Laurent BenaimUntitled (2018)

It’s interesting to me what people accept regarding the aestheticization inherent in most mainstream pornography. That the cute college coed is going to answer the door in her robe, see the muscly stud with a pizza and be immediate DTF? That everyone who fucks does so in opulent but ultimately either nearly empty or decorated without any discernible sense of form or function, without a single trace of any sort of shadow anywhere in the scene? That the only people who fuck are perfectly depilated without a trace of body fat?

The general motif is that if it distracts from the fantasy, it should be diminished or eliminated. But just as the best lies are sown in the same furrow as truth, so I think that the reality of depicting sexuality is that if your fantasy has an correlation with reality, an aesthetic that eschews the aesthetics of perfection is probably the better option.

This image is downright ugly–looking more like a photocopy of a photocopy that has been darkened to compensate for the first layer of generation loss. But it really does work better for that. You can’t so much focus on the pretty picture so you instead have to embrace what’s being depicted to engage with the picture.

And I can’t tell which part of this I like better: the self-aware way the model is staring directly into the camera or the discrepancy between the way her ankle in those stiletto heels is wrapped in light or the way you can only see the other woman’s breast by imagining what’s in between her breast and the cast shadow.

[↑] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X); [↙] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X); [↘] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

I’d originally wanted to share this as a #follow-the-thread post–but I don’t think I can convey what I wanted without also including stills and since these depend so much on the movement they depict, interspersing stills seems at best distracting and at worst working at counter purposes than what I want to point out.

There was a spate of dark and/or Satanic/Halloween oriented posts by a bunch of folks over the last few days. These sort of are among some of the more fascinating ones. But I’m also seeing them in an even broader context–for example:

William Mortensen’s Untitled {staked witch scene} (1927), these three posts from @ritualsex (I, II, III) and this bizarre, vintage-looking BDSM photo.

From the standpoint of conceptual considerations, I’ve been doing a lot of work with the notions of extremity. Just as an overly simplified example to illustrate the principle: it’s difficult to appreciate light separate from it’s interdependence upon shadow–no light without shadow, no shadow without light.

I’ve been applying this to notions of sin/transgression as they are inter-penetrative with salvation/transcendence–salvation is unnecessary means nothing in the absence of sin, so you must sin in order to be absolved of that sin by salvation. Western history is built around one sided perspective which views sin as the reason for needing salvation but why not celebrate sin as a prerequisite for salvation.

Given this premise: I’ve been experimenting with elements of Satanism/the occult, witchcraft and ritual in my work. My most recent project drew an explicit relationship between orgasm and the exorcising of demonic forces. Thus, I’d have intended these .gifs groupd together as a pleasure, punishment, appropriating punishment for pleasure (be it through the subversion of accepted social forms of deciding who is punished and how much or the act of erotically charging punishment as a path to carnal pleasure.

I really can’t see any of these images as either singularly pleasurable or totally about punishment–there’s this interesting way that the erogenous and the torturous fuse into an ouroborean cycling. (Conceptually, the motion in each of these serves to underscore this point.)

Club SeventeenTitle unknown feat. Tamara F (2013)

Ever since this post when I consume porn, I remind myself to pay attention to how the staging of a scene in relationship to the camera makes me feel about what I’m viewing.

Interestingly, scenes like this where the proceedings are cheated toward the camera to provide a clear and unobstructed view for the audience appeal to me more than scenes created by either a montage of various heterosexual erogenous signifiers or scenes that pretend to take a fly on the wall approach to capturing the scene–by staging the action for a stationary camera that only faces in one direction, moves on one axis and switches between reframings of close-ups and medium shots. (And POV shots are usually a huge turn off.)

I think there’s something about the sense that this scene has been blocked in a theatrical fashion contributes something to both the notion that both participants want to be seen in flagrante delicito. That self-consciousness makes me feel as if–as a spectator–my participation is expected if not the point of the undertaking.

(FYI, I do think this same idea can be applied negatively given the surfeit of tales where the consent of femme performers on porn sets is not protected or respected.)

VixenSeduced by a Local feat. Jia Lissa & Christian Clay (2018)

There are things this video does well (an emphasis on communication and by dint an implicit consideration of vocal affirmative consent and what appears to be a real honest to goodness female orgasm) and things it’s not so great at (the blocking isn’t as bad as other porn but it’s underwhelming to know this is film in beautiful, coastal Greece and the location is de-emphasized in favor of the typical canned porn shoot lighting).

All that being said: I have been following Jia Lissa for several years now and I am definitely a fan of her work.

She started off doing solo softcore and artsy masturbation videos, moved to working with other women. To the best of my knowledge this is her first straight sex scene and her first with Vixen.

As to why I’m a fan–when I first encountered her, I think I’d have said that I thought she was just unusually my type. However, I’ve been realizing that what I held up as my type previous to coming out as a trans girl, has more to do with a projection of how I view my self in my own mind’s eye.

So I have mixed feelings about this video. On the one hand, it’s the first time I can recall her legitimately orgasming in a performance–meaning she’s not a lesbian like me. (Also, I adore the blue dress she’s wearing in the first part of this video–alas, it’s not an outfit I could ever pull off.)

But I watched this whole scene from start to finish without fast forwarding because I am really into how uncomplicated her enjoyment of sex comes across as well as her expressions–both with regard to mien and pillow talk.

I’m sort of curious if her comments in the video about going to art school in Moscow are her character or her–because she’s always struck me as someone I’d love to collaborate with on some sort of art project.

After seeing this I only want to collaborate with her even more and even if that never happens, I suspect Lissa is going to eventually gain the notoriety of someone like Sasha Grey or Stoya, honestly. She’s both intriguing and has a luminous on screen presence.

Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

I’m pretty sure this is a digital collage. (The easiest way to tell is to look at the top of the woman who hugging the tree’s right thigh–there’s a seam between her and the background. From there you can see that the light falling on the background is coming from a different angle as the light that is falling on the couple vs the light on the woman up the tree. In the case of the background the light is lower in the sky and you would almost certainly have the sun in frame if this framing was panned so that the left frame edge started where the current right most frame edge is. The sun on the couple is higher in the sky–probably roughly early afternoon; it’s still coming from beyond frame right at least. The woman hugging the tree, however, has light that would be coming from the opposite direction as the couple.)

There’s also some small issues with scale. The woman up the tree is further back and therefore should appear smaller but she’s easily head and shoulders taller than the boy.

I’m not sure this completely works as a composition but the Photoshopping is surprisingly clever–even if it doesn’t completely work. I’d be curious to know who made this originally.

Lastly, several of my dude preferring women friends refer to guys they find hot by saying: I’d climb that like a tree.

[↑] Hardcored – Title unknown (201X); [↓] All Fine Girls – Title unknown feat. Amia Miley (201X)

This was originally supposed to be a juxtaposition as commentary post.

That, however, shifted when I discovered that the version of the top image posted by @partialboner (who blocked me, for some reason, apparently–which sucks since he runs a damn fine art porn blog) was a crop of the original.

My initial reading of the crop version of the top image was: this is aggro but fucks with notions of public vs private in a way that this is more edgy than uncomfortable–even the extra color saturation enhances the feeling that what we’re seeing has been carefully negotiated.

The uncropped original skeeves me out because of the production company whose water mark it bears. (I’m fine with BDSM–I’m a switch–but BDSM demands a baseline minimum of respect for boundaries and hinges upon complicated questions of verbal and non-verbal consent. (More on this in a bit…)

The lower image is more visual complex-yes, it’s still very porn cliché-y but it’s at least less flat than the top image.

Initially, I wanted to feature this as a juxtaposition as commentary post in order to underscore varying degrees of visual legibility, as well as how the top scene is ostensibly public and the lower one is obviously transpiring in the privacy of a boudoir.

Also, I wanted to create a comparison/contrast between the way panties (an object) are employed in a manner for which they were not designed–a gag and a penetrative object, respectively.

The post would get close to going up and I’d kick it down to the bottom of my queue because I knew it belongs here but the framing of juxtaposition as commentary seemed too toothless a means of engaging with it.

Part my initial reluctance to post this was a direct result of allegations made by Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon… and, well: nothing about the scenes they are speaking out about are acceptable things to not have explicitly negotiated boundaries/consent in advance.

I think the problem I have with these runs much deeper and has everything to do with objectification. You wouldn’t be out of line to respond: methinks the lady doth protest too much–after all she does run a sex blog that frequently showcases graphic and/or explicit depictions of sexuality.

In for a penny, in for a pound, you’d think; except…

Porn deals in fantasy. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that a person who sees a pornographic video and goes out and treats the video like a how-to guide is a full psychopath. I mean how often has the pizza deliver guy shown up holding a pizza with his schlong just hanging out and the scantily dressed woman who answers to door just pulls him in and starts using his member to probe her tonsils. The world doesn’t work like that and you’d expect that most folks would realize that’s not how things work IRL; except…

Increasingly folks do not have access to fact based, reliable, comprehensive and honest sex education. So in some ways the argument that it’s all fantasy and everyone knows that and only a real fuck-up would think the world operates like that doesn’t follow here because part of porn being a fantasy involves the suspension of disbelief.

Beyond the absurdity of some of the scenarios porn features, what is someone who lacks strong sex education to believe and disbelieve? It’s dangerous to assume and not assuming makes things very thorny.

Generally, I think you can argue that in most porn you can presuppose that the participants have consented. However, I think it’s EXTREMELY dangerous to extend that presupposition to more BDSM elements–since those sorts of scenarios demand additional verbal consent as a result of the escalation.

And I realize I’m applying my impression of the one studio to all of their work; except…

I don’t know it’s hard to read either of these images as if the women are anything more than objects for sexual gratification. And honestly that’s where my primary beef sits: I think there is an onus on porn producers whose bread and butter involves scenes of women being manhandled and acknowledge as little more than warm, more or less moist orifices to penetrate really do have a responsibility to convey something with regard to an awareness of and respect for consent.

It’s definitely easier to do that in a video–I’m not sure how you do it in a single, static frame (it would likely be difficult to impossible and would dramatically slow down production).

But I do think we really have to do better about being mindful of consent when producing this kind of content, fwiw.

[↖] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X); [↗] Lucas Entertainment – Wall Street feat. Ben Andrews & Rafael Alencar (2009); [↑] Cocky BoysDillon & Max Go Fishin’ {desaturated} (2012); [←] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X); [→] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X); [↓] Source unknown – Title unknown (201X); [<] Vixen.comBad Girl feat. Cadey Mercury & Xander Corvus {desaturated} (2017); [>] PornProsWet Toy Slut feat. Kelly Diamond (2014); [↙] Hustler – Casey Young and Tiffany Taylor (2008); [↘] Source unknown – Title unknown {desaturated} (201X)

Juxtaposition as commentary