Erotic Porn is Back

 In Americanoizing

While Washington D.C. was being pounded by seventeen inches of snowfall, its citizens were enjoying the offerings of PornHub. The porn site recorded its biggest surge in traffic ever this past weekend, with double the amount of users bumping figures up to 21%, a number that rose to 25% the following day when locals were snowed in. Even on a normal weekend, 25% of all search engine enquiries are related to porn. Suffice to say our fervour for x-rated visuals hasn’t waned. What has begun to change is the modes in which our porn is being delivered. Long gone are the times of top shelf magazines, print porn is being repackaged in a whole new way.

The term adult magazine has shifted from being an indication of vulgarity to one of sophistication. Contemporary audiences are curating every aspect of their lives to fit with their cultured interests, so why should porn be exempt? There’s no better example of this than Richardson Magazine. Launched in 1998, it bills itself as an art and culture publication that focuses almost exclusively on portrayals of sex and sexuality. Founder Andrew Richardson is the former creative director of streetwear brand Supreme, known for their collaborations with artists, limited edition releases and hordes of fans. Richardson Magazine invokes a similar response. Just like Supreme, it’s hard to come by. It boasts a clothing line worn by the likes of Rihanna, and Richardson refuses to adhere to traditional publication schedules, instead favouring to release issues irregularly, whenever the time feels right.

Richardson apparel has a huge influence on the same demographic that clamour for the latest Supreme garments. Extending a publication to offer more than just a magazine to its readers is a shrewd move at establishing a brand presence and lifestyle ethos, something that plenty of companies are indulging in. Contemporary culture magazine 032c frequently produces merchandise that is largely inspired by the contents and covers of the magazine. Richardson garments are designed with the philosophy of the brand in mind, not the contents of the publication. It would seem that is just one branch of the Richardson brand, but what still rings true: sex sells.

Porn’s feminist dialogue enters a new realm with Jacques magazine, an all-female led title which aims to challenge the traditional male gaze of porn. Founder Danielle Leder-Hettara created the magazine as an antidote to sterile, silicone porn. All girls featured in the magazine are shot on film, completely unretouched, most of whom have gotten in contact with Leder-Hettara themselves – not the other way around. The result is a compendium of women who all have their own reasons for getting undressed in front of the camera, recreational not vocational, which creates a very particular feel to the publication. These women are letting the viewer see the real them, and that goes beyond an absence of photoshopping.

This lack of manufacturing gives the content of Jacques a certain weight to it, a realistic voyeurism. Like the scrapbook style amateurism of homosexual quarterly Butt magazine, people thrive off realness. That realness needs to emulate the authenticity of our lives, so it’s only natural that our porn reflects and shares those same values. As the discussion on gender equality continues, why shouldn’t our adult material mirror that? Let’s shoot it on film only, because film is an indication of our refined tastes and cultured predilections. Thus far porn has been most dominant in its online form, but like most online content, there comes a time when people begin to crave its physical embodiment. As print is increasingly seen as a premium, luxury product, the whole narrative has to epitomise that in order for people to latch onto it.

High brow erotica is a repackaging of classic carnal content, accommodating consumers’ needs for something that fits into their own personal mise-en-scène. For when every facet of our documented lives are considered, why would we stop at what turns us on? Unless there’s two foot of snow outside, in which case all refinement goes out the window.

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