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    Categories: Culture

Tired of Mainstream Porn? Check Out these Alternatives

By Leena Vasu

Image: Naughty Naturals

I remember being really turned on when I watched Chuck and Blair make out in the backseat of a cab in the first season of Gossip Girl. I had told my friend, “I wish they made porn this way, then I’d watch it and enjoy it!” because I thought women could never enjoy porn even if they watched it. Much later, I found out that I was not the only one to fast forward the (so very long) blowjob scenes. At the same time, I also found a side of myself that watched porn in which women called themselves ‘sluts’ (in more than one language), and enjoyed submitting themselves to their misogynistic co-stars. It was uncomfortable that I enjoyed femdom videos, where women were being dominated by the fictitious male viewer. It even influenced my sex life; my partner and I would climax and then wonder how we could have possibly peaked to such offensive, horrific situations which we of course replicated from the Internet.

I really wanted to watch something that wouldn’t make me objectify myself, or make me satisfy someone else’s pleasure irrespective of my own comfort and discomfort. After hunting through several conversations on feminist porn on Reddit, I discovered a number of sites that make non-misogynistic adult films. You can continue to question whether porn can be feminist, but women watch porn too and want to enjoy it, so how do we make porn keeping this in mind? Here are a list of alternative porn sites you can look at:

1. Four Chambers

This is an art entertainment project started by a fine arts graduate, Vex Ashley, who makes creative porn.

I once found a comment on Reddit that said that one of the reasons mainstream porn is so sexist, is because it is produced by male directors, and camera men, because of which it’s made with the male gaze. Here, there are beautiful soundscapes that accompany visuals in which women are active in licking and kissing their partners, vocal about their pleasure, and don’t just receive or provide for the men. Check out this great interview of Vex Ashley and her work by Erika Lust, another director who makes erotic films (more on her below).

2. Beautiful Agony

Their theory is that, “eroticism in human imagery rests not in naked flesh and sexual illustration, but engagement with the face.” They seem to have solved the technical issue of camera angle (which plays a huge role in porn shot in the male gaze), and of making videos which are not terribly sexist, by focusing on the faces of the performers in the videos. You will find a gallery of videos of people’s faces contorting in their beautiful agonies of orgasms.

3. Girls Out West

I’m not sure how feminist this site really is because there’s a bit of exoticising a type of woman – the carefree girl in the fields in provocative clothes – but this is not really a sex scene. But what’s amazing is its all-women crew that shoots videos in seemingly non-sexual situations. While most porn sites thrive on a category of ‘porn stars’ and hypersexualising everything, this site plays up the idea of featuring girls going about their daily lives with arousal as part of an everyday experience, rather than as a highly fetishised stellar event.

4. Lust Cinema

Erika Lust began this project as an alternative to trashy mainstream porn, keeping in mind the viewpoint of a woman. Lust has been an erotic film director known to make films that tell stories of partners having fun in the swimming pool, enjoying themselves in a dance club, or cuddling in bed. They are aesthetic sensual films rather than stereotyped videos featuring character types like MILFs, cheerleaders or daddy’s girls. These  videos require a paid subscription.

5. Bright Desire

Close to real life fun and intimate experiences, films focus on the relationships between the characters. Unlike mainstream porn, in which porn stars play certain roles, characters in these films also do other things, like play around and laugh in bed like real life experiences.

6. Good Dyke Porn

Dissatisfied with the kind of lesbian porn that plays out the ultimate male fantasy, several amateurs and some professionals, came together to make real dyke (reclaiming the word) porn, for people of alternative sexualities. Sexy, realistic and unique, the site produces queer porn for people who are tired of watching heterosexual, male gaze portrayals of sex. Porn for people who are tired of watching heterosexual, male gaze portrayals of sex.

7. Make Love not Porn
Started by Cindy Gallop in 2009, this site attempts to not only provide adult entertainment, but also educate its users on sex. It debunks myths on the way sex is portrayed in hardcore porn and shows “#realworldsex in all its glorious, silly, beautiful, messy, reassuring humanness”. What I really liked about this site is that it does not claim to be anti-porn nor is it saying that mainstream porn is bad; in this TED talk, Gallop herself admits to enjoying a lot of hardcore porn. Do not think that ‘making love’ means that the porn videos are any less bold or attempt to show gooey romance, it’s simply more realistic and leaves preferences up to individual choice. You can even upload your own videos and from the earnings you get in return, you can rent other videos from the site.

8. Orgasm Sound Library

This has a large collection of orgasm sounds by people. None of that fake filmy moaning in a high-pitched voice, but real people climaxing in their real lives. You should consider uploading your orgasm soundscape!

The reason I went in search of alternative porn is because of how removed from everyday experience regular porn is. Sex for the first time is uncomfortable, it does bring up awkward situations where people talk, and negotiate, and not every bit of it is as sexy as mainstream porn makes it out to be. At the same time, watching people have sex is wonderful, it’s kinky, pleasurable and intimate and that is exactly what the above platforms have tried to bring back to sex, making it real, fun, and sexy. Really sexy.

Co-published with Firstpost.com.

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  • The bad part is that almost all the content is behind paywalls. I have never paid for porn online, and even though the I am kind of tired of mainstream porn, I do not think I am going to pay these sites. So unless they find some revenue model such that they can make the content available for free, I think the future is not so bright for such sites. On the other hand, any such attempt would be welcome and can potentially become a huge success because there are many people just like me who are tired of mainstream porn, but do not have much options.

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