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Online Pornography: When Too Much Delight Gets in the Way of Satisfaction

    Last Updated on May 17, 2023

    Too Much Delight Can Be Dangerous to Your Attention Span

    Exceeding people’s expectations. It can become an ever-increasing vertical. We want to give people more than they expect so we have their attention, and so they are happy. It can have a downside. If you think about it, we might even be lying to them. People enter with set expectations. If we exceed them, then we are delivering something other than they expected. We have lured them on a false pretext. The colloquial term for that in online marketing is clickbait and no one likes that.

    Keeping the ball in the air is hard enough. Getting it higher and higher in the air means a lot more work and on a continual basis. We hurt ourselves and our customers because we can’t possibly keep up that high level of satisfaction. Why?

    • + Keeping the bar raised will exhaust us and our resources
    • + Eventually we won’t hit that bar, and we will have wasted resources and not met expectations
    • + Continually raising or exceeding expectations ultimately makes everyone unhappy

    Online pornography is just one example of when too much delight, over an extended period, is bad. Expectations of porn sex in our own relationships are high, and only a few people can meet them, and probably not for a prolonged time. Online pornography, like any other customer expectations we are continually trying to exceed, is simply not sustainable. We can learn a lot about why sustainability is important to our businesses, but you won’t find anything there about online pornography.

    “Self awareness is a key to any small business. It is the first step in the branding process and helps define marketing and business goals. Sure, I am willing to admit that I watch porn in my satisfaction efforts. I figure it is better than the drama of dating. But then again, if I am honest with myself, that satisfaction level decreases every time.

    By satisfying my wants and needs alone, I am denying myself the true feeling of love and belonging that happens through an orgasm, hug, kiss with another human from the hormone oxytocin. Sure we can satisfy our marketing needs with automation (scheduling tweets), but does it help our businesses truly become human? Do we create delight with others? Loyalty? Sales? The answer is no. Self-satisfaction with porn or automation is easy; it doesn’t produce long-term results.”

    Bridget Willard

    It Feels Irreverant to Talk About Pornography and Religion in the Same Article. I Know, but Bear with Me.

    Some say organised religion is the original content marketing. It certainly promises us a big payout and during our lifetime plenty of things to delight us. Saints, gold chalices, crusades, other religions to dislike, good deeds, fellowship, careers and education, miracles, incense, Latin rites, the Pope, marriage, community, churches … religion offers a lot of swag. Honestly. I’m not being facetious. We Catholics call some of that swag sacramentals, and it’s quite important.

    Religion raises our expectations the most because the payout will be for eternity. However, we’ve seen it has a history of missed expectations. We expect love and kindness and we mostly see people killing each other for believing in a different version of God. And look at all the resources we spent over the last two thousand years keeping the bar raised.

    When Customer Delight Becomes Customer Expectation

    Where do we see other fractures appearing in our constant attempt to create ever higher bars of expectations and customer delight? Sadly everywhere, and it’s not a new phenomenon. Our expectations have been slowly ratcheted up bit by bit over the years. Most recently mobile phone apps and social media pushed them even higher to our detriment.

    Food – ever tried to recreate the photos in your recipe magazine? By the way, what can you cook or bake from scratch? And, I would like you to try a strawberry margarita made with fresh strawberries.

    Fashion – ever try to fit into the sample sizes worn by models on the runway? Now, not using your computer or phone, please buy the clothing item you see in the catalogue.

    Entertainment – remember when you had to wait a week between episodes? Have you watched two episodes one after the other? Have you watched an entire season in one sitting?

    Technology – watch an action movie from 1977. Now watch one from today. Try that with Star Wars episode 4 and episode 1. What do you think?

    Information – try going without your phone for a day, also your computer. Wait until the end of the day and buy a newspaper or watch the evening news. Do you have a drink in your hand?

    Communication – again, leave your phone at home. When you get home, call someone on your landline, write them a letter, or walk to their house and knock on their door. Did you even make it through the day without your phone? How many drinks do you have in your hand now?

    Social Media – I wanted to say Gaming, but I’m going to assume that no one who plays computer games thinks these are real, though they are beginning to look real enough. Play Mortal Combat from the 1980s, and then play one of the current fighting games. How do you feel?

    So back to Social Media. Is anything we see on social media real? Even real news is hard to differentiate from fake news because we have learnt that there is an agenda behind journalism, no matter how minor. It’s notable to mention that there are many attempts by people to have their followers post actual, untouched images once in a while. If we have to pointedly ask for this as a special occurrence then it’s clear how much our expectations of even ourselves has been ratcheted up to a level where we only feel comfortable when using filters and emojis.

    We’ve kind of lost it, haven’t we?

    Honestly, customer expectations are based on the customers’ experience with our current offerings. Most offerings satisfy some needs very well and others not so well. The real question we should be asking ourselves is, “Where are the customer needs that are both highly important and poorly satisfied?” Only those expectations associated with important unsatisfied needs are worth trying to exceed because only they will deliver new value and delight customers.

    Is Online Pornography Just More Content Marketing?

    Sure, comparing online pornography to content marketing might be pushing the envelope, but if what we want is over there, and our comfort zone is over here then we’re always going to be comfortable, and who wants that? We’ve been talking about raising the bar for the last few hundred words and in no dictionary will we find comfortable being used as a synonym for delightsatisfaction perhaps, but as a society, we’ve moved way past customer satisfaction.

    LazyBoy recliners might be the exception to my rule and even they talk about “raising the standard”.

    Content marketing:

    • + answers the questions and needs of the target group
    • + offers added value within the content
    • + creates interest in further products and services
    • + is usually free

    Most online pornography:

    • + answers the needs of the target group
    • + offers added value within the content
    • + creates interest in further products and services
    • + is usually free

    “Customer delight is the process of exceeding a customer’s expectations … Delight is about providing a remarkable experience to users through focusing on their needs, interests, and wishes.”

    Is Watching Pornography Bad for Your Health?

    I don’t know. I tend to think anything that sets our expectations higher than what would be realistically consistent with our lives is going to make us unhappy. If unhappiness is bad for our health, then watching pornography must be too. Erotica might be on the cusp. It’s probably also bad for us unless we are sharing it within a consensual sexual relationship.

    If we compare the gratification we get with online pornography and that of junk food, or even the dopamine hits we get on social media, I think can find some parallels.

    Where do the experts stand on watching pornography? They’re undecided.

    “Bad yes. … for young heterosexuals with little prior experience, viewing porn can cause unrealistic expectations about sexual activities desired by their partners. … Watching porn may also cause performance anxiety and body-image issues.”

    “Not bad. … pornography may be used as a coping strategy for experiences of depression and anxiety, rather than a direct cause.”

    The downside of online pornography is not limited to setting the bar too high. Some of the potential downsides are not much different than spending too much time on social media, playing computer games, or other online pursuits.

    • + Porn encourages self-gratification
    • + Porn can destroy a consumer’s values
    • + Porn can encourage social isolation
    • + Porn doesn’t inspire goal setting

    Just to be clear: I am not trying to minimise the negative impacts of pornography, nor make light of them, which are many. Violence, disregard and disrespect of all sexes, addiction, distorted beliefs and attitudes, among others. Nor do I disrespect nor judge the life choices of sex workers or others in the adult sex industry in any role. This post is about marketing, which in so many respects, sex, and our attitudes towards sex, play a major role.

    What Do You Think?

    Join me on Social Media and share your experiences of expectation, satisfaction, and delight – fulfilled or otherwise. I think we’re onto something here. Let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

    with thanks for the image from