Mainstream porn is out. Sex-positive porn is in.

Feminist Porn Awards Logo

I feel uncomfortable writing about sex. I feel uncomfortable talking about sex. So why, I wondered, did they ask me to contribute an article about sex? For exactly that reason, they said. And that’s when they sparked my interest. It turns out that most people who write about sex – if you check the net – seem to be all people who are very comfortable with sex, and with talking about it. People who wouldn’t recognise repression if it hit them over the head. With a dildo.

And after a while that point of view gets a bit boring. Because the fact of it is, that most of us, and I suppose I’m thinking especially about English people here (being one) aren’t so terribly casual and comfortable and post-coital about sex and sexuality. Which I understand, since I’m not really either. So apparently this is now considered a refreshing viewpoint.

to hold the majority viewpoint and to actually talk about it is apparently niche

Never mind that it reflects in fact the mainstream viewpoint. Finally we should have some people talking about sex who aren’t necessarily post-coital, post-feminist or post anything else. In this niche, to hold the majority viewpoint and to actually talk about it is apparently niche. Interesting.

So. After having been asked to write something about this topic, and after having thought about it, I decided to write about this: Porn.

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Unsurprising choice, you may say. But here’s the thing. I have a viewpoint that is not commonly expressed, but that I’m willing to bet is actually not that unnusual.

a younger me sat through countless porn videos forcing knowing chuckles just to be one of the lads

I have always thought that I don’t like porn. I have said that to countless male buddies who nudge nudge wink winked me with a video they wanted me to check out. And that was only after a younger me sat through countless porn videos forcing knowing chuckles just to be one of the lads…there are so many things that pressgang you into subsuming your sexuality to fit what is percieved as the norm…it’s a tiny percentage of us who from the word go know that what they think and what they feel is a hundred percent fine, is something that you can happily acknowledge and something that you can stand up for.

Most of us are so desperate to fit in, if for no other reason than simply not to be a target, when we’re young….and especially in that all-important and oh-so-fraught teenage phase…that begging a different sexuality, or sexual feeling, or sexual taste, or sexual understanding, is something that takes a huge amount of bravery and self-knowledge.
So what happens? We sit through bad porn videos and pretend that we love it.

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there should be stuff that you can watch with the hope of being aroused without feeling dirty or ashamed

So I never really watched porn, and when I did it was generally only with male buddies, and as soon as I could, I stopped doing that too. But, English as I am, I am still a sexual being. So there should be stuff that you can watch with the hope of being aroused without feeling dirty or ashamed.

It was only recently that I came across something called either feminist porn or sex-positive porn. Feminist porn frankly sounds like a turn-off, definitely for a man, and I’m guessing also for a lot of women. But in fact the term, like sex-positive porn, simply means porn that doesn’t degrade women. To quote Russel O’Connor: “There’s no reason a video can’t be sexually explicit and still present women as human beings who deserve to be treated with respect, even when they have their clothes off, and who have an equal right to sexual desire, pleasure, and satisfaction. There’s no reason, to borrow a phrase from Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, that porn can’t present women as sexual collaborators with men rather than as sexual conquests of men.” (“What Does Feminist Porn Look Like” by Russel O’Connor on everydayfeminism.com.

…And for it still to turn you on, he doesn’t go on to say. And of course if it doesn’t, then you’d better check your instincts. When I found this vein of porn I was relieved (in more ways than one). To be able to watch something that is intended to turn you on, and in fact does turn you on, without having to cringe at the characters, dialogue, and the obvious misogyny going on behind the camera was great.

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even though this type of porn is still a niche, it’s a growing one

I’ve discovered that even though this type of porn is still a niche, it’s a growing one. There are the Feminist Porn Awards, for example, where you can find the best of the bunch. It’s also refreshing to find female porn film directors and producers, making great stuff and being recognised for it.

There’s a site called brightdesire.com, listed as “Smart Porn for Men and Women”. There are a good few sites of interest within this niche, as well as well-made, erotic films, and intelligent female directors who are comfortable with their sexuality creating the content for a change.

So, after having been asked to write the article, and feeling that I’m the wrong person for the job, I’m now going to contribute a weekly series of articles about feminist and sex-positive porn, with some reviews and the odd interview. I do hope you’ll join us.

Article by Mr. Cellophane

Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.

Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a 'recovering musician', he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.

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