Porn Talk: A Conversation, Part II

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[Psychology Tomorrow presents the second part in a series of conversations between Nica Noelle, porn director, actor, and media journalist and Benjamin Peck, attorney, porn actor and frequent contributor to Psychology Tomorrow Magazine. Here, Nica and Ben discuss feminist porn, sexual identity, gender roles and women’s desires in relation to porn. | PART 1]

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BP: How important is context/storyline in your porn? As I understand it, feminist porn provides a compelling link between “mere sex” and the reason why the sex is taking place. In your work, do you think well-established context makes the sex hotter?

NN: I don’t think it’s true that “feminist porn” innovated story lines. Story-line driven adult films have been around for decades. Not only that, but many of the titles screened at this year’s Feminist Porn Awards had no storylines at all – there were a lot of artsy, avant garde type-offerings, with poetry voice-overs and that sort of thing.

If I had to give you a definition for the term “feminist porn,” it would be a sexually explicit movie created by a woman, not “for” other women, but purely for her own sense of sexual expression. That definition would ring true to me, because it removes the viewer’s desire from the equation, and it removes the “male gaze” from the equation. It’s about a woman in complete control of the way her sexuality is depicted. I think you could call a film like that “feminist porn” and it would be an accurate description.

Storyline is very important in my films, but only as a tool to build excitement for the sex. After all, the viewer is watching porn because she wants to be aroused; otherwise she could rent a mainstream movie or just turn on the TV. The only thing I can offer her that mainstream filmmakers can’t are depictions of explicit sex, so that’s what I need to focus on.

So the next question is, what makes sex hot? Forbidden attraction is high on the list. Lusting after someone you’re “not supposed to” lust after. Whether it’s an inappropriate attraction due to age difference, race, family relations, a teacher and student, a boss and employee – there are so many areas in life where we’re told not to act on our sexual attraction. So I try to exploit that theme as much as possible while giving the viewer a situation he can relate to. Not many of us can relate to falling for the pizza delivery guy and inviting him in for sex, but we can relate to having a secret crush on our teacher, or on our brother’s girlfriend.

In constructing the dialogue and story, I try to stay away from anything that doesn’t build tension and increase excitement for the sex scene. My job is to arouse, and so the story line, the dialogue, everything is structured with that end in mind. By the time the characters in the movie have sex, I want their sense of urgency to be believable, and I want the viewer to be craving a sexual release right along with them. If I can accomplish that, the movie is a success.

BP:  Your response made me think about what porn really means. After all, for decades the U.S. Supreme Court branded porn “obscenity” and tried its best (vainly) to formulate tests to determine what “obscene” meant. The most crucial factor, however, was whether a “challenged work’s” primary objective was to “appeal to the prurient interest in sex.” The Court then queried whether the work had “serious literary, scientific or artistic merit:” A dubious and value-laden judgment at best.

It is clear that your work aims to “appeal to the prurient interest in sex,” as all porn must. But storylines and context move porn away from mere stimulation. They elevate it to some extent. Interweaving sex with story not only makes the sex hotter, it also makes us ponder whether we’re even watching “porn” at all.  After all, porn is an artform, and the more it moves toward art by assimilating believable stories and fantasies, the thornier these questions become.

I admire you greatly for pushing the boundaries here, and for making porn not only arousing, but interesting as well. It is fascinating that you use story to build arousal for the sex scene, because that challenges the very notion that “appeal to the prurient interest” exists apart from “serious artistic merit.” After all, in the traditional legal analysis, story nullified obscenity, while sex certified it. But if story actually intensifies the sex, the traditional analysis goes out the window along with all antiquated legal relics.

Moving beyond these ethereal questions, I fully agree that compelling stories undergird really hot porn.  I’m also refreshed to see that you do not credit feminists with introducing this idea. Once again, in reading feminist reviews I confronted the viewpoint that feminists “invented” storylines in porn and were the first to champion them. This perplexed me, since I knew from my own experience that stories have been in porn for a very long time.

I think the new frontier in porn, though, is forging a stronger tie between believable stories and sex. Canned scenarios have always been in porn, like the pizza delivery man or plumber stopping by and fucking the lonely housewife. No one ever believed these corny stratagems; they just provided a feeble pretext for the sex to happen. But believable stories with a basis in real human fantasies draw the audience in. They lead naturally to the sex because that is where the fantasy leads. Our own reveries bear this out every day. tweet

I also applaud you for incorporating “inappropriate relationships” as a basis for porn storylines. Agism, precocious sexuality and workplace sex are all substantial issues that deserve respectful treatment. We’ve all experienced attraction in these areas, and porn has largely ignored them or given them short shrift with superficial portrayals. If porn wants to evolve further – and to listen to its viewers’ real fantasies – it would do well to delve more into these areas. One way to challenge taboo is to directly attack it, exposing the foolishness of prejudice against particular relationships.

BP:  What is your attitude toward objectification in your porn? It is sometimes hard to deal with the concept without sacrificing the dignity of the person being objectified. Yet we all, to some extent, objectify certain body parts and characteristics in other people while we are having sex in order to sate our desires. How does your porn deal with this in a respectful way? Is it possible for all parties in a sexual encounter to engage in objectification in a loving, non-exploitative way?

NN: My feeling is that almost any sex act or sexual dynamic between consenting adults can be presented artfully, beautifully and meaningfully, if that’s the director’s approach. This is true even when the film involves violent or aggressive sex – even rape scenarios. Sex is an animal act. It’s not always pretty or romantic or sensual. Sometimes it’s raw and rough and nasty, and angry. Human sexuality is very complex, and we should try to understand it rather than condemn it or run away from it. To argue that all depictions of sex must be “politically correct” or that the woman must be treated like a princess for it to qualify as “positive” and “pro-female” is a dishonest approach.  (And yet another reason I like to keep politics out of my porn.)

Also, sex is not necessarily an extension (or reflection) of the way men and women interact in other areas of life. The separation between how a couple relates to each other sexually and how they interact the rest of the time can and should be made. We can have a respectful, loving relationship with our partner that includes rough, animalistic, sex play. If I want my male lover to piss on me in the privacy of my bedroom, that’s my business and I don’t owe the feminist movement an explanation. If I want to watch porn where a woman is slapped in the face by a man while he anally penetrates her, it doesn’t mean I’m a victim of a patriarchy or that I’ve been brainwashed by a misogynistic society. Such overly-simplistic notions show just how little we understand the nature of sex, and how fearful we continue to be.

BP: It’s very interesting that our conversation keeps returning to feminism. I think it’s essential to deconstruct feminist objections to so-called “male-centered porn” to determine what is really going on here, and what we can do about it.

My main complaint in reading feminist porn discussions was the categorical distinction drawn between “male-centered porn” (bad) and “feminist porn” (good). Such absolutes are inherently suspect, and as you point out in your superb analysis, flawed in practice, too.

According to the feminist critique, “no woman” ever wants to watch “money shots.” This critique holds that male porn is “bad” because it uses female bodies solely to get the man to ejaculation, then it celebrates his ejaculation with a ritualized, overblown money shot that symbolically treads the woman into the ground. Obsessive attention to the phallus, in other words, relegates any porn to the “evil” category.

In the feminist ideology, porn is “bad” if it fixates too much on dicks. A porn film might have a thousand redeeming, gender-positive characteristics, but if there is a facial money shot at the end of a scene, then the whole thing is bad. This is the problem with absolute critiques: They foreclose subtle analysis.

Still, I think feminism helped spur along the conversation about how to improve porn. Like you, I think that the Internet had far more to do with the “sea change” happening in porn today, but I also think that feminism has helped porn take greater account of female desire. I can do without feminism’s rigid, gender-political agenda in porn. But I think there is great value in bringing a “pleasure balance” to porn.

And perhaps feminism can’t claim this at all. I think Internet viewers want to see it, too, and their opinions – in the aggregate – carry the most weight. It’s not a political dogma that’s driving better porn: It’s the fans and their honest fantasies.

In the traditional critique, porn is bad because it transforms human beings (usually women) into slavish objects dedicated to another’s (usually men’s) pleasure. This, says the critique, is exploitative and demeaning because it dehumanizes the object. Anti-porn critics point to gratuitous attention to particular body parts–like “gynecological closeups” and endless penetration shots – to form their conclusion that objectification is the reason porn is bad.

While I think there is some merit to the position that “too much” objectification – for the wrong reasons – makes uninteresting porn, I completely reject the idea that objectification necessarily leads to exploitation.

When thinking and talking about sex, objectification is unavoidable. Our brains do it naturally. When we first lay eyes on a person, we immediately fixate on particular details about their bodies, faces and personalities, even their smells. Those sensory stimuli translate into erotic sensations and fantasies. We think about “objects” that turn us on. In the sexual act itself, orgasm results when our brain connects to a particular “object” in another person that really pushes us over the edge. There’s no escaping this; it’s a completely natural, unspoken process.

Porn aims to kindle erotic sensations and fantasies. To that extent, it must engage in the same objectifying “gaze” that we project with our own eyes in real life. The porn camera represents our eyes; it shows us what we would like to see. And good porn displays images that closely correlate to the images we fantasize about seeing in the perfect sexual daydream. Those daydreams necessarily involve objectification: Look at those beautiful arms; look at those beautiful breasts; oh my God, that ass; etc etc.

Objectification is not a bad thing in itself. In fact, I think porn can refute the wooden claim that all objectification reflects pig-headed chauvinism or exploitation. I think we can make porn that honestly shows the way our brains objectify in sex, from the initial attraction straight through to orgasm.

Our sexual tastes and attractions run the gamut. They express our individuality in ways no other desires do. Porn, too, can show this by shooting scenes that capture the reasons why we objectify, rather than falling into artless cliches. If we shoot a scene that fixates on a woman’s breasts, we give it context by showing the man’s face as he bursts with desire, too. Then, in the next image, we see the woman looking with desire upon the man before cutting a closeup objectifying his chest or abs.

In this way, we see that everyone in the scene is objectifying each other, and they’re doing it naturally – and in some sense, respectfully. We must show objectification because we all do it in sex. But we show it in a way that makes sense, taking account of everyone’s desire.  Objectification, in other words, is a two-way street. I think the best, most progressive and hottest porn will recognize that and run with it.

BP: What is your biggest criticism against “traditional male-centered porn?”

NN: I want to get away from blaming the adult industry’s lack of artistry and thoughtfulness on the male psyche. It’s a notion that’s been repeated so often that it’s regarded as a fundamental truth; but it’s not true. Male producers – and fans – come with a variety of sensibilities. There is no one “male approach” to porn.

The underlying issue is the persistent social stigma that comes with being in porn. It’s why porn has failed to attract serious filmmakers and actors who want to earn the respect of their peers (not to mention remain in good standing with their families and communities.) Unless you’re already estranged from your family or have given up on the idea of a mainstream career, the stigma associated with being in porn is probably going to scare you off.

My point – and I have one! – is that this cultural climate, not the “male influence,” is to blame for mindless, cheap, and uninspired porn. It’s not that we had too many men in porn, it’s that we didn’t have enough artists. It’s a sensibility issue, not a gender issue. For most adult film producers, the main goal was simply to make money. That resulted in a lack of artistry and lack of respect for the work. “It’s just porn,” is a refrain I must have heard a thousand times when I tried to take a more serious approach. And it was my own cast and crew saying it!

But these days porn consumers have a voice, and they use it. Fans have discovered they aren’t alone in their proclivities and there’s nothing “wrong” with them. Now its not uncommon for men and women to openly discuss their favorite adult films, or to identify as a “fanboy” or “fangirl” of a certain performer.

BP: Porn has made great progress in recent years toward giving consumers what they want to see. But as you observe, we still must cover ground in elevating porn’s reputation. Why does our society continue to heap taboos upon porn performers and producers when virtually all of us watch porn?  Why is it not possible to mix art with porn? Why must the word “porn” poison an otherwise worthy artistic endeavor?

This is an important frontier for porn. I call it the “prestige” issue. It is my hope and ambition to cleanse porn from the stigma that continues to dog it.  Sure, we stand in a much better position than we did in 2000, but we still have a great way to go. Stan and I both want to take the pejorative out of porn, so that the word itself rings with positive energy, not the legacy of “cheapness,” “sleaze” and “exploitation” that haunts it still.

How do we do this? Well, you’re already doing it. We show honest interchanges between men and women, women and women and men and men. We show believable sex and believable fantasies with believable energy. We grapple with gender, fetishes and gender roles in a thoughtful, meaningful, self-exploratory way. We make porn a vehicle for expressing every possible sexual fantasy between consenting adults in a respectful, life-affirming way. In other words, we must fight the assumption that porn is somehow “abnormal.” We must work to make it just as valid as any other artform.

Stan and I aim to do this by interweaving porn and psychology. In our view, great porn taps directly into our desires, and our desires, in turn, draw from our deepest fantasies. Fantasies are real; what we ponder in our private moments defines what we really like as individuals.  And what we really like says much about who we are. By “reenacting” genuine fantasies onscreen (i.e., fantasies submitted directly by viewers, as a person might relate a fantasy to a therapist), porn not only moves further toward art; it also move towards believable hotness.  Porn also becomes more than just a crude means to get off. It becomes a vehicle for healing.  That is revolutionary, and that is a way to further cleanse porn from the ancient stigmas that plague it.

In my experience, as in yours, “gender” is a fluid concept that draws from alternating masculine and feminine energies. These energies rarely remain constant in our lives, fluctuating instead over time. We are all “alloys” of masculine and feminine ores at any given moment.

Sexual fantasies function the same way, alternating between active, passive, masculine, feminine, dominant, submissive and symbolic. What we fantasize one day might change the next.  There may be familiar themes, but their exact nature is always in transition. tweet

Porn can capture all of this in a meaningful, transcendent way. When it does – and when people feel comfortable expressing their desires in a way that affirms them – porn will have evolved. We are on that road already, Nica, and we don’t need a stilted political roadmap like feminism to help us get there. We must simply be true to our desires.

BP: What do you look for in your performers? Do you play an active role in selecting the people who will appear in your scenes? How important is it that they understand the socio-political/psychological aspects of the work you create?

NN: What I look for in my performers varies, depending on the type of characters I need to bring to life. There’s a pretty wide range of ages and physical types. What’s less negotiable is, they have to be able to perform realistic sex scenes and be present and focused on their costar. In other words, they can’t disconnect. So, if they need to be high or drunk to perform, or if they say “I don’t wan’t to perform oral sex on my partner because I’m not really gay” when they were booked to perform a gay scene, I’ll just kill the shoot and send them home. I did that recently, as a matter of fact, and went over-budget because of it. I had flown this young man in from another state to shoot a gay scene and he told me he didn’t want to tongue kiss his costar because “I’m not gay.” I stopped the scene and sent him back on a plane the next day. The expense of his flights, his hotel, transportation, was all for nothing, but I couldn’t subject his costar or my audience to that type of fraudulence.

But that’s not to say I demand to know if a performer identifies as gay or straight in “real life,” or ask the gender of the person they’re dating – that’s none of my business. I know from my own experience performing lesbian scenes that you can prefer to have “relationships” with the opposite sex, but still desire sexual encounters with your own sex and feel very turned on by them. An erotic artist should be able to access their feelings of desire the same way a mainstream film actor can access sorrow or rage or any other emotion they’re not “really” feeling.

BP: When I started shooting porn scenes, I really was amazed by how much inauthenticity I encountered. In most gay scenes I did, for instance, a majority of the guys identified as straight, and whenever they had to get hard, it was a chore. They spent a long time off-camera watching straight porn on their phones before getting into the scene; they had to take herbal supplements; it was obvious that they had little attraction to the people with whom they were working. The director even sent my costar home before one shoot because he clearly was not mentally connected to the scenario we were going to perform.

I found it baffling that the directors kept turning to these guys to do scenes. I mean, it was obvious that the connection between the performers was – as you called it – “fraudulent.”

One reason I always knew I could do porn was that I have an easy time accessing my desire.  I’ve been doing “performance sex” for live audiences since 1999, and in all that time, the mere idea that I am putting my sexual ability on display turns me on. Sure, there is narcissism at work here, but knowing that I am being watched while fucking taps directly into strong fantasies of adoration. Using that energy, I can awaken my desire and transfer it outwardly in a convincing way. It is definitely easier for me when I am genuinely attracted to a co-performer, but like any actor, I think I have the ability to tap into desire even if I’m not “really” feeling it. I did it all the time while escorting.

I’m grateful not only because I am “omnisexual.” I’m also grateful that I simply love performing sex for an audience. It is “in my blood,” and that’s what it takes to be engaged in a porn scene.

I think the reason your scenes work is that you take the time to select performers who will be engaged. No one wants to see porn with actors who aren’t “feeling it.” We all remember porn scenes where we see and believe that the people onscreen are totally enjoying themselves; it turns us on just to watch their excitement. You can’t fake that, and creating it means the director has chosen performers who can really tap into each other.

Creating really powerful porn requires people who love performance sex and who can convey their enthusiasm for it. And I think the next generation in porn will involve performers who not only can access their desire, but relish their deepest personal fantasies as well. In my view, a good porn performer is not just open and uninhibited with his or her body, but is so honest with his or her desires that he or she is totally unafraid to display them for the world to see. It is believable enthusiasm that raises the temperature of a scene from hot to white hot.

BP: What do you think about “fem dom” porn?  Do you think it is “feminist” solely because it takes sexual power from men and places it in the hands of women?  I find it interesting to see how many men enjoy this kind of porn. Do you find that significant?

NN: I don’t know why it would be considered “feminist” to degrade and humiliate men. It’s a fetish certain men have, the same as women can have rape fantasies. It’s common to include power dynamics in our sexual fantasies. But it’s pretty disturbing to suggest that porn depicting women as overpowering and/or sexually humiliating men is somehow “feminist” in nature.

BP: I bring up fem dom because in many feminist porn reviews I’ve read, revenge is a common motif.

There appears to be a sub-genre within feminist porn that plays upon traditional power relations between men and women, making women completely dominant. In this subgenre, women force men to lick the floor, crawl around on all fours, tie them up, make them eat out of dog bowls, things like that. If they resist, they get beaten.

I agree that tinkering with prevailing assumptions about power and gender makes for interesting porn concepts. But the implication that women must beat and subjugate men to show their dominance to “turn the tables” on men comes across as little more than revenge.  Are men really beating and subjugating women every day? Is that the precise offense that must be repaid to balance the scales?

As I’ve mentioned throughout, I admire many feminist porn concepts. I am committed to the principle of equality in depicting sex, and I think that makes for the best, most emotionally involved porn. But I don’t think it behooves feminist porn to equate revenge with feminism. Feminism makes so many valid points about the distribution of power in society among men and women, yet feminist porn somehow tarnishes itself by thirsting too desperately for revenge. Real gender equality does not require either gender to utterly dominate or subjugate the other. To suggest that one gender or the other routinely beats or subjugates the other is just not accurate.

Still, I don’t dislike fem dom porn at all. You’re right that many, many men have a fetish involving submission to women.  Even I – a total top with men – really enjoy giving up control to women from time to time (something I never do with men). Like any fetish, porn can respectfully and authentically portray it, honoring the desire that spawns it. Viewed in that light, fem dom is a compelling subgenre that deserves plenty of traction. Feminist porn would do well, however, not to undercut its philosophical mission by aligning it with mere revenge.

I’ve always said – thanks to plentiful adolescent exposure to Friedrich Nietzsche – that revenge is satisfying when you take it, but not very interesting in retrospect. After all, revenge is a quintessentially reactionary impulse. As such, it’s not created; it’s provoked. Artistically, that makes it pretty weak, in my view.

BP: Concerning female desire, what have you found to be the thing most women want to see in a porn scene?  Many men watch porn to ejaculate, get up and go. What brings most women to porn, what is their objective in watching porn, and what do they really want to see?

NN: You can’t generalize and say that all women want to see one type of porn, any more than you can say it with men. Obviously, the women I hear from are those who watch my films and respond to emotional content and intimate sex, so if you ask me what women want, I’d probably tell you it’s those two things. But that may not be accurate, because other women may be writing to other directors to tell them how much they love their bondage or bukkake scenes. I’m not being sarcastic either, because one of my closest female friends has no interest in my porn. She only watches super hardcore sex with a lot of degradation themes. She loves bukkake.

BP: I have little trouble believing that sexual tastes are just as varied for women as they are for men.  There is always so much speculation among men about “what women want,” and men foolishly keep trying to answer the question.  I think the right answer to any question about sexual desire is that “it depends.”  What people eroticize – and want to see – depends on each person’s family history, conflicts and unique set of likes and dislikes. Sure, we can make some generalizations about what some men and women agree is “hot,” but that does not answer the ultimate question. In fact, I don’t think there is an ultimate answer at all.

I mention this issue with regard to porn because, as you’ve noted, the porn audience is overwhelmingly male. That proportion is lessening, of course, but the fact remains that most porn watchers are men at any given time. As a man, I know that many men turn to porn as a quick and easy way to get off. Male libido can be a troublesome thing (as St. Augustine knew!), and casting off the desire to ejaculate becomes a nearly obsessive task. Porn represents a way to cast it off quickly and easily, without human interaction. So while men may indeed have wildly varying individual desires, they come to porn to, well, come.

I think the prevailing view among men is that women want to see “intimate” porn without the so-called degradation that typifies so-called “hardcore.” In fact, this assumption has given rise to the whole “female-friendly” moniker: You know, with the soft lighting, candles, delicate piano flourishes and impossibly attractive couple engaging in some apparently romantic cunnilingus and coitus.

Whether this “actually” corresponds to what women want to see in porn is entirely unclear to me.  In fact, it seems a bit far-fetched.  If “female-friendly” porn represents what “females” want to see in porn, it appears far too fluffy.  And the fact remains that even in “female-friendly” porn, it’s the man who ends the scene by shooting a load, so how is that about women?  Personally, I think the term “female-friendly porn” is an arrogation by men on the intractable – and unfair – question “what do women want to see?”

I am heartened by your surmise that many women indeed want to see scenes that many assume only guys would like. I have no reason to doubt that women’s desire ranges as freely as men’s. I think it just expresses itself differently in public.  I, for one, know several women who love bukkake and gangbangs. I’m part of a “wife-swapping club” in Manhattan where married men bring me in to fuck their wives and cum on them. The wives are the ones who drive their husbands to allow this.

Men somehow believe that women are not as “freaky” as they are in their sexual desires. But my own experience contradicts this. I certainly do not presume to speak for women here, but I’ve met women who love sex as much as men. I don’t think it’s fair, then, to conclude that “all women” just want to see dainty, ethereal-type porn. Some women like nasty stuff just as much as men do. I think porn will eventually grow to meet their demands, especially as more and more men and women recognize that there’s nothing wrong in talking about the porn they like, and consuming it freely, without shame.

BP: Porn in general continues to suffer from taboo, and comparatively few people openly talk about their porn tastes, let alone their involvement as porn performers. Yet porn is a huge business, and virtually the entire population consumes its products at one time or another each year. In what ways have you – and can we – work against the taboo associated with porn, and get people to see that it can be a positive force in their lives?

NN: Oh, I think it’s already happening. Thoughtful discussions can be found on any number of online fan forums and message boards. Mainstream celebrities are making sex tapes left and right, and even starting their careers by way of the sex tape. (Kim Kardashian comes to mind.) Not to mention that young male porn stars now have the kind of “teen idol” appeal once reserved for pop stars. There are groups of young women who trade photos of Xander Corvus or James Deen online, and who beg me to put these guys in more movies. And when I do, they write long, heartfelt movie reviews. Porn is a huge part of these young women’s lives and they’re not ashamed to admit it.

And with all of these little developments, a growing number of serious-minded people are looking at adult film and thinking, “maybe I want to try that.” As the stigma recedes and the level of artistry goes up, a new industry is emerging. We’re in the bottleneck right now and that’s why so many people say porn is dying, but it isn’t. Old ideas and the old business models are dying, but adult film itself has never been more vibrant. Anything is possible right now. This is the most exciting time this industry has ever seen. tweet

BP: I completely share your enthusiasm for porn’s future. It is amazing to hear about your fans and their engagement with your work; clearly there is nothing shameful or subversive about their admiration for what you do. This is a sign of the changing times in porn.

Once again, our conversation turns to what porn means. Historically, the word “porn” has been freighted with stigma. It could not be discussed openly, and those who associated with it became outcasts and pariahs. And anyone who made porn could not be an “artist,” “actor” or “filmmaker;” they all became “smut peddlers” and “perverts.”  If it was porn, it couldn’t be art. And once it was porn, everyone who touched it became untouchable, at least in public.

These are antiquated stigmas that are falling away thanks to the internet and a greater openness about sexuality in society. Like you, I am committed to waging war against the surviving stigmas in an overall effort to boost porn’s legitimacy. I have every reason to believe that porn can progress to the point of “art,” and that the most serious artists can make porn without worry about being permanently branded as someone who “just does porn.”

I have started living my life in a way that affirms porn. I recently “came out” to my mother that I do porn, which in many ways was a bigger revelation than telling her years ago that I have sex with men.

I do not shirk from telling anyone that I do porn. I do not see it as a handicap. When I meet people in public, I tell them straight out that I am a porn actor. The shock value is immense and satisfying; it’s like shaking a tree and dislodging all the dead branches. And what’s really amazing is that once we forge into the open about it, most people start talking about what they like in porn, and how curious they are about the direction Stan and I envision for porn.

Porn is on people’s minds. They just need to melt off the last thin layer of taboo ice that prevents them from talking about it as they would about any other subject.

I am enthusiastic about porn because I know we have big plans for making it better. Sure, we still aim to get people hot with sexy imagery and concepts. But we also aim to show them that their sexuality has a unique purpose in their lives, and that there is a reason why they fantasize as they do. By blending porn and psychology, we will make a porn a therapeutic as well as a sexual experience. Everyone wants healing, and porn can move in that direction without losing one bit of its hotness. And once that happens, how can anyone say that porn is “bad?”

I fully agree that porn is about to break through into exciting new territory. Armed with our imaginations and progressive philosophies for the future, we will infuse the genre with a whole new meaning. And once that happens, we might need to consider formulating a new name for what we’ve created. The word “porn” itself – with its historical baggage and subterfuge – will no longer encapsulate the new artistry we will have created.

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