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Twilight of the Pr0n
June 6, 2012 10:21 PM   Subscribe

How the Internet Killed Porn.
posted by Artw (132 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
If true, this is really interesting:
It's an open secret in the porn world that many female performers are supplementing their income by "hooking on the side". It's also called "doing privates", as in private bookings. The official industry line is that it's dangerous (because clients aren't tested the way performers are) and irresponsible (because the women could then infect the closed community of professional performers). But the women can make far more money having sex behind closed doors than doing it on film and, in fact, the practice is widespread. For many female performers nowadays, the movies are merely a sideline, a kind of advertising for their real business of prostitution.
That's a reversal from the economics I had assumed were the case.
posted by Forktine at 10:31 PM on June 6, 2012


I did not know that anyone had been sent to jail for a year for obscenity in this century.
posted by XMLicious at 10:32 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kinda like when videotape killed porn? (cue The Buggles)

I re-watched "Boogie Nights" the other day, and I remember at the time thinking about how I totally agreed with Jack's (Burt Reynold's character) assessment that video "looks like shit, and sounds like shit" as compared with film (in those days.) Directors like Andrew Blake centered their careers around insisting on shooting 35mm film long after it went out of fashion. But nowadays, video can be convincingly made to look like film at a fraction of the cost.

(granted, that's not really the (ahem) thrust of the article, but just my recollections of a previous "day the porno died" era)
posted by ShutterBun at 10:34 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


the practice is widespread.

The jokes truly write themselves in this kind of article, don't they?
posted by ShutterBun at 10:35 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.

Replace "having sex on camera" with basically anything else, maybe "low level lawyer work" or "stuff easily outsourced to china or india"...and this statement is still true. That's the sad thing about the modern world.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:38 PM on June 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


Damn. Between this and the Rio+20 report...
posted by sourwookie at 10:49 PM on June 6, 2012


But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.

once i made a pornooooh
i made 'em cum
i made the porno they bought
once i made a porno,
but now it's done
buddy can you spare a thought?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:49 PM on June 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


In the 90s one of the best-known male performers was Jon Dough – birth name Chet Anuszak...he killed himself in 2006 at the age of 43

I had no idea. Actually way more bummed about this than I care to admit. I was, uh, familiar with his work.

Can't say much in the article surprised me. I've wondered for years how the business stays afloat with the ubiquity of free porn all over the web.
posted by The Gooch at 10:53 PM on June 6, 2012


It's not just the internet though. The distribution model was killing porn too. I read an interesting factoid a while back: the porn flick "Desperate Housewives", which achieved several millions of dollars in revenues through hotel pay per view, delivered something like $10k of profit to its producers.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:59 PM on June 6, 2012


I have some conflicting thoughts about this article. It's interesting to me that the women make so much more than the men--in some sense that seems good, and I can't express why--while the men are encouraged to have a "side job" since they can't make enough money in porn (generally) to support a lifestyle. Yet, as any consumer of porn can tell you, it's the women who are featured and objectified, and often (but not always) the men who are more or less hidden from view. When we then come to the bit about most of these women supplementing their incoming from prostitution (here's a leap in logic I don't find unwarranted: I presume the supplementation is necessary because it must be very hard to find more innocuous work, as a woman, with an adult film star filmography and an easily-recognizable face), I find it really troublesome. Obviously the system isn't working, but more importantly, the system seems specifically designed so that women fail.
posted by nonmerci at 11:07 PM on June 6, 2012


Sometime here in the next couple years, ubiquitous facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically and directly to their facebook accounts (or whatever's in vogue then). One wonders if we might see a bit of a retraction in the amateur porn market when the people in those videos can't rely on the anonymity of large crowds to keep their secrets. It's probably a little early to be calling it twilight for Big Pron, just yet.
posted by barnacles at 11:15 PM on June 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


She stumbles into the arms of her forbidden lover, Miguel, played by rising star Xander Corvus
I see what you did there.
posted by Brak at 11:16 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


the practice is widespread.
The jokes truly write themselves in this kind of article, don't they?


What would be impressive would be to write a full article without making any unintended jokes.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:19 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically and directly to their facebook accounts (or whatever's in vogue then)

G+ already does a limited amount of auto-tagging people whose faces it recognizes in photos, but it asks for confirmation of every one and is still very obviously in development.
posted by mrbill at 11:19 PM on June 6, 2012


Facebook doesn't give you avatar images via their API, at least not if you are doing wide searches of publically available information, I guess for reasons like this. You can totally trawl Twitter avatars though.
posted by Artw at 11:19 PM on June 6, 2012


That's a reversal from the economics I had assumed were the case.

As I had understood it, the porn gigs were a way to establish a name that you could take on the adult club circuit. This suggests that avenue of income is also in decline, but Theroux doesn't even mention it.

facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically

I believe the name of this program is called 4chan.
posted by dhartung at 11:23 PM on June 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


T-Shirt sales get no mention at all...
posted by Artw at 11:24 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


This just in: Pornstars just as screwed as the rest of us.

Wait, that didn't come out-- dammit you can't say anything in porn threads.

Actually I think talking about porn and piracy is interesting precisely because piracy isn't the only problem posed by the internet as far as porn is concerned; the DIY amateur problem, as the article calls it, is analogous to piracy in a lot of ways -- usually obtained by going to either somewhat sketchy or private websites, totally uncertain quality, but free and easily digitally distributed -- but unlike piracy, the legal options (shutting down websites, suing people, etc.) are totally off the table. It can't even buy itself some legislation, since it'd be well-nigh impossible to write anti-amateur-porn legislation that couldn't be used to shut down the porn industry in the hands of conservative politicians. All this IMO is a good thing; it means that if porn wants to survive as a commercial business it's got to find a way to compete with free amateurs in other ways. If it can figure out how to compete with the DIY crowd it will, in the process, figure out how to compete with pirates without resorting to legal threats and passing laws, which would be good, since the MPAA and RIAA sure as hell don't have a clue and somebody needs to show them a better way.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:31 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I presume the supplementation is necessary because it must be very hard to find more innocuous work, as a woman, with an adult film star filmography

I think you've got this timeline backwards. Female porn actresses don't turn to prostitution because they can't get other work; women already engaged in sex work use films as a marketing tool.
posted by Justinian at 11:34 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


While we're on the subject, Stoya did an AMA on Reddit a few weeks back, and this particular exchange was interesting:

Robotov: How do you feel about the fact that although you doubtless have tons of fans on this site, very few of them are likely to have ever paid a cent for your work?

IAmStoya: Well... frankly... I'm not sure if it matters any more. The company that I work for was recently purchased by a company that owns a lot of the tube sites, so I suspect that somehow the piracy may actually be funding the production now. I don't claim to have any clue what their business model is or how it works, but it must work for them to have the money to buy up half the industry.


I gotta say I'm pretty curious about how that business model works, too.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:36 PM on June 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


I've also wondered if, besides face recognition and gait recognition and digital camera fingerprinting for automated stalkering, we'll also develop something to do automated matching based on patterns of freckles and other skin details.
posted by XMLicious at 11:36 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


not wholly surprising about the tube sites - there are obvious ad videos (3 1/2 min clip show with a prominately features watermark) and some companies advertised directly on the bigger porn torrent sites.

as to prostitution, the alt-porn stars have been talking forever about how the more mainstream stars are up clients at the AVN awards. sometimes it's couched as a porn shoot, but usually not. these aren't unknown women just using the videos for advertising, these is some of the biggest names in the business.
posted by nadawi at 11:55 PM on June 6, 2012


Just like Theroux's book, this article is about half nonsense.

"as to prostitution, the alt-porn stars have been talking forever about how the more mainstream stars are up clients at the AVN awards. sometimes it's couched as a porn shoot, but usually not. these aren't unknown women just using the videos for advertising, these is some of the biggest names in the business."

Well, first off, a lot of the alt-starts are full of bullshit. The whole porn industry gossips like high schoolers on facebook. Some stars do "private bookings," some don't, most of the ones that have regular careers in porn don't really do it because they don't need to. Maybe it just depends on the circles you run in, but at least what I saw was a lot less actual hooking and a lot more sort of skeevy sugar daddy relationships where coked-out party sex leads to diamond earrings from beady-eyed "producers." The ones who were actually hooking tended to be mostly doing that and using porn as a sideline, rather than the other way around.

In terms of things that have led to the decline of the porn industry, I'd mention two things that I think are important that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere:

First off, the porn industry has absolute, unrelenting contempt for most of the talent and all of the audience. There's a big sense of "This is what we're making, and people will like it or fuck 'em," which (especially when combined with overproduction) just leads to a total lack of connection between producers and the audience, and that's often echoed back by a total contempt of producers by the audience.

This is even more true with magazines than anything else, which is why magazines will probably die first. Part of it may come from the philosophy that whatever gets off the skeevy dude at the head of the company will work for everyone.

The other part is that there really are very few places where it feels like you can pay for porn and get a reliable, decent product that won't try to rip you off. You pretty much have to pony up for niche sites in order to get that — there's no iTunes for porno. And what, you're supposed to give your credit card to some random shitheads who manage to set up a website and trust that they won't just scam it? Since half the porn sites are chockablock with pirated porn, what, they're suddenly going to find their morals after you give them money?

So, they're jerks who want your money but don't generally seem worthy of the trust and also you can get pretty much the same thing for free, and frankly, the dudes who go for the personal relationships with porn stars are mostly a weird, lonely cohort that you don't want to be a part of. Of course that fails as a business model.
posted by klangklangston at 12:16 AM on June 7, 2012 [34 favorites]


I read this paragraph...
...is Rob Zicari, better known as Rob Black. In the 90s, Black was one of the most notorious provocateurs in porn. He specialised in tastelessness; his films were more like grotesque exercises in taboo-breaking than anything anyone might conceivably watch for sexual pleasure.
...and then Googled Zicari. I can totally understand why someone would be repulsed and outraged by his movies, but I have a hard time taking seriously anyone writing about, well, sex in any context who would think that "grotesque exercises in taboo-breaking" and "things people would watch for sexual pleasure" are someone opposed. Worse, that he can't even conceive of anyone being aroused by such things. This is someone who either is careless about what he writes, prone to hyperbole, or knows almost nothing about human sexuality. Maybe all three.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:19 AM on June 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think you've got this timeline backwards. Female porn actresses don't turn to prostitution because they can't get other work; women already engaged in sex work use films as a marketing tool.

I very much doubt that. When I was a teenager in high school in LA I was approached twice about doing a porn film and many of my friends were too. And by people I knew and my parents had met; once was via a slightly older girl I knew through high school sports, kind of a wild rich girl type who never went to college and was hanging around the edges of the film business. She told lots of girls I knew that she could hook them up, explicitly how much you'd get paid for what, and in retrospect I don't think one of us told our parents, coaches or other adults because she was kind of wild and fun and got us into clubs and stuff and we didn't want that cut off. The other time was the slightly older boyfriend of a girl I was in class with who, again in retrospect, was probably supporting himself selling drugs to high schoolers but we thought of him as a musician. And we were all college bound AP students and athletes with involved parents and no real huge problems, so I imagine there were girls who were basically going to be at loose ends once high school ended with no familial support that might have taken them up on the offer for the money or just to meet celebrities (which was explicitly offered as a perk). I had zero interest in any of it but I do remember that they made it sound glamorous, we were in the top room of some secret Hollywood bar and we were probably 18 and had been drinking and of course we'd been around working actors and LA and we could tell it was BS but I could see how a more impressionable kid might fall for it. As far as I know that's how most women end up in porn: they are young and a trusted friend or boyfriend talks them into it. I don't think they go looking for hookers.
posted by fshgrl at 12:26 AM on June 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


Man, based on klangklangston's comment, if an outfit like Playboy plays its cards right, it could return to dominance in adult entertainment. A Trusted, recognized brand name is exactly what porn needs to survive and Playboy has that in spades. Sure, the gonzo porn isn't really Playboy's niche, but Playboy is getting its lunch eaten by all the tube sites right now as it is. If Playboy stuck its logo on some of those websites, BOOM! advertisers and even.possible subscribers would throw money at Playboy.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:40 AM on June 7, 2012


"In a grand suburban house on a quiet cul-de-sac in California's San Fernando Valley an actor is having a problem with her moans. Alexa Nicole (her professional name) is playing the role of a Latin beauty in A Love Story, a pornographic film about an author of romance novels suffering from writer's block. They are shooting a fantasy sequence in which Alexa wanders the darkened corridors of the house in a white nightie, carrying a large candlestick. She stumbles into the arms of her forbidden lover, Miguel, played by rising star Xander Corvus, clad in leather trousers, frilly blouse and waistcoat. Helpless in the heat of passion, they make love on the chaise longue.

But there is a small issue. Alexa's rapid high-pitched squeals of pleasure aren't up to the exacting standards of the film's director.

"Less porno," he says. By way of illustration he offers a different read – less urgent, more ladylike. "Yes, yes, yes!" Then he announces his keyword for the day: "Romantico!""
I'm curious as to why an article titled "How the internet killed porn" (emphasis mine) starts with this narrative about what's "going wrong" with this particular shoot. And perhaps introducing what's wrong with all the shoots as of late? I get a subtle but odd message from this starting point. Just me?
"Those movie companies that remain are focusing increasingly on high-end product, trying to beat the illegal sites by providing something like a cinematic experience. There is a flight into "quality". In an uncanny echo of a recent BBC slogan, they are embracing the idea of "Fewer, Bigger, Better". For some, this means more female-orientated scenes with less angry sex. Hence A Love Story. For others, it means parodies – of popular TV shows and recent blockbusters."
So I'm reading that this focus on "quality", the inclusion of content that is appealing to women, the broadening to different types of sex (if there's less angry sex, presumably there's more of other kinds?) and more plot creativity that is relevant to current pop culture trends...these are all bad things killing the porn industry? I feel like we still haven't gotten to the actual point yet (which is addressed later in the article, and is actually quite a good one I think), and so I find it frustrating that this argument starts off in this direction. Seems like it's lumping together consumerism, the inclusion of women (and perhaps less misogyny) and the blurring of lines between the common, pop world out there with the private club of porn. Some of those things don't necessarily pair well to illustrate a 'problem' per se.

On further thought...A Love Story. romance novels. frilly blouse. make love on the chaise longue. rapid, high-pitched squeals. the director's exacting standards. "Less porno". *his* more ladylike read. Romantico!...I get the sense from this that we're not talking about the internet as the problem, but rather the emasculation and feminization of porn.

For the record, I thought the article was super interesting and made some really good points. But the way it kicks off...I don't know about that. Curious if I'm reading too much into it or if others might have had same/similar impressions.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:51 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh playboy makes plenty on their brand. hef's daughter, then the board after she left, has been pushing the business towards booty shorts and flasks sold at spencers for a while now. how it will fair after hef dies is an interesting question, but the porn part is basically advertising at this point.
posted by nadawi at 12:55 AM on June 7, 2012


"For the record, I thought the article was super interesting and made some really good points. But the way it kicks off...I don't know about that. Curious if I'm reading too much into it or if others might have had same/similar impressions."

I think you're on to something, but I think it's in contradiction to your favorable impression of the article as a whole. From my perspective, the writer doesn't really understand his subject at all.

Specifically, you're right that there's a dissonance and it's because the writer doesn't see that what he's describing at the beginning of the article isn't the death of porn, but part of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal recent history. He doesn't see it for what it is because I feel pretty sure that he can't really imagine that there's a market for that kind of porn because I don't think he believes that there's female interest in porn at all.

But of course there is. There's a huge amount of unmet demand for porn that isn't misogynist and which is more geared to the things women generally prefer to emphasize as opposed to the things men generally prefer to emphasize (individuals vary, these differences to whatever degree they do exist have etiologies that are not necessarily biologically determined, etc). I think the author sees this more in terms of "women like romance novels and so sexist men in porn wrongly think that explicit sex in a romance novel context will appeal to women, which won't ever work because everyone knows women don't want to see explicit sex". Maybe I'm being unfair to him. Maybe not.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:03 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


So here's the thing. There will always be a demand for porn. The question is : who will be making it, and why?

I think the interesting bit here is where they attribute porn's decline to the appearance of the tube sites, and specifically their placing back catalog stuff online. What that tells me is there was a momentary bubble where a glut of previously-unavailable porn was made available. So now what? You think people are gonna just keep watching the same porn over and over?

I would argue that reports of the death of porn are greatly exaggerated. Porn is no exception from the cyclical taste machine. For a while it was ultra-violent nogoodstuff, and now it's trending toward frillyshit fancypants stuff. How long until it cycles back, or something else gets recycled?

Like every other form of dinosaur media, porn has had a difficult time adjusting to the new media landscape. But the demand is there, the demand will always be there, and it's just a matter of time until people turn it into money.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:21 AM on June 7, 2012


I thought some of the article was kind of interesting. And some of the comments here are fairly interesting. But what I find most fascinating is how the comments are focusing on the "porn" part of the title and not the "internet" part of the title. Porn ebbs and flows. It's changed formats a zillion times. It's had its share (rightfully and wrongfully) of hard knocks in the legal department. There's been fads, trends, niches, etc… None of this is really news. But what is news (if you consider a decade, maybe two as "new") is that the internet is a merciless juggernaut. A killing machine. A paradigm shift par excellence. What it says, goes. We can sit here and talk about art, actors, cheap video cameras, and all the rest, but the real deal is that the old business model of selling content on some kind of media is gone. The internet didn't just kill porn. It's killed music. It's practically killed magazines and newspapers. It's going to soon kill television. It's killing books. It's killed radio. It's killed phonebooks. It's killed greeting cards. It's killing the post office. It might even kill family or class reunions. Who knows when this lumbering behemoth of a death machine will be stopped? And how?

All kidding aside, the paradigm shift of the internet on any and all aspects of our lives is still utterly astonishing to me. Where the hell this is all going is anybody's guess. But it sure is a great big freakout watching it all whiz by. I wish that I were a lot smarter about how to take advantage of the boundless opportunities these dilemmas and benefits will/could create.
posted by readyfreddy at 1:21 AM on June 7, 2012 [52 favorites]


Such great points readyfreddy. Whenever I see something "The Internet Killed X", I always wonder what exactly they mean by 'internet'. Are they talking about the physical connectivity to the web? People's behaviors nowadays? Media and culture in general? Specific places on the internet, like YouTube and Facebook? Youth? What? I can't figure out if 'internet' points to an actual thing, or is a metonymy for something else.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:31 AM on June 7, 2012


But the way it kicks off...I don't know about that. Curious if I'm reading too much into it or if others might have had same/similar impressions.

I think the author's point is that porn is having to actually try now, vs. the easy money days. The people in the porn industry might prefer the easy money days, but the author doesn't seem to be a fan of them. He is trying to stay neutral but I don't see him really being on the industry's side either.

It'd be like seeing Jeff Spicoli in a suit and tie two years after graduation. On the one hand, good for him? On the other hand... aw, end of Fast Times. On the third hand, well, he still looks kind of ridiculous, he's still Jeff Spicoli, and you wonder how it's gonna work out. Who's he foolin'?
posted by fleacircus at 1:36 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


@readyfreddy

I forget who first said this but "the internet means that, in the future, movies will be about people yelling at words on a 3.5'' screen."

Also, something something, 'word virus' something 'system(s) of control' something something.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:44 AM on June 7, 2012


I presume the supplementation is necessary because it must be very hard to find more innocuous work, as a woman, with an adult film star filmography and an easily-recognizable face

I imagine it's also hard to go to work for 8 hours every day for a week and only bring home a couple hundred bucks.
posted by davey_darling at 1:56 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


davey_darling: sure - that's often quoted as a problem for people trying to give up sex work as well. It's still far better paid than other jobs that person could get.
posted by wilberforce at 2:58 AM on June 7, 2012


Well, given how good the internet is at disintermediating people and killing the niches occupied by middle-men, it was only a matter of time before it disintermediated the voyeurs and exhibitionists, killing much of the porn industry. Or, as Clay Shirky would say, here comes everybody.
posted by acb at 3:05 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometime here in the next couple years, ubiquitous facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically and directly to their facebook accounts (or whatever's in vogue then). One wonders if we might see a bit of a retraction in the amateur porn market when the people in those videos can't rely on the anonymity of large crowds to keep their secrets. It's probably a little early to be calling it twilight for Big Pron, just yet.

Or maybe, just maybe, it will help North America get over its incredibly silly sex and sexuality denial issues. After all, the serious child-destroying fallout from Janet Jackson's nipple should be approaching its half-life by now that those kids are teenagers.
posted by srboisvert at 3:14 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Replace "having sex on camera" with basically anything else, maybe "low level lawyer work" or "stuff easily outsourced to china or india"...and this statement is still true. That's the sad thing about the modern world.
Well, the difference is you can do "low level lawyer work" until you drop dead. The problem with porn is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to hire you. And unlike, say, basketball it can actually be really difficult to get a decent job if your employers google you. There have been a bunch of articles about teachers getting fired for having done porn in the past.

So basically, you need to plan to be able to retire by 30. But it's still pretty similar to any kind of professional athletes.

However, There are lots and lots of people who have all the other non-porn skills as the average porn star who are still going to be working fast food or some other shitty jobs for the rest of their lives without ever having done porn. They are obviously, obviously way worse off then someone who made large amounts of money in their youth.
Sometime here in the next couple years, ubiquitous facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically and directly to their facebook accounts (or whatever's in vogue then).
Eh, it's already built into Facebook. But the problem is while it can probably match your friends, I doubt that facial recognition will ever be good enough to distinguish between millions of different people accurately. I would question whether or not faces are unique enough to really ID people exactly, and with expressions changing all the time, people do look different.

I'm sure someone's done research on this, but I don't know what the exact figures are as far as (for example) how many random people you'd need in a group before there was one who was indistinguishable from you to a computer.
Facebook doesn't give you avatar images via their API, at least not if you are doing wide searches of publically available information, I guess for reasons like this. You can totally trawl Twitter avatars though.
You can get thumbnails from any profile if you know the ID. That probably wouldn't be too helpful. But there's no reason to think FB wouldn't hand over the data if you paid them enough. Or were a government.
not wholly surprising about the tube sites - there are obvious ad videos (3 1/2 min clip show with a prominately features watermark) and some companies advertised directly on the bigger porn torrent sites.
I'm pretty sure the "Tube Sites" function the way "TGPs" did back in the day, mainly as advertising for some sites. So you get a little clip on a tube site, then you can pay to get full access. There are always going to be enough people willing to pay for full access to support the industry. If you're rich it's probably not too much of an expense. Probably concern over privacy and credit cards is more of a inhibiting factor then the cost.
Man, based on klangklangston's comment, if an outfit like Playboy plays its cards right, it could return to dominance in adult entertainment. A Trusted, recognized brand name is exactly what porn needs to survive and Playboy has that in spades. Sure, the gonzo porn isn't really Playboy's niche, but Playboy is getting its lunch eaten by all the tube sites right now as it is. If Playboy stuck its logo on some of those websites, BOOM! advertisers and even.possible subscribers would throw money at Playboy.
I think part of the problem is that the vast majority of, well, wankers don't really care that much about whether or not the porn they are watching is "high quality". It doesn't really need to be. And there is a ton of stuff out there for free, supported by advertising that works when people who do care see the ads.

I think it's a situation where a handful of "power users", maybe 1% are supporting the distribution of porn for the rest of society, which doesn't care and isn't interested in paying.

I actually think this is a pretty good use-case for bitcoin. It's almost completely anonymous, and there is zero risk of having someone make unauthorized transactions the way they can with a credit card. So you don't have to worry about numbers being stolen, and you don't even have to worry about some impossible to cancel "trial". There are no chargebacks, but you'd likely be paying something pretty cheap such that if you don't like it - no big loss.
posted by delmoi at 3:16 AM on June 7, 2012


But the demand is there, the demand will always be there, and it's just a matter of time until people turn it into money.

Demand is not always monetizable because money is a very peculiar thing. There will always be a demand for porn, yes, but the real question is: what will be willing to exchange for porn? It won't be dollars. Exchanging dollars for content that is so easy to produce never really made sense; the internet has just exposed this basic fact. But people might be willing to exchange plenty of other things. It's quite possible that porn will in fact lead the way in showing how a market can function after it's been demonetized.

I think it's a situation where a handful of "power users", maybe 1% are supporting the distribution of porn for the rest of society, which doesn't care and isn't interested in paying.

I imagine the only people still extracting significant dollars from the porn market are aggregators and niche producers. Aggregators can make money by eliminating search costs, which are often the primary cost for any widely available commodity but this can only work so long as tastes stay roughly "popular" and the same content is widely liked. Niche producers are more interesting because they can extract virtually limitless dollars by essentially becoming artists. And so it's not surprising to see the market break down this way. But this is still not optimal because (1) at some point consumers should actually develop more sophisticated taste for content that is not wholly substitutable and to the extent that it is, it's freely available (2) at that point the "skill" required by the artists becomes what determines the price. So long term I would expect the ability to monetize porn demand to really fall away. It's not so much that information wants to be free, it's that there's just a lot of information out there. You might say there's an unlimited supply.
posted by nixerman at 3:43 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I think part of the problem is that the vast majority of, well, wankers don't really care that much about whether or not the porn they are watching is 'high quality'. It doesn't really need to be. And there is a ton of stuff out there for free, supported by advertising that works when people who do care see the ads. "

I'm not sure about that. But porn consumption is very personal and private and most of us are left with extrapolating mostly from our own experience and that's very unreliable. With that qualification out of the way, a couple of years ago I paid for a year's subscription to a photo site that I'd torrented and otherwise gotten a bunch of pirated content from for a number of years. Obviously, I'm not keen on discussing my personal porn preferences here, but it's moderately high-profile and high-quality. I regretted the purchase right after I made it, but shortly thereafter I was increasingly happy with it. They produce much more new content every day, much more than I could keep up with (not that I really tried, I don't consume that much porn, but I'm picky, contrary to your assertion...or I'm the exception...and I like to browse through what's available to find the few things that work for me) and I could get everything they'd published in years past, in high-resolution photos. It was much, much more content than I expected and often really great quality stuff and, pretty quickly, it felt like I'd found a bargain. And it was all original content, produced by them. I worried a bit about giving them my credit card number, I think it's the only time I've ever done that. But not that worried.

In fact, all the free porn on the web has paradoxically reduced my consumption of porn. When I do get some, it's still to torrent it. All the free stuff is so vast, and so...blah...the sheer quantity coupled with low quality combine to make it not worth my trouble at all. Exactly in opposition to your basic premise.

Maybe I'm truly exceptional. If I'm unusual, though, I don't think I'm that unusual. My sense is that this is a transitional period. It's like the middle days with free (pirated) music on the net. It was hit-or-miss even though there was vast amounts available. Now there's iTunes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:47 AM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


" When I do get some, it's still to torrent it."

What I meant was that when I do get some, it's via torrent.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:48 AM on June 7, 2012


It's killed radio

I know that you mean radio as a dedicated physical device, but it was mostly 'dead' before the internet with the exception of dedicated cadres of followers and people stuck in their cars. However, the internet was the best thing to happen to the concept of radio. There are sites, podcasts, random guys streaming and you can get content online from any place in the world. It's glorious and I don't even like radio that much.
posted by ersatz at 4:10 AM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'll start using "profesional sports" and "amateur sports" as euphemisms for prostitution and friends-with-benifits, respectively, thanks delmoi.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:12 AM on June 7, 2012


Worse, that he can't even conceive of anyone being aroused by such things. This is someone who either is careless about what he writes, prone to hyperbole, or knows almost nothing about human sexuality.

The author did not, in fact, say that the extreme taboo-breaking stuff didn't appeal to "anyone." As a business model, you need to appeal to lots of people. If only a few find your offerings appealing (or in this case arousing), you've got a bad model.

His concluding statement is a reach, though. To say "there is no answer" is almost certainly wrong. Porn has been around forever, and people have been making money from it for almost as long. The porn industry as it exists now may completely disappear, but someone will find a way to get money from porn.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:34 AM on June 7, 2012


It's killed radio

Yeah, I definitely listen to more radio now via podcasts than I even did before (except during my revision for exams / doing uni work days), much more then television.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:35 AM on June 7, 2012


It's really interesting to hear that the *tube sites have brought porn-making companies. I wonder if they'll become something like the Clear Channel of pornography? Or perhaps Amazon would be a better comparison, as it seems that - again - the internet is taking a vast industry and breaking it down into a few megacompanies run by Oligarchs.
posted by The River Ivel at 4:44 AM on June 7, 2012


I'd it's the advent of cheap cameras that spelled porn's demise. When the capital cost of production is essentially zero, there will be a rush to produce cheaper and cheaper product that still fulfills the requirements of the customer. With lots of cheap product available, the market gluts, and prices must fall, and have. These days if your standards aren't super high, the *Tube sites can supply all your need for nothing. Torrents were (and still are) a thing, but at this point free (torrents) is competing with free (tube sites), and by and large it is now convenience that is driving selection.

The big winner, which hasn't happened yet, would be a NetFlix of porn, that has a cheap monthly rate and good streaming quality, and a broad selection of good quality old and new stuff. The reason this hasn't happened I expect was brought up by klang: it has to be a reputable brand; I'm not going to give my credit card info to someone who seems even the slightest bit sketchy. But if, say NetFlix themselves branched out into XXX titles via add-on, I'd be super happy to give them another six or seven bucks a month to have that category added. The back catalogue alone would be breathtaking.

It would work, because it would be convenient -- and today convenience and selection is more important than free.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:55 AM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I get the sense from this that we're not talking about the internet as the problem, but rather the emasculation and feminization of porn.

I think that's a misreading. It's perhaps a risk had chose in going with an anecdotal lead, but nevertheless, I think on the author is presenting that scene as an effect of the changes in porn's business model, not as a cause of them. Give the man his Quentin Tatentino; just because it comes first in the storyline doesn't mean it is the primum mobile.

As for the prostitution angle --- can't say I have any personal knowledge here, but I seem to remember that back in the Jenna Jameson/DFW at the adult awards era of the early 2000, articles about the porn industry used to talk about mid range star getting somewhere in the five figures for a film but how the real money was for women to go out and tour the strip clubs, doing appearances --- one or two dances and then spend the rest of the night signing autographs at $30 a pop or whatever. Was every female porn star making that kind of money? Surely not. But at that time there was a solid level of the industry where you could make way more money off your fame than your body, even in porn. Hooking, at that time and in those articles, was presented as something that was looked down on as evidence that you weren't really a bankable pprn star. I think what the guardian is pointing out is that that's pretty much gone now, and that is a big change from even ten years ago.
posted by Diablevert at 5:03 AM on June 7, 2012


I missed the cues that the article was breaking expected format and doing the edgy Tarantino thing. I imagine I'm not alone on that, so I'm (we're?) left with an article that opens with something sounding subtly misogynistic framed as part of the answer to what killed porn, i.e. the internet, whatever that means.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you've got this timeline backwards. Female porn actresses don't turn to prostitution because they can't get other work; women already engaged in sex work use films as a marketing tool.

This is a totally answerable question, but I don't know if anyone is doing the broad research that would provide the answer. And as suggested by fshgirl's fascinating story, it almost certainly varies by sector and location -- the career trajectories are going to be different at the high and low ends of the industry for example, or in the US vs eastern Europe.

But if, say NetFlix themselves branched out into XXX titles via add-on, I'd be super happy to give them another six or seven bucks a month to have that category added. The back catalogue alone would be breathtaking.

I'm genuinely surprised that this hasn't happened. I have been expecting it for a few years now, but so far no sign of it. I consume almost no porn, but I would totally sign up for this simply because I find ye olde porn films (especially of the 1960s and 1970s) so interesting. NetFlix already has some pretty raunchy content, and I'm sure they have considered adding a NetFliXXX subsidiary -- I would love to be the fly on the wall to learn why they have not taken that path.
posted by Forktine at 5:24 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would love to be the fly on the wall to learn why they have not taken that path.

I am a bit miffed that Netflix won't rent Graphic Sexual Horror, which is a documentary about the rise and fall of Insex. I ended up buying the DVD while it sits at the bottom of my Netflix queue tagged "availability unknown."
posted by localroger at 5:39 AM on June 7, 2012


I watch porn but not straight porn, so I am not the target market here, but do titles like Dr Butts 3: The Anal Asylum really seem erotic to straight men?
posted by desjardins at 5:43 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Erotic doesn't have a fixed meaning across individuals...but that title is overtly sexual, whether or not it strikes you as erotic based on your object-identification. Or am I not getting the question?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:51 AM on June 7, 2012


do titles like Dr Butts 3: The Anal Asylum really seem erotic to straight men?

The third installment was formulaic. But Dr Butts 2: Anal-yze This was a decent sequel.
posted by Trurl at 5:53 AM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I did not know that anyone had been sent to jail for a year for obscenity in this century.

That was the most shocking thing in the article. No one should ever be imprisoned for obscenity. Ever.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:16 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


snuffleupagus - I guess I'm just having trouble conceiving that anyone would read that title and think "ooh that makes me hot" rather than "that's ridiculous."
posted by desjardins at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's killed radio

Funny. The one in my car still works.

There's an interesting discussion here somewhere but all the hyperbole of death and killing kinda ruins it imo.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2012


Well, I read it and think "this is a porno about anal sex with some kind of lab-coat theme." Note that there's nothing explicitly gay in the title. Perhaps Dr. Butts' Asylum is open to all comers.

Sorry.

posted by snuffleupagus at 6:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


guess I'm just having trouble conceiving that anyone would read that title and think "ooh that makes me hot" rather than "that's ridiculous"

Oh, come on. Use a little imagination. You can't imagine anyone excited by the notion of asylum inmates having anal sex? Get off.

Human sexuality is full of infinite variations. Literally.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


ahem, "mr grimm", I did pretty clearly state "all kidding aside". :) Sure, your radio still works, but is there anything worth listening to on it that isn't absolutely and utterly decimated by content that you can get likewise for free on the internet? No. That's what I mean by "dead" or "killed". Yes, I know that a big part of why radio sucks so much now predates the modern web and has a lot to do with consolidation of markets (thanks a lot FCC) by shitheads like Clear Channel. But none of that matters anyway… the internet eats its lunch. Handily. Times a billion. All that's really left is NPR/PRI, a smattering of local/community stations, and the rest is a big steaming pile of dog doo. One could acceptably argue that this happened before the reach of the web, but the web surely didn't do localized radio any favors whatsoever.
posted by readyfreddy at 6:27 AM on June 7, 2012


I missed the cues that the article was breaking expected format and doing the edgy Tarantino thing. I imagine I'm not alone on that, so I'm (we're?) left with an article that opens with something sounding subtly misogynistic framed as part of the answer to what killed porn, i.e. the internet, whatever that means.

Well, Quentin Tatentino is just my own---possibly flip---shorthand. In dryer terms, I believe the article is using the journalistic convention of a feature piece in opening with the most vivid anecdote the hack had in his notebook, not the academic one of setting out the thesis if the piece. He reported on porn 15 years ago for the BBC and came to the conclusion that it was growing ever more extreme and graphic as the industry exploded. Since then, it has if anything become even easier to access any possible type of porn (viz. Rule 34) yet when the author goes to a professional porn set, he finds the director hollering for more "romance" less "porny-ness". I think the idea of opening with it is the usual journalist's trick of trying to make the reader go, "why, that's not what I expected! How come it's like that?" etc.

I completely agree with you that the idea that "chicks like more words, less grunting, more nightgowns and candlesticks, less extreme anal closeups and money shots" is problematic and probably misogynistic. But I don't think the author's point is "and that's what's wrong with porn today!" Merely that professional porn producers trying to make their product "tamer" runs contrary to the average reader's expectations --- and is thus "news" and worthy of being reported on.

As to the Internet killing porn --- I think it's pretty obvious that he means "the Internet has destroyed the business model of porn as an industry" not "people will soon cease to get naked in front of cameras".
posted by Diablevert at 6:33 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like to imagine that the movie is about political prisoners given asylum by the kindly doctor butts.
posted by elizardbits at 6:37 AM on June 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


Later he is given the Assmanitarian of the Year award.
posted by elizardbits at 6:39 AM on June 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


Can sainthood be far behind?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:41 AM on June 7, 2012


"St. Butts meets St. Peter at the Pearly Gates." Romantico!
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:45 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm just having trouble conceiving that anyone would read that title and think "ooh that makes me hot" rather than "that's ridiculous"

Ali Davis's True Porn Clerk stories had some good, relavent points about this (I'd link it, but I guess it's only available on Kindle and as an excerpt in Salon now?).

Anyway, she said in there that A) she realised one day that all of the orgy videos were called "sex party" because producers thought the average porn consumer wouldn't know what the word orgy meant, and b) for the customer base she dealt with, the porn was often purely a visual thing. People would rent stacks and stacks and return them all stuck at some midpoint, wherever the scene was that had gotten them off, after which they promptly ripped the tape out of the VCR. Their consumption habits were less "get me in mood" and more stimulus-response.
posted by Diablevert at 6:49 AM on June 7, 2012


Frankly, I think corporate porn sort-of shot itself in the head, from not adapting to the very obvious changes that came about with the nexus of affordable cams and basically-free wordwide distribution, which the consumers themselves embraced and ran with, producing the sort of material that they really wanted to see.

Instead, the industry entrenched itself in ever-cruder and ever-more-misogynistic product, populated by obviously bored and indifferent performers. And, even when they tried to emulate the "amateur" product, the results tended to be more of the same...crude and misogynistic...but with crappy production values.

Porn stands as a unique example of a large, established industry that was taken-over by the consumers themselves.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:52 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm just having trouble conceiving that anyone would read that title and think "ooh that makes me hot" rather than "that's ridiculous."

What that title is signaling, loud and clear, is that if you buy the dvd you will get X minutes of pure stroke material. No time wasted on plot development, none of that sensual stuff, just wham bam pound your ass ma'am. Contrast that with renaming that dvd "Dr Butts 50 Shades of Grey" -- that would be the wrong marketing for its target audience.
posted by Forktine at 6:54 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


/Wonders if he should find some way to let Louis Theroux know he does a "edgy Quentin Tarantino thing".
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can sainthood be far behind?

lol tainthood lol lol

posted by elizardbits at 6:59 AM on June 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


And unlike, say, basketball it can actually be really difficult to get a decent job if your employers google you.

Yeah, but how many performers use their real name? Unless your employer watches enough porn to recognize the women outside of their videos, this isn't probably a huge problem.

Also, not all the women are easily recognizable as porn stars, I bet if you saw her in real life walking down the street [NSFW tumblr] you wouldn't guess that she does porn for a living.
posted by King Bee at 7:00 AM on June 7, 2012


As usual, the gays lead the way. If you were to survey young gay people I suspect you'd find a pretty large percentage don't view working as a adult film model as shameful at all. That's not to say that they would do it themselves, but it would be considered a perfecto viable job choice. I'm not so young anymore, but I pretty much feel the same way. I know some people who do this sort of work and, to me, it's a bit like working at Starbucks: probably not a great long-term career, but a perfectly reasonable job to do for a while. Society at large might feel different, but give it time.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:11 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: radio

is there anything worth listening to on it that isn't absolutely and utterly decimated by content that you can get likewise for free on the internet?

KALX. And also Major League Baseball.

... and admittedly, I use my car like twice a month and soon less, and half the time I listen to my phone plugged into the stereo, but there's plenty of great stuff on radio.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:23 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Thorzdad said: "Frankly, I think corporate porn sort-of shot itself in the head". And it's pretty difficult to feel sorry for them. Porn is pretty shameless about using up its stars as quickly as possible, and as far as I can tell the only people who make enough money to retire on, or at least compensate for whatever non-porn careers aren't really open to them any more, are people who go into the production end (producing, directing, owning their own companies or sites, etc.). As far as I can tell, with few exceptions, "private bookings" has always been how most adult stars make most of their money. I hope that times are hard for the likes of Rob Black.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:39 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


geez, that's pretty crazy..
posted by mike_a at 7:41 AM on June 7, 2012


Oh, come on. Use a little imagination. You can't imagine anyone excited by the notion of asylum inmates having anal sex? Get off.

Ha, of course I can, I'm into the BDSM scene and I've encountered people with pretty much any kind of imaginable taste. The title seemed tacky to me and I wanted to know if it seemed tacky to its presumable audience.
posted by desjardins at 7:59 AM on June 7, 2012


people who go into the production end (producing, directing, owning their own companies or sites, etc.)

Just like the only people that made money in the stereotypical mining towns of old were the store and saloon owners? So is porn just another "extractive" industry? Mining the naturally occurring sexiness of each new generation?
posted by Chekhovian at 8:00 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


is there anything worth listening to on it that isn't absolutely and utterly decimated by content that you can get likewise for free on the internet?

I like the serendipity and timeliness of radio. It's less effort to flip on NPR en route to work and listen to the morning's news than it is to find an interesting podcast, download it to my phone and plug the phone into the car stereo. If something just happened (e.g. election results) I'm not going to hear it on a podcast. I also like being exposed to things I would have never thought to download.
posted by desjardins at 8:02 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The title seemed tacky to me and I wanted to know if it seemed tacky to its presumable audience.

I think goofy tacky titles are deliberate, to soften (so to speak) consumption for folks ashamed to have unironic ejaculations.
posted by Drastic at 8:13 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometime here in the next couple years, ubiquitous facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically and directly to their facebook accounts (or whatever's in vogue then).

The catch is, it won't be long after that before your camera's software has an option to look for your face in the video and, if it recognizes it, alter it until it can't recognize it any more. My limited understanding is that these wouldn't have to be wild distortions or that the altered face wouldn't pretty much look like you, only that (say) the ratios between, say, the length of your nose, the width of your mouth, and your interocular distance would be subtly altered.

And it wont be long after *that* until your camera's software can just substitute the photorealistic heads of Gollum and Clara Bow over yours and your playmate's.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:24 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This seems to be a reflection of an issue the internet as a whole that seems to be on the horizon. Any free content/service on the internet (GMail, Metafilter, WhateverTube) is basically funded by ads designed to separate people that are less internet savvy than your average gen-x/gen-y cusp human from their money. A lot of the time in a borderline scammy way. As people on average get more and more internet savvy will free things start getting less and less profitable?
posted by cirrostratus at 8:33 AM on June 7, 2012


....Dr Butts 3: The Anal Asylum...

...because there were so many unanswered questions at the end (ha!) of Dr. Butts 2 - The Next Examination.

Yes, I googled it.
posted by jocelmeow at 8:38 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forktine: For many female performers nowadays, the movies are merely a sideline, a kind of advertising for their real business of prostitution.

That's a reversal from the economics I had assumed were the case.
It's true. Top-level porn stars can ask $5,000 minimum for a hook, and there are websites out there that act as booking agents, listing hundreds of them. I don't know if they can actually back that list up, or if it's plumped with extra names, but I guess there's no reason it couldn't be accurate, since they don't have to interact with the star unless a booking is made - at which point they become the customer's agent to her.

Yes, it's illegal in most of the US. But the websites are not operating locally, and the anti-prostitution laws are not federal. Once a transaction is booked, it's very, very difficult for law enforcement to arrest anyone, unless someone gets very stupid - they'd have to have the meeting place video bugged in advance, and even the porn star may not know where it's going to happen at that point.

I saw Ginger Lynn perform as a headliner at a strip club once, where she announced during the show that she was currently single, but looking for a new guy; she liked older men who are well-kept. All of that, I later learned, was explicit code for "I can be booked tonight."
posted by IAmBroom at 8:44 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


nonmerci: "I have some conflicting thoughts about this article. It's interesting to me that the women make so much more than the men--in some sense that seems good, and I can't express why--while the men are encouraged to have a "side job" since they can't make enough money in porn (generally) to support a lifestyle. Yet, as any consumer of porn can tell you, it's the women who are featured and objectified, and often (but not always) the men who are more or less hidden from view. When we then come to the bit about most of these women supplementing their incoming from prostitution (here's a leap in logic I don't find unwarranted: I presume the supplementation is necessary because it must be very hard to find more innocuous work, as a woman, with an adult film star filmography and an easily-recognizable face), I find it really troublesome. Obviously the system isn't working, but more importantly, the system seems specifically designed so that women fail."

As usual, you're making very heteronormative assumptions about porn. Pretty much everything you said about women is true of gay male performers.

The truth is that porn is NOT about objectifying women. It's about objectifying the object of one's sexual desires - male, female, transgendered*, and even children, fictional characters, and animals. It can be done well, even beautifully, but generally it's crude and fairly stupidly done.

* I'm not trying to start a war about gender issues here. It's simply a plain fact that trans porn is a separate category, with an overlapping but nonidentical audience.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:55 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Internet also killed porn - or at least the American model - by globalizing it.

Because while there may always be young American women in search of validation, it is now just as easy to find prettier, vaguely exotic-looking women from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Bloc, and Russia itself willing to do just as much or more on camera for the same amount or less, to change or alleviate circumstances that are presumably more dire.

...and even putting aside the fact that pornography and prostitution both entail "having sex for money", the chasm between the two businesses has never been as wide as you might assume from reading this article. I remember reading, several years ago, about how Nevada brothels would occasionally employ a pornographic actress as a sort of artist in residence. A session with such a performer would, of course, cost thousands of dollars rather than merely a few hundred.
posted by The Confessor at 9:01 AM on June 7, 2012


Dr Butts 3: The Anal Asylum

The fact that it's not spelled "Ass-ylum" just seems lazy.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:24 AM on June 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I watch porn but not straight porn, so I am not the target market here, but do titles like Dr Butts 3: The Anal Asylum really seem erotic to straight men?

(...)

I guess I'm just having trouble conceiving that anyone would read that title and think "ooh that makes me hot" rather than "that's ridiculous."
I think you're very much overthinking this. People aren't looking for titles that make them "hot". People are looking for titles that indicate that the film will give them what they want.

This film's title pretty clearly says "anal". The rest of the title, no one cares.
posted by Flunkie at 9:34 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I try to do my duty for the industry by buying one dvd every couple of months. It's the least I could do. Wanks for the memories :)
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:40 AM on June 7, 2012


Speaking of amateur porn, one of the things that enormously popular website 'fetlife' has going on is a vast library of user generated and curated, mostly amateur porn pictures (as well as increasingly, porn clips). Thousands of people are happily shucking clothing for a reward no bigger than positive attention.

Most of the porn you can find is only kinky in the sense that the person who took the pictures identifies somewhere in the BDSM/Fetish spectrum, and wants the user base to see their naked body. Plenty of the porn is stolen form elsewhere, and a common profile spread is "See all the pictures I thought were sexy!", but also any person with a digital camera is free to throw up images of their body doing anything they want, as long as it involves no pets or kids. So even random eastern European women are competing with a bored college student in Wisconsin, who wants to show you vulva close ups, or a middle aged swinger couple in Texas with the latest gang bang pics, or some random rope top who never seems to have trouble finding swarms of conventionally attractive women to photograph being slung up from stuff. Add the professional porn/fetish models tossing up their portfolios for bread crumbs (and maybe private bookings?) and if you're a straight dude and you like naked ladies, buying porn seems like a no brainer. Hell if you're vaguely articulate and respectful, you may even get to be web friends with your favourite porn star because she's probably from the same social niche as you.

And the politics of regions have changed- releasing the ban on toplessness in Ontario means that the Toronto scene routinely is doing bondage shots in a public park (caused a medium scandal recently, tempest in a teapot style), again all non-professionals. The creation of porn and semi-porn (park shooting is panties on) has become a sexual activity in its own right. How many of you users have snapped a naked picture, of yourself or a lover, or been photographed, maybe something that never even got off the memory card on your camera before you deleted it, but nonetheless, now common as mud.

Now I'm pretty sexually out there even by a generous culture's standards of chastity, so my experience is not the worlds' experience, but the internet blew the Overton Window of its frame, while digital cameras made porn production a literal snap away. The competition is that people are doing this for free, to get off, at exactly the quality you can get on the internet- a camera or even the phone you probably need for everything else and an exhibitionist streak and the only thing a porn studio has on you is budget- so of course the only places they can compete is by trying to improve the quality.

tl;dr
I think the number of people who want to work for free isn't helping the industry either.
posted by Phalene at 9:48 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem with porn is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to hire you.

Substitute "the whole job market" for "porn" and you have a truism there.
posted by blucevalo at 10:03 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sometime here in the next couple years, ubiquitous facial scanning is going to allow photos and video of people of from anywhere on the internet to be linked automatically and directly to their facebook accounts (or whatever's in vogue then). One wonders if we might see a bit of a retraction in the amateur porn market when the people in those videos can't rely on the anonymity of large crowds to keep their secrets. It's probably a little early to be calling it twilight for Big Pron, just yet.

I actually assume this technology is going to lead in the opposite direction, which opens an incredible debate about privacy and personal rights vis a vis porn and technology in the 21st century. (In fact, I know someone who is actually researching things like this and so I've sort of taken an interest to just after hearing some of the arguments she's brought up.)

Facial recognition is actually a serious issue in porn technology because it creates two very important and highly plausible ethical and technological matters, both relating to creating realistic virtual avatars for pornographic purposes. So in the sense of rights and royalties, what ownership does a porn start have to their face and physical representation of their body? There will, undoubtedly, be technology within our lifetime to create a realistic digital representation of a porn actor performing exactly the way the real one would. How does this affect what the original person is paid? What if there IS no real person, and a realistic porn star is created from scratch? Who "owns" him or her? Who gets to decide what scenes he/she does or doesn't perform in?

Far more concerning, however, is the second issue, which brings up your facial recognition thing. So, yes, we have facial recognition software. We also have image rendering that can replicate a scanned image. So what, aside from personal morals and public shaming, stops technology from creating a program/application that lets you just take a person's face: a co-worker, a high school crush, etc, and with a single scan or two of some Facebook photos have them superimposed on a porn star willing to fulfill your fantasies?

If this sounds ridiculous, let me again emphasize I know people who are actively writing entire papers on intellectual property and technology in porn. Because that is where this is leading.

The next wave of revenue generation in the porn industry isn't going to who has the best looking body; it's who has the best coding skills. They're going to make millions. It's twilight for porn actors, but certainly not the industry. Like everything else, the industry has merely entered the 21st century.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:16 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's hard to fill in these blanks without getting truisms.

"The problem with___ is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to ___you."
posted by dgaicun at 10:19 AM on June 7, 2012


"The problem with wine is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to drink you."

I did it!
posted by King Bee at 10:26 AM on June 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Value of old may vary.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on June 7, 2012


Look at gonewild on Reddit. Hundreds of women and (some) men willingly take off their clothes and submit racy pictures of themselves for something as worthless as documented positive affirmation (in the form of upvotes and comments).

It's possible some of the people on gonewild are trying to parlay the exposure into some sort of adult career, but that seems uncommon.

It's just as easy for some people to wank to a picture provided for nothing on gonewild as it is to a high budget porn flick. The porn industry can't compete with the increased supply the Internet has provided.
posted by Fister Roboto at 10:45 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The problem with CORPSES is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to DIG UP AND INVESTIGATE you."

I did it too!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's just as easy for some people to wank to a picture provided for nothing on gonewild as it is to a high budget porn flick.

What has happened is that the retail porn industry has lost the race to the bottom that it started with the porn movie industry in the 1980's, as video sales and rentals replaced theatres. I find it kind of amusing that the internet is forcing the porn pros to return to their roots of acting like actual producers making a movie that needs some qualities other than closeup penetration shots to "prove it happened."

Yeah, if gonewild shots do it for you why spend money? But some people appreciate skilled use of makeup, lighting, acting, writing with some thought beyond the sex scenes, and all that jazz. The golden age of porn was golden because, if you were spending the money to film on 35mm and make prints for theatres, it made sense to spend some to hire a writer and actors who can act as well as fuck while you were at it. Now they're going to have to go back to doing those things just to justify charging for their wares.
posted by localroger at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The problem with CORPSES is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to DIG UP AND INVESTIGATE you."
Corpses who are concerned with this issue should take heart in the fact that it's only a temporary condition. There's some age -- a few thousand years, perhaps? -- at which people start getting more and more interested in digging you up and investigating you.
posted by Flunkie at 11:25 AM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


if enterprising mefites are looking to start a porn business, i'd love an "i feel myself" populated by men. i know there are lots and lots and lots of gay wank sites out there (which i do visit), but i want something with the same aesthetic as i feel myself, same sort of casting (which is to say not narrowed into bear or twink or jock, but a variety of looks, body shapes, and methods of masturbating), same sort of lighting and lack of playing to the camera.
posted by nadawi at 11:38 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


As usual, you're making very heteronormative assumptions about porn. Pretty much everything you said about women is true of gay male performers.

The truth is that porn is NOT about objectifying women. It's about objectifying the object of one's sexual desires - male, female, transgendered*, and even children, fictional characters, and animals. It can be done well, even beautifully, but generally it's crude and fairly stupidly done.


The vast, vast majority of straight porn is "about" objectifying women. Women in porn create a significant population affected by the issues in the text you quoted. No point in pretending that's not that case.

Looking for internet porn as a straight woman fucking sucks, in my experience. This weekend I was looking for a video of a cute guy giving head (to a woman, for more than 30 seconds as a prelude to penetration), and damn, by the time I found something I liked I didn't even feel like watching it anymore.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:45 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


so agree with that. the best thing to do is to find male performers that seem to always go down in scenes and follow their career. wolf hudson comes to mind. i should point out that i'm a queer woman and i like both sides of wolf's career.
posted by nadawi at 12:07 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


/Wonders if he should find some way to let Louis Theroux know he does a "edgy Quentin Tarantino thing".

Cut away to Louis doing his stock eye-brow raise
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:11 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Porn is in rude health "Contrary to what Louis Theroux claims, the internet isn't killing the porn industry – it has helped it go mainstream"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:14 PM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Chekhovian: is porn just another "extractive" industry? Mining the naturally occurring sexiness of each new generation?

That's a pretty excellent metaphor. You might even say that there's a synergy between the two, as North Dakota's booming fossil fuel extraction industry is creating big opportunities for the sex industry in the boomtowns.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2012


That's a pretty excellent metaphor.

When I wrote extractive originally, I suppose I was thinking more of the industrie's habit of extracting onto people's faces. I'm not sure what the analog in mining would be...
posted by Chekhovian at 1:22 PM on June 7, 2012


stoneandstar:
IAmBroom: "As usual, you're making very heteronormative assumptions about porn. ...

The vast, vast majority of straight porn is "about" objectifying women. Women in porn create a significant population affected by the issues in the text you quoted. No point in pretending that's not that case.
I was going to reply, when I noticed you're still doing it. This FPP isn't about straight porn; it's about porn.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2012


And it wont be long after *that* until your camera's software can just substitute the photorealistic heads of Gollum and Clara Bow over yours and your playmate's.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:24 AM on June 7 [1 favorite +] [!]


Aaaaaatttt lllaaaassssttttt (shudders)
posted by Sebmojo at 2:13 PM on June 7, 2012


There's a response to the article in the Guardian also.

TL;DR - the decline in porn is not so much it's demise as its mainstreaming. The major free sites are all owned by one or two conglomerates, faking 'amateur' and other categories, and using the tube sites as gateways to those who want to pay for more - pulled from the mjuch, much wider audiences those sites have than the adult sections in vid stores used to. It's the death of the quick-and-dirty-money garage porn studio that's really in evidence. Other money is still being made.
posted by Sparx at 2:14 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't that basically saying content aggregators cutting content creators off from all the money is okay, because content aggregators get all the money?

As in porn as everywhere else I guess...
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on June 7, 2012


Yeah, word. I thought the response article in the guardian was really interesting, but I don't think the quite proved their case. I mean, I have no doubt that some "amatuer" porn is actually done by pros. But all of it? The majority of it? I'd like to see some numbers and other evidence on that. And the fact that one mysterious German guy is making bank off the free porn sites doesn't really prove that the porn industry isn't dying, in the sense that fewer and fewer people are getting paid to produce it. If it turns out in five years that Amazon wipes out the six majors, I may still be able to purchase reading material and there may still be writers, but publishing will be dead. The content can thrive while the industry dies, that's the whole point.
posted by Diablevert at 2:59 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want the perfect house: build it. If you want the perfect outfit: make it.

With a cheap digital camera and a "wild" streak in your 20s you can film your very own custom porn collection! Everyone is looking their best and you're the star.

Its the future, people.
posted by dgaicun at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2012


If it turns out in five years that Amazon wipes out the six majors, I may still be able to purchase reading material and there may still be writers, but publishing will be dead.

I got news for ya -- publishing has been dead since the 1980's. Those six remaining majors (of what used to be hundreds of viable houses) all want the same thing, and that's what they know will make money -- which is why Barnes & Noble may stock a lot of books, but "Teen Paranormal Romance" is a bigger section than "Science."
posted by localroger at 3:40 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pros faking amateur is really stupid. The scenario in the OP opening is the only possible future for the mainstream porn industry. You cannot compete with free, but you can compete with poor quality, bad lighting, no makeup, no framing, no acting, and no props. There's a reason the producer guy spent $4,000 for an Iron Man costume; that's something Dick and Jane will not be doing for the webcam.
posted by localroger at 4:02 PM on June 7, 2012


I was going to reply, when I noticed you're still doing it. This FPP isn't about straight porn; it's about porn.

Yes, but there's a hell of a lot of straight porn, and a very large population of women who deal with issues specific to being women who act in straight porn. It's not heterocentric to say so. It's beneficial to point out that straight porn isn't the only porn, but silly to pretend that that reduces the problems present in straight porn. I understand that there's other porn out there; see my above post to register my disappointment with most straight porn. I'm not "doing" anything.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:32 PM on June 7, 2012


In fact, I'm not sure what you mean to do exactly by chastising the other commenter and me, because to say "pretty much everything you said about women is true of gay male performers" in your above post implies that this renders the discussion of women in straight porn insignificant?

The problem isn't that women are targeted as women on a philosophical principle, but that women are dealing with certain issues or difficulties in the real world. If some men are also dealing with those issues (in this case due to sexuality), the best move isn't to shut down the conversation, but to broaden it.

In the real world, the objectification of women/roles for women in straight porn take on a variety of forms, some of which are par for the course, some of which are problematic. The production of gay porn has its issues as well.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:45 PM on June 7, 2012


The twelve-year-old in me is moved to mention that one of the Dutch names in this video is "Van Asseldonk". Clearly a colleague of Dr. Butts.
posted by XMLicious at 7:22 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the interests of science I assembled a small team of elite Internet researchers to verify the findings of this study i.e. death of pornography from Internet. Abstract follows, the whole paper had been submitted to several journals for consideration.

Our first challenge was proving that pornography had ever been alive. A review of current scientific definitions of life is used. We conclude that porn is a life form, specifically a new domain. We then embarked on zoological classification of porn. A meta analysis of previous zoological taxonomies of porn demonstrated that while there has been a number of publications on this subject. For example "Pony Play 4", Vivid 2008 was repeatedly and carefully analyzed by our research team but ultimately determined to be unsatisfactory for our needs. Thus we present our own taxonomy. Finally we examine the impact of the Internet on a number porn organisms a d species. We compare the Internet to other mass extinction events such as the penetration of the Americas via the Siberian back door land bridge.
posted by humanfont at 7:49 PM on June 7, 2012


Afroblanco writes "What that tells me is there was a momentary bubble where a glut of previously-unavailable porn was made available. So now what? You think people are gonna just keep watching the same porn over and over?"

If your tastes are even remotely main stream I'd bet you could start watching porn that appeals to you at age 18 for a couple hours a day for the rest of your life and never run out of back catalogue, even today. Fashion is going to change of course; a main stream switch to a desire for rubeneque performers would probably be the most under served market. But even then two companies releasing a title a day would still keep one in wank material indefinitely. And it's not like California has a lock on the production anymore. Consumers can pull from producers all over the world. It's not so much a fire hose of content as a deluge approaching the size of Niagara Falls.

delmoi writes "Well, the difference is you can do 'low level lawyer work' until you drop dead. The problem with porn is that as you get older, fewer and fewer people want to hire you. And unlike, say, basketball it can actually be really difficult to get a decent job if your employers google you. There have been a bunch of articles about teachers getting fired for having done porn in the past. "

Sure. But few are going to care if a lube guy, mechanic, cashier, soldier, janitor, gardener, pilot, cabby, farmer, concrete finisher, car salesman, bartender, drywall hanger, miner, etc, etc have starred in porn. Porn star might be a career killer if you work with kids (which seems crazy really), or are a politician, or want to work for a church but in the general case it's going to be less of an impediment than being a felon. Sadly for women it would probably be a creepy/objectifying boost in a lot of jobs (IE: Hooter's waitress type jobs).

Forktine writes "I'm sure they have considered adding a NetFliXXX subsidiary -- I would love to be the fly on the wall to learn why they have not taken that path."

I'm thinking their isn't much of a mystery there. Despite the popularity of porn in Utah the need for morality busy bodies to be be publicly against porn means a massive boycott would take about 10 seconds to get rolling if they were to distribute porn.

Flunkie writes "This film's title pretty clearly says 'anal'. The rest of the title, no one cares."

People with a thing for doctors or considering Rule 34 asylums I guess might be attracted tot he other parts of the title. Like the popularity of stripper shoes for those whose itch they scratch stripper shoes are seen as a bonus and yet rarely a turn off for those who aren't.
posted by Mitheral at 8:25 PM on June 7, 2012


I got news for ya -- publishing has been dead since the 1980's.

More ludicrousness. Publishing is far from dead.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:37 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone up thread mentioned Clara Bow, which sounded familiar so looked it up. was not expecting this. Don't know about you but no amount of 'well that symbol didn't really mean then what it does now" does the job
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:47 AM on June 8, 2012


Uggh link fail, should go here.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:49 AM on June 8, 2012


well, i think she wore that to go meet with hitler, who was a huge fan of hers (so it had started to mean that, but was seemingly before the worst of the atrocities) - but after the meeting she described him/his views/his book as "madness".
posted by nadawi at 12:08 PM on June 8, 2012


mrgrimm -- the existence of small publishers, most of which do not offer advances and none of which is in the position to do serious promotion, is not substitute for the vibrant ecosystem of dozens of not-so-small presses which were actively competing for material to publish in the 1960's and 1970's. I remember when midlist SF authors like James P. Hogan had cardboard stands at the front of B. Dalton. That sort of thing hasn't happened in 30 years because the six remaining publishers capable of doing that kind of promotion will only do it if you are Stephen King or obviously ripping off something bankable like Harry Potter or Twilight.

So as far as I am concerned, publishing is dead.
posted by localroger at 3:58 PM on June 8, 2012


Nazi saltines! Nazi witch clowns!
posted by XMLicious at 4:05 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sure, if you want to redefine the word "dead," then the NHL, microwave popcorn, baseball cards, and broadcast TV are all "dead."

Or, if you're referring to your own emotions, the phrase "dead to me" is much more accurate.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:10 PM on June 8, 2012


mrgrimm, let's put it this way -- back when the song Paperback Writer was recorded, the dream encoded within its lyrics was not completely ridiculous; one could make a good living as a midlist genre writer. Today that is not possible. When Norman Spinrad can't get published, the industry is seriously broken and it's been that broken for a long time.
posted by localroger at 4:27 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


.
posted by iviken at 2:06 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I never said you can't still listen to the radio. It's just that two or three corporations own practically all of it… and the majority of it sucks.
posted by readyfreddy at 1:11 AM on June 10, 2012


Or, as Clay Shirky would say, here comes everybody.

American Bukkake 97: Here Comes Everybody
posted by chavenet at 8:26 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I never said you can't still listen to the radio. It's just that two or three corporations own practically all of it… and the majority of it sucks.

No, you said,

"is there anything worth listening to on it that isn't absolutely and utterly decimated by content that you can get likewise for free on the internet?"

I gave you two cogent examples--college radio and Major League Baseball. Many radio stations do not stream online, and MLB is definitely not free to listen to online. There are lots more examples.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2012


mrgrimm, talk to anybody in college radio and ask them about the future of the medium. it won't be a pretty discussion. but, fine, whatever. you made your point. my general point was that the internet is eating up everything. all that you knew growing up is or soon will be gone or radically changed.
posted by readyfreddy at 12:58 AM on July 3, 2012


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