TW: We’re sex-positive, support sex workers and are pro-get yours ’round these parts, k? This blog post is probably NSFW. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
Every so often I stumble upon a topic, study or what have you that I find interesting, and that will lead me down the rabbit hole of research, which then gives me even more topics to research. Whew!
This here blog post, on how race impacts sexual fantasies/desires, is one of those topics.
Before I began getting into this, I already had an idea of what I would find.
Though I knew that colorism, racism, featurism and antiblackness were sure to make themselves known in this discussion – I wasn’t sure how racial fetishism, and the frequency in which cultural/racial groups date within their own communities, would play out. The chance for hidden sexual feelings people have about other groups, negative or positive, to appear was pretty likely, so I was prepared for surprises.
*In the interest of transparency, the sample sizes used for the studies I read were relatively small and in general, there isn’t an abundance of digestible data.*
Enough preamble, what’d I find?
When it came to racial groups and who they fantasized about white people were the ONLY group that predominantly fantasized about their own.
Now, I knew that there would be some cross-race fantasizing going on, but I was a bit surprised to learn how much Black people and POC don’t have sexual desires about their own groups. In fact, all other racial groups had LARGE portions that fantasized about …white people specifically. With the Asian population leading this statistic and having little to no intra-communal fantasies
The study also found that the type of sexual fantasy differed depending on race as well. Taboo fantasies (I.e. hardcore kinks, cuckolding, taboo relationships, etc) were preferred by whites. While passion and romance fantasies were preferred by all other racial minorities.
As for celebrity sexual ideation, there weren’t too many surprises. White people mostly fantasized about Scarlett Johansen, Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Lawrence. Hispanics have Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara on the top of their list and Black people fantasized about Halle Berry and Rihanna most. Though these celebrities were the most thought about, Black people and Hispanics thought about white celebrities almost as much as ones from their own racial group. White people were rarely found to fantasize about non-white celebrities but interestingly Asians were the same. Asians very rarely fantasized about members of their own community, instead, white celebrities were their focus.
What’s the conclusion/what do I think?
That societal biases and conditioning play out quite often in one’s sexual tastes. White Americans overwhelmingly prefer and desire other whites. All other racial groups also disproportionately desire white people, with many groups deeming whites more desireable than they do their own race. And though I can’t say I’m surprised at the general sentiment, I was taken aback by just how much minorities don’t seem to find people who like them worthy of fantasizing over.
And that got me wondering what could be reinforcing these views (remember me saying that research deep dives lead to other topics?) Yes, beauty standards, featurism, etc, in general, but is there something specifically related to sex that upholds these views? Of course. Look no further than porn.
I promise I won’t ask you all to tell me about your porn search history but something I’ve noticed is how different porn is framed depending on race. Black only or co-shot porn usually has titles like “ghetto, hoodrat, Black bitches, N-word” or plays on racial stereotypes or degradation. Similarly, porn with Middle Eastern performers often relies on islamophobia in the titling and scenes and porn featuring Native Americans lean on offensive stereotypes to increase viewership. So much so, that minorities in the porn industry have begun to start movements to bring awareness to and stop this trend.
King Noire, a Black male porn star, who gave a racism in porn speech at Eroticon – details how porn studios often refuse to put him and others in scenes without them agreeing to let their costars use derogatory names.
Devoe, a Black performer, was told by studios that Black women just aren’t desirable and there was not room for her in their studio.
Similar stories are being told by BIPOC performers all over.
Now, you might be wondering why the hell it matters how people are portrayed in porn. But between 50%-70%(depending on the study you look at) of Americans ingest porn or sexual imagery in some form and ⅓ to 2/3 of people admit that porn shapes their own personal sexual activities and desires- which you can see in what we talked about earlier. Though there isn’t really any official link, it’s not hard to see that it contributes to people’s self-image and how they see themselves (or those who look like them) in terms of sexual desirability. Furthermore, sex workers (meaning sex work that is NOT forced and isn’t sex trafficking) like anyone else, deserve to have a work environment free from racism and harassment.
While the theme of this may be sex and sex work, the overarching issue here is how racisms impact seeps into every, single part of our society. Even ones you may not necessarily consider. Just something to think about.