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Put these feminist porn directors on your radar right now

Stefanie Iris Weiss is the author of Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable and 8 other books. She keeps her carbon footprint small in New York City, where she writes about sexuality, sustainability, su...

Feminist porn is the only porn worth watching

Women have long had a complicated relationship with porn. As with most other things in our cultural universe, mainstream porn was built for the male gaze. Lucky for us, women are recreating the industry from the ground up, and the female gaze is now a thing in porn — and a very good thing at that.

There is still a reigning myth that men are the ones who are über-horny, visually-stimulated and can’t keep it in their pants. The corollary is that women (especially “good girls”) wait around to endure sex instead of enjoying it. (Thanks, Madonna-whore complex.)

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The truth turns out to be almost the polar opposite — studies have shown that women are probably the hornier gender, and yes, we are visually stimulated, too. So why has it taken this long for women to make their own porn?

A bit of history

In the 1970s, Andrea Dworkin and groups like Women Against Pornography argued that porn was de facto bad for women — not just the women who performed in it, but all women. These anti-porn activists reasoned that watching porn would encourage men to objectify and harm women.

Pro-sex feminists like my friend Annie Sprinkle countered those narratives. Annie’s good friend Candida Royalle (who passed away last year) was the first feminist porn director, and Annie was one of the original feminist porn stars. Annie went on to become a renowned performance artist, feminist icon and eco-sex activist (and just all around amazing person).

We’ve come quite far in the intervening decades — women are claiming their own sexual space and figuring out how to be the subjects of our sex lives — not merely the objects of male fantasy.

According to a 2015 survey, at least 1 in 3 women watch porn. And it’s totally about us — because we mostly watch it alone. But are we finding what we’re looking for when we cue up PornHub? Not likely.

Feminist porn fills that gap and fills it in the most tantalizing way. Note that if you’re seeking high-quality porn that won’t make you feel weird about your body shape (or your desires), you might have to pay for it. These sites have firewalls. Trust me — it’s worth it. Until I found feminist porn, I thought I had no interest in porn at all. (I was totally wrong.)

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The essential difference between feminist porn and mainstream porn is that in feminist porn, the performers have an agency. According to the Feminist Porn Awards, the basic requirement for a film to be considered feminist is ethics. Are the working conditions fair? Was anyone exploited in the making of the film? If yes, it’s not feminist porn.

Feminist porn is LGBT-friendly, but if straight porn is what gets you off, don’t worry — there’s plenty of hot cis straight sex and sizzlingly hot guys. Also important to note, just because feminist porn is feminist doesn’t mean your boyfriend won’t like it — it can be just as appealing for men. Your dude may not have even known there was more to porn than the mainstream fare, and his tastes might just grow (along with his erection).

Feminist porn tends to favor high production values, body versatility (not just a bunch of triple-D blondes sans pubic hair) and an erotic sensibility that’s far sexier than traditional porn. Feminist porn speaks to a woman’s desires while acknowledging that we all like different things. There is plenty of erotic diversity under the feminist porn umbrella — if there’s something you think you might want to see, it’s most likely out there. You can stream and download most of the films on these sites and almost all of them have mobile-friendly content.

What to watch

  1. Erika Lust is a pioneer in feminist porn. She first started making her own films in 2005. LustCinema showcases her own artful, edgy films and a few other top feminist porn directors, including Tristan Taormino and Venus Hottentot.
  2. Want to have your own fantasies acted out on screen? Lust has an app for that — a seriously sexy site called Xconfessions, where you can submit your fantasies for potential reenactment in a short film.
  3. The tagline for PinkLabel is “porn with good taste,” and it delivers on that account. This site allows you to register for free, search their on-demand streaming options and then pay per movie. Many of the films available here are top picks at the Feminist Porn Awards.
  4. Madison Young is a feminist porn director, actor, performance artist, writer and teacher (not to mention a mom). You can search for her work on the aforementioned PinkLabel.
  5. Courtney Trouble started Indie Porn Revolution, a body-diverse, tattoo-heavy place for porn. It calls itself a home for “ladies, artists and queers,” and it’s been online since 2002.
  6. MakeLoveNotPorn.com is the first user-submitted porn site. It was created by Cindy Gallop, who was inspired by dating men in their 20s (she was in her early 50s at the time). She quickly realized there was a big problem — her millennial lovers were overly influenced by porn — performing in bed instead of being present in bed. She created her site (still in beta) to address the saturation of male gaze-dominated porn and its effect on our real-world sex lives.
  7. BeautifulAgony (no firewall) is another user-generated site dedicated to the art of the orgasm. You won’t see genital penetration here, but you will see people’s faces as they’re getting off. If you click on the thumbnails you can watch a longer video of the entire session — some are solo and some are with partners (but they’re all pretty damn hot).

And that's just the tip of the proverbial feminist porn iceberg. Happy exploring!

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