Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.


Gentleman Handling

Here’s a new, very beautiful and very sexy website that I’m incredibly excited to tell you about! It’s the first commercial venture from Sensate Films, a new erotica production company which has been put together by two incredible ladies who I am privileged to be friends with, Aven Frey and Gala Vanting.

The website is gentlemanhandling.com

“What we’ve made here, really, is a lovely place to watch moving images of male masturbation. GentlemanHandling attempts to strip the image of male sexual pleasure from its less-than-savoury pornographic contexts and situate it in a style of imagemaking that is honest, attentive, and reverent. In our years of experience in the pornosphere, we’ve found that men have just as much to lose as other genders from the dishonesty and superficiality of mass-produced sexual imagery. So we’ve taken up the project of presenting our contributors in a manner that highlights their human-ness, their individual sexual style. Self-pleasure is a deeply personal thing and is often glossed over or neglected in mainstream sexual media. We’re trying to take steps to change that.” ~ http://gentlemanhandling.com/public/main.php?page=about

As someone who has seen many of the films produced for the website (fuck yeah sneak previews!), I can say in all honestly that they are beautifully filmed, sensitively edited,  incredibly gorgeous, raw, powerful and most importantly, intensely sexy. Gala and Aven also have a talent for finding immensely attractive but diverse men who all have a real presence in front of the camera and seem really comfortable in their skin and sexuality.

I truly believe that this project is onto a very, very good thing. Watching these beautiful men indulging in self pleasure, seeing their face as they get lost in their own senses… well, for me it was as good as looking at a beautiful painting – a beautiful painting that made me need to take a cold shower afterwards. There were moments during some of the films when I gasped, there were moments when I felt my face getting hot, there were moments when I even felt a little sad because male sexuality is every bit as rich, varied, beautiful and sexy as its female equivalent but it has been neglected for so long, considered crude, ugly, base.

Gentleman Handling gives male sexuality the attention and respect it deserves. So fuck yeah to that!

Go check the website out, watch the preview video I posted at the top of this entry, subscribe if you want to see beautiful men masturbate and spread the word if you want to support new, ground-breaking, beautiful and ethical porn. Seriously, they only just released the website so you get to say “Oh yeah, I knew about that before it was famous!”



The Pervocracy – Sex Pozzie
October 26, 2011, 10:20 am
Filed under: Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , ,

Most critics of sex-positive feminism have not bothered to figure out what sex-positivity is.

It’s not the giggling, hair-twirling exclamation of “it’s feminist to be sexayyy!”  It’s really not.  I’m not going to defend that strawman.  (I also think it’s funny how often I get accused of being a Hooters-girl-bot, when I’m about the least Hooters-looking-person ever.)

Nor is it the demand that everyone be sexy or have sex.  Nor is it the claim that everything that involves sex is beyond criticism.  Nor is it the suggestion that sex will fix all the problems of feminism.

Instead, sex-positivity is the belief that sex and sexiness are… okay.  It’s the belief that people shouldn’t be judged by the sex they have.  It’s the belief that consent matters and social norms do not.  It’s the belief that porn and erotica are valid media of expression (not that the current porn industry is hunky-dory, cause it’s not) and that sex work ought to be just work (not that it currently is).  It’s the belief that neither “slut” nor “prude” should be an insult.  It’s the belief that every sexual and gender identity is valid.

Sex-positivity is, in a nutshell, the belief in sexual freedom as a key component of women’s freedom and of having a better world in general.

If you want to argue with that belief, we can talk.  But if you want to argue with “everyone should be a Hooters girl because showing men your boobies is like totally the most feministical choice!” you’re not really arguing with me.  I just think that I’m in no position to judge Hooters girls or assume that they’re dimwits, sexists, or helpless victims because of what they do for a living.

Read the entire article here. 

Because I’m still struggling with my RSI and cannot write much, I really like some of the stuff on The Pervocracy blog because her opinions are often reasonably similar to mine.



Resigned and Face
February 7, 2011, 9:12 am
Filed under: Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , ,

Ok, I’m still not writing much right now as I’m still recovering from my wrist problems which, as it turns out, are tendonitis and mild carpal tunnel. However, I want to make a few small updates.

First of all, after almost two years working as a video editor for “ethical erotica” producers, Feck, I have resigned. Despite some issues, I had a good run there. I learned a lot of valuable skills from some very talented ladies, not to mention had my views on sexuality, porn specifically, expanded and made far more complex.

Perhaps I will write about this someday when I am a bit less in the midst of it and can get my thoughts straight. But, ultimately, I am grateful to have been part of such an unconventional workplace and to have met the amazing people that work there. By working for Feck, I feel like I was peripherally part of something historically important that will influence a whole new generation of ethical, thoughtful, artistic pornographers. Or something.

I still intend to continue with this blog and to participate in the online world of sex positive, feminist ramblings and porn making in whatever capacity I can. Exactly how this will all play out, I am currently unsure.

In other news, if you’re living in Australia, tune into ABC1 this Tuesday at 10:05PM for Face (otherwise I believe the film will be available for online viewing at a later date). Directed by one of my former workmates, Face is a documentary about Feck’s Beautiful Agony project which was founded by the talented and awesome, Lauren Olney (who I hope doesn’t mind me pimping her blog here! Her photography is intimidatingly excellent!)

“Face is a kaleidoscopic documentary – a singular portrait made up of many faces – which delves into the private and public worlds of everyday human sexuality. The focus is on the people involved in Beautiful Agony, an ever-expanding collaborative art project that collates self-portraiture video recordings of orgasm faces. (…)

Face allows the audience a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of people who have consciously chosen to push their personal boundaries and share that experience with others. It is a thought provoking study that delicately unfolds the layers of this enigmatic subject and invites the audience to consider their own place in the picture.”

Sounds awesome, eh? From the article here.

The show will be followed by a live web chat for one hour from 10.30pm here. Should be good!

Edit: Ok, no more updates for a few more weeks, all that typing is causing pain again. Yowza.

Edit Again! Turns out a certain somebody’s face (Mine! Duh!)  is going to appear in a re-edited version of the doco. I’ll let y’all know if it becomes available online.



Cornflake Wank and Poetry – Very NSFW
January 3, 2011, 12:07 am
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This is possibly the most explicit thing I’ve posted here yet and was actually a quick submission I made for a zine.  I don’t know if I really like it but I thought I’d put it out there as this blog is a little inactive while I’m working on stuff for this project and entertaining my mother while she’s visiting from overseas. It’s pretty confronting to put this sort of thing up on the internet for a myriad of reasons – from fear of slut stigma, unwanted creepy attention, to fear of being viewed as “gross” or simply an attention hog. Still, I try never to let those things stop me from doing stuff so here goes.

 

While I’m randomly sharing stuff, here’s a “poem” of sorts that I wrote awhile back about my first (and currently only, though hopefully that won’t be a forever thing!) sexual encounter with another woman.  I am not, by any means, a poet but sometimes I like to play with words and I thought this was… well, not great but OK.  It’s been sitting around on my computer for yonks so I figured I’d finally share it.

Girl/Girl

It’s

pretty seedy
small town
really

her 21st and
this is my first
vodka and coke

now she’s
holding my hair my
head in the toilet

classy

and later

in bed
best friends
I miss him but
I kiss her and

I taste I touch

her soft her curved
her mild wet warm
her open gentle

my drunk

I fall asleep

fuck.

So yeah, I’m pretty lame. Didn’t hold my alcohol well back then and I still don’t now!



Camera Whore – A Prelude
November 29, 2010, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , ,

About a month back, my partner was away for the night with the lovely R and I was home alone. Though I’m relatively regular in my masturbatory habits, this was the first time in quite a while that I had the house to myself for the entire night and, uh, I wanked for about four hours straight. Towards the end of it, I was incredibly dizzy and my head was pounding. I was sure that if I came again, I might just pass out but I just had to have one… last… orgasm.

So it was 3AM, my room was a mess, my bed was covered in junk and… I squirted all over it. Though I’ve squirted many times before, this time I felt compelled to document the evidence so I grabbed my camera.

I then photographed myself in my dishevelled but still entirely dressed state (by myself, I often masturbate clothed but for my underwear). While doing this, I rediscovered an intimate feeling I’ve not had with the camera for a couple of years as my image making aesthetic has moved towards the more staged and dramatic.

For me, looking at a photo of myself is a world apart from looking at myself in the mirror. In the mirror, I am looking at me. In a photo, I am seeing me as somebody else. This can be confronting and distressing but sometimes it is refreshing, revealing and even erotic.

I wasn’t originally going to post the two photos in this blog entry because they felt a little too intimate, maybe even a bit “gross” for some of my friends to see my wet patch and bedroom hair! But for me there is a common thing which I enjoy in making my art, my porn in my blogging… that is pushing my own boundaries and challenging myself to be as honest as I possibly can. That can actually be really hard and it means putting a lot of stupid crap out there, but I try really hard not to censor myself because I really don’t believe in bottling shit up.

Anyway, all this rambling is actually just a prelude to a bigger blog entry I’m planning about my relationship to the camera and the gaze. That one’s been fermenting in my brain for a few years now, so here’s my official promise to attempt to get it into words as soon as I can.



The Ultra Awesome Nio Show
October 7, 2010, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Porn | Tags: , , , ,

One pleasant Sunday evening, with the assistance of a wee little camera, my partner and I made an obscene, depraved, nude, comedy… thing. I can only think to describe it as what might possibly happen if Mike Kelley, Tom Green, Kristen Schaal and my boobs decided to have a gross and creepy baby. Unfortunately, The Ultra Awesome Nio Show is only available to subscribers at ishotmyself.com but I totally intend to make projects in a similar vein that will be available to everyone in the future. It was just way too much fun. In the meantime, have some small stills!



Sharing is sexy – round two
September 25, 2010, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Gorgeousness from just a perfect day.

How To Respect Sex Workers from Ms. Magazine. This is SUCH a great little article! Interesting comments, too.

Sympathy for the Anti-Porn Feminists by sex positive activist, Clarisse Thorn. It’s a great article and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety. However, here are some bits that stood out for me:

“So how can I have sympathy for anti-porn feminists? Only because I remember how I felt just a few years ago. I remember that I felt so confused about my own sexuality; I remember how resentful I felt, that sex seemed so easy for men — that the world seemed to facilitate their sex drives so thoroughly, particularly by providing all this porn!”

Also:

“Anti-porn activists rely on the societal belief that men’s sexuality is hard to control, scaring us into believing that allowing porn will enable uncontrollable men.”

Teenagers and Pornography – Looking at porn doesn’t have to be a dirty secret by David Heslin. I’ve meant to share this article with y’all for awhile now and the other day I actually met the guy who wrote it, turns out he’s been dating a dear friend of mine! Small world etc etc. I digress, this is an interesting article with some novel ideas:

“Society must, at some stage, accept that not only is there a widespread demand for pornography, but that it also has the potential, in the process of adhering to certain values, to aid healthy adolescent sexual development. It may seem ludicrous to envision government-funded pornography, but there is no reason why such an enlightened initiative would not be theoretically feasible. Through broadcasters such as the ABC, the government already gives funding to comedy, entertainment, current affairs programs and sport; the only reason, it seems, that pornography could not join those ranks is its general lack of perceived legitimacy.”

Senior Citizens and BDSM, a nifty article by Rabbit Write:

“One thing that may benefit older people getting into the BDSM community is that often experience is valued — age can be hot. “I have a number of the younger ones ask me if they could play with me,” Peaches says. “Sometimes you get respect because you’re older and sometimes you get respect because you deserve it.””

What’s it LIKE to be in a D/s relationship? By a very awesome friend of mine. So, what’s it like?

“It’s… secure. It’s very secure. You know where things are. You know the rules, not because they’re built by society and trained into you by magazines and schoolyard gossip, but because you’ve talked about it and figured it out together.”

One in four lap dancers has a degree on the BBC News website. I watched this short little clip and I like how articulate the woman speaking is:

“I think part of the stigma is because there’s a lot of misinformation, a lot of myth about the adult entertainment industry. One of the exciting things about this report is that it’s been ethically carried out and it’s actually asking the women what they feel about their job and why they do their job and one of the most striking things is job satisfaction and of course, the money (…)”

Do women really want male lap dancers? by Ellen Levenson. Mostly, I found the article pretty “meh” but I wanted to link to it just for this one quote that tickled me:

“I do take umbrage at a man, even a psycho-sexual therapist, telling me that he knows what women want. The long-standing theory, that women aren’t turned on visually, feels like something men may have made up to make themselves feel better, telling each other in secret exchanges in changing rooms or masonic temples: “Yes, I’m ugly, smelly and have a small penis but she loves me because I make her laugh and know how to unblock the sink.” “Get a grip,” I want to say. “What we really want is a big, hard …” Alas, this is probably only true when it comes attached to someone who can make us laugh and unblock the sink.”

Cleavage at the Work Place at the awesome Cuntlove blog. I actually intend to expand upon this with some of my own thoughts and experiences at some point, because as a big(ish) boobed women I entirely relate:

“A small chested woman will never be  told that her shirt is too tight or that she shouldn’t wear v-necks or whatever, but I somehow manage to look slutty wearing a t-shirt for crying out loud. It just, well, to be honest, when I was told that I was a good-looking woman, but that my cleavage shouldn’t be so exposed or that it was inappropriate, I felt embarrassed as all hell and suddenly aware of being female and that that was somehow bad.”

And finally, my absolute favourite of the batch…

The It Gets Better Project
, for LGBT teenagers, started by the awesome Dan Savage who I am kind of sort of a huge fan of. Apparently, 9 out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are 4 times as more likely to attempt suicide. A lot of these teens live in rural areas where they have no access to LGBT support groups etc. This project basically aims to get the important message out to LGBT teens that it gets better. You can read more about it here, LGBT folks can contribute, and you absolutely have to watch the video below, it is incredibly touching, lovely and almost brought tears to my eyes because I’m a big sooky crybaby.



Ultra Violet
September 24, 2010, 6:09 pm
Filed under: Art, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , ,

Just playing around with more comic book character designs and colouring styles. There’s a few things about this picture that annoy me (including her confusing sex toy – what is it exactly?!) but I’m sick of it so… meh. I like the colours, they make my eyeballs vibrate. Also, I’m no longer hosting my pictures on WordPress as the ones I posted earlier have been compressed horribly.



Nio got interviewed
August 18, 2010, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , ,

So I got interviewed by the totally awesome Gore-Gore Girl. She asked some really great questions and told me that I could write as much as I liked – which, considering I’m not very succinct at the best of times, was very brave of her indeed!

So go check it out, and your feedback on my thoughts would be very much welcome there (Oh please oh please!) Though I must admit I worried a whole lot about sounding like a self-important twit, overall it was a whole lot of fun and really helped me get a little bit of a clearer picture in my head in regards to what this blog’s all about, woooo!



Sharing is Sexy – Round One
August 12, 2010, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hey I’m super busy with various projects but I thought I’d start a segment on this blog where I occasionally share stuff by other people that I like or find interesting. Huzzuh!

http://ireensarrows.tumblr.com/post/210906379
I might have to try this. Emma Frost by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Annie Sprinkle, who is awesome, said in this article:

“The answer to bad porn is not no porn, but to try to make better porn.”

Sex Workers: Stigma and barriers to health. The UCL Institute for Global Health’s 12th symposium. I found this talk really interesting and though the video is a bit long, I highly recommend a listen as I think education is a wonderful way to challenge people’s assumptions and beliefs surrounding sex work.

Porn Star Lorelei Lee talks obscenity. Here are some choice quotes from the article:

“If we lived in a society in which women’s sexuality was celebrated, and was seen as usually proactive rather than usually passive, I don’t think people would jump so quickly to the concepts of exploitation and dehumanization when they thought of female performers.”

Annnnnddd…

“Porn, I think, is sometimes dark because sex is sometimes dark — because people are sometimes dark. Of course, porn is also often lighthearted, funny, ugly, gorgeous and ridiculous. Human desires evolve out of our varied, complex experiences in the world. Sex is so basic to our humanity, and sexuality is an arena, like dreaming, that connects us to the parts of ourselves we don’t always fully understand or have words for. This is what makes sexuality fascinating and endlessly variable and certainly worth performing.”

Sex is not the enemy. This lovely tumblr blog is a great resource for pretty, sexy pictures and good articles. In fact, it’s where I found a few of the things I’m now sharing here!

Greta Christina on Porn, Social Criticism and the Marginalization of Kink. This article reminds me why Greta Christina is one of my favourite bloggers:

“The problem isn’t with critiquing kinky or rough-sex porn for perpetuating misogyny.

The problem is with critiquing rough-sex or kinky porn for perpetuating misogyny… simply because it’s rough or kinky.”

Copyright Infringements in the Porn Industry. An interesting article on the challenges faced by the porn industry. I’d be interested to hear any thoughts people might have on this one.

The Gore-Gore Girl – “XXX through a feminist lens”. In this article she said:

“In my experience, people seem to think that women want no close ups of genitalia, and no “nasty” content, while men of course desire exactly these very things. Men and women aren’t so simple though y’all (…)”

SANGRAM’s Bill of Rights posted here. This is my favourite so I saved it for last…

1. People have a right to be approached with humility and respect.

2. People have the right to say YES or NO to things that concern them.

3. People have the right to reject harmful social norms.

4. People have the right to stand up to and change the balance of power.

5. People have the right not to be “rescued” by the outsiders who neither understand nor respect them.

6. People have the right to exist how they want to exist.

I think that could be applied to a lot of things. Awesome.



Mobile Phone Erotica
July 15, 2010, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Art, Porn | Tags: , , , , ,

A couple of years back, when I had hair coloured atomic red, I had a notion that I might create a series of erotic images taken with my crappy cellphone. This was a test shot and I never got around to doing more, but I stumbled across this today, played a little with the colours/levels in Photoshop and thought I’d share.

I rather like the graininess of this, it’s fun using cheap mediums to make art and such.



Sex work and stuff

A friend of mine has recently “come out” as a sex worker and has received some criticism for it. I believe that a lot of this criticism is based on people’s ignorance, misunderstandings, or warped imaginations. As she said; sex work isn’t the problem, peoples perceptions about sex work are the issue. My friend is one of the most self-aware, strong women I know (she’s the very same women who gave me the advice that helped me learn to orgasm) and it irritates me that people think they can judge her for a career choice she enjoys far more than previous administrative type work. It is my personal belief that before people judge sex workers, instead of only listening to sensationalist media articles and so on, they should actually listen to what sex workers themselves have to say.  So on that note, I’m going to share a few links and stuff.

I just watched this short film What I Love about Being A Sex Worker. It’s basically a collection of sex workers explaining why they like their jobs. It’s short, succinct and nice to see a film from a sex work positive angle for a change. Now obviously these are probably people doing it out of their own choice, people who may have the privilege and power to be able to set their own conditions. To say sex work is always empowering and enjoyable would be to deny the reality of many people, but it’s also wrong to deny that there really are many sex workers who truly do enjoy their work. Happy, healthy sex workers are not just mythical creatures who exist only in men’s magazines to titillate, they really exist.

One of my workmates introduced me to blog I’ve enjoyed reading, Letters from Working Girls. I’m sure some of them are possibly fabricated but a lot of them ring true to me and in any case, it’s interesting to read all the varying viewpoints. I’m yet to check out its sister sites, Letters from Johns and Letters from Men Who Watch Pornography though I wonder why that can’t just be “Letters from People Who Watch Pornography” because I wouldn’t mind submitting to that.

Rather belatedly, I recently got around to reading Naked on the Internet by the fabulous Audacia Ray. Her book explores the way women are using the internet to explore their sexuality through things such as blogging, webcamming, professional sex work and so on. Though I felt it only skimmed the surface of its subjects (fair enough too, it’s only one book!) I found it interesting and relevant.

Bound, Not Gagged this is a cool blog for sex workers, it’s great because mass media tends to portray sex work in a very specific, sensationalist way whereas blogs such as Bound, not Gagged create a space where sex workers actually have a voice.

Sex Work Awareness is a neat website, the first line in their mission statement reading “We believe that all sex workers have a right to self-determination; to choose how we make a living and what we do with our bodies.”. Nice.

And finally, to prove that sex workers truly are real people, here are a few of links to sex workers who I admire and enjoy reading about. Mistress Matisse, a professional dominatrix. Sequoia Redd, wonderfully opinionated, gorgeous and open about her sex work. Furry Girl, possibly even more opinionated and very articulate, I don’t always agree with her but I find her viewpoint refreshingly challenging.

Of course “sex work” is a very open term, referring to someone who works in the very broad sex industry. Personally, I believe you can apply the term “sex worker” even to someone who works behind the scenes and  as I edit pornographic videos and images, and as I’ve also been in a select few pornographic videos and images, I suppose you could call me a “sex worker” (though I think of it as more of a hobby than fulltime occupation!). So here I am, grew up in the wholesome countryside, had a relatively stable and supportive family life, went to university and got my masters degree and now am involved in sex work just because it interests me. People are always surprised when they learn about what I do and I suppose that goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor its occupation!



Nereid
June 11, 2010, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , ,

My second folio for ishotmyself.com was called “Nereid” and I did it during a time when I was preparing for an exhibition about mermaids. Also, I had just rediscovered a song that I loved when I was in my middle teens in all its sexy, kitschy glory; Underwater Love by Smoke City. Eh heh. I have to admit that song still makes me gooey, perhaps because it did when I was a gooey, horny teenager with no outlet for said gooey horniness! Ahem, anyway, in this folio I wanted to capture something of the stagy, kitschy, dangerous, ugly, voluptuous sexiness that surrounds the mermaid mythology and explore what it meant to dress up and play mermaid in the comfort of one’s home!

It turned out being a lot trickier than I had originally anticipated however – after photographing myself for a good hour or so in water I’d kept almost cold to avoid steam damaging my camera, I was half drowned, shivering and stressed from avoiding getting the camera in the water while taking photos at arm’s length! This revealed some of the limitation of the ishotmyself project, but I still had a lot of fun.

It’s a pretty big folio so I didn’t fancy sifting through it to decide on my favourites, but here are a few samples that I like. There are many more on the ishotmyself website which is subscription based.






It’s actually been quite awhile since I looked through these photos. I was a bit disappointed with them originally, but now I can’t get over the colours. Red and turquoise combinations give me this funny, tingly sort of feeling as if my cheeks are flushed and I’m sucking on a mint. It’s sort of hard to articulate, it’s more abstract than I can really express, but I think colours are really tied up in my sexuality in ways I’m only really on the threshold of exploring.

I’ve also been flirting with the notion of doing a mini pornographic photography project specifically for this blog as a way of exploring porn as art without restrictions of any particular production company and without the influence of money, simply because I think it could be a fun and interesting exercise. Does this interest anyone? Raise yer hand and say “Aye”!

Edit: Another thing this folio revealed to me is that my body is currently the roundest it has ever been. I’m a fan of the voluptuous and tend to lust over it in the bodies of others, so in a way this suits me. However, it is hard not to judge myself through the eyes of others and the ever-present ideals of body we’re all exposed to on a daily basis in the media. Also, my mother keeps making “subtle” comments. As it is, I’m currently concentrating on getting more physically active in my daily life but I’m trying to keep this in perspective of feeling more healthy and energetic, rather than concentrating on how it may or may not alter my body-shape. I’m not really sure I WANT my body shape altered… I mean, my boobs have never been this big!



Slutmonster
March 16, 2010, 12:49 am
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , ,

I thought I’d share some photos from the first porn I ever made. I did it early last year for ishotmyself.com. The website specifies that the contributors have to plan and take the photos themselves, so that they’re in total control of the images produced. This form of self portraiture proved more difficult than I’d anticipated but I had a lot of fun. The experience gave me a taste of what making my own sexual imagery could be like and I loved it. I also won ISM’s $500 art prize for this folio, that went towards a new camera! There are a lot more photos in the folio on the website, but here are some samples.

Slutmonster by Nio, 2009.

Dare to be monstrous, she told us (…) The monster is female, wild, dangerous, a hero and a criminal in one terrifying flesh – an enemy to the cock culture that attempts to reduce everything to heterosexual materiality. Remember, the central female organ that makes us different and strong and artists is not the womb but the brain.
~ Bertha Harris, a Memoir in Dorothy Allison’s Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature, 1995


Why I Make Porn
February 7, 2010, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It occurred to me recently that I’ve been working as an editor for Feck for a year. During this time, I have also contributed a little to their websites. I currently have two folios up on I Shot Myself and an upcoming, homemade film on I Feel Myself and something in the pipeline for Beautiful Agony. I want to discuss my motivations for working at Feck and contributing to these websites.

A convoluted backstory, God help us all!

When I was 14, I was out shopping with my mother and we passed a place advertising exotic dancers. Mum must have commented because I said to her “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with women doing that if they want to.” I can’t recall exactly what she told me, but the point that stuck with me was that the problem with sex work is it leads to the exploitation of women.

So just as I was starting to think about sex work, I was already aware of it as a complex issue and feeling guilty about the titillation I secretly felt about the idea of performative sexuality.

As I got older and came more strongly into a feminism that my parents had always encouraged, this further confused my feelings about my interest in sex work. I worried that my desires and fantasies were no longer my own, but a product of some sort of patriarchal brainwashing. It was really fucking confusing. Often it still is.

However, this conflict was almost entirely theoretical as until I moved away from home at 22, my actual exposure to pornography was minimal. That said, I had created quite a lot of pornographic drawings of my own and had posed for a little nude photography for a girlfriend of mine. This led me to start to consider how sexuality could be depicted in an exciting and interesting way while still remaining “Art” with a capital “A”  (with a bunch of critics nodding, stroking their chins and making thoughtful, insightful comments.)

When I moved away from home and was able to explore my sexuality more freely, I started looking around at the porn out there. Surprise surprise, most of it was absolute crap. Yet a lot of it was still arousing in some way. Porn became tied up with my own sexual awakening, as my use of it came not long after my discovery of orgasm and helped me tap deeper into my own erotic imagination.

It was about this point that I came across Violet Blue and her sex positive, porn positive attitude. I read “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn” and while it didn’t really say anything I hadn’t already started to feel myself, it helped me understand something – that as a feminist woman, I can enjoy porn and that’s OK. As a matter of fact, I have a right to enjoy it. Yes porn tends to exploit woman but that’s because porn currently tends to aim itself at a very simplistic idea of a male audience. By allowing myself to consume porn, I also become a customer who creates a new kind of market. At least, that’s my idealistic dream. I have a lot of those.

Then I read Alan Moore’s Bog Venus and Nazi Cock-Ring and this was what really tipped the scales for me. Fuck, I love Alan Moore. He’s so sexy with anarchistic, bearded, comic book writing ways. Let’s quote him directly.

“With the guilty and embarrassed tone thus set for the impending reign of Queen Victoria, we find pornography in the condition that has by and large defined it ever since: a wretched ghetto with which no respected artist would desire to be associated, and which therefore rapidly becomes the province of those with no literary or artistic leanings whatsoever. The once rich erotic landscape was effectively deserted by the genuinely talented. It turned eventually into a genre that not only had no standards but also appeared to think it had no need of them”
Alan Moore, Bog Venus Vs. Nazi Cock Ring, 2006.

Ok, so the essay isn’t flawless, some of the opinions are extreme and I don’t agree with everything Moore says, but it inspired me nevertheless. Here is the conclusion I came to:

Porn is not bad because of some property inherent to it. Porn is bad because of our defective attitudes towards sexuality, women, gender and so forth. Because we see sexuality as despicable and base, we see the people who create consumable sexual products as immoral and bad… so it can be something of a self fulfilling prophecy.

In conclusion… sort of?

As attitudes towards sex change (painfully slowly) for the better, so they do with porn. A couple of producers of porn with a conscience the likes of Tony Comstock, Feck, NoFauxx etc are arising. Sexually explicit, yet beautifully constructed comics such as Alan Moore’s Lost Girls are shining examples of sex treated openly, excitingly, differently… most importantly, thoughtfully, as serious subject matter.

So what I did by joining a company that makes porn was test myself, test my notion that porn can be ethical, empowering, all those happy things. I contributed and continue to contribute my own material as a test to myself.

So far I don’t felt exploited, instead I feel excited and dream more strongly about someday creating my own independent pornography that works exactly how I want it to and depicts the kind of fantasies -I- have. I feel excited in the same way I get excited about making art, except this is even better because maybe, just maybe, someday I will make art so good that people come all over it.

Edit: For a bit more insight into this, you can read my interview with the excellent Gore-Gore Girl here.