I recently spoke to Lauren Vinopal who was writing a piece for Fatherly about fauxcest. Specifically, she was exploring what sort of impact fauxcest porn (especially fauxcest porn regarding stepmoms) might have on men and fathers in the US?

She wrote:

The rise of divorce in America led to the rise of remarriage in America, which in turn, led to a rise in the number of American stepmothers. The meteoric ascent of the step mom porn, a weirdly specific but booming genre of smut, came shortly thereafter… Step-mother pornography feels like a sub-genre. Well, it is and it isn’t. Though it plays on some of the same horny older woman tropes as MILF porn, step moms represent a more transgressive expression of the maternal/sexual dialectic.

You can read Vinopal’s piece — “What the Rise of ‘Fauxcest’ Step Mom Porn Says About American Men” (February 18, 2019) — in full on Fatherly here. Minus some hilarious misspellings, it’s a pretty good article.

As per usual, you can read my full correspondence with the writer below. What do you think?

Lauren Vinopal: “Stepmom” has been a top porn search term for some time. Any idea where this came from and why it became so popular?

DrCT: Men’s fantasies about older, close-yet-off-limits women have been pervasive in U.S. culture long before the current fauxcest boom – which includes the “stepmom” trope – occurring in porn today. From Mrs. Robinson (film character) to Stacy’s Mom (goofy song), there are countless examples of this occurring throughout our culture, over time. There are, however, fewer overtly stepmother themes engaged in non-porn narratives, which is interesting. This may be because porn’s culturally constructed “taboo” nature allows content creators the license to explore these edgier themes, whereas mainstream media may not.

What we see happening in fauxcest adult content though is just an offshoot of wider deeper themes running through sexual fantasy in general. Porn’s current moment wherein fauxcest is seen and accepted for what it is – fantasy that is not incest – is key too. 

LV: Does this attraction have anything to do with a woman in a nurturing role who’s not an actual family member?

DrCT: This attraction to the stepmom trope may certainly have something to do with women non-blood relations in close, nurturing roles. It may also have to do with fantasies about domination (femme dom, etc) and/or with the sexual titillation that comes from taboo. It might be not so much about the fauxcest as it is about someone being “off limits.” This varies from person to person though, obviously. 

LV: The sexy stepmom also seems to have something to do with the MILF fantasy, but there are also trope of evil or mean stepmoms in popular culture. Does this attraction have anything to do with men being attracted to someone who might not have the best intentions?

DrCT: The wicked stepmother is certainly an interesting idea to consider – the idea that a person is in such close proximity and has some measure of unfettered power over a person, while also not being swayed by idealized mothering tropes., is compelling. Take “wicked” (punishment, domination, withholding and allocating affection, etc) and make her sexy too and put that in a fauxcest scenario, and you’re tapping directly into femme dom, which is hugely popular and widely sought out.

LV: Part of this seems to have a lot to do with the rise in popularity of step-family members in porn in general, which seems to be somewhat connected to more transgressive, borderline incestuous fantasies. Does this idea of sexy stepmoms and other family members maybe allow people to approach these fantasies in a more socially acceptable way?

DrCT: There is nothing in fauxcest content that taps into overt incest. In fauxcest narratives, the non-relations aspects are established through titling/disclaimer, dialogue, and narratives. The fact that we are watching performers engaged in role play and acting is also important. We are not watching anything that approximates actual incest in these types of titles.

In general, the appeal of fauxcest is more about the titillation of taboo than it is about some perceived proximately to incest. Fauxcest porn and actual incest are two very different issues.

LV: Does this idea of the sexy stepmom cause any real life problems for actual stepmoms and their families? What are these problems and how can more awareness about where this attraction comes from maybe help people avoid them? 

DrCT:The idea of the sexy stepmom in fauxcest porn may certainly cause some issues, especially if the content is being viewed out of context by young people. Just like young people looking for answers about sex in general may be confused when they view porn – which is fantasy material not intended for educational viewing or viewing by minors – a young person who is not educated about media may certainly get off mark ideas about actual stepmoms from the fauxcest version of stepmoms in adult content. They might get off mark ideas about sex practices in general though too.

LV: Anything else men (especially single dads) should know about the trope of sexy stepmoms?

DrCT:Like anything related to sex and young people’s development, dads (single or otherwise) and parents in general should speak to their young people about sex – or, parents and caretakers should do their best to make sure their young people have access to accurate information that resonates with them if having a conversation is not in the cards.

In whatever way is appropriate for the young person in question, people who are maturing into young adults need information that is accurate, frank, comfortable, and appropriate. The best thing an adult can do is to connect their young person to information about sex and sex-related issues in an informed and healthy way. This includes talking about sexy stepmoms, if relevant.

Got a sociology question? Need some social justice informed life advice? Contact Dr. Chauntelle right here.

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