I was reminded last night; watching Prince live is like porn for me. Ridiculous, tiny, sexy man.
All posts in category pornography
Posted by harlotoverdrive on March 2, 2013
So I was reading articles on The Daily Life, as I do most days, and came across this opinion piece republished from SMH, and after some initial gnashing of teeth over yet another misunderstanding and misrepresentation of women and porn, I decided to respond to Jen Vuk. For brevity, I have not included all of Vuk’s words, but feel free to give her piece a read in full over at the Daily Life. The article in question starts by setting the mood rather nicely, using phrases like ‘brooding’ and ‘launching menacingly’ to describe Deen’s performance in the forthcoming Bret Easton Ellis film, The Canyons (I know, I know: A male lead in an Easton Ellis film being menacing or broody, that sure is unusual, amirite?), but we’ll skip right past that and get in to the meat of the piece:
“If you haven’t heard of Deen, chances are you aren’t a female in your 20s (or, more worryingly, in your teens, but more on that later) who counts online porn as a pastime.”
Or perhaps you veer away from mainstream pornography or kink pornography (the two areas Deen’s work is largely concentrated in). It isn’t as though Deen’s films are only watched or noticed by young women or girls; his rise to porny stardom has been well documented in both adult and mainstream media and he’s been an award-winning performer for some years now. So uh, Jen? I think this is what they call ‘old news’.
“This blue-eyed, curly-haired ”Jewish boy-next-door” (real name Bryan Sevilla) has amassed a formidable body of work (more than 3000 blue films and counting) in which not only his enthusiasm, but God-given charms are on full frontal display. Deen is one of the few male porn stars to boast a genuine female following. He’s certainly a marketer’s dream comes true, but his recasting as romantic hero in the least romantic of formats is not only problematic; it’s pure fantasy.”
Whilst true that James Deen is a marketing dream (and one that is being taken full advantage of with the line of branded products available on his website, including but not limited to a reworking of Deen as a cartoon panda wielding a Hitachi Magic Wand and asking if you would like to be his prom date. Yeah, I’m confused and smitten with it as well), I have to question why the author struggles to see how Deen might be cast as ‘romantic hero’ in an industry where few male performers are known by name, and even fewer are noted for their attractiveness to women; male performers have long needed to be functional (able to get and maintain an erection under less than natural circumstances), but not necessarily attractive. So when along comes James Deen, a younger guy with boy-next-door charm and a cheeky grin, and we see him making eye contact, passionately kissing his co-stars and enjoying getting them off, no wonder he is a bit of a hero with the ladies, and really, what is romance if not hugely subjective and individual? What’s that old saying, ‘screw the roses, send me the thorns’? I’ll take the Gomez/Morticia romance over the candied hearts and predictable red roses any day, thanks.
“Deen’s foray into porn reads as a cautionary tale… His ascendancy in adult entertainment reads like a page ripped out of a Hollywood script. Despite being told his ”skinny, boyish looks were not fit for porn”, Deen threw himself into his work and before long ”excelled to be the top performer in the industry”…”
So… homeless kid beats the odds and achieves his career goals, not only succeeding at entering the industry he wanted, but working his arse off, excelling at his job and rising to the top. And somehow this is a cautionary tale? Surely this is the kind of story that we, were he a doctor or a scientist or footballer, would want our children to know. We’d want them to know these stories so they see that dreams are achievable, even when life has thrown you more than your fair share of hard times, and that your hard work and dedication can pay off in the end. So really, at this point it seems obvious that Vuk has a moral issue with the type of work that Deen does, and I would hazard a guess that the cautionary tale she refers to is in fact one of Christian morals and negative attitudes towards non-procreative sex, sex outside of marriage or just, you know, general sinfulness. It seems redundant to say it but I’d like to remind Vuk that these attitudes are not shared by everyone in our secular society, and there is no law that says we need to place the same type of value on the sexual relationships we have.
“Really? When I Googled Deen it wasn’t his romantic side that popped up, but something called the ”Lemon-stealing Whore” skit. How to explain it? Let’s just say that for close to 30 minutes (although I barely lasted five) Deen’s character deals with the ”thief” in a manner that’s neither illuminating nor edifying.”
I do so love a media review penned by someone who didn’t bother to watch the media in question. Vuk says she watched five minutes of this hilarious, hammy scene from Burning Angel after Googling Deen, and despite knowing that he has performed in over 3000 films, feels that was enough to establish as fact the lack of romance in Deen and his body of work. I may only be a lowly undergraduate, but even I know that is a pathetic sample size to use and that conclusions drawn from 5 minutes of what must be thousands of hours of screen time are probably not all that valid.
“With a spate of hard-core films favouring anal sex and a blog that makes more than a passing reference to S&M and women being ”bound and publicly f—ed and humiliated”, it’s probably safe to say that the degradation of women – hammed up or otherwise – doesn’t end there.”
Uh, no. Being an established and well-regarded kink performer or scene participant is not degrading to women. Liking rough sex is not degrading to women. Being a part of the BDSM scene is not degrading to women. Liking how anal sex feels is not degrading to women.
I know that nothing exists in a vacuum and truly believe there is validity to be found in critiquing the problematic elements of pornography as well as BDSM culture; what I think is invalid is the idea that a man with a predilection for these activities is inherently degrading women as a result. I don’t buy that, and I think it is simplistic and moralistic to shame people for liking sex that does not fit into a ‘making love’ framework, or that on the surface would seem to replicate the problematic gender dynamics that exist in the ‘real world’ (for lack of a better term).
As Jessa pointed out in season one of HBO’s Girls, there is no right way to fuck like a lady and there are no inherently degrading sex acts (“what if I want to feel like I have udders” she asks Shoshanna, who read that doggy style sex means he doesn’t respect you, “this woman doesn’t care about what I want.”) and when women suggest there is, it only serves to demonise the women who enjoy these acts.
“Keep this in mind when reading the advice Deen has for his youthful ”loyalists”, some as young as 15: ”I would like to think that I’m, you know, opening up their sexual experience. They’ll be able to take their boyfriends and say, ‘Hey, I saw this in a porno, I want to try this’.”
Oh no, girls as young as fifteen are making dreamy eyes at a porn star? Lock up your daughters, people. I grew up in the 1990s, and knew plenty of boys who had posters of Jenna Jameson on their walls. Yet, I don’t recall this sort of moral outrage over teenage boys with centrefolds and porn-star crushes; boys will be boys, amirite? This just smacks of another way in which we as a society have a tendency to become slightly hysterical about the sexuality of girls and young women. If a fifteen year old girl sees one of Deen’s films, she’ll probably note the attention that Deen pays to his female costars. The way he makes eye contact with them and checks in with them and appears genuinely interested in their pleasure.
More to the point, what kind of backwards logic dictates that teenage girls being vocal with their chosen sexual partners about the sexual activities they want to explore is a Bad Thing[TM]? We should be encouraging girls to communicate their wants and desires with their partners, because we should be encouraging girls to feel positive about pleasure and confident about communicating what they do and don’t like the idea of. The status quo sees girls pleasure ignored or dismissed in favour of performative sex for their male partners, and we discourage girls from being confident about their sexuality for fear of being labelled a slut.
Plenty of us knew we were kinky as teenagers, and muddled our way through that, and it isn’t unreasonable that a fifteen year old might see Deen and a female co-star performing an activity that turns them on and that they want to try out. This isn’t a damaging thing, especially not if they are receiving quality sexual health education to go along with it (which they may not be, but lets not point the finger at pornography, because pornographers should not be tasked with the role of educating our youth about sex, that isn’t their job).
“The critical issue here isn’t morality, it’s mental health. As The Guardian reported back in 2011, ”women who become regular users can suffer depression and low self-esteem because it can be hard to reconcile their enjoyment of porn with their intellectual dislike of seeing women used as sex objects”.
Perhaps if we stopped trying to feed women the Dines-esque rhetoric about how a woman can not really enjoy or consent to rough or kinky sex, and no sane women who would want to be stuffed in every orifice and fucked five ways ’til Sunday; then heavily promoted ethically-produced pornography in the same way we promote ethically-sourced coffee, perhaps then women would have less troubles with depression and low self-esteem.
I find this particularly disingenuous given that the Guardian article in question was addressing the issue that women feel isolated and embarrassed by their reliance or overuse of pornography, because it is widely believed to be something that could only affect men: this is not the fault of pornography, and the answer does not lie in the denial of pornography as a valid sexual activity or aid. Further, the same article goes on to say “But as porn becomes more pervasive, Hodson observes that women are now also using it as a quick way to have sex without emotional investment, just as men traditionally have.”
I don’t know about you, but given that only 17% of female pornography users self-reported a pornography addiction (which is obviously a problematic method to obtain a reliable statistic anyway), and plenty of women are watching porn and having a quick wank without any dramas, I don’t know that the mental health of young women watching James Deen have consensual sex is really a critical issue. As always, my queendom for a comprehensive, mandatory, ongoing and age appropriate sex education curriculum that includes detailed information about both consent and sexual media, so that any fears young women have about being turned on by what they see can be processed and alleviated.
“With about one in three visitors to adult entertainment websites female, it’s time to dismantle the rhetoric around Deen being a ”sex-positive feminist”. As Deen himself says, he’s just a ”worker bee”. Yes, but one with a serious sting in the tail.”
If being really into consensually pleasing women and loving confident, self-assured sexual women and trusting women to be honest with him about their desires is akin to having a sting in one’s tail, then bring it the hell on.
Posted by harlotoverdrive on February 22, 2013
Reposting the review I wrote of Man Trap from Joybear Pictures. First published 23 September, 2011.
I finally had a chance to view Man Trap, a feature-length pornographic film from JoyBear Pictures. JoyBear are a UK-based company who are building a name for themselves by making erotic films for ‘him and her’.
The film plays out like a documentary; ‘Man Trap’ is a service set up to catch out cheating husbands (groan), by luring them into sexual encounters with stunning women. The proprietor of Man Trap speaks ‘candidly’ with a journalist, and from this, the sex scenes are woven into the film.
The actors are conventionally attractive without seeming completely unrealistic (no fake boobs here), which I can only assume is a conscious decision to make this film more appealing to its female audience. There is also a smattering of ink and steel adorning the cast, (which I will readily admit to being a sucker for), but not so much that you could slot it into your ‘alt-porn’ folder.
Man Trap has a total of six scenes which, quantity-wise, is certainly value for money. Quality-wise is a different story. Don’t get me wrong – the camera work is lovely and the sets are just fine. The actors all seem very happy to be there and these are all Good Things. But, for me at least, this film is just a little bit.. boring.
There is a big focus on mutual oral pleasure and standard hetero penetrative sex, and not a roughly pulled handful of hair or spat-on face to be seen, which will be a massively welcome respite for some from the usual offerings of mainstream porn. There is some light toy use, a little in the water action (always nice) and a slightly questionable girl/girl scene (if this is for HER, why does this scene stil feel like it’s still rocking that male gaze? Can we do away with performative girl/girl and just see ladies fucking please?)
The sex scenes follow the standard ‘from one position to the next; repeat until orgasm’ style of fucking, and sadly, what Man Trap seems to lack is passion. It’s very *nice*, but I just don’t find it very hot; it is a little too polished, if you know what I mean.
What this film does do well is provide a nice, non-threatening option for ‘him and her’ to watch together, and I am sure there are plenty of women out there who would happily pick Man Trap over, say, Can He Score 8. I’m pleased that companies like JoyBear exist, because there is undoubtedly a market for this softer hardcore (and because porn needs more British accents), but I’m just not that market.
Posted by harlotoverdrive on December 13, 2012
Okay, that was a cheesy heading for this post, but do you know what isn’t cheesy? Bright Desire.
Bright Desire is the new porn website from Ms. Naughty, and it is ticking a lot of boxes for me. The layout is clean and super easy to navigate, without any auto-playing annoyances or confusing menus, and whilst I love Indie Porn Revolution‘s (formerly NoFauxxx) decision to not segregate the scenes by type, sometimes it is nice to think, “I want to watch a dude masturbating” or “I want to see a couple going at it” and be able to head straight to the area that is relevant to that interest. Bright Desire allows you to easily search for scenes of solo men, solo women or couples, as well as allowing you to search extended scenes, short films, extras or interviews and it does all of this without presuming your sexuality. No straight/gay distinctions are made on Bright Desire. Additionally, scenes can be found by searching the tags; which includes everything from ‘pegging’ to ‘shower’ to ‘laughter’. Incidentally, I especially love the laughter tag because seeing people laughing and joking around in scenes is joyful, and really leaves any pretension at the door. Aside from the unique content created for this site, hitting up the ‘under the bed’ section gives you a wealth of still and moving images collected by Ms Naughty over the past 12 years; hooray for bonus porn with your porn!
The unique content for this site is, so far, rather great and it shows a lot of promise. A good serving of real couples, real spaces and real pleasure. As much fun as high end fantasy porn can be, there is something really special about watching two people who care for each other (or two people who just met and are totally into exploring each other) just going for it on a bed, or in the shower, or, well, you get the idea. The playfulness of Aeryn (Naughty Nerdy) and her partner Theo is super endearing, and the post-scene shower scene with Kara and Devon has a superbly voyeuristic quality to it. However, where Bright Desire is really doing it for me is the solo masturbation scenes. Usually I’m not crazy into solo scenes, but I think I am being persuaded otherwise by the quality and eroticism of these spoken word fantasy-soundtracked masturbation sessions. Personal highlights include Adrianna Nicole’s ‘Phone Sex’ and Jes’s ‘Solo’.
You can also get some food for thought via the reviews and columns included on the site. Ms Naughty has been making feminist (hetero-leaning) pornography for a number of years, as well as blogging about sex and smut, and can be reguarly seen popping up in comments on mainstream media with insightful, intelligent things to say about pornography, censorship, art and sexuality. This is a lady who has some great stuff to say, and it has been enjoyable flicking through the collection of her writing included on Bright Desire. There is also a wealth of fiction writing, and whilst erotic fiction is not hugely my thing, I love that this site has both the written and visual components all in the one place.
I’m very enthusiastic about more ethical and feminist pornography pushing its way into the world, and totally recommend that you check out Brightdesire.com. There is a free tour you can take to help win you over, and once you sign up for a membership you get access to all the content in both standard and HD quality along with quick downloads for mobile. Perhaps you would also like to leave me a comment letting me know what you think?
Edit: Please note that links in this post have been updated as I am now affiliated with Bright Desire. Please also note that this post was written and published prior to my affiliating with Bright Desire and remains an honest and objective review. Thanks to Ms Naughty for allowing me access to Bright Desire for the purposes of a review. If you have a film, website or product that you would like to see reviewed on Harlot Overdrive, please contact me at harlotoverdrive @ gmail.com
Posted by harlotoverdrive on December 11, 2012