At any given second there is estimated to be at least 28,000 people in the world watching porn. For so many of us, it’s media that we consume on a regular basis with pornstars having similar notoriety to Hollywood celebrities. Yet, we have very little understanding of what they actually earn and what it takes to make a living off of porn. Worldwide the porn industry is estimated to be worth around $97 billion dollars! To put this into perspective popular streaming sites like Netflix are clocking in at around $11 billion a year.
Try not to feel too disappointed in humanity as sex is universal while your favourite Netflix show likely isn’t. So, it’s about time we clear up all the mystery behind male pornstar's earnings to get a little more appreciation for the craft.
Since the 1980s porn has come a long way. Everything is legitimised with models all being signed to agencies who usually pay them on a per scene basis. Sorry to ruin the wild west sort of fantasy that you imagined, but the porn industry is treated with the same level of professionalism you would any other form of media these days. This is, of course, speaking for major porn production companies and not independent amateur films.
Many people seem to think that pornstars are all secret millionaires living in Beverly Hill mansions, but the reality is, that even some of the biggest stars in the industry earn around $300,000 - $400,000 a year. Which is still certainly a lot of money.
As an inexperienced pornstar, you can expect to be on the lower end of the payroll until you build a name for yourself. After all, this is an entertainment business so as unfair as it might seem, if the people want to see you then this will reflect in your wages. Dropping numbers of how much specific pornstars earn is difficult to say because of the multitude of factors that influence their earnings but we’ll do our best.
We will try to give some average salaries, to get a ballpark figure and work things out from there. Some successful pornstars have been so kind as to disclose their actual yearly income to the public so this should help to give us an idea.
It’s quite well known that men in porn don’t get paid as much as women but it isn’t as terrible as you’d think. The rates can obviously vary depending on the type of scene if it’s a guy on girl, guy on guy or what have you. Men are quite limited in what there is a demand for in the industry. On the other hand, men typically have longer careers than women. As long as they are fit to perform they are good to go so everything balances out.
For male pornstars, the 1980s seemed to be the golden era as claimed by porn legend Franco Roccaforte. It would be difficult to get your foot in the door but once you started filming for one major company you were basically in. Good, reliable male talent was scarce back in those days so a lot of the same guys would get the jobs. However, when Viagra burst onto the scene in the 90s it made it so that everyone could perform and the rates of male pornstars plummeted.
A male actor back then could be earning the equivalent of $15,000 a month but now it’s closer to $10,000 a month for an actor with similar credentials. This is all well and good in the US but over in the European scene, things are way harder for male talent trying to make it. The rates for European actors tend to be around £430 or roughly $540 per scene. Most actors starting out in Europe either quit or hold down multiple jobs in order to sustain themselves. The European scene is full of young hungry actors willing to be paid peanuts in order to build themselves up which is what makes it so competitive for guys.
One thing we couldn’t leave out is a whole massive industry of its own. There are again so many rumours about the earnings of gay pornstars being astronomically higher than straight porn. So much so that the term “gay-for-pay” was coined for straight male performers looking to make a quick buck off of shooting gay porn.
Sadly, this just isn't true when it comes to what male performers earn in the gay porn industry. The average earnings per scene is roughly $500 - $1,000 per scene with only the more popular performers reaching the upper end of this. While this is more than what can be expected for a straight scene we have to consider the preparation and implications involved; Anal sex recorded in HD has to be done correctly. Also once branded as a gay pornstar it’s difficult to land straight scenes with some of the biggest porn productions.
Famous gay pornstar Joey Mills took a stand in the conversation about gay performers' pay, claiming that actors should not take anything less than $1,000 per scene, even as a newcomer. His hashtag on Twitter #1Kornothing went viral promoting how models should know their worth and be aware of the exploitative nature of some studios. He explained that he isn’t criticising performers who earn less than 1K per scene but rather spreading the word on how naive performers can be taken advantage of.
Other gay performers have gone on to say that it’s normal to earn $400 - $500 per scene when starting out but for the effort involved it really isn’t easy to sustain a living. According to those in the biz you’d be lucky to get 5 scenes a month as a beginner. So if we do the maths we’re realistically looking at about $1,500 a month or $30,000 a year, quite far off from the millionaire pornstars stories we hear about.
If we factor in the living costs of staying in LA, the porn capital where you’re likely to land the most scenes, the mandatory $200 STD tests carried out once a fortnight and a 10 - 15 percent agency fee. It’s clear to see why so many performers in the industry have to hold down a job or side hustle in order to sustain themselves at the start of their careers.
Hopefully, we’ve driven the point home that a male pornstar's wages are very variable depending on the type of work they are doing. However, we thought it would be a good idea to lay out some of the types of scenes and how much they typically pay.
We’d like to begin by saying that there is certainly a demand for a larger variety of sexual acts for female performers. And with this comes more payment opportunities. Unfortunately, men tend to be limited in this area with less information disclosed on their earnings. But this is the nature of the beast.
A scene typically involving a guy penetrating a girl I guess we could call a standard P in V scene will offer a male performer $200 on the lower end with the potential to make $500 with enough experience.
As we previously discussed gay porn tends to pay more for male performers with actors typically earning a minimum of $500 and higher pay of $1,000. Considering everything is done professionally for big productions, regular STD screening is carried out for the safety of the performers. However, with a greater risk of STDs gay porn jobs tend to pay more with more being on the line.
There have been loads of controversy surrounding interracial work within the porn industry mainly as these are seen as fetish related scenes that offer higher rates for the female actress involved. The fact that the interracial sex fantasy has real-world implications for the actors and actresses involved many think that it is taboo. With this in mind, actresses could be looking at a possible $2,000 per scene. Whilst the male actor earns the standard wages.
A lot of the uproar comes from the idea that performers are being exploited for their race. Directors are constantly defending interracial scenes explaining that the success and demand justify the fetish. They claim that performing interracial scenes are entirely based on the female's prerogative.
For most pornstars, filming scenes is their main day job but it’s very common for adult performers to dabble in other areas of the industry in order to earn some extra dough. Information about the porn industry is well documented these days so performers understand that they won’t be around forever. Back in the day porn careers were relatively short lived as they are typically based on appearance. So there is always a new hung guy ready to take your spot at the drop of a hat.
Essentially, there is still an attitude amongst pornstars to earn as much money as possible to set themselves up or branch out into directing once their performing days are over. So here are some of the external work that adult performers have been known to partake in, to increase their earnings.
It’s not uncommon for male pornstars to start off or even work at strip clubs on the side. The two professions often lead into each other as fit and talented pornstars unafraid to have sex on camera usually have no problem stripping down to nothing for equal and sometimes better money. Some pornstars use their clout to their advantage by doing feature strip shows and private events that can earn them upwards of $1,000 a night.
Escorting is another way that some pornstars like to make cash on the side. It works in the pornstars' favour for being a big name or having some sort of following as this will allow them to charge premium rates. While it’s difficult to get a hold of specific rates from the bigger stars, the average male escorts in affluent areas can charge $100 - $300 an hour depending on their arrangement. Despite male pornstars being known for their sexual abilities, a male escort is slightly more complicated as you have to be a great emotional companion to women. But this is a conversation for another day.
Streaming porn was a massive hit to the major production companies. However, when one door closes another opens. The beautiful thing about living in the online generation is all of the opportunities there are to earn money online. For adult performers, in particular, platforms such as OnlyFans, Snapchat, LoyalFans and so forth, provide excellent means of building and monetising their existing fanbases.
There are a number of solo male talents as well as couples who make a substantial income off of OnlyFans and other independent content themselves. Most pornstars that reach a certain following like to create their own websites where they can see much more of their own profit for their work.
Niche porn fetishes like cuckolding have been known to bring in more money on fan sites with one instance of a performer making $20,000 a month from recording sex tapes with couples who share their wives.
Of course, there are also camming sites where male talent can do well. Receiving donations and tips for performing sexual acts and doing what they do best on camera.
Due to the nature of the adult industry, performers with a big following often struggle to monetise it. Landing sponsorships with big companies become difficult as they seldom want this kind of promotion. Instead, most male performers have to settle for the promotion of various adult toys and services that are far and few between.
The usual audience for sex toys are women and they are largely used to model them. Instead, male performers with a decent following try to go down the route of content creation. One of the biggest male performers in the game Manuel Ferrara has his own successful Twitch channel where he will hop on to chat and play video games for the entertainment of his fans.
Pornstars engaging in non-adult live streams have increased in popularity over the years. For one they offer nice pay and also give the performers a chance to interact with fans in a way they usually wouldn’t be able to. Engaging with fans and answering their questions usually result in donations and subscribers so it’s beneficial for both parties involved.
Typically for women, there is the pressure of looks fading with age in the industry which often shortens their careers. On the contrary, MILF porn has been on the rise over the last decade making it one of the most viewed categories. If you get in at the right time as a female performer you might have a longer career than you think.
However, the longevity of a career is usually where men have the advantage and chance to make more money in the industry. So long as your trusty performer downstairs can still do his job companies are more than happy to keep on reliable male talent.
Most of the numbers that we have been talking about tend to cover the high and low ends of the average male performers in the industry. However, within the entertainment business, there are always exceptional outliers who reach heights of fame and money that many aspire to achieve. In this respect, we are going to talk about some of the male performers who may well be millionaires.
The world-famous British porn actor has been in the industry for almost 20 years! Keiran has been described as one of the most consistent and best performers to work with by numerous agencies which is probably how he landed himself the big roles. Keiran has been signed to Brazzers since 2005 working with all of the who's who in the porn industry. In 2012 he was such a valuable asset to the company that his penis was insured for damage for $1,000,000. Breaks on set are more common than you think.
During the later years of his career, he has moved into directing as well as acting not before racking up 1,500 appearances in Brazzers scenes which sounds exhausting, to say the least. With all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that his rates were probably pretty decent as he has an estimated net worth of over $4 million.
One of the most commonly seen faces in porn is James Deen. Having joined the industry at the age of 18 and nabbing his first award for “Male Performer Of The Year” 4 years later at the age of 22 the kid clearly showed promise. James has produced some viral works with the likes of Farrah Abraham and even in the mainstream film industry with Lindsay Lohan.
Being a successful porn actor and director has paid him well as he has an estimated net worth of $3 million.
Nicknamed the Italian Stallion Rocco Siffredi is by far one of the highest earning male performers in the industry. He has a net worth of over $275 million said to have come from smart investments made with his porn money. But before these riches, he was turning over good money per scene with his own porn production studio based in Budapest. When most of the profits are yours it's easy to incur the best rates!
Whether you’re just a curious fan or looking to kickstart your porn career, hopefully, you’ve got a better understanding of what the male talent in the industry can earn.