Pornography

Ethical porn choices via Violet Blue.

Many have criticized pornography as exploitative; there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that some workers are not treated with respect or dignity, particularly by certain producers.

More recently, though, there has been a move towards increased labour rights and respect of performers. The top performers have always made a good living and are typically treated well. The ethical pornography movement takes it one step further. A core part of the approach is that performer rights are paramount.

There is also concern that pornography negatively affects consumers. Porn likely affects different people differently, and type of content interacts with intrapersonal characteristics. The research shows that the consumers who we should be most concerned about are those (men) who are characterized by hostile masculinity (e.g., attitudes supporting violence against women, rape myth acceptance, hostility towards women, etc.) and antisocial traits (e.g., impulsiveness, low empathy, etc.). They're the same viewers who are likely to choose content that represents the worst of the porn industry (e.g., exploitative, misogynistic, etc.). For these men, porn use can increase risk for sexual violence, and also feeds their nasty attitudes about women.

Another concern is that porn is replacing sex ed for teens. Sex ed in some geographical regions is great; in most others, it's still pretty terrible or superficial. If teens watch porn without sex ed to balance it out, their blueprints for sex and relationships will end up being based on the fantasy world of pornography, and not reality.

As far as we can tell, though, the vast majority of porn consumers reject the type of content that could be considered problematic, and now that porn has become ubiquitous, many have argued that the industry is moving in a more positive direction (not all agree, however). There's also lots of new research coming out showing that porn consumption is related to all sorts of positive outcomes and experiences, despite the narratives you hear in the media and online.

I've already discussed ethical and non-ethical porn on the blog previously so I'm going to pass it over to Violet Blue for her insight. If you have the stomach for it, contrast her recommendations with the content produced by people like Max Hardcore and Khan Tusion.

(VB's recommendations at the bottom)

She's an expert on everything sex - she's an educator, a writer, and sex-positive advocate superstar. I posted some of her work early last week. Her website (link here) is an excellent resource for all things related to sex, including ethical porn. She's written several books, including Best Women's Erotica 2010/2011/2012/2013, A Smart Girl's Guide to Porn, and Fetish Sex: A Complete Guide to Sexual Fetishes. There's a sample chapter from A Smart Girl's Guide to Porn posted on Oprah's website: link here.

Ms. Blue regularly posts softcore and hardcore galleries from some of her advertisers, who she's chosen because of their commitment to quality and ethics. The advertisers appear in the sidebar of her site. Keep in mind that her tastes are varied, and that she's into women and men. Here are some samples from her list of advertisers, past and present (click names to link to sites - very NSFW!!!!!):

Lust Cinema - the brainchild of feminist porn producer/director superstar Erika Lust; something for everyone (girl/boy/queer)

Dorcel Club - mostly hardcore, "luxurious" porn (boy/girl, girl/girl)

Girls out West - featuring "natural girls", softcore and hardcore (boy/girl, girl/girl). a similar site: Abby Winters

Explicite Art - original hardcore and softcore from France, diverse ethnic backgrounds (boy/girl, girl/girl)

Nubile Films - "capturing the essence of sensuality", (boy/girl, girl/girl)

For the Girls - featuring heterosexual content for women, softcore and hardcore (boy/girl), erotic fiction

Joymii - hi quality hardcore and softcore, "The Art of Erotica" (girl/girl, boy/girl)

Some other similar sites: Watch 4 BeautyErrotica ArchivesBright DesireJoy BearPink LableCocky BoysHot Movies for Her - online store featuring movies for women (or at least appealing to women), including user reviews

That should get you started on your research (for academic purposes only!). More sites are linked from Ms. Blue's website.

Sadly, few of her recommendations are intended for gay and lesbian consumers - perhaps you have some recommendations of your own? In the reply section, I've included a list of producers making "real" lesbian porn. It's by no means exhaustive.

Is religiosity related to porn use? It turns out, yes.

xxx porn reilgion | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Is religiosity related to porn use? It turns out, yes.

Religiosity and social conservatism are typically associated with more traditional values, especially when it comes to sex. Rules about who, when, where, and how can be quite rigid. There's a long history of law being influenced by these rules (e.g., laws against homosexuality).

But, this fixation on rules and being "good" can backfire. The more one thinks about the things that they're not supposed to be doing, the more one tends to think about those things (if you've never heard of the white bear experiment, Google it). Fixation becomes preoccupation. And sex is already something people think about a lot.

In the linked study, the researchers looked at the relationships between proportion of people who identified as "very religious" and people who defined themselves as conservative, and frequency of Google searches for porn. They did this on a state-by-state basis.

What they found was that more religious and conservative states searched much more frequently for porn than states that are less religious and conservative.

Not at all coincidentally, a previous study showed that the most religious and conservative states have the highest subscription rates to porn sites.

The abstract:

religion and porn

 

To see the study, click here: link.

Interviews with three female porn producers.

joanna angel female porn producers stars | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The porn industry is still largely run by men. But over the last ten years, many women have taken on the roles of producers and directors. And it's been a good thing; porn has arguably changed for the better because of it. Additionally, there's now much more content that appeals to women.

In this piece, three female producers share some of their insights about the industry. From the Guardian:

'I have to remind people I can still be dirty': the female porn directors calling the shots
Bree Mills, Tasha Reign and Joanna Angel represent a growing number of women directing the action and with five women out of 15 nominees for best director at the recent adult video awards, could the Oscars take notes?
by Gabriella Paiella
The 33rd annual Adult Video News awards, colloquially known as “the Oscars of porn”, were held in Las Vegas last weekend. It was a decidedly less stuffy affair than its mainstream counterpart: the red carpet was smaller, the ceremony blessedly shorter, and there was no Mani Cam in sight.
The AVN Awards celebrate talent in the adult entertainment industry – an industry which, despite growing more popular and accepted each year, still faces substantial criticism for its perceived mistreatment of women.
And yet, out of this year’s nominees for best director of a feature, five out of 15 were women. Compare that to the entirely male roster of nominees for best director at this year’s Oscars – and every year since since 2010, when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win that award in the Academy’s 87-year history.
So what is it like to work – and succeed – in the industry? I spoke to three female directors at different stages of their careers to find out.
Read the interviews here: link.

 

 

 

Is porn as bad as many claim?

xxx porn exploitation negative effects addiction | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

As described in the post on ethical pornography, there are three main concerns when it comes to porn:

  1. exploitation of performers
  2. impact on viewers (and indirectly on their relationships)
  3. significance for society in general

It's rare to find mainstream articles, pieces, or documentaries that provide a balanced and objective perspective on pornography. Mostly what you'll encounter are bold claims and black and white type arguments, all of which are critical. But the reality is much more nuanced. Yes, there are legitimate concerns. But no, pornography is also not the boogeyman that many people make it out to be.

This piece from Aeon provides an excellent overview. If you're curious about the concerns regarding pornography and what the research tells us, then it's definitely a very worthwhile read.

From Aeon:

Pornucopia
Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?
by Maria Konnikova
I don’t remember how old I was when I had my first encounter with pornography, but I must have been around 10 – the experience is entwined with the sound of the AOL dial-up tone. It was something relatively benign – a close-up photo of some genitalia – and I wasn’t much shocked. I grew up in a family not given to sugarcoating the realities of the human condition and I’d known what to expect.
But what if I’d grown up a decade or so later, when the internet had graduated beyond the old-school chatrooms and into the ubiquitous juggernaut of today? My memory might have been decidedly different.

Read the rest here: link.

 

Marty Klein with a fresh take on sexuality and pornography.

Klein Marty pornography sexuality | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Dr. Marty Klein, one North America's best know sex therapists, recently published a piece on pornography and sexuality. It's a much more nuanced view than you would normally encounter. He reinforces the idea of personal choice and acceptance. Check it out:

Rule 34: What It Says About Your Sexuality
Rule 34: If it exists, or you can imagine it, there is porn of it. No exceptions.
[...]
Rule 34 reminds us exactly what pornography is: a library of human eroticism. Pornography is a celebration of how humans can stretch their erotic imagination—sometimes in ways that disturb you or me. Nevertheless, pornography celebrates the erotic imagination BEYOND specific content. Like the ability to imagine the future, and the knowledge that we’re going to die, the enormous range of pornography is uniquely human.
Rule 34 also reminds us that people don’t necessarily want to do what they fantasize about. Sex with Kramer, George, & Jerry at the same time? Sex with a dolphin? Sex with someone about to be guillotined for stealing a loaf of bread? Sex with your grandmother at high noon on Times Square? A threesome with Batman & Robin?
[...]
Rule 34 helps us understand that about sexuality. Your porn isn’t right, it’s just your porn. That goes for No Porn, and Gentle Porn, too: it isn’t right, it’s just your way. And that goes for our sexuality in general—our way isn’t the right way, it’s just our way. A good sexual relationship involves people whose respective ways mesh: one person expands their vocabulary, or both do, or one narrows theirs, or both do. As long as people can fit together with dignity and celebration (um, there’s MY values again), it doesn’t matter what they do.

Go read the whole piece here: link.

Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen.

Erika Moen is an artist and educator. She is the authour the comic strip Oh Joy Sex Toy. It started out several years ago as a sex-positive, diversity-friendly sex toy review but has expanded into all aspects of sex and sexuality. There is no topic that she's afraid of addressing. The strips are fun, subversive, educational, and visually appealing. You can read more about her here and here. Check out all her comic strips and reviews here. And a sample of her work:

how to eat pussy erika moen cunnilingus oral sex  | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Pornhub's 2015 review: Porn, porn, and more porn.

For those unfamiliar with Pornhub, it is a pornography sharing website. It's the biggest porn site on the web.

Pornhub has its own data analytics team, and they regularly publish findings from the piles of data that they collect. You can check out their blog, Pornhub Insights, here: link . I've posted from the blog before (I love stuff like this).

pornhub insights 2015

Every year, Pornhub Insights publishes its annual review. It's long, and chock full of super interesting data. Here are some of the key, or most interesting, findings of 2015:

  • 4,392,486,580 hours of porn were watched
  • there were 21.2 billion visits
  • the highest page views per capita belonged to the USA at 191 (Canada was 3rd with 165)
  • average length of visit was 9 minutes and 16 seconds
  • most searched term worldwide was lesbian; teen and stepmom were almost tied for second
  • teen and milf were searched almost equally frequently worldwide (although teen still more)
  • largest gain in proportion of searches was giantess (giant women), with a 1091% gain
  • top searched porn stars worldwide were: Kim Kardashian, Mia Khalifa, and Lisa Ann - these three were far more popular than the all others
  • 24% of viewers were women
  • the average age of viewers was 35.3, but 60% were millennials (a skewed distribution)

Below is the first of many interesting infographics. Go check out the whole review here: link.

pornhubinsights5

Rules for dating a sex worker.

The fact that the article linked below was published in Cosmopolitan is a bit mind blowing. Have things really changed so much that Cosmopolitan is now publishing articles by sex workers about sex work?

Pieces like this in mainstream publications are helpful for destigmatizing sex work. As part of that process, they challenge the worn-out stereotypes of sex workers as all being naïve, exploited, or otherwise broken.

The following piece lays out some important rules for dating sex workers. It's too bad something similar hasn't been published in a men's magazine like GQ, Details, or Playboy, where it could reach the audience that would most benefit from it most.

Some highlights from Cosmopolitan piece:

What It's Like to Date When You're a Porn Star
There are three cardinal rules for dating a sex worker. Don't break them.
By Andre Shakti
[...]
There are a few rules for dating a sex worker: don't compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don't expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free. He'd broken all three, and my work and my personal life were getting a little too close for comfort. I needed to draw a boundary, so I kicked well-intentioned Sam to the curb. 
[...]
The hardest boundary I've had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the "it's just work" defense. Sex workers in committed partnerships often spend a great deal of time reassuring their partners that what they do at work is fake. "It's not real intimacy," we insist after coming home from a porn shoot, "I'm on set. I'm cold. People are staring at me. The last thing I'm feeling is aroused." Then we highlight everything that makes our partners special to us to ease their jealousy. I'm not saying that sex workers who reassure their partners like this are being dishonest. Not exactly. But the world isn't black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients. So where's the line? 

Read the rest here: link.

 

Dinosaur erotica.

Link posted in the comments section this week (thanks!).

When it comes to kinks, fetishes, and sexual interests in general, the rule goes - if you can imagine it, there's someone somewhere who gets turned on by it.

From IFLScience

Dinosaur Erotica Novels Are A Real Thing
by Tom Hale
As well-read as you may be, you’ve probably never heard of this obscure subgenre before. Yes, “dinosaur erotica” is dedicated to the niche world of dinosaur fetishes and mythical beast penchants, with some of its titles including “Mating with the Raptor,” "Taken at the Dinosaur Museum,” and “Ravished by the Triceratops“.
[...]
The Huffington Post asked Alara Branwen, coauthor of several dinosaur erotica books, about what she felt the appeal of fantasy dino-sex was. “I think it’s because dinosaur erotica appeals to our more base, carnal natures,” she said. “Some people also probably like the idea of a big, powerful, massive male roughly having sex with a smaller female. It’s like the ultimate sexual experience with an alpha male, which is something that we are all inherently wired to enjoy.”

Read the rest here: link.

New research on gynandromorphophilia, or sexual attraction to 'shemales' (pejorative).

 Bailey Jay

Bailey Jay

It appears that a growing number of heterosexual-identifying men are seeking out pornography featuring performers who were born male, retain their penises, but otherwise are female. These trans women performers and sex workers are often called shemales or tgirls, although many consider both terms pejorative. Typically, their transitions include the use of feminizing (i.e., female) sex hormones and breast enhancement surgery.

Many heterosexual men with this sexual preference are understandably confused and question their sexual identities. I've worked with several of them in my clinical practice. The objective of our work together is to increase understanding, acceptance, and integration of their sexual interest within the context of their heterosexual identities (much like any other unusual sexual interest).

As for the exact nature and origins of this sexual interest, nobody is entirely sure. Some, such as Dan Savage of Savage Love, have suggested that what drives these men is a sexual interest in penises, but not men. Framed this way, trans women with penises are a man-free and safe way to satisfy a sexual interest in penises.

Another theory suggests that a sexual interest in trans women with penises is related to, or a manifestation of, autogynephilia. Autogynephilia is a paraphilia (an unusual sexual interest) seen in heterosexual men, and characterized by sexual fantasies of having a woman's body.

A study recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine is the first to shed some light on this topic.

The main findings were that men with gynandromorphophilia really are heterosexual (and not homosexual or bisexual), but exhibit a unique pattern of sexual responding to stimuli featuring trans women with penises.

You can read the full academic journal article here: link.

Abstract

Background
Gynandromorphophilia (GAMP) is sexual interest in gynandromorphs (GAMs; colloquially, shemales). GAMs possess a combination of male and female physical characteristics. Thus, GAMP presents a challenge to conventional understandings of sexual orientation as sexual attraction to the male v. female form. Speculation about GAMP men has included the ideas that they are homosexual, heterosexual, or especially, bisexual.

Method
We compared genital and subjective sexual arousal patterns of GAMP men with those of heterosexual and homosexual men. We also compared these groups on their self-ratings of sexual orientation and sexual interests.

Results
GAMP men had arousal patterns similar to those of heterosexual men and different from those of homosexual men. However, compared to heterosexual men, GAMP men were relatively more aroused by GAM erotic stimuli than by female erotic stimuli. GAMP men also scored higher than both heterosexual and homosexual men on a measure of autogynephilia.

Conclusions
Results provide clear evidence that GAMP men are not homosexual. They also indicate that GAMP men are especially likely to eroticize the idea of being a woman.

Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno.

I've posted about Isabella Rossellini' Green Porno series previously, but it's worth a repost.

Growing up, I became acquainted with Isabella Rossellini, an actress, through two David Lynch films, Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet (I was a huge David Lynch fan as a kid). She is widely regarded worldwide as an exceptional actress.

Having achieved world domination as an actress, she turned her sights to various philanthropic conservation causes and a related pet project called Green Porno.

The series, which aired on the Sundance Channel, featured Ms. Rossellini and other actors dressed up as creatures and having sex. It was intended to be both educational and fun. You can read more about it here: link.

Here are a sample of the shorts:

The goods on hypersexuality (i.e., sex and porn addiction).

The media and many health professionals give the impression that sex (and porn) addiction is one disorder that looks the same across people, and a clinically/scientifically valid diagnosis. Neither is the case. Having said that, many people do struggle with sexual behaviours that are out of their control. This can very much feel like an addiction.

There are diverse pathways to what we call out of control sexual behaviour (OCSB), or hypersexuality (what's known as sex/porn addiction). That's to say, there is no such thing a prototypical sex or porn addict.

OCSB is most often the symptom of some other underlying problem. If treatment addresses that issue (often in conjunction with behaviour management), OCSB typically decreases.

This piece emanates from one of the best labs and clinics working with OCSB patients. It does a great job outlining the diverse nature and presentation of OCSB.

From the Independent:

Sex Addiction: What it Means to be Hypersexual
by Deborah Soh
It is not much about sex itself, but that sex is distracting, and offers an enjoyable outlet for frustrations in life, a sort of escapism. If you think you might be hypersexual, ask yourself if your sexual behaviours cause you harm or distress, or impairment in your day-to-day functioning
Whenever we hear about hypersexuality, it is usually in the context of celebrities who have gotten themselves into trouble and are seeking therapy to remedy their ways. However, most people would be surprised to learn that the root cause of hypersexuality, or so-called “sex addiction,” is hardly ever related to sex.
“Why am I like this?” is the most common question I encounter, as a sex researcher working with hypersexual men. Problems with pornography and cheating have had severely detrimental effects on their lives and they are desperate for a solution. After ruling out bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder as the underlying condition (as high-frequency sexual behaviour is a common symptom of these disorders), this is what I have found.

Read the rest here.

Bad sex media bingo.

Brought to you by Sense About Sex (link), a brilliant and fun way to counter all the misinformation that seems to get repeated over and over again in the media, despite no scientific evidence to support it. Read below the card for information from the Bad Sex Media Bingo site (link).

Notice any claims that you thought were true? For the explanations, click here.

From the site:

Why Bad Sex Media Bingo?

So much coverage of sex in the media is boiled down to the simplest of clichés and the loudest of headlines. People with vested interests – campaigners, people selling toys, remedies and dubious fixes – are uncritically quoted as experts.

There are many ways to spot a bad sex programme or article – one that’s been made to fit an agenda, perhaps, or one that is more about prurience and sensationalism than accuracy or helping people.

So we’re inviting you to play Bad Sex Bingo with us. How many of our bingo numbers can you spot during each new programme or article about sex? Will you be able to call House! first?

Play along with us on Twitter: our hashtag is #badsexbingo.

We also hope you’ll use Bad Sex Media Bingo to inform media production, to teach and train on these issues, to support activist work in this area, and for any other purposes for which it is useful.

Each of the points in Bad Sex Media Bingo is:

  • Commonly repeated in the media (across broadcast and print media),
  • Problematic and potentially harmful,
  • Easily recognisable, and
  • Covers a range of areas.

For each of our bad sex media examples we also have explanations saying:

  • Why they are a problem,
  • What negative impacts they can have, and
  • What would better ways of presenting sex there are.

This weekend: Hump! movie tour hits Vancouver.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Hump! movie festival, it's the creation of Dan Savage of Savage Love. People are invited to create short porny films and submit them for review. The best ones are chosen and become part of the Hump! tour, which makes it way around the continent.

From the homepage:

Since 2005, the HUMP! Film Festival has challenged ordinary people from all over the Pacific Northwest to become temporary porn-stars by making their very own five-minute dirty movies for a chance to win big cash prizes. And they did not disappoint! The resulting short films run the gamut of sexual styles: straight, gay, lesbian, transgender... every color in the sexual rainbow. Created and performed by sex-positive people just like you, HUMP! films are sexy, funny, thought-provoking, artistic, outrageous, and oh so real. Now, we're bringing the very best of HUMP! to your town! See 18 of the hottest HUMP! films in action. They'll make you laugh, squeal, and marvel at the broad (and creative) range of human sexuality. It's the best of HUMP! You'll be glad you came.

If you're interested in checking it out, it's this weekend. You can find more information and tickets here: link.

Post-script to interviews on porn and sex ed: More information.

After today's media interviews and the piece about pornography and sex ed published by the CBC (link), it was apparent that providing some more information about the effects of pornography on consumers would likely be valuable.

There is now a good-sized body of academic research examining the effects of watching pornography. The problem is that findings from those studies have not made it into the mainstream, largely because much of it counters the assumptions people have about the dangers associated with porn use. When those studies do get cited, the findings are often misrepresented or cherry-picked to align with anti-porn advocacy narratives.

It's unlikely that providing a reference list or bibliography would be helpful, as only the most extreme nerds would be willing to wade through it. However, Aeon magazine published a piece earlier this year which is one of the better reviews of the research. Click on the image below to read the article.