Tag Archives: pornography

Porn Studies Hits Newstands

Well, not newsstands so much, since academic journals rarely find shelfspace next to Newsweek or Cosmo. Wait, does Newsweek still exist? I can’t keep it straight anymore which of the old school pubs have folded.

Porn Studies is a new academic journal about porn [NSFW if having “porn” spelled out in giant letters on your screen is NSFW]. It’s mindblowing that such a thing didn’t exist until now, right? Porn is soooooo fascinating! This week for Role/Reboot I wrote about the new journal and why I think we need more porn-talk, not less.


The ethics of porn-making and porn-consuming have been front and center lately when the “real” identity of porn star Belle Knox was revealed by a fellow student at Duke. She’s done a pretty solid job of reclaiming the momentum of the story by speaking out about feminism, privacy, misogyny, and double-standards, though she’s also been put through the ringer of woman-hating bullshit that we put women through when they speak things that make us uncomfortable.

If you are a porn-consumer (and most people are), then you should be thinking critically about how your porn is made, who stars in it, who profits from it, and what compromises are made along the way. I’m not saying you should stop watching (I won’t), but you should start asking why we hold only the woman on screen accountable for the content, and not her porn-consuming classmates who enjoy it, or the porn-producers behind the camera who make it.

Related Post: Why we need more sex on TV

Related Post: Why is oral sex so frequently uni-directional?


Filed under Gender, Media, Republished!, Sex

Vagina Love!

Sorry for the AWOL-ness of late. Busy busy with travel and “real” work and side projects.

What better way to celebrate a return to the blog than with some quality vagina-time?  A long time ago, I wrote an essay about why oral sex was so often a one-directional exercise and many of the respondees to my survey wrote about feeling like their vaginas were ugly, unclean, or “too private.” How something that you use to have sex with is too private for the person you’re having sex with is kind of beyond me, but I allow that feelings towards one’s genitalia can get complicated.

Anyway, those responses made me sad, because the idea of folks missing out on pleasure and intimacy out of vagina-shame seems like such a waste. Apparently, I am not alone in these feelings. Three cool vagina-friendly things for you to peruse this week. Probably not the safest for work, but I don’t know what your work is like, so use your judgment:

1. Vagina Posters: Debbie Herbenick, sex educator and all-around fan of vaginas is launching a Kickstarter to fund her beautiful poster series What Do You  Like About Your Vulva and Vagina. Go support her and her team and also get postcards or posters as a thank you gift!


2. Porn Sex vs. Real Sex: Production company Kornhaber Brown made this little video cleverly replacing genitalia with genitalia-shaped food to illustrate the differences between porn sex and real sex. Given that I am a porn fan and that I also don’t think porn is going anywhere even if I weren’t, I like content that contextualizes porn as performance and helps create boundaries between the sex that most people have and the sex that porn stars have.

3. Female Reproductive Organ posters: I found this in a secondhand store in Provincetown, MA, this past weekend. It’s a poster about menstruation and reproduction that was made by Tampax to hang in doctors’ officees. I loved it instantly but I left the store without buying it. Half an hour later, I made my group return so I could make it mine. It shall hang in the bathroom:


Related Post: My favorite body-positive pornographic tumblr (NSFW)

Related Post: Do you find my breasts offensive?


Filed under Art, Gender, Sex

Navigating the Minefield of Misogyny on the Way to Happy Town

Man, people are already coming out of the woodwork with comments on my latest for Role/RebootI love when this happens!

I haven’t written about porn in a while, but when I do, it always starts some interesting (and often heated) conversations. It usually boils down to drawing clear lines between pornography (the recording of sex acts) and the porn industry (an often gross and misogynistic entity that, as a whole, perpetuates damaging myths about sexuality and gender). This creates a fun dynamic wherein one must traverse the latter in order to find some of the former that you actually want to watch, hence the title of this post.


Related Post: Can we learn anything from porn stars? (NSFW)

Related Post: Meet my favorite body-positive pornographic tumblr (NSFW)


Filed under Body Image, Gender, Republished!, Sex

Sunday Scraps 97


1. GENDER: Remember when Anita Sarkeesian at Feminist Frequency got seriously harassed by the internet? The fruits of her labor are now available in the form of part 1 of her exploration of gender in video games.

2. RACE: W. Ralph Eubanks at the American Scholar explores what happens to conceptions of race when DNA tests prove your origins diverge from your sense of self.

3. PORN: Here’s a profile of porn entrepreneur Cindy Gallop (of Make Love Not Porn) from Vice. I think there’s a reason we don’t watch regular people have sex, but I wish her all the luck in the world if she can change some of the most offensive porn norms.

4. PUNDITS: Ta-Nehisi Coates invariably blows me away with everything he writes. The New York Observer tracks Coates’ rise to intellectual stardom.

5. PRETTY: Smithsonian Magazine’s best photos of 2012.

6. NAMES: Nico Lang writes for Thought Catalog about what happens when his readers can’t tell whether he’s male or female and how that changes their reactions to his pieces. I wish I had written this, but Emily is kind of an obvious name….

Related Post: Sunday 96 – Harper High School, Philip Roth, duct tape art

Related Post: Sunday 95 – Girls in the NFL, Seth McFarlane, Orson Scott Card


Filed under Art, Gender, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex

Pink Ribbon Domination

You’ve seen the NFL fields covered in pink, the yogurt tops, the teddy bears, and the sky scraper light displays, but here’s a new edition to the canon of October’s pink ribbon domination. I present to you without comment:

Related Post: Race for the Cure?

Related Post: It’s not just the costumes on Halloween that get sexualized.


Filed under Advertising, Sex

Meet my favorite body-positive pornographic tumblr

Consider this a bridgebuilding post. Yesterday, I wrote about body positivity, fat pride, and the fake cult of “real woman-ness” on Role/Reboot. Next week, I’m planning a piece about the idea of “joyful porn.” Today, linking these two ideas, I want to introduce you to my favorite body-positive, pornographic tumblr.

[This is going to get NSFW if you keep scrolling. Consider yourself warned]

“Joyful porn” is a concept I’ve thought about a lot but have never been able to label with a catchy handle until Caitlin Moran helped me find the words. If you watch porn, which I do (Fun fact: 1/3 of porn is viewed by women), you know that most of what’s out there is shit. Instead of creativity, you find repetition and regurgitation. Instead of playful, you get mechanical. Instead of spontaneous, you get scripted, in both dialogue and action. Anybody who’s ever had sex knows that the kind of sex you have and the kind of sex you usually see are so dissimilar that it seems strange to call them both “sex.”

An Unnnhhh example

There are exceptions of course, the kind many of us spend too much time trying to find, and that’s part of what I’ll be addressing next week*. In the meantime, I want to introduce you to a tumblr I’m really enjoying called Unnnhhh. Try saying it out loud.

Unnnhhh was created by a friend to share his porn collection, except that “porn” doesn’t really begin to convey the variety, diversity, and incredible range of the images (and occasional gifs) he’s offering up.

On the surface, it’s a bunch of naked ladies, except sometimes they’re not naked, and sometimes they’re just paintings, and sometimes they’re wearing costumes, and sometimes all you can see is an elbow, or an ankle, or mess of leg hair.  A postcard of vintage erotica, followed by a female bodybuilder, followed by an androgynous pixie in a tux, followed by an amateur fat girl taking her own picture in the bathroom mirror, followed by an anime chick with saucer eyes, followed by a leather-bound woman pegging a dude, followed by a page from a mod 60s catalogue, followed by an ode to hairy armpits.

The point is that variety is sexy, and sex appeal is not limited to the hairless, balloon-breasted, pancake-make-uped porn stars that encapsulate the modern perception of what constitutes of erotica. Nor is it limited to the celebrities that grace our magazine covers or the Victoria’s Secret models striking a pose on the side of city busses. I think it does something pretty awesome to our brain, oversexed as they are, to see this incredible array of images in a row. It scrambles our preconceived notions of what is beautiful, what is alluring, what is sexy.

If you’ve scrolled this far you’re about to see a smattering of the Unnnhhh content, much of which is NSFW, but I think that only the juxtaposition of images will actually convey just how powerful such a juxtaposition can be:

Continue reading


Filed under Art, Body Image, Hollywood, Sex

Sunday Scraps 48

1. OCCUPY: Guest post at Sociological Images by Celia Emmelhainz on the rhetoric of luck in the national conversation about the OWS movement. What and who do we consider “lucky,” and why?

2. ADELE: Love this Vogue interview with Adele mostly because they abstain from discussing her body and instead focus on interesting stuff like why she’s a great girlfriend and her thing for Alec Baldwin.

3. WRITING: Jonathan Lethem in Harpers on the question of intellectual copyright. We all borrow, he says, and that’s a good thing. How ironic is it that Disney, one of the biggest cultural appropriaters or all time, guards their content with such zeal? Also, the end notes may just be the best part.

4. LIBRARY: Phonebooths as mini-libraries. Let’s take outdated technology and convert it into storage for additional outdated technology! Adorable!

5. ART: NextLevel Squad does something called a “Zilla March” through the NYC Subway system. There are gas masks, double-jointed shoulders, and some very confused commuters.

6. PORN: Thought Catalog has an interview with one of my favorites, feminist/queer pornographer Tristan Taormino.

Related Post: Sunday 47 = Lego problems, photoshopping the Renaissance, the chicken nugget diet.

Related Post: Sunday 46 = Disney medleys, whale stomachs, pro-lifers for Planned Parenthood.


Filed under Art, Books, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex