The porn war: the sector cries out against the free and wild content of the ‘online’


There are 750 million porn websites in the world. One of them, pornhub, records 100 million daily visits (962 searches per second). Total business traffic surpasses that of Twitter, Amazon and Netflix combined. They follow the logic of the platform economy, with aseptic headquarters and a legion of programmers and data analysts who ignore the impact on children, adolescents and women.

On the other hand, a good part of the professionals who work in adult content are heading towards ethical porn, from which the Barcelona Erotic Showwhose spot talks about fragile masculinity, and which offers workshops on body self esteem Y sex-affective education. as underlined Erika Lustthe pioneer of feminist pornography, “porn is a space to express ourselves around sexuality”, and “the model [de distribución] It has a huge influence on how we understand it, especially young people who watch porn before having sex.”

According to the study ‘Sexual (mis)information: pornography and adolescence’ produced by Save the Children in 2020, young people see pornography for the first time at the age of 12 and almost seven in 10 (68.2%) consume it frequently. Being the ‘instruction book’ for sex is terrifying, as is the deficient sex-affective education of minors. But If you track who gets rich today from business, you might reach men who give TED talks on entrepreneurshipsummer in the Hamptons and attend benefit galas.

From DVD to bleeding

Erika Lust and the Catalan pornstar Silvia Ruby They have seen how the industry mutated. From the control of the work and its packaging on DVD (wrapped in cellophane) to the unstoppable hemorrhage ‘on line’. Currently 98.5% of porn on the net is free and attempts by administrations to regulate access have failed.

“By not having to make an effort, the porn consumer does not see it as a tool to enhance their sexuality – says Lust -, but as the bag of potatoes that you gobble up to calm anxiety or boredom”. In addition, as the algorithms comb the searches, the audience is increasingly hungry for more extreme scenes (“those of children and incest” are a trend, according to Rubí, while tattooed ones – like her – are trading down).

“Platforms have forced 70% of professional production companies to close down”

Gratuity has forced 70% of the ‘traditional business’ to close, and the survivors experience Kafkaesque situations. “They pay very little for a scene that you later see is in infinite portals”, explains Silvia Rubí; or they are chopped up and retitled in a twisted way. “Sometimes you have to buy back one that you were paid 100 euros for so that it doesn’t continue to circulate forever on the internet,” adds the actress.

But there is something even worse: they upload ‘clips’ of minors taken from social networks sent by third parties, or of abusive ex-boyfriends with a thirst for revenge, or upload videos of rapes and sexual images of children. “People talk about ‘mainstream porn,’ but I call it ‘big porn,'” says Lust. “Just as ‘big food’ isn’t interested in serving the healthiest food, ‘big porn’ isn’t interested in in human sexuality. They want to make money and concentrate power.”

The giant’s tentacles

Who are Lust and Ruby talking about? The absolute king of free online porn is MindGeek, a company registered in Luxembourg with offices in Montreal, Bucharest, Dublin, London and Los Angeles. On its corporate website it is advertised as “a leader in the design and development and management of high-traffic websites”, to be honest, but three of its “high-traffic” sites are Pornhub, YouPorn and Tube8, in the world’s ‘top 10’ .

MindGeek, the absolute king of free online porn, registers 130 million visits a day

The embryo of the empire was YouPorn, founded in 2006 –a year after YouTube– by the German Fabian Thylmana ‘nerd’ he saw in the free porn ‘clips’ [‘tubes’] a business opportunity. Based on a bombardment of acquisitions, he became the owner of the largest erotic holding company. But in 2012 he was arrested in Belgium for tax evasion and extradited to Germany.

He sold the company to his COO, David Tassillo, and to an Austrian investor named Bernard Bergemar, who is reluctant to parade corporate pride at business dinners. It was renamed MindGeek and today is a conglomerate with annual revenues of 460 million dollars and 1,600 employees.

“For them, porn is not the product, they use it to attract people,” explains Erika Lust.

“For them, porn is not the product, they use it to attract people,” explains Erika Lust. According to public consultation data, the group manages a subsidiary of video games for adults, a VPN product [red privada virtual] so that users can browse anonymously and an extensive advertising network (the ‘Sunday Times’ published a stunning list of corporations that advertise their mayonnaise, ice cream, and deodorant, among others, on Pornhub).

While MindGeek was forced before the pandemic to shut down a chunk of content for hosting clips of minors, porn professionals are subject to laws to ensure that artists are of legal age.

ethical porn

“We want the ‘tubes’ to end, porn is only porn when it is consensual and there are signed papers involved,” says Sílvia Rubí, representative of ethical porn, which is the one that takes into account the working conditions of the team, which the story has a content that is not sexist or misogynist and that the ‘performers’ agree with what they do.

Related news

In this Erika Lust was a pioneer, who in 2004 paved the way for alternative porn, “beyond the male vision of asses, tits, cars and cigarettes” that dominated the industry. And her speech caught on. Carles Valdesfounder of the Vimema advertising agency and creator of the Barcelona Erotic Show spots for six editions, ratifies the trend: “While traditional porn was very macho, the ‘slow sex’ [sexo más consciente]And what’s more, adds Lust, “in the sexual sector, it is negotiated around a table and not under it, as it happens in the fashion industry.”

“More and more men want to get away from misogyny and refuse this type of platform”, comforts Erika Lust

Does it mean that there are no traces of machismo in the production of adult content? Absolutely. “Those who have been in porn all their lives want to cling to the dynamics of the 90s, to have power within the scene,” says Rubí, “but among young people there is more deconstruction.” According to Erika Lust, “more and more men want to get away from misogyny, reject this type of platform and pay for content.” The consumption of pleasure can also be responsible.


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