Women In Porn: 8 Game-Changers Making Waves In The Industry

The porn industry is often considered a man’s world — it’s men who direct, produce, and consume porn, right? Well, not so fast. While historically, the industry has been propelled by men, it’s rapidly changing; driven by smart, savvy, sexy women who know what they want. Producers, entrepreneurs, actresses, directors, and authors, women are claiming their place in the world of sexiness in big ways.
As we've pointed out before, porn isn't just one thing — there's a huge variety of porn with a huge variety of perspectives, body types, and sexualities out there. And none are necessarily all good or all bad.
And as far as the women who work in the industry, both in front of and behind the camera, there's a real range of personalities and ideas there, too. Especially when it comes to the eight game-changers we're talking about today. Some are ardent feminists, some view porn as an educational space, some write about their experiences with sincerity and candor — but all further the conversation about how women relate sexually to their bodies, their partners, and the porn industry in general. These women are making waves in a big way, and you want to pay attention.
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Photo: RexUSA.
Adult film star Stoya takes a critical, exploratory approach to her career in porn. She writes a must-read column over at VICE where she presents the nitty gritty of working in porn and also waxes poetic on feminism, choice, and the politics of the industry. She's also dating your porn boyfriend James Deen — but don't hold that against her.
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Photo: Courtesy of Duo Ioulex.
Before creating her innovative digital platform, MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy Gallop already had a storied career in the advertising world — in 2003 she won the Advertising Woman of the Year award from Advertising Women of New York.

Big porn productions show us a stylized, loud, acrobatic version of what it’s like to have sex, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that what we’re watching doesn’t necessarily reflect the sometimes-awkward reality of getting it on. The idea behind MakeLoveNotPorn is simple — watching only “pornified” sex can warp our expectations, so there should be a space to showcase people having “real world sex” that more closely resembles the sex we’re likely having. Hop over to the site and that’s exactly what you’ll find. You can rent clips of “MakeLoveNotPorn Stars” doing the deed in a way that feels sincere and authentic.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ben Hoffman.
Tristan Taorimino is an author, editor, columnist, sex educator, speaker, feminist filmmaker, and radio host. She's also one of the editors of the recently released, The Feminist Porn Book , a collection that brings together the diverse opinions and experiences of women all across the porn industry — a must-read for anyone interested in feminist pornography and the women who make and study it. Tristan’s films showcase a huge spectrum of sexualities and body types — a brilliant alternative for those who find "mainstream" porn off putting.
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Photo: Courtesy of Burning Angel.
Joanna Angel is an award-winning, innovative multi-talent. That's right, she produces, stars in, and directs her own films through the company she founded, Burning Angel Productions. She’s widely acknowledged to have been a key influence in the emergence of the “alt porn” genre — films where actors sport tattoos, piercings, and other body modifications.
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Photo: Courtesy of Zoi Ellis Photography.
Sinnamon Love is a retired adult-film star and fetish model. Prior to her retirement in 2010, she embarked on a nationwide tour of her sex-positive erotic poetry and sex education theater show. She's not making porn any longer — instead she spends her time talking about the industry and as an outspoken autism and education advocate.
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Photo: RexUSA.
Nina Hartley is a pornographic legend, having won more AVN awards than any other actress. Her trademark quote? “Sex isn't something men do to you. It isn't something men get out of you. Sex is something you dive into with gusto and like every bit as much as he does.” Enough said.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Tera Patrick has had many careers. She started off as a fashion and runway model, left to earn degrees in microbiology and nursing, then began appearing in porn and in the pages of Playboy. She’s the owner of her own production company “Teravision” and is the author of a memoir titled Sinner Takes All, with a forward written by Margaret Cho.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
This generation’s most famous crossover star, Sasha Grey has done porn and so much more. She modeled for American Apparel, starred in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, and published a book with VICE, Neü Sex.