Jay Voom and Jewels Jade pose in front of the American flag. Image courtesy of Jewels Jade

In April, The San Diego Union-Tribune broke the story of Navy Chief Special Warfare Officer Joseph John Schmidt III's sex work side job. Schmidt, a decorated war veteran and navy seal, who has served the US military for 23 years, and received a valor citation for combat overseas, has also been moonlighting as adult performer, Jay Voom, for the past seven years. Most of his work has consisted of online clips and assisting his wife, popular adult performer Jewels Jade, as a fill-in stud on her official website.

Julia Anne Wadley, better known as Jewels Jade, and Joseph John Schmidt III have been married for fifteen years. They have two children together, are avid fitness enthusiasts, and are a proud American military family. Jade cites financial woes as the reason either of them are working in the adult film industry in the first place, having amassed business debt from failed real estate ventures around the 2007 property bubble. She also points out the fact the seals take a porn stash with them on missions and hire strippers to do the team's buzz cuts.

If Schmidt loses his job or is demoted, it won't be without precedent, as the US military has often punished women who pose nude with demotions and dishonorable discharges, and reprimanded men who have done the same with "stern warnings". While there is a discernible glaring double standard in how women and men are treated by the armed forces when caught doing sex work, Schmidt has done a lot more than just pose nude, putting his long-standing military career at great risk. But should this type of work preclude someone who has done their job effectively and with accolades for over two decades from continuing in their career field? Why is it okay for military personnel to watch adult performers, but not take on sex work in their free time to provide for their families? This also opens up the debate of the effects of violence versus sex on the psyche.

Many adult film actresses try to transition out of sex work eventually by going back to school or trying to find jobs outside the industry. If they are recognized, employers are within their rights to discriminate and fire these mostly very young women who just want to work in something other than porn. This was the case for prolific adult performer Bree Olson who now tells rebellious young girls flat out to think twice before entering the adult industry, strictly because of the poor treatment they will receive from the adult film viewing audience, including potential future employers.

Do we want to live in the kind of society that precludes young people from pursuing meaningful careers because of life choices they made as young adults, even if we find sex work as demeaning? What does this say about us, the viewers of pornographic materials, if we recognize these young women because we have taken pleasure from their performances, but cannot extend the same freedom that allowed us to view these sex workers to the very people who brought us such joy?

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