You know how it goes. The couple in the porn movie have been having sex for about 15 minutes or so. They've changed positions multiple times. You've seen the action from multiple angles. The woman in question has been gasping "Oh God Yes" every 4.6 seconds as though she's been having one endless, constant, orgasm from the moment they started. And then the guy disengages his penis, rapidly pumps it with his hand, and ejaculates. Sometimes his semen lands on the woman's stomach or buttocks, but more often, it's deposited onto her face.
This ejaculatory scenario occurs in 99.9% of porn movies. It's most often known as "the money shot" because, apparently, male porn stars are paid according to how often they can ejaculate. It's also called the money shot because it's considered to be the ultimate sex act, the culmination and final destination of every carnal action. It's the payday of porn, the reason sex on screen seems to exist.
And by crikey, I hate it.
I hate the money shot. I hate everything about it. I hate watching it, I hate what it stands for, and I hate how it is boringly, predictably ubiquitous.
I should know. I've been working as an adult webmaster for four years. This means I've seen more than my fair share of spattered semen. I've seen it in photos and movies, I've read about it in what can loosely be termed "erotic fiction", and I've seen whole websites devoted to it. The money shot is everywhere. It's the pale, pearlescent bedrock of an entire industry. It's so standard that most in the business can't envision porn without it.
So why am I complaining? Surely this hoity-toity anti-semen attitude means I'm just biting the hand that feeds me?
Well, here's the thing. I make porn sites for women. I'm trying to cater to the millions of female surfers that go online every day trying to find something that will turn them on. I spend my days trying to find hardcore adult material that women will enjoy, and trying to present it to women in a manner that they will find accessible, arousing and inoffensive.
And this means I spend an awful lot of time editing out the money shot.
Because, you see, I'm not alone in my hatred of the money shot. An awful lot of other women really dislike it too. The more I talk to female porn surfers, the more I hear the same thing. They don't want to see it. They find it degrading, and disgusting, pointless, and distracting and not the slightest bit sexy.
They, like me, wonder why on earth a man would have fabulous sex for half an hour and yet withdraw at the last minute and masturbate to orgasm.
They, like me, can't help but wince when they see the woman kneel before the man and smile subserviently at him while he deposits globs of semen in her eye.
They, like me, roll their eyes at all the worshipful fuss made over a few spurts of bodily fluid.
They, like me, wish they could see the man's face as he reaches orgasm, because male facial expressions are primarily what most women experience when their man is in ecstasy.
And they, like me, hate the fact that all bets are off as soon as the money shot occurs. Never mind if there's been no female orgasm (and I'm talking vaguely real ones here, not the 15 minute endless moany fake ones), in porn the money shot is the official end of sex. It's "there's the final whistle, thanks for all your had work, love, and let's go home for the day".
For a lot of women, that particular situation is far too similar to what happens in real sex.
Oh yes. As Gollum would say, we hates it.
I recently spent far too much time trying to explain this point of view to a number of male webmasters. It turned out to be quite a philosophical leap for them, and one several were not prepared to take. Porn without the money shot? Nah it will never work! How would you know the guy had come?
How indeed? Surely we couldn't possibly rely on the acting skills of the male porn star involved?
But what if we - the viewers - didn't actually care if the guy had come? What if we cared more about whether the woman got off? And what if we cared about seeing the couple interact in a realistic way? What if maybe, just maybe, we cared about seeing positive, pleasurable sex without any gender-based power play?
Whoa! Slow down, there No need to keep smacking yourself in the head like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. I know it's hard to grasp. But it IS possible.
Candida Royalle has already been there, and done that. Almost twenty years ago she made her first adult movie for women, Femme, and has since released 15 other women's adult films. In all of them, she insisted on eliminating the money shot, concentrating instead on depicting emotional interaction and intimacy. Her website features anecdotes about the reactions of various porn consultants when told of her plans, including one who predicted she'd lose the family's investment simply because Femme omitted the money shot. As Candida said, "Famous last words." Twenty years on, the films are still best sellers.
I'm hard pressed to name another porn director who has been willing to follow in Candida's footsteps. Veronica Hart is one of the few who has made an effort to feature internal ejaculation scenes in her films, and as a result they are also very popular with women.
In the 70s, porn films rarely featured any form of external ejaculation. Now the money shot is an industry standard. Virtually every hetero couples scene has one, from the big-budget story-driven Vivid extravaganzas to the cheapest, fuzziest, down-and-dirty gonzo flicks. And if it can't be created naturally, it's simulated with the help of pina coladas and hair conditioner.
One can only speculate about why the money shot, and facials in particular, have gained such widespread popularity in that time.
A feminist might say it's an expression of the backlash against women's liberation. The more women have gained power in the last 20 years, the more men have wanted to see them on their knees, in positions of sexual powerlessness. The recent popularity of Bukkake, where dozens of men ejaculate on one woman, seems to back this theory. Bukkake was allegedly an ancient Japanese form of punishment, in which an adulterous woman was constantly ejaculated on by the men of her village.
Of course, a pornographer might say it's simply makes for better content; that it's much more interesting to photograph and film the proof of a real male orgasm than to try and depict a fake internal one. In a ruthlessly visual medium, the proof could well be in the "pearl necklace". Unfortunately, this standard is rarely applied to female orgasms.
With the recent HIV scare, health officials talked of imposing mandatory condoms and banning all facials. The industry went to pieces at the very thought, railing against government interference and predicting the end of the world as we know it. I was secretly smiling. Imagine it no facials - ever again! Porn might actually be forced to come up with new ways to depict sex and orgasm
It was a pipe dream of course. The tests have come out all clear, and it's back to business, and money shots, as usual.
So, I'll just keep editing them out, cursing and muttering all the while (we hates them! we hates them!). And maybe one day others in the industry will realize that one money shot does not fit all. When that happens, there'll be an awful lot of happy female porn consumers, and at least one very happy adult webmistress.
- By Ms Naughty June 2004
Addendum: October 2006. I need to add that I've since heard from a number of women about this article, and many have expressed their enjoyment of cumshots and facials.
Thus, here's my official caveat: I am not talking about ALL women in this article. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to porn. Nonetheless, I still stand by my guns that a lot of female porn surfers out there are sick of the cumshot - especially because it's so damn ubiquitous.
I know I wouldn't be so disdainful of ejaculation scenes in porn if they weren't considered to be the ultimate goal of the movie. If, perhaps, we only saw one cumshot per film, that might be more acceptable.
OR if every single act of sex resulted in a female orgasm as well as a male one, I'd be happier.
Update: December 2007. I've written a blog post entitled Boring Blowjobs and Feminist Facials which further explores this topic.
Check out my new site Bright Desire. All of my videos and short films in one place. New wave feminist porn that celebrates joyful sex!
When we first started For The Girls in 2003 my business partner and I knew we wanted to offer a different perspective on porn. Both of us hated the facial cumshot and so we made sure our porn didn't include that. We also did our best to find and create quality erotic material that would appeal to straight women like us.
Today FTG is still going strong. We've expanded our tastes a little and the site is really very diverse in what it depicts. But we still don't feature facial cumshots because we don't find them sexy and we know our members don't either.
Our brand of porn is not for everyone but we do know that over the years thousands of other women have shared our view of what makes for good erotica.
Porn for women, by women. Naked men, hardcore couples, erotic fiction, ezine.
Real life couples, artistic erotic films
Photos and movies of men going down on women
User-submitted orgasm movies - shot from the neck up! Amazingly erotic.
Amazing site where women ride dirty machines designed by horny nerds.