What Is Female Friendly Porn?
Thanks to the internet, pornography has become ubiquitous. Sexually explicit material is more readily available and in far greater variety than ever before. As a culture, Western societies are become more relaxed about porn and yet so much of it is... well, awful.
For a long time it was assumed women didn't like porn and we were written off as consumers by the mainstream industry. Yet there have always been some women who liked erotic material - including hardcore porn movies. In the last fifteen years - especially as an internet-savvy generation of girls has grown into adults - women have become increasingly vocal about what kind of porn they like and what they want to see.
Hence the search for "female friendly porn". But what does this phrase mean, exactly?
There is a perception that "porn for women" is all about candles and flowers, soft focus and romance. Despite this not being the case, some women have taken exception to the phrase and to others like "female friendly porn" because they see it as prescriptive in terms of the content. They also feel it makes assumptions about women's tastes and desires. Not all women are the same, they say. Not everyone wants romance.
This perception doesn't apply on this site. "Female friendly porn" is not a phrase that specifies what kind of sex is depicted, nor should it be based on assumptions about "what all women want".
Perhaps it's best to start by saying what it isn't. Plenty of porn is misogynist and disrespectful to women. It seeks to depict sexually active women in a negative way, either through derogatory language ("stupid sluts") or via deliberately degrading setups ("she got fucked and we didn't pay her!"). Many of these kinds of porn productions are created for a male audience who wish to see women in a negative light (and perhaps their sexual arousal depends on that). They maintain the stereotype that sexually active women are dirty and not worthy of respect. Many people have concerns about the production of this type of porn. There may be questions surrounding whether the actors involved were treated well and there is no way of knowing if it is produced ethically.
Female friendly porn, then, is not misogynist. The language and scenarios are ultimately respectful to the female performers (including when derogatory language is used deliberately and consensually), sex acts and scenes are given context and the ultimate goal is pleasure, rather than working up negative feelings.
Beyond that, female friendly porn doesn't assume the audience is male (specifically, a straight white male who is homophobic). Female friendly porn seeks to be inclusive in terms of who it markets itself to. In the broader sense, this type of erotic material acknowledges women as the audience, either through the language used, through the way the action is shot or even through the scenarios it depicts. An example of this might be a willingness not to cut the man out of the frame, as happens so often in mainstream porn. It might be a determination to depict female fantasies or to focus on cunnilingus rather than fellatio. It might simply be that the blurb on the back of the DVD or website speaks about having a clitoris rather than a cock.
Female friendly porn can be about any aspect of sex, be it standard boy-girl heterosexual couplings or queer swinger BDSM orgies. It can be romantic or rough, simple or incredibly elaborate. The sex acts depicted don't define it; rather, it's the determination to show female pleasure and agency, to include the context of what's happening, to ensure that consent and boundaries are respected.
There is some controversy that "female friendly porn" is too restrictive because it makes assumptions about gender and sexuality. Not everyone who is female identifies as a woman and vice versa. Certainly the phrase is problematic when it comes to trans and queer identities although on this site I include queer porn as female-friendly porn.
Nonetheless, it's a useful way of identifying adult material that tries to be respectful, positive and inclusive. Hopefully one day porn will be so much better and we won't need special signifiers to help us find the good stuff. Until then, "female friendly porn" is a good phrase to use.