When most people think of paying for their porn, typically the first thing that comes to mind is, “Why would I pay for my porn when I can easily access it for free?” This response isn’t inherently flawed logic – there are hundreds, if not thousands of sites on the internet where you can access porn for free. However, this may come as a surprise to some, but paying for your porn is actually the most ethical way to consume your porn, and get this; it even contributes to the betterment of sex workers’ lives!
Why would I pay for my porn when I can easily access it for free?
It’s a challenging task to lead a totally ethical life as a consumer, re: consumption under capitalism; but there is a code of morals most people follow for themselves/per their lifestyle in regard to how and where goods and entertainment are sourced.
Let me try to create an analogy. People who pay for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, you name it, don’t question the subscription-based paywall put in place, because behind that monthly subscription are endless options for entertainment with tantalizing features; early releases, no commercials, director’s cut, etc… Surely, you can find the movies and TV series you love for free but you’ll be met with virus-filled websites, sketchy pop-ups, and an overall lower quality version of the thing you love with a decent amount of hassle to even attain it. Ultimately, one might pay for the subscription because it’s guaranteed quality content and contains all those generous features that make it worth ten bucks a month.
So why is porn often left in the margins of this conversation?
Is porn not considered a form of entertainment – a resource, even?
Aren’t there genres of porn, similar to TV, film, and music?
There are tons of creators, directors, and actors in the adult industry that folks favor and even closely follow their career, similar to a fanbase for a famous actor, whose work they admire.
There is close to no full-proof way of obtaining this kind of information to make “ethical decisions” when watching your porn on a free site.
The content that you’re seeing on porn-hosting-giant sites like Pornhub, xVideos, Spankbang, etc… (the list truly goes on) has likely been stolen from the creators themselves. The content may contain some non-consensual acts that were not fully disclosed to the actors. There is close to no full-proof way of obtaining this kind of information to make “ethical decisions” when watching your porn on a free site. However, Pornhub recently implemented some new guidelines for their users – but ONLY following the allegations that the site was
hosting illegal content. The new guidelines on the platform will only allow certain users to upload videos, essentially studios or people within their “Model Program,” who upload their own videos, are allowed to post, the company said. Pornhub is also using a verification process “so that any
user can upload content upon successful completion of identification protocol.” In addition, Pornhub will ban downloads and use “fingerprinting technology” to prevent content that has already been removed from the platform from being reposted.
All that being said, there is still some nuance in how effective these methods will be. Pornhub is still a company that does not navigate business with sex workers in mind. The statements were made after years of hosting non-consensual and stolen content – and having no protection for their independent creator’s content from being abused. The other sites mentioned: Spankbang, xVideos… haven’t ever released a statement in allyship with sex workers, continuously post stolen content from amateur creators and cam-girls, and offer no subscription or tipping function for the creators “featured”. Maybe you are beginning to see a pattern here…
Ultimately there is no free porn.
Ultimately there is no free porn. Regardless of its execution as amateur/self-made or studio-based work, there is extensive labor and money involved in the making of porn; wardrobe, makeup, shooting, editing, and so on. Independent creators often pay for all their own equipment for production and post-production; the money required for outfits and decent lighting alone is an investment, not to mention the cost of editing software and apps.
Most porn creators care immensely about the quality of their content. Time is money and sex online sex workers who post porn on pay-per-view or subscription based sites aren’t getting paid by the hour, they are getting paid on the singular content to content or paywall basis.
“Does buying porn make me a perverted little weirdo?”
Maybe there is an image of the “average buyer” of porn in your mind, and that person is a cis-het man or someone who just doesn’t represent you accurately. This concept is perpetuated by the stigmitization around buying online sex work and porn and the mainstream porn sites that cater to the cis-het male gaze. Well, I have some good news: the “average buyer” is no more and truthfully has never really been. There was and in many cases still is, the belief that a buyer of sex work, and for sake of this argument, online sex work is additionally a pretty sad case. According to society at large, If you have to or choose to pay for your porn – you’re probably terribly lonely, have no “game” in the world outside of the internet, and/or are feverishly horny.
The fact is folks who buy their porn are as diverse as those who make it! Buying your porn directly from porn creators opens up a world of opportunity for both the maker and the client. It’s not news that mainstream porn isn’t particularly inclusive. Buying your porn can create a safe space for all kinds of folks who don’t feel a proper representation of their gaze.
Buying your porn can create a safe space for all kinds of folks who don’t feel a proper representation of their gaze.
People of color, trans bodies, queer folks, folks who are just starting to watch porn for the first time, folks who have particular kinks that may be more challenging to come across – or just want that kink enacted by a creator that caters to their gaze more accurately are all people that can benefit. As an online sex worker myself, I’ve had the opportunity to make custom content for lots of queer people that just haven’t enjoyed porn because they wanted a more intimate experience with their content.
Buying your porn can offer that as well! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sex workers are healers. Sex workers are also professionals that can provide an experience for you. When buying your porn, you’re granted the opportunity to be in dialogue with the fantasy-maker, and you’re able to openly speak on what it is you want your viewing (and audible) experience to entail.
So where can I ethically buy my porn? I’ve got you covered.
- Bellesa.com is a porn company run by women. They’re a sliding scale subscription-based porn site with the female gaze in mind – and their tagline? “The Netflix of porn”. Bellesa “…believe that sexuality on the internet should depict women as we truly are- as subjects of pleasure, not objects of conquest.” Hear, hear!
- Pinklabel.tv is a one membership based indie adult film site. PL is created and curated by Shine Louise Houston. This site is akin to less of a Netflix, but more a Criterion Collection for porn. Pink Label’s site contains films, “spanning softcore to hardcore, plot to no-plot, and depictions of many different kinds of sexual orientations and desires. Genres include classic and vintage adult films, sex education, documentary, and collections of award-winning films selected at adult film festivals around the globe.” The content on Pinlabel is thoughtfully curated and aesthetically conscious, providing a range of visually delightful erotic content.
- MakeLoveNotPorn.tv is a “pro-sex, pro-sex, and pro-knowing the difference”. The goal behind MLNP is to represent real bodies and real sex by uplifting and celebrating the raw experiences. MLNP showcases the in-between moments of sex; the silly, goofy, and awkward moments sex naturally entails, as well as the real love, vulnerability, and intimacy. MLNP is membership-based with a revenue-sharing business model – according to MLNP means, “…members pay to rent and stream our social sex videos, and we split those payments 50/50 with our MakeLoveNotPornstars.” You can also buy your content per video basis at $5/video, or you can subscribe to one of their membership tiers.
- Sssh.com is an ethically produced, feminist, and sex-positive indie porn site. Sssh is membership-based and you can choose your membership per day, month, and year. “The cornerstone of Sssh.com is our original films … cinematic quality narratives that we have crowd-sourced since 1999 that are inspired by members’ shared desires and fantasies.”
So where can I ethically buy my porn?
Another method to buying your porn is a direct creator-to-buyer subscription, similar to Onlyfans. Here are some other sites where you can find individual content creators and buy their work through subscription tiers, per video, sexting, and live one-on-one or group video sessions:
- Just For Fans
- AVN Stars
Porn doesn’t just stop at video, but you can also engage with further sensory pleasures by enjoying some audio porn! Here are some audio erotica apps:
- Dipsea is an app, podcast, and website “where storytelling meets sexual wellness,” created by women for women. Dipsea has an array of queer-friendly short and sexy audio stories where you can choose your adventure, with their “immersive pillowtalks” – where characters talk directly to you, intimate wellness guides, or sleep stories and sounds. Dipsea offers a monthly subscription of $12.99/month or $59.99/year.
- Quinn is a platform for “…ethical, hot audio erotica to help get you there.” Created with the intention to put women first and prioritize female pleasure. The more the merrier!
I beg you to kill the anti-sex worker in your mind and become a patron of the arts in the most ethical way you can; by buying the porn you watch, read, or listen to! Creators, lovers, and hoes alike everywhere thank you. You should thank them too.