PORTLAND, Ore. – Pornography on the Internet is almost as old as the Internet itself. That said, there is a new wrinkle in the online skin game, and it has a dark side.
DIY (Do It Yourself) porn, also known as amateur porn, is a fast-rising genre that is attracting more viewers – and often desperate participants.
Additionally, psychologists say there is a real danger to this newest form of online exhibitionism, both to the viewer and the provider.
Online DIY porn portals are among some of the most popular sites on the Internet, with an ever-changing array of new participants looking to make a quick buck by being buck-naked.
Their displays run the gamut from a sexy strip tease to hardcore acts not describable in this space.
Most of the videos live up to their “amateur” label: poorly lit, out of focus, low quality and starring real people far removed from the silicon-enhanced stars of the adult entertainment industry.
But viewers don’t seem to care. Site traffic is expanding for most DIY porn websites.
The medium is interactive now, with watchers sending performers messages in real time like “you’re hot” and far beyond.
Psychologist Ryan Hosley said that both performers and viewers get a rush from watching and making the videos, and once they get used to the initial experience, the performances and quests for ever more intense experiences can lead to problems.
“What gets problematic for people is they continue to take it to the next level and then they get in trouble.” Dr. Ryan Hosley, told KATU News. “They're always seeking the next high.”
One woman, Yariana, who actually shoots segments for a local site – and pays the performers – says many people come to her in serious financial distress and feel they have nowhere else to turn.
“They tell me their stories. They can't feed their kids, they're getting kicked out in three days,” Yariana said. “They would never dream of doing this but they don't have any other choice, so they're doing it.”
Her videos may look amateur, but they are actually shot on a small set with lighting and at least a modicum of camera control.
More women are taking their turn in front of the camera because Internet porn is so pervasive, and porn in general has become so ingrained in much of western society, that the reluctance to shoot a segment and get paid for it is now easier for some people to overcome.
One woman compared her porn segments to reality TV, saying it was taboo, but also exciting. She started shooting the segments when she was 17.
Even so, Yariana counsels the women who go on camera not to make a habit of it and to get out of the business when they can, saying it can lead to alcohol problems, drugs and lasting emotional issues.
Dr. Hosley says that many people who take part in the videos are acting out due to abuse they suffered as children.
Likewise, Hosley says that watchers of the videos become addicted because it shields them from developing real relationships – and the possible emotional pain that can sometimes go with them.
“We are in a culture that is more and more distant and less connected,” Hosley said, “and people need connection. The more and more you are into porn, the further you are away from connecting with real people.”
KATU News asked a number of women who made pornographic videos to talk about their experiences, but all of them declined to be interviewed on camera.
Computer security experts also caution viewers who download video clips that they should be very wary of possible computer viruses and malware that may be attached to the video clips.
Once activated, the viruses can send out banking information or be used to facilitate identity theft.