Jan 31, 2011

Artcore

ARTCORE

Written and Directed by: C. Batts Fly

Run time 78 minutes

Starring: April Flores, Courtney Trouble, Damali Dares, Drew Deveaux, Kelly Shibari, Hoodman

Music by: Hustle PUNCH, Jung Hollywood, Trouble Mind, Ryan Kinetic

Artcore is an homage to Carlos Batts’ muse, April Flores, the powerhouse BBW performer so stunning she's landed her own art-rotica movie. She's one big, bad, mind-blowingly sexual woman, and she doesn’t get much hotter than this. Exploring many areas of her impressive sexual repertoire, from queer sex to lesbian sex to group sex to subbing to dominating, April is at her hot and heavy best here. The music is fanastic, the visuals are beautiful, and the exploration of so many themes in one relatively short movie makes me ask myself a lot of questions. As such, I think Artcore's label as an ‘art film’ isn’t far off the mark. I've never been a big fan of art films myself, so I'm a bit out of my element when trying to wrap my brain around the combination of visual, musical, and sexual elements that this one presents, but then, I think trying to wrap one's brain around a film in the first place can designate it, subjectively, as art. Right?

Of course, the visuals are mostly stunning. From an aesthetic point of view, this is definitely artsy. April is indeed a muse--she slides in and out of personas and outfits and situations with a chameleon-like effortlessness, yet maintains an intense, malleable, undeniable beauty throughout. Her eyes convey everything from the vacuous expression of a true fuck-doll in some scenes to the predatory glare of a huntress in others, while her curvy body lets the viewer experience and really appreciate the voluptuousness sensuality of a larger woman. Her co-stars are all eye-candy of the highest order, too. In the first scene, with Courtney Trouble and Kelly Shibari, glamour is everywhere, from the beautiful jewelry layered across generous and ginormous breasts to the sparkles on their eyelashes to the giggling the three share as they fuck each other. A luscious hotel suite later provides a grandiose setting for a queer fuck-fest with Drew Deveaux, whose androgynous frame and in-your-face tease confuse traditional gender roles just enough to bring on a raging hard-on.


And yet not all the scenes are so easy on the eyes. The movie's last scene, featuring ebony beauty Damali Dares and April in a mutual masturbation after-hours romp, is partially filmed in red light, a surefire way to sexify any scene, but then switches to early-morning glare, destroying the mood of fantasy a red light can cast over almost anything. Earlier, in her dom scene with the super-subordinate Hoodman, April's surroundings are devoid of decoration or really any eye-candy at all. In the harsh light of mid-day, the kinky scene plays out in a bare-bones white-walled room, a garage of some sort (maybe?), and a fluorescent-lit bathtub, giving a hard-to-handle realism to the events as they unfold. Men being anally probed on hands and knees in ski masks, and the like, are usually filmed in dark, dimly lit basements. Bringing this kind of activity into daylight seems all wrong by contrast. And thus, I suppose, an art film makes us think: I don’t know if it was the hood (one of which was a blow-up doll mask--very thinky!) or the taboo play that was going on in front of me that brought up my deeply-buried conservative reactions. I kept finding myself with my hand raised to my mouth in fear that her stiletto would puncture his cock, or gasping as April delivered a spit-spewing blowjob for the ages, then reminding myself that these acts were representative of what people do in their bedrooms. They are part of our sexual culture and there is absolutely no room for judging them; but the starkness with which they are presented here, in the harsh light of midday in unadorned rooms, seems to go against expectations. I kept thinking, although it was only about 8:30 when I was watching this scene, that it must be around 3:00 am. These are things, I was appalled to find myself thinking, that should only happen late at night. But why? Because they’re taboo? Fuck taboo, I thought, while allowing the shock I felt at watching April transform into a muse-cum-dominatrix. And when April smeared her lipstick with Hoodman’s cock, making herself look just like a blow-up doll, I found myself saying, “Woah. Yes. That had to be done.”

But why? Because it made me think about subordination and domination in sex? Because it made me rethink my view of April Flores as almost untouchably beautiful? Or because... well... Wait. This is art. But it's not always beautiful. Or is this art? Or is this shock? Or is shock necessary now, to make us think and appreciate art? My god. What a mindfuck. And as such, I'm giving Carlos Batts an A+ for making a porn reviewer get, stay, and think, hard. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. I'm a girl.)

Read more about and see more of C. Batts Fly's work here.

Get your daily eyeful of April Flores here.

Enjoy more "Padded Kink" via Kelly Shibari's excellent site here.

Let Courtney Trouble rock your world here.

NY Magazine's Porn Issue


Everyone, go get a copy of NY Magazine's porn issue. Read it. Tell me what you think. I just ravenously read the entire thing and I can't stop thinking about it. There's some talk about how porn affects junior high kids, how it affects men's libidos, and what's happening to porn because of tube sites. VERY interesting and VERY thought-provoking. I've got a lot of responses to a lot of what's in there, but I'm going to let it all percolate for a day or two before writing anything here (and pitching my responses to many magazines, including NY; wish me luck!), so in the meantime, leave me some comments! Lemme know what you think! This is exciting stuff, but only if it promotes discussion.

In the meantime... a review!

Jan 30, 2011

Reader Commentary Saves the Day

This is making me feel better:

"when i was using porn i ignored the misogyny flavors but i never thought about feminist aspects. delighted to find it all over the place now that i'm looking at the subject as a subject."

-From a reader of the blog. Thanks, Bob.

Sigh...

I was planning to write a review of a fascinating new art film from Carlos Batts today, but then I read this article about two people being sentenced to death for running porn sites in Iran. And. You know. Some days I just don't have it in me to fight it. Sometimes it's just too sad. I'm going back to bed.

Jan 28, 2011

CALL FOR SEX QUESTIONS!

Hey people, SUPER busy day so no time for big fancy new blog posts, but hey, it's been a while since I've put on my Not-Doctor Lags, Sexpert hat, and I'm jonesing to give some advice. So send me your questions, neuroses, and ponderings on the subjects of sex, porn, relationships, or more sex and I'll be HAPPY to do my best answering them!

And for serious, too. I don't take your questions lightly, people. I write at length and try to cover as many angles of your issues as possible! Remember "How to Become a Male Porn Star" and "Too-Speedy Spew Strategies"? Both very serious! At any rate, look, peeps, I need more questions to answer or I'm gonna get all pent up and start raving about honesty and kids again, and nobody wants that! Send me your questions on Twitter: @misslagsalot, or via e-mail at misslagsalot@gmail.com!

Jan 27, 2011

Historic Eye Candy and A Very Serious Note About Kids

Sexy.

1) Historic Eye Candy:
A friend just e-mailed me the link to this site: Bangable Dudes in History: Dead Man Porn for Your Still-Beating Heart. Starting with Alexander Hamilton and jumping around in history, the anonymous (?) blogger behind this genius site posts pictures of super-hot dead dudes and lists (in pie-chart format, for your nerdly pleasure) the reasons why they're so bangable. Being a sizable dork myself (in case the Gangbangs = Clone Armies post didn't tip you off), I'm finding this absolutely fascinating, giggle-worthy, and totally moistening. Plus, she included Nikola Tesla, on whom I've been harboring a Bowie-induced genius crush for years now. Totally worth a look.


2) A Very Serious Note About Kids (and porn and sex, but I can't say that without parentheses without seeming like a creep):

So there's been a total uproar on the internet (dunno about TV, since I don't watch it) about these two second-graders in Oakland engaging in oral sex in the classroom, supposedly while the teacher was there. The teacher has been suspended while the school investigates what happened, relying, one would assume, mostly on the testimony of the other seven- and eight-year-olds who either saw what happened or will pretend that they did so they can sound grown-up. Conservatives are calling it a sign of our "Climate of Depravity," parents are fuh-reaking out, and child psychologists are trying to figure out how such young kids could have gotten it into their heads to behave like this, since actual sexual contact of such an overt sort has usually never occurred to second graders, though by the age of eight most kids are starting to experiment with their bodies and understand more about pleasure.

I'll admit, it's pretty shocking. I'm not gonna get up on a shoddily-constructed soap box and say that people should calm down about this. I'm not going to say that the parents of the students in the class, where reports say that not only were some kids going down on each other, but that other kids had "at least partially disrobed" during class, also, shouldn't be totally freaked out. They should. Nobody wants to think that their kid was either involved in totally and absolutely inappropriate behavior or that their kid witnessed said behavior and might now, at the age of seven, be considering its implications. It's just waaaay to early for all that. But at the same time, the witch-hunt for the supposedly-hedonist teacher (whose name the school has prudently withheld from the media thus far) who said he had not witnessed any of the above activity and the absolute moral outrage that's sweeping the world (Telegraph UK picked this up) is... gasp... maybe a bit over the top? (Also, it doesn't help that they apparently went to a school that looks like the Death Star from the outside.) Sure, it's another good shouting point and a way for conservatives to mention how the Tucson shooting wasn't all that bad and call liberals hedonists (cause obviously liberals were responsible, and no, I'm not making this up). And sure, there's a chance these kids saw their parents or guardians or older siblings engaging in this behavior consensually, which might denote a certain air of immorality about their home situation. Or maybe these kids are really computer whizzes and figured out how to look up "blowjob" on Google and got a real eyeful. Or, and I hope this isn't true, maybe one or several of them have been sexually abused and they're acting out accordingly, which would be horrible. But pointing fingers and hurling blame at the liberal agenda, the climate of hedonistic depravity in this country, the entertainment industry, or the porn industry isn't going to change what happened, and I'm getting really sick of watching everyone fly into rages and blame people across the aisle.

The point here is: look, guys, these are kids. Young kids do weird shit ALL the time. This may be very abnormal behavior that we can't condone, but it's not a sign of the apocalypse, either. Kids this age are kind of psychotic. They eat dog poop off the front lawn. They beat each other up and bully each other mercilessly for no real reason. They pick their noses and wipe their boogers on school property. They practice using swear words they hear adults use, almost always mangling them (and I bet whichever kid was on the receiving end of that oral session probably had some of his or her equipment mangled, too). They eat paste, goddammit. They basically exist in a hedonistic frenzy 99% of the time as they learn the basics of what's acceptable and when, what's fun to do to get a reaction out of other kids and adults, and how to control their wildly inappropriate impulses. Granted, those impulses normally, at such a young age, don't include oral sex, but the point here is that seven-year-olds mimic the behavior of adults to try to seem cool all the time, while beating the snot out of one another on the playground and trying to remember what 7 + 3 equals and why it matters all at the same time. Kids are kind of wild cards, casting about in a very confusing world where what's appropriate and what's not aren't always entirely clear until they get called to the principal's office. They do a lot of things they shouldn't, and most the time they don't really understand why they want to or why they shouldn't do it at all. The idea of repercussions and real-world consequences is still a pretty long way off to a seven-year-old.

Especially if any of the kids in this particular case are the victims of sexual abuse and are acting out as a cry for help, this is not a time to go around screeching about declining morals. It's a time to think about what might be happening to these particular children and to landscape of American sexuality in relation to these kids. I don't want this to come across sounding the wrong way, but I think it's incredibly important for us to stop pissing our pants over the possible deleterious effects of depictions of sexual acts on MTV and in advertising and in online porn that kids can access on our youth. I think it's time to quit pointing fingers and ranting about depravity, spending all our energy and time blaming other adults and nebulous blame-sponges like "the internet" and "the media" and "the porn industry"--huge conglomerations of people and ideas that can't be held accountable in any real way--and start looking at what we, as parents and teachers and individuals with individual access to individual children and their perceptions of sexuality, can do to prevent these kinds of weird behaviors.

Kids, as I've just pointed out, aren't existing in some kind idyllic vaccum where everything is ponies and butterflies and cops and robbers these days. Even if we really want them to, they aren't--and, frankly, they never really were, but that's another post. They're growing up in a world that's bombarding them with messages from all sides at all times about what it's ok and not ok to do, and often these messages get mixed up when it comes to what's "cool" and "not cool" to do. Our society, it's true, fetishizes violence and sexuality, and kids aren't stupid. They pick up on these things. But they don't know what to do with them because we as adults are SO terrified of broaching these topics.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a parent myself, so I may be vastly oversimplifying the matter. But I am the result of terrified parenting. I grew up in a house where we DID NOT discuss things like sex or drug use because they were things that, as a kid, I wasn't supposed to have any curiosity about. But I wasn't just a kid, I was a human being with natural curiosities, and I always wondered about these things, and I did some stupid things to try to find out more. When I was in second grade, I was looking up naked pictures in the "Renaissance" and "Michelangelo" sections of the classroom encyclopedia because I was curious; I'm damn sure that if I were that age now and I knew that I could type "naked people" into Google, I'd be doing that instead and getting much more revealing results. By the time I left second grade, I had experimented with naked touching with another girl and had been the victim of nothing less than sexual bullying by another. I'd practiced French kissing with the bully against my will, but I'd been more than eager to pretend to "make out" with another friend. I'd pretended to have sex with a life-size doll I kept in my room, and I'd made my Barbies "mate" on countless occasions. My mom had stopped reading me the "how babies are made" book because I was too interested in the topic.

I recognize that there's a good chance I was just a particularly horny kid, but I also can't help thinking that my level of insatiable curiosity wasn't that odd, especially because nobody was willing to take all this evidence into account and sit me down and explain to me that sexual behavior was a perfectly ok thing, but only between people who were old enough to understand the consequences of their actions and who respected each other and consented to all the things that were happening. Not that I would have really understood what that all meant, necessarily, but I can't help thinking that if someone had just been honest with me, or even expressed to me that my curiosity wasn't devil spawn but normal and ok as far as it goes, and given me the opportunity to ask questions instead of feel ashamed of my body and impulses, I might not have gone about doing so many weird things to satisfy my curiosity.

Screaming at each other about whose fault it is that these kids did something so drastically beyond the scope of childhood sexuality isn't helping anything, but it is very likely confusing and shaming the hell out of these children, who might very well need help and an honest, open discussion about the things they did. They should know that oral sex is not a BAD thing in principle, but that it's only a GOOD thing in certain particular places and times when shared between particular people. Let's not shame each other and children who probably don't understand what the big fucking deal is, let's talk about it and let them talk about it too. There is such a violent fear in this country about children finding out about sex that it's often deemed a horrible crime against nature to be honest with them about sex. But in a world where messages about sexuality are coming at them from every side at earlier and earlier ages, the only result of giving in to the fear of "looking like a pedophile" by being willing to discuss these topics in a responsible way is going to be more inappropriate and shocking behavior by kids who are trying to figure out their bodies, their world, and themselves. We've go to get over our irrational fear of sex in the sphere of children and admit that it's the fear that's leading to a lot of the problems we're so terrified of. Kids need to know, even in broad terms, about sex, about sexual abuse, about sexual norms and sexual boundaries and the age of consent and so much more, or we're leaving them to their own means of exploration, which, from one once-bullied victim of peer sexual abuse to probably many others, is not a fun way to go about it. Shame, fear, and blame create an atmosphere of shadows and terror in which children are afraid to express their worries and questions, let alone the truth when they are made victims of abuse. And when kids wonder about things they're afraid to ask adults about, we get poop eating and misspelled swear words scrawled on desks, and, sometimes, oral sex in second grade.

Buck up, people. Sex isn't the end of the world. Actually, it's the start of the world for every single one of us. It only has the power to hurt us instead of make us happy if we allow it to be the most terrible thing we can imagine and keep it a secret from kids who deserve honest answers. Can we please quit calling each other Nazis and hedonists long enough to think about the kids?

Jan 25, 2011

The Great Gangbang Interview with Sabrina Deep, Part II

Part II of my grandiose gangbang interview with Sabrina Deep! I think this is where we really get down to the nitty-gritty...

Lag: Do the guys have a sense of camaraderie? Do they talk and get to know one another before they go onto the stage/in front of the camera? Or is it more of an awkward silence kind of situation?

Sabrina: Some are silent, at least for a while. They have never participated in a gangbang and especially with an adult performer, so they are shy and compare sizes... You know guys! But there are always a few outspoken, extroverted, funny guys, and after we hang out all together the general mood is pretty good and relaxed by the time we start. There is talking, there are jokes, but without forgetting what we are doing!

Lag: What do you usually say to break the ice with the first few guys, before things really get going? What’s appropriate “gangbang chit-chat”?

Sabrina: Uhm, i don’t have a script. I’m just being myself. I talk to them, I look them in the eyes, I let them feel I want them, I direct the situation a bit. If they get the feeling that you like what you are doing then the ice is broken easily. If you are there because you must be there, they can feel it and it would have been better if you stayed home making yourself a pie or something.

Lag: Do you think that for most guys it’s best to go first, in the middle, or last? Is it best to “break the seal” or to get the grand finale, or to be lost in the middle where nobody’s paying too much attention?

Sabrina: It’s awesome how these mechanics work smoothly if you don’t pretend to set the line and the turns in advance. Set them free and those who like to break the seal will come forward first, while the lovers of a sloppy second will remain in the dark until they feel I’m sloppy enough for them. Also, I wouldn’t say that anybody gets lost in the middle: more often than not the vojeurs hit the middle time because they can't hold it anymore. There is always some appropriate action. Occhiolino

Lag: What happens if a guy can’t get it up at the last minute? I’d imagine the experience can be really stressful for some men. If someone gets ready to do it and then loses his hard-on, how do you, as the orchestrator, handle it?

Sabrina: If another guy is hard, rest assure that he will handle it for me! Normally I like to keep the stressed guy beside me right into the action, though, and touching his nuts, wanking him a bit, and stuff like that. If nothing happens (but usually it does), it's the guy himself leaving the bed and waiting for a better time. I’ve never seen someone leaving the premises.

Lag: What happens if you’re dealing with, say, five guys at a time, and one of them just ISN’T doing it for you? Do you try to tactfully ignore him and hope he’ll give up? Do you just grin and bear it? Do you ask him to leave?

Sabrina: With five guys, I am concentrated only on myself and my senses. There is too much going on for receiving a bad input from one guy out of five, and it’s almost impossible to direct anything but my own spasms.

Lag: What if someone, as I saw in one of your videos, isn’t proactive about his involvement? If, say, he has a smallish dick and from where he’s standing you can’t reach him to give him oral… and he just stands there waiting? How do you encourage him to get more involved?

Sabrina: That’s something that really pisses me off! I ask him to come closer of course; sometimes I have to tell him straight that I’m not Mr. Fantastic and that if he does not help out, I won’t be able to do anything with him.

Lag: I know a lot of bodily fluids end up on your skin: do you take breaks between to wipe it off that get edited out of the film?

Sabrina: It depends from the film and from the production. A gangbang-bukkake requires the body fluids to stay where they land. If there is gokkun involved, sperm is removed but only in order to be collected and fed to me. Some productions require clean shots and therefore there is constant body fluids removal and related film editing. My own productions tend to be filmed in one shot with a little break in the middle and the wipe happens during the break eventually.

Lag: How many times do you think you usually orgasm during a gangbang? Or is it not about the orgasm for you, but more about the communal experience?

Sabrina: No, it’s all about senses. The communal experience contributes to increase and to vehicle the pleasure, but without orgasms I wouldn’t see the point of having a communal experience in bed, rather than in a pub or at a restaurant. The number of orgasms is never the same, it’s hard to quantify on average. It can go from two or three to a couple of tens. Sometimes I have two or three, but they build up slowly and I feel on the edge for most of the gangbang; it’s a beautiful feeling and when I explode those couple of times. It’s freaking instense. Other times they happen more often, but with less brain involvement. Eithyer way, it’s heaven.

Lag: Do you feel like your gangbangs bring people together in a friendly, happy way? Or does it just bring joy and happiness to YOU?

Sabrina: I hope both things. You should ask my fans, but I sense that we both benefit!

Lag: Any funny stories about gangbangs where the etiquette was broken?

Sabrina: Once I had the weirdest guy ever in one of my gangbangs. It was a small one, with five guys. This guy had a small dick and he couldn’t get it up, but he was always laying down straight beside me, not allowing the other guys to have room for action. When, after a few unsuccessful polite invites to move, he was told loud and clear to get off the bed, he stood up and as soon as he did, his small, down dick started to spray and incredible amount of cum all over everybody. There was this little fluffy thing penduling as he was moving and shooting cum all over the place and the people. It was really surreal.

Lag: Any last thoughts about gangbangs for my readers?

Sabrina: You’re all invited to join my gangbangs. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s safe. Check my World Bukkake Tour website or follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sabrinadeep – and i hope to meet you soon in the flesh. And remember: if you don’t come to me, I’ll come to you. It’s a promise. Con la lingua fuori

The Great Gangbang Interview with Sabrina Deep, Part I



A few weeks ago, I reviewed Sabrina Deep's Fan Bang for WHACK! Magazine. Sabrina is famous around the world for doing gangbangs and bukkake with her fans both on and off camera, as I'd learned in an earlier interview. When I saw the Fan Bang, however, I'd been devoting a lot of my time and energy leading up to it with my face buried in the muff of queer and lesbian porn, so this was the first time I'd seen a gangbang in a while, and it got me thinking so much about the intricacies of the gangbang that I blogged about it. What, I wondered, constituted proper conduct at a gangbang? What went on behind the scenes where the cameras never showed up? I contacted Sabrina Deep herself, gangbang performer extraordinaire, and asked some of my burning and very personal questions. The interview is pretty long, so I've cut it into two pieces for your snack-sized pleasure; here is Part I.

Lag: Thanks so much, Sabrina, for offering to help me understand how gang-bangs work a little better! I know you’re busy! What kinds of projects are you working on right now?

Sabrina Deep: January is usually the month when I hide, and yet it is a very busy month for me. It sounds like a paradox, but a huge part of my schedule for the rest of the year is planned in January and that keeps me away from pampering my fans they way I’d like to. I’m involved personally in all the plannings and time is a tyrant.

Right now we are setting the dates for the 2011 World Bukkake Tour, which this year will see for the first time more girls involved as well as more live web streaming of the events for those who cannot participate in the flesh. I am also working to launch my own network - fanstalker.net: it will be a hub for adult performers who do connect and do want to connect with their fans live. Some of the performers will join the network steadily during the course of the year, with the first official addition being former Private contract star Gina Blonde, early in February.

Last but not least, I’m working to arrange a big live event in March with Emma Starr; our fans will be directly involved, of course, and we will also produce a DVD.

Lag: So, Sabrina, if you had to ballpark a guess, how many gangbangs have you done? On camera? Off camera?

Sabrina: Between gangbang and bukkake i’d say around 150, of which 31 on camera.

Lag: What made you decide you liked gangbangs so much, as opposed to one-on-one or smaller-group sex?

Sabrina: I’m gonna be pretty boring: I tried it, I liked it!

Lag: Do you think that most women in the industry, or out of the industry, who do gangbangs, do them for the right reasons? Do you think the stereotype of women doing these things because they “have no self-respect” or whatever is warranted?

Sabrina: Let me be frank. You can say: “You disrespected me,” but how can you say “You disrespected yourself”? Self-respect is like personal taste, like your own mood, like your good or bad sight: it can’t be decided by others. I’m always scared of people who go beyond judging, pretending to scientifically know your limits. Feel free to judge me in relation to your world and being and moral, but leave my own relationship with myself to myself. I travel the world a lot and everywhere I go, I see people not in this industry throwing the self-respect thing at you until they have a couple of drinks or ten and start performing those same things which I should feel ashamed of with total strangers. It’s curious how I can be the owner of my uterus when it comes to abortion, but i can’t have multiple orgasms with many men without lacking respect towards myself. So yes: it’s a stereotype and one of the worst.

Lag: What’s the biggest gangbang you’ve ever done?

Sabrina: Usually they are 30-50 people all the times. I have made a bukkake with 150 people in Japan and about pure gangbangIi’m at 77 men for 8 hours in a row.

Lag: How do you get a gangbang together? Where do you advertise?

Sabrina: At this point it's word of mouth, mostly. In many cities where i have already been i even don’t have to advertise anymore because I already have a huge list of past participants. The thing is that I started my career doing this and therefore all my fans know what I do and they expect a call before or after. We never hit a city if there are not already a few fans who gave their availability. I’ve reached a point where fans put together a minimum of fellows and ask me to hit their town. Once a suitable location is found, I simply add that date to my schedule and post it on http://www.worldbukkaketour.com and the on http://deepsabrina.com members area and within a few days i usually fill all the list of participants.

Lag: How do you screen the guys? Interviews? Physical appearance? Mental prowess? Personal hygiene?

Sabrina: Personal hygiene is checked on spot; obviously it cannot be checked until you meet the guy. You give them a few hints and reminders until the date of the event and then that day you screen them. Sometimes it happens that a few sillies are not ok and in that case you just don’t let them in. HIV and STD certificates are the paramount criteria to screen the guys. Look and age are on the bottom of the list: I like good-looking guys of course, but I’ve learned that a good guy, with sense of humor, a brain and a great sex drive is not always a good-looking guy. I’ve never found anybody being clearly mental, but just in case I always a few people keeping an eye on the situation. You see, in a gangbang there are many people involved and being that the chances to have a mental one or two pretty little, the rest of the gang always keep an eye on you and eventually promptly spot and isolate the idiot.

Lag: Do you examine their personal hygiene and body-hair situation before letting them get it on with you? What are your standards in the hygiene and grooming department?

Sabrina: Yeah, as I said above their personal hygiene is checked on spot and my husband has the ungrateful duty. If I did it personally, that would make the guys uncomfortable and therefore the whole situation. If some of them think he’s an asshole, instead, they can’t wait to be nice and horny with me and everything goes smooth!

My standards are simple: be clean from toenails to hair-tips, don’t wear any paefumes, have your nails trimmed.

Lag: What are your standards in the general looks department? Do you ever turn a guy away because you find him unattractive?

Sabrina: It never happened, and yes I have found some guys unattractive; but usually the unattractive ones have still something else to offer and the dynamics of a gangbang make room for everybody, really. A gangbang is a trip, and every trip has some perils, and those perils contribute to making the trip interesting and exciting. The look is not important in a gangbang, the attitude is.

Lag: So what happens before the gangbang gets started? Do you sit in one room and the guys line up in another? Do you hang out with them to put them at ease before it starts?

Sabrina: I always hang out with them a bit before it starts, yes. And most of the times also after. I like to instigate a real personal relationship with my fans and that’s what makes my gangbangs interesting. I keep in touch with most of them also afterwards; they call me for my birthday or for Christmas, they write to me when they feel down, etc. Many come back to my gangbangs again and that’s fantastic because you know what you can expect, you know that they will help you to break the ice with the new entries and so on. There’s no lineup in separate rooms: there is a big room where we are all together and break the ice, talk, joke and then finally get horny. Occhiolino

Lag: Do the guys all get naked backstage and wait in a line? Or do they wait till it’s their turn before taking off their clothes?

Sabrina: Logistically it's better if they are already naked, if the location is small, but there is not a rule. The important thing is that they get in bed naked and also that is not always true because some guys ask if they can keep their shirt on and stuff like that, especially if we are filming.

...Stay tuned for Part II of the Great Gangbang Interview!

Jan 24, 2011

Finally, A Response to the Atlantic Article

1) Hey, all you out there, nominations for the 2011 Feminist Porn Awards are being accepted! Go nominate somebody! Ooooh I'm so excited!

2) I haven't said much about the whole Natasha Vargas-Cooper in the Atlantic thing yet, because, frankly, I didn't take the time to read the article until today. The article "Hard Core" came out, what, last week? And people around the interwebz went nutso about it. Vargas-Cooper seemed to be writing from the perspective of someone who's savvy about the ubiquity of hardcore pornography in today's culture but who hates every last second of it, and who has possibly had some really horrible experiences with anal sex. According to all the commentary I read, which was on pretty much every website in existence, her article vilified men and male sexuality as "brutish" and "violent," while ascribing virtually no sexuality or desire whatsoever to women, who merely have to deal with the constant onslaught of male lust. From what I was reading from feminist and sex-positive critics, I really didn't even want to read the source material. It sounded, frankly, silly, and I figured that something so ill-informed and dismissive of human sexuality and pornography would be forgotten about pretty quickly.

But I think I was wrong. People are still up in arms about Vargas-Cooper's article, and so I just read it, and some of the commentary, to get a better handle on the issue.

I agree with her that porn's easy accessibility these days may not be the best thing for the way we see sex, particularly given that some of the most easily accessible smut is some of the most grotesque and violent. And I also agree with her that the young people who are accessing most of this at a tender age are at risk of imagining the often brutal things they see as being normal, which is why I'm a firm supporter of combating this risk with open, frank, honest discussions about sex and sexuality with young people. I also think Cindy Gallop's MakeLoveNotPorn.com is a fantastic idea. Educating young people about the fact that what they see online in violent and exploitative porn isn't actually normal for most people is important; telling them that the key to all sex acts, including rough sex and anal sex, is respect and consent, is key.

But I have to disagree with Vargas-Cooper about what her writing seems to indicate is a very basic undercurrent of contempt for sexual desire itself. By placing the blame for irresponsible pornographic materials squarely on men and leaving women out of the discussion like some kind of asexual species of wilting flower, she's ignoring the idea that desire itself, sexuality itself, is not PC and never will be. Tana Ganeva at AlterNet.org pointed out this fact, and I found myself nodding eagerly in approval while remembering a conversation I had with Cindy Gallop on the topic. It's not that men inherently want to exploit, hurt, or abuse women in bed any more than women inherently want men to treat them like princesses; it's that human desire may be the one and only place left in the cosmos where what's politically and socially acceptable cannot be enforced. Human sexuality is complicated, convoluted, problematized, dramatic, and over-thought, but it is also spontaneous, deeply nuanced, perverse, untamable, and politically incorrect. Lust responds to its surroundings by subverting what's expected of us in our normal lives. Fantasy gives us a place to do things we could never do in real life, and sex gives us opportunities to act on our fantasies. Sexuality is political in this way--we'd probably not get such a thrill out of power plays in the bedroom (no matter which gender or sex is exerting power over any other) if our culture hadn't been spawned by thousands of years of male domination and power, and we probably wouldn't be as interested in anal sex if we hadn't always been told it was wrong--but its parameters exist so far below the level of day-to-day interaction with our public faces, our PC faces, that it is one of very few parts of our lives in which we are free to do whatever the fuck we want. And thank god. If we spent all our time in the bedroom policing our desires, thoughts, and actions, we'd never have a decent orgasm. Sadly, many of us never do.

Pornography, given this set of truths that I take to be self-evident about the sex that it documents, exists in a difficult place between art that enters into political discourse about what we ought to do and sex that exists in the vacuum of human desire. The two don't go together well. It's very easy for those of us with bad life experiences revolving around sex and violence, or those of us who do not have those experiences but who are greatly opposed to these things, to point to aggressive male sexuality in porn and in reality and claim that they are directly related to one another. It's easy to say that the ubiquity of hardcore, aggressive pornography in our society is responsible for a rise in sexual violence if we've experienced that. But porn is only a part of a much larger picture that is painted on the canvas of what people actually do to and with one another on a grand scale. Porn may inform the ways in which we perceive ourselves and what sex is like, but only the experience of ourselves and our sex can teach us what reality is like. It's not necessarily a failing on the part of porn itself that we take what it shows and run with it; it's a failing on our parts to remember that the people in our beds are not porn performers on our computer screens but people we are interacting with and who will respond to what we do. It's our failing to not respond in authentic, honest ways that demand mutual respect at all times. It's a failing on our part to expect too much from ourselves and our partners in regards to what we want in bed. And it's a failing on our part if we accept violent, despicable pornography as representative of what we want to see and masturbate to: we could take a few minutes to write e-mails to the people who make the porn we watch, very carefully boycott the porn we don't like, and try to change the ugly stuff from the ground up, but most of us don't. Instead we do what Vargas-Cooper did: we bitch about how porn is hurting everybody and hope someone else will make the change for us. But here's some news: people are making the change. There are so many people out there making porn that is not exploitative or violent or abusive that it's almost impossible to believe that the writer couldn't have found any and re-examined the way she thought about the topic. It's not a failing on the part of the porn industry that many people choose to take what's easy to get for free from internet pirates--which is heavily violent, exploitative, gross stuff--rather than being picky and willing to pay for what they want to see. And most of all, it's not porn's to present to us a cleaned-up, perfectly respectful, politically correct version of what sexuality could be like if everybody were blameless; it's porn's job to show us what it thinks we want to see. If we keep clicking on the links that take us to the rough stuff, more of it will be made.

Rather than bitching about the inherent and "eternal" truth of aggressive male sexuality and blaming porn for bringing it back around, Vargas-Cooper and others like her would have done very well to think about the much larger monster they're trying to tame: human sexuality itself. Good luck with that one.

Jan 23, 2011

Gangbangs = Clone Armies



1) This has just occurred to me. I'm waiting for round 1 of questions from our gangbang queen, Sabrina Deep, regarding gangbang etiquette to be returned to me, and in the meantime I've gotten to thinking: Gangbangs = Clone Armies. Or at least they could. Think about it. The biological, evolutionary desire for gangbangs and group sex in general, most scientist seem to agree, comes from the female's urge to promote "sperm warfare" in her reproductive tract. Baker and Bellis have long promoted the idea that men's sperm goes to war with other men's sperm if (and when; evolutionarily speaking, this happened, and still does happen, a LOT) for the privilege of fertilizing the waiting egg. Women usually promoted this competition for the most worthy DNA via surreptitious means, but in today's less-genetically-driven sexual landscape, gangbangs are very large-scale and often-filmed public showcases of this behavior. Of course, I doubt that most women who take part in gang-bangs are really thinking about their potential offspring's genetic material when they get all randy and do it with multiple men, but it occurred to me that these pioneering women, whose bodies, it could be argued, are acting a megalomaniacal impulse to produce the best offspring, might be engaging in just-as-megalomaniacal thinking, too.
Think about it: one of the salient features of most gangbangs in this day and age isn't the possible fertilization of a woman's egg, is it? Bodily fluids get thrown around like it ain't no thang, but very few of them actually land in possibly-fertile territory. Instead, the cumshots are key, and sperm goes flying all over the place, landing mostly on the female's body. One assumes (and I did ask this question, which is what got me thinking on this perverted, paranoid path) that the excess spermies get wiped off and edited out of the footage most the time, but then what does the lady DO with all that semen?
What if... stay with me now... What if the pioneering nature of women who used to have sex with lots of men in order to get the best babies are now pioneering in another, less-ripping-of-the-private-parts-during-childbirth kind of world-dominating way? What if they're collecting semen samples from all the men at the gangbang in order to clone them and make armies? CLONE ARMIES! To do their domineering bidding!! Seriously, women whose personalities classify as "wilting flower" don't want clone armies, so this might sound silly, but those women also don't do gangbangs too often, do they? Or film them for posterity, so someday, after they've taken over the world with their clone armies of doom, they can show the world where it all started? No, they don't. Women who do gangbangs and film them are high-energy, very type-A personalities with the will to take over the world, but today's medical technology allows them to do it in a much more direct way: rather than having a few babies to pass on their genes, these women now can create hundreds of clones to keep in sexual slavery until they're ready to go out and rain doom down upon all of our heads.
Well, hey, at least in the new world order, sex probably won't be such a hush-hush topic.

2) Also, it never ceases to amaze me that when people come to my house and we sit around bullshitting in my office, which happens a lot as it's the biggest room in the house, they almost always find and pick up my riding crop. It's a pink, white, and black leather riding crop that I use in my, ahem, personal life for fun spanking times. I brought it into the office because, recently, someone found it on a coffee table in the living room and started to spank everyone in sight mercilessly with it. I said, "Dude, you have no idea where that thing has been," and he quickly put it down, at which time I brought it into the office and placed it in a very quiet, unassuming corner. Last night, a friend with whom I was recording a podcast picked it up and started playing with it. I didn't want to interrupt our recording session to mention that the pink, white, and black braided riding crop he was fondling might, surprisingly enough, not be used on horses but rather people's asses. He's quite sexually conservative, so who knows what might have happened if I'd mentioned to him that the leather he was touching had been used on many areas of bare skin on my and my lovers' bodies that he might not be entirely comfortable coming into contact with, even indirectly. So I let it go and didn't mention it to him.
But, honestly, people, if you walk into someone's apartment and see a whip lying around, does it seem like a wise thing to start playing with? First of all, whips tend to be used, in private residences, for particularly private things. And secondly, this person obviously owns and uses a whip. You might be biting off more than you can, or want to, chew, if you go into their toy stash and start poking around. They might whip you. Or ask you to whip them. Who knows what could happen! Lots of fun, or lots and lots of awkwardness.
I'm just saying, caution and tact, peeps. Caution and tact. I realize it might behoove me, since people seem so curious, to put the whip away somewhere that it won't attract attention. But fuck that; I want my whip handy when I need it! So just be respectful, people!

Jan 22, 2011

Saturday Busy-ness Leads to Links

It's a beautiful, crisp, January Saturday, and I'm running around like a chicken with a severed head somewhere in the city that it's absolutely got to find. So I'm leaving you with these fun tidbits:

1) I am a total Cracked.com junkie. I have no idea where they get their information from most the time, and I'm pretty sure that a lot of their evidence is shaky at best in the "reliable" department, but they sure do point out some interesting perspectives on things, and this time it's no different: 5 Ways Porn Created the Modern World. From how it spurred the success of printing press to how it basically invented the internet as we know it to how it will clean that same internet up, porn is the reason we live in the world we do. I totally agree.

2) I have a lot I could say about what's going on with MTV, Taco Bell, and "Skins" right now, but since I haven't actually watched the show or really kept up with the news on this topic, I'll just send you over to Salon to read about "Why MTV Should Stick Up for 'Skins'". Personally, I think this is a great launching pad for a greater freedom of discussion between adults and their kids about the realities of sex, but hey, that's just me. Dunno what y'all think.

3) Possibly one of the best concrete examples ever of Why To Formally Divorce and Otherwise Get the Fuck Away from Lunatic Abusive Men: Holly Lahti, winner of Idaho's $190 million lottery jackpot, whose only public persona up to this date has been her horrendously beat-up mug shot from 2003 (?) when she and her husband were both charged with assault and battery. Over the past decade, her husband, who she is separated but not divorced from, has been brought up on charges of everything from kidnapping to assault to domestic violence to being a total douchebag in every way, but Lahti hasn't managed (one can hope she at least tried) to divorce the man. And now that she's claimed her post-tax lump sum of over $80 million, Idaho law states that this abusive sonofabitch has a right to claim HALF of it. Let this be a lesson to all women who don't get the hell away from abusive husbands: if you ever win a fortune, your dude might be entitled to it, and if he's hitting you, he doesn't deserve it.

Jan 21, 2011

Cock Sucking in Queer Porn: What an Experience, Part II

So I've given a little more thought to my initial surprise at the hardcore-ness of many a cock-sucking scene in queer porn, and I've reached a kind of nebulous conclusion... Or maybe not. But hear me out.

I think the thing that does, whether it's PC to admit it or not, tend to be upsetting about really hardcore blowjobs in straight, mainstream porn is the overarching feeling of misogyny that goes along with it, and when it comes down to it, that's a damn shame in many ways. Firstly, it's a damn shame that misogyny is so closely linked with porn in the first place, because as an industry that supposedly celebrates sexual pleasure and expression, the porn industry is unfortunately both the subject and creator of a huge amount of negativity toward women. It's not that blowjobs in porn are necessarily always an expression of male hatred for women; in a lot of cases they can be expressions of women's hatred for themselves, or very genuine expressions of extreme, hardcore sexuality that's being enjoyed by both giver and receiver. But it is true that there are many spit-flinging, mucous-coated, gag-a-minute blowjob scenes out there that do involve a man face-fucking a woman in what appears to be a hateful and violent way. These scenes may not be reflective of what the man and the woman in the scene actually think about each other and gender roles--they're often just doing what they've been told to do by a director who wants to make as much money as possible and who knows shock always helps. But what they're doing can be seen as a symptom of the way porn culture, and American culture in general, views women as objects to be fucked brutally and tossed away. A glance at most Max Hardcore scenes, or a trip to FacialAbuse.com, or a stroll through most "blowjob" galleries on free clip sites will offer plenty of backup for this not-so-revolutionary line of thinking. It's sad and it's oppressive to women when blowjobs are performed in this specific, almost gruesome way with this cloud of misogynist thinking hanging over both performers' heads.

But just as the culture may have gotten the director and the performers to this spot, where gag reflexes are casualties of what's expected, performers themselves may have embraced a new way of expressing themselves sexually. An insatiable appetite for sexual gratification can and certainly now often does lead to a self-effacing, snot-bubbling, kind of gross spectacle when it's intense enough, and I doubt that many of the newer faces in the straight porn world think of gagging on a cock as an indication of anything except their enthusiasm for the task at hand. Hardcore blowjobs are par for the course now, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, unless viewers ascribe them to a lack of respect toward women, which the spectacle itself kind of lends itself to but which isn't necessarily happening in every instance. It's just that, given what we know about the history of men's sexual attitude toward women and particularly the attitude of the entire culture toward women in the sex industry, it's difficult for most of us to see women choking on cocks and not think, "Wow, she must hate herself, and he must hate her." It's our culturally (and sometimes experientially) imbued sense of power relations between genders that makes us think this, and while sometimes it's right and sometimes it's wrong, straight blowjob scenes are heavily fraught with this kind of thinking in most viewers.

Now, on to queer blowjob scenes. What to do with THIS situation? In a corner of the porn industry where gender itself, not to mention gender roles, and traditional thinking about subordinate/dominant roles in sex are deliberately turned on their heads, what are we to make of hardcore, gagging, choking, face-fucking scenes featuring strap-ons, dildos, and sometimes real penises? It's hard to wrap one's head around the idea that these people, who are upending ideas of power relations in sex on purpose, would want to enter into the same fraught territory as their straight, more mainstream, brethren. It's at first off-putting: "Wait, doesn't this performer, who's so outspoken about queer rights and the importance of respect in pornography, respect him/herself more than this blowjob implies?" But maybe that's the whole point. Maybe queer performers and directors are so many steps ahead of us that our brains are left puzzled by their actions. Maybe queer porn people realize that the best way to make us question our assumptions about why people do the things they do in the bedroom, whether they be straight, monogamous housewives or queer, polyamorous porn performers, is between the people in the bedroom. Maybe the best way to make us think about the gender roles we're so used to living with is to upend them entirely and then proceed to behave in a way that most of us associate with the standard, male/female hetero power relationship. Maybe they're showing us a reflection of the mainstream ideology in Alice in Wonderland excess to illustrate a point.

Or, then again, maybe they just like extreme sex, putting their bodies and gag reflexes to every test imaginable, and lubricating dildos before penetration. And, of course, maybe I'm over-thinking. That's been known to happen. Food for thought, nonetheless.

(PS - Stay tuned for answers to gangbang etiquette questions! I'll be interviewing Sabrina Deep SOON!)

Jan 20, 2011

Cock Sucking in Queer Porn: What an Experience!

I am once again pressed for time, as today is one of those running-around, never-enough-time days, but I've been busy researching some queer POV porn for an article, and I've been thinking about how interesting it is that so much queer, particularly ciswoman porn involves really sloppy, deep-throaty, slobbery, mucousy, hardcore blowjobs, very often on strap-on cocks. On the one hand, this is a surprising phenomenon. I mean, who out there who knows about porn and calls herself a feminist hasn't given considerable time to thinking and bitching about the mainstream straight porn blowjob? It's easily seen and commented on as too violent, too degrading to the woman, too exploitative, too mancentric, and, well, too GROSS. I mean all that gagging and retching and slobbering and spit-stringing... kind of not that glamorous. And the guy behind the camera, looking down at the lady (in POV scenes) and going, "Yeah, bitch, suck it" can be a little disconcerting. On the other hand, different strokes for different folks and all that being considered, there's certainly nothing WRONG with hardcore gagging blowjobs if both parties are really enjoying it. But it can still be a little off-putting.
But now here I am watching ciswomen giving blowjobs ciswomen (there are all kinds of sexuality and gender classifications going on over here, so I'm gonna just be general) wearing strap-ons cocks, and I'm seeing a whole lot of the SAME STUFF as in a straight, somewhat exploitative, mainstream, gonzo, POV shoot. It's confusing. But it's making me think.
Am I really so shallow that I tend to see the cock ministrations of straight women in straight sex scenes, vomit-inducing as they often appear to be, as a product of male aggression being forced upon subordinate women? Or do more people just like extreme blowjobs than I imagined? Or are queer performers just as influenced by mainstream porn aesthetics and extremes as everybody else? Or are queer performers, given they're already living on the fringe of acceptability in not only the real world, but also the porn world, more given to kinky and extreme sex acts in the first place? I've heard women say that they like to gag on cocks because it pushes their bodies to their limits, and that is an empowering and sexy feeling, but I've also heard women say that gagging on a cock makes them feel like less of a person. I do understand that preferences in the bedroom vary just as much from person to person as do food preferences, and that some people enjoy giving spit-flinging, gasping, choking blowjobs while others just don't enjoy the experience, but I still can't help wondering when this phenomenon became so ubiquitous in pornography, and whether mainstream porn had more to do with it than personal preferences. Would people have learned that more viscous spit is produced when the gag reflex is tapped if they hadn't seen Deep Throat in 1972? Or were they using it long before that, but too afraid to show it on the screen?
Hm... Must consider this question and start interviewing people who know more than I do...

Jan 19, 2011

Tristan Taormino's Expert Guide to Female Orgasms

1) I considered reviewing this excellent piece of fornication filmage once for WHACK! Magazine and once for my blog, placing more emphasis on how the feministy parts of my being were gratified by its lady-friendliness, but this morning is a bit hectic and I'm running out the door shortly, so rather than recap something I've already written, let me link to my WHACK! review. But I'll also say a few words here:
If you're a woman, or actually if you're a man or a trans-gendered person or an anybody who has any interest in the female anatomy and giving it pleasure, please get a copy of this movie! Tristan Taormino is a sex advice luminary, and everything I've ever seen that she's put her hand to has been magical, but this movie takes it up a few notches to make my squishy bits squee with glee. Not only does Tristan speak to her audience in understandable, clear, bell-like tones about how to get familiar with each womanly set of genitals and to make it feel good, but she spends a lot of time and effort highlighting just how different each set of genitals can be and how important it is to communicate that set of genitals' preferences and desires. She addresses women's fears and frustrations with trying to find the ever-elusive orgasm directly: "If you can't orgasm without a vibrator, that's ok. There. Is nothing. Wrong with you," and "If you can't bring yourself to orgasm, it's too tall an order to ask someone else to do it for you" (may be misquoted) are particular gems. So many women, and men, and others, live in constant fear that there is something wrong with their lady-bits because the entire subject of female pleasure, womanly parts, and especially she-gasms, is so shrouded in mystery that we many women don't even understand how their bodies are supposed to work. The nebulous bits of knowledge we pick up along life's path about how our anatomies are supposed to work, mostly seen in movies and TV shows where female sexuality is idealized and completely non-problematic, lead us to think that our incongruous and sometimes difficult parts are somehow WRONG if they're not following the pattern Sex and the City told us they should. Pain and problems and uncertainty can plague the experience of trying to reach orgasm, resulting in an absolutely terrifying number of women NEVER having had one. This needs to change, and Tristan Taormino, thank goodness, is on a mission to change it by educating, and filming some fabulous sex scenes that focus entirely on female pleasure to help the process.
In the movie, women of many types are presented in the throes of pleasure to show the huge variations in what women like and experience during sex: white women, black women, romantic women, kinky women, straight women, queer women, squirters, anal enthusiasts, and everything in between. The lineup of performers includes some of my all-time favorites (Jiz Lee, Madison Young, Mr. Marcus, Dylan Ryan, Sean Michaels, James Deen, Evan Stone), and they all perform beautifully.
And, perhaps most jaw-droppingly: there's only ONE male orgasm in the movie.
Anyway, go read the full review at WHACK! for more info.

2) That's all for today! I'm busy working on pitches to some big-time magazines and pinning down some interviews on gangbang etiquette, so stay tuned!

Jan 18, 2011

Map of Tasmania

Also, Amanda Palmer's newest, mind-blowingly cool song about bush hair, "Map of Tasmania," now has a video! Ever see a bird's nest in a lady-bush before? How about Legos? Starry Night? Well now you will. Thanks GeekPornGirl for posting it; I shall now shamelessly steal and repost it! You must watch it! MUST.

MATINEE


Matinee

Blue Artichoke Films

Written, Cast, and Directed by Jennifer Lyon Bell

Starring: Alicia Whitsover, Steven McAlistair

Run time: 34 minutes

I'm just starting my acquaintance with Jennifer Lyon Bell of Blue Artichoke Films. I'm lucky enough to be writing a series of articles that enters her purvey for Madison Young's TheWomansPOV.com, and got even luckier when I was able to get a copy of "Matinee" for consideration from her last week. "Matinee" is only a half hour long, and though I wouldn't call it a porn film because it's NOT one, it's still worth mentioning that it packs the emotional range of perhaps fifteen regular porn films into that short amount of time, in a totally unexpected and breathtakingly fresh way. I'm absolutely hooked. Whereas I often send my best sexy movies to friends as gifts, I'm pretty sure this one is going on the shelf in the living room for repeated viewings. Let me try to explain why. I may fall short of the mark: good film-making puts words to shame with the whole "pictures are worth a thousand" thing, and "Matinee" is so powerful that I don't know if even my long-winded ramblings will be able to encapsulate what I mean to convey. But let me try.

"Matinee" shows us an afternoon in the life of a struggling play in a small theater. The lead actress, who's just taken over for another, more famous woman, and the lead actor, a popular Scottish soap opera star making his stage debut, are worried about their onstage chemistry. They just can't seem to get the sexy bits right. He suggests they break routine and try some new blocking since the director's gone that afternoon anyway. She resists, apparently terrified of going too far in front of press and a big talent agent who will be in attendance that afternoon. The tension, as she waits to start the big scene, is powerfully present. And...

Ok, you know from the moment their eyes meet on the stage that she's planning to have sex with him. If you haven't figured that out by the time it happens, sorry for the spoiler, but c'mon, it's right there. She took a condom out of her bag and put it in her pocket before she went onstage, so you're likely to have figured this out. But what you can't have figured out, until you watch this scene, is how different it will be from the sex you expect these two people to have.

Maybe I'm different from the typical viewer; I live in the world of adult entertainment, where every sex scene is pre-planned and performed by mostly-seasoned professionals who go in knowing exactly what to do and how to do it, how to turn their heads to the right side and move their legs so the camera can get in there, and so on. So when I know a sex scene is coming, I expect it to look that way. I expect the performers to be gung-ho, moaning and writhing and hitting all the right spots, no matter what sector of the porn community they usually perform in. Professional adult entertainers are just that: professional. But Jennifer Lyon Bell did not cast porn performers, she cast actors. Actors who had never done explicit sex on camera before. Actors who are skilled at their craft of taking the audience on a journey with them to wherever their characters' minds and hearts are at. And their characters are at an extremely awkward moment in their lives.

The scene between them is fraught, difficult, strained, and absolutely heart-breakingly tense, while managing to be beautiful and revelatory, all at once. While the audience looks on, uncertain about what to make of the events unfolding, the two actors on stage approach each other with no idea what is about to happen: she knows she's going to try to have sex with him in front of a live audience, but he only knows that something has changed in her demeanor, and he's trying to go along with it. As clothing is dropped and pleasure is approached, they go through the hesitant, jerky motions of first-time lovers. They are confused and awkward and utterly self-conscious in front of the audience that they can't forget is there. But their fumbling is raw, unplanned, and real. Sitting at home I was caught between an inability to look away, getting horny, and cringing "Ooooh god it's so awkward" discomfort. And I was hooked.

It's been a while since I've watched a sex scene and gotten SO into it. Whereas usually the sex is the whole point, in this film it's the catalyst for a connection between the actors themselves and the audience they're playing to. There is so much more going on than two people being intimate that the viewer doesn't know what to make of it, but can't help but sympathize and, well, get a little moist, too. The interplay between their desire to transform their on-stage chemistry, their awareness of the huge risk they are taking, their inability to escape the audience's gaze and their simultaneous need for it, their unfamiliarity with each other's bodies, the slowly developing connection between them, and the incredibly meta structure of the whole film as a performance is simply...

Well, back in my McSweeney's days I remember writing a column that called for real films with real sex and real art in them. I knew that these films probably existed out there somewhere, but I didn't know where to look and I was afraid they'd be pretentious French arthouse films I'd have no interest in. Instead, I found "Matinee," an experience that anyone who finds most erotic film missing a real human element absolutely must have.

Well, there. I wish I had more elegant words to describe how I feel about "Matinee," but I really can't do it justice. Just get a copy. I promise you won't be sorry.

Jan 17, 2011

"Shameless"ly Promoting TV and My Own Genius

1) First off, my new favorite show ever got a shout-out from Fleshbot: "'Shameless' Explores the Every Day Life of the Cam Girl." I'm not the only porn-minded individual in love with this series! Go, go, gadget good-taste! And they bring up an excellent point: the lives of ladies like this are shrouded in mystery to most of us. What do they actually DO to make money, is it illegal, and how can I get some? What's it like to be one and be married? How much money do they make? Etc, etc. Maybe we'll learn some more from this show, or maybe we'll just get to see lots more boobies. Either way, I'm entertained.

2) I swear I'm going to review something soon. It's been quite a weekend so far and I have a long day ahead of me, but I promise, in the next few days, you'll get a review of either "Matinee" from Blue Artichoke Films (beauuutiful) or "Imperfect Angels: Episode 10" from Girlfriends. Or, maybe if you're all really good and comment lots, you'll get BOTH!

3) I realized something last night. It was only a matter of time till it happened, or at least until I noticed it, I suppose, but it brought up some interesting questions. The issue at hand? I tend to think every TV show, movie, music video, etc. that I watch these days is a porno. Or at least I find myself narrating over top of the real dialogue and action to fit things into more porny scenarios, which are playing out in my head all the time. I've been watching lots of porn professionally for over three years now and writing about it from a critical standpoint for two, and by this point I'm often disappointed by how unsexy I can find porn, nudity, sexual tension... the whole mess of it. When you spend all day thinking about this stuff, it just loses some of its pizazz, you know? But the set-up? I apparently find the idea of turning any mundane situation into a porno FASCINATING, or at least funny. The action might bore the crap out of me unless it's incredibly inspired by now, but the unending ways in which one can combine the characters on an old Japanese sit-com/action series? Hilarious! Exhibit A: Watching Great Teacher Onizuka last night with my girlfriend. "Oh, man, look at the Head Teacher! She's such a cougar! Onizuka is totally going to bone her! Look, she's checking him out from behind those old-school plastic frames. Get her out of those high-wasted pants, Onizuka!" Or, "Wow, I can't believe that delivery guy didn't just bend her over that table, I mean, it's RIGHT THERE! Why would they NOT?"
And yet, when confronted with most real people, bodies, and situations, I find the idea of spontaneous porn-bustion unsettling. Exhibit B: earlier in the evening at my girlfriend's last night, hanging out with a bunch of friends in a very warm room where some of the dudes had removed their shirts for comfort. I looked at the panorama of people who were semi-clothed and immediately saw the possibility for a pornographic situation arising, but hoped against hope it wouldn't happen. That would be awkward, and I'd have to figure out how to respond and, I mean, I don't want to get involved, cause I KNOW these people and it could get weird. Plus it'd just be so trite and predictable and, well, yawwwwn.
Hm. Interesting dichotomy, no? Remember my bemoaning the idea of porn as fantasy and how it affects our perception of real sex and our own personal emotional involvement? I was SO right.

Jan 15, 2011

Filament and Thigh Strength


First things first: Filament magazine is having an open erotic fiction contest! Filament magazine is THE BOMB--they're a British "lady mag" that focuses on the female gaze in eroticizing and sexualizing the male form, with beautiful art and photography layered with intelligent and interesting articles. It's magical, and now they're offering all their readers a chance to participate! Huzzah!
Personally, I'd love to submit something, but despite my love of writing about all things sexy, I've found that I'm absolutely hopeless at writing erotica. I focus too much on thinky stuff, the background, the setup, and not nearly enough on the hot details. I still harbor dreams of someday being a contributing writer for "the thinking woman's crumpet," but haven't found the right angle yet, and erotic fiction certainly ain't it. So, readers, HAVE AT! Enjoy! And thanks to Violet Blue, the judge and one of my favorite ladies, for pointing this out to me on my blog roll before I got around to Filament's website.

Second, I just learned how to do reverse cowgirl! I've never successfully accomplished this before, so I'm very proud. It's not exactly easy, but it's not as difficult as I thought it would be, either. I do, however, need to work on my thighs if I want to be able to keep it up for more than a few minutes at a time. New Years Resolution #4. It's interesting, because I've never been much of a fan of reverse cowgirl, at least as far as watching porn goes. It's an awkward position to get into, for one thing, and there's always some fumbling that's not so sexy to watch. But more than that, although I know it's used to showcase the woman's body while hiding the man's (and that in itself annoys me: show me some man-mean!), I think it makes the woman look a little stretched out and angular. With all her limbs splayed and her stomach thrust out, she looks more like a stick bug than a sensual, curvy lady. But despite my reservations, it feels pretty damn good. I will be trying it again.

Thirdly, in another first-ever accomplishment, today I sent in my second of four articles on the female POV in pornography to Madison Young's TheWomansPOV.com, along with a photo that I took OF MY OWN POV! (No, that's not it above: I'm WAY pastier than that, and I don't live somewhere that promotes beach-going in January.) I don't know if they'll run it or not, but I felt extremely awesome about pointing a camera down at my own body and clicking the button. For all I've written over the years about how making sexy images isn't shameful or wrong, and how it's actually empowering and important, this is the first time I've taken my own advice and done the deed. I hope it makes the website! I'll keep y'all posted.

Jan 14, 2011

Anti-Rape Mechanisms, or Over-Wrought Interpretations?

In an article today from Jesse Bering at Slate, "Darwin's Rape Whistle," findings from recent research about "phase dependent female rape-avoidance mechanisms" are discussed in detail. The new research is based on the idea that, controversial as the topic may be, human males may have evolved certain behavioral and anatomical traits in order to more effectively rape women. Nobody wants to think this is true, and many people are damn well convinced that it's not, but if we're looking at the topic from a purely evolutionary, "must pass on DNA at all costs" kind of animalistic perspective, there are plenty of arguments scientists can make suggesting that men have evolved to get their spermies inside vajayjays at all costs, and sometimes those costs include coercing or forcing a woman into copulation. Not pretty, but science tells us it's very likely true at our most basic, pre-human levels. So, goes the thinking, what about the women? If millions of years of evolution prepared men to take a woman by force when there seemed to be no other choice (dear god I hate writing about this, but that's not the point here), then doesn't it seemlikely that women evolved to be able to fend off attacks? From Kinsey on, all scientific inquiry into human female reproductive strategy has left researchers even more impressed by the intricacy and efficacy of female's ability to pick and choose their mates: every detail, from the type of cervical mucus being produced at different times in the woman's menstrual cycle to the temperature of her body and her changes in preference from masculine to feminine males, is part of an incredibly complex, subtle, and effective strategy that females use without even knowing it to choose, copulate with, and either keep or ditch the father of their children. Rape constitutes a violation of millions of years of sexual evolution that women have worked very hard to get through. It causes psychological and physical damage, of course, and it's reprehensible in every way, but more than that, it takes away a woman's power to use her armory of strategies for getting the DNA samples she wants from the man she wants. Rape is effectively a big fuck-you to nature's plan. It seems unavoidable that along the route from pre-hominid to thinking human female, nature would have built in a few mechanisms to keep us ladies safe from being impregnated by some dude we don't want to be knocked up by.

And, according to Bering, scientists are finding "convincing" evidence that women at their most vulnerable--ovulating women who are most likely to be fertilized by any copulation--tend to be primed for evading forced sex. A 2002 study from the University of Albany, he says, found that ovulating women, when presented with a story in which the female protagonist was about to be raped, suddenly saw a dramatic rise in physical strength, as tested by hand-grip pressure. This makes sense: a woman whose egg is ready to be fertilized might just find a well-spring of raw power within her that she never knew she had if some schmo has his eye on the prize.

Ditto the 2007 study by Christine Garver-Apgar that found ovulating women tend to be a lot more suspicious of strange men, and the evidence from two other studies that ovulating women tend to stay home, or in safe places, more than non-ovulating women. While I've read the results of studies that say the exact opposite (that women tend to show more skin and take more sexual risks with strangers while ovulating, ostensibly because their bodies are telling them "it's now or never, lady, get yourself spermified!"), I suppose situation may have a huge effect on the way women tend to see men. If a woman is ovulating and feeling horny, she may be more willing to out LOOKING for a mate and be more willing to find evidence of good genes in someone she might not usually be attracted to, but if a woman is ovulating and finds herself on the street surrounded by men who she doesn't find attractive or interesting, her body would do well to point out their flaws to her in no uncertain terms so she doesn't end up waking up the mother of an inferior-gened child by a stranger. And while she might be more likely to take a stranger home because her body is telling her to look for someone, the very fact that her subconscious is focused on passing on her DNA in the best way possible might make her much less likely to seek unwanted attention from inferior males, and to see more men as inferior than she normally would. I guess it's a two-way street.

But the last bit of evidence Bering cites, from Michigan State's Carlos Navarette, which states that ovulating women tend to be more racist than non-ovulating women... I... I just don't know about that. Part of me wants to deny that this might be true, in the same way that my knee-jerk reaction to "men have evolved to be capable of raping women" shows that I want to think better of human beings. But I'm no scientist, and I won't argue what trained professionals say they've found to be true, necessarily. It may very well be true that paranoid, safety-seeking ovulating women DO find men of other races more intimidating at that particular time of the month, much as I wish it weren't so. But my lack of scientific prowess aside, I'm having a hard time swallowing Navarette's justification for his findings: "The women who happened to be ovulating scored especially high when it came to fear of black (as opposed to white) men, a fact that the authors interpret as reflecting an evolved disposition to avoid so-called 'out-group males,' who 'may not have been subject to the same social controls as in-group members and would have constituted a threat in antagonistic situations.' In this case, skin color serves as a convenient marker of group identity." ...Yeah, could be. After all, we evolved in small groups of people who shared a whole lot of physical traits and dangerously close DNA to ourselves, and that at its very base could arguably the root of racism even today: people who look different from us don't belong in our "group" and are therefore suspect. Ok, I can buy it as a very general concept, int he same way that I can buy that men evolved to rape women sometimes--it may be true but it's no excuse for practicing these vestigial evolutionary byproducts today. But. I mean... Navarette, it seems like you just MIGHT be stretching the science a bit thin here to avoid saying what seems like a MUCH more likely culprit than 'suspicion of out-of-group males' during ovulation: out and out racism.

I hate to be the one to bring this up, because I DO think that Navarette has a decent point and because I do NOT like to point out social iniquity any more than the next guy, but, dude, seriously? You don't think it's more likely that women who are ovulating and therefore more protective of their naughty bits might be more likely to see black men as a threat because they've been trained to see black men as exotic, big-dicked, aggressively sexual monsters? You don't think that Hollywood's treatment of African Americans as somewhat less-intelligent, hyper-violent, sex machines has something to do with this? You don't think that the segregation that continues to affect the lives of blacks and whites all over America even in the 21st century and the still-prevalent exotification of black skin might have the teensiest bit of influence over the fact that white women, who have heard implicit and explicit statements their entire lives about how black men are DANGEROUS, are suspicious of them? Or that the faces we see in mug shots and police sketches and blurry video footage from crime scenes on the news every night are almost invariably dark? Or that we still vilify black people in almost every way? Pretending that science backs up racism by PC-ing it up and saying it's an evolutionary tactic is a cop-out and one that requires a lot of fancy footwork, at that. It's not that I think Navarette is WRONG in his findings, it's just that he's searching under the tiniest rocks for a deeply evolutionary explanation for something that has a much more glaring cause at a much more easily-attached level. It's not enough to say that racist reactions might be part of our evolutionary heritage, because doing that basically tells everyone that it's not the best thing, but that it's ok because it's in our genes to suspect "out of group" people--it's irresponsible to pretend that our deeply rooted ancestral responses can't be overcome by the brains we've evolved and the highly social and civil lives we lead, which have a whole lot more of a place in this world than our crocodile brains.

I'm. Gr. I'm kinda pissed off. I'm gonna go.

Jan 13, 2011

Shameless: Yes



Last night at a friend's house I watched the first episode of the new William H. Macy Showtime drama, "Shameless." (Between Macy's new vehicle and Steve Buscemi's "Boardwalk Empire" on HBO, this seems to be the year of the weird-looking-dude on major cable channels. I LOVE it! These two guys have been favorites of mine for years and now they've both got their own badass vehicles to drive me cuh-razy with their ass-kicking!) I LOVED it. The show takes as its base an incredibly, deeply fucked up family with issues out the wazoo, and treats it with a kind of wiseass love without forgetting to show the cracks in the "we're having so much fun" veneer. Plus, omg, it's maybe the first TV show since Roseanne to show a white working class family with problems that most of us would sit around whining about but which the characters take as part and parcel of living a weird but satisfying life. I'm loving it.

The best part, however, was when one brother discovered that his younger brother was gay. After first finding his folder of naked-man jerk-off material and asking him about it to no effect, he snooped around and discovered that his brother was in fact fucking his boss, a local deli owner. Despite his initial disgust/anger at the situation (the boss is married with kids, not to mention years older than the adolescent he's boning), the older brother is shamed into realizing he's being judgmental when the younger brother fights back and demands an apology because he's done nothing wrong. In a really touching scene, the two sit together in the family's decrepit van, smoking cigarettes they are far too young to have purchased legally.
"But, seriously," says the older, "up the ass? Do you get used to it? CAN a person get used to that? I mean, the whole point of the digestive system is one-way traffic. It just is."
The younger brother laughs. "'It just is,'" he giggles. "Like if God granted us lungs just to smoke with."

Brotherly bond restored, and poetic point about the joys of butt-sex made. I love this show.