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| June 25, 2015 | 8:41 pm

Watch the video at this link.

I won’t post it here. So watch it over there. It’s mostly SFW.

…finished?

Ok, now, sit there for a few minutes and let your brain try to grapple with what you just saw and heard.

First, let’s get past the “blowjob machine” thing. Yes, those are things. They exist. Oral sex simulators have been around for a while, in formats ranging from the simple masturbation sleeve to high-powered, motorized, vibrating, interactive robotic jerk-off devices. They’re quite popular, and I think they’re grand because people with penises deserve as much variety in their sex toys as people without penises. Hooray for orgasms! Three cheers for sex toys! Huzzah! continue →

| June 16, 2015 | 3:42 pm
Audrey was the model for "Mourning Victory" by Daniel Chester French -- Photo by Jayel Draco

Audrey was the model for “Mourning Victory” by Daniel Chester French — Photo by Jayel Draco

I am excited yet terrified to tell you that two of my poems about Audrey Munson have just been published over at Thirteen Myna Birds.

I basically spent all of 2014 writing poems about Audrey, immersing myself in her story, the art in which she still lives, daydreams about her life and the world in which she lived, noting the ways in which my world is still hers, marveling over how she helped to build them both. (Don’t know about her? Here’s some more info. Read it all because it is important and tragic and wonderful.) 

These two poems just published are, as a result of sort-of living in Audrey’s skin for a year, very personal. I am thrilled that they’re out in the world, alongside gorgeous, creepy, fecund, candle-lit, wonderful works by Matthew J. Hall, Jennifer Hanks, and Ellie White. I am also quaking in my boots. Showing these poems to people feels somewhat akin to showing up naked to a reading… although probably naked with my best shoes on… and maybe a really badass necklace.

Anyway. Please go read them! And… be gentle?

| June 12, 2015 | 6:40 pm
Have a heart! Give a buck!

Have a heart! Give a buck!

Ever have that “It’s Friday and I just got paid and I want to donate to some worthy causes” feeling? I bet you do. Based upon your internet reading habits, you are clearly a person of discerning taste, intelligence, and all-around classiness, so I’m willing to bet you are a generous and loving soul, to boot.

There are a few causes dear to my heart that I’d like to share with you, to aid you in lightening your purse (all that cash weighs you down in this oppressive summer heat, amirite?) and easing your conscience! All are worth your dollars, and each is worth a social-media boost, at least! continue →

| June 10, 2015 | 1:19 pm

Paris_Bordone_Portrait_of_a_woman_with_a_rose

A new installment of my “Luna Luna Love + Lust” column has arrived!

This time I talk to two letter writers who are trying to get back in touch with their sensual sides, one of whom “loses interest” in dirty deeds, and another who, after a lifetime of sexual violence, manipulation, fear, and shame, has rediscovered her wild side through erotic literature and has a volley of questions about squirting, gay porn, and how much masturbation is too much. continue →

| June 4, 2015 | 6:05 pm

I donated to Shine Louise Houston’s IndieGoGo campaign to fund her first-ever independent feature film (with hot queer sex in it, obvs) “Snapshot,” and CHECK THIS OUT!

Shine Louise Houston talking TO ME!

Shine Louise Houston talking TO ME!

BLAM.

I am now indisputably the coolest person you know. That’s the Crash Pad slate. Holy sexy moly.

Other perks? If you donate $20, Jiz Lee will write your name on their belly and take a photo. YES YOU WANT YOUR NAME ON THOSE ABS. I’m considering donating $20 more dollars just to get that.

Anyway, I’m cool. Go donate.

(PS – No, there’s no “d” in my name. But she got the “y”s right, and most people don’t get that far. I’ll take it!)

| May 29, 2015 | 2:22 pm

I’m having a pretty good day, to be honest. I’ve just had one poem accepted by The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review (coming in July) and two by Thirteen Myna Birds (coming in June)!

And on top of that, I just published an op-ed at Luna Luna on why I think (well, I hope) it’s worthwile to keep watching Game of Thrones, even if you’re upset over the Sansa Stark thing. I’m upset, too.

“Personally, I’m happy that we are at a point now at which, when a TV series shows rape, we are upset enough to get angry and to yell about it. That’s a good thing. It’s progress. But demanding that rape be struck from the landscape when it upsets us in art doesn’t seem like a good way to go about making a real change. Giving people who have experienced it—and, yes, fictional characters, too—a chance to tell their stories and repair their lives is.”

Read the rest here, if you please!

| May 27, 2015 | 12:20 pm

I won’t be coy. Tina Horn is a big-time favorite of mine. When I interviewed her a few months ago for my column at Nerve, she told me that she was working on a book in which she was profiling people she had known and loved during her time as a pro BDSM worker and porn-maker. This idea made me very excited indeed, given that everything I’ve read by her has knocked me on my ass. She has a poise in her demeanor that comes across in her writing, mixed up with the same amount of grit one catches in her low, sexy voice.

And when she told me that the book’s title would be “Love Not Given Lightly” (you know, like that line in “Venus in Furs”?), I think my exact words were, “Oh my god I love you.”

continue →

| May 21, 2015 | 3:54 pm
This is me this morning at work, trying to hold it together.

This is me at work, trying to hold it together while I scramble to catch up.

I just got back from a fairly off-the-grid vacation, and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do on multiple projects! So, while I’m bursting at the seams to talk about a bunch of things (so many things! oh my gosh people! so much exciting change happening!) in depth, I’m going to give you all a bunch of links to peruse instead! We’ll get to the good stuff later. I promise!

Below, find out all about a feminist pornographer’s philosophies, get some hot visuals, learn about the clitoris, watch some videos about consent and food-sex-education, help Shine Louise Houston make a film, develop deeper respect for BuzzFeed, enjoy Cindy Gallop’s audacity, attend Madison Young’s upcoming art event, and marvel at my journalistic butt-kicking! continue →

| May 6, 2015 | 8:53 pm

cityscapeJust in time for me to go on vacation (thank god), my latest piece for Luna Luna surfaces! I originally called it “A Breakup Letter to New York,” and leaving for the next week and a half sure feels like a long overdue farewell.

“I do not go out. There is too much to do, too many hours of treading water to keep my mouth–open and gasping–just above the water line that keeps rising. I hide myself away to keep kicking, and I cannot take one more elbow in my back, glare from a stranger across the subway, catcall from the watchers on the sidewalk. If I do not drown I will burst, not into flames but shards of unglazed crockery. Rubbed down to dullness. Alarmingly hollow.”

Maybe when I get back in late May I’ll feel differently, but in my experience the heat of the New York summer just makes me sick. Here’s to hoping, though! See you all in a few weeks! In the meantime, read the rest of the letter here.

| April 29, 2015 | 6:15 pm
Permission 4 Pleasure Box Set

Permission 4 Pleasure Box Set

New Tricks

Directed by Morgana Muses

Featuring Morgana, Serendipity, Sebastian Steele, Evie Crabapple, Mr. Crabapple, Magnolia, Calliope Jones, Artemesia, Liandra Dahl

In my adventures as a porn critic, I’ve spoken to many people who express similar frustrations with pornography. “It’s not that I have anything against porn,” they say. “It’s just that it all looks the same to me.” “It’s boring.” “I can’t find what I want to see.” Every time I hear one of these complaints, I try to offer alternatives in the hopes that I can help them find what they’re looking for. Porn isn’t all the same, I tell them, even though most of what you see on PornHub looks pretty similar. There are a lot of options out there that are really different. But “different” doesn’t always mean “better,” and sometimes I get the feeling that the people I’ve talked to walk away thinking I’m sending them into a tailspin of clown porn or foot fetishes (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those two proclivities, mind you–it’s just that the majority of people I’ve talked to aren’t looking for those things).

Enter Morgana Muses. At the age of fifty, Morgana decided to say goodbye to her life as a “good,” dutiful, socially acceptable (read: chaste and subordinate) wife and mother, and to embrace her erotic side. She began making films with a vignette called “Duty Bound” in which she filmed herself in a variety of extremely hot activities, while she narrated her fantasies about what she’d like to do with an escort. And BAM. A new feminist filmmaker and star was born. Morgana and her work have since been welcomed all over the world by film and porn and sex-positive and age-positive and body-positive and feminist communities, and… like… all the other communities, too. Her work has been nominated for, and won, numerous awards around the world at a variety of film festivals, and she was just named 2015’s Heartthrob of the Year by the Feminist Porn Awards.

Morgana Muses in "New Tricks"

Morgana Muses in “New Tricks”

I met Morgana at Cinekink here in New York in late February, where her gorgeous short (non-pornographic, btw) short film “It’s My Birthday and I’ll Fly If I Want To” was screening. (It won best documentary short at Cinekink, just FYI.) Instantly deciding we had to be best friends, we shared a hookah and some champagne cocktails, followed by a late-night, very intimate art-making session with friend and aspiring filmmaker Traci Traci, and I left with a copy of Morgana’s company Permission4Pleasure’s box set of her first four films.

And, last night, I popped in the DVD and decided to try “New Tricks,” the third film on the DVD (which is beautiful, by the way, featuring Morgana’s tattoo design of a phoenix). I was a bit nervous–one never knows going into a new erotic film whether it’ll do it for them or not.

And I’ll tell you the truth: this film wasn’t precisely my personal cup of tea, as far as turn-ons go. But–and this is a big “but”–it did ring all the bells in my “THANK GOD THIS EXISTS” belfry. I absolutely recommend it to those people I mentioned above who say all porn looks the same. Especially if the reason a lot of porn doesn’t do it for you is that it feels fake. Or inauthentic. Or male-gaze-y. Or repetitive. Or overproduced. Or over-performed.

Magnolia, Calliope Jones, Artemesia, and Liandra Dahl in "New Tricks"

Magnolia, Calliope Jones, Artemesia, and Liandra Dahl in “New Tricks”

“New Tricks” felt very un-porny, but very sexy, in a super-specific way. Featuring four vignettes introduced by female performers in their “socially acceptable” roles as wives, mothers, businesspeople, juxtaposed with sex scenes in which they let loose, the sex in the movie felt very REAL. That can be good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for, I suppose, but  there is something uniquely refreshing about the way that “New Tricks” portrayed real, honest-to-god sex that I’ve never witnessed before. It was honest, while still being beautiful. Raw, but in a pared-down, let-it-be kind of way that made me feel relaxed instead of on-edge. I appreciated the reality it was willing to show–namely that sex isn’t always the wild, keening, athletic, rowdy affair that so much porn makes it out to be. The sex here was remarkably subdued and yet satisfying. It featured a certain edifying slowness–a building of tension and ecstasy that takes its time and isn’t worried about showing off–that one rarely sees anywhere, much less in porn. Even during the (all-female, by the way) orgasms in this film, there was no over-the-top performance, just very real, face-contorting, leg-twitching intensity that, despite my earlier assertions, turned me on immensely.

Particularly in the four-woman orgy scene at the end of the film, two of the performers clearly form a sexual connection that is so intense that they both come simply by watching the other woman work herself to orgasm; the link between them is visibly electric, and yet they are not wildly gyrating or flailing around. They are intense to the point of volatility, and they come with screams of pleasure, but it feels completely un-hurried, un-performed. Similarly, when Morgana masturbates in her office, there is nothing showy about it–no closet full of toys, no spitting or ooh- or aah-ing or contorting, except when she comes and her legs both spasm along with her face, in a long, drawn-out, powerful, yet very quiet orgasm. It feels real, and not in that forced way that so much porn does. It’s not trying too hard. In a word: it’s authentic.

Evie Crabapple and Mr. Crabapple in "New Tricks"

Evie Crabapple and Mr. Crabapple in “New Tricks”

Of course, all this authenticity might not be what everyone is looking for. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Evie Crabapple’s perfect stillness as her partner pleasured her in the kitchen, for instance. But still I appreciated her quietness, her willingness to be pleased without putting on a big show of it, like I so often see in pornographic films. It might not have turned me on very much, but it was refreshing and even relaxing. No rush. No desperation. Just pleasure.

So, look. If you’re one of those people who supports the idea of porn–particularly feminist porn–but has trouble getting turned on by the usual “porn-y” imagery one finds on the internet, where people are screaming and writhing and gasping and doing that weird sucking-on-your-teeth-hissing thing a lot of performers do… Please, please give Morgana Muses’ “New Tricks”–or anything else from her website, Permission4Pleasure–a try.

| April 22, 2015 | 12:32 pm
The long, snaking, up- and down-stairs line to get into the QPFF.

The long, snaking, up- and down-stairs line to get into the QPFF.

On Sunday, April 19, I attended the first-ever Queer Porn Film Festival in Brooklyn.  It was pretty fantastic. I mean, aside from the fact that I was surrounded by beautiful queers who love porn, the festival itself was great. It was curated and hosted by queer porn icon Courtney Trouble and Brooklyn DIY porn princess Jacquline Mary, and featured screenings of like a bazillion queer porn films, as well as panels and workshops with performers and community activists, a full bar, and… well, a bunch of beautiful queers who love porn.

As obvious as that might sound, I’m repeating it for a reason: it’s remarkable to find oneself in a space with dozens of other people who show up to this kind of event not because they’re seeking a thrill, but because they want to be actively involved in supporting this kind of work. It’s a unique feeling to be part of a crowd that doesn’t see porn as a sort-of-hot, sort-of-icky curiosity, but as an important and enriching part of human sexuality. The crowd paid to be there, to support queer porn filmmakers and performers, to talk and watch and ask questions about how to be better porn viewers. How to help more of this stuff get made and seen and taken seriously. I basically wanted to kiss everybody there.

But I digress. The point here is that over the day I heard a lot of industry insiders giving tips about how to actively participate in making sure that you have access to the kind of stuff you want to watch. How to make sure it gets made in the first place. And I want to share those tips with you, so you can be the best porn consumer you can be! Yeehaw!

  1. Pay for it. This is pretty much the mantra that all porn fans should be quietly whispering under their breath at all times. Although a large portion of queer porn filmmakers don’t agree with or really want to be a part of capitalism, the fact remains that without the cash flow to make and distribute their art, that art just doesn’t get made or distributed. Period. So, when you discover a new film or scene or clip or cam show or anything that showcases the kind of sexy stuff you’re looking for, pay for it.
  2. Talk about it. This sounds so simple, but performer and now filmmaker Cinnamon Maxxine pointed out that one reason the topic of porn remains taboo in our culture is that people are nervous about exposing their own tastes and ideas to others. Their advice? Just start talking about it with your friends. Mention porn you’ve been watching. Who makes it. What you like about it. What you don’t like. Start the conversation. If we all do it, the topic will become more normalized, and tearing down the taboo could be the start of a whole new epoch of easier access to money, opportunities, and distribution for people who make sexy stuff.

    Cinnamon Maxxine holding court at the QPFF.

    Cinnamon Maxxine holding court at the QPFF.*

  3. Contact the producers and distributors. Courtney Trouble jumped into the Performer Panel to offer their advice, and I couldn’t agree more with them on this. One of the things that makes the porn industry very different from most other entertainment industries is a noticeable lack of communication between fans and producers… and between fans and the people who sell the product. Again, because of that cultural taboo, we are much more likely to just take what we’re given when it comes to porn than most other products we consume. And that doesn’t help anybody, especially not people who want to make porn that looks new and different from the mainstream varieties we’ve all seen way too many times. If you like what you see, particularly from indie, queer, and/or feminist filmmakers, get in touch with the filmmaker or production company and tell them so! If you want to see something you can’t find anywhere–especially if you know other people who would pay to see it–tell a filmmaker they should try making it. Tell someone who sells porn that if they carried x, y, or z, you would purchase it. As Courtney put it, “They’d be stupid not to stock it if you tell them you’ll buy it.” Speak up.
  4. Donate when you can. If a performer or filmmaker you love is raising funds for a new film or to buy a camera to make a new film or to start a company, and if you  have the ability to help them monetarily, do it. CinnamonMaxxine pointed out to us that a lot of people who make specifically indie, queer, and feminist pornography are not rich or famous. Most of them are artists and activists who are driven to make something worthwhile and get it to the people who want to see it, but that’s not easy or cheap. Help out when you can, and see your contributions reflected directly in the porn you’ll get to watch later.
  5. Share. Whether you can donate monetarily or not, you can always help by spreading the word. If someone is raising funds or awareness, share the link on social media, via word of mouth… hell, print up fliers! Tell your community about it. Raise awareness! Porn makers will thank you!
  6. Call people out when they’re doing it wrong. Another tip from the amazing Cinnamon Maxxine: If you’re a fan of a company or a filmmaker or a performer, but you see them getting involved in things you find offensive, unpleasant, exclusionary, or any other badness, don’t be afraid to let them know. Like I said above, there’s sort of a gulf between a lot of porn consumers and the people making content. People might not know that they’re doing something offensive or outmoded or exclusionary–or they might not care–unless their customers point it out. They want you as a viewer to be happy, to talk about and share and support their work. If you ask for them to consider including more, say, trans bodies or POC or anything else–or less of something–in their work, it’s entirely possible that they will do so. It’s always worth a try to make an impact.
  7. Host screenings and panels and workshops and speakers. Jacqueline Mary is a big fan of taking her work on the road and sharing it with people around the country. Lots of queer porn people (and other people in other kinds of porn) are also performers, sex educators, public speakers, and more, and they’re happy to show up and talk about what they do, or show their work. If you facilitate it, they will do their best to come, especially if you can help them get there!
  8. Even if you can’t pay for it, find a way to get involved directly. Jiz Lee pointed out that the company they work for, Pink & White, is more than happy to share screeners of films and scenes with people who can be involved without paying–people who can translate films, for instance, into other languages, or write reviews. There are lots of ways to get fabulous queer porn and help promote it, spread it, and make more people happy. If you really want to see a new film but you can’t pay for it, get in touch with the filmmakers–often they’ll be happy to help you find a way to see it in exchange for something you can help them with.
  9. Support porn literacy education for kids. Canadian performer Drew Deveaux championed this idea during the Performer Panel, and though it may seem like a reach to those of us in the Puritan-minded USA, it’s an excellent idea. Kids today have access to so much porn at the click of a button–it’s imperative that someone talk to them about what porn is and what porn is not to help them parse what they’ll see. Talk about porn, people.
The Performer Panel at the QPFF (Cinnamon Maxxine, Chelsea Poe, April Flores, Drew Deveaux, Stoya, and Tobi Hill-Meyer moderating).

The Performer Panel at the QPFF (Cinnamon Maxxine, Chelsea Poe, April Flores, Drew Deveaux, Stoya, and Tobi Hill-Meyer moderating).*

 

Any other tips or ideas? Feel free to let me know!

Now get out there and start participating, future Perfect Queer Porn Fans! You can start by getting to know more about the work of the people and companies mentioned, and linked to, in the above list.

Of course, there are plenty of other people who could use your feedback and support, too, (like Tobi Hill-Meyer and James Darling and April Flores and Ignacio Rivera and Chelsea Poe and…) so please check out the Queer Porn Film Festival website for more info on them!

And, of course, the same tips also apply to every other kind of porn. And every other kind of entertainment, really.

So get talking, and donating, and sharing, and giving feedback! Watch your porn options grow! Rejoice!

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*Apologies for the blurry photos. My phone was not being a team player.

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