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Guess How Much Gay Porn Stars Make?

gay adult film / porn star Jay Dymel, also known as Julian Pereza, posing shirtless on a black couch
Jay Dymel, aka Julian Pereza (image via Dominic Ford)

What Do Gay Porn Stars Earn?

Remarkably little. While some name-brand stars can earn up to $5,000 a scene, the vast majority make about $500 to $1,000 per scene, according to my own experiences and those of porn insiders quoted in the noted magazines below. No matter how you do the math, $500-$1,000 doesn’t come to a whole lot of money. Let’s say you earn $500 a scene. If you’re lucky you’ll work 5 scenes a month. That’s $2,500 a month or $30,000 a year. Considering the median household income in the U.S. is $51,000, that means you’re making a little bit over half of desk-job Americans.

The Problem With Getting At An Accurate Figure.

Almost no one in the porn industry will go on record when it comes to what performers earn. The U.S. Census doesn’t exactly measure salaries at porn studios so we’re left with anecdotes and the few porn officials who’ll talk to the media.

Related: Gay adult film performer blasts studio for paying bottoms less than tops

For example, last year I asked several gay porn producers how much it would cost to hire a couple of performers to do a companion video to my gay sex guide, How To Bottom Like A Porn Star. The answers are in line with what you’re about to read from industry insiders–About $500-$1,000 per performer per scene. A “scene” is one “story” or “unit of action” within a video. There may be many scenes within a porn video.

But I was just one guy asking for costs on an unusual project. What about everyday porn? Here’s what Mark Spiegler, a top talent agent who represents the most popular female porn stars told The Hollywood Reporter:

“While a decade ago the average female performer would make about $100,000 a year,” she now might make as little as $50,000 — all while juggling responsibilities such as social-media outreach and personal appearances.”

Think about that. If the average female porn star makes $50,000 what does the average gay porn star make? Probably half or a little more.

Mark Spiegler goes on…

But for the select few females who make it to the top of the industry, paychecks can be “upward of $350,000 a year, while top male performers can make more than $100,000 annually.”

Think about that for a moment. If the top male performer in straight porn makes $100,000 a year, what do the top gay performers make? The truth is probably not a whole lot more. And remember, that’s for EXTREMELY popular performers.

We can also glean the gay out of a recent Business Insider article on straight porn compensation:

According to Dan Miller, executive managing editor of industry trade magazine XBIZ, there are about 250 “in-demand” women (called “models”) who work regularly, shooting between 100 and 150 scenes per year. “A popular girl is going to work a minimum of 10 times per month.”

The gay math: $500-$1000 a scene x 10 scenes a month = $5,000-$10,000 a month. That means the absolute most an enormously popular gay performer can make is between $50,000 – $100,000.

Bottom Line When It Comes to Gay Porn

You can’t make much money as a performer in gay porn. The smart ones augment their compensation with personal websites, DVDs, appearances, merchandising, and often, escorting. Sadly, porn stars can afford pearl necklaces everywhere but jewelry stores.

Michael Alvear’s latest book is The Complete Guide to Gay Texting.