Audio Porn: The New Frontier of Personalized Pleasure
03.28.19

My fantasies always come with an introduction.

I’ve never been satisfied to leap straight into whatever moment I’m dreaming up. I need a bit of cinematic preamble — the backstory, the collected history, the little things and moments and touches that led to the grand finale in my imagination. My [redacted] fantasies aren’t some whittled-down movie trailer. They’re the Lord of the Rings trilogy – the extended version.

I’m reminded of this when I listen to ‘“Salty,” a 12-minute short story from audio erotic startup Dipsea’s library of fiction. The recording, which follows two women flirting over tequila shots in the middle of a heatwave, is part of the beautifully designed app’s “Hot & Heavy” collection. “For when you’re on a mission,” Dipsea helpfully explains. (It also has tamer categories called “Relax & Unwind” and ‘“Date Night Pregame.”) “Salty” comes with a pointed rating: five flickering flames.

It might be read out breathily by two actresses, complete with sound effects of clinking glasses and, later, gasps and moans, but it’s still a story. We learn that the narrator has been developing feelings for Layla over the past few months, and invites her around for a drink in the blissful sanctuary of her air-conditioned apartment. It’s littered with details: they’re drinking Casamigos, they do those tequila shots out of kitschy glasses bought on vacation in Miami, they wash them down with “expensive flaky sea salt.” (Maldon?) By the time the action kicks in midway through the story, I am beginning to understand the phrase “fever pitch.”

This is audio porn, a genre of erotica that is all about sound. No images, no moving bodies, just noises, words and stories. And it’s the next big trend in the porn industry.

“The beauty of audio porn and erotica is that it is completely tailored and personal based on that individual’s wants and desires,” relationship psychotherapist Kate Moyle explains. “Audio without visual helps us to personalise what we are thinking about.”

Because you aren’t bombarded with moving images, you’re at liberty to use your mind to bring whatever you are hearing to life. Just think of mainstream porn, with all of its garish lighting, symphonic shrieking, prescriptive body types and overwhelmingly male gaze. Audio porn has none of those things, unless, of course, the listener wants them there. It is entirely up to you as to how you respond and engage with what you’re hearing and what images and scenes figure in your fantasies. “Our imagination is the best pornography that we have,” Moyle adds.

In recent years, audio porn found mainstream popularity among younger generations on Tumblr, though all the most popular pages were wiped when the platform changed its adult content regulations in 2018. Today, the bulk of audio erotica is found on Literotica, whose most popular audio story has been downloaded almost 42,000 times and Reddit, where more than 258,000 subscribers are already listening in. Girl on the Net, an anonymous sex-positive blogger who started her platform in 2011, branched out into audio porn in 2017 when her visually-impaired fans complained that they couldn’t access her content. “I realized that one of the ways I could help create more accessible porn was to record my sexier blog posts as audio,” G explains.

Today, the audio porn hub is the most visited section on her website. “I think the ability to use your imagination is one of the biggest benefits of audio porn,” she explains. In her own sex life, her and her partner spend a lot of time talking about their fantasies in detail or retelling particularly hot moments from their past. “I think words and noises can be incredibly sexy,” she says.

G doesn’t connect with mainstream porn. As she puts it: “I’m a bit of a control freak and I want the people in my fantasies to do exactly what I say.” Plus, there are phrases and imagery used in a lot of conventional porn that she struggles with, things that simply aren’t present in most audio porn. “Terms that are overtly racist, transphobic or misogynist make scrolling through a mainstream porn site a real minefield,” she explains. “In my head, no one can use aggressive slurs or silly, funny sex terms that leave me cold.”


Dipsea launched in 2018 when co-founder Gina Gutierrez was listening to a recording on Headspace and wondered if a trove of erotic stories that placed women at the center of the action could help listeners take charge and reconnect with their sexuality. There’s even a section of the app filled with guided audio clips sharing tips on masturbation and dirty talk.

The same goal drove Elsa Viegas to launch the Orgasm Library, an archive of orgasm sounds uploaded by anonymous women around the world. Viegas had already co-founded a Spanish adult store called Bijoux Indiscrets but wanted to create another sex-positive space for women to explore their sexuality. Almost 1,500 people submitted sound clips of their orgasms, mostly achieved through masturbation. Today, half a million users visit the library every month. “Listening to the uploaded sounds can be very arousing, although that was not the goal of the library at all,” Viegas muses.

“I strongly believe that women are tired of being told how to act, how to love and how to feel,” she adds. “The orgasm library is a safe place to share the real sound of our pleasure. It is a place to show how unique we sound and especially, that we are sexual beings and with the right to pleasure… And those real sounds are very exciting.”

As blogger G puts it: “My firm belief is that the more we talk about sex – and porn! – the better we understand each other, and the easier it becomes in the future to have healthy, consensual relationships with each other and ourselves.”

Moyle recommends her clients use erotica as a jumping off point “to see what sparks their interest and desire.” Listen widely. Try sampling as many different genres as you can. “It’s important to listen to multiple perspectives, ideas and views to find what fits for you.”

If you think you could be ready to explore, dig out some headphones. It might be time to tune in.

Collage by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

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