Entertainment

02.11.13

Porn Isn’t Just for Men! Why Women Love Watching

Pounding, throat gagging, and body slapping. Porn is made for men. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Adult-film actress Aurora Snow on why some women love her work.

After signing autographs for three hours at a noisy convention, I was just about to leave for my 10-minute bathroom break when a guy tugged at my sleeve. He just stood there, grinning at me. The girl he was with jumped up and down and shoved a photo at me. “Please sign this for us!” I jokingly asked how he had convinced her to come see porn stars. Her answer floored me. It was all her idea. She watched porn.

I had starred in more than 100 adult movies before I ran into my first female fan.

When I entered porn at the tender age of 18, I’d never seen an XXX movie. I performed in the movies, but never watched them. It wasn’t until I began directing that I started to watch porn, but not for the reasons you might think.

I wasn't trying to tap into my inner sex goddess. Instead, I was studying it and seeing what sold well and what I should aim for when making my own X-rated movies. But there was a disconnect: I’d assumed that watching porn was something only men did. And I made my movies for men—animalistic scenes, aggressive guys and cute girls, and little plot. The porn I knew involved pounding, throat gagging, and body slapping. It was more extreme than erotic. I couldn’t even imagine women watching. Women craved more romance than that, didn’t they?

A decade later, women who watch porn are still something of a mystery to me. So I reached out to my female fans with questions. Why do women watch me?

Mae, a young heterosexual woman with her own subscription to my site, tells me it’s the first adult website she’s ever joined. What matters most to Mae is a performer’s enthusiasm. It has to be someone who looks genuine, which is how she came to be a loyal fan of mine. Adult movies transport Mae—she imagines herself and the person she loves acting out those scenes. It both fulfills and creates fantasies, which in turn lead to a more intimate experience with her partner. Mae wishes she were as free as the porn stars. “No inhibitions, that body confidence—I envy it,” she says. Though she was raised to believe that porn was wrong, she now finds it relaxing and educational.

Katrina says she watches adult movies for the same reasons men do. She says her porn consumption has “gone down” since getting into a relationship. Adult movies helped boost her low libido. Porn makes her feel sexier. She sought out my movies, because she was looking for a girl who seemed real, and she could pretend to be the girl onscreen. I’d been sold as “the girl next door,” but this gave that image a new meaning. Sometimes just talking about porn stimulates her partner more than watching it, and occasionally they use it to heighten the intensity of a moment. Many of my fans feel the same way.

Hearing from these women encouraged me to chat with someone on the other side of that fence. Maggie is one of my Twitter followers who does not watch my movies. While she has no moral objection to porn, she has very little interest in it. Maggie is looking for a good story, and most of the high-end adult companies with a budget for these kinds of movies use girls she can’t relate to. “The most unappealing thing about porn is the women,” she says. “Fake hair, fake boobs, fake moans? No thanks! How can I put myself in her place if I don’t like her?” Erotic fiction does more for her imagination than being fed an image that isn’t as sexy as what she can conjure up in her own mind. And porn can be misleading: the camera angles are often designed to show something that looks good, but doesn’t always feel great in reality. “Many women don’t need porn,” she says. Maggie has a point: most porn just isn’t made for women.

I can’t help but wonder if the porn industry has missed an incredibly large demographic by not making films more specifically suited for women. Perhaps this is because of its history. The directors, company owners, distributors, adult-store owners, and even the customer base are all predominately men. In more recent years the adult business has seen a rise in female directors, but the marketing hasn’t changed.

But it may be. Penthouse has a line of films aimed at women (though the plotlines are often thin). Companies like Girlfriends Films aim to create products for women. Despite being very successful at what they do, these companies primarily make lesbian movies that may not always be what straight women want. Yet even these are often marketed for a male audience.

So much of what is out there is for men, and as we all know within the male-dominated sex industry, men fast-forward through the storytelling and setups, so these expensive-to-produce points are glossed over or ignored.

One of my fans said, “Just as I need to be in the mood to have sex, I have to be in the mood to watch it.”

If the financially troubled porn business opened up its demographics to women, perhaps it would make way for a new stream of revenue. Keep in mind, the two sexes are different. Men are like microwaves, instantly turned on. Women are more like ovens—we take our time heating up.