Wednesday, October 5, 2011

pucker up: tristan taormino's sex-positive salon

Award-winning author, columnist, sex educator, speaker, and feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino has revamped her pucker up site and it looks great. Highlighting her feminist endeavors, the site now also features feminist porn resources and an article on the history of feminist porn, featuring a list of educated definitions of feminist porn by various people (including by me).

I really like Tristan's own definition, which she quotes from a lecture she gives called “My Life As a Feminist Pornographer.” Here are Tristan's thoughts on what constitutes feminist porn to her:
My feminist porn is made under fair, ethical working conditions: all activities are consensual, no performers are coerced; performers set their monetary rates, which are not questioned or haggled over; everyone on the set treats each other with mutual respect; the work environment is clean and safe; performers must present proof of negative STI results with tests that are less than 30 days old (industry standard) or a shorter time of their choosing; and performers are offered the option of using condoms and other safer sex barriers.

I like to collaborate with performers on how their sexuality is represented, rather than giving them a script or a formula to follow. In order for the scenes to be performer-driven, women and men are given choices: they choose who they have sex with, the positions they get in, the sex toys, barriers, and lube they use—all based on what feels good to them, all based on their actual sexuality, not a fabricated script. I want to capture complex, three-dimensional beings, rather than simplistic stereotypes. I want to create an open environment that’s safe for everyone—and especially women—to take charge of their pleasure and be able to express their desires freely.

I want to create porn that does not demean women or men. I consciously work to create images that contradict (and hopefully problematize) other pornography that represents men and women as one-dimensional objects where men are sexual robots and women are vehicles for their pleasure. Feminist porn is porn that empowers viewers, both women and men: it gives them information and ideas about sex. It inspires fantasy and adventure. It validates viewers when they see themselves or a part of their sexuality represented. It counteracts the other messages we get from society: sex is shameful, naughty, dirty, scary, dangerous, or it’s the domain of men, where only their desires and fantasies get fulfilled. It presents sex as joyful, fun, safe, mutual and satisfying.

Feminist porn both responds to dominant images with alternative ones and creates its own iconography. It strives to represent a diversity of gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, fantasies and desires, sexual roles and activities, races and ethnicities, body types, and historically underrepresented and misrepresented minorities. It challenges cultural norms of beauty and sex appeal, heteronormativity, race and class stereotypes, and the very definition of what “sex” is and what it should look like.
Read Tristan's whole article here.

Tristan is an amazingly productive person. Currently on tour, she has two books coming out this month, one sexological on the G-spot and female ejaculation, the other an anthology she edited featuring trans and gender queer erotica. As co-editor, she is also in the process of completing a feminist porn studies anthology.

Click here to visit Tristan's sex-positive pucker up salon.

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