Flaws in Porn Mythology For Women ~ With the Help of Hester Nash
Men like porn, women like erotica. Is this true? And how the heck does that help you find a raunchy movie?
(If you are trying to get the woman in your life to like porn ~ or at least not make you get rid of your collection, curtail your viewing habits ~ then pay attention!)
In order to illuminate the problems with the dark & dirty world of porn, Gracie will now expose the real differences in what works in adult entertainment for women. Since it's a complicated issue, Gracie's asked Hester Nash, of Retro Raunch & Martha's Girls, to add her comments.
Erotica V Porn: Definitions
Hester says, "At a very simple level, Erotica is for girls, Porn is for boys. Women respond to contest, story, words, while men just need to see naked people doing stuff. But Really, it's a false distinction. Not purely a semantic distance, but... they are words to convey the same thing."
Stories told or shown with the intention of getting off ~ either with others or ala one's own hand. But there are differences.
If I were forced to articulate what I see as the difference between porn & erotica, I would say it is the level of artistry, class, or integrity in the work. Like sex, little effort, no imagination, and you just have some parts & grunting. It's not erotic if it doesn't move you in the direction of peeling off your clothes (or makes you feel like you wasted your time to do so). However, when you get right down to it, its all semantics.
But that doesn't tell you much does it? I thought discussing the myths about porn might help illustrate the distinctions.
Women Don't Like Hardcore Porn: False
Many folks will tell you that women dislike porn, or at least hard-core pornography. These folks are wrong. "People don't include hardcore when talking about women. But I'm a nasty one. A kinky bitch. I love hardcore." says Hester.
Women enjoy raw hard-core sex themselves, why not viewing it? Women who say 'women don't like hardcore porn' have either not seen quality porn, or are limiting their own desires.
While women may not be as visual as men, they can & do enjoy watching raw sex. The main difference in what appeals to men & women does not lie in the graphic nature of the images, but in other details. Along with the visual representation of Tab A (cock, dildo, fist etc) into Slot B (mouth, anus, vagina), there are other components in erotic materials ~ be it film or the written word ~ and it's the details that are missing for women. (More on that later.)
The Problem With Porn Is The Dialogue: False
The problem with porn, as most folks (male & female) will tell you, is the dialog. In fact, this is not the problem. We say far 'worse' to each other in bed ~ on the table, in the shower, etc. We do say "Fuck me harder!" and "Oh Oh Ohhooo Yes!" We ask each other if we like it like that. And we'll call our beloved 'my slutty wife' if it makes her moan for more. No, it's not the dialog that is improbable.
It may even be a case of not enough dialogue. As Hester mentioned, women love words. We love stories and we love to hear words. Hester explains more: "Words have a huge affection on women. We love auditory stimulation. Even humiliation can be fun - given proper guidelines - call me a dirty whore, and it adds the heat! But don't call me a piece of shit. Use words that thrill. Ask her to tell you those words - just having a conversation about what words to use will likely make her hot - you both are using words!"
The Problem With Porn Is The Plot: False
Next, folks name 'bad plots' for the reason they don't like porn. While porn plots are weak, this is to be expected. When making a film, or writing a story, in which the primary objective is to get someone hot enough to climax (or at the very least, engage in some action which hopefully does provide climax), there are very few scenarios in which to work with. In fact, many go as far as to say there are as little as 7 or 8 real 'plots' for stories in general. When you factor in the objective of arousal, well, they become a bit forced at best. Plots are simply ways to move from sex scene to sex scene. However, plot is not the only component of creating stories.
Along with plot, there are character & setting. If your plot is a bit contrived or limited, you must excel in these other areas. In fact, in Hollywood when the plot is fantastic, they employ these other components to get the viewer to suspend reality. So why not the creator of entertainment designed to arouse? If you want to increase you female audience, strengthen your use of these devices. These are the details we spoke about earlier. And what Hester refers to as context & situation.
Character: Too often the creators of porn believe that the development of charcter lies in two points only: 1) the selection of actresses & actors for the film & 2) the role or action they play. Example: 1) Jenna Jameson plays herself, 2) playing with herself. But character is so much more than this. In cases of naughty stories, it is the characters themselves which can drive the plot, or compensate for what little plot their is. It's not just enough to hire a few bodies & give them an action. Characters need not be likeable, but they do need to make you think about or respond to them in some fashion.
As Hester explains "I don't need to like the people. I don't need to be in love with them. But I do need to know a little something about why & how these bodies get together." This is characters in context. "For example, the use of one word, and I'm going to say a bad one here - the use of the word 'incest' adds to the heat because in one word we have such a powerful context. It's forbidden. It works. It's context alright."
Setting: More than the couch, lighting & cheesy soundtrack (all of which scream 'rented room'), there is a setting to the story. Is this story set in the past, the future or 'today'? Then the stage had better reflect that. And don't overlook details. Women love details! Don't go for bland, generic & pristine. Give us textures, sounds, and anything else that will lead to we women-folk into imagining we are present. Don't limit yourself just to the lingerie & lipstick on the female bodies. Compel us to taste ~ and more than that obligatory facial come-shot. Make us feel like we are part of the experience ~ or want to!
Not only is the setting the physical objects & space that the actors fornicate in, but it's the time & space they act within. More context. More situation.
Perhaps your generic setting is that of a hotel room for an adulterous affair. Then make us feel how naughty they are for cheating! If this is to be an intimate coupling of man & wife, then give us intimate details ~ perhaps he gently moves that lock of hair on her face by tenderly looping it behind her ear. Or she wrinkles her nose as she laughs at him in a playful way ~ please, no more brittle cold evil laughs! (Unless it's female domination, or course.)
These details of who & why they are together screwing, the details of where they are doing such dirty deeds, these are the elements needed to overcome weak plots.
If you think about it, what's lacking in many porn films, is a lack of a story. A written story, the good ones anyhow, pay more attention to the details. They describe more about the people, the place, the play. They use more words. And I repeat: women like words.
How much do women like words? As part of our work, Hester & I read a lot of smut. Not long ago, Hester was doing research ~ searching for a quote in old booklets. Several of these old publications had stories in them, and while she was scanning them quickly looking for a few lines to suit her purpose, she suddenly realized "my panties are soaking wet!"
Even though she wasn't reading for arousal, the words ~ the details of sexual context & situation ~ moved her past her own context of research.
So, in looking for films which will make women hot, select pornos that offer more words ~ more details to clarify context, more illustration of the situation. This turns up the heat!
Do Women Hate The Women In Porn?
Many will tell you that women hate the women in porn. Seeing supposedly perfect bodies on the screen makes us feel inferior. Ummm, not entirely true. While it's true that the creators of porn would be wise to showcase more than Barbie women, it's not just the fake & unrealistic bodies themselves which turn women off. It's the fake settings, absurd plots & a gaping lack of other details which adds to the overall fakeness of porn ~ and disturbs us.
Do pornstars need to act? Ideally, yes. Do they need the same skill set & emotional range of Laura Linney & Julianne Moore? Perhaps not. But they should be able to flirt. They should be able to show human nature along with their parts. They should at least perform better than a robot! And this is as much for the male actors as it is the female stars.
Please stop giving us male underwear model types who have as much passion about the sex they are having as they did in those pages of the Sears Catalog.
Hester's site, Retro Raunch, is an example of context & situation in porn. The majority of the photos are taken by & of ameteurs Through these candid photographs, we are voyeurs. We know we are seeing real people (pretty, average and ugly folks) in intimate moments (doing nasty, obscene, and even silly things) that were never meant to be seen by others. (How terribly taboo!)
And the element of 'the past' adds to our fantasies... Hester explains part of the fascination: "With photos of the past, I'm talking images from the 30's & 40's, we have so little information on the real lives of people of those times. What we know is scenes from Casablanca. The culture & social mores of the time make people seem foreign & less earthy on film. They are un-relateable. When we see hardcore images from that time, we think 'Wow! They were like us!'"
Ironically, Hester has had comments from males over the years who feel a bit put off by her site. "They ask me if this is creepy, to look at people, at women, who if they are not dead already, are in their 90's. I didn't figure it out at first. But what they want is someone obtainable. In reality, today's centerfold or pornstar is as available to them as a dead person, but they like to imagine they could bump into her on the street..."
Or are they?
Even if they don't know it, men are saying the same thing as women: we want reality in our fantasy. Men need to believe she is real, and that they could have her. Women need to have enough of the context & the situation in order to believe it could be happening.
Now, go get some decent porn!
Gracie would like to thank the fabulous Hester Nash for dishing with her. You can read more of Hester's thoughts on pornography in Naked Ambition. And don't forget to see our site review of RetroRaunch!
For more help in finding good porn, view our Cocktails Section!