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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Feminist porn exemplifies how actual sex works

Like alcohol, war and dead baby jokes, pornography seems an inherent vice—something humanity will never, ever be able to separate itself from.

Arguments over whether porn is morally positive or negative become meaningless when we consider that the adult film industry will continue to chug along regardless of how we, as a society, feel about it.

The answer, then, to the question of how to combat the objectification of women and the generally icky portrayal of sex present in most porn is simple: make better porn.

Sex-positive feminists have been making their own porn for years. It’s called, weirdly enough, feminist porn.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino said, “Feminist porn explores ideas about desire, beauty, pleasure and power through alternative representations, aesthetics and filmmaking styles.”

Essentially, it shows people having sex as real people would actually have sex. And that doesn’t necessarily mean missionary position for three minutes followed by heavy breathing and Netflix.

Indeed, feminist porn can feature all manner of kink or niche sex, including bondage, group sex and *gasp* hardcore masculinized fucking. It’s not about the sex itself, but rather how it’s portrayed through the filmmaking and, more importantly, how the actors on set are treated.

The history of the pornographic industry is littered with examples of people being used for their bodies with little to no concern for their emotional or physical well-being.

Linda Lovelace is the quintessential example, though her story has always been a bit suspect(and the movie was terrible).

A better example would be Christopher Zeischegg, better known as male porn star Danny Wylde. Zeischegg retired from the industry in 2013 after, well, just read this excerpt from an article he wrote for Nerve:

“Eight years into my porn career I landed myself in the hospital after swallowing too many boner pills for work. My erection wouldn’t subside, and it had to be bled out. After I started, more established performers schooled me on the pills, herbs and injections I could use to maintain a raging hard-on for hours on end, something that was a professional requirement. A doctor told me that if I continued to take the drugs, I’d risk losing my ability to achieve an erection altogether.”

“Holy shit” is the proper reaction to the first sentence of that, much less the whole paragraph.

Surely we can develop healthier standards for the performers of an industry that, according to a Pew Research Center poll, 12 percent of all Americans take part in online (and that the other 88 percent are lying about not taking part in).

Probably one of the only decent anti-porn arguments that I’ve ever read comes from Naomi Wolf’s 2003 New York Magazine article titled, “The Porn Myth.”

Here she argues that, “The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as ‘porn-worthy.’ ”

She has a point. Why should young men compromise when they have stunning retina-screen tits and Mr. Left Hand to go home to every night?

Feminist porn is a prime avenue by which this gap can be closed. If anything, seeing regular women with regular tits and a realistic waist size in their porn will drive young men to seek out the real thing with greater fervor (and hopefully respect).

For young women, this more inclusive style of pornography can lead to higher self-esteem, the idea that their bodies are just as sexy and desirable as Tori Black’s or Alexis Texas’.

Even better, feminist pornography finally gives women a safe outlet through which to explore their own sexualities, without it feeling pandering or inauthentic.

Many websites already exist promoting higher-quality porn: make love not porn, TROUBLEfilms, Erotica X and more.

Unfortunately, their traffic pales in comparison to the likes of Reality Kings or other rather misogynistic porn sites.

Ultimately, no one is going to convince anyone else to change his or her mind in the porn debate. As with all recreational industries, a little regulation and generally better professional practices could go a long way toward improving how porn is made.

And, of course, there would be plenty of Americans who might appreciate a more sensual, realistic display of sexuality on their laptops.


Follow Greg Castro on Twitter.


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