By Dr. Limor Blockman
“There's very little advice in men's magazines, because men don't think there's a lot they don't know. Women do. Women want to learn. Men think, 'I know what I'm doing, just show me somebody naked.'” - Jerry Seinfeld
I used to religiously visit the AVN (Adult Video Network), which takes place annually in glorious Las Vegas. My favorite part has always been the AVN Awards Show, one spectacular event that I can honestly say is nothing less than outrageously entertaining.
Full disclosure, I must admit that I have dabbled in my own adult film screenings (Ok, I see you back there making inappropriate assumptions, yes you…) working on part of a bigger project. I was interviewing both male and female members of the industry while dodging indecent proposals from the very hard-ahem-working Ron Jeremy! (10 sheer inches of kosher meat; where I come from it matters !)
The adult industry, which might seem magically recession-proof (people never stop masturbating!), is actually struggling. Who consumes porn? Is it really geared towards men? Do women honestly find it offensive and un-sexy? Professor Kinsey and his team back in the early 50s, reported that 54% of men found extreme arousal in watching adult films or erotic images vs. 12% (!) of the women in the sample. *
The huge discrepancy can’t be explained within the context of a lack of interest or sexual need in women, but rather we must look at the different way in which the female sexual cycle operates. Women don’t appreciate the value of steamy “visual pummeling” as much as men. National Geographic, anyone? I’m sure this will come as a surprise to no one: women value a more holistic approach, one with emotional context.
Things have changed in our consumption of adult material since 1953. What ‘turned us on’ yesterday is not necessarily what turns us on today, and most likely what turns us on today will get a complete makeover again tomorrow.
So what is this magical dose of good ol’ tree-shaking, mind-blowing excitement that we need? When and why do we get sexually bored and need new stimulation in any form? It’s a provocative discussion that leads to controversy in the form of ‘sex addiction’ and other new ‘conditions.’ I’ve made it my business to get more facts.
As part of my work as a researcher and data collector, I present questions about these hot topics to couples and individuals that visit my clinic. You are very welcome to take these in, and ask your true self in the mirror:
Does our choice of adult content, may it be extreme group sex, anal, oral, gay, BDSM, kink or any other choice, characterize our interest in this kind of sexual outlet in reality?
Do we merely use porn as a fantasy “valve” that allows us to release our wildest wishes without the risks of physical experiments?
Here’s one that might be easy to swallow (Oy, innuendos): Is a woman who finds herself erotically charged by a lesbian scene then eager to actively play it out with her sexy neighbor? (If there isn’t at least one heterosexual man reading this disclaimer and not jumping ,frothing and cheering “yes yes she would”, I’ll sacrifice my own O for a week) The process of collecting data in any social science, let alone one that touches on sexuality, will forever be biased by a rainbow of social and personal inhibitions. Yet the more raw data we can collect, the more we can learn about ourselves, our desires, and what it means to be a sexual creature.
The adult industry has changed our views about sexuality, but how? How is porn affecting our teenage sons and daughters and how they view their interpersonal relationships? How do we define ourselves against the backdrop of ubiquitous images of objectified women (and men)? Needless to say, we have a lot of work ahead to determine the effects of adult content on our population.
Meanwhile, here are a few interesting facts regarding the industry, past to present:
• Opinions as to the very first adult film ever created vary: Some claims relate to the French, 1908 movie “A L'Ecu d'Or ou la bonne auberge," depicting a soldier returning from battle and falling into the voluptuous arms of a generous motel attendee. Others claim that the 1907 Argentine film “El Sátiro,” was the actual pioneer and maybe it was a 1906 Austrian film called the "slave market" or "Am Sklavenmarkt."
• Many adult films in the 1920s were silent, some depicted short, 10-minute repertoires, named simply: female masturbation, oral sex, missionary sex granted male penetration and so forth .
• In the early 1970s a new genre of adult films erupted that had mainstream appeal in the U.S. market. Films like "Deep Throat" and “Behind the Green Door” created “pornochic,” enjoyed by celebrities and socialites who attended theatrical screenings publically.
• 12%-15% of online content includes some level of adult material.
• 25% of the requests typed in various search engines, relate to pornographic images.
• 35% of online downloads are of adult nature.
• “Sex” is the most common online search.
• Over 70% of adult consumers are males, 25% are females.
• 70% of adult content consumption takes place during week days and work hours (between 9 am to 5 pm) but you knew that already...
* Sexual Behavior in the Human Male(1948) & Sexual Behavior in the Human Female(1953)
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Dr.Limor Blockman is a renowned Clinical Sex Counselor, Educator, Columnist, Speaker and Author.
Dr. Limor holds a PhD in Human Sexuality, a Master’s in Public Health & Community Medicine
and a Bachelor’s in Psychology & Behavioral Sciences.
Dr.Limor is the author of the revolutionary tip book “365 Daily Tips for Outrageous Sex & Intimacy” (1st release in English) and three bestselling books (Published in Hebrew):"300 Tips for better Sex" -platinum awarded in 2007,"Gay Pride"-a guide for the LGBT community &"Confessions"- a memoir.