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Is Porn an Acceptable Career Option?

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It's been frequently reported that porn has permeated the mainstream entertainment scene. A number of recent events convince me that this is actually happening.

Take the case of Nadya "Octomom" Suleman, who recently accepted an offer to do a solo masturbation video. Three years ago she rejected a $1-million offer Vivid made to her to star in an x-rated film. She told Oprah Winfrey that no matter how hard up for cash she was, the idea that she would appear in an adult movie was "completely unfathomable." Today no one is surprised that she seems to be embracing porn, and there is little public backlash about her decision. The only controversy seems to be over her poor financial planning, not the method by which she's solving her money problems.

Was Octomom's porn decision part of a new norm? Is doing explicit films to pay the bills now seen as a viable and acceptable option?

Consider Chyna, the former world champion professional wrestler. Last year she made an adult film with Vivid Entertainment called Backdoor to Chyna. It became an enormous best-seller and she currently stars as "She-Hulk" in AvengersXXX: A Porn Parody. With the exception of a relatively small number of people, no one condemned Chyna for her decision to make porn films, and in fact she reports that "wrestling fans have been incredibly loyal to me."

Love it or leave it, porn seems now to be a part of mainstream pop culture. Today, just about everything in the media has sexual overtones, and porn fits right in.

When I founded Vivid in 1984 adult films were considered taboo and as a result, it wasn't easy for the public to access our movies. Only specialty theaters and adult bookstores sold porn videos, in part because the packaging was so blatantly sexual. I made a decision to apply a mainstream sensibility to our cover artwork, and slowly we found our products accepted by more retailers...and in more prominent shelf positions. We bought billboards in Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard and put up tasteful pictures of our Vivid Girls in alluring costumes that only hinted at nudity. They caused a sensation, but no one ordered that they be taken down.

Today, Vivid and other adult studios have highly popular websites where their videos are sold 24/7 -- either for delivery at home in discreet packaging or for immediate download to the customer's computer. National retail chains sell our DVDs and hotels offer our movies to customers.

And the influence of adult entertainment has reached into the highest echelons of Hollywood. Consider our Vivid-Celeb imprint. Our first celeb movie, in 1998, was Pam & Tommy Lee: Hardcore & Uncensored, starring Pamela Anderson. It was an international sensation and one of the top-selling adult videos of all time. We've subsequently had blockbuster sex videos with celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian to Montana Fishburne and from Kendra Wilkinson to Phil Varone. There's plenty of interest in these explicit videos, but rarely censure. And sometimes, as in the case of Kim Kadashian, a sex tape leads to an empire.

The adult parody has also crossed over into the realm of an accepted genre. We produce a line of SuperXXXHero parodies with director Axel Braun, who is celebrated at mainstream "geek-fests" across America for his amazing attention to detail. It is easy to remember a time when we would be attacked in the media for trying to degrade the reputations of all-American heroes... but not now. Rather than being attacked for "sullying" the images of iconic figures such as Spider-Man and Batman, our parodies are simply accepted (and celebrated) for what they are.

So, back to Octomom. After three years of refusing to work with Vivid she decided to do something she once condemned, and not surprisingly her decision has raised few eyebrows.

I think this is something Octomom wanted to do all along, which is why we kept making offers to her. She clearly didn't want a "regular" job; we offered that to her as well.

Perhaps we are growing as a society, on some levels at least. Of course there will always be those conservative groups that disagree with me, but clearly porn is more of an acceptable career option than it ever was before, as it should be. And one day, when Octomom tells her children what she did to help support them, they're sure to have 14 different opinions... but hopefully disapproval won't be one of them.