Women Who Want to Watch Porn: What to Expect

If you’re a girl who has never really seen pornography, admitting to yourself that you want to watch porn or explicit sexual imagery may take some — or a lot of — forethought. And if you think that all porn is nothing more than pool boys and women with poor payment negotiation skills and eternal bad hair days (or worse: women being coerced into doing something they don’t want to), then the realities of today’s porn will come as quite a surprise.

One of the major obstacles that we women face is the widely held notion that women don’t respond to sexual imagery as men do — a notion that is absolutely untrue. We are told we won’t like it. But on our own, with a wide selection of the many different kinds of porn, and especially porn made by women, for women — we find out that we do. Recommendations for high quality pornography made by women, expressly for women are at the end of this article.

In her 1994 study, Dr. Ellen Laan of the University of Amsterdam proved that women respond physiologically to sexual images, even when the women said that the porn they watched was boring or unarousing. When seeing the sex onscreen (whether from male or female directors), their genitals congested quite robustly, thank you very much.

According to many studies, lots of women watch porn, and like it, too. We can find out how the performers feel about their work by reading their blogs and doing our homework on the pornography we’re considering. This is the first time in history that female porn performers have the freedom to talk about their work unfiltered. Now that the Internet has given female porn viewers the privacy to explore our reactions to explicit sexual imagery on our own terms, we’re finally allowed to decide for ourselves how we feel about, and react to porn.

Many women are finding that pornography is a sex toy that is as reliable and their favorite vibrator, and is as versatile — it can be easily shared with their lovers. Lots of women watch porn, and are none the worse for it. Read why in my CNN article Are more women OK with watching porn? (cnn.com).

Women like to watch, and — guess what — it’s not exactly “breaking” news. In late 2007, Nielsen Netratings revealed that 1 in 3 users of porn were women, and over 9 million American women accessed adult sites in September 2007 alone. The same year (2007), a sociology researcher at conservative Brigham Young University found that half of young women surveyed believe that viewing porn is an acceptable way of expressing sexuality. And in women-friendly boutiques such as Babeland, women make up 80% of the porn rental and purchase market.

Going back in time, in a 1987 Redbook survey of over 26,000 female respondents nearly half stated that they regularly used porn. And it’s not just the “wild ones”, either: a 2003 poll by taken by Today’s Christian Woman readers found that even good church-going women were peeking at the odd bit of porn: over 34 percent of female respondents to their online survey self-disclosed that they had deliberately gone looking for porn. Articles from sources such as The New York Times and MSNBC have asked “What Women Want” and answer themselves with the resounding response, “Women are hungry for porn.” In 2004, the New York Times told us in no uncertain terms that Women Are Tailoring Porn to their Eyes. In the 1996 book Defending Pornography by ACLU president Nadine Strossen, “Women, either singly or as part of a couple, constitute more than 40 percent of the adult videotape rental audience. . .” In 1989, Good Vibrations added adult videos to their catalog, at the demand of female staff and customers. And as consumers, women are changing a market once considered a boys’ club — female directors like Candida Royalle are selling hardcore erotic videos made by women, for women at the rate of approximately 10,000 titles a month.

What Can A Girl Expect? A New Woman’s Guide To Porn

Once you feel okay with using porn as a sex toy, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. First, keep your expectations in check — you’re not going to see anything like the mega-budget Hollywood blockbusters (but with sex included) that you’re used to. Why not? Because outside of Hollywood studios, no one has that kind of money, or those resources to throw around, especially in a film genre that’s controversial.

A great place to start is this free chapter from my book on Oprah The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn: Chapter 3 – I was a Porn Virgin (oprah.com). You can also click to listen to the introduction and hear my personal journey looking for good porn for women.

The quality you’re going to see is like daytime soap operas; with simple sets, standard lighting, digital cameras, and barely there acting. Unless you go with a film from a bigger studio — because the world of porn has a studio system just like in Hollywood. The big studios have bigger budgets, better sets, actors who might have gone to acting school, writers who have writing experience, and directors who are more likely to take their craft seriously.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Food for Thought: Latest Pro-Porn News and Information

How do you feel about the idea of obscenity — or other people telling you what you should think is obscene? A lot of really thought-provoking items about pornography have come up recently, and they touch on themes we’ve been exploring here and on the Our Porn, Ourselves Facebook page (which now has over 3,000 members!) — read on:

The same “War On Porn” people who inspired Our Porn, Ourselves (and make their living off anti-porn hysteria) were very excited about the John Stagliano porn obscenity trial in Washington this week. Founder of Enough is Enough (where you can purchase a variety of religious products to save the children) Donna Rice Hughes said, “The pornographers know exactly what they’re doing and they’re not going to respond to anything but the stick of the law.”

Ouch! Okay little Johnny, now take the blow-up doll and show the nice doctor where Donna Rice Hughes hit you. As it turns out, the stick Hughes and the War on Porn gang wants to beat filmmakers with is so outdated it doesn’t make sense and so full of intentional falsehoods it got tossed out of court (Stagliano’s case was dismissed today for those very reasons).

You have to admit that now with the “War on Porn” group and its media presence, the anti-porn feminists and anti-porn Christians are officially one and the same.

Reason Magazine covered the trial and produced these two thought-provoking videos:

In other exciting news, Ms. Magazine interviewed anti-porn poster girl Gail Dines and came away with a refreshingly balanced article — including the input of gorgeously diverse porn star, Latina BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) April Flores. Most shocking was the commentary disagreeing with Dines that came from her former intern — who is now a porn performer herself. Don’t miss Porn: Pleasure or Profit? Ms. Interviews Gail Dines, Part II. Dines famously campaigns against porn as “for profit and not for pleasure” while shocking audiences into moral panic for profit. We’re looking forward to Part III in the series.

It’s only once a month right now, and we’re eager for more of The Ethical Pornographer by Garnet Joyce (site is not work-safe). In our combined mission to unite, find and enjoy ethical pornography of all kinds, Joyce is interviewing (and starting to help define) pro-woman, ethical porn makers. It’s very exciting. From the male side, Grey’s Matters just launched Pants-On Porn Reviews: A more cerebral look at adult films with an eye towards what they can say about human sexuality, gender, the people who make them as well as we the viewers.

In the UK, it seems that feminism is seen as good because it is anti-porn — which seems so dated and like Backwards Day compared to America. The politically motivated anti-porn and anti-sex worker rights organization at the forefront is OBJECT, a feminist org that not only categorically operates with the belief system that links adult imagery and violence towards women, but are notoriously intolerant toward any other point of view. Well, good thing times are changing: you can now add OBJECT WATCH to your pro-porn blogroll, as they’re now the much-needed beginning of a watchdog group to monitor OBJECT’s typically unchallenged activities, statements and opinions.

Photo of Bettie Page with Bunny Yeager.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

First Encounters: “Porn Virgin” Chapter from The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn on Oprah

Watching porn is way different than watching a full-length erotic feature film, or a Hollywood movie. But when it’s your first few times, or you see porn you don’t understand, chances are good no one told you just how different this viewing experience was going to be. Or that it’s a viewing experience you need to proactively control so you see what you want, or to avoid things you won’t enjoy.

Women first encounter porn in a variety of ways. We all have different reactions, ranging from feeling freaked out to being turned on and inspired. How pornography makes us feel depends on a lot of factors. However, just as with orgasm and masturbation, no one tells us how to look at porn for the first time, or first few times, or how to decide if porn is a sex toy that might work for you. And no one tells us that a) it’s okay if you really like it, or b) it’s perfectly okay to try it and then decide it’s just not for you — without having to take a radical pro-porn or anti-porn stance on the whole thing. Part of the development of this blog as a resource includes creating guides to help you find the porn that’s right for you, and good for the culture it represents. It’s part of the “Whole Foods” approach to porn I’m cultivating.

First timers, or women with questions about their first encounters with porn might find this helpful: Oprah requested to put an excerpt from my book The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn on her website as a free resource. Specifically, not just an excerpt but the entire chapter, “I Was A Porn Virgin.” It’s a great place to start and gives context as to why watching pornography is different than watching a full-length erotic feature film, or a Hollywood movie. Here’s a snip:

Aside from mouse clicks or pro-porn boyfriends, the context for your first foray into porn may not intentionally be a sexual one, solo or otherwise. You might watch your first porn film when your best friend drags you to a bachelorette party, or when a pal suggests something wild, like renting a dirty movie. If you decide you’re okay with going along for the ride, know that you’re doing just that—it’s likely that your friend or friends were too nervous to watch porn on their own, and wanted to have you there to make it feel safer. It can be a lot of fun to watch porn with friends, and with the right crowd you might wind up laughing your head off. Prepare yourself by knowing that there’s a chance you might see something that will arouse you or offend you, and realizing that, you’ll be better able to disengage from seeing explicitly sexual material with people you don’t feel sexual about. However, if you’d like to consider adding porn to your erotic repertoire, I recommend that you watch your first porn by yourself.

Women who watch porn alone and solely for themselves know what they like, enjoy trying new things, feel confident in making their own sexual choices, and like to treat themselves to masturbation on their own time and on their own terms. This reality is light years away from the decades-old, false stereotype of porn viewers as male, raincoat-clad, drooling, compulsive masturbators. Whether done by a gal enjoying time with her roommates gone, the mom with a quiet evening to spare, a girl whose boyfriend is out of town for the weekend, or just as part of a healthy masturbation session, watching porn ignites routine masturbation with a visceral erotic spark. (…read more, oprah.com)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Know the Difference: Are You Anti-Porn, or Anti-Sex?

The more they tell us why we should think porn is bad, the more we see specific themes repeat in anti-porn values. Two of the strongest themes don’t seem to actually have much to do with pornography itself: namely misandry (hatred of men), and sexual xenophobia (uncontrollable hatred and fear of unfamiliar or unknown sex practices). When we break down understanding the reasons why anti-porn people think pornography is evil, it becomes clear that there is widespread belief (especially in feminist anti-porn ideology) that men are thought of as inferior and malfeasant, and that the anti-porn people really don’t know that much about how porn is made. And that they have zero tolerance or interest in understanding sexual activities outside their own limited definitions.

The rest of us get pretty confused by this; we are, after all, talking about a group of people who want to put an end to people’s enjoyment of explicit visual stimulation simply by telling us that certain sex acts are “good” or “bad” (such as anal sex). Meanwhile, some of us do have legitimate questions about making sure we watch porn that is “fair trade” if you will; made with respect and consent. We do know, however, that judging other people’s sexual choices is not anywhere near an answer to our concerns.

Sex educator Charlie Glickman had an epiphany: he pulled apart the difference between being anti-sex and anti-porn in one of the most interesting articles to come out of the anti-vs-pro porn debates. Delightfully, unlike the destructive, shaming and condemning attitudes of anti-porn pundits, it is a solutions-oriented approach to encountering potentially offensive pornographic content without becoming sex-negative. He offers ways we can navigate porn’s lamenesses and our own limits, and also how offensive porn sites could fix the negative ways they portray sex acts without giving up the fantasies viewers pay to see. (Some ethical porn websites already do this; Gag Factor does not.) Here’s a snip from 7 Ways to Create a Sex-Positive Critique of Porn:

One of the most common responses to the anti-porn critiques of pornography is that they’re sex-negative and all too often, that ends up creating a “no we’re not/yes you are” argument. And yet, whenever I read the anti-porn side of things, I’m struck by how often sex-negativity is woven into their claims, although in all fairness, that’s not always the case.

I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was that bothered me by the way that Gail Dines keeps talking about gagfactor.com, a website that focuses on men facefucking women. And then it hit me- there are two parts to it. First, Dines is trying to foment a moral panic. And second, she simply doesn’t understand sex.

I can explain the first point better if I start with the second one. As someone who has been studying sex in all its wide and varied forms for over 20 years (my goodness, that makes me sound old!), I can attest to the fact that for any sexual act, there are people who enjoy it and people who are squicked by it. There’s a certain privilege inherent in being part of the majority- if you enjoy penis/vagina intercourse, you can be pretty confident that lots of other people share your taste. And it’s important to also remember that there are people who feel just as much disgust about your desires as you might feel about something less common. No matter what the act, some people love it and some people would never dream of doing it.

(…) So why do I think that Dines’ strategies are sex-negative? Because she deliberately works to trigger disgust about a sexual practice in order to manipulate people into rallying to her call. Rather than opening up a dialogue about the real reasons that some porn is problematic or asking how the performers on the site feel about their experiences, she uses tactics that depend on and deepen sexual shame in order to sway people to her point of view. And that makes them sex-negative. Facefucking is not inherently abusive, violent, or misogynistic any more than intercourse is inherently respectful, pleasurable, or egalitarian. As with any sexual act, it’s a question of whether you want to do it, how you do it, and how you feel about it during it and afterward. When Dines makes it sound otherwise, she reinforces sex-negativity. It doesn’t really matter whether she deliberately chose this strategy or happened to discover its effectiveness by accident.

So all of this has me thinking: what would a sex-positive approach to the question of porn entail? (…read more, charlieglickman.com)

Photo by Firebird Photography.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Anti-Porn Profiteering: What They’re Selling

With a sexy fetish boot on the cover that teases you with kinky sex imagery, Gail Dines’ new book “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality” looks primed to validate everyone’s wildest fears about pornography. Dines prefers to shock people into trusting her opinions and beliefs about porn and human sexual relationships at face value, and so far it seems to be working. Remember: her talk has been required in college feminism courses, and the students are not prepared for the graphic imagery they are shown. And with “Pornland” getting a FOX-style feature in typically respected outlets such as Guardian UK (which is being run without alternate viewpoints), we can expect the political astroturfing she’s laying down to pave the way for plenty of book sales. The Guardian is, in fact, presenting her book as if it is an accurate historical reference. If Dines has a low-scale contract, we can guess that she got between $10-25K as an advance on sales, and when those are met that she’s likely to get between 7-9% in royalties off the sale price for print and 25% for digital sales. Add to that Dines’ $5K a pop speaking fee, and a cottage industry is fluffed.

But traumatizing people into buying your products isn’t just for anti-porn feminists. This year has also seen quite a lot of “female porn addict” hysteria. Organizations such as Dirty Girls Ministries (a female-targeted version of XXX Church profiled May 2010 in the New York Times) offer to heal so-called female porn addicts. It’s interesting to note that like Dirty Girls, the same orgs who are pushing the female porn addiction scare are simultaneously crusading against masturbation. This should raise a lot of red flags at the very least in terms of credibility, especially before such an organization gets prime endorsement in the NYT. But what caught my eye was seeing that Dirty Girls Ministries is making a tidy profit off of the sexual disorder epidemic they’ve helped to manufacture.

Each of the high-profile anti-pornography organizations and pundits are profiteering quite conveniently off of “pornography’s victims.” It’s a never ending revenue source for shame merchants: curing masturbation has been lucrative for centuries as patients can never actually be “cured,” and porn’s so-called victims will exist as long as humans have the capacity for sexual fantasy. So when these victims are viewers that are shamed and exploited by the anti-porn message and shock tactics, it’s worth it for everyone to take a closer look at how anti-porn organizations are profiting from fear.

Make no mistake, I’m a big fan of people making money. It’s business. But what are these FUD-based (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) businesses, exactly? Most interesting is to see that the sources anti-porn organizations cite as basis for scientific research and proofs for porn’s harms are selling “cures” and other products as well:

Profiteer: Dirty Girls Ministries (dirtygirlsministries.com) / XXX Church (xxxchurch.com)
Products: Their own porn and masturbation cures and products. X3WATCH “accountability software,” Safe Eyes filtering software, X3PURE 30-day online porn addiction cure. Also L.I.F.E. Minsitries’ Workbooks.
FUD: Cures women and men of “porn addiction,” masturbation and erotic fantasy.
Cost: X3WATCH app: (iPhone $1.99/Android $4.99), Safe Eyes ($49), X3PURE ($99 each course). L.I.F.E. Workbook for Women ($24.95), Workbook for Couples ($40.95), Teacher’s Workbook ($68.95).
Additional: Claim for Dirty Girls that “X3 is downloaded 500 times a day” and 100 workshops sold a month.

Profiteer: Candeocan (candeocan.com)
Product: Porn and masturbation cures. Candeocan is the “brain science” website and porn study resource cited by “Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media,” Christian anti-porn organization “Pink Cross Foundation” (Shelley Lubben), “Porn Harms” (Patrick Trueman), and “Stop Porn Culture” (Gail Dines).
FUD: Self-generated papers such as “The Science Behind Pornography Addiction” “The Brain Science Behind Internet Pornography Addiction” “How Adult Pornography Contributes to Sexual Exploitation of Children.” Cures for masturbation and porn addiction.
Cost: $47 a month with 6-month minimum (recommended).
Additional: This year Candeocan launched Candeocan Weight Loss (candeoweightloss.com).

Profiteer: The Social Costs of Pornography (socialcostsofpornography.org)
Product: Manufactured research. Self-published book “The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations” and self-published DVD “The Social Costs of Pornography: A Consultation.”
FUD: Pornography addiction is the same as heroin addiction (actual statement). Anti-porn psychologists.
Cost: Book $5; DVD $9.95.
Additional: Sponsored by The Witherspoon Institute (seminars, courses and publications on faith-based morality, religion and the Constitution) and The Social Trends Institute (STI is a “research center” with publications such as “Embryo: A Defense of Human Life”).

Profiteer: Pink Cross Foundation (thepinkcross.org)
Product: Shelley Lubben’s 501(c)3 nonprofit to save porn performers from their work.
FUD: Premise that porn creates and actively promotes disease, sexual abuse, addiction, secondary effects such as rape.
Cost: 501(c)(3) that solicits donations.
Additional: On examination of Pink Cross’ 2009 tax return, of $125K in donations only $13K went to porn star help and “outreach” (only non-admin category).

Profiteer: Enough Is Enough / Donna Rice Hughes (enough.org)
Product: Instructional materials on saving children from pornography. Internet Safety 101 Program.
FUD: Pornography creation and use creates child rapists and facilitates child predators.
Cost: Internet Safety 101 Program Kit ($39.95), DVD Teaching Series ($19.95), DVD Teaching Series Booklet ($24.95), Facilitator’s Edition ($69.95), Workbook & Resource Guide ($24.95), Booklet Multi-Pack ($29.95)
Additional: Solicits donations to protect the children, solicits vehicle donation, solicits donations from eBay sales.

* “Not For Sale” is listed as an anti-porn and “anti-slavery” organization endorsed by Porn Harms. Not For Sale has a “Freedom Store” where visitors can buy everything from bath and body products to Converse high-tops. Patrick Trueman’s “Porn Harms” website solicits PayPal donations. L.I.F.E. Minsitries “globalized God’s army to battle sexual addiction” with a complete store.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

A Look at “War on Pornography” and “Shock and Awe” Tactics

Since Stop Porn Culture changed its feminist coat for a Christian cloak to team up with religious organizations and declare “War on Pornography” last week in Washington, it seems appropriate to examine their perennial strategy in “shock and awe” military battlefield terminology. Tactics to shock your audience into agreeing with your position can be effective, though they don’t make for a solid argument. As we see in the above clip from 2008 (when Stop Porn Culture launched) Penn and Teller unpack the “shock and awe” put into anti-porn presentations and theories, which categorically claim that porn viewing causes rape and child abuse — usually bracketed with extremely graphic descriptions (or pictures) of decontextualized BDSM or fringey shock porn. The idea behind “shock and awe” is to paralyze the adversary’s perception of the battelfield (in this case, the audiences’ perception of porn as a whole via nonconsensually shocking audiences outside of their comfort zones), and destroy the will to fight or challenge (here, the capacity to question the information being presented). It also creates an atmosphere which discourages dissent in the form of social pressure.

These tactics can be clearly seen in anti-porn presentations by Gail Dines from the past several years and are a template for creating a “for the terrorists or against the terrorists” environment. This effectively polarizes any and all discussion about porn. More importantly, this makes anyone who might question the information appear sympathetic to people who commit sexual crime, or suggest the questioner may be a rapist, child moletster, or helpless and victimized sex worker. The most recent presentation by Dines last week in Washington presented the same “shock and awe” template. The language and tone asserts the viewers’ agreement that all pornography is the same, that sex workers are victims of sexual abuse, that sex work could not possibly be consensual, that all men are “sleeping” rapists until triggered, and that most sex is rape.

In my opinion, this is a “rapid dominance” form of conversation, but typically does not survive debate as it is one-sided. Upon examination, it is also incredibly offensive to rape survivors, child sexual abuse and sexual trauma survivors, men in general, and of course, porn performers. It’s important to remember the “shock and awe” tactic when speaking to media; this is something I tell sex educators to stay on alert about so they don’t get off-topic when “shock jock” interviewers attempt to provoke emotional responses. There is nothing here from, for or about female porn viewers, LGBTQ porn and porn performers, and most especially the gay porn industry and its substantial consumer base.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Winners of the Our Porn, Ourselves Pro-Porn Contest!

It wasn’t easy, but the decisions have been made: the winners of the Our Porn, Ourselves contest are announced — and it’s time to dish out the dream packages! Many amazing women and men put themselves front and center to state outright that extremist groups like “Coalition for War” “Porn Harms” and “Stop Porn Culture” do not speak for them — and we want the world to know these groups do not speak the truth about us, or our porn, either.

Ten winners were selected for variety, voice, diversity, message, participation and general sex-positivity — with this, more than just videos had to be included in the final triumphs. To claim your prizes, email violet @ tinynibbles.com (I will also contact you through social media), and know that your private and personal information will be kept completely confidential.

Enjoy this incredible media celebration. We’re here to say that watching, making and enjoying porn is part of a healthy life for women (and men, and all sexual orientations), and that porn can be part of a healthy and balanced, tolerant, sex-positive culture in which we can all co-exist. No one even needs to be a feminist. The anti-porn agenda just got a lot less credible. Thank you, everyone. Special thanks to all of our sponsors and businesses who support us: Babeland, MadisonBound.com, Femina Potens, For the Girls, Tantus, Carnal Nation, Art of Blowjob, NoFauXXX, Cleis Press, Digita Publications, I.G. Frederick, Bliss Connection, and Hot Movies for Her.

1. Lexi Love Is Pro-Porn by TheLexiLove (above)
2. When You Tell… by UrsulaorElse (below video is hosted on my account due to Flash issues, it contains nudity: original video is on NSFW Xtube)

3. Our Porn, Our Selves Pro-Porn Declaration! by heymisterowl (below)

4. miaomeowmiaomeo, from Bejing, China (below)

5. I am a feminist and I enjoy porn by Minnie Clips (below)

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Coalition for War on Illegal Pornography’s Washington Anti-Porn Presentation Big on Fear, Short on Fact

In our Porn Myths post we pointed you to the speaker schedule for Tuesday’s anti-porn presentation by “Coalition for War on Illegal Pornography,” a group consisting of various small organizations seeking to convince US lawmakers that their point of view on pornography is the only valid one to consider when lawmaking. The speakers presented various points to some elected officials and Obama administration representatives. Their main thrust was stating opinions that illegal pornography is being made in California, and while some STD statistics were cited, no hard proof was produced for lawmakers’ edification. It is unclear as to whether any of the audience asked where the presenters’ information came from.

AOL News wrote a piece that in all fairness can only be called biased, though of the writing done about the “Coalition for War” event, they are unfortunately the only source which does not present a conservative Christian viewpoint on the presentations. Here’s a snip from Activists Urge Government Crackdown on Pornography:

WASHINGTON (June 15) — Anti-pornography activists gathered at the Capitol today to urge Congress to enforce existing laws governing obscenity and pornography.

During a panel discussion sponsored by the Coalition for War on Illegal Pornography, a loose group of national organizations, speakers urged legislators and the Obama administration to crack down on the adult entertainment industry, which they say openly flouts existing U.S. obscenity laws.

“Obscenity is not to be confused with soft-core pornography,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president of the nonprofit Enough Is Enough, pointing out that Playboy magazine is protected speech but “Debbie Does Dallas” is likely not. “Because obscenity laws have not been enforced, illegal ‘adult’ pornography has flooded and polluted the Internet.”

(…) According to Hughes and several other speakers, the Supreme Court has ruled that most so-called hard-core pornography is illegal if it depicts sexual conduct, appeals only to the “prurient interest” and is judged to violate contemporary “community standards.” (…read more, aolnews.com)

Pornography is legal in the United States, and the laws are strictly enforced (with regular FBI raids, even) on porn makers in California. It is clear that these groups rely on public lack of awareness regarding the legality of pornography, and intend to continue blurring the line between legal and illegal sexual activity to serve the anti-porn agenda. It is deeply unfortunate that no counterpoints to the statements or views expressed by “Coalition for War” were presented to lawmakers or provided in press coverage, despite the minority status of these groups and their viewpoints. Considering that this is the nexus of the anti-porn arguments, these views deserve to be challenged.

Image by Alex Dram.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Stop Porn Culture Conference: First Reports From “Future of Pornography 2010″

Last weekend was Stop Porn Culture’s anti-porn conference, and while it was said that registration was closed before attendance capacity was reached, some women did manage to attend; women who sought to engage with attendees and presenters about diverse viewpoints on pornography. They did not necessarily agree with the Stop Porn Culture agenda, but wanted to observe and create balanced conversation around all viewpoints, if possible. On Twitter we followed the constantly-updated conference experiences of sex educator Megan Andelloux (HiOhMegan), student and sex-positive activist Mz. Aida (PledgeMistress), and blogger/homemaker/human resources professional Debauched Diva (debaucheddiva). While we eagerly await more blog posts or report summaries to come from anyone at the conference and read about their experiences there, Debauched Diva provides us with the first glimpse in her post #stopporncon — here are a few excerpts from a piece well worth reading in its entirety:

I don’t think if this was the best weekend to pick for attending an anti-porn conference or not but that I exactly what I did.

Leading up to this weekend there were a few people who questioned my reasons for attending the Stop Porn Culture! There are many misconceptions of why and what I would do at this conference. I had few reasons for wanting to attend.

The first was to hear why this group was so against pornography. I already knew Donna Hughes would be there and from her past actions I knew what her radical viewpoint would be. But what I didn’t know was who were these other group of people attending. What would their reasons for attending and their views be.

(…) The other reason I attended was because of something that happened to me in Vegas was I was out there for CineKink. As I sat in the lobby of the Onyx theatre in between screenings a young collage student came up to me asking about one of the panels that was being presented in Vegas. She specifically wanted to hear about the “Feminist Porn” screenings because as she explained to me she was taught in her woman’s studies program there was no such thing as Feminist Porn.

What she went on to explain to me was that if it was porn made by women, for women then it was not actually called porn, but erotica. My mouth dropped opened at that point and I asked if she had ever heard of the Feminist Porn Awards.

The comments of this young woman and what she was being taught at her collage made me wonder why there was a woman’s studies program teaching something such as that. (…) I took a lot of notes, tweeted some of their comments and unfortunately ended up becoming snarky in my tweets as the day progressed. There was so much misinformation and scare tactic’s being used it became more difficult to sit and listen calmly to it.

At one point we were called out for being there to the entire room in a very angry speech by the organizer without her ever directly addressing us. The feelings I had as I sat there and watched the entire room cheer to the hateful speech of the organizer were not good. I don’t think I’ve ever sat in a roomful of people who disliked me simply because my views differed from theirs. (…read more, debaucheddomesticdiva.blogspot.com)

Note: in Debauched Diva’s post, she estimates that Stop Porn’s 2010 conference attendance was around 150.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Porn Myths, Next Week’s Washington DC Anti-Porn Conference and Concerns About Content

After the Stop Porn Culture conference this weekend, their organizers/keynote speakers will being going to Washington D.C. to join other anti-porn organizations and have another conference, with political intent. Groups joining them include “Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media,” Christian anti-porn organization “Pink Cross Foundation,” “Porn Harms” and “Enough Is Enough.” Tuesday’s day-long Congressionally-focused lobbying conference called “Pornography Harms: A Briefing” is sponsored by the “Coalition for the War Against Illegal Pornography” — from former Justice Department prosecutor Patrick Trueman and his supporters, who recently launched PornHarms.com. A PDF file of the conference lineup is linked here and reproduced above (click to enlarge) if you want to see exactly who is intent on persuading US lawmakers to believe the opposite of everything Our Porn, Ourselves — and all those who are like us — stand for. And yes, many of the female speakers cite “feminist” as a credential.

It is unfortunate that their arguments will not be balanced out by alternate points of view, research and data. That only one side of this important issue could potentially be accepted by lawmakers is a troubling thought. Our Porn, Ourselves would like to offer alternate reading in the following summary, Concerns About Porn — here is an excerpt:

Porn Degrades Women

For most people, the idea of a woman being shamed, degraded or sexually harmed for someone’s viewing pleasure is not acceptable, nor arousing. Some people have strong convictions around pornography and women, and believe that graphic erotic images of women are harmful, from cartoons to “tube”-style videos — regardless of the participation level of the woman in the imagery, or the intent of the viewer. Another perspective sees porn as an industry that forces women, physically, emotionally or economically into sexual slavery. After all, no woman would voluntarily do something like that. Nor would any woman like it. Or would she?

People who make statements saying that porn (all porn, including feminist and homemade porn) degrades women are making a lot of assumptions about the people in porn, and the people watching it. And no one is asking the women in the “degrading” images how they feel about it. What does “degrading” mean? It means to lower, make inferior, drag down moral character. So, whose standards are we talking about here, if we’re saying a woman’s value is measured by sex?

* This posits as fact that the woman is ashamed of what she is doing — or she should be.
* This claims that she isn’t enjoying it, or that women as a class can’t, don’t or should not be allowed to enjoy certain kinds of sex.
* This states that penetrative sex makes you less than human, and a helpless victim.
* This states that the viewer is always male (and always non-gay). (…read more, ourpornourselves.org)

If you look closely Tuesday’s speaking schedule (above, click to enlarge) you will see a familiar name: Shelly Lubben. A few years ago I was invited to speak about sexual privacy online at the Google campus in Mountain View for their Google Tech Talks. I was asked primarily because Shelly Lubben had approached and persuaded Google to schedule her to give a talk about her “Pink Cross Foundation” and to enlist Google in her campaign against pornography. Partway through my talk Sex On The Internet: The Realities of Porn (1,510,665 YouTube views), you’ll see where I discover that Lubben backed out of her talk. A Google employee explains that they approached Lubben and offered to help her research her data points for her presentation, and when they did so (and had difficulty), she canceled her talk.

These are the kinds of things that everyone, not only lawmakers, should know about.

PDF tip thanks goes to IACB.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments