Wednesday, June 29, 2011

women not visually aroused? really?!

The Male Body
Feminist sex blogger Ms. Naughty who is the largest producer of online porn catering to women, has a powerful recent post debunking the much media featured book A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam. Their study looks at searches for internet porn to find out what they reveal about human desire.  Ms. Naughty points out serious flaws with this hyped up study, revealing how the book reiterates the age-old notion that men seek out visuals whereas women prefer stories.

Ms. Naughty's post is important. -- A study conducted back in the nineties has already found that women do in fact respond physically to sexually explicit imageries, regardless of their nature. Professor Ellen Laan at the University of Amsterdam had a group of women watch an episode by female catering porn maker Candida Royalle as well as a scene from a typical mainstream porn film. She found that the women responded physically to both films, but when interviewed afterwards the women spoke with disgust about the mainstream porn film while they were more positive to Royalle’s film (New York Times August 13, 1995).

Ms. Naughty has been critiquing fallacious research claiming women aren't aroused by sexually explicit material for years (see e.g. this post). And in a recent more personal post where she stood up for the beauty of penises in response to the Anthony Weiner penis photo drama, she writes that she thinks "cocks are lovely. They’re a fantastic piece of the human anatomy and we should celebrate them." She concedes, however, that
I didn’t always think this way. I remember feeling a little squeamish about cocks when I started out. I enjoyed looking at handsome faces, muscles, hairy chests, gorgeous legs and pert butts… but the penis didn’t really thrill me. I may have considered them to be a little ugly to be honest (although, to be fair, I didn’t find female genitals all that appealing either). I was a typical example of my culture at that time; as a woman I wasn’t encouraged to look at men nor was I exposed to male nudity very often. While female nudity was common, the cock remained secret and hidden. Especially images of the hard cock, which were (and are) regularly censored.
She continues that what changed is "sheer exposure:"
Over the years I got to know the penis and I finally came to appreciate how lovely it is.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

new porn to look for

Coming shortly on DVD from Europe are three new porn films by women creating progressive sex films.

US-born Jennifer Lyon Bell of Blue Artichoke Films in Amsterdam, announced on twitter before the weekend that Skin. Like. Sun., which she made together with artist/DJ/author/lingerie-designer Murielle Scherre of La Fille D’O, will be available in the US within the next couple of months. The film premiered in Antwerp in October 2009 and has already screened in the US in conjunction with CineKink NYC in February 2010. Skin. Like. Sun won the award for Best Direction at the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto (2010):

Skin. Like. Sun. (Des Jours Plus Belles Que La Nuit) - trailer from Jennifer Lyon Bell on Vimeo.

Earlier this week, Swedish-born Erika Lust of Lust Films and Publications in Barcelona released the trailer for her upcoming film Cabaret Desire, scheduled to come out in October:

Cabaret Desire - Trailer from Erika Lust on Vimeo.

Finally, German-born Petra Joy in England has announced her fourth film, Female Voyeur:

To find out more about these films, click on the following links:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

puzzy power and cupido

My latest article at Good Vibrations Magazine was posted earlier today. Titled "Pink Prison: Power Play and the Woman's Gaze," I write in it about the most successful so-called "Puzzy Power" film, namely Pink Prison (1999). The film stands out not just with its high production quality, but with its meditation on control: claiming it or surrendering it. The film is also striking for its focus on the female gaze studying male sexuality.

 A series of porn aimed at women, Puzzy Power was launched in the late nineties by the mainstream feature film company of renowned filmmaker Lars von Trier, director of such films as the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or awarded Dancer in the Dark (2000, starring Bj√∂rk and Catherine Deneuve) and Dogville (2003, starring Nicole Kidman). All three Puzzy Power films are stylistically well-made and strive to focus on women as sexual subjects with their own agency, and not as objects of desire at the fancy of men's desires. However, while all have been bestsellers, the other two films--Constance (1998) and All About Anna (2005)--in my opinion tend to reinforce traditional gender roles in terms of what women want.

However, as the first hardcore porn films to be produced by an established mainstream film company (the largest in Scandinavia), the Puzzy Power films represent a brave and intriguing concept, which is encouraging for what it reveals about the growing attention devoted to the need for progressive, gender democratic porn catering to modern women and men.

While on vacation in Norway these last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to also meet with the founder and editor of Cupido, Norway's oldest sex and lifestyle magazine. You can read my articles publishes there a few years ago here (in Norwegian). A well-established progressive magazine and online shop and social forum, I hope to begin writing more for Cupido within the next few months.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

new porn empowering women: focus on masturbation

(This post was originally published online at Good Vibrations Magazine)

Three Daughters
I will never forget how my mom caught me red-handed one day, touching myself beneath the covers in my bedroom, home sick from school. The look of disapproval in her face. The humiliation I felt.

Later on my older sister gave me a book about puberty and sex aimed at youth; I threw it in to the back of my closet, still feeling the shame.

Around this time, Candida Royalle, the pioneer of new porn aimed at women, launched her Femme Productions company.

Three Daughters (1987), one of Royalle’s earliest films, features the sexual self-exploration of the youngest daughter, Heather. Lying in bed, she first studies a book about human sexuality with illustrations of women's vulvae, while examining her own with a hand mirror, before drifting off into masturbating. The film was selected for a special screening at a conference of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), of which Royalle—as the first producer of adult films—is also a member.

Incidentally, the book Heather studies is one by New York-based sex-positive feminist Betty Dodson. Around the time I was born, Dodson was beginning to host regular masturbation workshops for women, having recognized early on the need for more attention to women's genitalia and masturbation. Dodson has also made several inspiring and powerful sexological films featuring women masturbating. Sadly, I never learned of Dodson's or Royalle's work until I was well into adulthood. But I am glad I finally did.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"That's What I Like" - Creating Porn for Women

(This post, which was originally published online at Good Vibrations Magazine, is an excerpt from my forthcoming book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters.)

Ms. Naughty
Ms. Naughty (1973) is the former librarian turned webmistress behind the largest domain network of porn aimed at women. Her work stands out for the consistent quality of her writing and the informed sex-positive feminist commitment she displays in both her texts and films, despite, or perhaps further provoked by, Australia’s strict regulation of porn under which she’s working. Not only is it illegal to maintain porn sites on Australian servers; the production of porn film is either illegal or strictly regulated, depending on the state, and it is illegal to sell or rent out “objectionable” films.

In 1999, while working as a freelance journalist and writing an article about online porn for women, Ms. Naughty found such sites to be practically non-existent. For the article she had contacted the woman who ran (“gurls purve too”)—the first women’s porn site, launched only the year before—and was later convinced by her to get into the business. In 2000, Ms. Naughty launched her sex column Grandma Scrotum’s Sex Tips; her Ms. Naughty blog covering news about sex, censorship, erotica, and porn has been active since 2004; and by 2006 she owned 120 domains, including her pay-to-subscribe ezine For the Girls that features articles, reviews, erotic stories, pictures, and videos. Ms. Naughty also runs several websites where she sells selected porn films for a female audience, and in 2008 she established Indigo Lush Media and began making porn under the name Louise Lush.
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