All we are not stares back at what we are

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Everyone who was born after 1980 grew up with easy access to pornographic videos. Many children see explicit videos at a young age. Clark interviews people between the ages of 19 and 23 and asks how seeing pornography at such a young age shaped how they think about sex.  watch

PHOTOGRAPH: Rosa Rendl

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You’re about as funny as a cry for help

May 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Pornography search engine PornMD has released a country-by-country breakdown of top ten search terms (NSFW-ish), revealing some interesting online masturbatory habits, particularly amongst Chinese searchers.

The top 10 most commonly searched terms on porn sites over a 6 month period from China:

1 Japanese
2 Chinese
3 Chinese (gay)
4 Asian (gay)
5 Japan
6 Asian
7 Japan (gay)
8 Japanese (gay)
9 China
10 Korean

That Japanese porn, both gay and straight, is more popular than anything else is perhaps not surprising. Very little pornography is produced within mainland China (though some is), and China’s obsession with AV stars is well known. What’s interesting is the racial homogeneity of the top 10. Chinese porn watchers don’t appear to be very interested in anyone not of Asian heritage, a mild xenophobia that’s shared with Korea and Japan…  read more

ART: Edouard Vuillard

Richmond Arithmetic versus Nottingham Marjorie: match postponed due to bent pitch

March 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

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‘Alternative’ nude modelling site Suicide Girls gives calculated instructions on their website about the kinds of photos, make-up and aesthetic sets they accept: ‘tasteful’, ‘picture perfect’ shoots with ‘a little bit of face powder and mascara and freshly dyed hair’, but specifically not ‘cheap wig[s]’, ‘top hats’, ‘stripper shoes’, ‘food’ or things that look ‘cheesy’, ‘gross’ or ‘creepy’.

Similarly, the ‘girl next door’ look of the Australian all-female explicit adult site Abby Winters represents an alternative to glamour photography, featuring make-up-less, ‘amateur’ adult models – but models are still required to cover up hair re-growth, remove piercings, and not have any scratches, marks or mosquito bites for the shoot in order to appear ‘healthy’.

Other sites I’ve shot for speak about the importance of models representing their ‘own’ sexuality, but then go on to qualify: “We might get you to tone down the eye make up a bit”, “Maybe don’t talk about politics”, “Lesbians don’t really use double-enders do they?” One company asked me repeatedly to stop wearing frills.

In doing so, these sites produce bodies of a particular class, size and appropriate femininity, which are marketed as ‘real’, but which are equally constructed, conventionalised and cultivated. This fear of replicating ‘cheesy’, ‘predictable’ mainstream porn means that depictions of ‘real’ sexuality are often similarly clichéd, albeit with a different set of aesthetics.

In their avoidance of ‘the mainstream’ (whatever that means), ‘alternative’ porn (whether it brands itself queer, feminist or ‘erotica for women’) can sometimes replicate and reinforce what Gayle Rubin calls ‘Good, Normal, Natural, Blessed Sexuality’: the sex is vanilla, and involves only bodies (without objects or toys). Sex occurs in the home, between members of the same generation and only within couples. The scenes are soft, gentle, usually in ‘natural’ light and ‘every-day clothes’ (which in my experience means we are expected to bring Bonds underwear).

To think that this could be any more ‘real’ than mainstream porn seems strange to me, especially when it is produced in an environment that is completely staged: our movements are restricted by camera angles, someone is standing beside us operating the equipment, many of us are professionals pretending to be amateur, and in true ‘documentary’ style, we are expected to cum on cue. These kinds of websites are marketable and loveable because they refuse to define themselves as ‘porn’ – even though, as Annie Sprinkle said in the Herstory of Porn, the difference between erotica and porn “is all in the lighting!”  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Elene Usdin

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