JUST YOU AND ME, BABY
“Baby,” Johnny whispers to me. “There’s somebody outside the door.”
I hear a faint cough in the distance, then another. “Oh, but I don’t care,” he continues. “I just want to fuck you.” He shudders, and moans right in my ear. “You’re such a good girl, and you get what good girls deserve: a big load of my cum.”
I’ve never met Johnny before, I have no idea what he looks like, and that’s not even his real name. But with only a wire separating his voice from my brain, it feels like we’re in the same room, talking and touching one-on-one. The absence of a screen forces my imagination to fill in the blanks with my own visuals. This is not only easy—it’s very, very hot.
“Do you want it?” a breathless Johnny asks. I realize I am nodding.
I started thinking about audio’s erotic potential last spring, while my friend Émilie and I were venting about porn. Hardcore vids had started to feel like an “assault on the vagina,” she complained, while female-targeted porn (with white bedspreads and fewer closeups) was boring and quiet. Lately Émilie had been gravitating toward threesome scenes because at least they were all talking to each other.
I perked up as I sipped my tepid Corona—Émilie was hardly the first person I’d heard voice these frustrations, but she was unique in her pursuit of solutions. Out of curiosity, she told me, she had tried typing “audio porn” into her browser and found a neglected Blogspot full of 1960s audio erotica.
The campy dialogue was ridiculous, but the actors’ moans and groans, sprinkled amid the punchlines, turned Émilie on. One track was enough for her, but my curiosity was piqued.
In all the years I’ve spent researching, thinking about, and, yes, consuming many different kinds of porn, this was the first time I’d ever heard anyone mention an audio-only varietal. Sure, I’ve read about the nonsexual “brain orgasms” of ASMR, and any child from the 1990s remembers seedy ads for 1-900 phone sex lines. But prerecorded audio fantasies? Were those even a thing?
I went home and googled “audio porn.” Quickly I realized that, as with conventional porn, there was a seemingly inexhaustible audio-porn archive on the internet: everything from humorous fantasies about dildo genies to Audible.com’s erotic e-books to Tumblrs vibrating with orgasms rubbed out in office bathrooms to Reddit’s endless selection of “faps” and “schlicks” (the onomatopoetic names for male and female masturbation sessions). Sometimes these files are customized for the listener, but even when they’re not, the intimacy of audio makes it feel like they are.
“Please, baby, make me come,” Johnny begs me as his track “Morning Lust” (posted to Reddit in November) nears its inevitable conclusion—the aural money shot. As Johnny climaxes, I imagine him biting a pillow to muffle the sounds of his orgasm from his parents, who stand right outside his bedroom in this fantasy. “That was amazing,” he whispers as he recovers. “I hope it was good for you, too.”
It was. Much better than I had imagined listening to a random dude pant could be. Unlike with porn vids, I was participating, not just staring. Audio porn could preserve Johnny’s anonymity in a way sexting or camming couldn’t, but the experience was disarmingly intimate—just you and me, baby. It was an uncanny porno-monogamy I didn’t know was possible.
As I continued exploring, I was fascinated by the thriving community I found, constantly sharing and creating new content, usually for free. I wondered what kept audio porn so firmly underground when it seemed to be the perfect antidote to the much-discussed complaints about modern porn: that it’s unimaginative and unrealistic at best, desensitizing and dehumanizing at worst. Was it simply a lack of exposure—or was there another reason why erotic audio remained marginal? Who were audio porn’s fans and producers, and how did they ignore a sea of explicit imagery to end up as listeners, not watchers?
I needed to know, so I kept pressing “play.”