how big porn companies treat their viewers

How the Big Porn Companies Treat Their Viewers

The big porn companies are not offering a great public service and they treat their viewers really badly. They treat their viewers as workers. Tell them what their desires are. Deliberately leave them unsatisfied and then neg them into buying things. They also don’t treat the people who appear in many of the clips well either. More on that here.

So here are a few reasons that they don’t treat the viewer very well. If you look at porn (a lot of young people don’t) this might give you some useful insights. I’ve also got some great advice at the end on how you can deal with some of this.

They make the viewer a worker

Back in the day, porn was seen as bad because it meant you weren’t working or being productive. Work was not meant to be enjoyable but enjoying solo sex definitely was. However, looking at porn has now been turned into work. 

When we’re looking (TV, film, streaming, YouTube) we’re labouring. On porn sites people are being bombarded with ads. For penis enlargement, or getting a muscular body, webcam services, or for paid porn. Whether they are clicking on them or not, they are generating profit for someone just by looking at them. 

A huge amount of porn on the porn tube sites has been uploaded by viewers. The porn that is uploaded is also put into categories by the viewer. 

When people watch something they give some of their data. They are giving key information about what people want and desire from what they watch. This is then used by the big companies that own the studios to make the porn that the data says people want to watch. 


Here are the latest posts. Yes, they are all this good!


They tell viewer what their desires are

As someone watches porn they give information about what it is that they want, as well as information about who they are. This gives the tube platform* lots of vital data. *They usually have the following combination of words: porn, red, x, you, hub, tube, video, porn, and hamster.

So if someone watches a ‘Clown Porn’ clip, then they will be shown a whole load of other Clown Porn, or circus related porn. If one of the performers in the Clown Porn was also categorised as black, or a ‘MILF’ then they would also show them some clips which feature those people or people like them. 

One of the problems with this is that it’s a computer program deciding for you what you will find sexy, or what you want to watch next. Sexual desire is really complex and it can take time to figure out what they are. Free porn sites just serve up a set of desires they hope people will click on. This doesn’t help people to discover what their desires might actually be. They don’t care, so long as people keep clicking and watching. The person watching Clown Porn might not be into clowns, but perhaps they just like really big feet. 

Complex paragraph alert. As we covered in this module of the Teach Yourself Sex Ed course, our bodies have lots of different relationships to things. Gravity, beds, fantasies, past experiences, pillows, our gender, large silly shoes, spiritual beliefs etc. Many people might feel that the computer programs that run the porn sites are also actually a part of their sexual selves. Part of them is maybe part AI. I think this is why many people feel uncomfortable or unhappy about their relationship to porn. 

Read Am I Addicted to Porn?

Or buy my book Can We Talk About Consent? Thank you. Now on with the article.

They deliberately leave the viewer unsatisfied

Porn tube sites don’t give people the time to figure out what their desires are, they just give them very easy access to lots of different desires. They are not interested in people learning about their desires, they are interested in their clicks. Just like social media is not interested in the quality of what you say, but whether other people will pay attention. 

Desire and arousal

This means that leaving people unsatisfied is part of the way that free porn sites have to operate. If someone thought ‘here’s a sexy thing I desire watching’, watched it and then left, the company isn’t getting clicks, information, or an opportunity to sell them something. They rely on people clicking on a few things and leaving with a sense of ‘was there something that might have been sexier?’ ‘Is there something I need to go back for?’ Or a nagging sensation that they haven’t found ‘the thing’ that they are really searching for. Just like social media, you can scroll endlessly.

They are deliberately distracting the viewer from their desires so that they just keep clicking. With endless windows of other (maybe sexier) porn, other performers, different studios, etc.

Of course, they also want people to buy porn, which isn’t necessarily a problem. The issue is that they want people to buy the porn that they make. So the clips people might see on porn tube sites might be lower resolution, or have some scenes missing, or they might leave off the ending. Of course the whole idea of ‘the ending’ is really central to porn, so they might try to entice people to buy porn so they can see it. 

Stay in touch with Bish! Get an email every time I post an article or follow on Twitter (I post less on Instagram and TikTok because they take down sex education content!) The rest of the article continues below.

They neg the viewer into buying things

The porn companies also make money by selling things to the viewer. Either the clip itself sells you something, or an ad at the beginning, or the adverts around it. The free sites are not meant to make you feel good about yourself or your sexuality. These ads or enticements are to make you feel bad about yourself. Either about your body, or that you are looking at porn, or because they are not paying for the premium product. 

How to feel better about your body.

As I was saying in this article about porn and capitalism, the companies that own the top tube sites also own the porn production websites. They use the information that visitors to the website give them not only to serve up more porn that they might want to see, but also to create porn they can sell. 

So when people are clicking on the free porn sites they are feeding them information about what they want, which is then categorised, fed into the algorithm, and used to sell them the porn that the porn companies think that they want to watch. Selling their version of what satisfaction looks like. 

Advice 

For a start, if you are over 18 and interested in porn, you could just not use these websites. You could do a bit of basic research and find porn that isn’t hosted on these sites. You could find anti-capitalist porn, or porn made by the creators, and pay for it. 

The other thing you can do is to bear all of this in mind if ever you go to the free porn tube sites. Instead of just clicking on something enticing, try to be a bit more intentional. Give yourself time to think, well what kind of thing do I want to watch. 

Be slow and intentional

Porn is categorised around who is in them and what they are doing. You might have found some (eg) ‘glasses porn’ sexy. But was it the people wearing glasses you found sexy? Maybe it was how they looked at each other? Or something someone said? Perhaps it was the way they kissed? Maybe the way it was filmed, or the speed, or how bright it was? So perhaps think about something that you found hot and think about what made it sexy for you?

It’s also okay to watch the same scene over and over again. Be slow and pay close attention to the things that you find sexy. Do you find yourself identifying with one of the performers? Are you in the room with them? What might you like to do if you were? How did you get there? What happens after?

Tuning into your body

The key to remember is that porn sites are serving up a lot of different desires for you to choose from. They don’t care whether or not you desire their desires, they just want you to click. So really, they are showing you lots of stories about what you should desire. These stories don’t help you tune into what you might actually desire.

Should stories make it harder for you to tune into what you actually want. I wrote this about this in how to choose a bar of chocolate. This is just the same. So what questions can you ask yourself that might help you find some porn that you feel you actually desire. Notice what happens with your body when you do and just hold onto those feelings for a bit.

For more reading try the Educational Guide to Porn or the A-Z of Porn.

These article was inspired by a couple of great books. Bodies of Work by Rebecca Saunders and Fantasy, Online Misogyny and the Manosphere by Jacob Johanssen. Look out for an interview with both of these authors at my podcast for adults, Culture Sex Relationships.

Do leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to add or if you have questions. I moderate all comments before they go live. Click here to ask me a question

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© Justin Hancock, 2022

Around 100,000 young people per month get their RSE from BISH. It competes with big media companies selling ads, digital platforms harvesting intimate data for profit, and the right. This website is crowdfunded by wonderful people like you, can you become a Patron today?

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Stay in touch with Bish! Get an email every time I post an article or follow on Twitter (I post less on Instagram and TikTok because they take down sex education content!) The rest of the article continues below.

If you’re over 18 and really into sex ed I have a podcast you might like called Culture Sex Relationships.

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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Find out more about Justin here

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