Porn: From Visual Images to Connectivity

webcam model


The Start of the Porn Industry

The porn industry owed its initial start to the male masturbation market in the 1970s. There was an enormous unsatisfied pool of male desire. It was in these years that images started to take over from “dime novels,” where all you had was text. (The appeal of text was that you could send it through the mail without fear of a federal “obscenity” charge).

The rest of this story is well known and is basically what I tell in my book Stormy’s World. Porn moves first into movies, then gonzo, then online and streaming. Today, enormous amounts of porn are available online for free. Many young people would find the notion of paying for porn outrageous.

So, the male (and female) masturbation market has been sated. There is little more money to be made from it and producers who try to market sex photos and videos from behind a pay wall will soon find themselves in another line of work.

Webcamming Is an Anchor of the Adult Market

Today, the most profitable areas of the adult entertainment business are toys and webcamming. Neither is “porn,” in the sense that neither sells images. Yet both are fundamental anchors of the adult market. Toys are proving very profitable, but they are not necessarily the wave of the future. The wave of the future is webcamming, not because so many men are desperate to see 25-year-olds finger themselves, but because webcamming addresses a profound need for connectivity.

People ask, do you have to be beautiful to do webcamming? The answer is no. But you have to be psychologically sensitive and able to give male subscribers the feeling, in an eroticized setting, that here is someone who cares about them, who wants to hear about their problems. The eroticized part is important because this is how webcamming differs from psychotherapy. The therapist’s office is not an erotic setting, while the webcam “girl” may be naked, or dressed in lingerie, or whatever. But for many men, that is secondary. The encounter is not a masturbatory experience. It establishes a psychological connection. (We’re talking here about “private” one-on-one sessions, not mass sessions where hundreds of subscribers sign on at once).

From Eros to Connectivity

This shift from eros to connectivity has caught the adult industry by surprise. People whose orientation is still Chatsworth (“Porn Valley” in the San Fernando Valley), and twelve-minute gonzo loops, will receive these tidings with dismay. Because the webcam models don’t need them. The models don’t need the whole exploitative apparatus of directors and producers that left the models oppressed and humiliated at the bottom of the industry’s power pyramid.

Now, all the models need is access to one of the many webcam networks such as Chaturbate. They are otherwise in charge of their own show, and they can make money — not through feigning interest in a client’s sexual desires, but in his social plight.

He has no one who understands him. You are the only one! And he will pay for that experience. In addition to the standard per-minute rate, there may be tips arriving from Western Union.

In a way, this is good news for all the players. It shifts the emphasis from a kind of sordid focus on male lust to a sort of psychological neediness that is not at all scabrous but, if anything, endearing.


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