Nobody wants to think of themselves as easily influenced. Whether it be flashy commercials on television or the enticing words of a charismatic charmer, when it comes down to it, most of us will quickly deny our own susceptibility to suggestion. I am my own person! we cry. You can’t make me do things I don’t want to! we boldly assert. My decisions and choices are my own! we announce.
Shot In the Dark: Is It Time to Move on From the 'Money Shot'?
So then why are so many men clamouring to cum on their partners? In the pantheon of sexual activities, few generate as much heated discussion as ejaculating on another person. Some call it the ultimate in degradation, others suggest it is an attempt at affirmation. Some will argue that if the semen is deposited on the body it isn’t so bad, however, don’t even think of dropping that load on a face. Some people don’t want anything to do with external ejaculation and others are bully for bukkake.
Whither Are We to Come?
As with most sex acts, cumshots and facials have been part of the human experience for a long, long time. Not surprisingly, the Marquis de Sade wrote specifically about a facial ejaculation in 120 Days of Sodom. And we would all be fools to think it hasn’t been happening all around the world for generations.
Historically, pulling out has a specific application: birth control. While not the most effective method, it was the only form of baby prevention for many people. It stands to reason that after pulling out, that semen was going to go somewhere, and onto the woman’s body seems as reasonable a place as any.
However, while men may have been splattering their partners with semen for years, it wasn’t until pornography became more popular and readily available that the practice really took on a new meaning. Now, many people come of age sexually with the impression that a sexual encounter culminates in external ejaculation.
And we have to pause for a giggle. Surely pornographers weren’t intending to start a sticky revolution. In the early days of porn, the stag film days, men stayed firmly ensconced in their partner’s orifice. Semen remained unseen. As these films became more popular, some bold director decided a visual display of seminal fluid would better excite customers.
While some will argue that depositing spunk on a person is degrading, I think that pulling out to blow a load is far more controversial. In porn, we’re not talking about birth prevention, but, instead, it is all about the display of male satisfaction. Due to biology, sure, men are most likely to be done once they’ve ejaculated. However porn has made the money shot the signifier of END SCENE. Sex sex sex, he pulls out and cums, scene done. That arc of jism says that’s a wrap folks—regardless of whether or not the female performer has achieved any pleasure or satisfaction.
Can the Cumshot Be Dialed Back?
"I don't think it would be dialing it back so much as re-imagining what porn sex looks like," offers Jennifer DePoe, Manager of Good for Her and Director of the Feminist Porn Awards. "And I think if you're making male-gaze directed films it's about changing the end all and be all of penis-in-vagina sex."
Jennifer suggests a shift in priorities and focus in porn, ensuring that the female performer's pleasure be equally important by having the male actor continue on in the scene—using fingers, mouth, tongue to bring her to orgasm as well. And enjoying it the whole time.
But will this change the prevailing culture of Cum, Stop, Rollover? It will take a significant effort to bring people back from the money shot phenomenon. Logistically, porn producers will need to get much more creative in how they present men's orgasms. Fortunately some already are on that path.
Caitlin K. Roberts is Executive Producer and Founding Partner of SPIT, an ambitious porn collective out of Toronto. With a focus on porn as art and porn as community, the SPIT crew focuses on sex-positivity and pleasure. Caitlin thinks there is room for ejaculations—when executed properly.
"It becomes a very different thing when the person receiving the cumshot actually enjoys it versus them getting paid to receive it because that's what the general audience wants. Men can be uber babes and I'm all about uber babes sharing their pleasure with people all over the place if the other people also want uber babes sharing their pleasure on them."
Ultimately, as with all things sexual, choosing to unload and choosing to accept ejaculate is all about negotiation. If guys watching porn start to see differing images and messages, perhaps expectations to let it fly will wane and be replaced with hot scenes of mutual pleasure. At the same time, perhaps receiving partners will feel less degraded and demeaned if their pleasure is more highly valued, considered and realized. Moving both parties to this potential reality will only happen with a significant pornographic paradigm shift. However, we could already be on our way to mopping this mess up with a few cultural Kleenexes. (For more on pornography and relationships, check out Is Pornography the Key to Marital Intimacy? Possibly...But There's a Catch)
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.