Sexy Time: A Better Kind of Porn

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The first time I ever watched porn was completely by accident. I think I watched a movie, fell asleep, and woke up to people doin’ it. I was curious, but mostly disinterested, so I just turned it off and walked away.

Since then, my experiences with porn have varied. There’s been a lot of nights sitting around drinking with friends and watching the weirdest videos we can find, but there have also been times when I’ve used porn as a tool — just like everyone else does — without putting much thought into the people performing or directing the movies. That was until I saw some videos that completely freaked me out.

The videos were part of a documentary about a hardcore porn director who was raping and sexually assaulting his actresses during “casting calls,” and then manipulating and guilting them into performing by telling them they were being “difficult,” “uncooperative,” and “unprofessional.” My head nearly exploded and my heart nearly broke for these women — I don’t care if they are porn stars, they still have a right to say no, and they certainly shouldn’t be coerced into performances they’re uncomfortable with.

But the thing is — how do you know when actors are performing out of their own volition and not being forced to do something they don’t want to do? Is there a way to know? I enjoy porn as much as the next person, but I’m certainly not okay with watching someone being exploited or abused.

Enter feminist porn. Throw away all the stereotypes you have in your head and replace them with the notion that there is a large group of third wave feminists who are sex positive, creative, and (sometimes) really kinky.

My favorite sex shop in Toronto, Good For Her, even hosts the Feminist Porn Awards every year and recognizes porn that’s been directed, written, or supervised by a woman and depicts more than hetero or lesbian fetishized sexuality. Most importantly, feminist porn focuses on authentic pleasure for all parties involved — none of that fake orgasm bullsh*t.

Not only can we enjoy this pornography knowing that everyone involved is consenting, happy, and being treated like human beings, but watching authentic porn also comes with some other benefits.

Representation. It’s important for everyone to be represented — trans*, queer, all races, sizes, and abilities. Often, feminist porn focuses on representing all different types of people realistically, and generally avoids the unachievable standards that are often portrayed in mainstream porn. Watching realistic-looking diverse people have real sex and achieve real pleasure? Sounds awesome.

Something new. While I’m unsure whether or not they identify as feminist themselves, Beautiful Agony focuses pleasure away from the genitals and only films the faces of participants during and leading up to orgasm. Some people might not be interested, but for others, the realness and intimacy of seeing another person in the midst of pleasure may be enough to set them over the edge — or at the very least, inspire them to get there.

Learning. While, just like any other porn, feminist porn covers a wide array of sexual activities, it’s also great for learning. There is no smoke and mirrors, no “faking” anything. So, if you’re flexible enough, you can probably try it yourself.

Couple-positive. Some people feel insecure watching unrealistic sex that features unachievable body standards with their partners (feeling you can’t live up to that huge penis, perfect body, or flawless breasts), but if you’re watching something that is more true-to-life and that may represent your body type, ethnicity, or sexuality — it’s easier to relate, feel comfortable, and get turned on without worrying that you can never measure up.

Non-judgmental. Some people are kinky, and some people aren’t — and both are completely okay! Having porn that shows what you’re interested in, whether it’s missionary or pegging ­— is what it’s all about. And if feminist porn can offer me what I’m looking for in a way that is non-exploitative, consensual and fun, why, when I’m looking for some erotic entertainment, would I ever watch anything else?

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