The following is my response to Jeff Booth regarding his criticism of The Michelle Maren Interview.
Dear Mr. Booth,
My name is Michelle Maren. Only just recently, it has come to my attention that on January 27th, 2008, you made comments about me on your Internet radio show.
Despite the time that has passed since the original show airing, I would like to respond.
Making the rounds is an interview with ex-porn performer Michelle Maren, who promotes herself through her MySpace page. It contains such juicy quotes as "It is a fantasy that the women performing porn actually enjoy it. No one does. That is why most get high before filming a sex scene—to numb themselves. I was the only female porn actress I knew who didn't get high and that is why I didn't last in the industry for very long."
Actually, according to the Internet Adult Film Database, Maren only made six films, four of them were non-sex roles. By her own account, she only did three sex scenes, including a single lesbian scene in Caballero’s Public Affairs, and this was all back in the 1980’s.
A lot has changed since then, and as a born again Christian, I really doubt she has been keeping up on the industry. Still, she’ll get quoted by lots of conservatives as an expert, even though she knows absolutely nothing about the porn industry as it exists today… Her comments now are completely irrelevant, and she has no right to speak for the experiences of other women 20 years later.
I spoke about my experiences in the sex industry during the interview I did last year. They were just that--my experiences. I don’t understand how you can refute that. I don’t remember ever meeting you. You were not there. I was.
While I was a porn actress for only just over a year, I did waste eight years of my life working in the sex industry in general. I was a go-go dancer between the ages of 18 and 24 and a professional escort (a.k.a. prostitute) for eight years. I also was a men’s magazine model, recorded phone sex messages, wrote articles for porn mags and was the figurehead of one. In addition, during those years, I met literally hundreds of women in the sex industry who shared their own personal experiences with me.
Certain things never change. What humiliates a woman doesn’t change. What degrades all of womankind doesn’t change. My story is as relevant today as it was twenty years ago. Through my myspace page, I have heard from many former porn actresses of all ages including many who are decades younger than me. Yet their experiences were the same as mine. If you look at Shelley Lubben’s website: www.shelleylubben.com/ or her myspace page: www.myspace.com/shelleylubben, you will discover many former porn actresses with similar stories.
She says “The number of suicides, over-doses, murders and AIDS-related deaths are quite high among porn actors.” By percentage, because adult stars are screened, there is much less AIDS in the adult community than in many other communities that are at risk, and even coming down with AIDS is a huge story. And I guess I missed all those murder stories.
Since you are not familiar with the many porn stars who have met with tragedy, I suggest you look at the website www.rame.net/faq/deadporn/. You might find it enlightening.
And she infers that minors were allowed in porn films as long as a mother was there. I can’t remember a single film that even had a minor in a non-sex role, and certainly they would not have been on set if a sex scene was filmed- just as it is in mainstream film.
While working in porn films, I did meet an underage girl who was on set with her mother. She appeared in more than one of the films I was in and performed sex scenes with both women and men. This is not an “inference”—this is a fact. Once again, you were not there and I was.
My wife had sex on camera, primarily because it was fun. Sure, there are some women in it just for the money, but I personally know a lot of women who really enjoy the sex. Which is not surprising, because sex can be really enjoyable. Maren did not last, because she did not like what she was doing, she did not want to be there, and she absolutely should have gotten out of it. She is celibate, so sex is not even an important part of her life… The only useful message we can glean from Maren is that if you really don’t like sex, maybe porn is not the occupation for you. Just like if you hate food, don’t become a chef. And that’s not all that insightful.
None of the women I met in porn or any other aspect of the sex industry expressed to me their enjoyment of the business. What they did talk about was their abusive childhoods. That was the one common denominator we had. Regardless of ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds, we all had a history of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. As a sex worker, it can be extremely difficult to admit to this. While I was active in the industry, I would tell people I did it because I was a sexually liberated woman. It was too painful to admit the truth. But eventually I became brave enough to break free. It was only then that I experienced true liberation.
I am not celibate because I don’t like sex. Quite the opposite. I am celibate because I now RESPECT sex. It is an enjoyable, beautiful experience that I want to share with someone I love. I no longer degrade sex by selling myself. Another fact: whenever a woman sells herself, she sells a little piece of her soul.
Mr. Booth, I ask you the question I would ask anyone who supports the sex industry—is it something you would want your daughter to do? Please remember—every woman in the sex industry is SOMEONE'S daughter and deserves respect, as do all women.
Since you are a believer in freedom of speech, I trust you will make my response public.
Thank you for your time.