All posts by audaciaray

The Age of Porn: Performers, Attraction, and Age

At 28, I’m not “old” by any standards – except the standards set by the porn industry. Twenty eight is full on MILF territory, even though I don’t have any children. I started working in sex when I was 21 and all the models were essentially my peers, but as I’ve hung around the biz over the years and gotten older, porn performers suddenly seem freakishly young to me.

It’s possible that I’m getting conservative in my old age, but these days I find myself attracted to women and men who are in my peer age group or older. I mean, it’s true that I’m also something of a chubby chaser but I like the fuller shapes that come with age, and while I’m not lusty over granny porn (yet?), I appreciate the mature look. Maybe I was naive when I was younger, but despite knowing that sexuality is fluid and can change over time blah blah blah, I didn’t necessarily think about how age factors into that equation.

Though I’m well aware of the dangers of extending my personal tastes into the realm of thinking how others should conduct their business, I’ve become ever more acutely aware of the fact that most people who watch porn probably aren’t in the same peer age group as the performers. This is, incidentally, not dissimilar from the fact that most people who watch television shows like Gossip Girl aren’t in that peer group either – so its not exactly a revelation.

But still, I think about who I was at 18 and at 21, and I do sometimes feel weird about those young women making the porno. Its purely subjective, but I definitely didn’t know jack shit about sexuality when I was that age: I hadn’t yet perfected the Art of No, nor had I gained knowledge of my limits. Adults of all ages are both capable and incapable of making good choices for themselves, so it’s tough to actually enforce the Ready For Porn Age. The government says its 18. This is something that comes up from time to time within the porn industry, and I know of some directors and companies who have informal or sometimes formal policies about the age of their performers. Oren Cohen at TightFit Productions stepped up a few years ago and publicly stated that he wouldn’t work with women under 21 because he didn’t think they would be fully ready for the intense, SM-inspired shoots he does.

But although the debate about porn and age will undoubtedly rage on, and while Barely Legal as a brand and a wank-inspiring concept continues to be a huge share of the porno market, it wasn’t always like this. Not by a long shot. The sadly defunct but still online Eros Zine has a great interview that Joanne Cachapero did with porn legend Seka last December, in which she talks about how the age and attitudes of performers has changed:

I have girls come up to me that are like 19, 20 years old, and they say, ‘I want to be like you when I grow up…’ And I say, ‘Do you have a college education? Do you have a savings account? Do you have a plan?’

‘Well, no…’

Then I’m like, ‘Go back to school.’

They think I’m out of my mind. But I was like 25, 26 years old before I started. I didn’t just step off the bus. I owned seven adult bookstores before I even got into the performing side of the business.

However, I don’t mean to use my opinion and Seka’s opinions to shame young people about their porny decisions nor to shame older people who like getting off while looking at younger bodies. To this end I asked Trixie Fontaine, a mid-thirties indie webwhore who runs a personal porn site called Tasty Trixie, about how her attractions to younger porn performers have changed over the years, and her answer completely contradicts my feeling on the subject. For Trixie, the attraction to younger models have gotten stronger as she’s gotten older. She had this to say:

I’m not sure if it’s my age and distance from my own youth or being a pornographer whose job it is to see things from the perspective of dirty old men (or just naturally being a dirty old wo-man myself OR it just being natural in GENERAL to think ripe, young women are hot, beautiful to look at, and slightly taboo to jack to). The older I get, the guiltier I feel about it . . . and the hotter it all is. While I’m critical of the way women, especially young women, are portrayed in porn, it doesn’t quash my arousal upon seeing a big cock stuffed in a small-breasted, wide-eyed teen’s mouth.

There’s no one perfect and healthy way to think about it – I mean, its sex and sex is messy and complicated – but the category “adult” really kind of white washes the whole issue. Though clearly the Cult of the Hot Young Thang is strong and influential in the porn biz today, porn certainly allows for more body and age diversity than mainstream media. Even if that diversity gets quickly turned into a fetish, its still worth something.

The Female Gaze

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the ways in which we – meaning consumers of heterosexual, lesbian and to some extent bi porn – are trained to look at the women in visual smut and overlook the men. Looking at, admiring, and sexualizing women is the default setting of our cultural eyeballs. Women are everywhere, and they are dressed (or undressed) to impress. Straight women are a part of this too – they look at women in a sexualized way that would be entirely unacceptable for straight men to look at one another. Is it necessary to break with this way of looking in order to be liberated or to have porn for women? A woman who commented on my blog Waking Vixen a while back seems to think so: Continue reading The Female Gaze

Slut Shaming: Are You Confused Yet?

The madonna/whore treatment is a time-honored tradition – and as with many traditions, it’s worn out but somehow always being reinvented. On one hand, women are revered for being pure and nurturing, models of good morals and all that – but on the other hand, women are revered for being muses made up solely of sexual energy. This duality of course has led to another time-honored tradition: married men who respect their wives as the mothers of their children and are afraid to get real (and real dirty) with them, while they keep mistresses for the fun and dirty stuff on the side. This isn’t news.
Continue reading Slut Shaming: Are You Confused Yet?

Perverts and Peaches: Sex 2.0 Brings Internetophiles to Atlanta

The internet is for geeks with bad acne and missing limbs. Internet dating is a last ditch effort and can attract stalkers. People who do cybersex don’t have healthy sex lives. The sex industry is using the internet to exploit women.These are all mildly to majorly ridiculous stereotypes of people who use the internet, stereotypes that will shatter this coming weekend in Atlanta. The first Sex 2.0 conference, primarily organized by blogger and podcaster Amber Rhea, is being held at BDSM community space 1763 in Atlanta on April 12th, and people from all over the United States will be there. The thing they all have in common is their interest in the conference’s subtitle: the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality. Hopefully most of them are also interested in hearing me talk, since I’m the keynote speaker and will be delivering a short (but fierce!) talk promptly at 9:15 am.
Continue reading Perverts and Peaches: Sex 2.0 Brings Internetophiles to Atlanta

The Bisexual Question

I was not a porn consumer or seeker when I was a teenager. Though I was sexually precocious and promiscuous in many ways, porn wasn’t really on my radar. In fact, when a high school friend found me on MySpace recently and discovered that I’d become a porn director, he was pretty surprised. But since I’m a bit of an extremist, when I began to explore porn, I really did it up. And I wanted to find porn that was like me – bisexual.At my first job in sex, I lucked into a treasure trove of porn with obsessively categorized videos, magazines, and mementos: the Ralph Wittington Collection at the Museum of Sex. I started as a researcher at the Museum and then became an assistant curator the year it opened – and in addition to jump-starting my career as a sex nerd, being exposed (ahem) to the wealth of smut in the Wittington collection plus meeting a delightful array of sex industry legends got me started on my own personal journey.
Continue reading The Bisexual Question

Sex Without Porn? Love LA Rethinks the Adult Industry

What words strike you as “bad” ones? Maybe that’s a kind of weird way to start off a column on a porn site, because, let’s face it – you’re here for the bad words. And pictures. Or at least, the ones that are so bad, they’re good. But what about words that give you that “bad touch” skin crawly feeling? Everyone’s got them. For me, the phrases that make me feel icky are a few genital descriptors: “meat curtains” for labia and “blue veiner” for penis. Just writing that makes me feel gross, but luckily on the average day I can avoid any mention of those phrases because they aren’t especially common.
Continue reading Sex Without Porn? Love LA Rethinks the Adult Industry

Power to the Pornographers: A Naked Revolution?

The idea of pornographers with ethics and strong political convictions seems ridiculous to many people. After all, isn’t porn just about overly-tanned hedonism, driven by the desire to make a mint while surrounded by swarms of hot chicks who wouldn’t otherwise give you (assuming the portly, fiftyish male “you”) the time of day? Not so fast, assumption-maker.”I think a lot of folks are surprised that what I produce even exists,” says FurryGirl, “especially lefty/liberal sorts of people who have a condescending attitude towards the sex industry and people who work within it.”
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European Ladies Making Thoughtful Erotic Films

If there’s one unifying force that brings together female porn makers on either side of the Atlantic, it is a commitment to thinking through the process of making porn before diving in headlong. Maybe that seems kind of dull – why spend all this time thinking when you could be coaxing local hotties into stripping down and showing their stuff in casting sessions? – but the proof is in the pudding. Erika Lust runs her ever-growing Lust Films out of Barcelona, while Julia Ostertag’s independent filmmaking projects are based out of Berlin – both women work against the grain to create unique films that showcase male and female eroticism in a carefully considered way.
Continue reading European Ladies Making Thoughtful Erotic Films