Porn and the Pornstar: A Review of “Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn: The Greatest Illusion on Earth” by Shelley Lubben

Researchers and advocates alike have been screaming the harsh realities of life in the porn industry for decades now. In the 90s, the world began to become aware of the scope of sex trafficking, and when Playboy and Maxim morphed into the ubiquity of the Internet, it didn’t take long to find a link between the incessant demand for more material and the harrowing tragedy of sex trafficking. Like anything else, however, experts can show all the science and produce all the statistics and still find most of what they say falling on deaf ears because numbers and facts don’t have the same effect as a personal story. That’s why Yelp and the like are so popular- we don’t care what the bakers say about their pies; we want to know what people with their fingers in it think. And that’s why I’d recommend Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn: The Greatest Illusion on Earth by Shelley Lubben to anyone curious about the life of a porn star.

Shelley Lubben is not shy. She is extraordinarily, unabashedly straightforward about her experiences in the porn industry, and they are not pretty.  With her cutting truths and painfully undisguised descriptions of her most tragic lows, Shelley shows the reader what the world is like for someone whose desperation for love and acceptance, and later, monetary stability led them down a treacherous path they can’t escape from. It’s a story about the violent cycle of despair, self-loathing, fear, excessive drug use, disease, and sexual abuse and the toll it takes on the body, as well as the spirit. It’s one woman’s journey from childhood to adult on a road full of obstacles, who uses a difficult past to help others that are struggling with the same path.

As with most material on the subject, Truth Behind the Fantasy doesn’t pull any punches. It’s one of those things that you should steer clear from if you’re not ready to hear some really gruesome things about the world you live in. If you’re looking to remove the wool over your eyes, however, Truth Behind the Fantasy will do just that. You’ll never be able to forget about the horrors Shelley describes, but honestly, you may be better off for it.

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