Yes, Porn Can Be Feminist: Interview with Lynsey G


Lynsey G is a porn expert and the author of Watching Porn: And Other Confessions of an Adult Entertainment Journalist

Are women in porn okay?  

Usually, yes. In professionally produced pornography, most women knew what they were getting into beforehand. They’re getting into it because they want to be in it. Many performers are exhibitionists! They’re into it because they enjoy the idea of making porn.

At the same time, you can never look at what performers are doing in any scene and know with 100 percent certainty that they’re into it or having the time of their life.

Try to be discerning and pay attention to the people you’re watching. You can tell when somebody is not okay. If you see a grimace or something that looks uncomfortable, then maybe that person isn’t okay. For the most part, when you’re at a paid membership site or watching professional, high-end porn, women are treated well. It amazes me when people are still incredulous about feminist porn. Most of the time, when people hear “feminist porn,” they think of soft-focused, Showtime-y kind of stuff. This isn’t representative of most feminist porn and won’t determine whether or not it is ethically-made.

What do you wish everyone knew about porn?

Porn is a product. It has been constructed by a group of people. There are so many people and processes involved: performers, camera people, editors, sound designers, makeup artists, post-production, distribution, and more.

Most of the porn that you see on paid sites and (most) free sites is a professionally-made product made with an intention to be sold. Many people think that porn is just everyday people, fucking on camera. It can be, but most amateur content is made by professionals to look amateur.

Although it’s constructed as a fantasy, the people that you’re watching are actually real—most of what you’re watching is really happening. In Hollywood, there’s so much use of CGI and stuntpeople–this is not the case for porn. It’s a constructed product, but these are real people. People forget that there is a whole industry and economy surrounding porn.

Why should people care that porn is a product?

It’s extremely dangerous when people don’t care. If you forget that the individuals involved in making porn are paid for what they do, it’s easier to take advantage of the free stuff. It’s easier to not think critically about what you’re watching.

Think about it this way: if you consume ethical porn, then you’re supporting porn being made ethically.  

So what about websites like Pornhub and Redtube?

In an ideal world, no one would use those websites. You don’t know where content is coming from and it’s hard to tell if it’s professional or amateur. There are so many ethical issues on those sites–most of the content was stolen from someone who wants to make money.

When you use free porn sites, the people you’re getting off to aren’t benefitting in any way. You’re duping producers of the money they need to pay actors to make ethical porn. However, I know we don’t live in utopia–we don’t all have enough money to pay for all of our porn and free sites are the easiest.

What’s the most ethical way to use Pornhub and similar sites? 

I really loved this piece of advice my friend Porno Jim gave me: people who consume a lot of porn should set aside a reasonable amount of money for it. They should find stuff they like and pay for it in order to contribute positively to the industry. If you’re paying attention to the videos you’re watching on Pornhub, you can usually find out who made it. Contribute and help them out! 

Are there any categories of porn that tend to lean more ethical/non-ethical?

Most queer porn will embody the same qualities as feminist and ethical porn sites. Because queer sex encompasses a lot of different things, it’s not as formulaic as the heterosexual sex portrayed in porn. On queer porn sets, most of the time the director will let performers talk about what they want to do and execute on their own. In mainstream porn, the director will be heavily involved. So performers will enjoy themselves, but they won’t necessarily be doing what they want to do on set.

In general, kink also tends to lean ethical. In kink, there’s a lot of room for things to go wrong, so discussions about consent are prioritized and matter-of-fact. Honestly, if you’re not talking about consent and safe words, you’re doing kink wrong! A lot of the time, kink porn shows consent being given on screen–these kinds of negotiations are usually cut out of other kinds of porn.

What is that relationship dynamic like between performers?

In feminist and ethically made porn, directors put people in scenes who want to be in scenes together, which doesn’t happen all the time in mainstream porn.

Best intentions don’t always come through when there are people on set who don’t know each other, which leads to consent problems. However, it’s a relatively small industry, so everyone kinda knows each other after a while and there’s a lot of friendliness. 

People in porn have this kind of mindset: if you can’t laugh about all the crazy shit that happens during sex, you’re taking yourself too seriously. Laughter is a lot more common on set than people think! 

She Devil

Do you encourage women to watch porn?  

Yes, absolutely! If you search for something on Pornhub, you get a wall of crazy acrobatic fucking, and this can be intimidating for anyone who isn’t that familiar with porn.

Advice: instead of going to one of those websites, go on Google and type in search terms that fit what you think you’d like to see. It’s possible to weed out what you don’t want to see–you can be picky.

In general, porn is good for you. I really think that’s true. It opens your mind to what’s possible. It makes you feel good. Especially if you’re watching it in an ethical way!

Are porn orgasms real?

Performers are experiencing sexual pleasure, but often it’s not the best sex they’ve ever had. It is a job, after all. Most people who make porn do it because they have high libidos and/or they like having sex in front of people, though. So real orgasms aren't that rare.

On feminist sets, they prioritize real pleasure. Authentic is a slippery word because you can experience pleasure without reaching orgasm and you can be authentic while performing for a camera. There’s too much pressure on the idea that orgasms are real. 

Can you be a feminist if you watch porn?

Yes. Absolutely. I know that there are a lot of feminists out there and in history who disagree with this. The idea that porn as a whole is coercion and rape just doesn’t make sense. Many people perpetuate this idea that porn is a monolith, that there’s an evil guy out there with an ugly toupee figuring out how to coerce women. The industry is vast, there are thousands of people involved, and yes, some are jerks with bad toupees. But there are also many people involved for many different reasons, and lots of those reasons are great.

Examples of ethical porn sites that produce great content? 

Depends a lot on what you’re looking for. Although there have been some complaints, Kink.com. They host a Performer Bill of Rights that is constantly updated. It’s clear about consent and the right to withdraw consent. I believe that performers are also paid almost full-day rates, even if they end a scene early.  

Another one is Wicked Pictures. They have contracted performers, which almost never happens anymore.

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Check out Unbound’s List of Best Feminist Porn for more.
Plus, Unbound's Rebound Box comes with a free one month subscription to Erika Lust's XCONFESSIONS. Get it here.

 

 

 


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