NO: The Most Powerful Word in Your Porn Career

The word "No" can be your best friend.

The word “NO” has been often thought of as a 4 (2?) letter curse word when it comes to advancing one’s career— no matter the field. In sex work, however it can be your best friend.

Whether that refers to performing a sex act for a certain dollar amount, performing something on screen you may not be passionate about (or ready for), or even down to whom you work with; “NO” can be your most powerful ally.

Does it all come down to money?

Usually in the adult industry, the more you shoot—the more money you make. Simple economics. As is the case with any other business; companies and the powers that be want to get the most out of you for as little as possible.

Frustrating I know, but these are the rules of capitalism.

A huge milestone in a porn career are a performer’s ‘Firsts’ meaning the first time on screen they perform a specific sex act.

When I began shooting, I was strictly a girl-girl only performer. A bunch of offers came in for me to take the plunge into working with male counterparts (bear in mind that this was over 10 years ago when rates and demand was a bit higher than it may be now.)

The offers coming in were both from large companies and, inversely, some studios I had never heard of before. Some rates were generous and others felt downright insulting.

As tempting as it was to jump at the first offer extended to me, I took a beat and a deep breath and said “NO”. Much to my agent at-the-time’s shock and dismay, I explained why: If I am going to perform something for the first time and let whatever studio have that privilege, I want to make damn sure that it’s not only for a company that will pay me a fair but meaningful rate, but that will also help expand and catapult my name/brand.

I followed that simple formula for all of the ‘firsts’ I performed during my career and have never once regretted it.

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What about comfort?

It seems as if there is a public notion that performers work with anyone and everyone and have no say in the matter. The truth couldn’t be more different.

Performers have ALL the power.

Without you, there is no scene.

Regardless of the pay or prestige—no paycheck is worth you working with someone, or performing a sex act that you do not like or feel comfortable with.

Everyone’s experience with certain performers varies, and it’s an ongoing process of learning who you’re comfortable working with.

You may hear the term “No-List” being tossed around on sets or amongst conversations with industry people. That term is pretty self-explanatory: a list of performers who you will NOT work with. You don’t have to explain why to anyone at any time. What you do with your body (and with whom you do it) is only your business. I know for a fact I have lost out on a lot of work and paychecks because I wouldn’t work with certain performers.

There is also the pressure to perform sex acts you may not enjoy, aren’t ready for, or just straight up do not want to shoot.

Porn is a hard environment (although much safer than some others) to experiment and see what sex acts you enjoy. I have turned down a great many scenes because I knew my limits and what (at the time) my body was able to take. You only get ONE body and if you aren’t properly prepared for a certain position, hole being fucked, or level of roughness—It can have lasting negative effects.

At the end of the day—I am 100% okay with the times I have said no because I maintained my integrity, comfort, safety, and had an amazing experience in porn.

Missy Martinez is a retired award winning porn performer with 10 years in the adult industry. She has graced the cover of Hustler Magazine while having penned 100+ articles for the publication. She is a Doc Johnson sex toy model, former host of Playboy Radio, mainstream actress, stand up comic and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Huffington Post.

Follow her on Twitter.

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Missy Martinez

Missy Martinez

Missy Martinez is a retired award winning porn performer with 10 years in the adult industry. She has graced the cover of Hustler Magazine while having penned 100+ articles for the publication. She is a Doc Johnson sex toy model, former host of Playboy Radio, mainstream actress, stand up comic and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Huffington Post.
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