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WEB JUNKIE: “Beautiful Agony” uses amateurs, subtracts naughty parts to reveal the true face of lust

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010

Make no mistake about it (and don’t try to kid yourself) – Beautiful Agony ( is, in fact, a porn site. Don’t let the tasteful, arty web design or its French subhead (“Facettes de la petite mort”) fool you. But, like most good pornography, the site asks you to exercise your intellect as much as your rhythmically gyrating wrist.

That’s because there’s no actual sexual intercourse at Beautiful Agony. There’s no nudity. What the site offers – and offers by the hundreds – is video clips of real people (as opposed to seasoned professional sex workers) having orgasms…from the shoulders up. Masturbation – one of (if not the) most private of human acts – exposed in a way that is more voyeuristic and psychological than prurient and exploitative.

The submissions come from all over the world and from all sorts of people – young people, middle aged people, men and women of all races and religions. The site pays for the submissions it accepts (how much isn’t clear) and accepts only high-quality videos conforming to its submission standards – but otherwise you are essentially in the private bedrooms of countless men and women, getting the view only their lovers would otherwise enjoy.

Though “enjoy” may not be the right word. Without sexual context and in such a rigidly prescribed manner there is sometimes something disturbing (though always fascinating) about the clips that separates it from easily used, utilitarian pornography to which you yourself masturbate before forgetting the people and images altogether. These are not the beautiful, choreographed orgasms of late-night cable television soft-core pornography. You may find it difficult or impossible to get off to some of this – and it will almost certainly stick with you long after you’ve stopped watching.

The most compelling part of watching such highly personal moments may also be the least sexual – the little, non-masturbatory moments in each person’ routine. How do they position themselves? Are they on a bed or in a chair? Do they acknowledge the camera or try to pretend it isn’t there? How long does it take them to really “get into” what they’re doing – and are they enjoying themselves to that point, or just going through the mechanics of it? This is what the site refers to as the “warm up” and the “cool down” – those private moments just before and after the lip biting, panting, growling, screaming moments for which you may think you paid your $19.95 per month. Those moments are fascinating – especially since you see very few actual female orgasms in mainstream porn and the site’s submissions are overwhelmingly from women. But you may just find yourself so wrapped up in the minutia and ritual of these private moments that you forget it’s sexual.

These are people who (presumably) don’t have sex on camera so often that they’ve mastered (and therefore completely lost interest in) it as an art. These people are you, your girlfriend or boyfriend. This is what some people wait their whole lives (or at least a few dates) to see in just one person. And here, in this one site, are hundreds of these little infernos of intimacy. It is, at times, enough to make even those who’ve seen (and enjoyed) the most hardcore of hardcore pornography blush just a little.

To see if Beautiful Agony makes you blush (or submit your own video) go to

Web Junkie is a continuing feature exploring the strangest and most interesting corners of the Internet. Have a site we just have to see? Write Life Editor Joe Killian at [email protected]

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