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Under the Covers with Britain’s Audio Porn Creators

As audio porn goes mainstream, thanks to r/GoneWildAudio and new erotic podcasting apps like Dipsea, we speak to independent creators about their craft.

by Nana Baah
18 November 2019, 9:15am

Photo via Alamy. 

I’m eating hummus chips in bed and listening to a man beg me to sleep with him. His voice is pleading, and I can hear metal clanking against metal as he unbuckles his belt – presumably to showcase his dick. “Look how hard you’ve made me,” he says. “I can see you smirking, you’ve held out just so I’ll get frustrated.” I sit there, straight-faced, still crunching my crisps. Just as he’s about to climax, I shut my laptop and all the breathing and moaning comes to an immediate stop.

Audio porn – that is, audio created specifically with you wanking in mind – is having a moment. MEL Magazine recently explored the men on Reddit making the switch from visual to aural porn with the help of r/GoneWildAudio, a subreddit home to clips uploaded by users. Earlier this year, Forbes declared audio porn as for “an educated, enlightened listener base who want a side of wellness with their wank,” while the Guardian profiled the founders of an audio porn start-up. But sexy audio isn’t entirely new. Phone sex lines remain popular and ASMRotica, a genre of ASMR in which performers whisper into a microphone and that some claim can lead to a hands-free orgasm, is still growing on YouTube. An ASMRotica video posted last month has around 30,000 views.

The vast majority of audio porn is written erotica, read aloud. Clips usually last around ten minutes and are generally voiced by one to three people. Storylines are as varied as they are in video porn – everything from boy meets girl and they fuck, to boy meets werewolf brother who ties him up and, inexplicably, they fuck. But there isn’t a ‘standard’, some creators produce 20-minute-long guided masturbation clips and others post 30-second snippets of them moaning.

As aural porn becomes more mainstream, apps and websites with venture capital behind them are cashing in. In the past three years, a number of new audio porn platforms have launched, delivering audio erotica content to the masses. Dipsea, a US-based app with a podcast-like library of erotic audio fiction aimed at women was hailed by The New Yorker as the “one source of audio smut which didn’t make us recoil.” Indeed with its pastel colours and simple typeface, Dipsea looks as classy as any wellness app, and features only erotic stories acted out by professional voice actors. Another popular audio porn provider, the Brooklyn-based site Quinn, functions as a sexy version of Soundcloud, allowing amateur porn creators to upload their own recordings – like the one I listened to in my bedroom.

“It’s is more inclusive,” says British audio erotica writer Quinn Rhodes (no relation to the website) on the success of audio porn. “I’ve definitely had trans and non-binary queer folks reach out to me to tell me they really like the audio porn because of that.”

audio-porn-uk-producers
British audio erotica writer Quinn Rhodes' audio porn library, uploaded to her blog On Queer Street. Screengrab via On Queer Street.

Rhodes publishes erotica on her blog On Queer Street, but never reads the stories herself, preferring to let friends in the sex-positive community record for her. Currently, her library only contains six audio porn clips, but she has big plans to record more with a focus on gender non-conforming characters – something that Rhodes says isn’t represented in most existing audio porn. “Clips for audio would be a woman telling a man how to touch a cock,” she explains. “That’s not good if you’re trans, or your genitals don’t match up to your gender. Or if you’re queer and you’ve got a cock but no interest in a woman telling you how to jerk off.”

Ensuring that anyone can enjoy porn, no matter their sexual orientation, is why Rhodes started creating audio porn. But the format can be inclusive in other ways too. “People with dyslexia may struggle to stay in the moment and stay feeling sexy when they’re working really hard to read words. So instead, they can masturbate while just listening,” Rhodes says.

G, an anonymous London-based sex blogger who runs Girl on the Net, has also found audio erotica to be more accessible compared to other types of porn. She initially began recording after a conversation with one of her readers who is blind and uses a screen reader (computer software that turns web page text into speech) to access her content. “Erotica is not particularly sexy when it’s read aloud in that robot voice,” G says, laughing as she describes a robot asking you to spank it.

Audio porn fills a gap for those who don’t or can't enjoy video porn, and it seems the tastes of those who prefer to listen, rather than watch, are slightly different too. In 2018, the UK’s most searched term on Pornhub was ‘lesbian’, but Rhodes’ listener favourites are a little different. “My best performing clips tend to be quite kink- and BDSM-focussed,” she says.

Listeners who subscribe to Rhodes’ Patreon get to decide on which story is recorded next, often landing on those that include anal play – such as a recently recorded clip titled, ‘Baking Gingerbread and Figging Clever Sluts.’ (Figging, for the uninitiated, is when a skinned ginger root is placed in the vagina or anus). “People are more willing to pay for the much more niche posts,” Rhodes explains.

Girl on the Net listeners also enjoy niche audio porn, sometimes involving elements of horror. “I like stories that are a bit dark,” G says. “I don’t like the idea that love and sex always has to be about romance, passion and lovely, nice things.”

With no visuals to rely on, audio porn must capture listeners’ attention with words only, finding a way to keep the mood sexy and engaging without sounding like Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter. Rhodes prefers to describe sensations; how the characters smile at each other or how each touch feels, rather than the sexual acts themselves. “I’m more focused on describing the power dynamic or the lust they’re dealing with,” Rhodes tells me. “It’s about the energy and enthusiasm to have sex.”

G carefully chooses how much dialogue she includes, telling me that she limits it to “three or four lines” to keep the listener interested, despite speech being what inspires her. “The things I’ll remember most about a shag are just the way someone has said, ‘Do you want me to fucking cum in you?’” she says.

Clearly, writing good audio porn isn’t simple. “A five-minute audio porn clip is generally about 800 to 1,000 words,” Rhodes explains. “So that’s two hours of writing, maybe an hour of me organising admin, and then an hour for someone to record it.”

Recording presents another set of challenges. To satiate her critics, G started recording at a professional studio rather than in her office. “As soon as you start creating audio, people – mostly men – will come and criticise the quality,” she tells me. But not all creators can make the jump to a studio, due to the costs involved. Paul Iffe, the sound engineer who works on G’s audio porn, tells me that some audio porn makers record under duvets to absorb any background noise, and keep the sound intimate.

The success of Girl on the Net’s audio porn output has allowed G to try out more experimental recordings. “I wanted people to pay attention to the review of the Doxy 3 [sex toy], because it’s such a good toy,” she says. “So, I recorded myself reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese while my partner wanked me off with it.”

Quinn, meanwhile, wants her audio porn to reach people who haven’t found visual porn that works for them. “There might be folks out there who would prefer audio porn to what they are watching now,” she says. “I feel like I’m encouraging more people to feel more comfortable with their desires.”

@nanasbaah

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