Who says women don’t watch porn?

I recently saw a Huffington Post opinion piece titled Why Women Don’t Watch Porn. Needless to say, it left me rather annoyed. The writer, Teresa Lee, admitted that she was new to the world of porn and had never really watched it before, but then quickly proceeded to declare that all porn was crappy, unrealistic, low-quality garbage. Clearly she hasn’t been watching the right porn!

As someone who has spent a fair amount of time “researching” the adult entertainment industry for my novels, I have seen my fair share of porn. Just like mainstream, there is a lot of variation from one porn film to the next. There are couples-friendly “glamcore” movies with good lighting and lots of sensuality; there are handheld, hardcore Gonzos where dialogue or plot take a backseat to raw sexuality; there are homemade sex tapes and webcam vids; there are solos; there are gangbangs, and everything in between. It wouldn’t be fair to make a characterization about all Hollywood rom-coms if you’d only seen Gigli, so how it is fair to determine that all porn is “terrible” based on a couple pirated clips you saw on some tube site?

And that brings me to my next point…

As an author, I’ve definitely experienced ebook piracy. It’s one of those things that goes with the territory as technology advances, but it’s still a bummer. I would be really upset if someone read a couple pages from a pirated download of one of my books and then proceeded to critique the entire genre based on that so-called research.

The adult industry has also been hit hard by piracy, since there are so many sites where users upload content they don’t own. At this point, most people just expect that porn will be free. Lee admitted that she basically watched a bunch of short clips online, likely via one of the popular tube sites, and then immediately bemoaned that the clips were too short to turn her on. Um, here’s a solution: buy a full movie. If that ten minute, low-res, xHamster clip isn’t doing anything for you, you could always go online and find a real porn flick to watch. Hell, you can turn on Showtime and see the penetration-free, TV-MA versions of a lot of these movies. Does anyone else find it kind of hilarious that Lee would call a porn star cheap for having acrylic nails when she can’t even be bothered to pay for the porn video she’s criticizing?

Obviously, Lee put minimal effort into her research, and it’s unfortunate that she felt the need to incorrectly speak for all women based on her limited exposure to the subject. I know a lot of women who love porn. Yes, some of us like the more female-friendly romantic stuff, but I also know a lot of women who like rough, hardcore scenes too. I just couldn’t believe that Lee would complain that porn wasn’t realistic and then suggest that porn be more like Fifty Shades of Grey. Because, you know, a kinky, twenty-six-year-old billionaire with a luxurious BDSM playroom who takes his broke, virginal, college girlfriend for a ride in his helicopter is so realistic. While Christian Grey might not be my ideal man, he’s a fantasy—and fantasies are, by definition, unrealistic. Somehow it’s okay for our book boyfriends to be unrealistic, but we should expect absolute realism from a Manuel Ferrara or Xander Corvus movie? I’d much rather spend a night with either of those two than Christian Grey—at least they’re real people!

If porn isn’t your thing, that’s totally cool, but making ignorant generalizations about women, sexuality, and the entire porn industry based on such minuscule “research” seems rather ridiculous.

I’m not saying that porn can’t do a better job of making movies that appeal to women, but I do believe that what is arousing varies greatly from woman to woman, so it’s not like there’s one particular thing that would universally appeal to all of us. One size does not fit all. “Romantic” porn (similar to the scenario she describes) does exist, but the real problem is that it can be hard to find online. Where Amazon made it easy to find and purchase erotic books, porn just doesn’t have that one-stop-shop for easy, reputable, convenient, affordable video downloads. So perhaps porn is not the problem, but finding and purchasing the porn that appeals to you can be a chore. I would advise Ms. Lee to not rely on her limited research, because with a little more effort, she might find some great porn that changes her opinion.

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