Feb 212011

I am participating in Lady Porn Day, which is tomorrow the 22nd, as put together by the wonderful Rabbit Write. A few of us are starting today, a day early, so as to bring more awareness to it, and allow other to know about it and post tomorrow.

Lady Porn Day 2011

The prompt is to generally talk about porn from a woman’s perspective — what IS porn, what turns you on, what exactly is this new “women’s/couples friendly porn,” how has porn changed your life, what are your thoughts about porn, erotica, etc. And I’ve decided to write about ethical pornography, sometimes called feminist pornography.

Ethical pornography is one of the new waves of porn. It’s been happening for years with people like Carol Queen (and Bend Over Boyfriend) and those running Fatale Media, but also through queer venues like NoFauxxx and Pink and White/The Crash Pad Series, as well as through non-traditional porn channels like Tony Comstock’s films (sexumentaries if you will). It includes new releasing companies like Good Vibrations’ Good Releasing, which features HeartCore, ReelQueer and PleasureEd titles, and up and coming websites like GoodDykePorn.com or the Feminist Porn Network. Work create by those like Tristan Taormino, Toby Meyer-Hill, Shine Louise Houston, April Flores, Jackie Strano, Jamye Waxman, Madison Young, Bren Ryder, Courtney Trouble, Tina Horn, the Comstocks, and much more fall into this category, and I’d say it is an absolutely growing field.

What makes this porn ethical? Let’s see — the stars are chosen not because they fit some socially constructed mold of what we define beauty as, but because they love being sexual, are excited to perform in front of the camera, and so on. In ethical of pornography, you’ll see size diversity, people of color (not in a stereotypical “My Daughter is Fucking Blackzilla” type of role), people of various gender presentations, a variety of orientations, a spectrum of ages of 18 (not just the common 18-22 range), people with not traditionally define abilities, those that are often labeled “alternative” and much more. Ethical pornography looks at the fluidity of sexuality and identities, and realizes that all of them are hot and sexy, and therefore places diversity in their shoots.

How about the actually fucking — what makes that “ethical” or “feminist”? Well, the companies I’ve named above are very open minded in what sex means. This means that they don’t pay you based on who you are fucking, or what acts you choose to do, but they just pay you for performing.  By doing this, it knocks down this hierarchy of solo being the least, girl/girl being a little bit more, girl/boy being the average, and anal getting the most money and praise, and it also stops the misogyny behind paying more for hetero scenes, and defining those in porn as boys and girls.  Aside from paying all their stars equally, ethical porn companies also allow their performers a freedom to have the kind of sex that turns them on, allowing the stars to be authentic to their own pleasure. If they are doing an anal scene, it is because they like it, and it turns them on, not because a director told them to. Same goes for kissing — they’re kissing their scene partner because it is hot to them, not because they’re required to as part of a contract. This often leads to more chemistry between scene stars, more authentic orgasms, and in my mind, a hotter scene to watch because you know they are actually enjoying it. Those in ethical porn also get to pick their own names, choose whether or not they’d like to use barriers (although some companies strongly recommend that non-real life partners use barriers, and one or two require it), sometimes choose their outfits/locations, and much more.

Shooting ethical pornography is more of a group effort. Rather than trying to fit into a mold based on previous films/fitting into the perception of what men want in their porn, ethical pornographers work with their staff, with their stars, with everyone to try and put together an authentic piece of visual erotica that is true to all of those involved, whether everyone is treated equally (regardless of position on crew or their identities), and where people leave feeling comfortable and happy.  I don’t like the term feminist pornography much (although that is the title many people prefer), because I have run into a lot of anti-porn, anti sex positive, anti-pleasure feminists. As a feminist-identified person, this really offends me that part of a community that I part of feels that what I do hurts others. More so, I don’t think you have to be identified as a feminist to make good, sex positive pornography — I simply think that you need to be ethical and stick to those values.

No, there is currently not a lot of money to be made in ethical pornography. No one is raking in six figure salaries, and most shooting sex positive porn aren’t getting paid much per scene. It’s still very independent and very underground, perhaps that is why it is still feasible to make it ethical. Often times when things get “big” or “main stream,” it is harder for those involved to have their voices heard.

My above list of ethical pornographers is not exhaustive, certainly. There are so many people working hard, either on their own or as part of other companies, to try and create sex positive spaces in porn. Some of us (myself included) don’t have our own companies, but rather pick and choose who we work for — I’ve directed content for Good Dyke Porn and Dark Horse Theaters, and am getting ready to work with Good Releasing on a Erotic Documentary about the intersections between sex and disability. I am certainly no full time pornographer, but working with ethical porn companies have given me the opportunity to  bring my sex positive background and emphasis on inclusiveness to film. Everyday, more and more people are working to change the industry (for ex — Wicked requires all of their stars to wear condoms, which is the antithesis of what often happens in the more mainstream industry), both from inside mainstream and by creating new spaces.

As a “lady” identified person, this is what type of porn turns me on, this is what I want to watch. It doesn’t matter if it is kinky, or kisses and massages, or the genders of the performers. I get off knowing that the people on the screen got off filming, that they are paid equally no matter what they did, that they represent more of the diversity of sexuality. I don’t think there is such thing as porn for women, as women’s tastes are just as diverse as everyone else’s. Some enjoy watching kissing, while others find it boring and want more “hardcore” sex scenes. So to me, as a woman, I enjoy porn that follows my own ethics and beliefs.  So in celebration of Lady Porn Day, I raise my class to all those who have created the world of ethical porn, work in it, and/or enjoy it, because that is how I believe porn should be.


Sep 012010

As many of you know, I’m a sexuality educator, presenting workshops on sexuality, classes on relationships, discussions on identities, and much more. One of my favorite discussions to have is a lecture/discussion I do on feminist and ethical pornography. Why? Because I believe there is indeed such a thing, and as of late, have been working on becoming a pornographer, a maker of hot, ethical porn.

What does that mean? I means including people of a variety of orientations (although I tend to shoot more for sites that are queer specific), varying gender identities and presentations, various ages, sizes, and ability levels, and people of color. That one is hard, because despite all of my searching, I’ve yet to find a person of color wanting to shoot for me that happens to be in the same area…however, I am aware of this need, and will continue to try and keep diversity of all sorts in the porn I make.

Also very important to me is that there is a real connections between the stars. What does this mean? Well, sometimes, it’s a connection, a chemistry, a hotness that just happens. I seem to be like the Yente of queer porn — the people I put together for scenes tend to have really really hot chemistry, just like that. Other times, it’s filming real life couples.

In the case for GoodDykePorn.com, I filmed a real life couple, Dani Starr and Dylan Starr, a cute set of Butch/Femme dykes, and encouraged them to have the sex that THEY liked, that THEY thought was hot and sexy and fulfilling to them. The result? An extremely hot and sexual scene with lots of connection, lots of fun, and of course, lots of sex play.

Bren Ryder, owner of GoodDykePorn, wrote a wonderful post about this scene, and I wanted to share it with you. I’m so glad the two of us see eye to eye on real-ness, and how scenes should be shot — I always make sure to include lots of shots of facial expressions, in addition to interesting angles, and of course, the occasional close ups.

As a side note, I’ll be filming more this fall for GDP, and am looking for real people (no experience needed, no size/age/etc requirements) who’d like to shoot for me/GDP, particularly in Arizona, New York or San Francisco. Interested? Contact me!


May 262010

When I chose to go to grad school for sexuality education, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it. Perhaps work for Planned Parenthood, or work in schools. Then as I went through grad school, I realized I wanted to branch out to “alternative” sexuality education. I wanted to work with people beyond pregnancy prevention and avoiding STIs. I wanted to help adults enjoy sex, learn to communicate, build stronger relationships (with themselves and with others), teach them how to use toys and porn to enhance their sexuality, and how to discover more about themselves.

I’ve been writing my other blog for years. I’ve written pieces for tons of sites, blogs, newspapers, and presented all over the country in sex toy stores, dungeons, LGBT centers, colleges and universities. But I did so much for free, to give back. I understand how hard it is for people to pay for sex ed learning, and so I’ve done a ton of pro-bono work. I don’t regret that for a second.

But now, I’m working full time a sex educator.  Yes, I also do social media and the like, but my main job, my business card title is Resident Sexuality Educator at Fascinations. I can’t tell you how wonderful that feels.

Now that I am living the life I want, and working within my passion, I want to to continue to be the best sex educator, advocate, activist, writer, blogger, tweeter, media expert, etc that is possible for ME. I’d love to get my name and my workshop and my company (because it truly feels like I am part of it now) to be more recognized, more popular. I want to be as big a name as Tristan Taormino, Ducky Doolittle, Megan Andelloux, and more. My biggest goal is to speak at more colleges and universities. Fascinations has even offered to help with airfare, so if your school is interested in having me talk about sex positive pornography, sexuality, relationships, communication, or more, please contact me about coming to speak/present for you. Some ideas; sex weeks, LGBTQ/GSA groups, feminist and gender studies, women’s studies, human sexuality classes, film classes, and much much more. I’ve spoken at ASU, U of A, Colorado College, Princeton, Brown, SUNY-Purchase and more. Would love to add more schools to that list.

Thank YOU. Thanks to anyone who has read anything I’ve written, commented, come to my classes, followed me on social media, or anything else. I’m living *my* dream, and I have all of you to thank.


Mar 142010

What do you get when you cross myself, Oh Megan, Sarah Sloane and more? A plethora of fantabulous sex educators all coming together at Brown University for Sex Week 2010!  I’ll be speaking tomorrow and Tuesday, and the others throughout the week.

Interested in what I’ll be doing classes/workshops on? Want to come out and get some learnin’?

Monday, March 15th

Strap-On 101 w/ Shanna Katz

Time/Location: 12:00pm @ Sarah Doyle Women’s Center lounge (26 Benevolent St.)

Come learn all about the joys and pleasures of strapping it on. Who said harnesses were just for girl-on-girl action? In this workshop, we’ll discuss double-penetration, “pegging,” using harnesses for cuckolding, “femmecock,” and so much more! Ever wonder what the difference is between a g-string and a dual strap? We’ll cover that too! You’ll learn how to properly work a strap-on, contemplate a plethora of positions, and learn about the pros/cons of different types of toys. This class is open to singles, couples and moresomes of all sexes and genders. Never used a harness before? That’s fine – we’ll start with the basics. Plus, everyone will get to try on harnesses with toys to get a feel for the different styles, as well as figure out what works best for them.

SexAbility w/ Shanna Katz (and potentially Marlene Chait, a Brown Post-Doc Research Fellow whose doctoral dissertation is ‘An Exploratory Study About Women with Physical Disabilities: Survey of Their Views on Personal Assistance Services (PAS), Sexuality Education, and Sexual Expression’)

Time/Location: 5:30pm @ Salomon 202

People of all ability levels are sexual beings. Sex is hard enough to navigate and negotiate when one fits in with society’s notions of what a sexual being is, but once you add in the concept of ability, it can become quite challenge. This workshop is discussion-based, and covers issues such as coming out to your partner(s), how to discuss ability levels, new things to try, correct terminology, negotiating sex play (including kink/BDSM play), and much more. Participants are encouraged to share suggestions, trade ideas, etc. Great for people of all ability levels (and their partners) who want to recognize themselves as sexual beings. This workshop hopes to challenge people’s viewpoints, foster discussion and conversation, and open doors towards a shift in the social constructions surrounding sexuality and disability.

Make it Work Outside the Box: Relationship-Mapping & Communication w/ Shanna Katz

Time/Location: 8:30pm @ List 120 (64 College St.)

Description: Communication is key, but how DO we communicate? More importantly, how does communication change (or not) once we break the boundaries of what are considered “traditional relationships”? In this workshop we’ll talk about the different styles of communication, the languages of love, types of non-verbal communication, why communcation is so important, and how to adapt all of this for kinky AND vanilla relationships. We’ll gain an understanding about the basic types of relationships that people have in their lives, how we can map them, patterns to look for, and what we can get out of these maps. Finally, we’ll talk about polyamory/non-monogamy – its various facets, how to get into it, and most importantly, how we can make it work when there are more than two people involved. Bring paper, pen, and an open mind. We will be raffling off two Tantus toys at this event, so make sure you arrive early and get a seat!

Tuesday, March 16th

Feminist Pornography (Out For Lunch) w/ Shanna Katz

Time/Location: 12:00pm @ LGBTQ Resource Center (3rd floor Hillel, at 80 Angell St.)

Are you one of those who has wondered exactly what it is that makes porn “feminist” or “sex positive?” Join us as we talk about definitions of pornography and obscenity, and how sexual pleasure can be recording in a feminist and sex positive way. We’ll discuss current companies who identify as sex positive, and what separates them (or not!) from current, mainstream pornographic productions. By the end of this talk, everyone will still have formed different opinons, but will be more educated as to what this sex positive porn movement is.