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Trends: Why audio erotica is going mainstream

LOOK around. If you spot a fellow commuter lost in their headphones, perhaps they’re immersing themselves in the latest sonic trend, audio porn.

While fans have known of the joy of audio erotica for years (websites such as Tumblr, Reddit and Literotica have been hosting titillating audio tales for around 15 years), it was the launch of Dipsea — an audio porn subscription app that came out a year ago — that propelled the genre into the mainstream. Often run by women and with high production values, audio erotica is creating huge and lucrative noise — Dipsea was recently valued at £13million.

And it’s not alone. Sites such as Quinn (tryquinn.com), On Queer Street (onqueerstreet.com) and Girl On The Net (girlonthenet.com) are also favoured by millennials seeking intimate light relief.

Don’t skip a beat: As many as 90 per cent of women use ‘mental framing’ during sex

Little wonder then, business is seeing an opportunity. According to Forbes, in 2019 audio erotica start-ups collectively raised more than $8million (£6.1million) in funding to cater to millennials in the market for ‘experiences that create a sense of wellness and an opportunity for sexual exploration, while feeling safe and empowered.’

According to Ofcom, the popularity of podcasts continues to rise — 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to them each week — so it’s little wonder audio erotica has hit a sweet spot.

‘Audio porn can be any erotic material that comes in via your ears — there are lots of different types,’ says anonymous sex blogger Girl On The Net, 35. ‘Mine is based on erotic stories read aloud. Most of mine are true, some fictional.

‘I began creating audio porn as a way to make my site more accessible. If you’re blind and accessing via a screen reader, it’s not very sexy to hear erotic tales read aloud in a robot voice — unless you have a very specific kink for that, of course! So I started recording my sexier blog posts as audio — and it’s taken off. The audio porn hub is now the most popular page on my site and the tracks get tens of thousands of listens each month.’

So why is it pressing people’s buttons? For the same reasons whispering sweet/filthy nothings is so hot — it is super intimate and super private, not to mention super effective. It’s just you, the voice and your imagination — and the role of imagination is key in female arousal.

Research by sex education platform OMGyes and The Kinsey Institute found 90 per cent of women use ‘mental framing’ during sex. That’s shutting out the world to focus on the sensations and tap into the fantasies that work for them.

Girl On The Net agrees: ‘I suspect for some people the lack of visuals is a huge bonus — they can picture whoever they like as the protagonists and fill in the blanks with their own imagination, picturing the body type or person they find hottest.’ So is audio porn better for women than visual porn? Gina Gutierrez, the 29-year-old founder of Dipsea, thinks so, telling The New York Times that ‘visual porn is working for men’. But Girl On The Net thinks it depends on the woman.

‘Everyone’s tastes are different and I try not to target my work to any gender because there are plenty of men who enjoy erotic writing and audio porn too,’ she says. ‘Around 60 per cent of my site users are men. Across men and women, the largest group of my site users is aged 25 to 34, then 35 to 54.’

Millennial women are attracted to audio erotica thanks in large part to its relevance to them. Many stories are peppered with specific cultural references such as yoga classes turned spicy, barista fantasies and Uber rides that spark an erotic scenario.

‘Erotica has been around for a long time but hasn’t been upgraded in innovation and research,’ said Gutierrez. ‘We are a start-up studio creating original content not just based on our intuition as females but actually based on data from users.’

The ethics of audio erotica are another attraction. Many companies are run by women and performers are not exploited or held up as unrealistic physical role models for consumers.

Girl On The Net adds: ‘I also think erotic writers will start to see it as a new way to present their work and build an audience for erotica that’s focused more on words.

‘In my dream world, everyone will be able to access high-quality content that fits their tastes — whether aural, visual, written word or something else — and will access it via platforms which pay their creators fairly.’

Sounds like something we can all get down with.

Christmas comes but once a year, so enjoy it!

FORGET about mistletoe this year — you won’t need it. Christmas is going to be spicier than your gran’s infamous pudding (it’s nutmeg, lady, not paprika).

The people at Vibease — ‘pioneers of the world’s first wearable smart vibrator’ — have curated some X-rated Xmas tales to help you survive the holiday.

The Vibease vibrator connects via Bluetooth to erotic audiobooks on the Vibease Fantasy app (available on Apple Store and Google Play). Hands-free, it syncs with the saucy stories and changes rhythm and speed as the full-on fiction heats up. Ho, ho, ooh!

If you want something naughty this Christmas, fill your stockings with stories such as Home For The Holidays, the summary of which reads: ‘Home to visit my family. Being with my other half but never getting to touch intimately is making me frustrated as hell, so that night I sneak into your room.’

Alternatively, Santa Calls is described as, ‘Santa may pay you a very special visit. Getting around the world in one night isn’t easy but Santa has many gifts.’ If you say so.

Vibease is available at vibease.com, lovehoney.com and lovehoney.co.uk