Reflecting on the death of Arpad Miklos, a gay porn star who killed himself earlier this month, Conner Habib – an adult film actor himself – wonders what drives those in the business to take their own life:
[A]s a porn performer, you can begin to completely identify with your body. You can think it’s who you are. You can stumble off to the gym and onto the set and through parties and bars, cutting off your mind from other aspects of experience. When you’re in this immersed state, an internet commenter or mean-spirited blogger or tactless industry employee calling you fat can feel devastating.
This is problematic enough, but it becomes crushing when you start to believe that your body is all you have to offer. While I think most arguments about objectification are shallow, I also notice how porn performers can limit their own freedom and destroy their happiness by equating their bodies with their worth (and their worth with how much people are willing to validate their bodies by paying to film them.) This is where a cliche comes from, the one where the ex-porn actor says desperately, “But porn is all I know!” How to perform on camera is never all anyone knows, but being in porn creates the possibility of that self-delusion.