Pornography, especially pornographic films, is commonly grouped into a number of distinct sub-genres. There are many genres of pornography, not all of which are listed in this article, and a pornographic work may fall into more than one genre.
Pornography is typically categorized as either softcore or hardcore pornography. A pornographic work is characterized as hardcore if it has any hardcore content.
Pornographic films or video recordings tend to be made in a number of distinct pornographic sub-genres which describe the sexual fantasy which the film and actors attempt to create. Pornographic films are characterised as either softcore and hardcore, which can contain depictions of sexual penetration or extreme fetishism. Sub-genres can also be classified into the characteristics of the performers or the type of sexual activity on which it concentrates, and not necessarily on the market to which each sub-genre appeals. Pornographic films are classified into a number of sub-genres, each of which usually conforms to certain conventions, and each of which caters to particular markets.
Traditionally, pornographic films or videos were made for a predominantly male market. A typical pornographic film featured a female performer on whom the film focused. Her male partner traditionally had no distinctive features other than a large penis. However, there has been an increase in female viewers over time, and there have recently been efforts to increase the sexualization of male performers also. New features such as men with smaller penises, charming facial features and well-built bodies are becoming predominant in pornographic films, as well as the emergence of feminist pornography.
By physical characteristics of participants
Mature pornography features performers aged 40 and over. A related type of pornography known as MILF (Moms I'd Like to Fuck) features women, generally of age 25 or older, in fantasy scenarios with younger men.
Teen pornography, sometimes referred to as Barely Legal, features young actors depicted as being aged 18 or 19. Eighteen years old is the youngest age to lawfully perform in sexually explicit films in many countries.
Erotic Preteen Video is non-pornographic (or simulated pornographic), live action, films consisting of models that are under the age of consent for actual pornography. Like adolescent and pre-teen pornography, it is not considered child pornography in countries where such films are legal to make and/or possess, and all parties involved gave consent.
Child pornography is commonly considered pornography involving children or teenagers who are under the age of consent for sexual relations (although in some countries such as the United Kingdom and United States the definition of child pornography includes subjects at or over the age of consent pretending to be younger). The United States considers any erotic entertainment with people under the age of 18 to be child pornography, even in states where the age of consent is considerably lower than 18 years old. Production, possession, and distribution of child pornography are illegal in many countries. In the countries where child pornography is illegal, simulated photographs ("pseudo-photographs") or lifelike edited images representing child sex are often illegal as well.
Lolicon pornography is hentai illustrations or animation featuring young, female, childlike characters. Shotacon is the male equivalent of Lolicon, featuring young, male, childlike characters.
Hair fetishism is sexual arousal connected with hair, mainly head hair or pubic hair. There are several common types in pornography:
Long hair pornography is porn performed by participants with very long hair, for example waist-length, thigh-length, knee-length or floor-length, often with long bangs. The acting may involve covering the face and/or body with hair, hair tossing (headbanging), stroking and playing with hair, hair pulling, wet hair, and hair jobs (masturbation in which one partner drapes his/her long hair around the penis).
Blonde pornography is porn generally performed by participants with blonde hair. Sometimes it is exclusively a blonde-haired woman or blonde-haired women and men.
Brunette pornography is porn generally performed by brunettes. Most brunettes are in the dark brunette category and participants may be drawn from several races.
Redhead pornography is porn performed by participants with red hair.
Black Haired pornography is porn performed by Asians or people with black hair.
Hirsutism pornography involves conspicuous amounts of body and/or pubic hair. The models may be partially shaven, show body hair stubble or be completely unshaven, with an emphasis on the socially tabooed armpit hair. The latter are sometimes marketed as "Hippies" and can be connected with naturism. Because of the increased trend toward total depilation in 21st century pornography, the presence of any pubic hair at all on a model, even when groomed, is sometimes considered to make the model "hairy".
Big breast pornography, also called ginormous tits, big-boob or big-bust pornography, features women with large breasts. Some viewers prefer performers with breast implants, others prefer women who have naturally large breasts.
Race-oriented pornography does not always feature performers who are actually of the race listed in the title. Performers are sometimes billed as being of a certain race, if their facial features, body shape, or skin color fit a publicly accepted idea of what people of that race look like. Some performers are billed as being of one race, and then of another, depending on the film.
Asian pornography features performers who are (or appear to be) Asian/Oriental or from the Far East such as Japan, China and Thailand. Much in domestic and exported to foreign markets.
Middle Eastern pornography features performers who are (or appear to be) from the Middle East. There is certainly an overlap with Arab pornography involving performers who are (or appear to be) Arabs from the Middle East or North Africa, and with Indian pornography.
Bi-racial pornography features a model who is biracial and not specifically racially defined. This may include Albinos, Southeast Asians, Aborigines or Red-heads.
BDSM pornography depicts bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.
Femdom features BDSM scenes in which the dominant partner is female.
Japanese rope bondage is distinguished by its use of specific katas (forms) and aesthetic rules. Sometimes, asymmetric and often intentionally uncomfortable positions are employed to heighten the psychological impact of the bondage.
Spanking or whipping pornography involves spanking or whipping, generally of the buttocks, with the hand or with other objects such as belts, switches, paddles, brushes, or whips.
Facesitting when a woman or a young girl sits on a man's(or woman's) face.
Snuff pornography involves the actual death of any of the participants, consenting or otherwise, simulated death is not considered snuff. The existence of such content in commercially available pornography is widely considered an urban legend. In some areas, there are laws stating it is not legally possible to consent to be killed, and elsewhere it may still be legally dubious (see Armin Meiwes). The 1979 U.S. drama Hardcore showed this kind of film on its film.
Guro or Gore is a genre of Japanese pornography involving blood, gore, disfiguration, violence, mutilation, urine, enemas, or feces.
Menstrual or "red rhapsody" pornography features sexual activities involving women who are menstruating, with a focus on the menstrual blood.
Creampie (also called internal ejaculation or internal cumshot) pornography features ejaculation inside the vagina (vaginal creampie), mouth (oral creampie) or rectum (anal creampie) instead of the common cum shot, followed by the visible seeping or dripping of semen from the vagina, mouth or anus.
Crush pornography features objects being crushed by an actress or actor, who generally plays an overtly dominant role.
Incest pornography features sex between actors who portray a familial relationship. Incest itself is largely taboo, and is a crime in many countries.
Jerk off instruction (also known as Jerk off Encouragement (JOI / JOE)) features a performer encouraging or instructing the viewer to masturbate, often culminating in a countdown at the end of which the viewer is invited to induce orgasm.
Lolita pornography (also known as lollipop) features women who are 18 years old or slightly older, who pretend to be underage teen girls. The fetish centers around this fantasy portrayal. Lolita pornography that features actual teenage girls under the age of 18 is illegal in most countries and treated as child or youth pornography. Lolita pornography caters to ephebophiles. The name was coined from the title of the controversial book.
POV (Point-of-View) pornography involves camera angles designed to provide the viewer a view similar to that seen by one of the participants, whose face is never shown.
Rubber pornography involves rubber, latex, and similar materials.
Bra pornography involves women or men dressed in bras.
High heel pornography involves women or men dressed in high heeled shoes.
Cheerleader pornography involves pictures of cheerleaders, both staged and real.
Arcane or occult pornography involves sexualized situations with an occult or magical tone or performers who costume themselves in keeping with the theme, for example, a male performer dressed as a wizard.
Jail/Prison/Police pornography involves people in police custody or inmates in jails or prisons in various sexual situations, such as strip searches or body cavity searches. These are often fake. Real jail or prison or police station shots or videos may violate laws in some countries.
Medical pornography (often called Doctor or Nurse and Patient pornography) involves sexualized medical, often fake, including gynecological pelvic examinations, rectal examinations, and pelvic or gynecological ultrasounds. Real medical shots or videos may violate privacy laws in some countries.
Enema pornography involves adults given enemas to others, often fake. Real enema shots or videos of true medical situations may violate privacy laws in some countries.
Teacher and Student or Boss and Secretary pornography involves sexualized situations which take place between an authority figure, such as a teacher or boss, and an underling, such as a student or secretary, often fake. Real school shots or videos which are sexualized may violate privacy laws in some countries.
Tentacle erotica features tentacled creatures (usually fictional monsters) raping or otherwise penetrating women or men.
Gay pornography is usually male homosexual pornography, acts depicted typically include anal or oral sex. Men who perform in mainstream gay pornography often do not consider themselves gay or bisexual. See "Gay-for-pay".
Twink pornography features younger performers, and usually features young men under 30 who identify as gay or bisexual. Performers are usually clean-shaven, thinner and more effeminate than ones in mainstream gay pornography.
Bear features a combination of middle-aged, hairy or overweight males.
Yaoi male homosexual hentai designed to appeal to women and men.
Bara male homosexual hentai designed to appeal to men.
Lesbian or girl-girl pornography features women engaged in sex together, but is typically aimed at a male audience. Women who perform in lesbian pornography often do not consider themselves lesbian or bisexual. See also Gay-for-pay.
Lesbian pornography made for women is usually made by women, and usually features women who identify as lesbian or bisexual. Lesbian pornography typically features a wider range of appearances and body types than is typical of mainstream pornography. Particularly, some pornography in this genre features butch women, who are almost never seen in mainstream pornography.
Bisexual pornography features one woman and two men who all perform sex acts on each other. The pornography is geared towards men; hence the word "bisexual" refers to the men rather than the woman.
Bukkake pornography usually depicts numerous men having sex with one woman, with multiple, usually 10 or more, men ejaculating on the female's face. Especially popular in post-World War 2 Japanese culture.
Threesome or 3some pornography features one man and two women (MFF or FFM). It is geared towards heterosexual men, who most typically define a threesome as such. A threesome is also depicted with one woman and two men (MMF) who all perform sex acts on each other (but not male on male).
Gang bang pornography usually depicts numerous men having sex with one woman, or one man. A scene where many women have sex with one man is referred to as a "reverse gang-bang".
Group sex pornography (including sex parties such as an Orgy or a swinger party) features at least two men and two women (foursome or 4some), usually more, who all perform sex acts on each other.
Transsexual pornography features transwomen performers, who typically have male genitalia and augmented female breasts (though there are exceptions to both). They are most often featured with male partners, but are also featured with other transsexuals or cissexual women. Common phrases used to refer to these individuals are "chicks with dicks" or the derogatory term "shemale", although these are generally considered pejorative among transwomen. Transsexual porn star Wendy Williams has stated that "transsexual Porn is classified as Straight Specialty."
Transgender pornography features performers who cross-dress for sexual gratification, either for themselves or for their partners. Many men who like trans partners of any variety, known as tranny chasers, don't necessarily identify as gay themselves. This is why video stores might consider stocking transgendered subject matter in the straight section, as some straight men will have passive or active sex with another man as long as their partner appears to look like a woman to them, to some minor or major degree.
Hermaphrodite, also known as herm, refers to pornography, typically hentai, that features persons with the genitalia of both sexes. The most common depiction of a hermaphrodite is a person with a female face, breasts, and build, and a penis, although there are other combinations. This type of pornography is almost exclusively hentai, as true hermaphroditic humans are not fertile and are not usually found in nature. Is also common of the furry genre.
Amateur pornography originally referred only to pornography produced by amateurs but now also includes professionally made pornography designed to appear as if it were amateur. Pro-am pornography is sub-genre of amateur pornography that refers to professionally made porn that features amateur actors/actresses, often appearing for the first time in a pornographic film.
Celebrity sex tapes are amateur or professionally-made recordings of sex acts, as performed by a celebrity and their partner(s). These typically are leaked to the public via the Internet, with or without the celebrity's consent. A celebrity may allow such a recording to surface willingly, as part of a publicity stunt.
Upskirt and Downblouse pornography features staged filming up women's skirts or down their blouses while in public. Actual upskirt or downblouse shots may violate privacy laws in some countries.
Hidden Camera pornography involves shots that appear to spy or peep on a woman who is unaware she is being viewed or filmed while dressing, going to the bathroom, or showering; either at home or in a commercial place, such as a locker room, public restroom, spa (including spa treatments such as spraying, scrubbing, bikini waxes or Brazilian bikini waxes, and endermologie (also known as lipomassage or cellulite treatment)), or dressing room. Actual spying may violate privacy and/or trespassing laws in many countries. Voyeur or peeping Tom pornography is usually more staged with the subjects aware of the cameras, sometimes openly including this exhibitionist awareness.
Gloryhole pornography features women performing fellatio on unidentified men through a small hole made in a bathroom divider. This genre also features male-on-male fellatio through a small hole made in a bathroom divider.
Specific sex acts
Anal pornography features anal penetration with a penis, dildo, other objects, or some combination of them.
Ass to mouth (aka ATM or A2M) pornography shows the transfer of a performer's penis (or other object) from a second performer's anus to that same second performer's (or another performer's) mouth in a single shot. A variant of A2M is ATOGM (ass to other girl's mouth) where a performer inserts his penis directly from one recipient’s anus into a second recipient’s mouth.
Gaping in pornography refers to scenes of anal sex with a focus on the recipient’s anus remaining open for a period of time after the erect penis or dildo is removed. A sub-set of gaping is the “‘tunnel cumshot”, wherein the male ejaculates directly into the gaping anus.
Double penetration (aka DP) pornography depicts simultaneous anal and vaginal penetration of one woman. Double Stuffed (aka DS), Double Vaginal (aka DV), or Double Anal (aka DA) pornography involves the penetration of one orifice by two penises or other objects.
Fisting pornography features the insertion of an entire hand into a performer's vagina or anus. A sub-set of vaginal fisting attempts to photograph the female cervix immediately after the fist (or large dildo or speculum) is removed from the now-gaping vagina.
Solo pornography features performers masturbating. Can also include auto-fellatio, or performing oral sex on oneself.
Insertion in pornography features women inserting various odd objects into their anus or vaginas.
Computer-generated, interactive, and animated
Cartoon pornography depicts illustrated or animated fictional characters in erotic and sexual situations.
Hentai is the various forms of Japanese pornography, including H-manga, H-anime, and H-computer games. The term hentai is never used in this context in Japanese. The meaning of hentai is "perversion", "abnormality", or "metamorphosis". Yaoi is anime or manga that features gay males (although not necessarily pornographic). Yuri is the lesbian equivalent.
Interactive pornography, available in CD-ROM and DVD format, allows the viewer to select the particular acts performed at any one time, sometimes with the camera providing a first person view.
Classics (sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age of Porn") are pornographic films from the 1970s and sometimes 1980s.
Compilations are a collection of pornographic scenes, usually themed to a particular fetish, taken from otherwise unrelated films. (For copyright reasons, compilations are often limited to clips from films published by a single company.)
Full-feature pornographic films are typically longer in running time and usually have a plot.
Parody Porn is a sub-genre that parodies mainstream film or television show using sexual puns.
Independent pornography is pornography produced by filmmakers unconnected to the major porn studios in a given country. It is often mislabelled "amateur pornography", though the producers and actors are often professional pornographic filmmakers and actors. (It is not always easy to distinguish between genuine amateurs and unknown professionals: often, the distinction is a matter of timing.)
Japanese adult video or JAV is pornography produced in Japan for domestic consumption, though it has a large international audience as well. JAV has a number of features that place it in a unique genre when compared to pornography produced in other countries. Notably, because of Japanese obscenity laws, most Japanese pornography videos and photographs include a "mosaic" that blocks the view of the performers' genitalia. Uncensored JAV is also produced, though illegally. JAV has a diverse array of subgenres, many of which are the same as the sub-genres in general pornography; however, there are also fetish and costume genres that are largely unique to the JAV milieu.
Vintage erotica is generally pre-1970s pornography, especially early-20th-century black and white photographs and stag films.
Extreme pornography is a term introduced by the UK Government, describing a classification of adult pornography that has become illegal to possess under new laws.
Women's Pornography sometimes referred to as Pro-Sex, Sex Positive Pornography, or Feminist Pornography - refers to a category of porn that is expressly produced for female customers, taking into account that male and female receptive and aesthetic needs may differ widely. Sometimes that involves, that the director and/or producer are women. Frequently, there is a focus on certain dos and don'ts for the production process (behind the scenes and on-screen) and the actions portrayed.