Lizza Gebilagin: writer, editor & video producer

100% organic porn

Thanks to a new wave of female porn directors, erotica is taking the au naturale route. Pun intended. By Lizza Gebilagin

Photo: Xconfessions
Mainstream porn has a lot of bad sex to answer for. The sort that literally has a guy tapping on a clitoris like a deranged writer about to miss a deadline and the frequently re-enacted fellate-and-gag routine, all of which ends in a glorious explosion all over a female body part of his choosing. Most likely her mouth, followed in a very close second by her cleavage.

Yet throughout this two- (sometimes three- or four-) person exchange, there’s one thing blatantly missing: the woman’s pleasure. Her real pleasure. Not the pretend kind that sees her moan with an obstructed pharynx, but the pleasure we know is real because we’ve experienced parts of it. And that’s just what a new breed of female-led porn companies are focusing on: what women want. Whether they’re creating stories based on real-life confessions, letting the actors themselves take sex where it would naturally lead, or documenting real-life couples, these films are produced ethically and filmed artistically. It’s a realistic portrayal of fun-loving sex and all the different ways women and men enjoy it. It’s organic porn.

Here’s just one NSFW example of the new wave of feminist porn.

 

X-rated sex through a Valencia filter

One of the best examples of this new wave of organic porn is Xconfessions by Barcelona-based director Erika Lust. The beautifully shot short films are based on sexual confessions submitted by fans from around the world. There’s Eat With… Me, where a woman explores her food fetish with a bearded hipster who’s on a cooking TV show. And The Couchsurfer, which is about a girl who seduces a “sexy, intellectual” traveller she hosts in her home à la Airbnb. Lust – who studied political science, feminism and sexuality – calls her pro-women films “erotica you’ve always wished you could watch, but nobody has ever done”. Don’t get the wrong impression, though. This isn’t softcore porn. And it definitely ain’t all vanilla. The films are quite explicit (Xconfessions “is a sexy safe haven for all: perverts, dominatrices, slaves, nymphos and lovers alike”) but the main difference is the treatment of the content.

Dr Michael Flood, a University of Wollongong lecturer who has been researching the effects of ‘regular’ porn on young people, says, “Mainstream heterosexual porn shows sex and women in really callous and hostile ways. Increasingly, you see aggressive deep, gagging oral sex, throwing up, slapping her face, calling her names, like bitch or slut, and showing women in pain.” Dr Flood says for porn to be deemed ethical, “It has to show people having playful, pleasurable sex, a diversity of bodies and diverse forms of sex.”

In Australia, porn filmmaker Ms Naughty gives authenticity to her work by collaborating with real-life couples and shooting documentary-style. “I find it facilitates the ethical process,” she says. “The sex is hotter, spontaneous, and the performers enjoy themselves.” The Queensland local says The Fantasy Project best encapsulates her feminist ethos of a “positive depiction of sex and sexuality in porn”. The film explores female desires: guys pampering girls, cunnilingus and female orgasms, however male orgasms aren’t always guaranteed. “Oh, and there’s a bisexual male/male/female threesome where the two men actually touch each other, kiss, fellate…” Ms Naughty adds. “That’s still a huge taboo in [mainstream heterosexual] porn but I know heaps of women fantasize about that.”

Expanding the definition of sex

Speaking of taboos, when a woman like Shine Louise Houston is behind the lens, expect them all to be challenged. The award-winning producer and director of Pink & White Productions in San Francisco stays away from what she says is the “same formula you see in mainstream porn: oral, cowboy, reverse cowboy, then pop shot”. Instead, Houston is acclaimed in feminist circles for going the “unconventional” route as a director of queer porn delving into heterosexual relationships.

Case in point: Bed Party. “It’s seemingly about a straight heterosexual couple but actually when you scratch the surface they are very queer,” says Houston of the pornographic film which in the first five minutes features the guy on the receiving end of some pretty serious anal penetration. Not that it was intentionally scripted that way. Bed Party was filmed with the philosophy used in all of Houston’s productions; give the consenting couple the freedom to allow sex to organically unfold. All she does is outline the overall narrative. “A lot of it is really left up to the talent and what they feel comfortable doing,” she explains. “We let them go as long as they want to.” The result is that “Bed Party shows how diverse heterosexual relationships and sexuality can be – that it isn’t [confined] in a tiny box.”

Sex therapist Christina Spaccavento says watching alternatives to mainstream pornography can be healthy viewing. “Although some people may feel the need to emulate more aggressive forms of sex [in hardcore porn], there are also many other representations of sex available that people have access to,” Spaccavento says of this emerging trend. “It can offer another viewpoint on sex. This is great because people can be given more information to make their own decisions about how they want to be having sex.”

This is exactly what Ms Naughty hopes that her pornographic films will do. “I honestly hope that my films show a more realistic and positive vision of sex. I want people to see my work and go away feeling good about themselves and more accepting of other people, because sexuality is so varied and everyone feels differently about it,” Ms Naughty explains. “Beyond that, I hope the sex that I’m showing is modelling a variety of techniques – sex-toy use, good cunnilingus, safe sex and male anal play.” Notice how the ‘clitoral tap’ was excluded from the list? That’s a win for girls everywhere.

The anti-porn debate

Even if porn is ethical in its content, production and use, it still has its critics.

Against: There are feminists who argue that in a male-dominated society or a society where we learn to see women as sexual objects, then pictures of sex and bodies are going to be read in that same way – that is, feeding into sexism,” says Dr Flood. “I’m not entirely convinced that even the porn that meets this criteria will be harmless. It’s hard not to think that depictions of consensual sex will nevertheless perpetuate the objectification of women,” he says.

For: “If anti-porn feminists would bother to listen to me, I would say this: we actually have more common ground than you think,” says Ms Naughty. “The reason I started making porn in the first place was because there was a lot I didn’t like about it. I know there are big problems with porn today. You only have to read the offensive, sexist descriptions and ads on Pornhub to know there’s a big problem. The thing is, though, my approach is very different. So, I elected to make a better kind of porn, one that is positive, inclusive, equal.”

This article was first published in Cleo magazine Australia.

The End

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