Ugh. Alright, Snakenaxa, I guess we're gonna go back and forth now. I disagree with a lot of what you said. The type of softcore I'm specifically complaining about is American mainstream softcore. Shows like Co-Ed that play on Cinemax or Showtime. Playboy is no longer softcore.
The late 60s had European softcore but no American softcore that I know of. Maybe by 1969. Are you talking about those nudist-colony type things? I can't even take those seriously. Yes, Europeans did have penis flopping in the 60s in movies like I am Curious (Yellow), but Europeans have seemed to always love penis. The 70s could be considered the peak of explicit softcore and artistic hardcore. It was still mostly European, and directors would often shoot softcore versions of movies with extra hardcore scenes that could be spliced in to release the same movie under different titles. Often, the extra closeup footage of penetration or fellatio wasn't even the actors in the original movies. Or, the movies would be straight softcore with one or two quick shots of an insertion, or erection, or some "naughty bit." I've seen a bunch of these movies, and the nudity is always 80% female. There is dick, but there are just as many closeups of bush (it would be hard to get much "pink" because of the um ... pubic hair style of the time). I don't think that you would argue that porn, both hardcore and softcore has always been aimed at men, even back at the start and that outside of Europe, it was rare to see much penis in softcore.
I would not consider the 60s or 70s the peak of American softcore. The peak would be the late 80s and early 90s. In the 80s, VHS, Cinemax and Showtime were first introduced to households and there was suddenly a need for movies to fill up video store shelves (cheap with sex worked fine) and a market for cheap movies with a lot of nudity that could play late at night when lonely or bored hetero men were looking for something to do. Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds gave berth to a million sex comedies that would go straight to video or straight to cable. There was an explosion of "B" movies, T&A movies, whatever you want to call them. Lots of boobs, lots of bush, exit penis stage right. Then came the late 80s, early 90s. You had movies like Night Eyes and all the "erotic thriller" movies. I would consider this the peak, because this is when you had softcore movies with an actual budget - a budget that could be earned back with VHS sales and sales to Showtime or Cinemax. There was an actual attempt at a story, an attempt at acting. And a ton of female nudity. No, not much "pink" - women still had "bushes" and a frontal closeup would just give you a good view of pubic hair and the bent over from behind shot was still relegated to Playboy. Yes, penis would sneak in (usually you would just see a sock or pouch) movies like I Like to Play Games, Over the Wire, a few others, but it was so RARE that there was some titillation even for straight men - "Oh, my God, they just showed his dick." At this time, Playboy would show pink, and minimal flaccid penis shots. Everything was still simulated. You had hardcore if you wanted it, and you had well-made softcore with a limited number of men's asses, let alone any penis. I was a happy camper.
Then came the internet.
It's been great for a lot of things, and I've jerked off to free online porn as much as the next man, but for a time, it killed any American softcore with a pulse. Suddenly you could get anything you wanted - oral, anal, orgies, gay, lesbian, midgets, animals, castration, shit videos - in seconds and usually for free.
Meanwhile, in the mid-90s, American indies and a new wave of gay writers, directors, and producers and female writers, and producers (usually not directors) would release more and more movies with penis shots. Mainstream America got "Scary Movie" and "There's Something About Mary" which started the trend of dicks for comedy. I was a teenager when this was happening and I still remember the embarrassment I felt in the theatre when I had to see dick. Stars like Ewan MacGregor were more than happy to flash their dick whenever asked. Then "Romance" came out and Euro Art Porn was born. We had real sucking and fucking from actors and actresses we had seen before. Jack Valenti died and now the MPAA lets pass things it would never dream of allowing in mainstream movies 10 years ago.
Hugh started loosening control of Playboy and suddenly Playboy TV became more and more explicit until it got to the point where it is today - hardcore porn for most of the day.
How could cable softcore compete? Playboy was going hardcore, the internet was hardcore or softcore for free and allowed people to illegally download softcore movies for free, and they lost the VHS and DVD outlet because Blockbuster first stopped carrying sex movies and soon Blockbuster will be extinct. Suddenly even "art" movies were more sexy than softcore - you could see Vincent Gallo getting his dick sucked for real or you could watch a softcore movie or TV series with sex scenes featuring the same 4 positions, campy lighting, ridiculous music, and godawfully fake movements from the actors. By the late 90s, softcore was a joke. What could softcore do? It had to start pushing the boundaries.
Enter John Quinn.
First as a director, with movies like The Key to Sex, pink shots came roaring into softcore. There was much rejoicing. (Still little to no penis in basic cable softcore, you had to go to Playboy to see anything). Then, when Playboy started loosening it's standards, John was making movies and shows for the company, including Hollywood's Hidden Lives, Sexy Urban Legends, basically anything that was awesome. Sexy Urban Legends was 8 years ago and 7 Lives Exposed was 9, not the "5 or so" I mentioned in my comment you had an issue with. Yes, Sexy Urban Legends had a tremendous amount of penis for a softcore show (including erections), but it also had a ton of vulva shots, including masturbation and some awfully realistic looking cunnilingus. You mention that Sexy Urban Legends had male masturbation - yeah, I remember the 2 second shot of his erect cock before the actor raised his leg to hide it from view. I didn't mind that episode because there were so many spread leg shots from the women, it made up for it. I'm not a fan of 7 Lives Exposed, I've seen a couple. I remember a guy jerking off in front of a girl on the couch who started fingering herself, but all I remember is maybe a brief shot of the guy stretching out his dick and everything else was hidden. I was fine with that episode. We got more explicit action from the woman on the couch. Luckily there were no male-male moments in anything I saw - are you saying they sad simulated gay fucking and fellatio? Sounds awful, especially on a channel dedicated to men. If I had seen the episodes you were describing, yeah they would have pissed me off)
Anyway, Quinn went back to cable softcore with my favorite series of all time - Sin City Diaries - in 2007. That show pushed the limits of basic cable softcore - extended penis shots in at least 2 episodes and vulva in almost every one. The first episode actually had a ton more penis than vulva, but it was sexy because the actors were beautiful, the cinematography was beautiful, the sex was realistic, and it was balanced by the second episode, which had lingering views of a vulva and no penis at all. Sexy, sexy show.
Now, we still have a crap show like Zane's Sex Thing
. We have a show that looks like something John Quinn would do (Life on Top). We have a John Quinn show (Lingerie). And we have a dumb show with (usually) great nudity (Co-Ed Confidential). We have terrible, terrible, terrible features that pop up every now and then (how many movies can Frankie Cullen be in) that are embarrassing to attempt to watch but that occasionally feature great nudity and that (unfortunately) too often rely on former hardcore stars or hardcore stars on vacation for their cast. That's it for softcore right now. Playboy maybe has that Jasmin thing if it's still getting made - it doesn't seem hardcore, but reminds me of the Zalman King crap from Showtime in the 90s.
My rant started because current softcore was fulfilling a niche for a lot of hetero men. Sometimes we don't want to watch people with great bodies but usually jacked up faces and terrible personalities fucking for real. We'd rather see more attractive people in something that's making an attempt at telling a story and made in a professional manner. We currently get penis in hardcore, penis in online ads, penis in Hollywood and European movies, and penis on mainstream cable shows. In the TV shows and movies, we are arguably getting more male erotification than we are female erotification. Softcore is that last bastion for hetero men, where the female form is the focus, the female form is celebrated, the female form is erotifed, glorified. A place where the male form exists, but stays mostly on the sidelines. That is what softcore has always existed for. It has always been a male sex fantasy that women are welcome to partake in, but where women viewers will always be the minority and thus should not get much of a say on what is shown. Women are simply not as visual as men. How many women subscribe to Playgirl (does it still exist) vs. the number of gay men that subscribe to Playgirl. Even this CFNM thing - if you go on a forum, they are usually run by men (either gay, bi, or in the closet) and almost every commenter or poster is a man.
So I got upset because we have
1.) Shitty features that are usually comedies because they are so bad they can't be taken seriously. At least they deliver on the nudity - usually not a single dick shot, a few glances at vulva.
2.) Zane's thing - sucks, hardly any nudity from anybody, about 10 years behind the times.
3.) Lingerie - Glorious. Beautiful people realistically fucking. At least one vulva per episode and I can't remember seeing any penis, though they do a realistic job of fellatio. I have a sneaking suspicion we'll get a few dick shots this season since that seems to be the trend. Hope I'm wrong.
4.) Life on Top - Like the cast, like the production value, where's the vulva?
5.) Co-Ed - Fucking dumb, but good nudity and a mostly attractive cast.
I was starting to really look forward to Co-Ed, but they're ruining the hetero male fantasy. Yes, the sex scenes are positioned so that the woman is facing the camera, and the woman is the focus in the scene, but after a great start, the pink shots have disappeared. It's leaving Lingerie land and veering towards Life on Top. It's becoming "safe." As the explicit female nudity has dried up, we're now getting extended looks at penis. No fucking thanks. I come to softcore and a lot of heteros come to softcore, so that we don't have to see penis. If we do see penis, have the girl kissing on the man's thigh, lower stomach, or on either side of his shaft. Or pulling it out and looking up at the actor and smiling. Hot. And make sure that you're still giving us our explicit female nudity. Instead, Co-Ed is giving us dick shots for no reason and no pink shots. Until we either have no explicit nudity from either sex or the female explicit nudity comes back, but the penis back in the pants.