What Does Cornonavirus Mean For The Porn Industry?

Can the adult industry survive this global pandemic?

With social distancing measures now in place right across the world, the struggle many industries face (no matter what the sector) is the same; how can business go on as normal in the face of the current public health crisis? The porn industry is no different to any other entertainment sector and relies heavily on freelancers for its output. Without the safety net of emergency government funding studios feel they have little choice but to solider on whilst they still can.

In this feature we’ll take a look at the ways that porn studios, actors and other adult industries are coping in the faced of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll also consider how self-isolation is impacting our appetite for online porn by looking at the traffic and trends from the internet tube hosting giants, Pornhub.

Coronavirus and the Adult Industry

It may seem flippant to be focusing on this area of but the porn industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes a significant value to the economies of countries around the world. It employs a huge number of people, many of whom are freelancers and includes plenty of studios that operate as small businesses.

Coronavirus and the Porn Industry

Image via Wikimedia/Pixabay.

Unlike many sectors that will be affected by the coronavirus, the porn industry is unlikely to receive any specific support from governments and could therefore be facing turbulent times along with other entertainment and leisure industries.

However, could there be a silver lining to the crisis that could help support the adult industry for the coming months ahead?

The Sex Must Go On: How the Porn Industry is Handling the Coronavirus Pandemic

On March 15th 2020, the trade organisation and lobbying group for the adult industry in the United States, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) released an advisory statement for its members:

“This is a difficult time for both performers and producers, and we know that many are concerned not only about the virus, but about lost income in the event of a long production hold. FSC is consulting with performers, producers, and other industry stakeholders to discuss strategies and concerns, and provide real-world guidance as to how to best proceed. 

We are not yet calling a production hold in the adult industry, but performers and producers should be actively planning for the possibility of one in the future. In the meantime, individual producers and performers should make their own decisions about whether or not they feel comfortable continuing to shoot. This is a quickly evolving situation that affects us all. We ask that everyone be understanding and accommodating during this time.”

The guidelines issued by the FSC include following all national and international safety advice and recommendations regarding coronavirus as well as alerting the FSC for any positive tests of the disease.

Other advice includes:

  • Not traveling for work.
  • Not working with others if you show any symptoms.
  • Not working with others if you have recently been in an area with community spread of the virus.
  • Not work with others if you are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (immunocompromised, elderly, etc.) or have frequent contact with someone who is.

Whilst many production companies and performers will continue to be vigilant but press ahead with their shoots, some have taken the decision to call a temporary halt to business.

The impact of the decision to suspend production will be felt by many freelancers who work in the industry. From crew members including camera operators and directors to post-production editing staff and administration teams that deal with distribution, many will be left without a regular income. Remember of course that not all porn performers are mega-wealthy like Asa Akira, Jenna Jameson and Sasha Grey. Many stars of the adult entertainment business are working a few jobs as exotic dancers, strippers and even escorting as well as forging a career in porn. These industries too are all experiencing a downtown in business and some are under mandatory (temporary) closure measures.

Again, these are mostly independent and self-employed workers who will not have the support in place to supplement their incomes during the period of suspended filming.

As the current crisis develops, studios can expect further disruption which will mean (for the time being, at least) that very little new professional content will be made available for premium porn site subscribers.

The burden of producing fresh adult material will therefore fall to the amateur ranks of performers. Given that huge numbers of people will be isolating themselves in their own homes, we may expect to see record numbers of uploads to sites like Pornhub and XVideos over the coming months as people try to keep themselves occupied!

Coronavirus and the Porn Industry future

Image via Pornhub.

The Risks of Coronavirus in the Porn Industry

The porn industry is well known for being a cautious one when it comes to the transmission of diseases and already relies heavily on regular health screening to protect its performers. However, COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted disease and carriers can present with no obvious symptoms and pass on the vurus without any knowledge. It has become clear over recent weeks that the incubation period for the coronavirus is between two and fourteen days from exposure.

Highly contagious and easily passed between people in close proximity with one another, the chances of catching the virus are increased the more time you spend in the company of an infected individual.

Of course, all of this means that people who work in porn (particularly the performers themselves) will be at high risk of transmitting and catching this disease.

At the current time there have been no reports of any performers testing positive from within the industry and there are no plans to implement a mandatory ban on production. However, producers and performers are asked to continue following government guidelines and maintain vigilance of their own health. Some studios are going further and insisting on screening before shoots, filming locally and using their own staff to collect performers rather than relying on Uber and other methods of transport.

At the moment, the industry is trying to continue as normal in the increasing likelihood that there will be an imminent (albeit temporary) end to production required by law.

Cancelled! Adult Industry Events That Won’t Be Held

As well as calling time on some studio filming, the coronavirus is also having an impact on other areas of the adult industry including the cancellation of annual events and expos.

In these extraordinary times where even Walt Disney World has closed its doors, there are very few venues around the world that are planning to continue hosting large gatherings of people.

As the current crisis develops all organizers are taking a view as to whether to cancel or postpone their conventions, meetings and expos and if you have booked tickets or planned to attend any of these over the next two to three months then please check the relevant website for details.

Rise in Online Porn Viewing: A Light at the End of the Tunnel?

The rise in the number of people who are staying at home in isolation is rising daily as a result of government-imposed restrictions on movement as well as advice from the medial authorities.

As a result of this home-quarantine, the trend on porn viewing statistics is showing increases right across the world. So, this could be a small consolation to the industry in that an increase in demand will mean an increase in sales of existing premium porn content.

Another development following this period of social distancing is one which is seeing an increase in the traffic figures to live camming sites. Offering an alternative to physical contact with sex workers, cam site models are seeing more interaction online, larger audiences and an increase in tipping.

This, again, could be good news for those porn performers who also broadcast online and assure them of a regular income until production can resume on set.

Trends in Porn Consumption During Self Isolation

Those data-crunchers at Pornhub have been up to their usual insightful business of coming up with the numbers to show this surge in interest across their site in the latest topical report on coronavirus porn viewing trends and traffic.

Commissioned by the American business magazine, Forbes, the data may go some way to explaining why there is a sudden surge in the need for extra toilet paper!

Searches for ‘coronavirus’, ‘covid’ and ‘corona’ began to appear on Pornhub from 25th January 2020 with more than 9.1 million requests being logged on the site in the 30-day period 16th February to 16th March. This peaked at 1.5 million searches in just one day which occurred on 5th March 2020.

corona virus searches pornhub porn viewing trends insights

Image via Pornhub.

Though trending right across the world, the most popular countries that saw searches of this nature on their site were mainly from Central Europe. Compared to the worldwide average, the following countries were more than 50% more likely to be using Pornhub to be searching for coronavirus related adult content:

  • Slovakia (119%)
  • Bulgaria (88%)
  • Ireland (88%)
  • Malaysia (84%)
  • Serbia (80%)
  • Portugal (70%)
  • Singapore (66%)
  • Colombia (65%)

Taking March 11th 2020 as a baseline for this current period of social distancing, traffic right across the site has, as expected, increased as a result of more people not being at work. When compared to an average day in each of the following countries, the numbers of people visiting Pornhub has increased as follows:

  • Italy (13.8%)
  • Belgium (12.4%)
  • Netherlands (10.9%)
  • Czechia (9.4%)
  • Japan (9.3%)
  • Singapore (8.5%)
  • India (8.3%)
  • United Kingdom (8.2%)

The times that people are visiting Pornhub has also changed dramatically. Late night activity during the week has increased by up to 11% whilst early morning (5am to 7am) has fallen by around 9% as more people indulge in a lie in. With more people at home during the day, activity on the site has also soared (up 11%) during the mid-morning to early afternoon period.

With Italy currently being one of the worst-affected regions outside of China, it is little wonder that their consumption of online content has increased with vast swathes of the nation on total lock-down. The first European country to close its borders, the following graphic shows the trends over the last 30 days from Italy:

corona virus searches pornhub italian porn viewing trends insights

Image via Pornhub Insights.

In response to the  devastation, internet giants, Pornhub has announced that all Italians will receive free premium access to their online services to help ease the boredom of isolation. They have also decided to donate the profits from their Modelhub site to further offer help to the stricken country.

As of 17th March 2020, this gesture was also extended to residents in Spain and France.

Featured image via Wikimedia/Pixabay.

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