Is Audio Porn a Form of Sex Work?

Audio porn is a form of storytelling that will activate your senses and leave your skin tingling. It will carry your imagination to all sorts of hot places and leave you wanting more – as such, can audio porn be considered a form of sex work?

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We can hear the rain fall as we listen to the narrator’s thoughts. He is trying to cool down a little bit, steadying his breath, trying to stop his body from trembling after having a very close encounter with his unbearably seductive and longtime friend. They are going back home, where they live together as roommates. What will happen next with all this tension…? 

This is exactly what audio erotica is about. It allows the listener to paint their own fantasy while diving into expressive and seductive tales. In tandem with the new podcast trend, the world of audio porn and erotica is growing, and quite fast. Everything audio related can be found only a few clicks away: from narrated porn to sexy sound recordings and masturbation instructions. Just like for visual porn (whether it be films or photos), there is a lot of creative and diverse content in audio porn to get turned on by!

A few years back ASMR (auto sensory meridian response) started trending online. ASMR describes the physical tingling we get sometimes from certain stimuli. This is far from being a new sensation that humans experience, but thanks to the sudden online trend, it paved the way to create content that would trigger this specific response. Audio stimuli including recordings of whispering, scratching, and tapping sounds became very popular on the internet. There was a very notorious video that went viral called ASMR barber shop” (non-erotic example). The instructions were to close your eyes, and use headphones. You could almost feel the person moving around you. It was a completely strange and yet satisfying experience. Many people came to think of it as a kink or fetish. This new fashion, along with the accessibility of new technologies, helped popularize this special way of getting stimulated without visuals. 

Among the increasing amount of general audio content, audio erotica is deliberately sexual and therefore part of the sex industry, the same as porn literature or erotic visual art. Could we then say producing audio porn is doing sex work? The question is as complex as its answer. There are few things to take into consideration:

Is it sexual?

Audio porn, as the name suggests, is sexual. Yet, it does not mean that actual sex is taking place. Voice actors read from scripts. While the text they read is sexual, they do not perform any sexual acts.

Is there an economic exchange?

Is there an agreement where money or other financial compensation are offered in turn for the material or sound recording? If there is no economic exchange, it would not be considered work. 

Does it need to have a real-life sexual situation?

Does an actual sexual exchange need to take place, or can it be a simulation? One of the amazing things about porn and amateur porn is that there is an infinite diversification regarding fetishes, kinks, and the offer and demand of wide-ranging preferences. Many of the erotic productions that people consume these days are not even explicitly sexual. Meaning, there does not have to be the typical penetrative sex or focus on genitals that we associate with being sexual – it goes beyond the explicit. ASMR, audio porn, and any other kinds of recordings that could be deemed erotica would be a part of this non-explicit sexual content production.

Does audio porn bear the same stigma found in usual lines of sex work?

It is quite hard to address the question “what is sex work?” without talking about the particular stigma that comes with it. Our society today moves towards acceptance of many identities, attitudes, and practices, giving them more visibility, by normalizing them and often by commercializing them. Even so, we still have residual moral opinions about certain identities, especially about the more marginalized ones. 

Doing sex work brings a heavy weight on a social level. We can affirm that stigma is always there. It is important to note that not every sector within sex work bears the same stigma. Many people involved in the industry usually move between different areas of sex work as a way to supplement their incomes, so there are no fixed categories regarding this. Another factor contributing to stigma is the whorearchy, a hierarchical structure in sex work that differentiates classes of sex work. The elite class being “luxury escorts” and the lower class being street based sex workers. The whorearchy is intrinsically tied to racism, classism, and transphobia. This structure also governs how legal and socially acceptable certain forms of sex work are. 

Obviously, working in audio porn is distinct from working in visual porn. For one thing it grants a level of anonymity very hard to achieve in other sectors. Furthermore, the platforms where audio is usually sold are more private and less criticized in the public eye compared to the ones where more explicit content is marketed. Even if working in audio porn could potentially bring some stigma, it does not come close to the consequences some sex workers have to face by exposing themselves to the public.

Having all these things in mind, we ask ourselves again: is audio erotica sex work?

While audio porn is growing and becoming a part of the sex industry, many sex workers will agree that it is not sex work per say. The answer remains a grey area, since it is impossible to give a definite “yes” or “no”. As both the sex work industry and new technologies develop so precipitously, it is hard to anticipate if this will change in the future or not.

What do you think: should audio porn be considered sex work, and if so, why? Will the definition of sex work change in this time? What different forms of porn are there to come in the future, and how will it be part of our economical and social exchanges?

To learn more about the experience of audio porn, check out our article Audio porn, worth the hype? or experience it first hand on our platform.

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