A slew of platforms have sprung up that explicitly cater to female sexuality and no naked bodies. Why do women like them so much?

I never thought Id be paid to listen to audio erotica at work, but two hours before the end of Monday its happening and Im uncomfortable about it.

At least I know Im not the only one listening. In the last year, a number of platforms have surfaced to offer audio erotic content. A paid-for service called Dipsea launched as an app in December last year and has already been downloaded 300,000 times. The website Quinn opened its free service 18 months ago.

From my cursory browse, I notice some common strands. All of it is fairly cheesy, but then so is most porn. The erotica I listen to is short each segment between 8 and 10 minutes but they require your undivided attention. You have to imagine whats going on, either by inserting yourself in the frame or imagining others. Broadly speaking, the recordings feel more empowering than most porn the women are having safe and happy sexual encounters, and they are not being manipulated, demeaned or coerced.

The first one I listen to on Dipsea features a woman and her male partner who she has just bought a house with (it has been downloaded more than 70,000 times).

The series is called Fixer Upper, and contains a number of short segments. To begin, a guy called Henry tells his partner Des hes having a problem fixing their new house. Hes found some unexpected electrical cables in the living room wall and now they need to whack a big hole in it. Des starts to swing at the wall presumably with a hammer and Henry encourages her, standing behind to instruct on her swing. It moves quickly into heavy panting, and before you know it you can hear them kissing. (Personally, I found these noises offensive who wants to hear wet, squelching kisses?)

Then comes moaning and well, you get the gist. The clip is punctuated by hilariously respectful dirty talk (I love your strong legs!) and finishes six minutes later.

So why do women like it so much? Fatima (not her real name), a 27-year old who pays for a yearly subscription to Dipsea, laughs when I tell her my opinion on Fixer Upper. She agrees its not that good, but knows why it gets women ticking: The stability and comfort is more of a turn-on than the actual conversation between them. She adds: Ive been fixing up my house and its been really dreadful. Which reminds me that all porn is a lie.

I listen to another episode, about a woman and a man having an on-and-off fling. Its narrated by a woman called Cass, and includes female climax.Its convincing, unlike most porn, which tries to make you believe that the mere act of touching a penis brings women to orgasm. The verbalization of what feels good in the form of thoughts running through her mind, instead of corny praise of her partners prowess, is what makes it work.

I then listen to the least tame category I could think of BDSM which probably tells you how vanilla I am. It involves a woman asking a guy shes seeing to talk her through his sexual encounters with other women. A gag is involved. The tension is well executed, and I realize why people like dirty talk: hearing what turns people on is arousing. (At this exact point, my boss asked me why I was looking so flushed, which was extremely embarrassing.)

Dipseas most popular stories are usually the most recently released rather than particular genres. Quinns most popular categories include lesbian, BDSM, daddy, and anything with a British accent.

Fatima sometimes listens at home with the lights down low, other times while washing the dishes but always when her husband isnt nearby. She says he found it so funny when she first told him she was listening that she vowed to never let him know anything more about it.

I ask her why its so hard to imagine a man getting off to it and why her partner had this reaction. I think the whole app is unashamedly catered to female sexuality, which is an absolute plus, she says.

This feels accurate. Of those I listened to there was always a lead-up, with the main event lasting only a few minutes. The woman was never not in control. Foreplay plays a starring role. By contrast, in mainstream porn women are often in compromising situations; its all centered on male orgasm and is largely unimaginative.

Theres tension and a narrative thats more than just, Sexy pizza man comes: hes delivering a pizza and his penis! Theres more creativity Im able to engage with, says Fatima.

Dipsea was in part inspired by a study showing up to 90% of women use their imagination to get turned on. That idea was confirmed in Quinns own research, in which it asked a small group of women about their arousal.

Fatima says that when she used to watch porn she did so at a higher frequency about once a week. She explains her old approach as methodical: It was like: watch porn, masturbate, do the dishes. It was a part of my to do list, it didnt feel interesting or sexy. It becomes functional, like a chore.

With audio erotica, Fatima says, her body feels more engaged. She feels more mentally stimulated and present, and more sensitive. This disconnect is something Quinn aims to capitalize on: women it surveyed said they often felt a disconnect between their bodies and their minds during arousal, sometimes finding themselves physically turned on but not mentally, or vice versa. Part of the aim of Quinns audio content is to make the experience more active.

For Fatima, thats definitely the case. Sometimes she envisages herself in a scene; other times the characters are strong enough that she imagines them. She describes it as like the difference between watching a film and reading a book and says she has seen improvements in her overall creativity since she started listening.

Fatima says its a fun and safe way for her to explore her sexuality. Some things she didnt enjoy when she watched videos group scenarios, lesbian relationships or male-on-male she now enjoys. And shes glad to be done with the impracticalities of visual porn: With videos Im often like why are your nails that long? I cant cater to that, she says.

Its also an ethical decision. I believe in workers rights, but I can never be sure how consensual mainstream porn is, she says. After I started listening to audio erotica I realised there was another option though I knew it would take some reconfiguration.

She uses as an example the story of a teenage girl who went missing and was recently found through videos on Pornhub: When you watch these free tube sites, how can you be sure that nothing messed up has happened? The ethics of that became hugely complicated.

A distribution model that allows people to upload and download for free, and has little protections against things like revenge porn was a turn-off, she says.

For Fatima, the solution is to pay for porn particularly porn produced by women, or feminists. But she is particularly besotted with getting hers audibly. I have never felt investment in this stuff before, but now I do.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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