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Bored at home? Watch (feminist) porn.

Our prescription against holiday season ennui? The feminist porn that is challenging a challenged industry.

By Aurelie | 28 December 2021
A couple is having sex
"Dubbing" by Aleix Rodón

Just like we are likely to eat too much food, the holiday season is that time of year during which we are bound to feel a little bored. Even more so if we are amongst the oh-so-lucky quarantined. A great way to beat the boredom? Reach for our favourite vibrator and watch some of the feminist porn that is driving a problematic industry to evolve and change.

PS: This piece contains links to sites where explicit imagery may be displayed. Click with caution.

Feminist porn vs mainstream porn: the good, the bad and the ugly

Porn is something many of us watch regardless of our gender, orientation and sexual activity levels. Part teenage rite of passage, part educational material, it shapes the way we picture and practice sex. While we may have overcome some taboos and preconceived notions that it is something for men to enjoy, and established that women do in fact watch it too, there is a lot to say against the porn industry as it still stands.

As someone who has experienced the industry from within, on both sides of the camera, French feminist icon Ovidie has managed to show everything that is wrong with mainstream porn today. From the overwhelmingly male-centric perspective to the fact actresses are exploited and abused, she frequently speaks up through first-person accounts as well as documentaries such as Pornocracy.

Rather than swear off porn and attempt to censor it (let’s be realistic: porn’s not going anywhere), our hopes is that the “alternative” will replace the “mainstream” and make realistic, respectful sex scenes the norm rather than a series of exception. Less interested in the pure mechanics of sex and much more focused on arousal, feminist and ethical porn appears to be appealing to a growing audience, thanks mostly to the pioneers that embody this change of perspective.

Feminist porn: a few suggestions

Erika Lust, the Swedish superstar

Bring up feminist porn and chances are one name will stand out: Erika Lust. The Swedish director is at the forefront of a movement she has been embodying ever since her debut in the mid 2000s. Now at the head of a full-fledged production company, Erika Lust has stayed true to a strong ethical code around which her work revolves: diverse bodies, a female-dominant crew, the use of condoms, the choice to only work with actors and actresses that are no younger than 23…

With a philosophy rooted in sex-positive feminism, Erika Lust has reconciled many of us with the idea of watching porn, safe in the knowledge we are not participating in abuse and exploitation.

Anoushka, the aesthete of erotica

Having learnt the ropes under Ovidie’s expert guidance, Anoushka, another pioneering French director, decided to explore and elevate the aesthetics of porn. Ever since stumbling upon In the Realm of the Senses as a teenager, she had failed to find a perspective she as a woman could identify with. Her style feels fresh, light-hearted and realistic above all.

Watch: Captive, Anoushka’s fourth feature film where she tackles topics such as reproductive rights for queer couples.

NoFauxxx, the inclusivity champion

Started by Courtney Trouble in 2002, NoFauxxx.com is the longest-running indie queer porn site on the internet. Built on pillars such as all-inclusive casts, safer sex and consent, female-friendly and trans-friendly perspectives, this is ethical porn at its best, one that puts respect first.

Bright Desire, the smart sex advocate

How to break the mainstream porn mould? By featuring real-life couples and placing a true focus on intimacy over acrobatics. Bright Desire delivers “grateful porn”, aka videos that spark joy and happiness. Performers only do what makes them feel good and beyond the sex acts, the camera’s focus is very much on the expressions, emotions and sensations.

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