PORN To Pay Tuition
By Abigail Dye
January 20, 2018
Young women at the University of Cincinnati are coming forward and admitting to engaging in online Internet porn to pay for tuition. Yes, pornography has worked its way from the sets of Hollywood to dorm-rooms…specifically, the dorm-rooms at UC. According to Covenant Eyes, an online internet and accountability company, the United States generates $13 billion a year in porn revenue. That is over $1 billion more than the total revenue of the NFL in 2015, calculated by Jackie Wattles of CNN.
An industry that pulls in more revenue than football sounds like a great way to make money, right? Well, at least 21-year-old Ansley Kramer sure thinks so. Kramer is a Communications major at the UC who uses a website named “Chaturbate.com” along with her boyfriend John Handelton, 23. Chaturbate is an online webcam site where users spend “tokens”to see performers carry out sexual actions. Kramer and Handelton built an online fan-base and perform suggested actions for their fans in exchange for tokens.
Kramer states, “The requests we receive most often include John being aggressive towards me, like choking me or smacking me.” She says, “As odd as it sounds, as a couple we really enjoy it. Our fans will help us think out of the box sexually, and we don’t even have to act like they are watching.”
Per Kramer, she and Handelton combined can earn up to $1 thousand a week for just a few hours of work. Kramer states, “I still work a part time job to pay the bills, but the extra money made from the site goes straight to my loans. I honestly don’t know how else to pay for school.” Kramer has one year left at the UC, and anticipates a debt-free graduation due to the site.
The minimum wage in Ohio is $8.10 an hour–meaning if a student works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, they would only make $16,848 a year. According to the tuition overview on the UC website, the estimated cost of tuition for a full time Ohio-resident is $28,754 a year. Thereby, this reality makes it impossible for a normal student to keep up with tuition, let alone cost of living, even if they were to work full time.
Shannon Eubanks, 20, is a second-year International Business major at UC. Eubanks says she began her endeavors in the adult-film industry for the same reason as Kramer, the hope of earning a college degree debt-free. The average yearly salary of a porn star in Cincinnati can be as much as $56,779 per Salarygenius.com. This is over $1,000 more than the starting salary of an International Business major according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Eubanks says she began shooting films when she first started attending the University in 2016. Eubanks states, “I was told about a modeling opportunity by a recruiter. At the time I had no idea what the gig actually was.” Eubanks says she was confused when she was asked to take her clothes off, but then encouraged by the compensation. She states, “It began with just photos. I was dumbfounded that I could make $100 an hour just sitting there. I never intended to get into videos, but well, one thing led to another.”
Eubanks explains that she was persuaded into doing her first shoot one month after she began nude photography. “I get paid around a thousand for each shoot depending on what I do- but it usually only takes a few hours. What I enjoy most is the money, of course. But I really do enjoy the sex. I like sex and getting paid for it is fun. The hardest part is lying to people I love about what I do. And sometimes being pressured into things I wouldn’t normally do- for more money. If I have sex with two men in one scene I can earn like $500 more.” Eubanks calculates that in the past year she has made over $50,000 shooting adult films.
Jenny Powell, 19, is a second-year Marketing major at the University of Cincinnati. Powell began her work in adult-film in a similar way as Eubanks. She explains that she began with nude photography, and then started shooting videos for more money. “I do a few shoots a week, some weeks I don’t shoot at all. It’s draining.” Powell states. When asked what she meant by “draining” Powell responded, “I don’t like the work I do. I’m not proud of it. I have to get checked for STD’s constantly, f**k guys I’ve never met, lie to my parents, just… draining.” Powell explains that she plans to get out of the industry “as soon as I can.”
She says, “I started to work part-time as a server, which puts food on my table and pays rent. But I’m thousands of dollars in debt because of school. There’s no way I can start a career like that.” She continues, “It’s messed up honestly. I’ve watched pornos starring other girls and it’s sick because I know what is going on in their heads, like how they feel. I look at sex so differently now. I use to correlate it with love, but you can’t do that in this line of work.”
Women in the sex-industry experience post traumatic stress disorder at rates equivalent to veterans of combat war per research conducted by Treasures, an organization in Los Angeles dedicated to restoring women in the sex-industry. Their research also indicates that women working in the sex industry are faced with higher rates of drug addictions, sexually transmitted diseases, violent assaults and mental health problems.
When asked what she enjoys the most about her work, Powell responded, “I don’t enjoy my work. It’s hell. No girl actually wants to be here. The money is the sole reason I do it, now that it’s paying for my education I feel kind of… stuck.”
A California Women’s Health Survey found that 89% of Women in the sex industry said they want to escape, but have no other means of survival.
For this article, the girls were asked, “If tuition was waived, would you continue to work in the sex-industry?” Kramer, Eubanks and Powell all responded, “No.”
$13 billion a year is enough money to confirm that sex sells; but only the girls in front of the camera- the students in this case- know the real price.