely appreciate that more women are feeling comfortable and empowered enough to go into this sector and can effect positive changes.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      I wouldn’t be comfortable working for a company that thrived on hurting women. That’s not to say I haven’t had titles pass my desk that I’m 100% proud of over the years – this industry still has a need for stereotypes, unfortunately. That’s driven by the consumer, when they change the industry will be forced to change with it. But it’s being done less and there are more options for those who like their porn more vanilla.

  29. Bowserkitty*

    This stuff is SO fascinating to me. I’m super interested in the behind-the-scenes work for this stuff! I wrote something similar to a thesis on Japan’s gravure [pin-up girl] industry from an informational/analytical standpoint and it was the most fun I ever had writing a paper.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      I took a cinema course in college and our final paper was supposed to be about a director whose left an imprint on their industry. I opted to write about Candida Royale, a performer turned director turned sex positivity educator. Her history was really interesting and she was one of the first female directors. My instructor thought it was unique subject matter, well researched and eye opening. I appreciated his open mindedness!

    2. Queer Earthling*

      I just Googled about this topic, so thanks for the Wikipedia rabbit hole. That sounds like an awesome paper, though. This interview is also very in my wheelhouse–I’m a sex blogger, and like you, I find the behind-the-scenes stuff really interesting!

      1. Bowserkitty*

        I looked up your blog and I cannot WAIT to read when I am off work!!!

        The paper was definitely a fun write, and I say this as someone who used to struggle with even 3 page papers. (The concept of bullshitting my way through one never meshed with my brain!) And yet I managed to get this one to almost 30 while everyone else in the class was complaining and the teacher eventually put the ideal page number at 15 or more (instead of 25-30 like she had initially said). I wish I was still up to date on the industry and maybe I will again someday when I get the rest of my life in order. #MeToo hasn’t hit Japan as well as it should yet but it would be interesting to see if things changed in the last ten years.

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      My first few conventions I had to work the floor, which means I had to stay in a booth all day and deal with the crowds of fans and consumers. I got to see the variety of fans that the talent had to deal with it bothered me. Some felt they could be grabby and say nasty things, and while some talent embraced that others clearly were not comfortable.
      Performers are people too, they should be treated respectfully. And they’d say things to people like me, non-talent, just trying to keep those grab bags stocked. It was mentally exhausting.

      Aside from that, when I went to shows and stuck strictly in B2B sections, I enjoyed spending time with our buyers and making new friends, connections, etc. but you’re up early for meetings, then your up late at the bar building those relationships. Everyone comes home with a “show flu” – I do not miss that at all! I’ll hold down the office thank you very much.

  30. Michael*

    For the record, saying that you find working in the adult industry to be morally objectionable because some people have been trafficked for porn is like saying you think people who work in the cleaning industry are despicable because people have been trafficked for domestic servitude. It’s just a non-sequitur, frankly.

    Sex work is work. All types of work can be exploitative, and all types of work can be non-consensual. Some industries are definitely more likely to be that way, but to attack someone for working in any industry that has any problematic component pretty much would implicate all of us.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      to attack someone for working in any industry that has any problematic component pretty much would implicate all of us.


  31. Atalanta*

    What an interesting subject! I’ve had a couple of co-workers work in web hosting for adult content but they don’t sound nearly as positive.

    I have to admit I got a laugh because I do IT Security and I’ve had to boot people off the network for adult content on personal devices; I wouldn’t have to worry about those alerts! Then I went down the rabbit hole thinking about what type of security challenges you would see. Sextech is huge but a lot of devices are insecure and leak data about usage etc. and the tracking software on websites is insanely good. I’ve often wondered if that’s what trips malware alerts but I’ve never had an opportunity to check it out. Lots to think about, thanks for such a great topic.

  32. ..Kat..*

    I imagine that a person should definitely make sure that they want to be in this industry before they take a job in it. As in, you can be an admin in many industries, but it would be difficult to go from being an admin in this industry to an admin in a more staid industry. Or am I mistaken?

    1. Carrie Oakie*

      The tasks would be the same. The only difference is that an admin in adult will see the titles more often. If you’re doing accounting or invoicing, etc, that’s the most exposure you’d have. If you’re in the replication/production end, you’ll have more visuals (artwork, DVD samples from time to time) – otherwise, an admin in adult would be the same as an admin in any other field.

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