Question: Who the heck rents porn from actual stores anymore?!

Answer: Lots of people!

I recently spoke to Tory Parrish, writing for Upgrūv and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Tory had a really interesting question: Who is still renting porn DVDs instead of viewing them online in 2017?

I loved this question because — though we may assume porn is the only reason why the internet exists, and everyone has the internet sheesh! — truth be told there are many people who continue to rent adult DVDs in brick-and-mortar retail spaces. The reasons for this are multilayered and complex.

Tory  wrote up a great exploration for Upgrūv right hereCan you believe people still rent porn — from video stores?

It’s a great piece that considers the pattern from the local perspective of store managers in the Pittsburgh area, as well as from a wider sociological one. Check it out in full here, and read my full correspondence with Tory below.

Tory Parrish: Why would someone go to a video store to rent porn instead of online?

DrCT: There are many reasons a person would opt to rent adult content in a bricks and mortar store versus viewing it online – a person may not have access to technology that plays streaming content in a seamless way or may not have access to a private or unshared device for adults only viewing. This would be especially relevant if families were sharing computers and/or smart devices. A person may feel strongly about supporting local businesses or doing their part to combat Internet piracy. And there’s also just plain preference – many people still enjoy the form of DVD! There are many more reasons too.

TP: Is there a typical demographic for this person?

DrCT: Though individual stores and chains may keep demographic data for their internal use (e.g. rental history, etc – things you would expect a video store to have), there have been no large-scale demographic data gatherings done for adult content rental overall, so any guesses here are just speculation.

TP: What percentage of porn is watched online versus rented or bought from stores?

DrCT: See above – unfortunately, these figures also don’t exist.

TP: Family Video is the largest chain of Obie rental stores in the U.S. Do you know how significant porn sales are to its business? (I’ve heard it’s pretty significant from at least one local store.)

DrCT: You’d have to ask the store or overall corporate entity specifically, but novelty sales (sex toys and related products) seem to be making up increasing percentages of bricks and mortar store sales in recent years.

TP: How has the taboo of watching porn changed since the advent of the Internet, or has it?

DrCT: The taboo of adult content consumption has changed in recent years, though I wouldn’t say it’s gone away. Via the Internet, people have greater access than ever to a vast scope of sexual content, so formerly “taboo” sexual proclivities can now be accessed with ease! However, as people have unfettered access to content via piracy-based tube sites, adult content has increasingly been reshaped as a product not worth paying. The tendency for consumers to view pirated content has done nothing to shift the taboo of watching porn. In fact, it has actually functioned to dehumanize the community that creates adult content even further, as the viewing public is able to distance themselves even further from the labor that goes into porn production.

* * *

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

Get Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment on Amazon and CT.com.

Tagged on:             

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *