At 28, I’m not “old” by any standards – except the standards set by the porn industry. Twenty eight is full on MILF territory, even though I don’t have any children. I started working in sex when I was 21 and all the models were essentially my peers, but as I’ve hung around the biz over the years and gotten older, porn performers suddenly seem freakishly young to me.
It’s possible that I’m getting conservative in my old age, but these days I find myself attracted to women and men who are in my peer age group or older. I mean, it’s true that I’m also something of a chubby chaser but I like the fuller shapes that come with age, and while I’m not lusty over granny porn (yet?), I appreciate the mature look. Maybe I was naive when I was younger, but despite knowing that sexuality is fluid and can change over time blah blah blah, I didn’t necessarily think about how age factors into that equation.
Though I’m well aware of the dangers of extending my personal tastes into the realm of thinking how others should conduct their business, I’ve become ever more acutely aware of the fact that most people who watch porn probably aren’t in the same peer age group as the performers. This is, incidentally, not dissimilar from the fact that most people who watch television shows like Gossip Girl aren’t in that peer group either – so its not exactly a revelation.
But still, I think about who I was at 18 and at 21, and I do sometimes feel weird about those young women making the porno. Its purely subjective, but I definitely didn’t know jack shit about sexuality when I was that age: I hadn’t yet perfected the Art of No, nor had I gained knowledge of my limits. Adults of all ages are both capable and incapable of making good choices for themselves, so it’s tough to actually enforce the Ready For Porn Age. The government says its 18. This is something that comes up from time to time within the porn industry, and I know of some directors and companies who have informal or sometimes formal policies about the age of their performers. Oren Cohen at TightFit Productions stepped up a few years ago and publicly stated that he wouldn’t work with women under 21 because he didn’t think they would be fully ready for the intense, SM-inspired shoots he does.
But although the debate about porn and age will undoubtedly rage on, and while Barely Legal as a brand and a wank-inspiring concept continues to be a huge share of the porno market, it wasn’t always like this. Not by a long shot. The sadly defunct but still online Eros Zine has a great interview that Joanne Cachapero did with porn legend Seka last December, in which she talks about how the age and attitudes of performers has changed:
I have girls come up to me that are like 19, 20 years old, and they say, ‘I want to be like you when I grow up…’ And I say, ‘Do you have a college education? Do you have a savings account? Do you have a plan?’
Then I’m like, ‘Go back to school.’
They think I’m out of my mind. But I was like 25, 26 years old before I started. I didn’t just step off the bus. I owned seven adult bookstores before I even got into the performing side of the business.
However, I don’t mean to use my opinion and Seka’s opinions to shame young people about their porny decisions nor to shame older people who like getting off while looking at younger bodies. To this end I asked Trixie Fontaine, a mid-thirties indie webwhore who runs a personal porn site called Tasty Trixie, about how her attractions to younger porn performers have changed over the years, and her answer completely contradicts my feeling on the subject. For Trixie, the attraction to younger models have gotten stronger as she’s gotten older. She had this to say:
I’m not sure if it’s my age and distance from my own youth or being a pornographer whose job it is to see things from the perspective of dirty old men (or just naturally being a dirty old wo-man myself OR it just being natural in GENERAL to think ripe, young women are hot, beautiful to look at, and slightly taboo to jack to). The older I get, the guiltier I feel about it . . . and the hotter it all is. While I’m critical of the way women, especially young women, are portrayed in porn, it doesn’t quash my arousal upon seeing a big cock stuffed in a small-breasted, wide-eyed teen’s mouth.
There’s no one perfect and healthy way to think about it – I mean, its sex and sex is messy and complicated – but the category “adult” really kind of white washes the whole issue. Though clearly the Cult of the Hot Young Thang is strong and influential in the porn biz today, porn certainly allows for more body and age diversity than mainstream media. Even if that diversity gets quickly turned into a fetish, its still worth something.