We are currently living in an age of uncertainty, with the only predictability being the next porn scene you watch is guaranteed to end with the all-too-familiar sight of a beautiful woman being transformed into an overly glazed Krispy Kreme.
The pop shot, the splatter shot, the cum shot, whatever you want to call it—the money shot has had an interrupted moment in our lives. We have become accustomed to the porn we watch ending with the inescapable visual of a dude ejaculating (generally on the face) of his female co-star. The cum shot has become the full stop at the end of the sentence. Cum shot ‘cumpilations’ flood porn tube websites. The pop shot has not only infiltrated pop culture, the sight of a splat of splooge has become the leitmotif of hardcore mainstream porn. But it’s only been in recent decades that the money shot trope has been popularised.
So where did the rigid rule of copping a load to the face originate?
Well, the concept of cumming on someone’s face actually predates porn. In the 18th century, French aristocrat Marquis de Sade wrote about facials in his book The 120 Days of Sodom: “I show them my prick, then what do you suppose I do? I squirt the fuck in their face…that’s my passion.”
While earlier porn films occasionally showed ejaculation, it wasn’t until the 1970s, that the stereotypical cum shot became a standard feature in porn. Linda Williams, a film studies professor at UC Berkeley, says it was the infamous 1972 porno Deep Throat that kicked off our 50-year obsession with the money shot. She says the film “introduced narrativity in the genre and coined the cum shot as its defining figure." "Where the earlier short, silent stag films occasionally included spectacles of external ejaculation (in some cases inadvertently), it was not until the early 70s, with the rise of the hardcore feature, that the money shot assumed the narrative function of signalling the climax of a genital event."
For the uninitiated, the plotline of Deep Throat centres around a woman whose clitoris is at the back of her throat, and thus, engages in much fellatio. The film ends with what is considered the first major money shot, and its popularity burst forth from there.
Steve Ziplow’s The Film Maker’s Guide to Pornography (1977) states:
“There are those who believe that the come shot, or, as some refer to it, the "money shot," is the most important element in the movie and that everything else (if necessary) should be sacrificed at its expense. Of course, this depends on the outlook of the producer, but the one thing is for sure: if you don't have the come shots, you don't have a porno picture.”
By the time we hit the 1980s, the money shot had popped off and was evolving. Dr Carol Queen, a sexologist at a sex toy company told VICE, “Cumshots opened a door: Where will the ejaculate go? This was becoming more stylised and sometimes fetishised by the 1980s: pearl necklaces, cum on my tits! My favourite porn fail is when a woman orgasms loudly when ejaculate hits her ass—that rarely happens in real life.”
Well, it’s 2020 and the money shot is still going strong with no sign of drying up. We’re officially in the Age of the Facial. Cinematic cum shots are here to stay, and there’s no dodging that.