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How porn has changed in the last 20 years.

If you thought porn was a relatively new concept, created by men with big moustaches in 1970’s, you’d be wrong.

In her new book The Pornography Industry: What Everyone Needs To Knowauthor Shira Tarrant reveals that porn actually dates back to the Renaissance, a time that ushered in an explosion of sexually explicit literature.

Of course literotica is still a thing (50 Shades Of Grey, anyone?) but when we think of ‘porn’ these days we’re usually thinking of film.

And since the video era of porn at the end of the 20th century gave way to the digital era in this one, porn has seen yet another renaissance.

“With laptops, high-speed WiFi, cell phones, and newer technology, we can pretty much get porn anywhere, anytime,” Tarrant writes.

“For better and worse, technology has arguably democratized access to pornography,” she added.

This is how the porn industry – the people who make it AND the people who watch it – has changed since the 1990s:

1. DIY is in.

This is good news for anyone who wants to get in the biz. In the mainstream industry, high end production is out and gonzo porn is in. Gonzo porn is a much cheaper option, as it does away with the need for expensive sets and costumes, and, you know, a plot.

According to Tarrant, about 95 per cent of current productions are gonzo shoots. This is a far cry from the high-value productions of the 1970’s, porn’s golden era, but with the rise of smartphones and increased internet speeds, anyone can now shoot a porno.

porn industry changes
Anyone can shoot a porno with a smart phone. Image via Universal Pictures.

2. Sisters are doing it for themselves. 

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As Mamamia previously reported, women accounted for 30 per cent of the porn viewed in Australia last year. This is above the global average of 26 per cent. The highest female viewership was recorded in the Philippines and Brazil. Women searched mostly for “lesbian” porn.

But as Tarrant pointed out to Cosmopolitan.com it can be tricky to get accurate numbers, since people aren't necessarily keen to open up about their viewing habits.

"Some women wouldn’t want to admit they watch porn because they’re afraid of being slut-shamed; some men might overestimate because they think it makes them a stud,"she said.

"The short answer, though, is that everybody’s watching. Couples are definitely watching together, but it’s mainly a solo activity," she added.

3. The 'no glove, no love' rule does not apply. 

After awareness of the AIDS crisis grew in the 1980s, condom use in porn did see an uptick, especially in gay porn. Whether or not producers opted to use condoms, however, was left up to them. And most of them choose not to.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) tried to pass legislation in L.A Country requiring that condoms be used in porn shoots, but they were unsuccessful.

Your Butt, Your Choice on The Prude and The Porn Star. 

4. Piracy means performers are making less money. 

While you used to have to hire porn from your local video store or borrow it from your mates (ewww), you can now stream a whole lotta porn online for free.

That means performers and producers are making less money.

As porn producer and performer Jiz Lee wrote for The Daily Dot, "I once came across a video I was in that had been viewed over 50,000 times. If even a fraction of those views had been paid for, the small porn company would have been able to produce another feature, pay performers more, and increase the quality and frequency of their work."

In her book, Tarrant estimates that piracy costs the porn industry some $2 billion a year.

5. There is much more diversity in the porn industry. 

Yay! The AVN Awards, dubbed "the Oscars of porn," introduced a category for "Transsexual Performer of the Year" in 2004, for example, while in the mid-to-late '90s, companies like NoFauxxx.com and CrashPadSeries.com began showcasing a range of gender identities, and the term "queer porn" entered the lexicon.

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6. Performers don't always look like porn stars. 

Demand for porn stars with diverse body shapes is on the rise.

It's cold and rainy so I'm staying in bed #meow

A photo posted by Chanel Preston (@chanelpreston) on

"I think the industry has shifted a lot as far as the body types that are popular — it is definitely more inclusive," Chanel Preston, performer and chairperson of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, told Cosmopolitan.com.

"Where in the '90s, the body type used to be an idealized, unobtainable fantasy, now it has shifted to the girl-next-door look ... Many performers today you would never guess were porn stars in their everyday life," she added.