Building a Better Porn

I’m cheating. I’m cross posting from my blog.

Building A Better Porn

{Disclaimer: This post is about sex. If you are offended by sex, or by women speaking graphically about sex, go away now. }

In the April issue of Playgirl Magazine ( I get it for the articles!) there’s an interview with Candida Royale. Royale is the porn star turned porn director who founded Femme Production, a feminist porn company. It’s run “by women, for women”.

Royale explains what inspires her:

“The desire, the need, and the opportunity to break through tired judgmental attitudes and mythology about women’s sexuality and inspire women to think in more self-loving and self-respecting ways…I was inspired by growing to understand how society had twisted my own young, pure sexuality, and in discovering this, I wanted to help women feelbetter about their sexuality and give them perission to explore and experience the gift of pleasure”.

Porn as therapy/self-help/sex education.

My biggest gripe with most straight porn (aside from the generally just crappy aesthetics – enough with the fake boobied blondes already! get some better music! and the lighting – ugh!) is the way women’s pleasure is depicted. I’ve seen things that look downright painful happening to a woman who appears to be writhing in pleasure. Appears to be. Because, you know, she’s acting.

You can say that it’s all fantasy and that everyone knows it’s fantasy, but I’m not sure everyone does know this. This culture is really weird about sex. Most people learn about sex from their friends, from pop culture, and from just doing it. And from porn. And by “learn about sex” I don’t mean the mechanics of reproduction or how to avoid getting an STD or that you’re a slut if you do it before you get married (all things I learned from school, family, and culture). I mean, learning how to give and receive pleasure.

Like Candida Royale says, there are lots of old tired myths out there, and they shape the sexuality of men and women alike. For example, we’ve got a long tradition in this culture of understanding pleasure in male terms. In fact, for many people “sex” is synonymous with intercourse. Many people still think there is something wrong with a woman if she cannot reach orgasm through penetration alone. Clitoral stimulation is still an “extra” for some people.

I know lots of women who didn’t start having regular orgasms during sex until they’d been doing it for five or more years, because they kept thinking it was their fault they couldn’t get off on what got their boyfriends off. They could masturbate to orgasm just fine, but couldn’t get there via sex with men. Eventually they figured it out, learned how to talk to their partners, and, being older, had partners with more experience. But that’s many years of pleasure lost, and I think it’s tragic.

So, back to my biggest beef with porn.

I think most porn contributes to misinformation about sex. Maybe all that fantasy – the women having earth shattering orgasms through being hammered by a huge penis with no clitoral stimulation, the lack of sensuality, the cringe inducing cunnilingus – would be just fine if we had some other way for people to learn about pleasure (besides trial and error). But we don’t, not really. I think a lot of people have to spend the first 5, 10, 20 years of their sex lives unlearning the crap they learned from porn. I know that I’ve wasted a lot of time breaking partners of bad habits they picked up from porn.

I am not making an argument against porn. I am making an argument for better porn. I am making an argument for porn that looks to me like what feels good to me. I want to be able to watch porn that doesn’t leave me struggling to suppress that part of my brain that is screaming No freaken way! That does NOT feel good!. I want to be able to watch porn that is creative, fun, sexy, and well lit, just like the best sex is.

Is that really asking so much?

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Book Recommendation (which I will blog about later):

She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman, by Ian Kerner. Every woman and every person who has sex with women should read this book. Seriously. Read it. I’ll tell you why in a later post. Until then, you can read this review.


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5 comments for “Building a Better Porn

  1. March 23, 2005 at 12:48 pm

    She Comes First is just great. Something every aspiring cunnilingus artist should have and study. Great post, by the way.

  2. Thomas
    March 23, 2005 at 1:44 pm

    I applaud every time I see straight folks saying that “sex” is a lot broader than penis-vagina intercourse. PV intercourse brings with it the risk of unwanted pregnancy, a danger of STI transmission second only to unprotected penis-anus intercourse, and lots of emotional stuff. Certainly, PV intrcourse has its place, but the degree to which it is exalted above other kinds of sex in our culture is, IMO, unwarranted and harmful.

    Lots of this is heterosexism and anti-pleasure dogma.

    Penis-vagina intercourse requires a penis and vagina, so with transfolk and intersexed folk aside, it requires a male-female couple. If PV intercourse is the paradigm, all non-Male/Female sex is defective.

    Also, the arguments against SSM, and for abstenance, often revolve around the primacy of sexual relations as intimacy in a couple “open to the possibility of conception.” If PV intercourse, the typical means of reproduction, is the model of sexual intimacy, it devalues those kinds of sexual intimacy that are just for the sake of pleasure and/or intimacy.

  3. March 23, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    Thomas

    Agreeing with you again.

    I actually had an argument with two people a few years ago about whether or not what lesbians do together is “sex”. They were saying it wasn’t. As if no (real?) penis penetrating an orifice = no sex. And people who think like that often think man/man sex is like some kind of supersex, like more than one penis = an unreasonable and unfair amount of sex.

    Yeah, anti-pleasure mentality is totally linked to sexism, homophobia, bad sex, and people feeling bad about their desires.

  4. March 23, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    Excellent Post. During the show, “A Herstory of Porn”, Annie Sprinkle suggested that censorship was never going to work and, if you wanted better porn, the best thing to do was to take matters into your own creative hands. She pointed out that video, audio, and photo technology make this very possible in today’s world and they don’t mean that you have to share it with everyone. She then proceeded to show a video that not only mocked the porn industry, but also demonstrated her point in a fun way.

  5. March 24, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    I actually had an argument with two people a few years ago about whether or not what lesbians do together is “sex”. They were saying it wasn’t.

    Really?! Wow. Does that mean I’m still a virgin? I feel so… immaculate. Immaculately kinky. And just in time for Easter!

    I can’t wait to tell my partner in, um, whatever it is we do. We have been, in our ignorant lesbian way, calling it “sex”. Silly us. We’ll have to call it something else now. “Chess” is taken. So’s “iPod” and “bear-baiting”. “RPG” is perhaps a little too… clinically acronymistic.

    “Friday Cat Blogging”? Eh, we’ll think of something.

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