I knew that for the final VRM project I wanted to work with the idea of user-generated porn as a space for digital storytelling, but I found myself stuck in trying to think through a form for that content to take. On the one hand, I’m interested in how sties like Tumblr and Twitter have become spaces for pornographic media sharing and archive curation. But, I wasnt interested in making anyone engage with media that makes them too uncomfortable and the use of those mediums would’ve been constructed heavily around visuals. So I instead found what I hope is a happy medium: my final “paper,” which I’ll instead call a project despite being text-heavy, is presented as an Xtube profile page.
You can find it here.
Visiting a porn site is obviously NSFW, but the profile page I’ve created includes only a few, non-graphic video thumbnails toward the botto. Otherwise it’s all text, both my own writing and a cataloguing of the self-descriptive terms/activities/desires that users have the option to choose from. I decided that, even if I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to make y’all engage with porn directly, I could still make you engage with the platform itself and see what the space looks like as a social networking tool.
The profile page I’ve created houses my writings in the available categories of self-description. My introduction come in the “general info” section. A discussion of the history of user engagement and a now-defunct profile comes in the “About my Partner” section. And my analysis of two recent user examples is available for reading in the “sexual interests” section. I highly recommend you visit the profile pages for the users, even if you’re uninterested in viewing the pornographic videos. Also, QualityCouple’s video is not pornographic and instead is a clean, informative video about their choice to leave the site.
I wanted this project to be informal and informative. I want visitors to the page to get a feel for what the potentials, positive and negative, are for using Xtube as a space for storytelling. In order to engage with my full text, a visitor must navigate the structure of the profile page. The videos I discuss are available for viewing in the “favorite videos” section of the page, so visitors have the option of viewing them if they so desire. I thought this was the best compromise, allowing y’all from the course a look into the site’s structuring—without bombarding you with the pornographic imagery that is obviously everywhere on this site.
My analysis mostly takes on two users who both utilize the platform to create content involving third party participants. biversbear is a user who has captured potent moments of intimacy on cam within a context of dirty kink and role-play. jayscock is a user who exploits homeless men in his area and puts that exploitation online for all to see. Both use their videos to tell stories of their sexual encounters, but they have starkly different relationships to “vulnerability” and notions of the “authentic.” I briefly discuss Zizek, quote Lorde and Warner.. But the text offered here is not completely academic. More than anything it’s an introduction to the tactics used in this space when users craft images and narratives that involve both themselves and their sexual partners.
For anyone uncomfortable clicking through, here’s a preview of what it looks like: