Porn and women: Some like it hardcore

Sunday, 22 January 2012 - 11:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna
So women are into porn. But do they prefer the mushy romance stories with sedate sex scenes of the Mills & Boon variety, or do they like hardcore action?

The first time Gopi checked out a ‘non-consensual’ sex film on the internet, she was appalled. “Here was this tough chick who gives in to her urges just because a hot cop is having his way with her, slapping her around while doing her,” says the 29-year-old Mumbai-based blogger.

“But what really freaked me out was that I was turned on. I rationalised it by telling myself it’s a porn film and if it is turning me on, it’s doing its job.” The orgasm that followed was so explosive that she now regularly checks out the ‘non-consent’ sections on porn websites. However, she still likes being on top while having sex with her husband, “and I won’t let him spank me or anything in bed, even though I do enjoy watching that in a porno”.

It’s no secret that women watch porn. According to a 2009 survey by UK tabloid The Sun, 88% of men and 66% of women watch porn films. What used to be a clandestine shopping trip to a far-off suburb to discreetly buy a copy of Letters To Penthouse has evolved into an open fishing expedition for good porn on the internet.

“There was a time when one needed not just internet access, but also a credit card number to view porn online. Now, people watch free clips even on their cellphones,” says sexologist Rajan Bhonsle, head of department of sexual medicine at KEM and GS hospitals in Mumbai.

What women want
Like Gopi, a number of women are realising that porn offers them the sexual release it does men. If your partner’s not available for sex, a porn-induced, self-stimulated orgasm can be just as good as — or even better than — sex. The plethora of websites and varied categories offer women a chance to get off to their fantasies and to imagine new ones.

Most women start watching porn out of curiosity. Brinda, 28, a Gurgaon-based entrepreneur, first got hold of an X-rated film to see what the fuss was about, and realised that it wasn’t as “gross” as some of her girlfriends had made it out to be. Now, she says, she has a “favourite clip that never fails to turn me on”.

Gopi watched her first porn clip when she was 17 during a sleepover at a guy friend’s place. She says she had to sneak into another room and watch the CD on mute, lest the five other people wake up and “catch her in the act”.

Once that curiosity has been sated, they go back to pornography for a number of reasons. Mira, 25, for instance, likes watching nude chicks. “There’s nothing more beautiful than naked women on screen,” she says, adding that she’s “totally into men, though”.

Others, like Indira, 25, a UAE-based NRI, watch porn to learn new moves. “I’ve watched every kind of porno film there is. I learn something new every time, and sex with the husband is great,” she says.

Hardcore or soft porn?
This growing percentage of women who like watching porn is encouraging more women to direct porn films aimed at stimulating women, rather than men. Erika Lust, a Swedish film director, and Anna Arrowsmith (aka Anna Span) an English porn film director, are among the pioneers of ‘feminist porn’. What makes these films different is their focus on women. The settings are more realistic and the women characters in the films aren’t desperate housewives waiting for the milkman and whatnot.

But it’s not just visual aid that stimulates women. A lot of women still prefer reading erotic stories with graphic descriptions of foreplay to watching a film that shows a man getting endlessly fellated. Ananya, 31, says that erotic literature is “more appealing than visual porn”. “However, there’s very little good, well-written erotic literature. Most of the stuff out there can be compared to badly-directed porn films,” she says.

Most erotic stories online has the writer display his/her ignorance of grammar and punctuation. Despite this shortcoming, you’re more likely to find a decent storyline and plot in a well-written piece of erotic literature than in a porn film. And erotic literature isn’t about the literature as much as it’s about the erotica in any case.

Psychologist Rhea Pravin Tembhekar of the Coffee Counselling Centre in Mumbai, explains that men and women’s attitudes to porn are similar to their attitudes to sex. “Most women approach even sex with romance in mind. For most men, porn, like sex, is just about coitus,” she adds.

Can’t stereotype porn preferences
But gender stereotypes aren’t always accurate in a changing social milieu. Tembhekar admits that there are women who like hardcore porn, and men who prefer light erotica. “Sexual desires will dictate the woman’s curiosity and the kind of pornography she watches. If a woman is into fetishes, she will watch fetish videos,” Tembhekar explains. Dr Bhonsle adds that he knows of a number of men who hate hard core porn and prefer ‘adult’ films instead.

While society is generally accepting of most things sex, it’s still taboo to talk about it. Says Tembhekar, “Admitting that you watch porn will not earn you the label of being ‘brave’. Just like there’s no social sanction to discussing how sex with your wife is, watching porn too is a personal thing.”

It’s best to enjoy a porn film or literature — hardcore or otherwise — for what it is: short-lived entertainment for purely physical pleasure. If it’s okay for the guys to do it, why shouldn’t the girls enjoy a naughty video every now and then?   

Names have been changed




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