7 Lessons I Learned From A Porn Star

Discovering Identity, Self-Worth, and Love

A few weeks ago, I became friends with someone who use to be in porn. And not just like one low-budget movie. This person had literally performed in thousands of adult films. And, at one time, was the most popular male porn stars in America.

His name is Josh and I met him at church. That’s right, you read that correctly. I met a porn star at Church.

But the thing that makes Josh special isn’t that he was in porn. It isn’t even that he’s no longer in it. It isn’t that he goes to church. The thing that makes Josh special is how he owns his experience, takes responsibility, and has been willing to make the hard choices to step into the person that he was created to be.

I had an opportunity to interview Josh on my podcast and get the entire story. (CLICK BELOW 👇 to listen to the entire interview)

After the interview, we set around and just talked for a while. After reflecting on our conversation, both during the interview and after, here are a few things I took away.


7 Lessons I Learned From A Porn Star

1.) When you don’t know who you are, you will become someone you’re not

When listening to Josh’s story, I can’t help but think back to times in my life where I played a part in order to get acceptance. I sacrificed who I was in order to become who someone wanted me to be.

Every time I made that choice, I regretted it. No matter who the person was, no matter what the payoff was, no matter what the possibilities were, I always regretted it.

Josh’s story gives us a powerful example of what it means to radically and unapologetically pursue who we really are. Not who someone else wants to be, not are parents, or friends, or employer, or even our religious tradition. But who God created us to be.

When you think about how you show up every day, are you showing up as some marginalize version of yourself or have you done the hard and courageous work of showing up as your true and authentic self?

2.) How you see yourself determines how you see your future

When Josh saw himself as someone who could only get love and acceptance when he “performed”, then he was willing to do anything it took to achieve the love and acceptance that he (and we) so desperately desire.

When Josh saw himself as someone who was already loved and accepted simply because he existed, he became willing to pursue the one who unconditionally loved him. He saw the reality that there was something bigger than him, bigger than his experience, and something that has always been and always will be. And that something [God] loved him just the way he was. There was nothing to prove, there was no performance that had to be made. There was no prerequisite at all. Just love.

3.) Porn hurts people

I can remember hearing Pastor say once, “Remember, when you watch porn, you are watching someone’s daughter”. Josh helped me have a new perspective. He showed me that when you participate in porn as a viewer, you are participating in the degrading of someone else’s humanity. It’s not that it’s someone’s daughter, or someone’s son, it’s that it is SOMEONE.

And that someone deserves dignity and respect even when they are unwilling to give it to themselves.

There are countless studies that prove how damaging the viewing pornography is to a person‘s sexual identity, to their intimate relationships, and to their self-worth in general. But of all the reasons I can think of to not watch porn, it would be because we love others as much as we love ourselves.

4.) We shouldn’t judge people who are doing things that we don’t agree with, we should love them even more deliberately

Hope (Josh’s wife) is such a shining example of unconditional love in the story of his transformation. She didn’t save him, she simply was a demonstration of the type of love that could save him. This is what the Christian tradition calls God’s love or unconditional love. Hope didn’t tell him all the reasons why he was wrong or how dangerous it was, she simply loved him through her actions and attitude.

We have to remember that ONLY love compels people to change.

It is love that builds relationships. It is love that breaks down barriers and open hearts. Never hate.

5.) We connect more through out vulnerabilities than through our victories.

When we are willing to be vulnerable the way that Josh was vulnerable in sharing his story, we open ourselves up for a type of connection that can only be found in our weakness. I think that’s why people naturally root for the underdog. They want to see someone win when the odds are stacked against them. When we are willing to be vulnerable, we can really connect.

If we only try to connect based on what we’ve done or the victories we’ve won, we forfeit the opportunity to have the most meaningful relationships.

The ones with scrapes and scars and scabs. The ones that know what it’s like to get punched in the mouth and thrown to the ground. The REAL ones.

6.) The most important thing we can say to people is… YOU ARE _______.

I was once told by a mentor,

The most powerful thing we can say to ourselves is I AM. The most powerful thing we can say to others is YOU ARE.

When we call out the positive characteristics in ourselves by using “I am” statements, we give ourselves the ability to operate more freely in those characteristics. So telling ourselves things like, I am loving or I am patient helps you utilize those things more often.

In the same way, when we call those things out and other people it unlocks the same opportunity for them. So saying to people, you are strong or you are worth more, primes the pump for them to be able to live out those characteristics with more ease and simplicity. If we choose (like Hope did) we can bring out the best in other people by showing them the best in us.

7.) As long as there is breath in the body, there is hope for the soul

It’s easy to write people off, isn’t it? To say he is a jerk, or she is a bad person, lets us off the hook. There’s nothing else for us to do, except treat them the way that we think a jerk or a bad person should be treated. We don’t even have to look at them as a person anymore because we’ve given them some other designation.

But no matter who the person is choosing to be, how many people they’ve hurt, or how much they personally hurt you, as long as there is breath in their body there is hope for their soul.

But let’s be honest, it’s tough to not judge. Especially, when we’ve been hurt or we believe that person is doing something wrong. I’ve found that for me the antidote for judgment is curiosity. Simply being willing to ask the question, “I wonder what has caused them to be this way?” can radically change the way we approach and think about other people.

For me,

When I am judgmental, I’m never curious. And when I am curious I am never judgement.

So what about you?

When you listened to Josh’s story, what did you get out of it?

(Send me and Josh a tweet DougStewart919 and JoshuaBroome7.)

Connect with Josh: Facebook or Instagram


Thanks for reading & listening! For more, visit DougStewart919.com

* all misspellings and grammatical errors complements of dyslexia 😜