A few seem to get that – and are paying much closer attention to the business side of porn as they perform. Jesse Jane, one of today’s reigning queens, has spent seven years carefully building her brand. She recently renegotiated her contract and is about to launch a line of signature premium sex toys.
"I figure I'm going to do [porn] for four or five more years and then quit," she says. "I've been pretty good with my money. … My focus is save, save, save. After this, I'd like to maybe open my own business - and have enough saved that even if that didn't go right, I'd be ok."
She hasn't decided yet whether that business will be tied with the adult entertainment industry, but says it’s a definite possibility.
"When I retire [from acting], I will have spent 11 or 12 years of my life doing this,” she says. “I go to all the business shows with [Digital Playground] so I can learn. … I think you can never leave."
And what about men? Typically, true male porn "stars" have a longer shelf life than women. Performers like Ron Jeremey and Evan Stone are still actively performing after 15-20 years, something the audience won't let women do.
Once they leave film, they generally move to the Web, where they operate their own site, doing the same gig.
The more generic male performers are often the boyfriends of female performers. Their career spans in the industry are much, much shorter than women's.
Slideshow: Top Selling Adult DVDs