Let me take you back to the past, gentle reader. A time when porn was not at your fingertips. A time when getting your fix of porn meant one of two things: cutting out coupons in the back of magazines and sending off for videos, or sidling into your local adult shop and hoping you would not be spotted leaving with a brown paper bag by someone you knew. ‘Um, hello Vicar! Oops, I thought this was the dry cleaners. Silly me.’
The Internet has changed the porn industry and made adult material easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. However, the downside is that much of that material is obtained without payment. Many movies and clips are shared on sites like Xhamster and PornTube, meaning that the stars and studios are deprived of further revenue. I often see angry tweets by porn actresses telling guys that ‘saying you’re my fan means nothing when you admit you watch my movies without paying.’
Sharing material is nothing new. In the Eighties, the slogan ‘Home taping is killing music’ attempted to discourage fans from copying and sharing albums. But the Internet has made it infinitely easier to share material, whether it’s music or adult material, and equally easy to access it. In this something-for-nothing world, it’s not that surprising that people feel that it’s fine to watch porn without paying for it.
This attitude has leeched into live cams as well. I stopped doing shows on one site where models are obliged to have a free cam facility, because of the number of guys who would come in while clearly not intending to ever pay for a show. You could argue that I wasn’t what they were looking for, and you may be right – in some cases anyway. But I hear the same complaint all too frequently from dozens of models. We even have a name for the guys who never want to pay – freebie-hunting wankers. It’s a source of immense frustration. Models can kick a persistent freeloader out, but when they’ve had nothing but freeloaders in their room all day, it’s no wonder that they’re in despair and wondering when they’re going to actually make any money. In addition, it’s tough for models to act friendly when they’ve had to deal with so many annoyances – and that makes the paying guys less interested in taking the girl private. It’s a vicious circle, and the models are the ones who pay the price.
And this has direct consequences for the girls. Cam girls are increasingly complaining that they can’t make enough to pay their rent – guys want a free show or just lurk in free with no intention of going private. Some guys even taunt girls with the admission that they have no intention of paying. They actually appear to enjoy making the models angry. Perhaps it’s their fetish – or perhaps they’re just entitled jerks who think the models owe them something. A sense of entitlement seems unfortunately common. Others have the attitude that they don’t want to pay, but others can. Some guys even seem offended by the thought that models are out to earn money, as if that somehow sullies sexuality. But sorry guys – nobody owes you an orgasm, and in spite of what you want to think, models are not in the job because they’re exhibitionists who enjoy playing with themselves on cam.
So why do people look for free material? I doubt that it’s necessarily due to poverty. It’s cheap enough to join most sites, and however poor a guy may be, he can surely scrape together five bucks to buy a video clip by his favorite cam girl. There’s more to it than a lack of funds; I suspect that this is rarely the case. If you’re so poor that you can’t afford a show or a clip, then you should be sticking to your own fantasies. One’s own imagination is an endless source of free fap material, and you can’t piss anyone off by merely fantasizing.
Too many punters lose sight of the fact that cams and porn are a business, either because they don’t care, or because bringing money into the equation ruins their hard-on. It’s not erotic to think that people do cams or porn because they want to be paid – and indeed, need to be paid. Horny guys prefer to kid themselves that girls are on cam or filming scenes simply because they’re also horny. They may be – but they also need cash. Models don’t get anything for free. They have to pay for the house they cam from, the computer they use, their Internet service, a good-quality webcam, the outfits they wear, the toys they use in shows, and often a photography session for their profile. Porn companies have much higher costs than cam models, so the stakes are even higher for them. And if a company can’t make money, it will cease production.
We’ve become used to getting what we want on demand. A simple search will bring up a vast array of adult material, providing that the search engines haven’t blocked it (some aren’t very adult-friendly). But opening our wallets and flexing our credit cards is another matter. And this unwillingness to pay for porn has major consequences.
Pay rates have dropped for porn actors and actresses. It’s estimated that many earn half as much as they used to. Imagine that – someone has decided that your body is worth much less than it used to be, because of market forces. Even established porn stars may have to supplement their income with cams or dancing in order to make a decent living. And remember that the time spent filming is only a part of the actors’ work; they have to spend time on keeping fit, on looking after their appearance, interacting with fans on social media and traveling to shoots. Fans do actually get a lot for free.
There’s also the risk that if more people don’t pay for their porn, the production of new material will slow down, and the quality of the material that is produced will deteriorate. Pornographers can’t make material for the fun of it. Actors, studios, equipment, distribution all cost money. A typical boy/girl scene lasting 25 minutes costs $3,500 to produce. So every single sixty seconds of porn that you watch has cost something like $140 to make. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS, guys. Look at it that way, and you begin to see – hopefully – why there is a need for viewers to pay for the porn they watch. Think about it – do you really want to be endlessly surfing PornTube looking for a scene that you haven’t already viewed, only to find the same old clips that were filmed years ago?
The industry is fighting back, however. The #payforyourporn hashtag encourages people to pay for their adult material, and has gained a lot of attention. But it’s a battle that won’t be won overnight, and the war against piracy will probably never be won. Alas, convincing people who feel entitled to free porn that they should start paying is a mammoth challenge.
For more information on this subject, visit the #PayForYourPorn website.