Audio porn is popping up everywhere, so we asked Niamh McCollum to tune into the latest sex trend that’s all about empowering women
Does watching porn make you feel bad? You’re not alone - and considering the problematic way women are often portrayed in mainstream porn, it’s hardly surprising.
From perfectly-crafted (and often frankly, enhanced) curves, to hairless bodies and OTT moans prompted by yet one orgasm after another, it’s clear just how far mainstream porn falls from imitating real, genuine intimacy and the kind of sex most of us are actually having.
According to research carried out by Indiana University, 90% of women use ‘mental framing’ to get turned on, meaning that sparking the imagination is a huge stepping stone to becoming aroused. Cue the booming business of audio porn.
Many reckon this shift away from the visual is a clever one. Kate Moyle, a sexual & relationship psychotherapist, believes audio porn can be helpful in providing women with the ability to paint their own picture, because there’s ‘no direct body that you’re being compared to or are comparing yourself to.' Moyle adds, 'Your imagination is the best pornography that you’ve got, because it is tailored to you and completely personalised.’
The expert is also quick to point out that porn isn’t inherently bad, either. ‘Many types of pornography bring about a sense of community to those with more marginalised sexualities, helping them realise they’re not alone.’ But she does agree that non-visual platforms provide a welcome alternative, by bringing imagination and liberation back into the female sexual experience.
Here are five non-visual platforms we’re loving right now…
Heard of Dipsea? This subscription-based app curates sensual audio stories and narratives that allow women to place themselves into each erotic scene. Co-founded by Gina Gutierrez and Faye Keegan in December 2018, Dipsea was created to give the autonomy back to women when it comes to their own sexual experience. ‘We want women to tap into their sexuality more easily, and on their terms,’ Gutierrez explains. ‘Dipsea has given users a new language to understand themselves', she says, 'We’ve had everyone from married couples saying it’s reinvigorated their sex lives, to trauma victims who tell us Dipsea is helping them successfully reintroduce sexuality into their lives.’
[Visit www.dipseastories.com to download the free app]
Girl on the Net
Set up back in 2011, GOTN has risen through the ranks to become one of the biggest sex blogs in the UK. Covering a wide range of topics from intricate kinks to consent, the anonymous blogger’s aim is to educate and normalise the conversation around sex. Complete with its own audio porn section, users are encouraged to scroll through the site and pick whichever sexy story is best suited to them. Including everything from ‘public transport fantasies’, to masturbation and even ‘rebound f**ks’, GOTN is the truest and most open of spaces for people to familiarise themselves with their sexual desires, no matter how risque.
This website allows users to listen to people having sex, as well as reading or submitting their own sensual stories and fantasies. Caroline Spiegel, 22, (sister of Snapchat CEO, Evan) launched it in April 2019 after experiencing sexual dysfunction that arose from an eating disorder. Her goal? To weave emotion, connection and real stories back into erotica, while at the same time eliminating the body pressure that can stem from mainstream porn.
[Visit www.tryquinn.com to share, read or listen]
Although not strictly a non-visual app, Emjoy includes erotic stories within its extensive library of guided audio practises designed by sex experts, including therapists and mindfulness experts. Founder and CEO, Andrea Oliver García, set Emjoy up in response to the ‘body positivity’ movement, and most notably the gaps she saw within it: ‘We spend a lot of time talking about how society puts male pleasure first – but what are we actually doing to help women have more pleasure and understand what they want and need?’ Emjoy seeks to tackle this head-on by providing step-by-step guides that give users the tools to increase pleasure and improve sexual communication.
[Visit the App Store to download Emjoy for free]
Bursting onto the virtual scene in June 2019, Ferly was created with the aim of providing a space where users can ‘talk about sex freely, playfully, intuitively and without judgement.’ Determined to help people understand how they feel about sex, rather than simply how to have it, Ferly sets out a series of audio guides including sessions, workshops, quizzes and sexy stories to help users establish a healthy relationship with sex. Our favourite section has to be ‘Food for Thought’, which lists fascinating facts about sex – did you know the full internal anatomy of the clitoris was only ‘discovered’ in 1998? Man’s world and all that (!!!)
[Visit the App Store to download Ferly for free]
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Niamh McCollum is Features Assistant at Marie Claire UK, and specialises in entertainment, female empowerment, mental health, social development and careers. Tackling both news and features, she's covered everything from the rise of feminist audio porn platforms to the latest campaigns protecting human rights.
Niamh has also contributed to our Women Who Win series by interviewing ridiculously inspiring females, including forensic scientist Ruth Morgan, Labour MP Stella Creasy and ITV’s former Home Affairs Editor Jennifer Nadel.
Niamh studied Law in Trinity College Dublin. It was after enrolling in a Law & Literature class on her year abroad in Toronto that her love of writing was reignited. In no particular order, her big likes are Caleb Followill, hoops, red wine, sea swimming, shakshuka and long train journeys.
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