Why Does Holiday Porn Exist?
Look no further than Rule 34: If it exists, there's porn for it.
All photos via Burning Angel
The scene starts out like your average Christmas flick: a jolly, Santa Claus tip-toes into a living room decked out with holiday cheer, and makes a beeline for the milk and cookies. He accidentally knocks over the milk with a clatter that wakes Sophia and her stepmother Alexis. As the duo investigates, Santa hides behind a tree—and then he watches Alexis groping her stepdaughter, whips out his Yule log, and begins playing with it.
"Sneaky Santa" was just one of dozens of the porn world's annual holiday offerings last year—one of five from producers RealityKings. Although some studios try to touch on holidays throughout the year, from St. Patrick's Day to the Fourth of July, the vast bulk of the porn industry's festive content comes out between Halloween and New Year's Eve. The idea that pornographers and their consumers would want to sexualize usually wholesome memories may seem bizarre or counterproductive; but for many studios, churning out a small-yet-reliable stream of holiday content makes financial sense and has become a matter of course.
Holiday porn's not a huge genre: Pornhub and xHamster, two of the biggest user-generated scene aggregation and streaming sites, both have a couple of thousand videos tagged with terms related to Christmas, the most popular target for holiday videos. Comparatively, each site hosts well over 100,000 videos tagged "MILF." As Pornhub spokesman Chris Jackson points out, this puts Christmas content on par with "chubby" porn.
The vast majority of holiday porn focuses on the extremely consumerist and visually distinct holidays of Christmas and Halloween. As Brazzers spokesman Matt Stevens puts it, "the basic rule of thumb is: the more popular the holiday, the more content we'll produce for it."
Baseline demand for holiday content is low, but investing in a few key holiday scenes can pay off just before or on the day itself, as over major holidays general porn viewership tanks, but searches for terms related to the festivities jump by hundreds to thousands of percentage points. Even on a holiday, festive content is still less popular than mainstream, hardcore content. But between dedicated fans of holiday content, those who're attracted by a novel scene, and this spike in holiday searches, a studio can partially revive what would otherwise be a semi-limp season.
"The holiday content itself is not really what you're trying to sell," says Joanna Angel, the alt-goth pornstar who, in 2002, founded Burning Angel and starred as a Grinch in that studio's eye-catching 2014 offering "How The Grinch Gaped Christmas." "You want to get people into the website to watch all the other stuff! If you can get a good viral video out of it, that's good too."
Producers have been eager to take advantage of holiday demand for ages. But while XXX holiday content has existed forever, longtime XCritic editor Chris Thorne argues that it was long held back due to the logistical issues of releasing timely videos in an industry long notorious for missing deadlines and eager to produce evergreen content to recycle in compilations. It's only in the past decade, Thorne believes, that we've seen holiday porn regularized and ritualized. (He also credits Angel specifically with elevating annual Halloween and wider horror porn.)
The plots of many holiday pornos draw on the template of movies in the mainstream. The Passions of Carol, for instance, is A Christmas Carole with a female Scrooge-type banging her way through Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Tim Burton's animated classic A Nightmare Before Christmas becomes, you guessed it, A Nightmare Before XXX-Mas. Others, like Santa Comes Twice takes more general wholesome holiday tropes—a boy making a Christmas wish—and sexualizes them, topping them off with Mrs. Claus blowjobs and elf fucking.
"Like traditional holiday movies haven't changed much, neither have holiday porn movies," says the encyclopedic Jeff Vanzetti, a co-founder of IAFD, the IMDB of porn. "Mainstream tends to be someone finds the spirit of Christmas, and in porn, they all basically end with Santa, or an elf, getting fucked."
Most pornographers recognize that story sells, but some skimp on plot for scenes whose only holiday angle is a girl in striped red-and-white stockings or a holiday hat. Even Angel, who often utilizes heavy storylines, will sometimes just feature a video in which someone gives a partner a dildo for Christmas—and then they use it. End of holiday link. These scenes are easy to make, and have the potential to elevate B performers through something as simple as the use of a hat. With those extra holiday searches, they can be hard for pornographers to resist making.
When they do opt for story, though, there's almost nothing they won't touch. Says Stevens, "We've had horny elves, moms fighting and fucking to get their kid the latest toy, and of course Santa getting squirted on. Nothing is sacred, really."
"The industry's just full of hams," says Mercedes Carrera, 33, a pornstar who's been in the industry for two years. Carrera was recently featured in "Vampirella: A XXX Parody," a Brazzers Halloween offering about a vampire who'd rather suck cock than blood, a perfect example of the often slapstick, bizarre nature of some holiday porn storylines. "We can literally turn anything into porn. The more absurd, the better received they are."
In many respects, holiday porn is one of an infinite number of manifestations of Rule 34: If it exists, there is porn for it. But unlike most bizarre or niche content which filters into little corners of the internet for a dedicated market, holiday porn, while not huge, has become a reliable, annual feature of a number of major porn studios. That's just a reflection of how closely the porn world, no matter how outlandish and isolated it may seem to some observers, apes the commercial impulses of the wider world. If we get into the holidays every season, so will pornographers.
"We all want to celebrate the holidays this time of year in many different forms," says adult retailer GameLink's Jeff Dillon. "Our pumpkin spice lattés, Christmas sweaters, decorations, music—and porn isn't any different. People are looking for that holiday emotional connection. Holiday porn makes people feel good and helps them celebrate."
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