Why are children not allowed to play a role in adult films, but allowed in R-rated films?

We all know R-rated films are not suitable for kids, but children played roles in R-rated films like Shining & T2 etc. But I never saw a child appearing in adult films; why is this so?

There is a similar question on this site already, but it is related to the subject of violence.

  • 3
    Because one is porn and child pornography is illegal... The other is just a movie that doesn't get a rating until after the film is already completed and then shown to ratings. They are two completely different things. Why would you even want a kid in a porno?
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 2:23
  • Sorry, word failure up there... Films can usually guess when they will get certain ratings but, unless they're going for an R rating from the beginning, they don't always know what the rating board will give them. Plus, R movies aren't only sex-related. They can also be rated due to language, violence, drug use, or nudity.
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 2:37
  • Are you sure that porn movies never have non-porn scenes in them perhaps involving children? Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 3:34

2 Answers 2


Why children not allowed to play a role in adult films?

Because the law says so.

"In the United States Code of Regulations, under title Title 18, Section 2257, no performers under the age of 18 are allowed to be employed by adult industry production companies."

but allowed in Rated R films?

Because there is no law restricting it. Furthermore there's the practical issue that the rating comes after the film is made, so there'd be no real way to police this.

we all know Rated R films are not suitable for kids

In general, sure, but on a case-by-case bases, that's pure opinion.

  • it says no performers under the age of 18, what about side character without involving them in sexual activity? Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 3:48
  • @carolun_niko I am not a lawer, but my interpretation of 'performer' is 'actor'. So anyone appearing in the film must be over 17.
    – DA.
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 3:50
  • 1
    @carolun_niko The term "performer" is the legal industry term for "actor". The law as quoted states that they can not employ anyone to appear in an adult film, period, regardless of whether they're actually appearing in sex scenes. (I work in casting)
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 4:24
  • @DA. No problem. My personal guess is that it stems from SAG's use of Performer, as many of the original film actors were much more than just actors. They were also dancers, singers, etc...
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 4:30

The answer to this question really has a lot more to do with how films are made than whether a rating is "PG", "R", etc. Naturally, an "X" rated film does not have kids in it. Most don't even have plots, so how you would integrate children into it is a mystery.

Movies, in general, are filmed in bits and pieces. The focus on a selection of scenes one day and another selection the next day. They do it that way so there is continuity in lighting (for example). If there are a number of scenes outside, they would want to get all of those scenes done on the same day to try to ensure that the daylight was as close to the same quality as possible. There's no way to tell if the sky won't be overcast the next day... make sense?

When it comes to child actors/actresses, the parts the children are in are relatively generic. So, like, the Goosebump movies... the kids know they are not being chased by real zombies (or whatever). And a lot of the scarier stuff is done with CGI and special effects. So, the kids are not afraid or in danger or anything like that. Then the bits and pieces are put together in the 'editing room' and we get to enjoy the finished product.

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