Erotica has evolved over the years and now appeals to women as well as men. Erotic entertainment and content is as varied and unique as the couples who enjoy it. These days it ranges from “hard core” — in which you get to see everything — to “soft core” — in which you may see the women’s external vulva and breasts but never catch a peek at male genitals. (It’s perhaps a little sexist that soft-core erotica will show female genitals up close but male organs are hidden from view! But that’s just how it works in the pornography field.) In hard-core erotica you get an inside view of all manner of body parts and sex acts, and there is plenty of penetration. In soft-core erotica, sex may be emulated but penetration isn’t actually shown.
Along with the differences between what is shown on-screen, there are distinctions in the types of sex acts shown and who is starring in these scenes. There is a huge market for lesbian and gay erotica, in which the partners or parties in the film are specifically gay, but it’s not just gay couples who enjoy watching them. Even in traditional mainstream pornography, girl-on-girl scenes and threesomes are a mainstay. It’s no wonder that lesbian sex scenes and erotic threesomes are favorites, since most erotica is made with men in mind, and one of the most common male fantasies is being with more than one woman at a time — or watching women have sex with each other.
Thankfully, erotica is no longer geared toward men alone. Women are commanding more of the market and sometimes running it. There are many production companies that are now gearing their movies toward women or couples.
Director Candida Royalle produces a number of movies that fall under the umbrella of what is known as female-friendly erotica. In other words, these are movies that women enjoy watching as well. Her films, produced through Femme Productions, still include plenty of sex, but they keep the female viewer in mind. Many include women with more realistic-looking bodies (it’s not all extra-large fake breasts), and they also include plots and more-varied sex acts (as opposed to just men receiving oral pleasure or threesomes). As a director, Royalle also prefers to use real couples to act in the sex scenes for authenticity.
Female-friendly erotica often does still include scenes of female-female pleasure, and this is not just because men might be viewing these films but also because many straight women find watching female-female sex scenes to be highly erotic. In fact, a study performed by Northwestern University in Chicago found that women are often aroused when viewing erotic content featuring female couples, even if those women don’t identify as homosexual or bisexual. (The opposite was also true. Women who identified as gay were aroused by heterosexual pornography.) Men (whether they were gay or straight) mainly became aroused only by movies that followed their own sexual interests, whether that was heterosexual or homosexual. This study shows how fluid female sexuality is, especially when compared with male sexuality. Ergo, there is a wide variety of movies and sex scenes that can fall under the heading of female-friendly erotica.
Perhaps the main difference between male and female erotica is that women also enjoy reading sexual material. Men are primarily visual creatures, which explains why the pornography industry has long catered to their needs, while women can become highly aroused simply by reading and fantasizing. No wonder romance books have often been popular reading material for women! Author Nancy Friday, for one, offers a wide host of sexy stories that you can read alone (or with your partner), and it can be a sexy way to get you both in the mood for a little of your own erotic adventure.
As enjoyable as erotica can be, it can also become a crutch or even an addiction. With the advent of technology and the availability of online pornography, many people have found themselves struggling with an addiction to pornography. It’s important to enjoy erotica in moderation. If you find yourself (or your partner) using pornography obsessively or feeling out of control when it comes to your use of pornography, you should seek help from an addiction therapist, particularly someone who specializes in sex addiction.