Sex. Feminism. Lesbian Werewolves.

In Praise of Queer Feminist Porn

Posted on Jan 31, 2011 in Feminism, Gender, LGBTQ, Sexuality | 1 comment

There’s a part of my book (retitled “Inner Moonlight” for now) where Blythe, the leader of the Pack, is talking to Lexie about the polyfidelous sexual relationships among her community, saying, “Sex is something we all share. Women giving pleasure to one another is the most subversive and beautiful thing we can do together. No one can please a woman like another woman. And women feeling joy, pleasure, and love without male aggression, oppression, or their ridiculous organs- it’s downright revolutionary.”*

There is still a prevailing myth in mainstream culture that women having sex with other women “doesn’t count.”  The idea that sex can’t happen without a penis being involved is so absurdly phallocentric.  It’s the same logic behind the classic distinction of oral sex versus “real” sex, and the tired question, “so how do lesbians do it, anyway?”  Many men are so beholden to their penises that the mere thought of sex existing without it makes them dumbfounded.

Enter queer feminist porn.  Like it or not, porn is where most Americans learn about sex.  The ubiquity of free pornography on the internet has made it easier than ever to watch strangers having sex.  And because of abstinence only education, sex-shaming parents and politicians, when people want real answers about sex, there’s no where else to turn but the google search box.

For a while, it was all images of fake-boobed blonds, faking pleasure for the sole purpose of giving straight men what they wanted (or were told they wanted).

Then queer feminist pornography stepped onto the scene.  A movement spearheaded by people like Tristan Taormino & Shine Louise Houston (nsfw) (and whose path was paved by sex-positive feminists like Betty Dodson, Pat Califa, Dossie Easton, Annie Sprinkle [nsfw-ish], and many, often unsung others), queer feminist porn sought real portrayals of pleasure with women and trans-people of all body types, ethnicities, ages, and proclivities.

Suddenly, it became possible to see people who looked like you doing things you liked to do (or wanted to try) and enjoying it.

The great part was, many hetero-men who thought they wanted the Barbie blonds faux-licking each other, actually found real pleasure & real bodies that much more exciting.  Who’d have thought?

Wolf Hudson & James Darling porn shoot

Wolf Hudson & James Darling courtesy of QueerPorn.tv (link nsfw)

Mainstream porn, while it does create some great stuff, often relies on tired racial and gender stereotypes, which just ends up forcing those backwards ideals back into our fantasies and our bedrooms.  It reinforces sex as having to be about degradation in order to “work.”  Feminist porn, in contrast, strives to represent all the adults involved as fully sexually sovereign individuals.

It honors the voices of those performing in the porn by creating scenarios that are consensual, fun, sexy & pleasurable for the people involved.  The women and trans-people in these movies are agents of their own pleasure, and often are exhibitionists who enjoy the very act of being watched during sex, thus making the viewers integral to the pleasure itself (how cool is that?!). Many of these same performers also have well-formed and thoughtful political and social explanations for their choices to participate in feminist porn. (For great representations of this, I suggest watching the Behind the Scenes interviews with the performers on the CrashPadSeries website.)

Moreover, this porn shows safer sex with ease where gloves and condoms are prevalent and not treated like a “distraction.”

Our culture is deeply sex-negative and teaches people that anything other than penis & vagina sex is amoral, aberrant and dirty.  Those of us who enjoy things like anal sex, hand sex, cunnilingus, bondage, kink, toys, etc, don’t fit in this very narrow idea of sex, and we’re often told that we’re “wrong” for our curiosity or desire for any of this.  Feminist porn steps in the middle and tells us we’re not wrong.  In fact, we’re in great (and hot) company.

Good pornography, like good art, reflects our lives and interests back at us, showing us that we have community, even when the prevailing culture wants to tell us we’re all alone in our “perversions.”  What coming out in terms of sexual identity did for LGBT activists in the 70s and 80s, is what coming out in terms of sexual proclivities is offering people now.  Queer feminist porn offers a range of sexual performance that subverts the prevailing paradigm of the penis being the center of pleasure for both men and women.  Instead, it offers a view into the lives of people experiencing real pleasure in a multitude of  ways.  It asks the question, “What do you like?” or “What do you think you might like?” and responds with a range of options that affirms your desires and shows you that yes, you are sexy, and yes, you deserve pleasure.

* I need to be clear that Blythe’s andro-phobic language reflects her point of view and not mine.  I think penises are neat.

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