Online porn boom amid lockdowns

MADRID, 9 April 2020:

The adult entertainment industry has created a business opportunity out of the pandemic.

While thousands of culture and entertainment workers are suffering from the economic lockdowns implemented around the world, and the resulting job losses, the pornography industry is using its collective imagination to change its format, experimenting with homemade videos and adapting its content to a dystopia that has become reality.

No effort is being spared to make that adaptation in record time, and porn Web pages like Pornhub have opened up their premium content worldwide while the quarantine lasts, all this as the term coronavirus already has nine million searches just on that Web site.

Assorted online platforms for days have had their own areas where with a click people can access videos – in which the protagonists are wearing facemasks or using other healthcare materials – with titles referring to the sometimes deadly disease that is sweeping the world.

“When there’s something that’s news, sooner or later it ends up having its own porn version, just like sooner or later films, literature, series, music will appear,” said Daniel Casado, the content chief for Techpump, which includes several businesses, including the porn Web page Cumlouder.

Far from being scared off by the economic crisis being caused worldwide by the virus, the porn industry has quickly taken advantage of the situation to expand its user base.

The porn Web pages have also been offering videos and listings linked to the virus, masks, gloves or disinfectant sprays, pushing for the easing of restrictions and the return to normality.

“So far, what I’ve seen isn’t ceasing to be porn … (Even) collections of old (videos are being offered for viewing) to which they’ve added the label coronavirus because there are masks, gloves, safety suits” in them, Casado said.

One of the porn pioneers in Colombia, Juan Bustos, who manages several Web sites, said that the demand for “webcam” porn is way up: “It’s shot up by 300% (that is, the requests to work on the platforms) … and the number of webcam models is going to double in three months.”

He said that “a model in Colombia earns an average of about US$1,000 to US$1,500 per month,” although the income can go up to between US$3,000 and US$5,000, depending on that person’s popularity with viewers.

On Pornhub, with more than 10 million registered users and 120 million visitors each day, the number of homemade videos uploaded directly by models has increased by 30% and the Web site has guaranteed its models they will receive all the income their videos generate during the month of April.

Since the Web site began offering its “premium” service, its traffic has increased by 18.5% worldwide, with the biggest daily jumps in Spain (61%) and Italy (57%).

The Los Angeles Valley is the epicentre of the adult film industry, although on March 15 the Free Speech Coalition, the main US association of porn workers, halted all filming due to the Covid-19 pandemic – a move with which the industry was already familiar because when one of the actor’s working on a film tests positive for HIV or some other sexually transmitted disease, a protocol is activated that immediately halts all ongoing production in which they are involved.

Given porn actors’ and models’ concerns about a plunge in their incomes during the pandemic, the association this week issued a list of advice on how to continue creating content “from home” and “alone” or with companions who may live in the same domestic unit.

That’s the route that Diego and Manu have taken, although the Spanish couple had provided direct porn before the pandemic. Now, however, they’ve seen their incomes rise.

“Since they decreed the different quarantines, the number of visitors who come (online) to look has risen greatly. (They are) potential customers … although there are also more webcams transmitting, and so the competition is rising.”

Even though people under quarantine now have less “privacy” – being surrounded by relatives, partners or roommates – in which to view online porn, the industry is booming.

Mexican psychologist and sexologist Luis Falcon said this trend can be understood as a search for affection and connection with others.

“What’s going on with the production and consumption of graphic expressions of sexuality like porn increasing at this time? Can it be that the situation of danger to health turns us on?” he asked rhetorically, going on to say: “Absolutely, both laughing and sex are metabolisers of pain.”

“In the area of sexuality, the terms ‘normality’ and ‘abnormality’ don’t exist,” he said, adding “If the sexual practice in which we’re engaging covers the personal biological and/or psychological needs without harming others, carry on.”

– EFE