Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Porn: Helpful or harmful?

From Indie Porn Revolution

In reading an article that I expected to say a lot of Stuff I Like To Hear, I found myself challenged by an argument against porn. It went something like this:

"Porn ruins authentic physical intimacy. It makes real sex unsexy..."

I agree that mainstream porn promotes unusual body types (for women: skinny, big boobs; for men: muscular, big penis) as the "norm," which leads people to hold themselves and their partners to unrealistic standards. A man I had a fling with last year once told me, in a frenzy of enthusiasm for my body, "You look like a porn star!" Rather than feeling complimented, I felt objectified to be told that my body fit into the standards of beauty/sex appeal that our society had jammed into this man's brain.

But is porn inherently harmful, or is it just that popular porn often presents unrealistic depictions of people and sex that degrade real people and real sex?

My opinion is that:

1. Porn is a form of erotic art;

2. Erotic art is a valuable part of our culture because humans are sexual beings (which is a good thing) and erotic art appeals to that and helps us to express and enjoy that part of ourselves;

3. Porn that represents humanity and sex accurately and ethically is good for the above reasons.

And guess what!

It seems that ethical porn exists. Here is a directory:
(Taken from this article, not written by me)

Heather Corrina
The goddess herself. Also check out her sex-positive webzine and teen sexual health site.
Erotic Red
Feminist menstruation porn by women of all shapes and sizes who are, naturally and authentically, on their period. As the woman who runs the site writes, “In an industry where photos of women being throat-fucked and pissed on are commonplace portrayals of human sexuality, women enjoying themselves on their periods are viewed by most pornographers as horrifyingly obscene.” Erotic Red is out to change that.
One of my fav’s with models of all shapes and sizes. This site features only vegetarian and vegan models and is very inclusive of gender and sexual diversity including queer and trans models. It’s also woman-owned. I’ve thought of applying to model here, but am somewhat afraid of losing my job or causing a local scandal…which is usually a sign that you should not do something!
Indie Porn Revolution
“Porn that doesn’t fake it!” A great site with self-proclaimed “radical porn” that is inclusive of all natural body types and embraces queer and transfolk. Porn with a political edge.
Good Dyke Porn
A brilliant new site based out of Vancouver with all lesbian, bisexual, queer women and transfolk artists. I especially love this site because they go out of their way to eroticize safer sex. You’ll see lots of gloves, dental dams, condoms, lube, and consensual kink on this site.
Furry Girl
The official site of Furry Girl, who also owns and runs Erotic Red and VegPorn and a vegan sexual aid shop. Furry Girl is an all-natural, hairy, self-proclaimed feminist that really gets the difference between the mainstream sex industry and pro-sex feminist pornography.
Berg’s Queer Foot Porn
Berg is a close friend of mine. Her site may or may not actually be porn…it’s up for debate, but this website is brilliant. It is a feminist deconstruction of women’s pleasure and a manifesta against violence against women. Coming from an anti-rape perspective, Berg’s critique of society and sexuality is truly poignant. I encourage you to check it out.