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 262010
 

When at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Conference in Vegas, my good friend and fellow sex educator Megan Andelloux and I got the chance to tour the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, NV. It was my second trip, but Megan’s first. We had a blast, and just before heading out, shot this photo. Can you see what makes it erotic? Hint: It’s NOT two women in one bed!

Oct 052010
 

I was recently quoted in the online news source The Daily Beast in an article on Google Instant. This isn’t the first place to write about it — Violet Blue has talked about it, Carnal Nation wrote about it, and of course, there is the infamous Google Instant Blacklist.

However, this is a good look at some of the absurdness of what Google Instant chooses to block (such as Latina and lesbian) and what it doesn’t (such as fag and “how to commit genocide”).

Responding to a user query in a help forum post on September 14, a Google employee named “Kelly F” tried to go into the specifics of the word “lesbian.” It was the result of a bug, she said, and the company was working to see if it could be fixed. “These results are available but require you to hit Enter,” she added in clarifying the problem struck only when using Google Instant.

“It’s important to note that removing queries from autocomplete is a hard problem, and not as simple as blacklisting particular terms and phrases,” said a Google spokesperson.

Still, the blacklist is more than a computer glitch for those who found themselves on it.

Shanna Katz, a Phoenix-based sex educator whose results were deemed offensive, finds the whole episode incredibly frustrating and arbitrary. “This means that people looking for me as a sex educator may feel that I’m ‘violent’ or ‘pornographic’ because I don’t show up,” she told me, adding that even her Facebook and LinkedIn profiles were blocked. “It’s completely random.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Shanna

Sep 202010
 


Shanna and Vivianne the Vulva Puppet

While I have only visited Oregon once (in memory — I went there once before I turned one year old), I love it. It reminds me of my beautiful Colorado — the green-ness, the friendly people, the mom and pop shops next to chains. It’s just a great place.

After my Oregon trip, while speaking at Sex 2.0 in Seattle, I was lucky enough to meet the fabulous feminists/sex positive folk who own Our Enigma, a sexuality store in Salem, OR. The two of them were been kind enough have me in Salem so I can put on my How Many Licks? Adventures in Cunnilingus workshop. I love talking about and teaching about cunnilingus, and I’m sure you awesome folk in Portland love learning about it too. Plus, I’m bringing Vivianne (my vulva puppet), and she’s always good for a fun time!

Where?

Enigma

1326 State St

Salem, OR
Cost is $15 ($10 for students), which is great — you can buy them in store or call them up EDIT: You can also buy them online! . Only 30 seats are available! What are you waiting for?!?!
Hope to see you there…
-Shanna
Sep 152010
 

Shanna Katz and her butt puppets

One of my favorite workshops to teach is What’s Up with the Butt — Anal 101. I’ll be teaching it tomorrow night in Tucson, Arizona, at the Fascinations store there. This class, however, is going to be extra super duper special. Why? In addition to talking about have to have safe, healthy and pleasurable anal sex, how to incorporate safer sex into anal play, and what sex toys are good for butt play, I’ll also be debuting my TWO new, anatomically correct butt puppets, as seen above. On the left is Andi the Anus, and the right shows Riley the Rectum. I love making sex education fun AND informational, and I’m sure that these puppets will certainly help (I also have Vivianne, my vulva puppet, and she always is in high demand). Anyways, this butt class is going to be fun and super awesome!

Time: 7pm

Cost: FREE (first 20 attendees get a $10 gift card to the store)

Where:

Fascinations

3658 E Speedway Blvd

Tucson, AZ 85716

(520) 322-0757

No RSVP needed, but seating is limited, so first come, first sat.

Also included are food, drinks, and a raffle!

I hope to see some of you all there.

-Shanna

Aug 302010
 

Here is a video of one of my classes at Fascinations back in the beginning of August in Scottsdale, AZ, talking about G-spot play, female ejaculation, vulvar anatomy, and much more. From my vulva puppet Vivianne, to fabulous sex toys, to lots of laughing (both me and the students), this is a fun and educational video about the G-spot and all that it entails. Even if you know lots about g-spot play, female ejacuation and the anatomy of a vulva, I think that everyone can always learn SOMETHING from every workshop.

I hope you enjoy it!

-Shanna

Aug 162010
 

We spend so much time talking about communication, and how important it is. I can’t even count how many times I’ve said “communication is key” to classes I’m teaching, or couples that I’m counseling. And it’s true; without good communication, it’s hard for any relationship (whether long term or short term, sexual or platonic, etc) to flourish. And we do talk about communication all the time; how it can be non-verbal, different ways to communicate, HOW to do it, etc.

However, we give a lot of lip service to what communication is, so why not talk a little bit about what it isn’t. We have all (myself included) been guilty of many of these at some point in our lives.

Communication isn’t giving someone the silent treatment.

Communication isn’t saying “if they loved me, they’d _____.”

Communication isn’t assuming that they know what you want.

Communication isn’t playing hard to get.

Communication isn’t being passive aggressive.

Communication isn’t dropping hints, and then being frustrated when they aren’t picked up.

Communication isn’t using YOU statements.

Communication isn’t just going along because you don’t want to bring it up.

Communication isn’t changing who you are to be with someone.

Communication isn’t just shutting up to avoid arguing.

Communication isn’t talking behind someone’s back.

Communication isn’t playing games with someone.

So stop for a minute and think. What else ISN’T communication that we tend to try anyways? Which of these have you done lately, and how can you change that act into more healthy communication?

-Shanna

Feb 152010
 

 

Hey all.  On Thursday (yes, this Thursday, the 18th), I ‘ll be putting on a Let’s Talk Sex workshop at the Fascinations‘ Scottsdale store. As part of Fascinations giving back to the community, the workshops is 100% free to all attendees, although space is limited to around 50; first come, first served.

This class will be part of the series of free “Let’s Talk Sex” workshops that Fascinations is putting on, both in Arizona and CO. I’m presenting a workshop entitled “What’s in Your Toy Box?”, which will talk about the spectrum of sex toys, how they work, what they’e designed for/what they can be used for, how you should clean and store them, and much more. Regardless of whether you’re starting with a bullet vibe or have an entire room full of toys, this is a great class for you!

February 18, 2010

7pm-9pm

14747 N. Northsight Blvd

Scottsdale, AZ

(480) 388-3178