What porn on phones means for the world of adult video

Porn phone

Photo via Axel Bueckert/Getty Images (CC-BY)

How porn is adapting for a mobile-first world.

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BY ALLEE MANNING

In the not-too-distant past, watching porn was a private activity relegated to your bedroom, or in stolen moments in front of the family home computer. It was a ritual largely confined to the hours before the day truly began, or as it ended. But now, mobile porn is all the rage, meaning we can watch porn whenever and wherever we damn well please, like during a long work dayin parliament, during a debate, or even while waiting for a subway train.

New data shows that we’re taking full advantage of the opportunity our mobile devices have afforded us. According to a report from analytics firm SimilarWeb, mobile traffic has greatly swollen the worldwide ranking of many prominent adult video sites. After rising 15 places in the global rankings, a surge in mobile viewers means that Pornhub now beats out major SFW sites we use every day, including eBay, Craigslist, MSN, Reddit, and Netflix.

Vocativ

In a blog post celebrating this feat, Pornhub notes that mobile traffic to the site has grown 1,424 percent since 2010, with major gains observed between 2014 and 2015. Today, more than half of Pornhub’s visits come from mobile phone users. And, SimilarWeb notes, the average session is only 8.5 minutes.

“It’s much easier to enjoy adult entertainment from a mobile device than it is a desktop, especially when you’re on the go and have limited time,” Pornhub vice president Corey Price told Vocativ in an e-mail.

This shift towards mobile porn viewership can also be seen with the lesser-known sites as well, like RedTube, where the majority of users visit via mobile devices. Even paid subscription services, an evolution of the now-antiquated porn DVD, are seeing a rise in mobile traffic. Brazzers, a major subscription company whose cut-down video snippets end up all over tube sites like Pornhub and xVideos, told Vocativ that 54 percent of its audience accesses its content via mobile devices.

Vocativ

It’s a consideration that the entire porn industry must address in all aspects of the business, same as any other online property (like, I don’t know, data-oriented news sites, for instance). It’s the obvious reason that Pornhub released an app for Android users which allows for non-stop scrolling, a built-in password lock, and multi-category filtering options (apps that contain adult content cannot be purchased in the Apple store—sorry, iPhone fappers).

Perhaps the most significant result of a mobile-first mentality is the way that porn production companies are changing the way they package content, according to Bree Mills, a producer, director, and writer of adult videos with over a decade of experience in the industry.

“At this point, it’s almost impossible to plan [a full-length porn shoot] without putting the mobile consumer at the forefront,” she told Vocativ. Referencing the “8-minute rule” production companies stick to when editing longer scenes down to for tube sites, she added that she consciously writes and produces the “boner moments” these cutdowns will feature, in hopes that they will “hook [the viewer] and make them want to eventually come back and buy the whole movie.”

But the real results of this seismic industry shift sometimes appear in the finer production details, like box cover art. The legacy term is now used to describe the catalog of thumbnail images presented as you browse a pornographic site to select a video. Adam Grayson, chief financial officer at Evil Angel, says that his 27-year-old company has transitioned away from using the traditional “collage” aesthetic for marketing materials in favor of close-ups: people aren’t poring over the DVD cover in their hands at adult video stores anymore—they’re viewing tiny thumbnails on their mobile devices. (If you’re unfamiliar with these aesthetics, compare the super-busy thumbnail image for “Inked Angels #5,” released last summer, to the soon-to-be-released minimalistic cover of “Big Tit Superstars” at this super NSFW link.)

Aside from the porn itself that we’re now watching on our 5-inch screens in stolen moments throughout the day, the shift towards mobile is also impacting the public-facing side of the business. Social media has come to play a huge role, with porn-tolerant, mobile-first platforms like Twitter and Tumblr proving useful for producers to syndicate content and direct traffic to the mobile versions of porn sites. They’re not lurking in the shadows, either: porn production companies, directors, and performers account for close to 10 million public Twitter accounts. In this way, the barrier between our private sexual lives and our online identities continues to erode: everyone can see that you follow Lisa Ann on Twitter, or that you’re liking SuicideGirls posts on Instagram, but who really cares anymore?

It’s a shift that’s changing our sense of sexual…openness…IRL, too: a quick look on Twitter reveals that many use their mobile devices to make pretty much any time “private time”: on the buscar shoppingat work, and in church, for instance.

Licensed sex therapist Vanessa Marin told Vocativ that porn is becoming a less private experience, on the whole.

“You’re seeing a number of stories these days of people being caught watching porn in public places, where passers-by or even children can see,” she said. “But I think there’s also an element of it becoming habitualized. Whether or not porn is addictive is a huge debate, but when something is so accessible, it’s easy to keep engaging with it without much thought.”

With great power comes great responsibility. We may not have figured out all the rules to the new mobile porn frontier quite yet, but wherever and however people choose to browse, safety must always come first. Earlier this year, a Detroit man was thrown from his 1996 Toyota and died when he became distracted from simultaneously watching and masturbating to a pornographic video on his phone.

Hands where we can see ’em, folks.

This story was originally appeared on Vocativ and has been republished with permission.

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