Unadulterated Entertainment: How Adult Entertainment Came To The Mainstream

Nov 10, 2020

The adult entertainment industry is arguably an age-old business. In the modern era, there are increasingly varied forms of entertainment that allow people to experience sex or self-pleasure and gratification. Whether this is in person or via the internet and even older mediums such as books and pictures, it seems like this industry is endless. We’re going to attempt to explain a little more about the adult entertainment industry here in as condensed a way as possible. Bear with us though, it’s a pretty big topic! If you’re more interested in the sex toy side of things though, this has already been covered extensively in one of our other blog posts here.


What Is The Adult Entertainment Industry?

The adult entertainment industry is essentially any kind of business or entertainment which exhibits any actual or simulated performance of sex or sexual material. This can be in the form of actual sex or materials and items which allow someone to gain their own personal pleasure. This includes films, books, live performances, displays, erotic dances and much much more in the modern era.

When people think about the adult entertainment industry, they probably almost always think of prostitution first. This is where people may be confusing the adult entertainment industry with the sex industry. While the sex industry does encompass elements of the adult entertainment industry, the sex industry also deals with direct and indirect sexual acts. So while prostitution would be counted within the sex industry, anything from video-on-demand sex movies, strip clubs and even the old pornographic magazines are counted as adult entertainment.

Of course, in the modern era, the line has sometimes begun to blur, with many mobile games featuring borderline pornographic content despite large tech companies trying to filter it out as much as possible. Whether we like it (or not) the adult entertainment industry or by-products of it are more and more prevalent in our daily lives.

Adult Entertainment Throughout History

Adult entertainment has been around for a very long time, longer than you might think. Far before standard peep shows or PornHub people still indulged in it. In fact, erotic art, in the form of cave paintings and considered another form of adult entertainment have been found dating to as far back as the prehistoric times!

If we’re looking at more ‘modern’ forms of entertainment though, pornographic movies have been around since the advent of film, the first and most notable of which being a striptease in the film Le Coucher de la Mariée. Strip clubs and stripteases are hotly debated to have been around as long as the aforementioned Sumerian civilization, but Ancient Greece has records of dancers who danced naked for the entertainment of others.

The Adult Entertainment Boom

It wasn’t until the advent of motion pictures that adult entertainment became more popular. This new technology made the spread of entertainment such as pornographic films easier and more readily available to the masses. That being said, it wasn’t until Andy Warhol’s Blue Movie in 1969 that, at least in the US, the “Golden Age of Porn” really began. Although this movement did spread pornography internationally, it saw an age of “porno chic” in which for the first time, popular famous celebrities openly discussed topics of sex and sexuality. It also helped to change the laws affecting pornography drastically.

Before 1973, there were thousands of strict laws surrounding the creation, distribution and consumption of pornography in US states. The rapid spread of pornography since 1969, however, partially lead to the US Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to narrow down these laws, making them more concise and leading to a lot less prosecutions for those in the adult entertainment industry. This boom wouldn’t last for long, however, since once videotape recorders became more widely available in the home in the 1980s, this became the preferred method of watching porn. This wasn’t the first time technology would have a direct effect on the adult entertainment industry, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last.

How Has Technology Affected The Adult Entertainment Industry?

Rather than technology affecting the adult entertainment industry, it can be argued that it is the other way around. The adult entertainment industry, especially access to pornographic movies, has had a key role in shaping how future technology is prioritised and evolved. One key example was the fight between the VHS and the Betamax. It’s a well-known story by now that porn helped to decide that VHS was the winner with its cheaper price and longer recording times. This is still contested though, with no conclusive studies ever really pinning the downfall of the Betamax purely on porn.

Even before the VHS vs. Betamax saga though, porn helped to standardise one of the earliest forms of film; the Super 8. Much like with the VHS, the cheap, accessible Super 8 film made producing plenty of pornographic films a possibility. Even in the modern era, the popularity and prevalence of streaming videos are, at least in part, attributed to sites such as Pornhub, RedTube and the like. Porn users access these streaming sites more than they do Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. So it only stands to reason that as technology evolves, the effect on the adult industry is intertwined together with growing trends in that sector.

Will The Adult Entertainment Industry Ever Be Accepted?

Historically, the adult entertainment industry has always gone through waves of being more accepted or villainised depending on the culture and country at the time. The Ancient Greeks are well known for their hedonistic lifestyles, whereas the Victorian era is renowned for the complete opposite. In the modern era, the adult entertainment industry is arguably as prevalent as it ever has been but still hasn’t received complete acceptance. More modern companies are trying to get sex tech accepted by the general populace. For example, iroha, the sister brand of TENGA, creates sex toys that can also fit into your everyday life. TENGA themselves also are creating more and more items that can be displayed openly without fear of being noticed as an obvious masturbatory aid. 

Brands like TENGA are constantly working to break the taboo surrounding masturbation and sexuality in society, however, there will always be people who aren’t happy with these topics. You can’t make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time, after all! There are also a lot of negative perceptions and of course, realities to certain aspects of the adult entertainment industry. Exploitation remains a constant issue in certain sectors and those are problematic matters that definitely need to be addressed. 

In general, it’s up to companies like TENGA to help change the perception of the general public surrounding the matters they have knowledge and experience in. Namely, masturbation, sexual pleasure and wellness. If more companies help to inform the public on these issues while also helping to counter the negative sides (for example, the use of sex tech to help medical issues) we can hopefully see more understanding in years to come. With more knowledge and understanding, perhaps once day society will become as accepting of the adult entertainment industry as possible.