The porn industry needs to take a long hard look at itself

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The script has remained the same for years.

Some jacked up, testosterone filled, ‘man hammer’ stumbles across two cake-faced, ‘hot-to-trot’ dames.

What ensues is a rigid performance of cocksure thrusting and feigned moans by which the macho man eventually unloads himself, leaving the two poor doves saturated in fruitless incompletion.

It is no lie that porn expects women to be subjected to the whims of the male sex and by proxy, enjoy minimal sexual stimulation which wondrously catapults them into the realm of cataclysmic orgasms.

It’s not realistic, and yet, this Hollywood myth has become the norm.

But how can we be surprised? Porn is almost entirely managed, scripted, directed and funded by men.

I dare say consumed, as statistics now show that female consumption is on the rise.

The point is, men make porn for men. Even lesbian porn, is made for men.

The ubiquitous nature of female sexualisation means that amongst 89 categories on Pornhub, only one genre standing shyly in the corner is labelled ‘For Women’.

The idea that women exclusively view the soft porn labelled so effeminately for them, is ridiculous.

To such a degree is this assumed male-centricity, that it is estimated that 80-90% of Virtual Reality porn is from the male perspective.

Ian Paul, CIO of Naughty America, one of the largest producers of adult VR in the US responded to the low number of female point of view videos stating:

“Female sexuality is a lot more complicated than male sexuality, so it’s going to take us a lot more time to refine that,”

“I was in tears, I sincerely hope that no one enjoys that scene. I want to cry when I think about it.”

The bewilderment of being able to unlock the “mystifying” female sex in order to make VR enjoyable to women will mean that for the first time, pornographic content will be created that focuses entirely on the female pleasure perspective.

Until now, this has been relatively uncharted territory with only a few anti-mainstream warriors as exceptions.

With current content featuring little emphasis on actual stimulation for women, the industry has finally been forced into the realisation that the current(-ly out-dated) form may not be appealing all round.

Male domination and the predominance of the male sex has been sugarcoated for years.

In a recent study of 304 popular adult videos, it was found that 88.2 per cent contained physical aggression and 49 per cent featured verbal aggression against women.

With hardcore sex acts weighing in heavily, we are also seeing a stronger undercurrent that pressures those in submissive roles to look as if they are enjoying abuse.

One extreme case of this is seen in the 2005 adult film, Donkey Punch, where the male performers are seen to kick, punch, strangle, pull the hair of, gag and spit on their female co-stars.

The name Donkey Punch comes from the apocryphal act of administering a blow to the back of a partner’s head which will cause certain muscles to contract, increasing male pleasure when climaxing.

Alex Devine, who suffered the brunt of the ill-treatment during Donkey Punch’s filming commented on a particular scene where she is punched repeatedly: “I have tried to block it out from my memory due to the severe abuse I received… I actually stopped the scene while it was being filmed because I was in too much pain.

“At the end of my scene they had me sit on the couch with the directors and explain that I was OK and was willing to do the scene. I was in tears I sincerely hope that no one enjoys that scene. I want to cry when I think about it.”

You may feel compelled to argue that BDSM is popular and that can be violent and extreme.

I’m not talking about BDSM.

I am all for pain in the right places, pleasure and pain can marry, but every marriage must be fully consensual and BDSM is.

Former porn actress Tanya Burleson has also spoken up about the injustices in the industry: “Guys are punching you in the face. You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you. It’s never ending. You’re viewed as an object — not as a human with a spirit. People do drugs because they can’t deal with the way they’re being treated.”

Despite well-meaning popular consensus, simply paying someone to partake in porn does not equate to the individual enjoying what they do nor truly, deeply, consenting to the way they’re treated.

The circumstances under which performers are working have become increasingly worse with drug abuse, alcohol addiction and disease common among porn actors.

As unprotected sex is now standard in the industry, approximately 1 in 4 performers get infected with an STI, in comparison to only 2.4 per cent of the general public.

Many production companies do require a clean bill of health from their performers, valid within 14 days of the shoot date and uploaded to a mass database.

However, this is not watertight as HIV, in particular, can be largely undetectable for up to six months and so actors can unknowingly work with a false negative health clearance.

Two-thirds of the world’s ‘blue movies’ come from the USA, with estimates that 90 per cent of this is produced in California’s own porn capital, the San Fernando Valley.

Porn laws in the Golden State are lax which may encourage business but can be catastrophic for the health and safety of its workers.

Despite attempts to prevent actors from obtaining sexually transmitted diseases, Proposition 60, a ballot measure proposed in California making condoms mandatory for industry workers failed to win over voters last November.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornografie#/media/File:La_grande_Epidemie_de_PORNOGRAPHIE.jpg

“La grande Epidemie de Pornographie” (The great porn epidemic)

There have been cases of HIV spreading through the network before such as in 2010 and 2014 when an actor slept with 17 others after being falsely cleared of the virus.

A study looking at the deaths of 129 porn stars over the last 20 years found the average age of demise to be a measly 37.43 years among the group.

It appears that the porn colossus has grown into an entity that does not do its actors or consumers well.

This matters because as a society we are watching more than ever.

Last year, a total of 4.6 billion hours (524,641 combined years) were spent on Pornhub alone. That is 200 million more than the year before.

With iPhones becoming the next generation’s Nokia brick, approximately 1 in 3 ten-year-olds now own smartphone devices, and 11 per cent of them have claimed to have seen hardcore sex online.

Exposure to these impersonal, unrealistic, trivialised behaviours sets a damaging precedent for the future relationships and sex lives of the children of the digital porn revolution.

Sex in its most organic state is profoundly intimate, when it has been reduced down to a commodity to be bought and sold, it becomes completely removed from its innate human element.

The representation of a woman as a commodity to male pleasure creates an unnecessary gender taboo whereby the sexualisation of a woman is fair game, (lesbian being the top search term in 2016) but an emphasis on positive female sexual liberation is missing or of minor importance.

The bombardment of concentrated pseudo-masculinity reinforces an archaic portrayal of men. This is equally dangerous as contributes to the ‘masculinity crisis’ whereby perceived ideals of gender are warped. Young people need to know that they can explore sex and gender roles outside of heteronormative binary terms, in different ways than are presented to them in standard pornography.

Whilst saner smut is beginning to creep out of the shadows, it still resides under the ‘anti-mainstream’ title, where real attitudes towards sex have become the subculture of porn.

It wouldn’t take a lot to turn an industry that has lost its way into a safer, more loving place for everyone.

In order to shape a world of adults with healthy attitudes, we need to form a contemporary narrative that communicates natural and realistic behaviour.

Don’t be alarmed, I’m not suggesting censorship. I’m simply preaching that porn should be made with an open dialogue from a place of awareness for its viewers and its participants.

That is produced with individuals representative of outside of the San Fernando Valley, from the whole gender spectrum and Kinsey scale, so that we can fully showcase our sexy global demographic in all its real glory.

 

 


Featured image by Todd Huffman via Flickr CC