Featured, Porn for Women — January 5, 2013 at 2:28 am

Porn For Women Retrospective 2012

I’ve been writing up Porn for Women Retrospective posts since 2006 and in that time I’ve seen a lot of changes, improvements and growth in the area of porn created for straight women.  A few years ago I wrote about the idea that the term “porn for women” may no longer be useful once the erotic playing field is evened up. This year I feel like we’ve moved on a little. In looking back and compiling news and posts I’ve found that the term “feminist porn” was dominant when it came to discussing female-friendly adult material (although “erotica for women” was abundant when it came to books). I think those two phrases sum up this year’s developments.

The Year of Fifty Shades Of Grey

Any discussion of women and sex in 2012 has to make mention of the incredible popularity of EL James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey. Despite being almost universally panned by critics, the book about a naive student who falls in love with a BDSM-loving, sociopathic billionaire has sold over 65 million copies worldwide and set the record for the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Its author was named Publishing Person of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly, partly because they suspect her original online self-publishing adventure is the future of books.

The book inspired an ongoing array of media articles throughout the year: EL James was outed in typical obnoxious style by The Daily Mail in March, Christians railed against the “dangers” of erotic fiction in June, Barnes and Noble credited it with saving their business in August and Universal studios sued a Smash Pictures over its porn adaption in November (a little ironic, considering the book is both porn AND was originally a copyright-breaching adaption itself). The BDSM community expressed its outrage at the erroneous portrayal of their lifestyle, especially since the book asserts that an interest in BDSM arises out of childhood abuse. Psychologist Pamela Stevenson Connolly put paid to that assertion here.

As I said in my review of the bookFifty Shades of Grey is  essentially a wish-fulfillment fantasy for women which may explain why it became so popular; it’s nice to just switch off your brain and imagine a fantastic sex life occasionally. What’s interesting is that so many media articles expressed shock that women would want to read erotica in the first place (what is this, the 1950s?) and that that erotica would be about BDSM. The Wall Street Journal reported on Books women read when no-one can see the cover. Derisively dubbed as “mommy porn“, journalists wrote in vaguely scandalized tones about the millions of women secretly enjoying dirty books via e-readers and wondered what it all meant. The blogosphere exploded when Kate Roiphe wrote an anti-feminist piece called “The Fantasy Life Of Working Women” asserting that Fifty Shades meant that women were tired of all this freedom and were secretly longing to be submissive in real life. Jezebel promptly put the boot into that, as did Zap2It, Rachel Hills and Emma Young in the SMH and many others. Indeed, you couldn’t move for articles about women’s sexual fantasies for a while there.

The main thing is, this year written erotica for women burst into the public consciousness like never before – to the point that even fundamentalist Pat Robertson expressed shock that women would like porn. And because of that, sales of erotica have gone through the roof as the Daily Mail’s pearl-clutching headline reveals: What the Dickens? Erotic fiction is now 4000% more popular than high quality literature!. And people might finally be accepting that yes, women like sex and yes, we like porn too.

Also, I’m thankful for Fifty Shades because it inspired this wonderful comedy sketch.


Awards and Events

  • Adult store Good For Her hosted the 7th annual Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto in April. Erika Lust’s Cabaret Desire was named film of the year. Full list of winners here. I was watching a livestream of it until Buck Angel started stripping and Ustream panicked and cut the transmission. Behold the power of Buck’s man pussy.
  • UK director Petra Joy conducted the second Petra Joy Awards which seeks to encourage new female directors of erotic film. This time the theme was “Female Fantasies” and the first prize went to Australian director Morgana (clips of the winning films are available on Petra’s site).
  • In August Mexico City hosted the First International Film Festival of Female Porn Directors. The festival featured Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, Jennifer Lyon Bell, Ingrid Ryberg, Marit Östberg and Australia’s Liandra Dhal in panel discussions and screened their films. The Mexican media were fascinated with the whole thing and it inspired a new interest in feminist porn in that country.
  • Feminist porn director Tristan Taormino regularly tours the US talking about feminist porn and sexuality. In April she came to Australia and I was delighted to finally meet her in person. I wrote up a post about her presentation on feminist porn.
  • The 9th annual Cinekink film festival saw Cabaret Desire open the festival and it ended up tying for the Best Narrative Feature award (winners list here). Cinekink also hosted a special evening in June called Club 90: The Golden Girls Of Porn. Veronica Hart, Gloria Leonard, Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera reunited and talked about their experiences as pioneers of feminist porn.
  • The 7th annual Berlin Porn Film Festival was another huge success. I was heartbroken because I couldn’t go but my feature The Thought Of Her screened on the first day. Australian director Gala Vanting was a filmmaker in focus and also gave a short presentation about the other feminist porn directors currently working here – including myself.

 In The News

Feminist porn and women’s porn made the news a few times this year.

The Feminist Porn Awards also inspired a number of articles:

In other news:

Movies

By far the biggest change when it comes to porn for women this year is that the mainstream porn industry has gone beserk for “romance” movie titles. These are films ostensibly shelved under “couples porn” but the emphasis on romance is very much an attempt to appeal to women. Thus there’s now New Sensations Romance, Wicked Passions, Smash Pictures Romance, Black Romance and even Trans Romance. I’ve added a new romance section to Porn Movies For Women to cope with the influx. And, interestingly, romance films have been churning out while there’s only been a few new release DVDs from the vanguard of feminist porn directors.

Among the feminist porn titles released in 2012:

Mainstream cinema also produced a number of films dealing with female sexuality. Magic Mike, about a young male stripper, was a huge hit with female audiences. Turn Me On, Dammit dealt unashamedly with female teenage lust. Hysteria told the story of the development of the vibrator.

This year Hollywood got a little more sex positive as well: The Sessions depicted sex work and disability in a sensitive way. About Cherry, co-written by adult star Lorelei Lee, was partially shot at the Kink.com studios in San Francisco and wasn’t afraid to show the porn industry in a new light.

Websites

There’s been a number of new feminist and female-friendly adult websites launched this year. The inexorable move toward digital delivery of adult content has meant that DVDs are no longer the “gold standard” of porn, even if most awards still seem to be based on them. Among the new sites:

  • Gentleman Handling – A site devoted to male masturbation and the male body by Australians Gala Vanting and Aven Frey
  • Pandora Blake’s Dreams of Spanking – A British site with an emphasis on ethical creation of porn and an acknowledgement of female viewers.
  • Pink Label TV- Shine Louise Houston has finally launched her video on demand site featuring the films of feminist directors as well as her own content.
  • Wolf Hudson is Bad – Self-described “sexualist” Wolf’s personal site features solo scenes and hetero sex.
  • Lust Cinema – Erika Lust re-launched her site as a membership-based business offering the films of various feminist directors.
  • FTM Fucker – Female-to-male trans porn by queer porn heartthrob James Darling
  • Slanted Tendency – Queer porn focused on people of colour
  • Girlzporn.com – This site sponsored the Feminist Porn Awards and then promptly disappeared. Not sure what happened there.
  • Bright Desire – my own site. More info below.
  • This year also saw the beta launch of Cindy Gallop’s Make Love Not Porn TV, an experiment in online amateur porn wherein the people who make the films also receive ongoing revenue for their work – sort of like Clips.com but for non-professionals. The site’s ethos is commendable, celebrating realistic sex and everyday bodies, and it offers an alternative way for performers to make money from porn. The site fervently rejects the term “porn” – even though that’s what it is – and instead uses the term “real world sex”.I’ve followed the site’s development with interest; it’s rather fascinating watching a non-porn person come in and use (or try to use) mainstream business tactics in the porn industry. Despite $1 million in venture capital $500,000 in seed funding (see comment below) (oh god, the sites I could start with that money!) Make Love Not Porn has faced the usual obstacles we all face – technical issues, inability to get stable billing, prejudice and distrust. At the same time, Cindy has been all over the media, drawing attention to her product and, tangentially, alternative porn. It’s my hope that when the site finally gets out of beta, it will create a more positive business atmosphere for the rest of us. And also create more awareness of the porn for women and feminist porn already out there.

After Pornified

Writer and researcher Anne Sabo released her book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography and Why It Matters in August. The book provides an in-depth look at the directors who are working to make porn for straight women and discusses the different ways that erotic material is being re-visioned for a female audience. Anne launched her book at the Berlin Porn Film Festival and it has received many positive reviews. I’m pleased to say my work gets a mention and I also reviewed the book here.

Hot Men

2012 was a good year for perving on sexy men, not least because the Olympics provided a two week orgy of beautiful bodies clad in form-hugging lycra. Naturally I did a couple of posts: Hot Olympic Male Swimmers and Penis-A-Rama At The Olympics, the latter inspired by the speculation that US rower Henrik Rummel had a boner during his gold medal presentation. There was also the general eye candy to be had at the diving, particularly the shots of the UK’s Tom Daley, whose miniscule Speedos were often obscured by digital overlays, prompting the Buzzfeed post: Olympics or Gay Porn?

There was also the thrill of those naked Prince Harry photos taken in a Las Vegas hotel room, proving that the spare to the heir has quite the hot body. Even better was the Facebook page he inspired: Support Prince Harry With A Naked Salute. Thousands of men and women – many of them in the services – have posted near-nude pics of themselves on the page. I like the anti-establishment sense of fun the page embodies; because really, what’s wrong with seeing a bit of royal tackle every now and again?

Michael Fassbender got nude several times in Shame and reminded us that glimpses of peen are still a rarity in Hollywood. Here’s the Google Image search of screenshots. You’re welcome.

In other perving fun, I created a post featuring men in corsets. Because Frank N Furter inspires a lifetime of joy.

Ms. Naughty In 2012

The Thought Of Her DVD – Trailer from Ms Naughty (Louise Lush) on Vimeo.

The biggest and best thing I did this year was create and launch Bright Desire, my new membership site featuring all of my films, fiction and other work. The site aims to cater to both women and men; I’m not putting any labels or dividing boundaries on it. It just features content I find erotic and I hope others will feel the same way. It took me months to get up and running and naturally included a coder/designer ripping me off. It’s been live for a month now and is going great. More info in this post.

I’m also pleased to say that after three and a half years, three designers and thousands of dollars wasted the member’s area of For The Girls was finally finished in August. In the end, I did it all myself. So the inside of the site looks great and it means that updating it is heaps easier. FTG continues to go well.

Movie-wise I had a few film festival screenings throughout the year: I.M. In Love at Cinekink in February, The Thought Of Her Feature at the Berlin Porn Film Festival and Kaleidogasm screened at the Hard Liquor and Porn Festival in November. It also showed at the Good Vibrations Quickies Festival in October although the film only screened at the end and was not part of competition. You’ll find more info about these films at Indigo Lush.

The Thought Of Her DVD, which consists of 4 male masturbation fantasy scenes including the original short film, was nominated for a Feminist Porn Award in April but didn’t win. It has been shown on high rotation on Dusk TV and is due to appear at Pink Label VOD and Lust Cinema shortly.

This year I decided to jettison my Louise Lush pseudonym and just go by Ms. Naughty, which is my preferred name and more people know me by that moniker. Full explanation here.

In June and July I went travelling around the USA and had a fabulous time. Also got to meet some of my online friends including Lisa from Cinekink, Charlie Glickman and Carol Queen from Good Vibrations, Viviane from Viviane’s Sex Carnivale and adult star Adrianna Nicole. We also shot a scene with Adrianna and it now appears at Bright Desire.

In 2013 I’m looking forward to a big year. I’ll be attending the Feminist Porn Awards and Conference in Toronto in April and presenting my chapter from The Feminist Porn Book, due out in February. I’ve also got a lot of porn making to do and this will involve collaborating with other talented Australian feminist porn filmmakers and performers. It’s going to be busy and fabulous.

 A few other long posts from this year

Great Moments In Masturbation – 20 years since Seinfeld’s The Contest made me consider other masturbation milestones in the media.
Being married by a dwarf Elvis impersonator is a right everyone should enjoy – Yes, I did get married by Elvis in Vegas this year. In this post, I relate that to marriage equality.
On religion and feminism – A long post wherein I argue that religion and feminism are incompatible
Porn for Teens? – Musing about the idea of discussing porn with teens and what kind of porn we’d want them to learn from.
A Christian asks me to stop making porn – So I wrote a long reply and posted it on my blog.

Now, on to 2013, huzzah!

Have I left anything out? Comment or email me, msnaughty at msnaughty dot com

Previous Retrospectives

Porn for Women Retrospective 2011 – Younger women using porn, more hot movies, sites and festivals.
Porn for Women Retrospective 2010 – “Hello Ladies”, queer fun, more hot movies and anti-porn crusades.
Porn for Women Retrospective 2009 – Oprah, awards and increasing censorship
Porn for Women Retrospective 2008 – Goodbye Playgirl, more queer porn, erotica book covers, The Porn Report and more.
Porn for Women Retrospective 2007That housework book, Daniel Craig in togs and blowjob debates
Porn for Women Retrospective 2006 – Inaugural Feminist Porn Awards, CAKE and Ellora’s Cave

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Twin peaks! « Kristina Lloyd

  2. Thank you so much for this kind coverage!

    Just to correct a couple of misconceptions:

    – I wasn’t able to obtain venture funding for https://makelovenotporn.tv/. No VC would come near me, as I discuss in this interview on Inc:

    http://www.inc.com/chris-beier-and-daniel-wolfman/venture-capital-cindy-gallop-make-love-not-porn.html

    – I only wish I had raised $1million dollars – life would have been a damn sight easier! I don’t know how you got that impression – I actually raised $500k in angel investor seed funding.

    – you and your readers may be interested to know that the thing that has made it so difficult to make MLNPTV happen for three very long, very hard years – the fact it’s about sex – is what has made it ridiculously easy to get large amounts of media coverage ever since. I and my team have not done one single bit of media outreach for MLNPTV. All of our coverage has come from the media approaching us, or covering us without our knowledge.

    You’re quite right – I am fighting this battle for all of us, and my objectives are exactly as you describe. I look forward to showcasing all our struggles and drawing attention to the other wonderful porn for women/feminist porn initiatives (many from friends of mine) at my Featured Session at SXSW in March on ‘The Future Of Porn':

    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/4129

    Thanks again for highlighting us as part of your terrific roundup!

  3. My apologies Cindy, I should have done more research. I knew I’d read you’d received significant funding from investors, that morphed into $1 million in my head. I guess it’s probably jealousy. $500,000 startup money is as fabulous to me as a cool million :)

    I do hope Make Love Not Porn TV does well because its a positive site with a great ethos.

  4. Great overview over what was happening in 2013. And msNaughtly, you are very modest. Her films “The Thought Of her” had its Television Premiere on Dusk! TV:
    http://www.dusk-tv.com/the-thought-of-her/content/item?519