Passed long by Andre a while back (thanks!).
While this study isn’t academic in the sense that it was done at a university, was paid for by a funding agency, and went through the peer-review process, it is exceptionally good. The researcher (and authour), John Millward, waded through piles of publicly available data to determine the characteristics of the average porn star and what they do. The resulting article is entertaining and provides infographics displaying his findings. From John Millward:
For the first time, a massive data set of 10,000 porn stars has been extracted from the world’s largest database of adult films and performers. I’ve spent the last six months analyzing it to discover the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years.
‘Without any mental deliberation, picture the average female porn star. Just let her spring into your mind’s eye looking however she looks. Can you see her?’
I had bumped into a friend who I’d not seen in a while and this was the first question I asked him. He didn’t realise at the time that I’d been in self-imposed smutty exile for an untold number of weeks, working on the largest study of porn stars ever undertaken, and now I was out and eager to spread the news.
‘Erm, yeah, I suppose,’ he said.
‘What does she look like?’ I asked, struggling to hide my smile.
When he replied by saying ‘a blonde with big boobs’, I must admit I relished the opportunity to lean in, let the grin spread across my tired face, and say ‘That’s what everyone says. And in fact, it’s wrong’.
‘Oh,’ he said, after I explained how I knew what the average porn star actually looks like, as well as what her name probably is, how many films she’s most likely done and the probability of her having a tattoo or body piercing.
‘So you’ve spent all this time watching hundreds of porn movies?’
‘No,’ I said. ‘I’ve spent all this time analysing the demographic profiles and filmographies of ten thousand adult performers. There is a difference.’
‘I see’, he then said. ‘And how, dare I ask, does one go about doing that?’
Go read the rest here.
And the massive infographic depicting his findings (click to make larger):