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How the pandemic has changed the porn industry

The effects of COVID-19 on the production and on the consumption of porn

How the pandemic has changed the porn industry The effects of COVID-19 on the production and on the consumption of porn

Few MILFs, no gangbangs and a spike in amateur interest. COVID-19 has definitely impacted the taste of porn users, and the revival of the porn industry is trying to reorganize its work after the forced hiatus.

On March 15th the Free Speech Coalition, a non-profit trade association representing the adult entertainment industry in the United States, called for a shutdown of all on-set productions. The mainstream porn industry managed to reopen in mid-June when the FSC lifted its moratorium and released a set of guidelines for maintaining safety on sets. One of the first sets to reactivate was Raging Stallion Studios’ one, a pornographic production house that produces and distributes gay porn films. And there, in California, the filming of No-Tell Motel began. But how have the rules on the sets changed? 

 

The precautions on set

In Italy, the sexologist Roberta Rossi had advised using the mask even during sex, and the same tip came also from Canada. In pornographic productions, however, it was decreed not to use them, both due to the lack of functionality (given the activity), but also for aesthetic reasons. All people on the set are required to wear masks. If we consider a set of a large mainstream production (let's take Brazzers) the number of those present is really high: make-up artists, camera and audio operators, costume designers and so on. In this case, independent companies could benefit from having smaller sets and less staff. Although it should be remembered that in 2015 the independent productions in America had already gone from 200 to 20 studios, so the risk of closing today is quite real.

Actors and actresses won’t have to use the mask when shooting scenes, but this does not mean they are more advantaged. It is also advisable not to use Uber services to reach the sets (not to mention public transport) and to stay in a hotel in self-isolation in the days before filming. Pornstars will have to get the test results for Covid-19 exactly 24 hours before shooting the scene, and the tests are paid for by the companies. This last point is not really obvious, because, with some exceptions, tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are usually a performer’s responsibility. 

Performers are already tested every two weeks for STDs, so adding a test will not particularly upset their work, which cannot be said for other work environments. However, controls are very tight and Falcon/Naked Sword said that some companies are monitoring performers’ social media, to prevent them from coming into contact with too many people and to see if they are really applying all the precautions. 

 

Which scenes are shot and which are watched the most 

The porn industry is one of the few to have already overcome a pandemic in the past. At the end of the nineties, the outbreaks of HIV infection had almost blocked the pornographic world, but everything was resolved thanks to the 4T method, also applicable to the current emergency: target, test, treat and trace (i.e. recognize who is affected, test them, proceed with medical treatment and track who they have been in contact with). If the chaos caused by HIV has at the time changed the way of working, Covid-19, on the other hand, in addition to this, has also altered the content of the scenes shot. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Brazzers production director Ryan Cash said that for now the scenes are limited to two performers. This is because group scenes (be it gangbangs, orgies or even just threesomes) involve too many people on set. Furthermore, many performers are reluctant to go back to shooting in the studio, both for health reasons, and because during the lockdown period they used other platforms, first of all, OnlyFans (nss G-Club had already reported on its popularity in quarantine, and if you need some advice to approach this world you can a few tips here).

Alex Hawkins, VP of XHamster, has noticed a reduction in searches on video categories such as MILF or incest roleplay, this is probably because people have spent or are still spending a lot of time with their families. At the same time, searches for public sex scenes increased (registering + 87%), as did the interest in kissing, which is traditionally not quite a widespread request when it comes to online porn.
Research related to pandemics, quarantine and all medical-themed videos, in general, has also increased. We should not be surprised at all of this. We search the Internet for what we live as much as what we would like to experience. 

 

The need for “reality"

With the compulsory confinement at home, the consumption of porn has increased. Porn distribution sites like Pornhub have ridden the rise in demand by making Premium services free. But apart from the changes analyzed above, a fixed point remains the increase in interest in the amateur. The sex workers have started shooting at home, and on ModelHub (Pornhub's platform dedicated to more or less professional models) the videos uploaded have increased daily by more than 30%. An even more significant increase, which we have already talked about, was recorded on OnlyFans. The isolation also brought more people to live cam sites to interact directly with sex-models. But this also happened because people need a deeper personal contact. In fact, many sex-workers underline the great care-work and the emotional and psychological support they provide to their customers. If amateur was already one of the most popular categories, with the current pandemic, interest in more "real" and "raw" content has grown dramatically. In short, the lack of reality has caused porn consumers to reject more glossy and overproduced videos. No perfect lights, nor unrealistic sets. 

At least from what the data show, when we found ourselves deprived of what we considered our normality, we went to look for something that could be experienced, or that at least we had experienced ourselves. And if before porn was a way to arouse a fantasy, now the deepest desire is to find reality