By Robert Dean
There’s a lot to the skin game, and it’s more than two (sometimes ten) naked people getting freak nasty for our carnal pleasure. The adult entertainment industry is worth billions annually, all dick jokes, moaning orgasms, and anal beads aside.
The people who brought you such classics as Hammer Her Slippery Wet Holes, The Sperminator, and Jill Jacks Off, are responsible for many of the technological advances we use every day.
From virtual worlds long constructed before Zuckerberg’s Metaverse to cashless Internet transactions or lobbying for new anti-piracy laws, porn is always looking for new ways to get you off, which means innovating old technologies. These people didn’t only create the Fleshlight and $1,500 posable sex dolls that look like cartoon versions of real women with working orifices (I am never getting this erased from my search history.) They’re also the industry behind getting the Internet off of what was essentially an infrastructure constructed upon a house of cards: it pioneered streaming video, payment tracking devices, and online credit card transactions. eCommerce, which is a massive part of the online experience thanks to Shopify and Salesforce, owes a lot of the early technology to porn’s tech innovations. Companies like Vivid and MindGeek found enough horny people looking to use their credit cards to build an infrastructure around safe transactions and allow registered members to be a part of a community with perks like monthly fees, daily uploaded content and upselling to different tiers. Most of what we see YouTube peddling as an upgrade was conceptualized a few years back by entrepreneurs looking to make a buck in the world of ass play smut. Another thing that porn gave us? Bandwidth. Because so much content was flowing through their channels due to photos and videos, bandwidth needed to increase due to users wanting more choices, fewer glitches, and greater streaming availability. This innovation led to where we are now with so many options for you to take a quick beat, whether it’s in a stall in the office bathroom with your iPhone or Haley Spades getting nailed hard up on the seventy five inch big screen in your living room like a true pervert.
But what’s next for porn?
We’ve seen the innovations that pushed the limits, but that was before every town in the world didn’t have a Chamber of Commerce promoting their city as “the next tech superhub.” Tech breakthroughs happen daily, so porn is still doing its part, but what’s changing isn’t about the tech. It’s about the performers and how they’re taking a controlling stake in what your average porn fan flicks the bean to – “I think the self-produced market is going to remain a big player. Performers can create custom content for their fans willing to pay a premium, and that’s huge. OnlyFans changed everything. Every performer essentially has their own television channel now,” said Matt Slayer, who’s held every job in the porn universe, outside of being male talent. Slayer hosts the wildly popular And Now We Drink podcast, which features a lot of porn performers. “But, that OnlyFans monetization, that does come with risk. What if the platform shuts down? If they stop, a lot of people are fucked. Some of these girls are making six figures a month. That ain’t happening with a studio.”
The rise of personal subscription services and streaming platforms like PornHub have changed how performers see their business models. Now, a performer can upload their content directly to the PornHub server, and they’re off to the races on a monetization platform much like YouTube. These options have the performers thinking about their choices.
Kate Kennedy was one of the industry’s fast-rising stars who took a step back and leaned into creating content, concentrating on what fans wanted over what a studio was willing to offer.
“I think it’ll be a lot of user-generated content, along with collabs. Some performers are even creating co-ops to create a worker-owned, branded stream like Lil Pump has. (Lil Pump is a mediocre mumble rapper with face tattoos who has a massive hog and smashes many of the porn world’s talent on his OnlyFans.) There’s a big push for big-name performers to work with one another. It gives us a chance to make money, just that performer I’m working with – no middleman and me.” Kennedy mused about the future diversity of the business, too, “There’s always been a lane for anyone’s interests, but now more than ever, there are more diverse performers, age looks and body type – anyone can turn a webcam on, which is cool. There’s also more specialized content; people are becoming way more aware of their sexuality and kinks – we’re hopefully going to see a lot more of that become mainstream.”
Milly Marks, another female performer, who’s branched out into a comedy career that’s moving like a rocket ship thanks to her quick wit and recent appearances on Kill Tony, had a different point of view on the future of the business.
“It’s a good thing it’s becoming more ethical. We’re making more money. I do think it kind of sucks, too. Everyone can now call themselves a ‘sex worker’ because everyone wants to seem oppressed. They’ll say, ‘I’m a sex worker,’ you’re kinda not – being on a webcam or selling nudes isn’t a sex worker. Being a sex worker has stakes. There are millions of nudes online; they’ll be buried and never found. I’ve had my bank tell me they won’t let me keep my account open. This is a part of being in porn. Dabbling in ‘sex work’ isn’t being a sex worker, so I have issue with that. Everyone can do what they want, but it’s weird to glamourize this thing that you’re not.”
Marks suggested a different point of view than the others when it came to working collaboratively; there will be differences in opinion, even if some people have been deep throated on a faux spaceship, giving the people their need for alien-kink.
“I’m not closed off to the idea of a content trade, but I’d rather pay male or female talent. Then I own everything we shot. Owning my stuff makes more money. That’s just business. I think it’s smart for each person to have completely different content instead of sharing the same stuff if they’ve shot together. This way, we’re not selling the same shit. OnlyFans is cool and ethical, but people charging $35 for a subscription know nothing about business or money. It’s gonna get pirated. It’s about keeping your subscribers. That’s the business moving forward.”
Where the future of porn will go, who knows? Whatever shape it takes, it’ll still probably smell like Astroglide, there will be people getting peed on, and there will be post-nut clarity, especially after Googling posable sex dolls as I did. Who knew these things had workable buttholes? OnlyFans, here we come.