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A cum shot, cumshot[1], come shot,[2][3] pop shot, or money shot is the record (on film or video or, less frequently, in some pornographic magazines) of a man ejaculating, usually onto a person or object. It is typically the cinematographer's indication, within the narrative framework of a pornographic film, that the sexual act recorded is authentic and has concluded for the male participant.

Some feminist critics have argued that the depiction of cum shots are an expression of misogyny and objectification of women, when they are performed with a female partner.[4] Feminist writer Susan Faludi argues that pornography scenes depicting women performing oral sex on men objectify the male performer, in that the male performer's entire body, except for the erect penis, is off-camera.[5]

In contrast, sexologist Peter Sándor Gardos argues that the men who enjoy viewing these scenes are the men "who have positive attitudes toward women."[6]


Origin of related term "money shot"

The "cum shot" is often referred to as the money shot in a borrowing from mainstream feature filmmakers, who used the term "money shot" as slang for the image that cost the most money to produce;[2] in addition, the inclusion of this expensive special effect sequence would become a selling point for the film. For example, in an action thriller, an expensive special effects sequence of a dam bursting might be called the "money shot" of the film.

The pornography industry adopted the term "'money shot'" because the final ejaculation scene has become an important element in pornographic depictions, in part because it proves to the viewer that they have witnessed an authentic sexual act.

The "cum shot" has become such a common conclusion to scenes in pornographic movies that if a scene does not end with an ejaculation sequence, viewers may believe that the actor was unable to climax or that the scene was cut. According to Stephen Ziplow, author of The Film Maker's Guide to Pornography , "...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."[7]

Pornography and erotica without "cum shots"

Two exceptions to this expectation are softcore pornography, in which penetration is not explicitly shown and "couples erotica", which may involve penetration but is typically filmed in a more discreet manner intended to be romantic or educational rather than graphic. Softcore pornography that does not contain ejaculation sequences is produced both to respond to a demand by some consumers for less-explicit pornographic material, and to comply with government regulations or cable company rules that may disallow depictions of ejaculation.

Cum shots technically do not appear in "girl-girl" scenes as far as the expulsion of semen goes, and orgasm is normally implied by utterances, cinematic conventions, or body movement. Although lesbian porn may not show the expulsion of semen, female ejaculation may be present.

Other meanings

While the term "cum shot" normally refers to filming of the ejaculation scene in a pornographic movie (the term "shot" in "cum shot" refers to the filming, or "shooting" of the scene), the term is also used more loosely to refer to the actual physiological event of male ejaculation.

Feminist perceptions


[[File:|thumb|An illustration of a man ejaculating onto a woman's face]] It is common for a fellatio/irrumatio scene in pornography to end with the actor ejaculating onto the actress's face. Some have interpreted that as an expression of misogyny, male domination and objectification of women.

For example, in Padraig McGrath's review of Laurence O'Toole's book Pornocopia – Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire, he rhetorically asks whether "...women enjoy having men ejaculate on their faces?" He suggests that the role of a "cum shot" scene such as this is to suggest that " doesn’t matter what the woman likes – she’ll like whatever the man wants her to like because she has no inner life of her own, in turn because she’s not a real person." McGrath argues that there is a "power-aspect" to depictions such as "come shots."

He alleges that the "...central theme [of pornography] is power...[,] implicitly violent...eroticized hatred."[4]

Susan Faludi, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, argues that pornography scenes depicting women performing oral sex on men objectify the male performer, in that the male performer's entire body, except for the erect penis, is off-camera. In the article "My Son's Penis" from Masthead magazine, the female author, who cites Faludi, claims that "the male performer's [in porn] primary function is to make her [the female actress'] performance possible. He is her straight man, her foil, or as Susan Faludi puts it in her essay "The Money Shot" her "appendage, the object of the object.""

The author of the Masthead article claims that the woman in such a scene may appear like a "machine". She states that during a scene depicting a "white woman's mouth in the act of swallowing a white man's penis ...the shape of his organ glides back and forth against the inside of her left cheek...[with] her lips engulfing and expelling his genitals as if she were the only movable part of a well-oiled machine." The author claims that the "cum-shot is supposed to represent the pinnacle and proof of male heterosexual pleasure."[5]

The author of the "My Son's Penis" article states that with "the cum shot, the pleasure of which is expressed not in what the man on the screen felt in his own body up to and including the point of his ejaculation, but rather in what it means for him to ejaculate onto the body of a woman." She claims that the way cum shots are depicted in pornography is a "more or less absolute yoking in heterosexual pornography of male sexual pleasure to a woman's presence." She argues that focus on having the man ejaculate onto a woman "... has a moral fervor, an intellectual certainty" that is usually associated with "religious or scientific pronouncements."[5]

Another critic of "cum shot" scenes in pornography is the US porn star-turned writer, director and producer Candida Royalle. She produced pornography films aimed at women and their partners that avoid the "misogynous predictability" and depiction of sex in " grotesque and graphic [a way] as possible." Royalle also criticizes the male-centredness of the typical pornography film, in which scenes end when the male actor ejaculates. Royalle’s films are not “goal oriented” towards a final "cum shot"; instead, her films depict sexual activity within the broader context of women's emotional and social lives.[8]


In contrast, sexologist Peter Sándor Gardos argues that his research suggests that "... the men who get most turned on by watching cum shots are the ones who have positive attitudes toward women." (on the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex in 1992).[6] Later, on The World Pornography Conference in 1998, he reported a similar conclusion, namely that "no pornographic image is interpretable outside of its historical and social context. Harm or degradation does not reside in the image itself".[9]

Author Lisa Moore suggests that it is the pleasure the actresses exhibit that the male partners enjoy, and that it is more accurate to think men want their semen to be wanted.[10] Women's activist Beatrice Faust stated "Since ejaculating into blank space is not much fun, ejaculating over a person who responds with enjoyment sustains a lighthearted mood as well as a degree of realism." She goes on to say "Logically, if sex is natural and wholesome and semen is as healthy as sweat, there is no reason to interpret ejaculation as a hostile gesture."[11][12]

Also people involved in the porn industry differ in their opinions on the topic. Thus, Bill Margold, who has starred in over 400 films, has stated that cum shots represent "vicarious revenge exacted upon the cheerleader by X-number of men who could not get that cheerleader."[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Come". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ a b Extract of The Money Shot by Jane Mills.
  3. ^ Cindy Patton (1996). Fatal Advice: How Safe-Sex Education Went Wrong. Duke University Press. p. 3. 
  4. ^ a b Review by Padraig McGrath.
  5. ^ a b c Masthead
  6. ^ a b Bruce Herschensohn; Bill Clinton; Sexologists in San Diego; Future Sex 2 by Bruce Herschensohn.
  7. ^ Jane Mills, The Money Shot: Cinema, Sin and Censorship. Pluto Press, Annandale 2001. ISBN 1 86403 142 5.
  8. ^ "Girls on top" by Lilly Bragge, The Age, June 16, 2004.
  9. ^ a b Excerpt from "Among the Pornographers," Matt Labash's coverage of the 1998 World Pornography Conference for The Weekly Standard.
  10. ^ Moore, LJ (2007). Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man's Most Precious Fluid. New York University Press. pp. 84. ISBN 978-0814757185. 
  11. ^ Faust, Beatrice (1980). Women, sex, and pornography: a controversial and unique study. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-537050-2. 
  12. ^ Slade, Joseph W. (2001). Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide Vol. 2. Greenwood Press. pp. 656. ISBN 0-313-31520-5. 

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