So, as the title of my blog is taken from a Shakespeare quote, I suppose it’s only fitting for my first post’s title to paraphrase one of Shaxster’s most famous lines. It’s also about something I have been musing over recently.
For this post to work, it’s necessary to state the following: I watch porn. If you’re shocked by that, please take the next left and return to your cave; it’s NOT rare or weird for females to enjoy a little visual stimulation. (Whilst the issue of whether or not it’s ‘wrong’, as in, whether porn is degrading or harmful etc, is a worthwhile and interesting one, that’s another discussion for another blog post, folks).
Chances are, you’ve been on this thing called the internet. If you have, you’ll probably be aware that porn sites where users upload clips are pretty darn common, and popular. Now, even though there is a whole lot of porn out there (incidentally, I am listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” as I type this), it often happens that several users upload the same videos, or parts of the same videos, to the same site. Often, these identical clips are uploaded under different names.
And this, my lovelies, is the part where two of my favourite things come together rather unexpectedly; semiotics and sex! Because the interesting thing is, it seems that the name of these clips makes a whole lot of difference to how appealing people find them. I’m talking; same thumbnail, same mouse-over image sequence, same hot dog + lady bun* action…but VAST differences in number of views and also ratings.
Now, I’m not going to specify exact names of clips; yes, I am rather notorious for over-sharing things – especially Sex Things – with everyone…but I DON’T want every Tom, Dick and Harry (heh heh – Dick) knowing exactly what sites I visit and what I get myself off to. BUT, my examples are seriously representative of actual examples I have seen, and pretty accurate, to boot. With that in mind, let’s look at hypothetical Clips A and B. Clip A is a 22 minute long video of a pretty, young, blonde cheerleader getting her freak on with her significantly older, male teacher. Clip B is EXACTLY THE SAME. Both were uploaded at around the same time. Clip A has 250,000 views and an 87% ‘good’ rating. Clip B has 3,000 views and a 68% ‘good’ rating. Clip A is called “Hot slutty teen cheerleader pussy fucked hard”. Clip B is called “Cheerleader fucks her teacher”.
This happens A LOT. In a lot of cases, the only difference between two otherwise identical clips is the title, yet one is much more popular than the other.
There are themes I have noticed, in terms of which kinds of words seem to contribute to this kind of thing. (God, that sentence was a grammatical nightmare. Sorry.) The main, most notable ones are;
- ‘Slut’. Slutty slut sluts. People LOVE sluts. Apparently. Also, according to many videos with ‘slut’ in the title, all you need to do to qualify as being a ‘slut’ is to be in possession of a vagina. So…yay?
- Anything to do with ‘teens’, ‘young’, ’18’, etc. Lolita complex, anyone?
- ‘Big cock’ (this one stands out; all of the others in the list kind of tie in with ideas about heterosexual male sexuality. This one obviously massively doesn’t. I’ve spoken to several of my heterosexual male friends about porn over the years (as you do!) and many agree that an OTT presence of willies in porn is somewhat off-putting. The popularity of clips with ‘big dick’ in the title contradicts this…).
- ‘Hard’ in the context of “fucked hard”, rather than “hard cock”.
- ‘Sexy’/’cute’/’hot’, which are pretty self-explanatory
- ‘Pussy’ – because apparently the porn-viewing public need to be reminded which bits are most likely to be involved in a porn video.
- ‘Ass’ – for similar reasons to ‘pussy’, above, I imagine.
- ‘Fucked’ – as above, serves as a handy reminder of what these porny videos generally involve.
- ‘Dirty’ – see ‘slut’.
Aside from the comments made after each bullet point, I think we can infer a couple of interesting things from this. Firstly, the more explicit the title, the more likely the clip is to get views and high ratings. By ‘explicit’ I mean featuring lots of words for genitals and intercourse and an emphasis on how nasty/slutty/dirty the activities and individuals in the clip are (even in cases where nothing overwhelmingly nasty/slutty/dirty is occurring; just standard vanilla sexy-sex).
Secondly – and, in my opinion, most fascinatingly – we are stimulated by not only the images of conjoined willies and vajayjays, but also by the way these are described…to the point where the types of words used to describe a series of images actually impacts upon our perception of how stimulating we find the images. Isn’t that interesting? I think it is. The appeal of internet porn videos is largely thought of as a solely visual thing; it’s rather exciting for a wordophile** such as myself that part of how these videos help us to get our rocks off comes from the words underneath (or, depending on your site(s) of choice, above) them.
*All credit to VICE magazine for this nifty little turn of phrase; they run a regular article series on their website called ‘The Hot Dog and The Lady Bun’, it’s usually good, you should read it.
**’Wordophile’ is my made-up word for being a word-lover, a proper word probably exists but I like mine better.
[…I kind of wish that I’d written this post months ago when I first thought of it, before 50 Shades Of Grey got all supermega popular…nowadays the idea of words-porn is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, so this post isn’t really as much Food For Thought as it could have been. I’m not going to say that it’s a shame that this has happened as a consequence of a literary abomination with no concept of what actually happens in the S & M scene, rather than actual well written erotica – because my previous 50 Shades-bashing has upset people, which is fair enough, and I apologise for that. But still…think about it.]