CHATSWORTH, Calif.—The question of whether women watch porn has at this point become about as immaterial as that of whether white people listen to rap.
Women represent not only a viable segment of the porn-consuming public, but a fairly formidable one at that. And if there had been any shred of doubt left in anyone’s mind pertaining to such, it should have been summarily obliterated by Oprah Winfrey’s show last fall ballyhooing that fact (... and Jenna Jameson’s slightly distorted perception of history, but let’s just stay on topic here, shall we?).
In light of this, any porn company not aggressively targeting female fans is simply whistling past the money cart. New Sensations, for one, has taken the bull by the horns with its new Romance line, which debuted in January with An Eternal Love, starring AVN Female Performer of the Year Tori Black and Rocco Reed.
“The market seems to be changing in the female demographic,” New Sensations president Scott Taylor told AVN. “Women seem to be more comfortable with their sexuality these days. This line is somewhat of an intro into porn. The focus is the love story or stories highlighted by people making love. This is quite a bit different than what we have done in the past. Not that sex and love is any new concept, but I was not aware of any line of products that made love stories their core theme.”
If it sounds as though the mission is to furnish the modern girl’s answer to the Harlequin novel, that pretty much hits it on the head. “The idea behind the Romance series came from looking for something different in an oversaturated market,” Taylor explained. “Adult toy sales remain strong, so it seemed like a decent idea to make a series for couples to enjoy ... that we hope finds an audience in the vein of romance novel enthusiasts.”
There is a definite distinction between this model and what’s typically been thought of and marketed as “female-friendly porn” in the past, in that a storyline in and of itself no longer necessarily equates to having women squarely in the crosshairs, Taylor asserted. One only has to look as far as the booming parody craze for concrete proof of his point.
“The difference to me in our Romance series versus our parodies is significant,” Taylor said. “In the past it seemed that a storyline automatically meant it was for couples. We operated under the impression that women need a story and not just the sex itself. Therefore if there was a script, it was for couples. We don’t make [parodies] for couples; we make them to entertain fans of the film or series. With the Romance series, it is solely targeted at women and couples.”
Is the sex any different in the Romance titles? “Yes, the sex is not so in your face,” Taylor indicated. “There is still the passion in the scenes, but it goes in a completely different direction than traditional gonzo. There aren’t any crazy positions that only ‘porn people’ can do. No cumshots above the neck, either. Tame but explicit and exciting.”
Ah, but what about the contention by some that such frou-frou fare is not at all what any woman partial to the partaking of smut prefers? That the porn taste of the fairer sex is every bit as hard and raunchy as that of men, if not more so?
“Talked to a lot of women over the years, and one thing is certain,” Taylor offered. “Women are super complex. A woman wants it all when she wants it. No rhyme or reason sometimes. But in the end, most seem to want more of a storyline and reason for the sex. It is not about the sex, but more about the connection. But take nothing away from the girl that just wants to get nasty!”
To make sure of the Romance line’s appeal to its intended audience, Taylor said, “We show it to all the girls in the office to see if they like it or what can be better, et cetera. Each one is really micro-managed because we want to set a standard in this Romance category. It is not often you get a chance to be first at something, so you might as well try and be the best.”
Following Eternal Love, there have been two additional titles—The Wedding Day and An Office Romance—released so far under the Romance banner. An Eternal Love 2: Reckless Heart is due out soon.
This article originally ran in the June 2010 issue of AVN.