Life

Inside eFukt, Home of the Internet's Weirdest Porn

Duran, eFukt's mononymous editor, says he wants to "exploit the biological and neurological programming" of his viewers.
14 May 2020, 10:05am
efukt
Screenshot: eFukt.com

In the annals of the internet, few years are as notable as 2006. The first tweet was tweeted, Google bought YouTube, Facebook unveiled its newsfeed and, on April Fool's Day, somewhere far from the unicorns and agile working environments of Silicon Valley, the website eFukt went live.

That launch date was fitting, considering eFukt went on to make its name showing viewers stuff they really didn't expect to see. Some recent uploads to illustrate that point: a woman with remarkable control of her gag reflex deep-throating a two-foot rubber sausage; a man licking the tip of his own penis to impress a woman who looks anything but impressed; a cam-girl capable of using "her ass to inhale anything without a birth certificate" doing exactly that.

Founded by the mononymous "Deven", the site started out posting porn fails and gross-out videos involving varying amounts of shit and piss, which were lapped up by the same kind of people who frequented Rotten.com and played school shooter Flash games on Newgrounds. Then, on the 4th of December, 2008, overnight celebrity struck: eFukt uploaded "1 Guy 1 Cup", a video of a naked man slowly lowering himself onto a glass jar, which breaks inside of him, spurting blood all over the floor as he removes shards of glass from his anus.

This was a year after the January 2007 release of "2 Girls 1 Cup", which "broke the internet" nine months before Kim Kardashian's reality show had even debuted on the E! network. The clip helped to kickstart the "reaction video" genre on YouTube, with everyone from Wyclef Jean to a group of US Marines filmed squirming as the two women in front of them passed what appeared to be faeces between their mouths, before throwing up all over each other (actually, Wyclef didn't squirm – he watched the whole video without really reacting at all, while eating a corn on the cob to completion).

By December of 2008, the internet was ready for a follow-up. "I remember, back in uni, when my mate showed me that video, at first I thought, 'I've seen something like this before,' until the glass fully cracked inside the guy," says Charlotte, a former eFukt fan. "That video resulted in me ending up on a classic YouTube binge, only on eFukt."

Obviously, times have changed since 2008. Websites that peaked in popularity around the same time as eFukt have either disappeared or been completely outpaced: Rotten.com was last updated in 2012, eBaum's World now looks like an amateur web designer gave up halfway through trying to recreate Buzzfeed. eFukt is still around, though, and still doing what it's done since the start.

These days, eFukt is edited by another man with one name, "Duran", who took over in 2014 after meeting Deven on a forum about offbeat filmmaking. "Deven and I did our separate projects, but talked quite a bit about techniques and theories," he tells me over email. "One day, Deven figured I was best to take over the editing of eFukt."

Duran, who describes himself as a "delusional antisocial artist raised by the internet, who is also decent with Adobe products", explains that eFukt was originally conceived as "Worldstar for white people", featuring fights, real-life trolling and people doing dumb stuff. But "after seeing the demand for the crazy porn clips, it evolved into viral porn and adult humour", he says.

For many, eFukt was the first window into a world where people took dumps on each other during sex. Free tube sites hadn't yet taken off – Xtube launched a couple of weeks before eFukt, Pornhub's unveiling was still over a year away – but it didn't cost anything to watch the admittedly much more extreme videos on the website specialising in "adult humour for adults".

"The internet has been described as a major force in democratising pornography," says Clarissa Smith, Professor in Sexual Cultures at the University of Sunderland. This democratisation didn't only cover who could watch porn, but who could create and disseminate it. With the mid-2000s boom of dark online humour, created for forum-based consumption, a new wave of pornographic content arose on sites like 4chan, Reddit and Newgrounds – namely "gonzo pornography".

Unlike the high production value, paid-for porn that dominated the market of the 1990s, the sub-genre offered a ringside seat to the action: it was predominantly unscripted, usually rough in its format and felt more like an endurance test than your average porno, with a ramping up of aggression and extreme sex acts.

According to Smith, the regulators of X-rated films haven't seen an increase of violence in the films submitted to them for evaluation, but that's just because these films aren't being submitted to them – they're being uploaded to the internet. Without the strictures imposed by classification boards, depictions of sex have mutated to the point that we need entire websites pointing out that porn sex is not real sex.

"There has been growing visibility of BDSM themes in pornography, and activities such as 'double penetration' and 'gang bangs' are now pretty much ubiquitous, where they would once have seemed outrageous," says Smith.

Even on eFukt, a site whose only purpose is to host fucked up porn videos, Duran says he now gets "criticism for videos being too fucked up almost as much as videos not being fucked up enough".

Not that he seems too concerned with the criticism. Through what he posts on the site, he explains, he hopes to "exploit the biological and neurological programming of the viewers", i.e. shock them with something gross. He says he leaves it up to the audience to define for themselves where the line is and whether it's been crossed: "Sometimes I want to make people laugh, sometimes I want to tell a story or a fable, sometimes I just want to generate anomie or shock people."

The problem is, flicking back through eFukt's archives, there are plenty of videos that appear to cross a couple of fairly obvious lines: the women in them either look uncomfortable, or the videos seem to be amateur clips filmed on phones in private, and not intended to be uploaded to the internet for general consumption.

"EFukt doesn't feel one way or another about anything, because it is a website, not a person," says Duran when I ask him about this. "My personal views are: rape is reprehensible and consent is necessary. If a girl signs up to be spit on and slapped around for money, then hates it and cries, that's still consented."

Only, as the recent GirlsDoPorn case demonstrated, even if someone consents to be filmed, they don't necessarily consent for that footage to be shared. GirlsDoPorn co-founders Michael Pratt and Matthew Wolfe would post ads on Craigslist recruiting aspiring models, who were offered between $2,000 to $6,000 to have sex on camera for half an hour, under the agreement that the footage would only be seen by private buyers or independent video stores outside of the US. However, after filming for sometimes up to seven hours, and final payment being less than half of the original offer, the videos were published on a subscription-based site.

Pratt, Wolfe and other co-conspirators have both been charged with federal counts of sex trafficking in relation to the videos. Wolfe is in custody, but Pratt – who's believed to have fled to New Zealand – is a wanted fugitive.

As with any free site that hosts porn, separating consensual rough sex – or scenes where the performer is convincingly pretending to be uncomfortable – from genuine sexual assault can be challenging. Clarissa Smith points out that "performance is about persuading viewers that what they're watching is authentic, so I think it's quite difficult to determine if a scene on eFukt is consensual. A performer can be asked to make something look non-consensual and, depending on their skill, they may achieve that to such a degree that it appears to be real".

Of course, as journalist and author Nichi Hodgson points out: "Revenge porn – any sexually explicit material which is made and shared of another person without their consent – doesn't have to depict struggle, upset or a lack of consent for it to be revenge porn. It's really about whether consent has been given to share it."

Duran is quick in his response to this: "I wouldn't touch anything like that. Nothing on eFukt is revenge porn."

Duran's assertion checks out: the only takedown notices served to eFukt over the site's 14-year history appear to be copyright-related, and the site has never been sued or taken to court for anything related to hosting revenge porn.

What this comes back to, then, is the same charge levelled at almost every porn site under the sun: the fact eFukt hosts videos that might make a viewer feel uncomfortable. Of course, in this specific case, that's also exactly why the site exists. "I think eFukt and its content depends on elements of being surprised, perhaps being led into weird spaces with a sense of being not entirely in control of what you'll see," says Smith.

And that was always the allure, as twisted as it might be. The moral ambiguity of eFukt is what lures viewers in and leads them to share videos with their friends. "Morality isn't real – just like humour, it's 100 percent subjective and opinionated," says Duran when I raise the topic. "I toy with notions of right and wrong, but I don't believe in duality.

"You can't prove something is [objectively] dark, bad, good, funny, beautiful, entertaining, etc," he continues. "These feelings are solely the opinions of individuals and shaped by their own human experience."

Duran – and the others I speak to – agree on one thing: eFukt isn't porn, but merely a caricature of what porn has become, the most absurd highlights reel of an inherently absurd medium. So how long is Duran going to keep the absurdity going?

"The only way to stop me is a bullet to the head."

@madeleineholth

Advertisement