Why Women Watch "Fauxcest" Porn

Photographed By Rockie Nolan.
It’s no longer big news that women watch porn. Pornhub, the world’s largest pornography site, says that women make up 24% of its U.S. viewers, and around one in three women reports watching porn at least once a week. Erotic films made with women in mind are on the rise. A less-told story is about the many kinds of porn that the growing numbers of female porn-viewers are watching, and they’re certainly not limited to “feminist” or “female-friendly” categories: “Fauxcest,” or fictionalized incest, has become one of porn’s hottest and most controversial genres, with industry insiders attributing much of its popularity to female viewers.

You don’t have to look further than this year’s AVN Awards, widely known as the “Oscars of porn,” for evidence of the trend. The field of nominees for “Best Taboo Relations Movie” was teeming with fauxcest films, and Keep It in the Family — a series of explicit vignettes directed by Jacky St. James that feature stepfamily members getting it on — come out on top. A glance at the industry charts of top adult sales and rentals reveals at least one fauxcest film on almost every list, boasting titles such as Forbidden Family Affairs and I Came Inside My Sister 3. As Jeff Dillon, vice president of business development at adult entertainment giant GameLink (NSFW), tells us, “‘Family roleplay,’ as we call it, is one of our top sellers for couples and women.”

Why the taboo fascination? It’s commonly believed that women like their stimulation supported by story, which is why they enjoy romance novels and erotica, while men, who prefer visual stimulation, watch porn. The reality is hardly so simple, but both producers and viewers state that fauxcest films provide the narrative context some women crave. As one anonymous Twitter user tells us via direct message, “Women like to see a reason [for sex]. We need to insert ourselves into it.” Dillon says that fauxcest is the seventh most popular category on GameLink, where roughly 35% of site users are female. “‘Women like the story,” he says. “[In fauxcest] you have to have some background to show who these people are and how they’re, well, related to each other.”
Advertisement

Women like to see a reason for sex. We need to insert ourselves into it.

Anonymous Twitter user
Multiple award-winning writer and director Jacky St. James has made 24 fauxcest films to date, as well as dozens in other categories. She agrees that backstory is key to fauxcest’s appeal. “For me, what’s sexy is establishing some foundation between the characters, whatever their relationship is,” she says.

And it’s not just story development that St. James likes. “I really enjoy doing the taboo stuff,” she says, "because it’s a turn-on for me.” For many fans, fauxcest is enticing because the sexual practice it depicts is so deeply off-limits, both legally and culturally. As another anonymous Twitter user told us, “Personally, I think the appeal comes from being such a strong taboo.” Kelly Shibari, a porn performer and Penthouse model who also does PR for adult entertainment companies, agrees. “Porn’s job has always been to show what is taboo, but we’ve kind of gotten to the point where we’ve run out of taboos,” Shibari says. “Once something becomes mainstream, people don’t go looking for it in the underground anymore because it’s so easy to find. What’s left in the list of taboos that we can still legally do? Incest. It’s re-creation of taboo fantasy scenarios, which is what porn is.”
There’s another reason fauxcest is attracting fans, and ironically, it’s the genre’s universality. While fantasies about family members are far from ubiquitous, having family members very nearly is, which makes the setup of fauxcest stories seem approachable to a huge audience. “I like to explore the different dynamics between father and daughter relationships that really exist,” St. James explains. "There’s always ‘Daddy’s little girl,’ but then there are also volatile relationships between daughters and their dads. I like exploring those things because I think they’re relatable.” The familiarity and confidentiality that fauxcest represents can also provide a certain air of security to fans put off by porn that comes off as aggressive or threatening. “You both have these raw sexual feelings for each other that nobody else knows about and can never know about!” says one fan, speaking to us anonymously on Facebook. “Maybe the secret and the trust involved in keeping that has allure, too.” An anonymous Twitter user agrees: “Family always feels safe.”

You both have these raw sexual feelings for each other that nobody else knows about and can never know about!

Anonymous Facebook USER
St. James understands how her fans think. “There’s something really cool about imagining the protective figure, which would be the brother in a lot of scenarios, [as sexual],” she says. “I think that women often like that… It’s naturally sexy.” As one Twitter user who grew up without siblings reflects, “I'm not entirely sure where the fantasy came from. I'm guessing from being envious of friends with big brothers, and falling for older neighbors and cousins.” A Facebook user echoes her suspicions about her own affinity for fauxcest: “It might have something to do with growing up an only child. I spent most of my time alone” — which she says made the idea of tryst with a sibling, along with its inherent emotional connection, all the more compelling.
Advertisement
On the supply side, arguably the biggest incentive for porn producers to continue to add to the genre is financial. Dillon says that fauxcest titles “generate low six figures a month on our network,” a pretty penny in the age of internet piracy and free tube sites. While St. James could not give sales numbers, she’s clear that her fauxcest titles have been successful. “I know our titles turn a profit,” she said. “Anything that turns a profit in porn is considered a success now, with all the piracy.”

While the fauxcest trend in porn is relatively new, and modern bias against incest is strong — in the U.S., intimacy between children and parents, brothers and sisters, and grandchildren and grandparents is generally illegal — it’s worth remembering that humans have engaged in and been intrigued by incest for millennia. King Tut was far from the only figure in history to practice it: Throughout world history, royalty married close relatives to keep bloodlines pure, while today, entertainment outside of the porn world frequently plays on our fascination with incest. Think of the dynamic between Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, the incestual undertones of Cruel Intentions, or the forbidden bond between Cersei and Jaime Lannister in George R. R. Martin’s wildly popular series A Song of Ice and Fire, the TV version of which St. James suspects helped popularize fauxcest (“I’m wondering if [the genre’s popularity is] related to the mainstream shows that are depicting it,” she muses). Despite and in fact because of its taboo nature, incest continues to captivate people, especially women, and this is changing the porn industry. “Research shows that it’s some of the best-selling content,” St. James concludes. “The truth of the matter is that people are buying it, whether they want to admit that it’s sexy or not.”
This month, we're sharing steamy personal stories, exploring ways to have even better sex, and wading through the complicated dynamics that follow us into the bedroom. Here's to a very happy February. Check out more right here.
Advertisement

More from Sex & Relationships

A version of this story originally appeared on Shape. When it comes to female pleasure, there's enough misinformation out there to fill a book. One of ...
This article was originally published on December 18, 2015. According to stereotypes, men are the sexually voracious cheaters and women are the ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
Amber Rose doesn't do "off days." "I always feel confident," she tells us. "I never allow myself to not feel confident. I wake up and say, I’m going out ...
Even as the sex toy market continues to expand, there remain a few vital "firsts" for the industry to tackle. This week, with the arrival of the Buck-Off...
The Halloween-costume-planning frenzy is officially in full swing, and we still have so many questions. Is our costume idea clever without being obscure? ...
This article was originally published on April 2, 2015 and has been updated throughout. Lube is a little like masturbation. It's a big part of most people...
(Paid Content) You don't need a degree in common sense to know getting involved with a coworker is a bad idea. Yet, we probably all know someone who has, ...
It would be an understatement to say that a lot of us love superhero blockbusters. Luckily, there's really no shortage of them, but should you ever need ...
The following is an excerpt from Asa Akira's recently released memoir Dirty Thirty. Another year of wasted eggs because I chose to whore instead. “Do ...
In the best-case scenario, you go on a first date with someone, and you hit it off. The chemistry is off the charts, and you're never at a loss for what to...
Even if you think you’re not kinky, there’s a chance your brain might be. And when it comes to getting turned on and orgasming, our brains deserve more ...
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth's, became the first out member of the British Royal Family when he came out as bisexual last week. In ...
Dear Kelsey, My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for almost two years. We met on Tinder — shockingly — and things have been great ever since...