From racial fetishes, to harmful stereotypes, to enforced homogeneity and lack of originality, mainstream (male gaze) porn just doesn't really do it for me much of the time. But is it worth thinking a bit more deeply about what’s behind the majority of the type of porn you can find for free (or at all), and the type you can’t? 

Food for thought: here are 8 depictions mainstream porn generally avoids (just scratching the very surface here):

1. Black men who are depicted as individuals 

When most people think of porn and race together at the same time, they think “interracial,” and their thoughts move quickly to a ripped black man/men giving it to a (relatively) innocent white girl. But if porn that depicts a black man and white woman in any type of emotionality, or authentic passion is what you seek, chances are you won’t easily find it outside of real life. Black men are usually depicted as the dealer, the cuckold, or the dominant, somehow less-than-human black “bull.” 

“Interracial” in the industry is code for black guy, white girl, to the exclusion of any other interracial combo you can think of. Thus, a lot of porn makes a living off the bodies of black men à la Get Out. Female stars also tend to charge more for scenes with black men. And the notion that it’s higher pay for taking larger cock is crap: most men in porn are well-hung, regardless of race. Besides, penis size is not evaluated before pay is discussed. Black performers, of course, don’t get extra compensation for these scenes. Some performers don’t do IR scenes as a way of protesting racist production companies. But that just means less work for them.

 

2. Black women who are valued 

When a black woman actually gets a role (rare), she’s most often depicted as a “ho,” as someone drugged up or pimped out. With a massive booty to boot, of course. Tasteless projects like Black Wives Matter are arguably part of the problem. Performer Nikki Darling says she deals with way less racist stereotyping when working outside of the mainstream, such as in BDSM. Fun fact (talk about pay inequity): black women in porn reportedly earn half to three-quarters of what white women do. And as a black woman, you often have to enter the industry with fewer deal breakers than anyone else to get hired. There’s this deeply racist, colonial idea circulating that black women aren’t as innocent as white ones, and therefore won’t sell as well. 


3. Asian women who are not highly exoticized 

The most common representation of Asian women in porn is that they are passive, submissive, and somewhat like exotic children or rare birds. With the smallest, tightest pussies, of course. They are often shown as possessing little or no sexual urges of their own, and are there to obediently please any men in the scene. Some say this fantasy of the submissive Asian woman/girl is rooted in the history of Western colonialism: local economies of colonized countries were devastated and many Asian women were forced to do sex work—servicing Western men. 

4. Asian men who are virile 

On the other hand, Asian men rarely show up in Western-produced porn at all, having been “colonized” (in Western representations) as well. They are somehow depicted as lacking manliness and virility, epitomized in the screwy notion that they all have small penises. This, in turn, makes them less than masculine, and therefore not legitimate objects of desire.


5. Latinas…with American citizenship 

Latinas are generally portrayed onscreen repeatedly yelling “ay papi.” They get into real trouble, apparently, when they (supposedly) only know two words of English. They also have huge booties that love a good, strong smacking at the hands of a strong man. But wait, the plot thickens: they are shy and virginal until a real man (usually white) unleashes their hot and spicy firecracker side. And, getting into even murkier political territory, many flicks often depict Latinas as illegal immigrants who have to bang their way into the US—how particularly charged that feels right about now.


6. Non-“archetypical” racial groups 

Anyone who falls outside of the 'Black,' 'Latina,' 'Asian,' or any other stereotyped racial porn categories has to work a lot harder for a niche, or a slice of the pie, so to speak. What would porn with people of colour not getting fetishized even look like? It could look any which way—the possibilities are diverse. I’m getting wet just thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong: I think there’s plenty hot in scenarios that are politically dubious/ in race play territory, but that’s got to start by being reflected in what goes on behind the scenes, who’s holding the camera, and what audience it’s supposedly being made for. (Cough cough...Bellesa Productions).

7. Real lesbian sex  

Imagine lesbian porn that is not largely intended to please straight men. Women who don’t seem to really enjoy fucking each other, along with other obvious markers of less-than-real lesbian porn (like caked-on makeup, or massive fake boobs) are the norm. Porn that's actually produced for a queer gaze is rarely free (neither is any non-mainstream porn), and there’s a reason for that: it’s important to support the producers and performers who are making the kind of porn you actually want to watch! While plenty of straight men (and women) watch "lesbian" porn for free, many of them would likely be less aroused by veritable queer gaze porn: it’s a lot less fascinated with scissoring, women who spit on each other’s pussies while continually looking back at the cameraman seductively, and other charming trademarks of the mainstream versions. 


8. Unique storylines 

I’m a creative writer and storyteller, so imagine my horror when I briefly wrote porn scripts for [mainstream porn company that I will not name] and was told what limited territory my plots could explore. I had to stick to the archetypes, and by archetypes, they meant stereotypes from a white, straight, male lens. Porn companies want to make money (duh), so they continually try to produce more of what they think they already know will sell. But these simplified fantasies are just lazy—and easier than bringing complex, erotically charged stories to the screen—stories that are in high demand by everyone else, and which I’m pretty sure would make the world a much hotter place (and maybe even a better one too). 

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