The Future of Boudoir and The New Packaging of Porn?

Every art form evolves.

In fact, an art form can evolve to such a degree that it breaks off from its original starting point and becomes its own thing. 

We see this happen in music all the time.

Hip-hop evolved out of Rap and Pop, and EDM evolved from disco and electronic music. And while music is getting more and more sub-divided into more and more genres, I think the exact opposite is going to happen with boudoir.

Boudoir is going to encapsulate and absorb its neighboring genres like Pac-Man gobbling up all those white dots in his path.

It’s going to become like the large conglomerate that buys up smaller companies.  

I also think younger and younger women are going to be getting boudoir shoots and I’ll explain why later on.

This is all speculation, of course, but I can already see these trends gaining traction.

It’s where we’re headed, ready or not.

Boudoir’s Neighbors

The other genres that live in boudoir’s neighborhood are:

Erotic Photography

And the “P” word… pornography.

(I don’t like using the “P” word in the context of discussing boudoir and I’m sure many of you don’t either but it was unavoidable with regard to writing this article as you’ll soon discover.)

These are the two other types of photography that, in the future, will fall under the umbrella of boudoir because boudoir photographers are borrowing more and more content from these genres, re-packaging and re-labeling it as “Erotic Boudoir” and offering it to clients as a regular part of their services.

PG-rated boudoir as we know it will decrease more and more much like PG-rated movies, which, for all practical purposes, don’t exist anymore.

This is how far our society has shifted with regard to our attitude towards taking something that used to be very private and making it more public.

If we were to represent boudoir on a sliding scale starting with its re-emergence in the early 2000s, and use the movie rating system to represent its content, it would look something like this.

Boudoir in the early 2000s

As you can see, the bulk of boudoir fell on the PG13 part of the bell curve, tapering off as we get closer to more R-rated content.

This is going to shift dramatically and we’ll take another look at this scale later on.

But first, let’s take a closer look at one of boudoir’s closest neighbors.

Erotic Photography

Erotic photography used to have a nice high fence around its property, but nosy boudoir neighbors kept peeking over it… and guess what? They liked what they saw.

More and more boudoir photographers are taking photographs that used to be considered erotica’s exclusive playground. 

More women are opting to get photographed in some type of bondage apparatus, and boudoir photographers are more than happy to accommodate them, offering it on their websites like an a la carte item on a menu.

“Yes, I’ll have my boudoir shoot with a side of ankle and wrist restraints, along with a spreader please.”

Didn’t we only used to see this kind of photography under the guise of erotica or underground type stuff? It’s a sign of the times how uneventful and seamless a transition this has become.

Part of it is the main-streaming of boudoir photography itself, (and of sexual imagery in general over the decades) and of course our lowered tolerance of what is acceptable nowadays because of what is allowed on social media.

What was considered scandalous or off-limits before, is no longer.

The Re-Packaging and Re-Marketing of “Couples Boudoir”

Let’s take a closer look at “couples boudoir”.

I have always advocated that “couples boudoir” be called an intimate couples shoot to distinguish itself separate from boudoir but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

“Couples boudoir” is now becoming synonymous with boudoir and will increase its connection to the genre even more moving forward.

A boudoir shoot is about capturing a woman’s sexual expression and beauty all by herself. An intimate couples shoot is about capturing the relationship that exists between the two people.

It’s interesting how a couples shoot, which evolved out of wedding photography as a variation of the engagement shoot, has been adopted by the boudoir genre.

It makes perfect sense though when you think about what type of photographer would be called upon to shoot a more R-rated couples session.

This coupling of boudoir and intimate couple shoots will push boudoir more to what some might consider a socially acceptable form of pornography, but it won’t be viewed as such because of who is shooting it and how it is marketed.

By calling an intimate couples shoot “couples boudoir” in effect, the boudoir genre is pulling content that used to belong exclusively to porn under its label

Think about it, in many “couples boudoir” shoots you’re taking pictures of two people simulating sex. Where does that kind of content come from? Well… it comes from porn.

*So, by offering “couples boudoir” under the guise of “Erotic Boudoir” you’re moving boudoir further and further away from its intent — which by all accounts is to help women feel empowered and feel better about themselves.

When photographing a woman all by herself it’s all about her. When photographing a couple it’s all about the relationship and showing that on a sliding scale from intimacy all the way to simulating sex acts.

This trend will continue though simply because there’s money to be made from it. If there’s more money to be made by shooting “couples boudoir” in a more erotic style, a percentage of boudoir photographers will gladly cash that check all day long.

The House of “P”

Another house in boudoir’s neighborhood is the house of pornography… however, this domicile is situated in the bad part of town and we don’t like to talk about that part at all.

As boudoir borrows more and more cups of sugar from the house of porn, it will take that ingredient back to its much nicer neighborhood and make a whole different looking kind of cake with it — repackaging and re-selling it to women.

Images that were once considered “pornographic” will slip into mainstream boudoir and be marketed as “edgy boudoir” or “take a walk on the wild side” kind of photography. All under the messaging of “female empowerment” and helping people “express” themselves of course.

What was once considered only the realm of erotica and pornography (the strong suggestion or literal depiction of a sex act) will now populate a segment of mainstream boudoir — not all, but certainly a growing percentage.

This will eventually be accepted as the new normal for boudoir with regard to couples shoots because we have new generations of young women growing up being bombarded with images of other women pushing the limits of what is sexually acceptable on social media on a daily basis.

What Used To Be Simulated Will Become Real 

Couples shoots, or what is commonly referred to as “couples boudoir” where couples are photographed in various positions simulating various sex acts, will evolve into capturing images of couples having actual sex

The boxer briefs, and bras and bottoms will finally be removed and boudoir photographers will now be photographing the actual act itself.

Surprised?

I’m not.

If a train is headed to Chicago, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when it finally arrives there.

I’m sure photographers are photographing couples having actual sex already but the difference now is that instead of the “sleazy guy-with-a-camera” capturing these images, it’s now the thirty-something mother of two offering it as one of her packages and shooting it in her spare bedroom or studio on main street. 

And it won’t be considered porn either… at least by those in front of and behind the camera — mainly because it’s being shot by a female and not a male, and that changes people’s opinion of it and “legitimizes” it. 

This “borrowing” from porn will be repackaged and re-labeled as something more acceptable to the market place for those seeking a “couples boudoir” shoot.

And any photographer or client that has moral or ethical hesitations about doing such a shoot will justify and rationalize doing it under the banner of “female empowerment”, which, in today’s society has become a “hall pass” for any behavior a woman wants to engage in while keeping her virtue and morals from becoming tarnished by her own ethical standards.

In movie terms, this is the dissolution of the PG rated movie shifting to the R and NC-17 scale of things… and even beyond to X-rated. 

So, Is It Really Porn… or Something Else?

In some people’s view it will still be considered porn. But for many a new acceptance will emerge. Should photographing a natural act between two people for their own private enjoyment be considered porn?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself, but this type of content with regard to couples shoots will start to become more common. 

Get Ready For Some New Neighbors!

Okay boudoir, are you ready for some new neighbors?

I hope so, because we’re going to have some people from the other side of town moving into our neighborhood.

So, the “sleazy guy-with-a-camera” with ulterior motives is watching the direction boudoir is headed and he’s going to take full advantage of it and shift his business model to appear to look more legitimate.

His intentions and motivations will remain the same… he’ll just have a better sheep disguise to hide his wolf identity. 

He’ll be coming from the other side of town and moving into a house right in boudoir’s neighborhood.

He’ll redesign his website and alter his messaging to mimic that of boudoir photographers’, using all the same language and images that attract female clients to boudoir in the first place.

The gap between these two types of photographers that shoot this more “erotic” style of “couples boudoir” will narrow as boudoir shifts further right on the sliding scale and these “sleazy guys-with-a-camera” shift further left.

The New Sliding Scale of Boudoir Photography

Let us now re-visit our sliding scale.

As you can see, the bulk of the bell curve has shifted to the right and the scale has some new ratings on it.

The difference from one end of the spectrum to the other is more extreme.

The reason being is that boudoir will continue to borrow content and themes that used to belong exclusively to erotica and porn.

However, it won’t be viewed in the same manner because its context will be under the label of boudoir and its intent will be different as well.

Boudoir will, in effect, bring into the mainstream what used to be considered taboo, or at the very least, fringe or underground, as it blends elements from these two genres into its cake batter.

Boudoir will, in essence, homogenize elements from these other two genres.

There will still be boudoir photography at the PG end of the scale, but there will also be more photographers who shift their businesses toward the R, NC-17, and X-rated end of things now.

A New Generation Carries A New Flag

Standards that we are used to and that feel comfortable to us, for the most part, are imprinted on us mostly as we grow up from early childhood through young adulthood.

Younger generations growing up today are growing up with an entirely different imprint than boudoir photographers who grew up in earlier generations.

These younger generations of women are living with social media as a part of their daily lives. 

What was considered too risqué back in the day, is viewed now as totally acceptable without blinking an eye.

This isn’t everyone, though, but it’s enough to have an influence on the culture.

Body parts being flaunted and suggestive gyrations didn’t exist in mainstream media not that long ago the way is does today. The bar of social stigma for sexually explicit content gets lower and lower.

Because of this innate need for sexual attention (that’s built into female DNA when they hit puberty) the opportunity to capture that expression will spill over to the boudoir industry.

It’s my belief that because of this, younger and younger women will be drawn to getting boudoir shoots with the only factors stopping them being their age and finances.

A new avatar will emerge to co-exist alongside the thirty-something mother of two who wants to feel good about herself again after bearing children, and the forty-something divorcee looking to rejuvenate her life.

The new avatar will be the late-teen to young twenty-something who seeks that higher level of sexual expression she can’t capture with her cell phone. 

These images will be used to impress her followers and friends on social media, as well as, confirmation for herself that she really is beautiful and sexy, which for young women is probably one of the most sought after types of validation.

Conclusion

The rate of change today is swift and merciless.

Much like looking out the side window of a car speeding down a busy city street, the view passes by so quickly it’s already behind us before we ever saw it coming.

It used to not be this way but technology has given us the power to accelerate.

We no longer have the luxury of looking out the front windshield to see what’s on the horizon. Our view is only out the side window now as a passenger in that speeding car.

Boudoir is becoming more and more explicit and the line between it, erotica, and porn is getting harder and harder to find.

I suggest you tighten your seatbelts.

Thanks for your time!

Charles Mitri

Founder / Lounge Boudoir

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What Is Boudoir and Why Is It Critical You Know?

What Boudoir Is Not

Why Couples Boudoir Is Not Really Boudoir

Charles Mitri

Charles Mitri is an award-winning boudoir photographer and also founder and writer of LoungeBoudoir.com, an educational blog and resource website for boudoir photographers worldwide. He lives in Yorktown, Virginia.

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