Gareth May | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 7 January 2016

5 Things That Will Happen In Porn In 2016

5 Things That Will Happen In Porn In 2016

The Debrief: Our assessment of the coming (hehe) year ahead in porn

It’s that time again when my brain buzzes with all kinds of naughty questions about the porno year ahead. Who will be the break-out star of 2016? Will Jenna Jameson return to the adult industry and ask me to be her co-star/baggage handler/personal gimp? Will we finally see ‘camel sex’ legalised (because who doesn’t want to see that, conscience-free)? 

Pulling on my Mystic Meg wig and peering into my crystal balls, I’ve plucked five predictions from the adult industry ether. Here’s my assessment of the coming (hehe) year ahead in porn. 

What kind of content will we be watching?

When it comes to adult entertainment viewing habits, I always think it’s important to divide those that watch porn every so often for a quick fix, from those that watch it regularly with a particular brand or genre association. 

The former will, generally, watch whatever they can get their saucy little mitts on and, of course, whatever gets them off: a taste that’s largely decreed by what a Google search spunks out or what free tube sites such as PornHub upload (typically US-made, male gaze studio and user-generated content).

The latter, on the other, tend to be more flexible, developing a liking for adult content which mirrors their own sexual exploration, interests and kinks or, indeed, content that is timely – and I believe art-house porn is going to be the one to watch in 2016.

To be fair, 2015 has already been one hell of a year for the kind of porn with an artistic aesthetic and androgynous or feminist gaze (ie not phallocentric). The kind of porn, or ‘erotic content’ as it’s often referred to, that induces arousal from the way a scene is shot, and the story being told, as much as the fucking itself.

Earlier this year, the 23rd Annual Raindance Film Festival in London showcased the work of Swedish filmmaker Erika Lust.   After a talk on the creativity in erotic cinema, VUE Cinema Piccadilly screened a series of short films from Lust’s series XConfessions.com.

For a festival that gave premiers to Pulp Fiction and The Blair Witch Project (two precursors of cinema in their own right) was this an indicator that artistically shot porn can have a place in the mainstream movie industry?

Erika Lust filming

The year would then end with director Gaspar Noé’s 3D film Love, featuring un-simulated sex, garnering near-nationwide release, challenging regular cinemagoers and their perspective of ‘fictionalised’ sex as well as – more importantly – what pornography is and what it could be.

Therefore, I predict 2016 will be the year that this sea change continues and that more and more people approach porn as something artistic, as well as arousing and in turn seek out the sort of content produced by Erika Lust, Lucie Blush of Lucie Makes Porn, Vex Ashley of A Four Chambered Heart and Joy Bear Pictures – erotica with just as much heart and brains as it has tits and ass. 

Will user-generated porn take a hit?

In February 2015, the government launched a new helpline dedicated to supporting victims of revenge porn. In its first six months alone, it took over 1,800 calls, covering some 280 individual cases (75% of which were women) resulting in the removal of online content, with some takedowns within minutes. 

By the end of the summer we were seeing the first prison sentences handed out here in the UK under new laws criminalising revenge pornography and a revenge porn storyline on Coronation Street late on raised yet more awareness of a growing issue for the Snapchat happy generation. 

The question, is however, will people be deterred from uploading images and videos of their ex-partners with these new laws finally in place? With a potential prison sentence hanging over their head, they’ll certainly think twice before mass sharing, but the solution to revenge porn is a far more complicated issue than simply finding a way to stop people from pressing send – and I predict 2016 will be the year that the debate shifts to the reasons why people ‘commit’ revenge as opposed to how.

Is 2016 finally the year that virtual reality porn takes off? 

We now know that the consumer version of the Oculus Rift (the premium virtual reality headset) will launch in early 2016. The impact of VR could have a profound affect on various industries from marketing to TV to the food and drink business (there was a recent talk about the potential media impact at the annual Remix Summit in London, hosted at Google’s offices). But is it also the future of the adult industry? 

With piracy and free ‘tube’ sites on the rise, the industry needs a shot of capital (profits are down by 40% since 2005) and virtual reality adult content could provide it. According to the president of Xbiz, ‘Virtual reality porn will make 2D porn obsolete’ and porn director Lee Roy Myers, founder of WoodRocket.com, has called it ‘the future of adult entertainment’.

How far away are we from the reality of virtual reality sex?

Wood Rocket

As this rather thorough report over at MarketWatch reveals, the industry will make its money by getting punters to pay for virtual reality content rather than having it given away for free – and with VR content technology-dependent, the industry has a good chance to stamp its authority on this new genre from the get go.

Who’s going to be the next big star? 

As previously noted, on this side of the Atlantic, I’m predicting big years for the likes of performer-producers Lucie Blush and Vex Ashley as well as northern lass and more mainstream performer Sienna Day, who recently featured in the alternative Christmas viewing of Sherlock: A XXX Parody

Lucie Blush

As everyone knows, however, the kings and queens of the industry are still crowned in California and although she missed out on a nomination for AVN Female Performer of the Year 2016, Casey Calvert is set for big, bouncy and gloriously naughty things in the coming year.

Her girl-next-door looks mixed with a penchant for the extreme on camera and an intellect on and off set (she recently took part in an online debate with The Economist no less), Calvert is my number one pick to make the headlines for all the right reasons in 2016.

San Fernando super agent Mark Spiegler certainly has a knack for finding the industry’s brightest future stars (Asa Akira and Jessie Andrews to name just two) and when Spiegler says someone is going to be big, he’s usually right. Just ask Sasha Grey

Vex Ashley

What about the industry at large? 

There’s not enough room on the internet to discuss the current state of the adult industry both on these shores and Stateside. The simple fact is, with so much content given away for free, it’s always going to be an uphill battle to make money and big-time producers especially are banking on the potential thrills of virtual reality to pull them out of a hole.

Meanwhile, in the UK, independent, feminist and BDSM content producers are still coming to terms with the draconian laws enforced by the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod). As this retrospective look at the impact of the law over at The Independent reveals, the fallout has been profound, with many producers losing their livelihoods and even those who have conformed finding themselves and their content largely restricted.

The UK industry is the poorer for it and I’m sad to say it won’t be letting up any time soon even if the ‘all porn is bad’ rhetoric is fast fading, it will take a government U-turn or some progressive fresh thinking to put things right.

Casey Calvert

In the US, the government is also getting involved with the LA County law condoms-in-porn law (Measure B) potentially being rolled out throughout the state by the end of 2016, forcing more producers and performers out of the San Fernando Valley – porn’s spiritual home.

Throw in the well-documented situation with James Deen and issues of onset consent and the US industry is also undergoing huge changes. As is usually the case in front of the camera, you can’t take your eyes off this one. 

You might also be interested in: 

Reddit Users Recommend The Best ‘Porn For Girls

Where Can I Find The Best Porn For Women? 

Can Porn Ever Truly Be Ethical? 

Follow Gareth on Twitter @garethmay

Tags: Sex, NSFW, Sex O\'Clock, Porn