Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Graying of Naughty

I love reading the New York Times online. One of my favorite features is the box on the bottom of the right-hand side of the screen titled "Most Popular." That box includes the ten most read articles on any particular day. I always check it to make certain that I haven't missed anything.

Sunday morning, #8 was "The Graying of Naughty." You can find it here.

The article talks about the increasing popularity of women (and men) of a certain age in porn movies. I'd missed it in my reading of the Times because I rarely go to the Fashion page.

The story details the new career of a woman who calls herself De'Bella in the skin flicks. While she's an attractive 50-year-old, she is clearly 50-years-old. And she is one of the women starring in a whole new generation of dirty movies.

I found the story interesting for two reasons. On the surface, it's easy to brush this off as an example of what the skin flick's director, Urbano Martin, describes as a niche film. “'I shoot specialty films,' he explains during a break in filming, adding that he has been in the business for 17 years. 'Fat women, old women, hairy girls — all kinds. We feed the niche'.”

However, I suspect this trend is more than just one sliver of the kinky industry. As the Baby Boom generation has aged, they have impacted the way society looks at each stage of life. Now, that they are between fifty and sixty-two years old, the Boomers are also affecting the way society looks at old age. With the appearance of drugs like Viagra, the growing acceptance of cosmetic surgery and the emphasis on good health, it's probably natural that porn films are featuring older actors and actresses.

There's another factor that enters into this equation. One of the most prevalent fantasies of young men is the one I'll call "Mrs. Robinson." Many young men fantasize about older women--whether it be their seventh grade teacher or the mother of their best friend. The Times says, this fantasy is increasingly "fueled . . . by pop culture’s embrace of the sexy 40-something women of 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Stacy’s Mom,' the 2003 hit song about a teenager’s mother who 'has got it going on'.”

I suspect the trend is also fueled by the unavailability of the older woman sex object (making it a safe and non-threatening fantasy) and the warmth that older women often project. When a young man is facing the scornful expression of a girl his own age, it can be a relief to see the friendly smile of the older woman. His fantasy naturally incorporates the accessibility and the sexual confidence of his very own Mrs. Robinson.

In recent years, there have been multiple high-profile cases of female teachers being prosecuted for seducing school-age boys. Do you really believe these relationships only began occurring in the last decade? Of course not. They've been going on for years, but have been winked at and covered up as a part of a boy's rite of passage. What's different today is that our society is finally recognizing the older woman/very young man pairing for what it is: exploitation of an insecure boy and his sexual fantasies. However, the very fact that the Mrs. Robinson fantasy exists is another reason why I suspect these new porn films are so popular.

I write romance. My family and friends have been frankly taken aback by my interest in writing erotic romances. It began, of course, with my interest in reading such novels. Tomorrow I'll talk about the growing popularity of erotic romance novels, and how I see that trend connected to this "graying of naughty" trend.


lainey bancroft said...

Happy New Year, Maya! Nice to see you back.
I couldn't read the article, got an error message when I tried to log in, so apologies if I'm regurgitating a point that has been covered.
I think older performers in these films is a natural extension of what written erotic romance 1st began, in that these books had the freedom to depict 'real' women. They didn't have to be '25, slender, blond and needing rescued' like the stereotypical romance h's. They could celebrate sexuality despite unusual pairings, physical imperfections, hell, they could even be BBW--like a huge majority of readers. Imagine.
So even more than the Mrs. Robinson appeal, I think these films are being geared to women viewers. Face it, no matter how well you maintain the bod, at a certain point parts start going south. I don't think its a turn on for the majority of middle-aged women to be blatantly reminded of this by watching a nubile twenty YO, who you probably never resembled, and even if you did, those days are over. I'm not a huge purveyor of porn or anything, but I have paid attention recently with the publishing trends. Not sure about the "old, fat, hairy" description, haven't seen any, but I do know Playboy has a show devoted to 'naughty amateurs', the people are skinnier/fatter, have blotchy skin, sometimes you see the odd stretch mark, and they are usually not waxed to a 'Barbie-like' gleaming perfection. If you're going to strip-down, the grounds for comparison are a lot kinder and more realistic. IMO.
But I'll be back tom. to read your O of corse. :)

Maya Reynolds said...

Happy New Year, Lainey!

I absolutely agree that, with the graying of the population, there is greater acceptance of "real" people in film. Look at the success of the Dove commercials using "real" beauties.

Like you, I've watched porn on occasion. I've found a little goes a long way. The focus on visuals at the expense of any storyline gets old really fast. However, you raise an interesting point. I tend to think of porn as something to be watched WITH a man rather than by women alone. Now I'm curious as to how many women actually watch these films outside of the company of their men. I'd be interested if anyone has something to add to this discussion.