In an era of on-demand pornography of any kink or niche, it’s easy to forget that hardcore pornographic films have been around for over 100 years and the content wasn’t that different from current films. Awkward threesomes, bisexual group sex, and pop shots were all the rage around the turn of the century.

Between 1907 (speculatively) and 1915, the first three hardcore porn films were produced. A Free Ride in the United States, Am Abend from Germany, and El Satario from Argentina. Thanks to good, old-timey prudishness, the films were kept secret from everyone except their intended audience: men who weren’t afraid Satan would slither out of their dick and punch them in the face for having a non-reproductive orgasm.

All three of these films are preserved at The Kinsey Institute.

In 1915, the nine-minute film A Free Ride was released in brothels, all-male venues, and other underground locations. To this day, no one knows who the filmmakers were or who the actors are in the film. The plot revolves around a couple of girls on the side of the road and man driving by. Threesomes, urination, masturbation, and the scandalous missionary position are only a few of the actions on display. Wigs, fake facial hair, and pseudonyms were used throughout the making of the movie to hide identities for fear of imprisonment.

Researchers speculate the actors were of both low and high social status, with most agreeing they were secretly influencers of society. A Free Ride was screened at the inauguration of the Museum of Sex in 2002 in Manhattan. Watch it here.

Am Abend is also a film with “modern” hardcore pornographic situations and images, including an abundance of female masturbation. It starts out with voyeurism (don’t they all?) and ends with closeups of hardcore sex. Yet, showing multiple positions in any pornographic film, no matter how tame or even simulated, wasn’t all that common, which makes Am Abend ahead of its time.

Am Abend, 1910
Still from Am Abend, 1910

In El Satario, a group of women have sex with each other in a meadow. Sounds pretty run-of-the-mill until the devil shows up to ruin the party! Or maybe he actually makes it better since there’s now a guy to play with, but the devil in this production looks too much like Colonel Sanders for it to be titillating. Taking one of the girls back into the forest, they 69 and have sex, all before the rest of the girl group finds them and beats the devil with sticks. Because that would hurt and scare the ruler of Hell.

Still from El Satario.
Still from El Satario.

Heterosexual porn wasn’t he only thing getting men hard back in the day. While nunsploitation took off in the 1970s, the film Mr. Abbott Bitt in Convent was released in 1925. Running for only five minutes, content included gay sex, anal sex, fellatio, cunnilingus, lesbian sex, and voyeurism. If you wish to see the first bit of nunsploitation to be made public, watch the entire film here.

While only having to imagine the sounds of vintage hardcore pornography might not be your cup of tea, there’s one very important thing to remember. Your great-grandfather probably went to a stag party or men’s club, watched one of these films, then came home and boned the hell out of your great-grandmother. Have fun masturbating!

Melanie Porter

Melanie Porter

Melanie is a freelance writer, professional art looker-atter, mom, wife, mortuary-school dropout, teawhore, and lover of all things cute and macabre.