How Internet Pornographers Market to Women vs. Men
(This article is the second in a two-part series by Mark Kastleman. To read Part One, "How Internet Pornographers Market to Men vs. Women," click here.)
In part 1, we discussed how Internet pornographers specifically target the male audience according to the dynamics of the male brain structure. In this article we will look at how Internet pornographers use different techniques to attract and ensnare the female market.
Women View Pornography Differently than Men Do
Internet pornographers know full well that they cannot have any significant degree of success marketing to females using the same techniques they use for the male market. Male and female brains are different; the Internet pornographer's marketing approach must also be different.
The purveyors of porn have begun paying closer attention to their potential female audience. There are profits to be made, and Internet pornographers are all about profits.
In August of 1998 the World Conference on Pornography was held under the sponsorship of California State University at Northridge. For three days conference directors presented an unending stream of explicit pornography, all under the guise of academic analysis.
At the close of the conference, awards were given out to the producers of films, to the actors and actresses of same, and to the various exhibitors who have pioneered the introduction of hard-core pornography throughout the world. (Of course, the keynote address for the event was given by the president of the ACLU.)
Speaking of this academic farce, John Harmer in his book A War We Must Win points out that "Among the most stunning aspects of an event that could only be described as 'beyond comprehension' were the number of women faculty members who actively participated, and the significant amount of pornographic material being produced by women for women. The conference left no doubt that in the United States women have become more than equal with men as they have aggressively entered into the production and distribution of pornography."
It is obvious that Internet pornographers, some of them women, have openly chosen to pursue the female porn market. Let's examine the female mind as the pornography producers have. Let's review the typical attributes of the potential female porn consumer in the cold, hard terminology pornographers use:
- The key perceptual sense for females is not vision, or any one sense. Instead, females place high priority on all the senses as a whole. No one sense is given significant value over the others. For porn to be addicting, there must be more to it than just a bunch of ever-changing visual stimuli.
- The female mindbody does not typically descend swiftly down the funnel of arousal with a total focus on body parts and the physical sex act. She descends more slowly, taking into account a wide variety of sensorial factors. Her focus is not only on the whole body experience (as opposed to parts), but also upon the whole of the relationship, where the partners are in love, engaged in tenderness, carry on a romance or communicate with one another. With these things in place, she can become highly aroused by images of couples coupling, but rarely by the mere act itself or by close-ups of body parts.
- The male is interested in images of casual, impersonal sex, in getting right down to the physical sex act. The female, in contrast, yearns to see the interplay of relationships, caring, love, foreplay, communication and tenderness that lead up to and culminate in the physical act of intercourse.
- Females do not typically enjoy seeing images of women being dominated, aggressively treated or abused in sexual situations. Rather, they prefer sex where a man and a woman have mutually agreed to the encounter and both are enjoying it, with the man showing consideration for her feelings and desires.
With all of this in mind, how do Internet pornographers provide content that taps into the female brain at the highest level possible? Consider their techniques:
Porn Based on Relationships and Mutual Consent, Rather than Body Parts and Domination
In a private screening room at the University of Amsterdam, 47 female volunteers watched two sexually explicit clips from pornographic movies. One film, made by a male director, presented the standard male fantasy scene in which the woman "services" the man, with an emphasis on body parts and little romance, kissing, etc.
The second film, directed by a woman, offered a more romantic context for its hard-core sex. The woman in the scene was rather ordinary looking. Prior to sex there was kissing, embracing, and tenderness. The woman appeared to be sincerely enjoying herself.
When asked, those who participated in this experiment said they were aroused only by the second, woman-directed video, not by the first film, which they described as gross, repulsive and disgusting.
Pornographers, having learned their lesson well, are using clever techniques to lure women into a world that they formerly were repulsed by. Romance novelists and soap opera writers have used these techniques for decades, showing sex, but showing it in a more holistic way, preceded by romantic settings, communication, kissing, embracing, etc., knowing that this approach attracts a larger portion of the female market. Internet pornographers often use average-looking females as their subjects so that the female viewer can more easily fantasize or imagine herself playing the role. Likewise, they portray both the male and female pleasuring each other equally. More and more Internet porn caters to the lesbian viewer as well.
In essence, the Internet pornographers have taken the successful "soap opera/romance novel" genre and wrapped it around pornography in order to seduce the female viewer.
The Real Key Is the Cybersex Chatroom
Even with a romantic twist or feel, many women still are not interested in Internet porn. And so the pornographers have found a decoy to lure them into this dark world: Internet chatrooms. Chatrooms consist of informal groups of people who talk with one another by typing messages which are sent over the Internet. While two people chat, others can eavesdrop on the conversation and interject any time they wish. If two people want to talk privately, they can enter a private chatroom where no one else can see their conversation.
Knowing what we do about the female brain, the chatroom is the perfect model to attract women to the Internet. They can engage in "innocent" conversations with men, develop relationships, express their emotions, and become part of the Internet community or chat group to which they belong. Women encounter friendly, interesting men (and women) who listen to them, and people who pay attention to them. They develop innocent friendships which deepen quickly as they talk about those subjects that matter most to them. All behind a shield of anonymity that lends itself to full disclosure beyond that of most marriages.
Before the woman realizes it, she has achieved an artificial intimacy that she perceives to be superior to that in her marriage. Just as a porn-addicted husband is no longer satisfied by sex acts with his wife, the cybersex-chat-addicted wife is no longer satisfied as she compares the intimacy level of her marriage to the artificially intense depth of intimacy with her cybersex companion. Over time, her conversations can become more bold and sexually explicit. All the while, her cybersex relationship remains anonymous and safeâ€or so she is lead to believe.
In her landmark book Caught in the Net, Dr. Kimberly S. Young describes how many women (and men) initially turn to Internet chatrooms as a form of escape. She writes:
Sooner or later, the explanation points to the desire to escape. No matter who they are, where they live, or how solid their lives may appear economically or psychologically, Internet users who turn to the faceless community for company, happiness, or relief usually are trying to avoid something or someone they don't want to confront.
The Center for Online Addiction reports its findings regarding why women seek out chatrooms:
Women more often than men commented on how they sought out support, acceptance, and comfort through online relationships formed in chatrooms. Virtual communities gave women a sense of belonging and the ability to share the company of others in a nonthreatening environment.
As men tended to look more for cybersex, women tended to look more for romance in cyberspace. In virtual chat areas . . . a woman can meet men to form intimate relationships. But like a soap opera, tender moments with a romantic stranger can lead to passion and progress into sexual dialogue. I should note that it is not usual for women to engage in random cybersex, but many times they preferred to form some type of relationship prior to sexual chat.
Internet pornographers lure women into chatroom relationships through one of two methods:
- The woman starts out with friendly conversation, which eventually leads to romantic talk, then to sexual conversation and hard-core sexual dialogue. Soon the woman finds herself desensitized, leaving her vulnerable. The man on the other end will often lead her to the viewing of Internet porn. Exposed to such graphic images right off the bat, most women would reject them. But, in the context of a relationship, after proceeding through the steps of building a friendship, forging a romance, and finally engaging in sexual dialogue, the woman is slowly coaxed into the world of Internet porn.
- Out of curiosity, a woman may experiment with Internet porn to see what it is all about. This will often lead her to sexually oriented chatrooms, where she will undergo the process of desensitization as described above, and become immersed in the porn viewing/sex addiction cycle.
Younger and Younger Women Are Turning to Cybersex Chatrooms
In a recent survey of over 9,000 MSNBC.com readers, it was found that a significant number of younger females are turning to cybersex sites. In contrast to their male counterparts, most of these women are bypassing the titillating erotica sites in favor of interactive chatrooms. The reason is the "three A's" of the Internet: Accessibility, Affordability, and Anonymity. Together, they are allowing young adult women to be more comfortable experimenting with their sexuality online than almost anywhere else. In chatrooms they can engage in new relationships without fear.
Cybersex Leads Women to Adopt a More Male-Like Funnel of Intimacy
From the previous chapters on mindbody science, you know that repeated exposure to pornography can lower a woman's defenses and diminish her initial shock to explicit images. This can cause a woman or teenage girl to become fascinated with pornography, chatrooms, and cybersex and lead them into the cycle of addiction.
Caught up in the romantic/sexual fantasies brought on by Internet pornography and cybersex chat, women more and more will allow their mindbody to narrow its focus to progress from a romantic/sexual conversation and fantasy to more dangerous actions, such as a live sexual rendezvous.
Women caught in this trap begin to focus "narrowly" on sexual fantasy, illicit sexual encounters and masturbation. Many short-circuit their female brain and adopt a more male mind-set. Further, pornographers, Hollywood, and magazine media are influencing women and teenage girls to view sex more like men doâ€body-part-centered, physical sex act-centered, narrowly-centered.
Recently while shopping at our local grocery store, I noticed the title of the feature article splashed across the cover of a prominent woman's magazine. "The Sex Game"â€Playing It Like a Manâ€and Winning!" it read. With constant reports of rape, date-rape, spousal abuse, molestation and the like being committed by men, that's just what we don't need: women acting like men when it comes to sexual addiction.
Some Key Points to Remember:
- Most women would consider it absurd that they could ever be addicted to such "disgusting trash" as pornography. They must understand that pornographers market very differently to females as opposed to males. The same female mindbody characteristics that can attract a woman to romance novels can also lure her into cybersex chatrooms, Internet pornography, and eventually sex and/or porn addiction. The process is much more subtle and seemingly innocent than that of male addiction, but just as (or more) debilitating and devastating.
- With all of the movies, TV, magazines and other media constantly bombarding them with a "male dominated" presentation of sexuality, women must be very careful not to adopt a narrow male-like mind-set.
Mark B. Kastleman is the author of the revolutionary new book titled The Drug of the New Millennium-the Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain and Body-A Guide for Parents, Spouses, Clergy and Counselors. Many leading scientists, psychologists, therapists and religious leaders consider this book to be one of the most important works ever written on this subject, and a must-read for parents, spouses, clergy and counselors.