I don’t usually watch reality TV… but I’m hooked to this porn reality show

I don’t usually watch reality TV… but I’m hooked to this porn reality show

Few would disagree when I say that reality TV is the worst. Thanks to franchises like the early 2000’s phenomenon ‘Big Brother’ and the infamous ‘Jersey Shore’, the format has become synonymous with tacky and pretentious as well as a breeding ground for unregulated stupidity and profanity.

But while I don’t usually tune in to reality TV, I’ve recently come across a reality show that I’m genuinely enthusiastic about. And as weird as it may sound, I’m talking about xHamster’s first original series ‘The Sex Factor’.

Making its debut earlier this year in May, the premise of the show is simple: eight girls and and eight guys that have never been filmed before are squaring off for a chance at immediate stardom in the adult entertainment industry and a hefty prize of $1,000,000.

Accompanying them on this adventure are five seasoned professional adult performers that, in addition to acting as judges on the show, advise and guide the new talent throughout this experience.

Sex Factor 1 xhamster porn reality show

While some news outlets were quick to rush into criticism when the X-rated reality show initially aired, deeming it poorly produced and edited, I reserved judgement for later.

Currently four episodes into its first season, ‘The Sex Factor’ has me utterly and hopelessly hooked: and not for the reasons you’d expect.

In all fairness, the negative feedback the porn series has received so far is not entirely groundless. The production does indeed appear subpar compared to the standards of mainstream reality television and the storylines of some of the contestants often come across as flat and underexplored.

Yet ‘The Sex Factor’ has an enigmatic and undeniable appeal.

By now we’ve all grown accustomed to watching porn stars with exceptional genetics and sexual prowess deliver flawless performances on camera. But we often forget that what we observe on the screen is a product that has been meticulously constructed and manipulated to please the eye.

What we see in adult entertainment movies is not merely sex: it is commerce, it is an illusion, it is pornography. However, this isn’t what ‘The Sex Factor’ is about.

sex factor xhamster reality porn show 5

What makes the series so fascinating and authentic are exactly its imperfections and this is where ‘The Sex Factor’ shines: it confidently succeeds in turning its most obvious shortcomings into its most significant strengths.

It is precisely its janky editing, weak storylines and less than ideal production value that absolves ‘The Sex Factor’ from the pretentiousness of mainstream reality television and the illusionary appeal of pornography.

When The Verge criticized xHamster’s original series for failing to entertain either as reality television or as pornography, it missed the essence of the show.

Despite the reality aspect and all of the sex and nudity on screen, what I see in ‘The Sex Factor’ are not contestants in a reality show or performers in a porn movie, but real people trying to break into the dodgy world of adult entertainment and make a better life for themselves.

sex factor xhamster reality porn show 4

Indeed, ‘The Sex Factor’ is neither a reality show or a porn movie – it is both, and this is what is so unique and captivating about it.

Watching these wanna-be porn stars – that have just met last week – struggle to find chemistry and comfort with each other while laying naked in front of a dozen of cameras and a crew of strangers is a truly humbling experience: and one that does a lot more justice to the act of sex than any other reality show or porn movie could have done.

From a technological standpoint, what xHamster is doing is hardly pushing the envelope compared to fellow adult entertainment companies that have been making the shift towards virtual reality pornography.

Instead, xHamster’s move towards creating original content could be seen as part of a larger trend of companies looking to increase revenue by ramping up in-house production efforts (like Netflix, Amazon and Apple).

Whether this investment will pay off is yet to be seen, but regardless of how the porn reality series performs financially, one thing is for sure: ‘The Sex Factor’ has already made reality television and pornography a lot more humane and intimate than any other format has previously succeeded to.

The Sex Factor Official Website (NSFW 18+)

Read next: Why you should pick up "Why the Dutch are different"

Here's some more distraction

Comments