First, let me say that I love a good cumshot.
Pornographers, Please Stop Ending Scenes With Money Shots
There’s something about watching someone else cum that makes me cum. Mirror neurons, maybe? And I happen to like penises, so there’s that.
But I have a bone to pick with the way they’re used - namely, with the fact that they’re placed at the end of nearly every porn scene. Even in the “female-friendly” category. Even in a lot of “feminist” porn.
Our society’s collective obsession with the money shot has not only hurt the sex lives of people of all genders but also sent us disempowering messages.
So, here’s why porn needs to rethink its money shot convention - and why we shouldn’t let it influence our sex lives.
It Teaches Us That Male Orgasm Is the Sole Purpose of Sex
When scene after scene ends just after a certain event occurs, the implication is that this event was the goal of the encounter. It’s happened, and therefore, the sex has succeeded and everyone can go home.
This is how porn treats male orgasm. In Pornhub’s 50 most popular videos, 78 percent of men but only 18 percent of women are shown orgasming (or at least pretending to orgasm), according to one analysis.
This affects how people think about sex in real life. In one study involving interviews with 21 college women and 19 men, all of the men said their own orgasms were an important measure of their sexual satisfaction. Women, on the other hand, never cited their orgasms as the primary measure of their satisfaction and were more likely to say that if their partners were satisfied, they were too.
That’s what happens when we make male satisfaction out to be the goal of sex: people prioritize it. The result is a culture where 63% of college men but only 44% of women receive oral sex in their hookups. It's a culture where 95% of straight men but only 65% of straight women orgasm every time they have sex.
In her 1976 book "The Hite Report," based on a survey of 3,000 women, sex researcher Shere Hite identified an unspoken societal script for how sex goes: “the sequence of ‘foreplay,’ ‘penetration,’ and ‘intercourse’ (defined as thrusting), followed by male orgasm as the climax end of the sequence.” This series of actions, she pointed out, “gives very little chance for female orgasm, is almost always under the control of the man, frequently teases the woman inhumanely, and in short, has institutionalized out any expression of women’s sexual feelings except for those that support male sexual needs.”
Part of the reason this sequence of events is so prevalent is that many people are learning about sex from porn. And, despite their focus on visible male orgasms, the majority of porn scenes still rarely portray female orgasms. They portray exaggerated female moaning during intercourse, which perhaps is supposed to imply orgasm, but these “orgasms” are often clearly fake.
I would really like to see a porn scene that abruptly cuts after the woman comes. Female pleasure deserves to be the goal.
Read: Pop Your Cork: The Ultimate Guide to Squirting Orgasms
It Spreads Myths About Female (and Male) Sexuality
Some might argue that it’s only natural for porn to end after the male orgasm because a) men can’t continue having sex after orgasm, while women can or b) men orgasm more easily, so portraying female orgasms is not even realistic. Both these ideas are false.
Many women find that clitoral stimulation becomes uncomfortable after orgasm. In fact, studies have found that only a minority of women (as few as 15%) experience multiple orgasms. Yet if a woman orgasms in porn, this is usually treated as irrelevant to whether the sex continues. She’s expected to keep going until her partner is pleased. This happens in real life as well, with women soldiering on for their partners’ sake when they’re neither aroused nor comfortable.
Once a man enters his refractory period, in contrast, the assumption is that the sex has to end. Never mind that there are many sexual acts that don’t require an erect penis. This view limits men’s sexual expression.
As for the idea that male orgasms are easier to achieve both on-screen and off, this is not true either. Ninety percent of women orgasm when they get both oral and manual sex. Most women can orgasm in under four minutes through masturbation. Making female orgasms a priority in porn would be completely doable - if we wanted to do it.
On the flip side, men don’t always orgasm whenever they want either. There’s work involved in getting a man to orgasm - work that’s deemed worth doing both in porn and in real life, while making women orgasm is often portrayed as burdensome or extra.
Porn portrays a world where male orgasms are a given while female ones are optional, where male orgasm signifies the end while female orgasm doesn’t signify anything. And unfortunately, this has also become the world we live in. This world needs to change, and that starts with changing media portrayals of sex, porn included.
It’s Portrayed in a Way That’s Demeaning to Women
Why, oh why, must he cum on her face? Who decided this was the best way to do things?
I get that this appeals to some people, but a lot of mainstream porn treats it as a way to humiliate, degrade and overpower women. A way for men to mark their territory by getting their bodily fluids on their partners. A way to subject women to physical and emotional discomfort.
Again, it isn't so much the act that's an issue - it's how it's portrayed; you never see the woman request the cumshot on her face or even consent to it. The man rarely asks if it’s OK. Real consent means every step of the encounter has to be negotiated.
I would really love to see a scene where the male actor pauses and says “where do you want me to cum?” and lets his partner state her preferences. When porn portrays a lack of consent as sexy, it also portrays the degradation of women as sexy.
I’m not suggesting we ban any and all ejaculations from porn. The problem is that they are much more common than female orgasms, are placed at the end of so many videos, and seem to be filmed in the most degrading and humiliating way possible.
Porn Scenes That End in Female Orgasm
So, here’s my proposal: For every heterosexual porn scene ending in a money shot, we need one that ends in a female orgasm. In fact, how about a money shot followed by the man pleasuring a woman? Or what about a scene that doesn’t end with an orgasm at all - but everyone’s still happy? Or a scene that portrays sexual activity that continues after orgasm? There are so many combinations!
And please, for the love of God, have actors ask their partners if they’re OK with a cumshot, especially if they're getting it in the face. Sex is a mutual act - let's see more porn that portrays that as sexy.
Looking for porn that portray female pleasure? Check out these ethical independent erotic film artists. Enjoy!
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.