How much money do pornstars make?

Sasha Sparrow by Kinuski Kakki
Image by @Kinuskiph also on OnlyFans – Model: Sasha_Sparrow_

It’s hard to say how much money pornstars make in a simple way. Pornstars are like other public figures in that they have multiple revenue streams. And often the thing they’re most famous for isn’t how they make most of their money. That said, I’m gonna break it all down for you and reveal exactly what female pornstars make and where it comes from.

When I talk about pornstars I’m referring to anyone that has done some professional porn modelling. I’m not including girls who have only made porn for their OnlyFans or personal projects.

Pornstars that have worked for professional companies are a special case. Their income and fame profiles are usually very different to girls who only ever worked independently.

Even if you only do a handful of professional porn videos. Those videos will be viewed by tens or hundreds of millions of people very quickly. Whereas an independent model will have to work a lot harder to reach that many people.

But with that mechanism, there is a trade-off. If you never work for professional productions, then you are the only person making money from your content. So your porn income will grow faster.

If someone wants to see your pon, they have to buy it from you. You essentially have a monopoly on your product: you.

Whereas if you do professional porn, your fame will grow much faster because you are using the established marketing power of porn companies. It’s a huge shortcut to fame.

The problem is your porn income is going to grow slower because the money is split between different porn companies. This also applies to any independent porn on your own site or OnlyFans because your content is not exclusive to you anymore.

So now we know we’re focusing girls who have done professional porn. Let’s breakdown what they earn.

What pornstars get paid for porn shoots

What a porn set looks like
Image: Xvideos – Nathan Bronson

There are two main regions where most porn is produced. That’s in the United States and Europe. The bulk of US porn productions are in LA, Las Vegas and Miami. While most European productions are in Prague, Budapest or Barcelona.

There is also a big difference in income between US and European porn models.

American porn model fees ($ dollars)

  • Lesbian – 500
  • Boy-girl sex – 1 000
  • Boy-girl anal – 1 200
  • Boy-boy-girl double penetration – 1 500

European porn model fees (€ euros)

  • Lesbian – 350
  • Boy-girl sex – 600
  • Boy-girl anal – 800
  • Boy-boy-girl double penetration – 1 100

Generally working in American porn is more professional, more organised and has better pay. How much better depends on the foreign exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Euro.

Currently, the US dollar is quite weak so there isn’t too much difference between them so US porn shoots are paying girls about 30% more.

Let’s assume the majority of work a model does is a sex video with one boy. Making $1 000 dollars per day sounds like great money to most people, but pornstars also have expenses which does reduce your income.

Pornstar expenses

Porn models are rigorously tested for sexually transmitted infections and they have to pay for those tests themselves. That will set them back 190 dollars in the US and about 100 Euros in Europe. Their clearance for work is only valid for 14 days so they have to do this every two weeks if they want to keep working.

Unless a model lives in one of porn’s hub cities, then she will also need accommodation while she does her work tour.

Generally, an agent or production company will fly a model in, but the model will often pay for her own accommodation. This is either staying in a shared model house with other pornstars or renting an Airbnb.

Porn models also need to get to their shoots. If they don’t drive or have a car, this means they spend a lot of money on Ubers, Taxis or the driver their agents provide for a fee.

It’s also important that pornstars look good. They are models. And beauty is expensive. They will need a gym membership, manicured nails, good hair and possibly some kind of tanning at a minimum.

It’s also worth noting that the overwhelming majority of porn is filmed on a shoestring budget. A production will rarely provide clothes, so models will be expected to carry a wide variety of outfits and underwear with them for directors to choose from.

Finally, there are taxes. Taxes need to be paid. Either upfront now or in a few years all-at-once when you get caught not paying your taxes!

Estimated monthly earnings

This is tricky to calculate. When a model is new, everyone will book her, so she will be busy every day if she wants to be. That lasts until all the productions have filmed with her. So expect a big initial payday then a dropoff.

After about three months, new models have probably found their level. The most popular girls will be in demand. Everyone will want to shoot them because they sell, and they’re guaranteed to make the production money.

There are generally three tiers of models. The girls at the top that everyone wants to shoot, second-tier girls get 2-3 shoots per week and third-tier girls that maybe only shoot 2-3 times per month or less.

Popularity is based purely on how well the girl sells. It’s not about looks, personality or anything else. Some girls sell well. Some don’t. No one really knows why.

It should also be noted that many models don’t want to shoot a lot because they get more money from other activities.

In the table below, I’ve estimated pornstar average salaries per month based on how often they work. Just remember they have to deduct all those expenses and taxes from these figures.

US models

Model TierUS Models ($)Euro Models (€)
Tier 123 00013 800
Tier 210 0004 800
Tier 32 5001 500

A peculiar aspect of porn is that it’s very democratic. Some of the top pornstars charge more money per shoot – some much higher – but most tend to charge average prices. Pornstars with very high fees usually don’t want many shoots or only want to work for the biggest companies.

Some models may also get an exclusive contract with just one company. These contracts are very opaque. I couldn’t tell you how much they are really worth. My educated guess is that the contracts are usually worth less than remaining a free agent, but you gain some job security, special treatment and get to work with the same team regularly.

Pornstars’ escorting money

Shona River
Image: Shona River – a pornstar that offers high end escort services

Many pornstars will escort as a side hustle. And for many, it’s actually their main income, and they only do porn to create demand for their escort work. Until recently, escort work paid so much more than porn for most people.

In Europe, an escort that does porn can easily change 300-500 Euros per hour for escort work. And in America – where prostitution is highly illegal in most states – escort fees are even higher. They tend to start at around 1 000 dollars for an hour and head north from there depending on fame.

There seems to be an almost limitless demand for pornstar escorts, so it’s a reliable income for those that do it. Of course, travel and accommodation fees eat into their earnings, especially if they tour different cities and counties.

They also pay fees to their escort agency. Agency fees are usually 30 per cent – but the smart ones don’t use escort agencies.

I’m not going to speculate on how much money pornstars make from escorting because it just depends on their fame and how often they wish to work. They can make 10 000 dollars in a month, a week or a night. The money is nuts!

OnlyFans pays pornstars huge money

Anissa Kata wearing OnlyFans merch
Image: Anissa Kate wearing OnlyFans merch

I notice fewer girls are escorting. Instead, they are selling content on OnlyFans. Pornstars can make enormous money here.

In the past, many pornstars had their own websites, but they usually weren’t big sources of income for many reasons. Starting a website is complicated. Many site operators are not very transparent, plus very similar content is available on many different sites if you’re a professional pornstar.

I really can’t emphasise how game-changing OnlyFans has been for top pornstars. In the past, pornstars were famous but rarely rich. Now, if you can get fame, then you can get money too—life-changing money.

The downside is that while porn modelling doesn’t have a huge difference between the highest and lowest earning models. OnlyFans income is scalable, so the Pareto principle applies; 80 per cent of the money goes to 20 per cent of the models. The top girls get everything, and the others get dramatically less. You see this reflected in social media followers as well as in OnlyFans income.

There are also expenses with OnlyFans. The platform takes 20%. And to do well, you need to get your strategy perfect and recruit a good team working to grow your income and fans. This will usually cost another 20% in addition to what the platform takes.

Even after expenses, the earning potential is ridiculous. Here’s my estimate of pornstars OnlyFans incomes based on their total followers.

Total social followersMonthly income ($)
Over 3 million500 000+
Up to 3 millionUp to 200 000
Up to 1 millionUp to 40 000
Up to 300 000Up to 8 000
Less than 50 000500 – 2 000

Webcam income

Pornstar using webcam

When I started in the porn industry seven years ago camgirls generally made a lot more money than pornstars. A top camgirl can make $30-50 thousand dollars per month.

The problem is just like OnlyFans; it’s highly scalable. When you go to a webcam site, you see the girls that make the most money at the top of the page – and most users only watch and give money to that small group of elite camgirls.

It’s ultra-competitive, and to get to the top, camgirls have to be highly organised and develop insane communication skills. Seriously, top camgirls can rival any TV presenter’s hosting skills. They have to be on their game for hours using their personality to keep viewers happy, engaged and parting with their money without seeming like they’re only there for the money.

Most camgirls don’t get anywhere near that top income, with most working long hours to get something like $1 000 – $3 000 dollars per month.

For that reason, it’s never really been so appealing for pornstars. I can think of pornstars that started in webcam then moved into porn, but I can’t think of any that moved the other way.

All that said, webcam is still an important part of pornstar incomes. The bigger webcam platforms will pay pornstars to do celebrity shows as it’s a good source of new business for them.

A celebrity show will typically pay $1 000 dollars for a one hour show. It’s something most pornstars can get good money from and easily fit into their schedule.

There is also a lot of market cannibalisation of webcam by OnlyFans. Overall webcam users are dropping, partly explained by OnlyFans offering live shows on their platform. So the lines between OnlyFans and webcam have been blurred a lot.

Feature dancing

Poster advertising Storm Daniels' feature dancing
Poster advertising Storm Daniels’ strip club performance

Feature dancing is when strip clubs pay pornstars to do a celebrity guest appearance. Pre-covid and pre-OnlyFans it was very lucrative. Even a fairly new pornstar can get $1 500 per night.

And if you’re famous, it can be significantly more. When Stormy Daniel’s fame blew up over her alleged encounter with Donald Trump, the first thing she did to cash in was to tour the country’s strip clubs.

These days most pornstars prefer to work on OnlyFans and cut out all that travel, but feature dancing can still pay really way if it’s how you like to make your money.

Other income

Maitland Ward makes money collaborating with Fleshlight
Maitland Ward makes money collaborating with Fleshlight

The more famous a pornstar is, the more money-making opportunities there are. If you grow your social media accounts into the millions then selling merchandise becomes lucrative.

You will also start to attract some advertising money. This will be small compared to mainstream celebrities, and most of it will be other pornstars or OnlyFans models paying you for shoutouts. About $500 seems to be the most you can get per shoutout on social media or OnlyFans.

They can also do endorsements for sex toy companies. Many top stars have their own Fleshlight or sex dolls that use their image.

Some pornstars also sell used panties and things like that, but it’s getting quite rare. It’s a lot of effort to pack and ship things when pornstars can make more money selling a couple of selfies.

So how much do pornstars make?

If a pornstar is dedicated and working full time, then there’s never been a better time to be part of the industry. They just have so many different ways to make money that it’s easy to find the one that works best for you.

It should be quite hard to make less than $30 thousand a month. And as I’ve shown, the very top models can make truly obscene incomes. That said, most pornstars don’t make that much money.

It’s all about willingness to work and learn. Pornstars make a lot of money per hour. That means they can live to a good standard without working that hard.

Most people aren’t that motivated, organised or flexible enough to make truly insane money.

For example, it’s not uncommon for pornstars to take weeks or even months off work for various reasons. Other pornstars might only want to work for a couple of hours each day. And some will not be flexible with their work; they only want to do things they enjoy rather than ruthlessly figuring out what makes them the most money.

Working in porn gives you a lot of freedom to pursue the things you really care about. The majority of pornstars choose work-life balance over riches.

In my experience, most pornstars earn in the $5-12 thousand per month range, with a small group making around $20-50 thousand a month. And an even smaller elite group who are literally making millions.

If you read this article and you want to start a career in porn, read my guide on how to become a pornstar.

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