Sometimes it can be easy to forget that porn is an industry – an entertainment industry, to be exact. And like other entertainment industries, such as film production or video games, pornography exists to make money.
Although up-to-date stats can be hard to come by, in 2006 it was estimated that porn generated roughly $97 billion dollars in revenues — more than the earnings of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, and Netflix combined. There are over 370 million pornography sites online, and “sex” is the #1 most Googled term on earth. Clearly, porn is a cultural and economic force to be reckoned with.*
So why does it matter that porn is an industry? Unlike the sex scenes in film, television or video games, porn depicts “real” sexual acts, not simply simulations or suggestions. It can therefore be easy to assume that porn is produced by “real” people who want to share their “real” sexual experiences for an online audience. And while this might be the case in some amateur porn, for the most part, pornography is produced and distributed by large corporations such as Manwin, Vivid Entertainment and New Frontiers Media, which trade on the stock exchange and have employees and offices around the world.
Porn is big business, and like all other big businesses, these companies are producing what they think will sell. That’s why, to engage with porn in a safe and healthy way, its important to know what porn is and why it was made in particular ways.
*”The Internet Porn ‘Epidemic’: By the Numbers.” http://theweek.com/article/index/204156/the-internet-porn-epidemic-by-the-numbers