Featured, Feminist Porn Awards, Porn for Women, Porn Movies, Porn News — December 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

Porn For Women Retrospective 2013

2013 marks my 13th year in porn and this is the 8th yearly retrospective about porn for women. Last year I noted the term wasn’t used as much as “feminist porn”. This year has seen multiple denunciations of the phrase in the media and industry. Perhaps this is indicative of an evolving porn industry and a changing audience, although Google searches for “porn for women” remain prevalent. Will this be my last compilation? We’ll see.

“There’s No Such Thing As Porn For Women”

jezebelladypornIt’s not new for people to protest against the phrase “porn for women”. Many see it as prescriptive, presumptive and anti-feminist. I’ve written about this plenty of times on the blog e.g. “Porn for women: the backlash”. But 2013 saw an upswing in general negativity about the whole idea.

* In January, CNBC announced that porn had found a new market. Women. The mainstream media does this every now and then, like it’s a shocking new thing.

Consequently, Jezebel declared “Please stop trying to make ladyporn happen”. And Slate had an interview with Jacky St James. She said:

I don’t like when people say “porn for women,” because as a woman, that’s not the kind of porn I watch… When we say “adult films for women,” we’re still targeting men.

My take: “We’re still targeting men: Couples porn and the male perspective.

* In June actor Ellen Page said “Feminist porn is crucial”, in reply to a question by Courtney Trouble on a Reddit AMA thread. This reply was reported in several media outlets. In this article, Courtney said:

‘Porn For Women’ is a marketing construct about as legit as the Bic ‘Pen for Her’ products – set up by large adult film studios to affirm that women are not part of the general consumers of pornography, which may have been true 20 years ago when we weren’t granted equal access to pornography, but not now.

My take: Porn for women is not analogous to Bic Pens For Women

jamesdeen* In August, popular male star James Deen told Refinery 29 that:

“My theory on porn for women is it’s just porn. Why is there porn explicitly only for women? By saying there needs to be porn for women, you’re basically isolating women as a gender, and saying, ‘This is how women should think. This is how their sexuality should be.’

These comments were subsequently reported in numerous outlets including Jezebel, Huffington Post, The Frisky and Cosmpolitan, with those articles adding their own take, agreeing with him. In essence, it appeared that the entire internet declared “porn for women” to be an unnecessary concept although this Reddit thread showed a diversity of opinion, as did the Frisky comments section.

My take: James Deen denies porn for women exists.

* In November, a new adult magazine called, surprisingly, Adult, was launched. Editor Sarah Nicole Prickett said she wanted it to appeal to both women and men. The media only heard the last bit and declared the new magazine to be a porn mag for women. Prickett went out of her way to deny this. In Marie Claire she said:

‘I don’t believe in “porn for women”,’ Prickett says. ‘The porn that I watch certainly does not fall into that category. It’s not that I think porn for women is going to be, like, softer or gentler than it is for men.’

Rest assured, I have noticed that I’m increasingly sounding like an old fart shouting “get off my lawn!” (*loads shotgun*)

But I think it’s fair to paraphrase Mark Twain and declare that rumours of the demise of “porn for women” have been greatly exaggerated. Heaps of people still insist on typing the phrase into Google every day. If so many people feel the need to specifically seek it out, should commentators be so quick to dismiss it? And what does it say about the perspectives, assumptions and content of regular porn?

Feminist Porn -A-Rama

* In February the Feminist Press released The Feminist Porn Book, an academic and anecdotal look at feminists making and critiquing pornography. If you haven’t read it, please do; this book really sums up the movement and the changes that are happening in porn right now – the push for ethical production, the analysis of content, the need for diversity and the acknowledgement of the voices of performers and producers, not just academics. I have a chapter in the book about my career making women’s porn. You can read Dylan Ryan’s contribution here. And Sinnamon Love’s excerpt is here.

* As one of the editors of the book, Tristan Taormino has become the poster girl for feminist porn this year, with profiles and interviews in a number of mainstream media outlets including: The Feminist Pornographer (in Salon) and What is Feminist Porn? Find out from a woman who makes it (Cosmopolitan). The latter earned her the ire of conservative Christian group Morality in Media which noticed the article a full six months after it first appeared and consequently launched an angry email campaign. Here’s Cosmo’s amusing response.

Tristan also made waves by declaring that all her films would be condom-only, following several HIV scares and moratoriums this year.

feministpornaward_msnaughty* April saw Good for Her’s Eighth annual Feminist Porn Awards celebration. This year, after 7 years of only reporting the event, I finally made the trip to Canada and had a ball. I’m pleased to say that I received my first ever feminist porn award for Connections: Real Couples, Joyful Sex, which received an Honorable Mention award. Bright Desire was also nominated for Website of the Year.

Film of the Year went to Ovidie’s Infidelite, a delightfully whimsical and erotic movie. Full list of winners here. The awards also inspired a number of mainstream media articles, the best being Rachel Kramer Bussell’s Organic Fair Trade Porn: On the hunt for ethical smut and Rachel Rabbit White’s What Is Feminist Porn?

* The inaugural Feminist Porn Conference was held the day after the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto. Inspired by the book, the conference brought together academics, producers and performers to talk about the movement. It was an amazing event that inspired a lot of discussion and some mainstream media interest. I gave a presentation based on my chapter, the video is here. Main organizer Tristan Taormino’s rundown is here. Pink Label’s recap is here and here’s my overview.

* Days before the conference, director Nica Noelle caused waves by writing a piece for Huffington Post called Do I Make Feminist Porn? In it, she suggested the feminist porn movement was rejecting men. Nica then went on to attend the awards and conference and win a feminist porn award for her film Forbidden Lovers before things went pear shaped; a twitter war with several conference participants and organizers ensued. She has since loudly declared she is not a feminist and wants nothing to do with the movement. I wrote the post Definitions and Denials: Feminist Porn as a Label in response to the incident.

* The feminist porn community were saddened to hear of the sudden passing of director Carlos Batts in late October.

* Industry body Xbiz made waves in September by announcing a new category in their porn awards: Feminist Porn Release Of The Year (nominations listed here). This shows the mainstream industry is really starting to take notice of this new “genre” (although whether you can call it that is a whole other blog post).

* By the way, have you seen my Periodic Table of Feminist Porn?

Other Awards And Events

pornaaward* Dutch adult cable channel DuskTV held the first annual Porna Award in September. The award was decided by a panel of female porn viewers and it went to Petra Joy for the scene “Room Service” in her latest film A Taste Of Joy.

* The 2013 Poryes European Feminist Porn Award went to Lola Clavo and Shu Lea Cheang. The award is held in Germany and celebrates “high quality erotic movies with a wide range of portraying female
sexual lust and in which women also play an important role as producers.”

* Petra’s film also won the Bring It! Audience Award at Cinekink NY. Other winners included the incredible “crip porn” film Krutch, Impact by Mollena Williams and my friend Gala Vanting got an Honorable Mention award for her intense kink film Amber. Cinekink also made its first appearance in Australia this year, with a tour of major cities organized by Gala. It was so great to be able to publicly screen adult short films, some rather explicit, especially as we have a long history of censorship. I attended the Brisbane screening where my film Kaleidogasm was shown.

* The Berlin Porn Film Festival had its eighth outing this year and once again screened a variety of feminist short films including work by Australian filmmaker and performer Liandra Dahl. Jiz Lee was an official Performer In Focus and they presided over a screening of my film Dear Jiz. Apparently the film went over well and even induced a few tears. I’d have loved to have been there.

* The 2nd annual Perv Queerotic Film Festival occurred in Sydney at the start of November and featured Courtney Trouble as its feature filmmaker. The festival celebrated queer and feminist film and showcased a lot of really great alternative erotic movies. I attended as a guest, several of my films were shown and I was part of a panel session discussing feminist porn along with Anna Brownfield, Gala Vanting, Zahra Stardust and Kath Albury. I also followed Courtney to Melbourne where the Porn for the Rest Of Us panel was held a week later.

* The Good Vibrations Quickies Festival saw the audience award go to Vaseline by Narcissister. The final list of nominees made for an impressive night of viewing.

In The News

cunnilingustweet

* Mainstream media recently went beserk over the news that DuskTV was considering launching in the US. Aside from the usual “Wha? Porn for women? responses was a certain amount of outrage that Dusk is run by a man. For full details, read my post.

* The Fifty Shades Of Grey phenomenon rolled on for a second year with the movie just starting production following casting dramas. Huffpost reported that more women were reading erotica on e-readers thanks to it.

* Female writers and readers in India have embraced erotica in the wake of Fifty Shades, with story compilations reflecting the sex lives and fantasies of middle-class Indian women.

* Tumblr caused a user meltdown when it became widely known that the service was censoring porn and possibly planning to ban it, post purchase by Yahoo. A huge backlash resulted in Tumblr backing down and its blogs – often run by porn-loving women – now being seen in the search engines.

* The UK went full steam ahead with their censorship plans, installing an internet filter and making simulated “rape porn” illegal. As Tracy Clark-Flory points out, this effectively criminalizes the fantasies of millions of women. According to one academic, girls and women would welcome the filter. Meanwhile, PM David Cameron revealed his assumptions about who watches porn when he said that “embarrassed husbands would have to discuss their porn use with their wives”. Tests of the new filters have already revealed that they block a lot of sex education and non-sexual sites.

* Daniel Berger’s book What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire suggested that research into female sexuality was often biased or warped by pre-existing cultural ideas. In this interview, the author says that women are far more libidinous and less complicated than society would have us believe.

* Actor Evan Rachel Wood protested against the way the American rating board censors scenes with cunnilingus.

* A Reddit thread asking women what they want to see in porn turned up some very mixed results.

Statistics and Research

* In May, a new academic journal called Porn Studies was launched. The peer-reviewed periodical, headed by UK professors Feona Attwood and Clarissa Smith, put out a call for submissions (Clarissa has previously written a book on porn for women, including For The Girls, and I met her in 2011). Longtime friend and porn blogger Violet Blue is also on the board, as is Tristan Taormino. Mainstream media reported on it widely. Naturally anti-porn feminist Gail Dines was incensed that someone would be trying to study porn without a pre-existing bias. She called the editors “akin to climate change deniers” and “cheerleaders for the industry”. She then started a petition demanding Routledge not publish the journal. Yep, that’s some fine upstanding academic behaviour right there.

* In July German retailer Beate Uhse announced plans to increase their marketing to women. Apparently than 80% of the group’s products are already developed for women, who represent about 60% of its customers.

* In October, a Pew Research Centre report found that only 25% of men and 8% of American women had used the internet to watch porn. 8%?? Amanda Hess asked How many women are not admitting to Pew that they watch porn?

* A sex survey by London TimeOut found that 66% of female respondents had watched porn but only 3% watched it ‘most days’. 75% of women surveyed said the porn they watched didn’t resemble the sex they had in real life. 54% were keen to act out what they’d seen in porn – a higher percentage than the guys.

* A promotional survey by adult store Ann Summers asked women a number of questions about porn. More than half (55%) of those surveyed have watched porn on their own and 96% have viewed it with a partner. 76% preferred soft porn while 21% liked fetish content. 9% said they watch it every day and 40% weekly. The survey also found that 40% of those surveyed had made their own sex tape.

Movies and Books

gardenofdesires* Author and erotic webmistress Emily Dubberley edited Garden of Desires, the updated version of Nancy Friday’s groundbreaking 1973 study of women’s sexual fantasies. She found incredible diversity in women’s desires and imaginings, with distinct categories including power play/BDSM, exhibitionism and voyeurism, group sex, partner sex and, yes, rape fantasies. Here’s my review.

* DVDs continue to fade as a porn delivery system, even if most of the porn awards tend to only acknowledge feature films rather than web-delivered porn.

  • Many of the mainstream US porn companies stepped up the “female friendly” lines of videos. These include the various romance porn genre movies from New Sensations, Wicked, Smash Productions, Dane Jones and Adam and Eve. There’s too many to name here.
  • British company Joybear got serious with its movies, releasing a whole bunch, including The Pleasure Professionals which won a Feminist Porn Award. They’ve also just released their new website.
  • Indie porn star Courtney Trouble released a bunch of feminist and queer films under her own label, including the more mainstream Lesbian Curves which Courtney says sold gangbusters and the straight, bike-smut themed Come Find Me.
  • Queer porn VOD site Pink Label TV added a whole bunch of new movies including Shine Louise’s latest, the politically-tinged film Occupied. There’s also my own film The Thought Of Her.
  • Tristan Taormino released her Guide to Kinky Sex for Couples (my review here) and it’s companion the Guide to Bondage For Couples.
  • Petra Joy released the compilation video Her Porn 5 which includes the work of a lot of new directors (and also includes one of my solo voiceover scenes)
  • Spanish porn director Erika Lust released the first of her X-Confessions series – erotic films based on the fantasies submitted by her audience. The results can be seen at Lust Cinema (along with a number of other new female-friendly erotic films added recently such as Oooooh by Sophie Bramley)
  • There were a bunch of other titles released this year but no room in this post – please visit my site Porn Movies For Women.

Naked Men

I haven’t had much of a chance to ogle naked men this year. One moment in popular culture stands out: Eric’s full frontal shot in True Blood.

ericnaked

(No, I haven’t included the actual full frontal shot because it contains plot spoilers.)

Celebrity nude site Mr Skin launched Mr Man, a site devoted solely to male celebrity nudes so you can find more Alexander Skaarsgard there if you’re curious.

The lovely men from the Warwick Rowers Club have stripped down again for a calendar, complete with hot trailer:

Here’s some behind-the-scenes pics to make you happy.

Ms Naughty in 2013

It’s been a huge year for me with most of my efforts focused on filming and building up my new site Bright Desire. I’ve shot a variety of real-life couples along with fantasy-focused solo masturbation scenes featuring both men and women. Check out some of my trailers on my Vimeo channel for a glimpse of what I’ve been doing… and here’s some pics:

jadetommy01

lilyrei01

 

I’ve also traveled extensively to make my films as well as to attend feminist porn conferences, film festivals and panels around Australia and in Canada.

For The Girls turned 10… and it just keeps on chugging along. The demand for our particular brand of porn for women is still there.

I’ve made a few media appearances:

* The problem with porn – mentions both of my sites
* 10 Things Porn Gets Wrong – quotes me at the end, discussing the lack of diversity in porn.
* I make feminist porn – I wrote this 1st-person piece for MammaMia. They didn’t pay me but I got a nice surge in traffic which is what I wanted.
* The most satisfying porn for women – Bright Desire got a great mention in Cosmopolitan

I seem to have spent too much time beating my head against the walls of the corporate internet. I’ve tried five times to get Google Plus to recognize my pseudonym to no avail. Looks like I’ll have to go back to “Louise Lush”. I also had some of my videos censored, by Youtube, Vimeo and Tumblr. You can read What happened when I asked Vimeo to define “pornography”. What Bacchus said is true: the pornocalypse comes for us all.

2014 is looming and it looks like another big year lies in wait. There’s the 2nd Feminist Porn Conference, the Berlin Festival, more scenes to film and, hopefully, much more exposure for Bright Desire, which turned 1 on the 1st of December.

Longer posts on Ms Naughty

The ‘P’ Word: Accepting or rejecting the “porn” moniker

The commercial realities of feminist porn

Advice for aspiring male porn performers

Aporntheid: how I experience discrimination because of my work

Diversity and Circumstance or, Why There Are No Black People In My Porn (So Far)

Have I missed anything? Email me: msnaughty at msnaughty.com

Have a great new year!

Previous Retrospectives

Porn for Women Retrospective 2012Fifty Shades of Grey, romance porn, After Pornified and the growth of feminist porn
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

3 Comments

  1. Dang! So much missed in 2013 that this is like homework!

    Thanks for the summary of all the feminist and sex/porn chat nevertheless. I look forward to catching up.

  2. Ms Naughty has done a nice retrospective on what happened in 2013 with “porn for women”. Her main point, which continues to seem absolutely right to me, is that most porn is porn for men. It is, overwhelmingly, conceived, shot, and edited by men, for men, and it embodies a very male perspective on sex. It is, to borrow a term from her, made for the cock, not the clit.
    Surely, this ought not to be controversial. The idea that porn as it currently exists isn’t gendered is too absurd to be entertained. Maybe the right thing to do is to try to make porn that isn’t gendered in that way, that speaks to both genders. That’s often how we feel about it, and that’s often what people who don’t like the label “porn for women” seem to think, too. But surely the idea that (heterosexual, cis) men and women don’t have different perspectives on sex, different sorts of fantasies, etc, is also absurd. So if you’ve going to make porn that isn’t gendered, then what that means is that you have to represent both perspectives (at least), not pretend as if there is some neutral, un-gendered perspective from which porn can be made and shot. Maybe, maybe, there’s some ideal world in which that would be true, but it is not true here in this world. And to pretend that it is, in our opinion, is very un-feminist, because it concedes the status of “normal” to what is male.
    http://femiporn.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/ms-naughty-on-porn-for-women-in-21013.html?zx=6450b5008f595550

  3. Pingback: A big year in porn for women » She Bop's Blog