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It seems to me that when I think about deviant behavior, I tend to think of murder, robbery and things of that nature. But even so, I still have engaged in a form of deviant behavior – I have pedaled pornography on the Internet. It is a minor thing as far as I am concerned but there are many that would put this act right up there with murder.

From smutty words to filthy pictures, everyone has an opinion on pornography. And even though most people will argue that they don’t like pornography in any form, the pornography industry is a lucrative world, so someone is buying it. I mean don’t get me wrong, I believe in censorship when it comes to minors accessing pornography, and I as an adult web site owner took every step available to me to make sure that children could not access my site.

I hid my “secret” job from my friends and family, afraid of what then might say. Once they did find out I felt “branded” as a deviant. My family shunned me, they pushed me farther and farther into my secret world, making me set out to prove that my so-called deviant behavior wouldn’t make me some horrible person. Most of society immediately assumes that because you are employed in the adult entertainment industry you are some sort of pervert, that you have no morals in your life at all.

Emile Durkheim, who developed the first structural functionalist theory, observed that deviance is an inevitable part of social life. He also observed that deviance is valuable to society, but when he does not consider is how certain acts, attributes and beliefs come to be considered deviant to begin with. I think that because society has so many norms and taboos that it is hard not to do something that at least some part of society would consider deviant behavior. Because of the reactions of others it really reinforced my behaviors, making me want to prove them wrong. And even more that that I wanted to take the money I had earned and do something really spectacular with it, I wanted to use it towards my educational goals.

But soon the lure of such easy money became an obsession, an obsession for deviance. I made friends within the pornography industry and they connected me with a woman who ran a phone sex business out of her home, we talked and she put me to work for her right away. I immediately enjoyed the job but felt extremely guilty – not only because I was engaging in “deviant” behavior, but I was also lying to these hundreds of men about who I was and what I looked like. One of my close friends from high school began to tell me things like “when people access your photos on the Internet they begin to obtain distorted views of normal sexual behavior.” She also stated that most pornography seemed very degrading to women as a whole.

Listening to what she had to say really affected my views on what I was doing and why. Even though I was making good money and putting it towards my educational goals, what price was I really paying? I immediately went home and sat quietly and thought for a long, long time. I thought about my family and what they had said, I thought about the women and men in the photos I was using. It occurred to me that I felt morally “wrong”. So, I put away my “porn”, gave up the phone sex business and headed for more respectable employment. I’ll never forget the experiences I had or the people I met. I learned a lot from everyone in the adult entertainment business, but as for me I guess I just gave in to my own morals and those of my family and friends.

Renzetti & Curran 1998, “Living Sociology”, Needham Heights, MA,

Allyn & Bacon


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