Sex always sells and graphic sex, it turns out, sells even better. It even sells us better. We mimic the porn' aesthetic endlessly in social media – all these suburban women in their Calin Klein bikini bottoms puckering up to their iPhones or fake-frotting their girlfriends in drunken holiday snaps, all these steroidal young men with their cocks out in front of wardrobe mirrors.
I prefer my pornography done by pros. It takes skill and a degree of no-holes-barred bravado to pull it off (and, more rarely, get it off). The bodies are fantasy-like, with an unblemished (although often tattooed) plastic sheen, even when they haven't been altered by surgery. The money shots glisten like luxury products.
Good porn' is insidious: it seeps from sets in LA's inland suburbs to pop videos and haute couture. In this sense, it's subversive and transgressive. It encourages a degree of daring in the best creative minds: Tom Ford's Forever Love – described by many as 'geriatric porn' – is one of the coolest fashion editorials I've seen.
When it finally filters down to the suburban mainstream, it becomes high street fashion: platformed hooker heels and long, square-tipped French manicured gel-nails.
Amateur porn is lame. It's usually acted out with timidity – all implication and no action – and takes no courage at all. Pasteurised, flaccid versions of self-made porn have long been turning up in mainstream media – especially women's magzines and prime-time TV advertising. Unfortunately, now it's also turning up in once-hip style magazines. Wallpaper* recently launched the first of what might well become a series of 'erotic' films. It's as dull as the Swedish modern furniture the magazine always praises – the porn equivalent of a '50s mid-Western tract home.
According to Wallpaper*, this "first move into erotic movie-making" is "a complex tale of mistaken identity, passions reignited and good old girl-on-girl action." Actually, it's just dark shadows, ugly hotels and bad acting. Models gaze longing at their own reflections. Gauzy curtains float in a fan-driven breeze. Women fake-kiss in front of a man. God forbid, no tongues. High heels are slipped off, a dress unzipped. The soft-focussed action is too tiresome and corny to be tittilating. Even the tits seem deflated. The outfits, shoes and jewellery are listed below the clip, just like a mall catalogue.
It's not the first time mainstream brands have toyed with purpose-made porn. Nicola Formichetti created a better film-as-lifestyle-advertisement for fashion designer Thierry Mugler. Titled Brothers Of Arcadia, the company cleverly positioned it on the free pornographic website X-Tube.
The difference between the two shorts is that Formichetti's was a fashion ad' informed by pornography. It's well-executed high camp, a gay fantasy with lingering glimpses of cock. When it ends, the screen is filled with ten tiny clips of real porn – explicit sucking, fucking and fisting – the genuine content of X-Tube.
The Wallpaper* short is an earnest but ultimately uncommitted mainstream trash: a sloppy suck of lollypop, maybe, not of cock or cunt. It betrays the magazine's blandness.