Porn Star Jessica Drake Talks to College Kids About Adult Films and Sexuality
Earlier this month, porn actor James Deen descended upon a classroom at Pasadena City College to talk to kids about healthy sexuality and how to get theirs in a way that makes everybody happy.
Now, continuing the tradition is Jessica Drake, a veteran of the adult film industry. Drake, who's appeared in hundreds of movies, recently spoke in the same classroom as Deen. She talked to us about how her presentation at PCC went, her transition from performer to educator, and what young people need to know about sex in order to have more fulfilling, pleasurable experiences.
LAist: What did you speak to students about at Pasadena City College?
Jessica Drake: I’ve been doing a lot of speaking at universities lately, and when I tell them about how I made the shift from being a strictly adult performer to being a writer and director and now for the past two years doing this instructional series, something I get a lot of is, “How did you make those transitions and decisions?” So I wanted to talk to them about why I chose getting into the educational side of it, and also discussing whether or not people get their sex education from adult movies that are meant to be for entertainment purposes.
Do people get their sex education from adult movies?
I think that some people do, especially when it’s their only exposure to sexual activity. We have people that are maybe 17, 18, 19 years old and that’s what they’ve been exposed to so far, so they are then entering into sexual relationships differently than they would otherwise. I also think that it’s important to separate porn that is meant for fantasy and educational products that may have hardcore content.
Why is it important to talk to college-aged kids?
Well, first of all I start with ages 17, 18 or 19 because I find it very difficult to reach kids that are any younger. I’m an adult performer and they shouldn’t be seeing my work. But I think that the outreach is really important to college kids because much like kids that are in high school, they are going through a lot of the same things.
In college, they’re facing things maybe for the first time. There are raging hormones and relationships that they are not used to having, and there’s also a problem with consent and date rape.
Were the students receptive to you as a speaker?
They were. I was asking them how they felt - whether they felt like they were getting sex education from porn, then I let them ask me whatever they wanted to ask me. In doing that, I could have gone on another two or three hours. They are really hungry for this information and they knew that they could ask me anything and not shock me.
They just feel really comfortable to ask questions, and I’m sure it’s because they know me as an adult star, but there’s also the anonymity factor. We let them ask questions on Twitter, and we let the professor ask questions as well. I did give a bit of specific advice but most of all I let them know that there are so many different ways to learn more about sex and there are so many possibilities. I do caution them on getting all of their cues from fantasy.
Do you ever get pushback from anti-porn groups or anyone else about being in the classroom?
I’ve been really fortunate; that hasn’t really happened yet. I’m in training to be a sex coach and one day a licensed sex educator, although those things are going to take a while, but you know in the time that I don’t have a degree, I’m not a doctor. I know when to refer people out, when to say, “that’s not really my area of expertise, these are the people that can help you.” But anyone that I’ve ever encountered have all been really positive.
I also won’t go on and debate anti-porn people. It’s a known fact that we need this education - we read about it, we hear about it; our kids need this.
When do you think sex education should start?
Way, way, way before age 18. I think that it should start in some way as soon as kids are able to understand and recognize their genitals. It starts with people talking, using the proper words for things, not shaming masturbation - letting them know it’s a privacy matter - it’s important to understand how our sexuality is shaped. Kids have to be on a need-to-know basis obviously, but I think candid discussions are needed.
Are kids watching more porn?
Yes. For as much as I stress the importance of not letting your kids have access to any type of adult movies, any kid with a smartphone - and they are getting them younger and younger - they have the ability to view certain things online. I can age verify a website and we can take all the precautionary measures, but especially with all the free porn it’s really easy for kids to access. I do think to a certain extent it could potentially effect the way someone would view sex, if that’s their first impression or their only impression.