Pornhub launches explicit audio for the visually impaired


For the around 285 million people worldwide who are visually impaired, pornography can seem like an acoustic blur of heavy breathing, squelches, slaps and Maria Sharapova-esque grunts.

To help them find some sexual inspiration, the video-sharing site Pornhub has launched a “described video” category, in which professional voice actors explain what’s going on in the scene. The section has launched with a collection of 50 of the site’s most popular videos, and there’s something for everyone: straight, gay, female friendly, bi and transexual.

Pornhub launched in 2007, and claims 60 million daily views to its professional and amateur adult content.

The new narrated videos include descriptions of the settings, models, what they are wearing and the positions they are getting into, combined with the original audio of the video. Many of the explicitly titled clips have already attracted more than 20,000 views.

The accessibility initiative is being championed by the adult entertainment company’s philanthropic division (yes, really), Pornhub Cares, which has previously launched a clothing line to fight against domestic violence and a breast cancer awareness campaign called “Save the Boobs”, where it donated 1 cent for every 30 videos viewed within its “big tit” and “small tit” categories.

“It’s our goal to service all of our users’ needs, which begins with making content accessible to every individual,” said Pornhub vice-president Corey Price. “We selected some of the videos that were better suited for narration and could be best described in detail. We wanted to describe all that we could to provide the user with the best possible experience while not taking away from the video’s original audio.”

Price added that Pornhub wants to encourage its users to create and upload more audio descriptive clips with the differently abled in mind.

“People who are blind have every right to access porn as they do classical Shakespeare or any other kind of video,” says Joel Snyder, director of the audio description project at the American Council of the Blind.

Snyder welcomes Pornhub’s efforts to make its content more accessible, but suggests the move isn’t entirely altruistic. “There are more than 21 million people in this country who are either blind or have trouble seeing even with eye correction. The community is large and has buying power, so this smacks of something that just economically makes good sense.”

Pornhub isn’t the first organization to make porn accessible for the visually impaired. Back in 2006, a website called recruited volunteers to record graphic descriptions of popular adult videos, which were uploaded as MP3 files. The site became a cult hit, attracting as many as 150,000 visitors per month.

Offline, an artist called Lisa Murphy has created a book of tactile photographs of nudes, embossed on white plastic pages along with a braille description.

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