Love & Sex

The Six New Porn Plotlines

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Farewell, my pizza boy.

If you hear a joke about porn, it's usually about a pizza guy, a pool boy, or a plumber. But tragically, it's been a long time since anyone in porn actually ordered a large with extra sausage, at least unironically. In place of these classics are new porn tropes that will slowly percolate up into respectable culture, return-of-the-repressed-style, probably becoming the stuff of Saturday Night Live sketches by mid-2016. What are these strange new premises? What killed the pizza guy? Read on:

1. The van of ill repute

It's new relative to the '70s classics, but the "let's find female pedestrians to offer rides in our creepy van and then convince them to have sex with us" scenario is actually already on the way out. Maybe it's gas prices. Or maybe the more of a cliche it becomes, the more implausible it seems. That's a big problem, since a feeling of authenticity is the most important part of all the new porn tropes. The whole point of the van trope is to make a universe of unlimited sexual possibilities — one where men can sleep with anyone who catches their eye — seem totally plausible. BangBus.com still makes a lot of money off of this fantasy. Unfortunately, the rest of the Bang Bus fantasy is about offering women money for sex and then driving away without paying, which makes me wonder if their fans are turned on by the idea of sexual availability or just the idea of being mean.

2. The dutiful male stripper

Clothed-female-nude-male porn has been around a long time, but its current prominence can be attributed to Dancing Bear, a much-emulated series of videos in which a male stripper dances for a horde of drunk, screaming women who eventually offer him sexual favors. Again, perceived authenticity is key. These women aren't porn stars. No, they're just regular people who got invited to a bachelorette party and got a little drunk. (Dancing Bear plays up this possibility by warning you that you might see your girlfriend in the room, but you probably won't.) This also plays to the fantasy that most women are only a couple of drinks away from becoming totally feral.

As over-the-top as the Dancing Bear videos are, there's actually a seed of truth in the whole thing. About ten years before Dancing Bear got popular, I remember seeing a series of old home videos taken by chubby black women, generally in Atlanta, at raucous male strip clubs. The strippers humped the patrons spastically, and everyone seemed to have a good time. The cleaned-up, predominantly white, commercial version features attractive girls and shifts the focus of all actions toward pleasuring the male. The authentic is replaced with "the authentic." In other words, bootleg Atlanta videos = Sex Pistols; Dancing Bear = Blink-182.

3. The casting couch

In another porn trope that prominently features "real" women (I hope you're seeing a trend here), young porn-industry hopefuls are invited to an interview in which a "casting director" will audition them for a series of high-paying jobs. During the interview, which he warns is being recorded, he tries to get them to take off their clothes and then perform sexual acts with him — you know, just to make sure they can do it. The trick is that there is no job and he has no intention of paying them. (Just laying them! Heh, heh. Ahem.) But the authenticity thing gets a weird twist here. If "authentic" means "not a porn actress," and these girls are supposedly aspiring porn actresses, what's the difference?

NEXT: "Most real college kids aren't well-endowed group-sex enthusiasts…"

4. The unexpectedly forward massage therapist

A girl enters a massage parlor and is asked to undress by a strapping masseur. Once comfortably on the table, she's oiled up and given a cursory back massage before the man's wandering hands find their way under her towel. She declines to alert the Board of Massage Licensure, so he gets progressively bolder until they're having full-out sex on the massage table.

This, you could say, is a logical evolution from the good ol' Pizza Guy — a dream that there are attractive women who're so lonely that you pretty much just have to get them alone and they'll fuck your brains out. The authenticity factor is not neglected; these videos are often shot in the found-footage style, supposedly by security cameras that have been dutifully placed at sexy overlapping angles. (For optimum security, you know.)

5. The college sex-tape contest

DareDorm is one of a group of sites peddling sex tapes supposedly submitted to them by college kids, who will apparently enter literally any contest you put in front of them. They're offered cash prizes to submit the sexiest sex tapes and commonly use canned phrases mid-shoot like "Ooh, I hope I win!" like real college kids would. Except that most real college kids aren't well-endowed group-sex enthusiasts who know how to properly engage a camera mid-orgy. But as you can tell from all of these tropes, even in this reality-starved age, these conceits don't have to make sense. They just have to hold up a thin, sense-like veneer. This works fine, as long as you don't start wondering how these kids are going to do on their PoliSci finals until you're finished masturbating.

6. The spitefully submitted ex-girlfriend sex tape

I know what you're going to say, and yes, revenge porn is a real thing. There actually are men who post real pictures and video of their real ex-girlfriends online. But it's not actually that common, because it pisses people off. Case in point: a site called Is Anyone Up was notoriously built on real revenge-porn submissions. Its mere existence whipped the world around it into a flurry of lawsuits, death threats, and physical attacks. Eventually, even its sociopathic creator disowned it.

So revenge porn is one thing, but "revenge porn," as epitomized by ExGFs.com and its ilk, is different. There's a reason it's been allowed to exist for so long without a hint of blowback: these are not real ex-girlfriends. But again, there's the fantasy of taking advantage of women — and again, there's the feeling of authenticity.

Why are we so desperate for this idea of realness? Going back to the casting-couch thing, maybe the reason "porn hopefuls" are more appealing than "porn stars," even if there's no actual difference, is that porn hopefuls supposedly don't know that the videos are being shared. These purported ex-girlfriend tapes are attractive because, in theory, you weren't meant to see them.

In a culture where everyone seems to be performing all the time, we love unguarded moments of "real" passion or "real" arousal — even though the commercialization of those moments defeats the entire purpose. The new tropes: a boner-killing vicious cycle worthy of a Don DeLillo novel.