Don’t Dream It, Be It: Women Enjoying Porn And Making Porn

Lady Porn DayLady Porn Day. There are so many things I could write about porn for women* and women’s enjoyment of porn. And there’s so much I’ve already written; the landing page of my blog has a whole bunch of posts that I recommend you read.

What I want to do here is talk about the future of women’s porn because perhaps Lady Porn Day is a marker of sorts. It feels as though things are shifting, ideas are changing. Perhaps the audience of porn-loving women has hit a critical mass and it’s time to head in new directions. As someone who has made porn for women for ten years, I’m fascinated. And I want to be involved.

I’ve found the comments made via the #ladypornday hashtag on Twitter to be interesting and enlightening but also a little depressing. It seems there are a lot of disgruntled women out there. My first encounters with the idea of Lady Porn Day were couched in the complaint that it was not representative enough. Then there was this really angry complaint about Filament magazine. And the hashtag revealed more complaints. I can probably add them to the list of things I’ve heard many women say about “porn for women” over the years. They include:

    1. There’s no porn made for women
    2. I can’t find any porn for women
    3. Porn for women is all candles and romance and soft focus and softcore and that doesn’t turn me on
    4. Porn for women is really just for gay men
    5. Porn for women is stereotypical and illogical because you can’t make assumptions about what every woman would like
    6. There’s no erections
    7. The guys are ugly/too muscular/too skinny/too gay looking/too young/too old/too white
    8. Porn for women is completely focused on heterosexual vanilla sex
    9. I don’t see myself represented in this porn
    10. I don’t find my particular turn-on/kink/fetish/fantasy in this porn

I’ve covered some of these issues in the following posts:
Porn for women – the backlash
The female gaze does not exist?
But what if stereotypes turn you on?
Boring blowjobs and feminist facials

Sex and wine - the dreaded romantic photo!Misconceptions aside, I know porn aimed at women is not perfect. It’s still a relatively new phenomenon and one that struggles with numerous issues.

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From a purely commercial viewpoint, the market for porn for women is smaller; a lot of women still don’t buy porn. That alone restricts what’s out there because making porn usually requires money. Commercial considerations as to what will appeal to the most people come into play. If you think that most porn for women is too heterosexual or vanilla… that’s because it still sells. That’s not to say diversity won’t sell or that women don’t want diversity because I know they do but commercial factors are always in play here.

When it comes to who is represented in the images of porn, that too is limited, firstly by who is willing to get their kit off in the first place, and secondly by how much money there is to pay them for said kit-off-getting. Thirdly there’s the consideration of the audience and what they want to see. Decisions need to be made as to whether something will appeal to the viewer in a sexy way. Obviously subjective ideas as to what is erotic play a big part in this but there’s also the consideration of wider appeal (and of NOT turning off the viewer).

Women’s porn is only just beginning to diversify. Mainstream porn aimed at men has split into dozens of specific “niches”. If you want dwarf bondage orgy porn, it’s out there, though it’s still presented from a male perspective. Porn aimed at women hasn’t got there yet. Give it time.

And I’m saying all this from the perspective of owning one of the largest and oldest paysites for straight women, For The Girls. In theory, I’m guilty of making porn for women too restrictive because my site is relatively vanilla and heterosexual. But I’m just one person and FTG is just one site. It’s impossible to be all things to all women. FTG does try to offer a broad variety of content, particularly when it comes to our stories and articles but it can only really fulfil its original purpose: to be a site for women like me.

So having said all that, I want to think positively about the idea of complaints. Mainly, that a complaint is an opportunity.

If you are feeling disgruntled with the state of women’s porn, there are three positive things you can do about it:

    1. Make a request or a suggestion to the people who are making porn. Everyone loves feedback because it’s really useful in helping to refine what’s being offered. But for goodness sake, be nice about it. Catch flies with honey. Remember, pornographers are people too. And chances are they are just doing their best, trying to be creative and make a living, following their own vision.

    2. Be prepared to back up your request with cash. By that I mean, make it apparent that you are willing to support the porn companies/sites/filmmakers and buy their product. Making good porn usually requires money, especially if you want good production values and also want to pay your actors/models properly. Ive written more on this in the post Why you shouldn’t assume all porn should be free.

    This also applies to links. If you like a pic and put it on your blog, make sure you acknowledge the source. And obviously don’t just steal other people’s pics and repost them as your own. Be fair in your dealings with porn if you want it to be fair to you.

    3. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, consider making it yourself. Take your own photos. Shoot your own movies. Write erotic fiction. Create your own vision of what is sexy and put it out there. What’s stopping you? The internet is there for the taking, self publishing is easy, erotic creativity is only constrained by your imagination. Hell, you can even make money with it, either through direct sales or through advertising and affiliate marketing.

Don’t dream it, be it.

And if you need any advice, I’m right here.

I’ve been doing this for ten years. I know a fair bit about online marketing, hosting, domains, traffic, billing, movie editing, coding, writing, PR, advertising, content, licensing, networking and generally selling porn. If you have a vision and want to do something different, I’m happy to give advice. Email me (msnaughty AT msnaughty dot com).

So, the future of women’s porn. Where do we go from here?

I guess it all depends on whether the rest of the porn industry steps into the twenty-first century and decides to embrace women as consumers. If all porn was inclusive, respectful, positive and not sexist then I don’t think there’d be as much of a need for the construct that is “porn for women”.

But that doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen soon. And I do think there’s always a place for porn that speaks only to women as an audience because women experience sex in their own way.

In the meantime, I’m hoping that more women start to speak about their enjoyment of porn and make their presence felt as active consumers. I think more women will step into creative roles and start to make their own porn. There’ll be more diversification and more options, a wider choice. And perhaps a wider social recognition of women’s enjoyment of porn.

Oh, and I hope that piracy and censorship doesn’t fuck it all up first.

I know my future holds a lot of changes this year. I need to revamp a lot of sites, including Ms Naughty. I want to embrace the changes that are coming. And I have a lot of porn that I want to create. It won’t be porn that is everyone’s bag, but it will make me happy and express my own sexuality. And I’ve found that when you do that, you easily find like-minded people who appreciate what you make.

So Happy Lady Porn Day, all.

PS. Let’s do this all again on Cake and Cunnilingus Day.

* Cue the inevitable disclaimer that I mainly talk about cisgender heterosexual women, although not necessarily in this post as I’m also thinking about lesbians, transwomen, queer folk on occasion. You can decide which bit is which and flagellate or praise me accordingly.

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6 Replies to “Don’t Dream It, Be It: Women Enjoying Porn And Making Porn”

  1. I really enjoyed your article for Lady Porn day, you write so well. I too have asked members of my sites what do they want to see? And I don’t get any replies. I have the ability with my 3D work to create virtually anything they wish. I hope they take us both up on it. You are now producing movies/pictures. I’m producing 3D erotica and are in the position to give women what they want in porn…if they will only ask for it.

  2. Thank the Goddess someone has finally picked up that incredible-but-true fact: If women don’t buy porn, people who make porn aren’t going to make it.

    I get complaints from women all the time who can’t find what they want . . . and half of the time they don’t really know what they want, they mostly know what they don’t want. While generally being open to porn as part of their relationship or even for their solo pleasure, many women are still unwilling to explore exactly what it is that trips their trigger. If they were to make that exploration and then put their money where their clitoris is, the market would naturally respond.

    Another problem is that even though a few women do buy porn, they don’t buy with the same frequency as men by orders of magnitude. A woman is likely to purchase a DVD and watch it over half a dozen times on average before she becomes bored with it and moves on. Men watch a DVD an average of 2.7 times, then look for their next purchase. That means that even women who do buy porn aren’t going to be enough to move the market, unless they do so with enough frequency for the industry to justify the investment.

    I think that might be changing some with the broad-spectrum appeal of XXX parodies, though. Women are almost twice as likely to purchase a parody DVD of a favorite show than any other kind of porn DVD.

    But thank you for pointing out the issues with “porn for women”. The fact is, lots of people try, but until women are a more robust market, they’re just going to have to be satisfied with what’s out there.

    Or make their own. Good call on that.

    Ian

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