Meet The Girls Getting Paid £120 To Film Their Orgasm Face – And Put It Online
The Debrief: We spoke to three girls who are part of a website that's a 'sexy compendium of wanking habits'
‘At first I was a little bit nervous that I wasn’t going to be obvious enough. I don’t usually make noise or, you know, move around that much when I come. So I waited until none of my housemates were home and figured this was as good an excuse as any to lie down in the middle of the hallway completely naked and film myself having a wank. In a few hours, I would upload the video online and thousands of people would know what I looked like when I came.’
Meet Emily, a 21-year-old university student who – for a fee – you can watch orgasming from your laptop. She’s one of dozens of young women in their twenties who are posting videos of their ‘orgasm face’ online for anyone to see. But unlike the usual ‘come face’ offerings you’ll find online, her video isn’t called ‘teenage slut begs for your semen’ or ‘I’ll let you paint my face with cum’ (true story). Instead, she's posted her video on Beautiful Agony, the ‘multi-media experiment’ which shows ‘ordinary women’ having ‘real orgasms’ – but only from the neck up. The video is an all-screaming, red-faced, messy ode to the ‘big O’ – just about as far away as it’s possible to get from the come faces you see in normal pornography. And there's loads more like that on the site. While women in most pornos reach screaming heights of ecstasy without so much as smudging their lipgloss, on Beautiful Agony the come faces range from the diminutive to the ridiculous and the downright demented.
'We publish user-submitted videos – male and female – in which the contributor is having an orgasm, without any visual cues as to what's happening below the waist,’ explains Lauren Olney, who co-created the the website with a very specific purpose in mind. ‘Me and the site’s co-creator Richard were talking about how uninspiring we found the porn out there – all those acted-out sex scenes where everything is faked. Instead of complaining, we decided to do something about it,’ says Lauren. ‘We thought, “What if we ignore the body completely and focus on the face and made portraits of everyday individuals, actually having orgasms?” No one was talking about the emotion of sex, or celebrating self-pleasure. We wanted to have that conversation and see if others wanted to have that conversation with us.’
That was 10 years ago, but as the site prepares to celebrate its anniversary, it's clear their vision has proved to be a powerful formula. When Beautiful Agony launched they could only find 20 contributors. Today there are over 3,000 participants uploading videos to the site in their droves – most of whom are women who now make up around three quarters of the videos Beautiful Agony receives.
‘I thought it would be hot – being part of a huge sexy compendium of wanking habits. And when else do you get a chance to see what you actually look like when you come?’
But what's behind this sudden surge? ‘I found the site after a band I liked called The Sun used footage from it in their video Romantic Death,’ Emily told us about discovering the site. (You remember Emily? The one frigging herself off in her hallway.) ‘I was just amazed. There was no nudity but it was so sexy and I was so turned on by it. I wanted to do what they were doing and have people turned on by watching me. I thought it would be hot – being part of some huge sexy compendium of wanking habits. And when else do you get a chance to see what you actually look like when you come?’
But the contributors aren’t just doing it to add to the conversation. Every person sumbitting a video gets paid around £120, plus more money depending on how many people actually click through to view their videos. (Users have to pay a membership fee to view the clips.) The ‘safe space’, as Beautiful Agony puts it, is all very well and good if the girls were only sharing the videos with other, like-minded, sexually curious women. But it’s not just other girls watching it – the vast majority of the site’s users are men. Male strangers who are probably giving themselves a tug whilst watching you get off. Doesn't that bother the girls?
‘I don’t think any girls would do it for the cash,’ insists Kate, a 25-year-old fashion designer and editor of Vanity Project, who's sumbitted a video. ‘Maybe if they were paying thousands, but £120 isn’t that much, is it? I think girls want to do it because they want to share a sexual experience that’s safe and supportive and – most importantly – values consent. I had a really negative experience with a guy I was sleeping with who sent round a picture of me naked to his mates without my consent. I wasn’t upset about the fact there were naked photos of me out there in the world – it was the fact I had no control over it that really bothered me. Beautiful Agony basically helped me take the control back by sharing my sexuality in a way that I was all right with.’
Kate insists she didn't even get hung up about the process of filming it. ‘Well, I didn't film it at my house because I live with my parents and I'm sure they would have found it a bit odd for me to be wandering off to my bedroom with a video camera!’ says Kate. ‘So I did it at a friend's place, who also has a video camera. The filming was really easy, and after the first few minutes I pretty much forgot that the camera was there at all.’
‘It’s hard to switch it on, relax and ‘perform’ [read: come] when there’s a massive camera pointing in your face’
Others, however, say they found it more challenging. ‘The filming was definitely harder than I thought it would be,’ says Lizbeth, a 21-year-old design student who submitted her video because she thought that the ‘orgasm face’ is pretty much the last taboo. ‘Any tiny mistake ruins a take. If a nipple popped into frame, the lighting was too dark or music could be heard in the background, we'd have to start again. It took ages. I had to film in loads of different rooms and finally found a spot where the light was alright and my housemates couldn't see me! And it’s hard to switch it on, relax and “perform” [read: come] when there’s a massive camera pointing in your face.’
But Lizbeth says that once she'd submitted it she didn't feel any weirdness about the fact they'd be a bunch of strangers paying to watch her come. ‘Whatever, they’re never going to meet me! It’s not like they’re getting the real deal,' she told us. ‘As for the wanking, I say go for it! Anyone could be wanking over you at any one time – the guy who serves you coffee in the morning could be picturing your tits later that night. I don’t think it's gross, I think its normal. My orgasm is possibly causing heaps of orgasms for heaps more people and that’s awesome! Hooray! Orgasms for everybody!’
Kate agrees. ‘Realistically, if someone chooses to pay for a site membership and they find my video sexy and they wank over it and leave a nice comment they’re already being ten times more polite to me than the guys who catcall me when I’m working out in my jogging shorts or walking through the city in a low-cut top.’
It's certainly true that watching the videos definitely does feel different to watching porn. The whole experience is much more intense for a start (watch one – they’re sometimes ten minutes long) and the girls are actively encouraged to break porn stereotypes by wearing as natural make-up as possible. But isn't it still porn, by another name?
‘It doesn’t really phase me how the site is classified,’ Lauren insists. ‘I think neither is right nor wrong and maybe we’re just somewhere in between, and that is pretty cool. How you choose to classify it perhaps has more to do with what you get from it. One person’s porn is another’s art and vice versa. I’m continually blown away by the content – everything from gentle, to rough and extreme. Recently we received a fisting video. I mean, you can’t see the detail, but it's obvious that is what’s happening. So, so intense. The participant spoke at length in the confessions video we also ask the girls to submit explaining what's happening. Who isn’t curious about fisting? Our oldest participant was a woman in her seventies, she had a lifetime of fascinating stories to tell and as a younger woman I sat there enthralled and hanging on her every word. It made me wonder what lay ahead for myself.’
Still, you know what they say about curiosity and cats. ‘It’s funny – cats often like to make a cameo appearance in videos too. More than you would think,’ says Lauren in conclusion. Erm, something to bear in mind next time you’re having a wank? You've been warned…
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating