Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Lots of group sex means you're a people-person
April 2, 2013 8:41 AM   Subscribe

What are Porn Stars' Personalities Like? (SFW)

Although self-esteem is generally consider an important marker of psychological health and well-being, the study’s authors’ point out that in some people self-esteem can be a marker of less desirable characteristics, such as narcissism and Machiavellianism (members of the “dark triad” mentioned earlier). Other research has found that there are different types of self-esteem. Stable self-esteem, based on liking of one’s personal attributes appears to be healthier than unstable self-esteem, based on pride in one’s accomplishments (Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993). The former seems to reflect a healthy self-regard that allows one to weather setbacks. The latter is easily threatened by personal failures and leads to defensiveness in response to negative feedback as well as general arrogance. Future research could help clarify if the self-esteem of porn stars tends to be mostly stable or unstable.

Sort-of personality-related previouslys: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars, He point's to his lip's, Porn and the Frontier of Female Sexuality, The Researchers Who Analyzed All the Porn on the Internet.
posted by not_the_water (32 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Incidentally, “Dark Triad” is a great name for a porn film.
posted by not_the_water at 8:45 AM on April 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


Stable self-esteem, based on liking of one’s personal attributes appears to be healthier than unstable self-esteem, based on pride in one’s accomplishments

I'm unsure of the connotation of "healthy" in this sentence, but I'm pretty sure it is used here in the narrow sense of "robust and beneficial to the subject's continued emotional stability", as opposed to the broader sense of "conducive to growth and a positive relationship to the world". The sentence, taken in isolation, can easily be read to encompass, at one extreme, the sociopath's overweening sense of intrinsic self-worth and disregard for the worth of others.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:51 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see how that sentence has anything to say about the worth of others, positive or negative, no matter how you read it.
posted by DU at 8:54 AM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


That clause can be discarded if you like. I included it in service of the notion of self-esteem as a relative measure but the sentence doesn't require it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:55 AM on April 2, 2013


Interesting article. Incidentally, the "dark triad" characteristics reminded me of some of the type-A, meat-eating senior managers in government I worked with.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:21 AM on April 2, 2013


Ummmm, they like sex and exhibitionism?
posted by Samizdata at 9:27 AM on April 2, 2013


Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:30 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lots of group sex means you're a people-person

So that's why I'm not a porn star.
posted by Zed at 10:04 AM on April 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't understand stable self-esteem. Why should I like my personal attributes if those attributes haven't allowed me to accomplish anything? On what specific personal attributes does stable self-esteem found itself?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:35 AM on April 2, 2013


Why should I like my personal attributes if those attributes haven't allowed me to accomplish anything?

For the same reason you like your kids even though they didn't make you a Hollywood millionaire.
posted by DU at 10:40 AM on April 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


Why should I like my personal attributes if those attributes haven't allowed me to accomplish anything?

I see it as sort of whether you are the sort of person YOU like versus whether you are the sort of person that OTHERS like. The former is a more stable sort of esteem, the latter is more fleeting based on those around you and the ebb and flow of their own regard for you.
posted by jessamyn at 10:45 AM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think there should be a word for social esteem which I think is also a need. Meaning you can have all the self esteem you want but if no one else likes you, you'll still be lonely. You need some of both, value of yourself coming from you, and a sense of worth, appreciation and value among peers/social groups.
posted by xarnop at 11:40 AM on April 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also it seems like stable self esteem would be built more on valuing humanity in general (meaning since humanity is a constant your worth will be relatively unchanging). Meaning it should reflect a sense of regard for everyone's self, in a sense, and then you don't have to rate yourself or others to decide your and their worth.
posted by xarnop at 11:42 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "Dark Triad" has also been linked to short-term sexual success but not long-term sexual success (e.g. you are able to have more partners, but not sustained partnerships). I also found this 2010 article on the dark triad (i.e. narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) - also called the "James Bond psychology" - to be a fascinating, and quick, read.
posted by k8lin at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has porn jumped the shark yet?
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:58 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also it seems like stable self esteem would be built more on valuing humanity in general (meaning since humanity is a constant your worth will be relatively unchanging). Meaning it should reflect a sense of regard for everyone's self, in a sense, and then you don't have to rate yourself or others to decide your and their worth.

That's a humane model. It clarified my trouble with the model in the OP. It's circular: A person can't accomplish something without having the right inherent trait, but they can't know they have that trait unless they accomplish something with it. Either way, their self-esteem requires talent as a base. So the two categories look the same to me, unless the people who base their self-esteem on their accomplishments fall to pieces upon failure, which seems to be the OP's implication. I'm not sure where I'm getting caught here.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:54 PM on April 2, 2013


Has porn jumped the shark yet?

I'll assume you haven't seen Coed Asian MILF Shark Jumpers, volumes 1-29.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:33 PM on April 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Dark Triad" also works as a gang name, an 8th-level Wizard/Sorcerer/Cleric summoning spell, a band...it's really just a great pair of words.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:47 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sounds like a Steven Seagal movie to my ear.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:58 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure where I'm getting caught here.

I'm caught up on the fact that it has really tenuous connections and relies on self-reported data. Setting aside the Hawthorne effect for a moment, a porn star banks on desirability; so why wouldn't anyone guess that the social desirability bias would skew their findings a bit? Give anyone a questionnaire about spirituality and self-esteem, and they can score off the charts at will.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:27 PM on April 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty doubtful about almost all of the conclusions in this piece. I mean: I generally doubt the scientific validity of the "personality surveys" used as the basis of its reasoning. People have a billion reasons for rating themselves as "cold" or "emotional" or "warm" or "friendly" or whatever they choose to put themselves down as. This kind of self-reporting is notoriously unreliable. I think the author here did his best to make it clear that he wasn't drawing concrete, set-in-stone absolute conclusions, but rather just discussing some possible reasonings behind the results; however, even at that level I don't think any of these conclusions could possibly be said to be significant enough to indicate a possible trend.

I mean, just focusing on what this post points out – it's actually very hard to get people to self-report accurately on self-esteem. So I don't think we can say anything yet about whether people in porn generally have more or less self-esteem than people who aren't in porn.

And, on preview, P.o.B. says what I'm getting at pretty succinctly.
posted by koeselitz at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


That said, koeselitz, there's a big difference between the sentence "porn stars have warmer personalities" and "porn stars rate themselves as warmer on personality tests than a control group of non-porn stars". I think the article threaded that needle as well as could be expected.
posted by dhartung at 4:57 PM on April 2, 2013


Well, if lots of group sex means I am a people person, then I wish I had more of an opportunity to be a people person.
posted by Samizdata at 5:21 PM on April 2, 2013


Tangentially, I was clicking around and stumbled on this interview with Skin Diamond (essentially SFW, though that may not be a gamble you want to take). She's hilarious. So are the deleted scenes.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:44 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the article threaded that needle as well as could be expected.

If you mean not at all, then I agree. The first half of the article is far more interesting than the last which was basically yay self-reported high self-esteem and spirituality, but the dots it connects first are not pretty at all. The paper connects porn stars with sociosexuality, which has been linked with the "dark triad", and that "cold" traits are associated with that triad. There is no data that connected porn stars with "warm" personality traits, and I'm not sure what you hope to glean from the comparison with a control group when the test group probably wasn't reliably self-reporting in the first place.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:11 PM on April 2, 2013


'Most everyone I know has known for years that I'm a people person.
posted by hippybear at 7:01 PM on April 2, 2013


My favorite fantasy, during the Golden Age of Porn, was that I was pals with porn stars. Not for sex, mind, but for friendship, gossip and intimate breakfasts. A lot of us discovered porn, looking to satisfy a need; some of us realized the need was not for hot sex, but simple intimacy and kindness. It doesn't surprise me that personality is a big factor in the success of these actors.
posted by SPrintF at 8:18 PM on April 2, 2013


dhartung: "That said, koeselitz, there's a big difference between the sentence 'porn stars have warmer personalities' and 'porn stars rate themselves as warmer on personality tests than a control group of non-porn stars'. I think the article threaded that needle as well as could be expected."

Well, as far as that goes, yes. The article did as well as it could, and generally I don't have a problem with the article in an overall sense. My problem is with the notion that any real conclusions can be drawn from all this.

Take the example you give: that people in porn seem to rate themselves as warmer on personality tests than a group of people who aren't in porn. Even if we assume that the methodology of the study is beyond reproach, our initial assumption - that this says something, anything, about the experience of being in porn - is still very much in doubt. Maybe this is really about people in entertainment in general, for whom it can fairly be said that its in their best interest to present themselves as warmer human beings. Maybe it's about people in Southern California, where (I believe) most people in porn are located geographically. Maybe it's about people in a particular class, or race, or social group. None of these things is being controlled for, so it's hard to say.

Most of all, it's just hard to say we're getting any information at all about the people themselves. To know that, it would be better to have the word of a disinterested third party, not the person themselves. People say all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons.

Anyway - yeah, I don't so much have a problem with the article, which is okay as far as it goes. It's just that I don't believe all this is really going anywhere. Psycho-sociology is extraordinarily difficult to construct studies for. A simple voluntary survey won't do it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:03 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blood, Sweat and Sex: My Hard Life in Porn by Aurora Snow. The performers may look like they're in ecstasy, but the physical pain and endurance that goes into sex for the camera would make an NFL linebacker weep.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also found this 2010 article on the dark triad (i.e. narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) - also called the "James Bond psychology" - to be a fascinating, and quick, read.

The link points to a local file on your computer.
posted by acb at 3:49 AM on April 3, 2013


The link points to a local file on your computer.

Bow-chikka-wow-wow.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:50 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, y'all - here's the correct link to the 2010 article on the dark triad.
posted by k8lin at 6:23 PM on April 3, 2013


« Older "What happens if you repeatedly run Kafka's Metamo...  |  Friends, neighbors, let's drop... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments