Rachel Thompson | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 20 August 2015

DIY Tumblr Porn: The Porn Movement We've All Been Waiting For?

Tumblr Porn

The Debrief: And is the burgeoning popularity of homemade Tumblr porn sending a message to the industry about the type of porn we want to view?

Tumblr: it’s the realm of fangirls, teens, and... amateur porn stars. Yes that’s right. In the latest WTF trend to hit the technosexual generation, twentysomething couples are making their very own homespun porn and sharing it on social media.

These days, sexting, Snapchat and saucy videos are part and parcel of most sexual relationships. Sure, it’s great fun at the time, but the threat of revenge porn looms ominously overhead whenever these relationships go Pete Tong. So, why exactly are millennials voluntarily uploading their own personal shots to social media for the world to see? 

Whether you love it or hate it, research has found that humans like to watch porn. In fact, 90% of men and 31% of women watch porn on a semi-regular to regular basis. A recent study by Vocativ and Pornhub looked at porn preferences of different age demographics. The study found that 'stepmum', 'MILF' and 'squirt' are among the most popular Pornhub searches for twentysomethings. However, that’s not all millennials are into. A 2014 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that the most popular sexual fantasies of both men and women focused on feeling a strong romantic attachment during sex with a partner.

Mainstream porn sites cater to a kaleidoscope of viewing preferences; from grannies to anime, there’s something for everyone. Except, perhaps, for those in search of genuine intimacy and – heaven forefend – romance. Log in to Tumblr, however, and it’s unlikely you’ll find anything resembling hardcore pornography. Instead, you’ll find erotic and even romantically-charged content that couldn’t be further from the fake orgasms and artificiality of mainstream porn.

'Tumblr tends to be more personal since the people who are sharing are just normal folks with normal bodies, who are also truly into each other and what they're doing together,' says Adam*, creator of Letmedothis.com, which receives around 2 million page views a month.

Adam says: 'That realism and personal touch is what is missing from mainstream porn and is also why I tend to stay away from it. We both believe that intimacy is the most important aspect of eroticism and, sadly, what's missing in most traditional pornography.  We want to show off what we have together and highlight the intimacy we share.  We also want to show young people, women especially, that sex should be pleasurable for everyone involved.'

Could DIY porn be the feminist porn movement we’ve all been waiting for? My friend Sara, 32, has sidestepped the female objectification of mainstream porn in favour of viewing sex-positive DIY porn. 'Fake, manufactured porn is full of folks with shaved pubic areas and terrifyingly large boobs and penises, so it's not realistic and it's really quite gross to me,' says Sara. 'Not to mention the fact that women are so horribly objectified in mainstream porn that the feminist part of my brain just gets angry.' 

'In amateur porn, I feel like you get to watch two people who actually *like* each other (sometimes you can even tell that they actually love each other), and that's really sexy to me. Consent is sexy, mutual respect is sexy, honesty is sexy. And you often feel all of those things in amateur porn. I also feel like watching normal, real people is what sex is really like, and that's more appealing to me than some kind of plastic fantasy.'

Elle Chase, founder of popular Tumblr porn blog LadyCheeky.com, which gets around 3 million hits per month, believes that tastes in porn are shifting dramatically towards realistic porn that’s built on sexual chemistry. 60% of LadyCheeky.com viewers are female, and founder Elle believes its success with women is owed entirely to the site’s focus on female arousal.  

'I’m seeing a shift towards what I call the “new porn” -- porn that’s purposely non-formulaic and built on chemistry instead of thin storylines, and actors who are being blocked for camera,' says Elle. 'More interestingly, the “new porn” that’s so popular is not defined by gender, sexuality, or fetish, but instead determined by passion, connection, authenticity and eroticism, which is very exciting.'

The popularity of Tumblr porn is certainly a positive move away from the female objectification in mainstream porn, but what is the effect on Tumblr porn stars’ relationships?

Adam, founder of Letmedothis.com believes that his Tumblr blog has had a positive effect on his relationship.

He says: 'Sharing our sexuality with the world and attempting to showcase the eroticism in our intimacy is a new experience for the both of us. We always get a kick out of the comments on our photos, especially when people fantasize about emulating them with a partner.'

C. and J., a couple operating Tumblr porn blog Seattle255, have found the experience a thrilling part of their relationship: 'We get a thrill from sharing our sex life online, but we also get a thrill from the offline side of our sex life.'

Wendy Maltz, sex therapist and co-author of The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography, remains unconvinced, however:

'As a sex and relationship therapist I've heard of many problems related to amateur porn. These include: relationships breaking up over one partner's "addiction" to watching it, a partner being bullied into making it, and one or both members of the couple regretting having made it and shared it on the internet. Like any porn, amateur porn reinforces a relationship with it, instead of with one's lover.'

Safety is also an important concern for couples publishing DIY porn. Rightly so, considering we live in an era plagued by nude photo leaks and revenge porn. Tumblr porn stars often crop out their own faces and create pseudonyms to protect their identities. Nonetheless, real-life encounters with one’s Internet fanbase do happen, as Letmedothis.com founder Adam and his partner discovered:

'We actually had someone reach out to us after seeing us together at the mall, but they were very respectful about it. Safety is always a concern, but we both understand that there's always the possibility that we'll get recognised.'

WTF trend or not, the ever-burgeoning audience of Tumblr porn is sending a very clear message to the porn industry: make sex-positive, non-violent and female-friendly porn that doesn’t perpetuate unrealistic sex and body standards. Viewing real-life sex showing chemistry, intimacy and even romance between sexual partners is not only a healthy step towards female sexual empowerment, but towards good sex in general.

*name has been changed

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Picture: Eugenia Loli

Tags: Sex, Sex O\'Clock