Thursday, February 17, 2011

not okay for women to watch porn for pure personal pleasure?

In "Do women enjoy porn?" posted by new porn maker Erika Lust in her blog this week, Lust refers to an interview the Daily Bed Post did recently with women on the street, asking if they enjoy porn. Writes Lust: "Most women say they do watch porn and most of them do to have a laugh or to spice up the sex with their partner. My reaction to this is thinking that although porn is not really a taboo word anymore, the main motivation behind it is still not the one I would like it to be, which is: pure personal pleasure."

I think Lust has an interesting point here, which reminds me of the one the young female contributors to the Rosa Prosa (Pink Prose) anthology, which came out in Norway in 2006 with the subtitle “om jenter og k├ąthet” (about girls and horniness), were trying to make. What these women were arguing was that though women today may be more “sexually liberated” than ever before, there is still a big taboo surrounding HORNY women. Women should have sex lest they be judged prudes (but not too much; then they risk the hooker label). But to talk about feeling horny, to be frank about really WANTING sex, that somehow risks being a bit too much, as if there's something too crude, animalistic, and uncontained about female horniness. 

I agree with Lust that women should be able to express a desire to watch porn for its pure personal pleasure. But what prevents many women from doing this may just be the kind of porn they're watching. It's very likely not the kind of cinematically esthetic porn that Lust and other new porn makers today are making; it's more likely mainstream porn, perhaps glossy big production, or allegedly catering to couples, but nonetheless mainstream. And to enjoy this kind of porn, I think you have to just stand back and laugh at it a bit, because otherwise it's just too overdone, fake, stereotypical, offensive. That's not to say the film won't still arouse you. In the mid nineties, Professor Ellen Laan at the University of Amsterdam conducted a study where she had a group of women watch an episode from one of Candida Royalle's feminist porn films and a scene from a typical mainstream porn film. She found that women responded physically to both, but when interviewed afterwards, the women spoke with disgust about the mainstream porn film while they were more positive to Royalle's film.

Today we're lucky to have more feminist porn makers joining the ranks of Royalle, among them Lust. To check out some of their products, including books and films, visit my Love, Sex, Family Amazon store.   

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