Aug 082013
 

This is a post by one of my Summer 2013 interns. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

It is nearly impossible to peel socio-cognitive development from exposure to media. It’s relevance echoes from our early infancy, where developmental researchers have found that children rely on these cues given by their caregivers to guide them on how and when act in ambiguous situations. The technical term for this is called anchoring, and it is a skill can be generalized well throughout the lifespan, as we are always subconsciously taking in information from our surroundings, and integrating it into our social network.  We pick up on these cues from the community we are affiliated with, the newspapers we choose to read and with the media we are exposed to. The lessons we learn from media echos in our daily interactions all the time. It tells us that if we keep a beer in our hand, we could be conditioned to feeling less nervous. It tells us what kind of clean crisp shirt is appropriate for a job interview. It also tells us it’s inappropriate to shout in art galleries and grocery stores, but not concerts and birthday parties.

With that said, pornography is no exception to this phenomenon. Even an individual who is exposed to a resourceful sexual education cannot magically neglect the information one takes in while watching pornography. Can you blame us? Human beings are physiologically inclined to perceive and internalize visual stimuli more strongly than other senses, so it’s no surprise that sex we see on screen is something that ‘sticks’ with us. Pornography has now become the norm for youth, with 87% of boys and 31% of girls reported being exposed to it at one point.

More and more, I’m finding the underlying message of how porn is talked about in regards to sex education is it emphasizes the importance of segregating porn as ‘fantasy’ and sex as ‘real’. With that said, it is very tempting emphasize the degradation and objectification found in mainstream pornography, or perhaps has dismissed it as being “for entertainment purposes only”. The idea is peppered in any intro level social psych or gender studies class, and fuels a few of the spicier Tedtalks. I have two main problems with this well-educated (and, let’s face it, slightly presumptuous) attitude:

(1) If research tells us that we are learning from porn, but education tells us we shouldn’t, then what are we supposed to do?
This sounds like a mixed message that could definitely leave the audience confused. If we feel like we are learning a skill by using a resource that has been told is unreliable, then it leaves room for guilt and shame to creep in, which really doesn’t help open up a dialogue. Information comes from all walks of life, and oftentimes not all of it comes from academia and research. It’s important to embrace the lessons we learn, and provide a space where people can talk openly and share these experiences with one another.

(2) It tends to generalize all styles of pornography and lump it into one type.

Of course we know this is not true and that there are in fact, a plethora of pornography that exists, each carrying it’s own brand and message.

Nina Hartley* is an incredible example of this. Both a porn star and a registered nurse, she has always been a strong voice advocating the importance of creating sex-positive pornography that strengthens and educates us about sexuality. This is a powerful message, as not only does it create an accepting environment as a consumer of porn, but also it celebrates that multi-faceted understanding of sexuality as a whole.

Keeping to this theme, Blue Artichoke Films** is a production company that also aims to make films more sex-positive, and focuses more on the intimacy and emotional unfolding of the interactions. This quality is seen down to the nitty gritty real-time editing, in an attempt to captive the heat of the moment.

However, it should be noted that I’m not in the belief that pornography is a substitute for sex education all together, but I do believe the subject could be incorporated in the curriculum with a little more warmth. Sometimes I feel like porn is a subject that is not sure how to be dealt with within the sex education curriculum because of it’s artistic elements of fantasy, but it is not to say that it’s relevance should be dismissed entirely.

With that said, we are slowly coming to the small space where fantasy and reality meet. The trends in media are working towards finding ways to make it more interactive with the audience. We see it in how we watch sports, how we take in news, and how we interact with our friends and family online. This is a really exciting time for us, because now more than ever, it is so easy to gain knowledge, and create a message that can be heard. By generalizing and dismissing pornography, it leaves very little room to make it constructive, and certainly does not leave any room for change in the industry.  Pornography is an industry just like any other, and akin to other industries, it changes and shifts based on our demands as a consumer. This leaves us with an incredible opportunity for us to support and direct it to a healthier outlet. This allows ample initiative as a consumer to educate oneself about what kinds of messages we want to see in pornography, and where we can go to support those who give this message.

*For more information on Nina Hartley: http://www.nina.com/

** For more information of Blue Artichoke Films:  http://blueartichokefilms.com/

For one of Shanna’s posts on Feminist and Ethical Pornography (including what it is, companies making it, etc), check this out: http://shannakatz.com/2011/02/21/what-is-ethicalfeminist-pornography/

Jul 062011
 

I’ve been a huge fan of Tristan Taormino movies since I first saw Chemistry. I love the majority of her Expert Guide To series, as I can suggest them to singles, couples, and triads as a sexy way of learning a sexual activities and getting more of what the want in the bedroom. Ergo, you can imagine that I was incredibly excited to get to check out her newest movie, Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind. Basically, it’s a movie in her Rough Sex Series that focuses solely on Adrianna and her fantasies. Add to that the first scene being with Jiz Lee (one of my favorite queer performers) and the first time Adrianna and Jada Fire play together? I had high hopes. Plus, Adrianna always brings in, and I was excited to see what she’d come up with.

The problem? My hopes weren’t quite fulfilled.

My partner and I watched this together, and as we made it through scene after scene, we were really surprised at the fact that we liked the less queer scenes far more. This is from me, who preaches the gospel of queer porn; No Fauxxx, Pink and White/CrashPadSeries, Good Dyke Porn, Reel Queer, etc. However, the scene with Jiz and Adrianna (in the style of David Bowie) fell flat for both of us. We actually wound up fast forward through many parts of it – the Bowie-esque lighting made it super blown out and hard to watch, while the sex itself seem almost choreographed. My inner monologue kept saying things like “why are you putting your hand in her mouth? It doesn’t look like either of you think it’s sexy, so why are you doing it? Take it out. Good job. Oh…we’re doing it again? Really?” Now, this is not to say it wasn’t an authentic scene or authentic pleasure/fantasy — it just didn’t appear that way, and the lighting made it incredibly annoying to watch. However, the appearance of the Eleven elicited cheers, as did the Vixen Outlaw.

Scene two (with Ramon Nomar) was shockingly tied as my favorite. Honestly, I’m not in to much boy/girl porn, but I felt the way he exhibited a type of caring for her pleasure really brought me in. Granted, I couldn’t understand half of what he said, but he had passion and emotion behind it, and that made it worth watching. My partner also enjoyed this scene, although we moved forward through the not one, not two, but three cum shots, as those aren’t really our style.

Like all of Tristan’s awesome films, Adrianna and her co-stars were interviewed at various points throughout the film — without a doubt my favorite part of the movie. I loved hearing her thoughts, her feelings, her wants, etc…even if I sometimes felt they didn’t come through on film. Perhaps this should have been called Fucking Fantasies instead of Rough Sex, because it felt a bit more like we were exploring her fantasies in general, instead of ones centered around rough sex. Anyways, I digress.

Scene 3 was with Jada Fire, who is freaking amazing. She’s hilarious in the interviews, and she and Adrianna had some great chemistry to watch. The Eleven was back (more cheers, and we re-wound it to spot the Easter Egg of a second Njoy Eleven on the pillow!), and watching Jada get to try the Hitachi Magic Wand for the first time? Amazing! I’m not always the hugest fan of the traditional FemDomme scenes, but this one was beyond awesome, and we both enjoyed it start to finish.

Scene 4 was the locker room scene…I wished for a little bit more dialogue between the folks, especially when you’ve got Evan Stone and Danny Wylde in a scene. It would have been more fun for us to watch if it was a little campier, kitchier, etc. More fun, I guess. Anyways, I kind of tuned out for this scene, until I started getting worried about safety in the shower scene. I mean, I was just waiting for SexFail to happen. Same with Scene 5 – not the safety bit, but the tuning out bit. It was kind of meh for me.

So two great scenes, two meh scenes and one big disappointment. All and all, not bad for porn, given that we all have our own wants and needs and turn ons. If these sounds more up your alley, get your own copy of Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind. Otherwise, I personally loved Tristan’s Rough Sex 2, featuring Madison Young, Sinnamon Love, Claire Adams, Dylan Ryan, Adrianna, Bobbi Starr, April Flores and more — was much more aligned with my turn ons than this film.

-Shanna

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.

-Shanna

Jan 102011
 

I’m baaaaaack!

That’s right. After having spent five days in the city of sin (being incredibly NOT sinful), I’m back in slightly warmer Arizona, with my nose to the grindstone.

First and most important announcement: I am now the proud owner of an Njoy Eleven, thanks to Greg and Deanna, two of the wonderful Njoy gang. I cannot wait to try it out, and then give it an important and prominent place on my bookshelf d’art.

I was so happy to get to see many of my old friends, including Jamye Waxman, the JeJoue Crew, Tess and Diva from Tied Up Events, Clare and Riley from Smitten Kitten (and FINALLY got to meet Jennifer, the owner), Molly and Matie from Self Serve in New Mexico, Tres from SpareParts, Jackie Strano and Carol Queen from Good VibrationsGram Ponante (who I forgot to tell that I DO teach blow job classes!), Jacq Jones from Sugar, Shine Louise Houston, Syd Blakovich, Dylan Ryan, Tina Horn, Courtney Trouble, April Flores and more.  Also, I got to meet the Jimmy Jane Crew, folks from Sliquid, more folks who will be presenting at Momentum in April, Laura and Hudson from the Tool Shed in Wisconsin, Buck Angel and his wife Elaine, and more. The sheer number of sex positive folks at the show this year was phenomenal, and continues to grow, making me happy, and making it totally worth going to what has traditionally been a very mainstream porn convention.

The awards show itself was only entertaining because I sat with Deanna from Njoy and Jamye. Except for Joanna Angel winning best solo girl site, there were very few surprises, and most all of the porn awards went to very traditional mainstream companies and movies. I was happy for JeJoue, Good Vibes, Babeland, Tristan Taormino and New Sensations for their wins. For the most part, it was same old, same old. I wonder how long it will take for it to change…and I know it will, because sex positive, queer AND ethical companies got nominations the last two years…it’s just getting that trend to continue and go further into actually winning awards.

All in all, the trip was totally worth it, albeit exhausting. Shout out to Kimberlee Cline for letting me stay with her father for the second two nights, and to Lynn Comella for hosting a wonderful party of smart people on Friday night, as well as to everyone who made time to say hello to me, and helped me to welcome and part of the community.

And there is no sleep for the sex educator; I’m back in the office today, trucking away.

-Shanna

Jan 052011
 

Hey Folks,

I’m off yet again to Las Vegas. At this time last year, I had never been…and now this is my fourth trip there! Interesting what living in the Southwest and being part of the adult industry can entail.

The Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Novelty Expo is a change for a) porn stars and fans to meet, take pictures, etc, and b) for toy companies to show their stuff off to retailers (like myself and Fascinations). Often times, new sex toys are rolled out for this show, so I’m really excited for it. Then on Saturday is the AVN Awards show, think like the Oscars of porn. Many of my friends and some people I’ve worked with before are nominated, so I’m excited to be able to go and see them. Plus, lots of awesome sex positive people will be attending, like staff/owners from The Tool Shed, Self Serve, Smitten Kitten, Good Vibrations, Babeland and more, as well as some rocking sex educators like Jamye Waxman. It looks to be a great year for sex positivity at the AVN/AEE!

If you’ll be in Vegas for this and would like to meet up, go ahead and contact me, and I’ll see when we can schedule some time. I wish everyone safe travels, and I’ll see you back in AZ on Sunday!

Shanna

Dec 032010
 

Question:

Why do guys like to cum (ejaculate) on their partners?

Answer:

Great question. Well, first of all, not all guys like to ejaculate on their partners. Some prefer to do it inside their partner, and/or inside a condom. Others prefer to do it in a towel/rag (some people call it a cum towel or cum cloth). Yet others like to ejaculate on themselves. It all depends on the guy you’re talking about.

In mainstream porn, the “cum shot” (the guy ejaculating on the woman’s chest/face/etc) has become extremely popular, and therefore has become popular in our culture. However, ejaculating on someone else’s face/chest/butt doesn’t change the ejaculation sensation. Ergo, if someone wants to be ejaculated on, then great; they should let their partner know that this activity turns them on and that they’d like to have that done. However, if someone does not in fact want this to happen, they should also explain to their partner that they are not into this activity, and would prefer for them to ejaculate else where.

This conversation should definitely be had before sexual play starts, so that there is no confusion at the moment of ejaculation as to where the penis should be pointing.

Hope that helps,

-Shanna

Have a question you want answered (anonymously)? Contact me and I’ll post the answer!

Sep 272010
 

While I’m here in San Francisco, in addition to teaching classes at Good Vibrations, providing a demo for Venus Playground at Folsom, and working on my book for Fascinations, I am also shooting two sets of couples for GoodDykePorn.com.

Today’s shoot involved the always bubbly and sassy Courtney Trouble, as well as queer up and comer (pun totally intended) Jolene Parton. It was a super hot shoot, where Jolene strapped it on for the very first time ever, and Courtney went to town on Jolene with the Njoy Eleven. Hot hot hot! The whole shoot ended with lots of giggles, and a bit of mattress wrestling, and that was the tamest thing that happened.

I had a blast, and am looking forward to shooting Tina Horn and James Darling tomorrow. In the mean time, enjoy this picture of Courtney and Jolene from the beginning of the shoot.

-Shanna

Good Dyke Porn SF Shoot 1