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

Nov 242010
 

I wanted to embed this on here for all of you to read. Although being hosted by HotMoviesForHer.com, it is a video with no nudity, so safe for most works (although we do discuss sexual freedom, the Sex Bloggers Calendar, porn and more). Thanks so much to J.D. Bauchery for doing this rocking interview…on the streets of NY. Our apologies for the sound!

Originally posted: http://www.hotmoviesforher.com/blog/video-interview-with-shanna-katz.html

Nov 012010
 

I’ve been to this festival, and spent time with both Matie and Molly (owners of Self Serve) as well as the wonderful Pornotopia volunteers. Pornotopia is where I first saw glimpses of Crash Pad Series, Chemistry, Silken Sleeves and other wonderful, sex positive and ethical clips clips of pornography. I’m heartbroken to hear that it must be postponed due to city regulations and their inability to find a space. Please support Self Serve and their other events, and if you have a space to host Pornotopia, please pass it on!

Shanna

Erotic film festival once again finds itself at odds with city zoning codes.

Albuquerque, N.M . – Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center and the volunteer organizers of the Fourth Annual Pornotopia film festival regret to announce that this year’s celebration of erotic film is being postponed indefinitely. The City of Albuquerque’s highly restrictive zoning regulations have effectively banned the festival from all potential venues, despite all efforts by the planning committee to find a suitable location within city limits.

In protest over Albuquerque’s blatant attempts to censor films protected by the First Amendment, Self Serve announces Pornotopia CENSORED: Cirque de Sex, a live celebration of eroticism, sensuality and the joys of free speech.

Cirque de Sex will feature performances by September Smith, Cookie Fortune, the Gender Offenders, Burlesque Noir, Saywut, a sneak peak at Pornotopia 2010 and more! The show will be followed by a dance party.

The show will be held November 6 at 8 pm at the Sunshine Theater, 120 Central Ave SW, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tickets are $10 – $20 sliding scale and will be available at Self Serve in advance.

The Pornotopia Film Festival has been an influential force over the last three years in changing what is viewed as sexy. “Mainstream porn fosters a culture of shame and unrealistic ideas about sex and our bodies,” says Matie Fricker, Self Serve co-owner and festival director. “Much like the environment at Self Serve, Pornotopia features films promoting a positive, educational and empowering erotic experience.”

Self Serve co-owner Molly Adler points out, “ If there is no room for these films to be seen, how will people’ s perception of sexuality ever change? The films slated for Pornotopia 2010 deserve to be seen. The festival is ready to go; we just need a screen to call home.”

Pornotopia has not been canceled. The organizers are currently searching for a proper venue outside the city of Albuquerque.

For more information, please contact Matie or Molly at Self Serve.
More Info: www.pornotopiafilmfestival.com  or  www.selfservetoys.com
Contact: Matie Fricker, matie@selfservetoys.com, 505-265-5815
www.selfserved.blogspot.com

About Self Serve
Self Serve is a fun and welcoming adult retail store and sex education center. Through its store, Web site and special events, Self Serve provides opportunities for all people to learn about sexuality and their bodies while shopping for high-quality pleasurable products. Self Serve supports women, LGBT people and anyone seeking healthy, positive sexual attitudes and perspectives, and sensual pleasure in everyday life.

Jun 222010
 

4 years ago, I emailed Audacia Ray and Jamye Waxman.  I’m sure the letter was slightly more eloquently written, but each of them boiled down to:

“Hi. You are a sex-positive feminist who works with adults, sex workers, people in the adult industry, and more. I want to grow up to be like you — how do I do it?”

I’d never met them or contacted them before; however, I’d seen their movies they’d directed, read their blogs, and I knew that I wanted to go that direction. Now, it helped that I was already working on my Master’s of Human Sexuality Education and was working at HotMoviesForHer.com. However, I wanted more. I wanted to help people, to change lives, to educate adults outside of the traditional setting.

And not only did they write back, but they agreed to have dinner with me when Dacia was in Philly for a book reading. They are now people I count as my friends. Both have given me countless pieces of advice, both have put me in contact with amazing people, and both are just sweet, kind hearted people themselves.

Last fall, Tristan Taromino met with me in Phoenix for dinner with her partner (and mine), and we chatted. Again, more advice, more inspiration, more support. But even more, she introduced me to the marketing director of Fascinations, who is now my boss at my full time dream job, being a sexuality educator almost 24-7. A reference from Tristan is worth its weight in gold.

Of course, there is my favorite North-Easterner, Megan Andelloux, another fierce and sassy sexuality educator who I’ve gotten to know more and more the past few months, and who dispenses advice and support to me right and left.

And Always Aroused Girl, who designed this whole site for me, graphics and all.

Why mention them? Well, first and foremost, to thank them for helping me figure out who I am, what I should do, and supporting me in following my dreams. But also, as an example of our responsibility to our community.

I get letters weekly from college students and bloggers (and others) wanting to become sex educators. To each person, I take the time to find out their background, their education, their passions, their dreams, and I write long letters back and forth with them, supporting them how I can.  At Fascinations, I fly out sex educators to Denver, Arizona and Portland, having never even heard many of them talk, but in hopes of providing them a leg up while also providing sexuality education to the masses. I’ve helped people with marketing their blogs, their small indie companies, writing press releases and more.

Why? Because this community grows upon itself. We must help each other. Foster new educators, new bloggers, new authors, as well as support each other as established ones. Without this support, the community becomes weaker, more diluted.  Often times, I think we get nervous; if I help someone else, what if they become more famous than me? What if they take my classes/my places I present?

To this, I say that I would much rather have more sexuality educators who are strong and care about each other, than few who are snippy and angry, and unable to work with others. I’d rather lose a little traffic to help out a new blogger who may have amazing things to say that we haven’t heard yet.

Our responsibility as we learn and grow is to continue to give back. I thank those from whom I’ve received support, and I hope to continue to give it back as much as I can.

-Shanna