What do women search for most when browsing for porn? The answer will surprise you. Lilly Sparks of afterglow shares her journey from big firm accounting to entrepreneur founding afterglow, a sexy and disruptive tech-company that merges porn and sexual wellness by creating high quality ethical films ranging from steamy videos, wellness articles and helpful exercises – all in an effort to foster sexual intimacy and pleasure and create more sexual awakenings. We believe that sexual health is an important part of overall health.
Check out afterglow – https://xoafterglow.com/
The magic wand – https://amzn.to/3HBFE9P
Pretty ok (not great) transcript:
so Lily, when Mason first showed me your website, xoafterglow.com. My initial reaction was where has this been all about? It seems like porn is notoriously made for the type of sex that men want to see. Right. But I feel like the content and experience you’ve created is just so much more authentic and central.
So a big presumptuous, thank you to all of the ladies listening to this
[00:00:37] Mason: and for the men who want to watch porn with their ladies, but finding anything to introduce them to is virtually impossible. So Lily, you started your career as an account. Which makes a ton of sense because the first person people think about when looking for tips in the bedroom is their accountant.
Can he share with us how that transition came about?
[00:00:57] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah. So, um, basically I was in a gas, started my career as an accountant. I worked for one of the big firms for like eight years. And I knew that that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, but I didn’t know what I did want to do with my life. And I ended up kind of making a intermediate jump into, um, the natural foods world, which is how we met and why I’m on this podcast today, which is awesome.
[00:01:23] Mason: I have some of that product in our kitchen. Yeah.
[00:01:26] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: And, and, um, yeah, so I knew that. I was thinking about going to business school and getting my MBA. And I figured like, instead of going $50,000, a hundred thousand dollars into debt, why don’t I just not make a salary and do a startup for a couple of years?
And, um, it ended up working and ended up going like beyond my wildest dreams. I remember thinking. If we made a mill, if we sold like a million dollars, that would just be insane to me, crazy. Like, could it be any more successful than that? And then we hit that and then we kept going. that experience really taught me like the power of belief, like how you have to know, and you have to really believe you can do something in order to make it real and make it happen.
that when you do have that vision and when you do think you can go. Then you really can make something big and realizing that I thought about like, what is the change that I want to create in the world? I realized that it was porn for women. And even though I was, you know, a smart cookie running my business, selling millions of dollars of products, I, at the same time, I was in a relationship with my high school, sweetie.
we were each other’s only partners and I just felt so lost on, you know, how to communicate, how to have good sex, how to even know my body, because I, you know, I grew up in a household that we didn’t talk about that stuff. And I feel like so many people are looking for resources on how to have amazing sex, how to know their bodies better, but the only place that exists for them.
Is porn and most porn is not really great at helping you have a amazing real sex life. so that’s really the theory behind, after gloss. We are helping people have everyday sexual awakenings, and we’re doing that through erotic, sexy videos. And we’re doing that through partner exercises, and we’re doing that through.
Advice from experts and we’re doing it through all these different ways. So we have awesome sexy porn. And then we also have companion things to help you really bring the hot things that you see into your actual sex life.
[00:04:00] Mason: Yeah. Going back to accounting, how many accountants do you think secretly want to be important?
[00:04:07] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Well, it’s really funny because there’s actually a tick tock trend now. Uh, strippers and porn stars are like calling themselves accountants because they’re like, because of all the, um, all the rules that are taking down, anything related to sex, and sometimes they call it like spicy accounting. Um, so yeah, maybe I need to go on there and start doing debits and credits.
I don’t know.
[00:04:32] Mason: Would you growing up, would you say you were more sexual than your peers or you just kind of had this dry.
[00:04:39] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah, honestly not. And I think that’s kind of my super power is I feel like I’m really just an average person. Like I’ve never been to crazy sex parties or anything like that, but it’s still like when I got divorced, I realized that sex was important to me.
And it was something important in my life and that when I was having good sex, I was happier. And I think it is something important in all of our lives. But we just kind of are meant to dissociate with that and like put it in, like hide it away and never talk about it. And I just always thought that that was weird.
[00:05:18] Mason: Yeah. What was your first exposure to point?
[00:05:22] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah. Oh man. I totally remember. It was with, you know, my same, my high school boyfriend. And it was like after prom and somebody had a DVD. these were the DVD days. And the DVD I think was called like young girls in prison. Oh my gosh. And we felt like, so like naughty, like we’re all like watching it, like in a group of people, which is funny, but you know, it turned me on, like, I think Porin turns me on and I think it turns most people on, but then.
A lot of times, they’re not sure if it’s been made ethically or how it was produced and people really want, you know, I’m gonna make these comparisons to food industry a lot because that’s where I come from. And that’s probably what a lot of your listeners are familiar with. But like,
[00:06:12] Mason: people want to know where it came from.
[00:06:16] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Like people want to know where it came from. They want to know how it’s made. They want it. They want it to know that they can feel good about what they’re consuming.
[00:06:23] Mason: Yes. What was your first porn exposure?
[00:06:25] Jess: Oh, mine. Um, I guess when my brother listens to these podcasts, so I apologize, Jeff, I’m going to totally throw you under the bus here, but I have mom and dad turned
[00:06:35] Mason: this
[00:06:35] Jess: off now.
He’s one of my, he’s one of my three older brothers. Um, but he would definitely watch porn and would leave it on that channel. Like, you know, one of the high, like 578. And so when I would flip onto it, they would just be pouring there for me. So I know. My first experience, wasn’t actively seeking it out. It was just kind of like placed in my lap.
Um, but yeah, it definitely turned me on as well.
[00:06:59] Mason: I’ve got almost the, I mean, it’s almost a movie plot where we move into a new house and me and my brother just rummaging around the attic and literally under one of the rafters is a bunch of hustler magazines. And then one VHS with. Might’ve been similar.
So VHS days before DVD, although these were, these were from the seventies. So they’d been there a long time and it probably was still girls in prison. I don’t know.
[00:07:30] Jess: Um, so if porn is historically been made for men in, based off your research and the content that you guys create, what is it that women want out of their porn or what they enjoy more so than, you know, the mass amount that’s out there.
[00:07:45] Lilly Sparks of Afterglo: Yeah. I think women, we in general are more varied than men. So it’s hard to really say there’s one thing that women love and that is porn for women.
Like I think the idea that most people have is they want a storyline, they want something romantic. They want something intimate. And we definitely see that in, you know, the popular tags on our site, but we also see that roughly. Is very requested, very searched for women, love roughs. They actually searched for rough sex and gang bangs more than men do well more than men.
And they also searched for lesbian porn really frequently, regardless of their, um, sexual orientation. Yeah, I would say watching two
[00:08:32] Jess: women is much more enjoyable than watching a man and a female,
[00:08:36] Mason: a gang bang.
[00:08:39] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: I think I’d be searching for
[00:08:40] Jess: lesbian more than I would be searching
[00:08:41] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: for gang bang, but there’s something for everybody, right.
[00:08:45] Jess: Yeah. You know, and I love, um, I stumbled upon a quiz on y’all’s website. What kind of porn do I like? And I thought that was so fun. I’m certainly going to share that to all of my friends. Mine was the submission of Emma and marks. I don’t know if you’re familiar with all of the pieces of content. So we’ll have to watch that Mason.
[00:09:05] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah, I guess so many women, I think it’s like they go to the mainstream tube sites and sometimes it’s not even so much the content as. There’s a wall of dicks or all of these, like really graphic images hitting you all at once. And you’re like, where do I start? What do I do? And that can be really like, Not, not the experience
[00:09:27] Mason: that you are not turning you on when you go to, I mean, there’s, there’s usually, there’s like a link to porn for women and all of the thumbnails are just like a fire with two silhouettes in front of it.
Like, is this, what is this really the thumbnails people want, but you don’t have that on your site. And I think there’s, it is varied as you say. And so. It must be hard to try to make porn for such a wide palette versus the guys that just want to see, you know, all the holes get banged.
[00:10:03] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: It’s definitely a fun challenge.
[00:10:07] Jess: can you talk to us more about the educational and instructional videos you have? Like what can listeners or our listeners on mostly green life? What can they expect out of the content beyond the video? Yeah. So
[00:10:19] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: a lot of what we focus on are a couple of key themes. One of them is like feeling confident and sexy and kind of getting out of your head and getting into your body.
Cause I think all women and also men have experienced that. Um, I think we focus on communication with your partner. Like if you have something, you know, you want to do, or you want to try, like how do you talk about things? How do you bring it up? Cause there’s, there’s just so few. Role modeling of that in our society.
Like where do you find how to bring up these topics that a lot of people feel really sensitive and uncomfortable with, and then we focus on knowing your body. So we have like how to take sexy selfies. We have a partner kind of Lingus exercise that I really like, I really recommend where it’s actually guided.
So you play it with your partner. And it tells your partner what to do and you just get to kind of sit there and follow along. And like, I love it because a lot of times, again, you just don’t have that shared language. Like you might think circles means one thing and he might think circles means another thing, or like one person might do circles completely different than another person does circles.
[00:11:37] Mason: So I think men over. I think it was like alphabet soup from American pie or something. That’s the only instruction.
I think it’s American pie.
[00:11:53] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That’s it. It’s crazy that like we’re still using a movie that’s like 20
[00:12:00] Mason: years old. That’s our only education for cunnilingus.
[00:12:07] Jess: Well, we’re going to be launching this episode, um, around Valentine’s day. And so that’s of course, a great time to introduce new things into sexual relationships. How can people understand or
[00:12:17] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: highlight to their partner that afterglow is
[00:12:20] Jess: ethical? Like, is there a landing page in particular for them to go to?
[00:12:24] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Or what would, what would you say we have Xcel afterglow.com is the landing page. Um, it’s not on there yet, but we’re going to be introducing the quiz that you took kind of on the landing page. So if people are trying to figure out where to start, that’s a great place to start and I, yeah, yeah, exactly.
[00:12:44] Mason: Exactly I thought of it.
[00:12:47] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: No, it’s great to hear you say it. It’s great to like have those things, uh, to see what people are actually using as part of the site and actually liking. Uh, but I think that the thing, I, one thing that I always like to encourage people to talk to their partners about is why they like porn or what they get out of porn.
Because I think there’s a lot of misconceptions, especially like. Women and their partners, like they can say, oh, he must like women that look like this, which is not me. Or he must like this sex act. That isn’t what I want to do. And I think you might, there’s a lot of assumptions in that, that sometimes they’re completely not true.
Like sometimes women like watching lesbian porn, even though they’re completely straight, like it can just be a fantasy and that’s okay. We’re we’re like not encouraged to have those conversations and just be like, oh, like sometimes I like when I’m having like a dinner party and I kind of want to push people.
I’m like, so what kind of porn do you watch? Like, what’s your search terms?
[00:13:52] Mason: Um, yeah. And that kind of gets into cars. Do you have any, I feel like. Uh, maybe you have this, maybe you don’t, but a tutorial for people who maybe are worried about how their partner will react. Cause I’ve certainly, I’ve had friends come to me and say, you know, we just, and I have a, you know, call it a healthy relationship with porn and she knows I did it for a release and that it’s not any kind of judgment on her or has anything to do with her.
But I have friends they’re like my. You know, my girlfriend thinks that I don’t love her because I watch porn. What do I do Mason? And I’m like, whoa, I don’t even know where to start on that. So do you, do you have any advice for how can people approach the topic you’ve got? The landing page is going to have the quiz.
I think the quiz is brilliant. And how do people approach it?
[00:14:44] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah. So we’re working on this too. We’re working on like how to improve your relationship with. And then we’re working on how to watch porn with a partner and cool content and journeys around that. Nice.
[00:15:00] Mason: So I’ve had relationships in the past where I wanted to watch porn with my partner and tried to, you know, find some porn that’s kind of in the middle. And I think I’ve tried it twice and it went horrible both times. So I was like, I’m never going to try that again.
[00:15:35] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: So what would having it go wrong? Do you have any tips that you would recommend.
[00:15:40] Mason: Um, I th the quiz that’s, I was like, Hey, this would be, I think this would be fun, a fun way for us to get, uh, warmed up. How about you take this quiz and let’s see, you know, what could get you warmed up the most? Because for Jess, I feel like we just have to put on. A movie with, with a couple of steamy sex scenes.
[00:16:00] Jess: it’s pretty, pretty easy,
[00:16:02] Mason: but I’m running out of movies. Right.
[00:16:06] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: I know. That’s the thing it’s like, sometimes the movies are so hot and you’re like, why doesn’t this just keep going. Right.
[00:16:13] Mason: Yeah. And, uh, so I watched one instructional video that y’all had about how to have sex outdoors, which was very high.
And a higher RV trip. We had sex in several national parks and even filmed it a couple of times. I thought to myself, we probably could have, as I’m watching the instructional, I’m like we could have done this instructional. So the next question is how much do you pay talent and how do we apply?
[00:16:41] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Oh my gosh.
So right now we’re only working with experienced
[00:16:46] Mason: Ah, well, how do you define performers? Just kidding.
[00:16:52] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: I’m sure you guys would be great and have a wonderful future. Yeah, we generally pay talent between like around a thousand dollars a scene. Um, it can vary a little bit from there, but that’s around the standard
[00:17:05] Mason: price.
Okay, cool. And there, you just have a ton of content for an independent shop. Is there a lot of syndication that goes on.
[00:17:14] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah. So we do license films from other ethical producers that we know from the community who make amazing stuff. Like we were talking about, uh, the gang bangs earlier. There’s this amazing producer called Hartford.
By her name is Paulita Popel and she does like the most high quality cinematic gang bangs. And so we have her content on the platform. Um,
[00:17:37] Mason: there’s another,
[00:17:38] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: yeah, there’s also like Royal fetish films with, uh, jet-setting Jasmine and her partner king new are that do amazing like kinky stuff. So, you know, at afterglow we’re kind of like cinematic high quality, like somewhat vanilla because we, uh, That’s kind of like our fantasies and what we know best, but then we like to bring in people who are making really cool stuff that like is more authentic than we could ever do.
[00:18:09] Jess: Yeah. It’s interesting. It seems like the platform, you know, not necessarily is for beginners, but it’s certainly attracting beginners or, you know, people wanting a different porn experience. And so, you know, it’s like, does that evolution grow with the viewer? Or is it always like a safe, vanilla landing space?
Cause I kind of feel like that was our question early on. Even with like mostly green it’s like, this is for new people who are trying to do better and they’re trying to take those first steps, but mostly green.life
[00:18:39] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: websites. Um,
[00:18:43] Jess: and so I was just curious your thoughts on for y’all’s company. Like. People are at the beginning of their sustainable journey.
And you know, when we first started it, my question to Mason was like, okay, do we grow with these people? Or do we continue to be this like early entry point for,
[00:18:58] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: yeah, I think we’re still figuring that out a little bit. I think we do want to be more of an entry point, but what we’re really trying to create is like making people realize that pleasure is important in their lives and create a pleasure routine.
And. And that that might be porn. Sometimes that might be guided masturbations other times, but like being the place, they can go for their routine, almost like their yoga studio of sex.
[00:19:25] Jess: Gotcha. Yeah.
[00:19:26] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah. That makes sense. For some people might want to, you know, I think if they’re, I think if they’re super kinky or if they’re like have kind of a specific like sexual orientation or sexual.
Non-binary like, we might not be the place for them to do that, but we still want to be welcoming and have them find something for them, even if that’s maybe not our like initial target audience.
[00:19:51] Mason: Yeah. Very cool. Well, I’m always curious as a serial entrepreneur about the business side of things. Taking that I think we all, there’s a lot of people that have a little bit of passion for porn and think about the industry and you took a leap and created a really killer business out of it, which is very bold and needed in the society.
What was the hardest part on the business side of getting it off?
[00:20:19] Lilly Sparks of Afterglo: Yeah, that’s a good question. You know, the hardest part is customer acquisition, which is the hardest part of most businesses. And it’s made harder by the fact that we literally can’t advertise anywhere crazy. So most businesses, you know, you start them up, you throw us a Facebook ads up there, a couple hundred bucks.
You can kind of tell if people like it, do they not? And we can’t do that. We can’t advertise on Google or Facebook. Even trying to do like, you know, SEO kind of like content marketing stuff. Like usually one of the tips is like you type something into Google. Like, you know, if you type in like, how do I recycle and it’ll come with like all these other suggested things.
And when you type in something related to sex in Google, it doesn’t auto-fill at all.
[00:21:08] Mason: Uh, and you, I mean, you can advertise on the existing point size, cause they’re further down the line, right?
[00:21:17] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: You can’t. We can advertise, we do advertise a little bit on the tube
[00:21:20] Mason: sites. Right? You said customers there. I mean, not very many people are clicking around YouPorn saying, I wish I had a softer version of this.
You know, they, they leave the site. Right. Maybe
[00:21:32] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: it’s women who don’t know that yet. Yeah.
[00:21:38] Jess: And so is it mostly word of mouth podcasts? It’s
[00:21:41] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: a lot of word of mouth. Yeah. Thank you guys for having me. Uh, we do a lot. Just try to give people a trial to check out the site in any way, shape or form. So we work with partners to kind of like give out free trial codes, give out free members.
We do some live events. We’re going to be at LFS this weekend, if anyone’s in the Austin area or after Valentine’s day.
[00:22:02] Mason: So yeah. Yeah. We want to be on the list for all of your events. It sounds like your company parties are, would be really fun, but then it also, now I’m wondering, are we going to have trouble promoting this episode to get tips from you on how to avoid the, the, the words that get us a banned from particular?
[00:22:23] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow Yeah, I will definitely help you with that.
[00:22:30] Mason: You want to do them? This is
[00:22:32] Jess: oh, sure. Yeah. Um, so, you know, and mostly green, we’re always trying to find sustainable options and just about everything that we do. So sex included for that. Um, is there any eco-friendly sexual wellness brands that you would recommend for our listeners that you’re aware of?
[00:22:48] Mason: Do they even exist?
[00:22:51] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Well for us. Sorry, go ahead.
[00:22:55] Jess: I’ll let you go ahead.
[00:22:57] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah, I think it’s, there are. There’s not as much focused on sustainability in the sexual wellness world, you know, like re you know, reduce, recycle, reuse. The number one thing is reduced. So sex toys usually lasts a long time. The problem is you can’t return them.
Um, but I think it’s more about investing in the high quality pieces and kind of sticking with what you like.
[00:23:30] Jess: There you go. That’s a good tip. Yeah. We like, um, Foria Mason bought it, I guess it was two Christmases ago, but they’ve got all organic plant-based lubes and oils, and it also combines CBD in some of theirs or maybe all of their products actually.
Um, but also responsible packaging. And that’s like the one thing a brand can do for me is to ship the product and responsible packaging. Um, so that’s one that we love, but other than that, I feel. You know, Nordstrom and urban Outfitters and free people. They’re all, they all have tabs on their websites with sexual wellness products.
And I think it’s so great that they’re just like creating, helping to make the conversation more approachable. The first time I saw it, I was like, there’s a vibrator on free people. I was like, that’s such an interesting,
[00:24:13] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: you know, product line
[00:24:14] Jess: for them to be promoting, but I think it is great that there are bigger brands and bigger companies that are trying to make the conversation.
[00:24:20] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Um, no.
[00:24:21] Mason: Did y’all ever go to a sky mall? Um, yeah, so did y’all they had vibrators there and they have the, the magic wand and a couple of others that they could, uh, double as a personal massager, but they were definitely vibrators. And one of the funniest moments for me, like as a college kid, when I learned what vibrators look like, and then in there, and there’s a mom.
Putting it on her shoulder and being like, look, son, come check this out, know what it’d be like, wait, is she she trying to make it okay to get it? Or does she
[00:24:56] Jess: not know? I think there’s a good handful of people that probably really don’t know. But even Amazon still sells vibrators, calling them personal massagers.
Cause I bought a vibrator for my friend for a birthday once and that’s like the, all of the marketing terminology that they had on it.
[00:25:12] Mason: Which one did
[00:25:13] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: you buy for? Um, I
[00:25:14] Jess: don’t remember the name. No, that one was, that was pretty expensive. So I didn’t end up getting the magic wand, but it was one that looked
[00:25:21] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: like it.
[00:25:23] Mason: Yeah. So, um, at this point you’ve been, how long has your content.
[00:25:29] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: So it’s actually really exciting. We launched last year on Valentine’s day. Oh, really? Awesome. Awesome. Happy one year.
[00:25:37] Jess: Yeah. Happy one
[00:25:38] Mason: year anniversary. And do you have any clue in that year? How many relationships you think you’ve saved? Do you get fan mail or reviews about the impact you’re having?
Cause it just, it’s really awesome.
[00:25:51] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Yeah, that’s, that’s kind of why I say we’re about sexual awakenings and like, that’s I say the sexual awakenings is our number one KPI. That’s what we’re trying to create. That’s what we’re trying to do. And I love it. Yeah. I get people that say, you know, oh, I finally feel like I belong somewhere.
Like my, you know, I finally find porn that helps me like see myself in it and I feel comfortable watching. But we have people that say, like I realized I’ve been doing a handoff wrong for 10 years. We have people that say like, yeah, that they have better relationships with their partner. One person was like, I just feel happier.
And there’s like, those are my favorite moments. Positive customer feedback.
[00:26:36] Mason: That’s really awesome to have had some direct, positive impact already in the short time that you’ve been doing it. So, you know, you’ve had a very successful pass, including CPG company that I mentioned, where we have downstairs in our fridge and success as an accountant.
And you took the leap to start it in a very difficult industry. What is your vision going forward?
[00:27:00] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow Yeah, our vision is to be the home for a sec. So w there, and we want to be the place where you go, like where it leaves you feeling good. That’s our mission is really just create like, continuing to do what we’re doing.
Continue to like really focus on these sexual awakenings. And like, you know, I ask people like when was their first sexual awakening, which like, we kind of talked about earlier with our important experiences. And then it’s like, when was your most recent sexual way? Yeah. And I think a lot of people like, think about all the things you’ve invested in, in your life, like classes, books, podcasts, that are like less important to you than your sex life.
So my vision is really just encouraging people to that their sex life is worthy of love and worthy of investment. And it’s like meditating. It’s a practice. Like we kind of have this idea where it’s supposed to be. Like spontaneous and hot. And if it’s not, then like you’re embarrassed and something’s wrong with you. yes, I believe sex spontaneous hot sex is amazing, but I think it’s also more likely to happen if you make it a practice. And if you’re working on yourself in whatever way, like on a more routine basis.
[00:28:25] Mason: Amazing. Well, I hope some people catch this for Valentine’s day and have a steamier sexier night on Valentine’s day, but it’s relevant at any point.
[00:28:37] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: And if they want to check it out XL after glow.com and they can use the code pleasure 21 for a free 30 day trial.
[00:29:01] Lilly Sparks of Afterglow: Thanks guys.
Check out our other clean eating podcasts – https://www.mostlygreen.life/podcasts