Monday, December 15, 2008

Sex Positivity: A Review Of "The Crash Pad" and A Critique of Queer Porn vs. Straight Porn.

*various links in this post lead to material only for people over 18 years of age. If you are under 18, read but don't click please! And there are other great things to read on this blog :)

Let the parade of Sex Positivity continue!

So on our last trip to Good Vibrations (think you are due for a trip yerself :) my honey picked up some queer porn. It’s called “The Crash Pad.”

I actually know a couple folks in the movie she got, one of them being my friend Jiz Lee, and her awesome partner Shawn (pictured above). This movie now lives at my honey’s house, but I am super glad we got to watch it together! This was unlike any porn watching experience I have had. Dare I say, it was a corrective experience.

I just have to say, this movie has won several awards, including the Feminist Porn Award (another place feminists butt heads!). And it really was not only hot, but super refreshing. The plot was simple but titilating, and will leave you wanting the key to the mythical San Francisco “Crash Pad”. The featured players are hot, with real women's bodies. Different sizes and shapes, no fake boobs. And there is real chemistry on the screen; there are at least two featured couples who are partners in real life. You can feel it. And they talk about it in the special features. What else was refreshing... oh yes, the lighting wasn’t garish and clinical. And whoa... it took me a second to realize... it actually has *good* music! The background tunes range from ambient textures to sexy beats, and you aren’t beaten over the head with it.

Before going more into the movie itself, I wanna more delve into what was so corrective for me. The big differences for me, watching this versus straight porn, go straight into issues of race and gender. It was soooo great to see a movie that was mostly female bodied people of color/mixed race, and for that to not be marketed in a derogatory way. If one wants to see straight porn with women of color, then you usually have to get something that has no qualms about exoticizing women of color in really disgusting and objectifying ways, with titles like “Big Black B****** Who Crave Your Blah Blah Blah” “Geishas Who Blah Blah Blah” "Hot Blooded Latinas Who...." you catch my drift. Well... none of that oppressive racist and sexist crap is in here. I’ll be honest, the last time i tried to watch straight porn was over a year ago, and it just really traumatized me. I managed to find a dvd that had women of color of various ethnicities featuring in it (i have blocked out the name of it) and when i turned it on... each 22 year old looking woman was with a middle-aged, unattractive white man. It was like having a promo for sex tourism of my sistas thrown in my face. I kept flipping ahead to another scene, hoping it would get better, and it would get worse. The white men would get older and creepier, and sometimes there would be more than one on each young brown woman. A brown woman with a welcoming smile directed to men that i’m sorry, she really couldn’t have wanted to have hard penetrative sex with unless she was getting paid. I was nauseous. Effing gross!!! This was clearly not going to win a Feminist Porn Award anytime soon.

That experience broke through my last filter... i had long ago learned that if i am gonna watch straight porn, i am better off turning down the volume (which blots out the dumb music and the really super racist and sexist slurs and comments that get thrown around) and putting on my own music. But those images just fried me. It was such a graphic allegory of oppression to me.

“The Crash Pad” by contrast, had no slurs being hurled, and you knew that the women were *really enjoying themselves*. Which makes a world of a difference. You could feel the hot chemistry as they kissed* (no kissing in straight porn!! what kind of dysfunctional crap is this?!?), feel the intimacy in their eye gazes, witness the women giving each other real pleasure, and the hot build up of women having real, volcanic, orgasms. In this movie my pal Jiz Lee pretty literally exploded onto the queer porn scene with an ejaculation scene that is jaw dropping. It won her and her partner Shawn the Hottest Dyke Sex Scene of 2006. And i gotta say, i feel like i’m a pretty adventurous and open guy when it coms to sexploration, but wow.... Jiz and Shawn make me feel hella vanilla!!! Amazing, y’all. Hats off!!

Jiz also goes into her own critique of queer vs. straight porn in her Babeland: Babe Of The Month Interview:

Why do you see queer made porn as being different from other “lesbian” porn?

The term “Lesbian” is an interesting genre, often appropriated by the adult industry for the male gaze. Thus, it is equivalent to “Girl/Girl” pornography and the sexual acts you’ll see are pretty limited. Queer porn more accurately reflects the sexual identity of many of us in the queer community because the sex acts and gender expressions of the talent portrayed in these films are not held to the ideals of the assumed straight male consumer. It is made (directed, filmed, produced, cast, promoted, etc…) by queer-identified folks for the viewing pleasure of other queers. The sex is unapologeticly passionate, something that puts it closer allined with “gay porn”.

Jiz also goes into sharing that "Crash Pad" has a special place in her heart :)

"Crash Pad" also features a refreshing range of gender for people with female bodies. From the high heeled and glitter made up femme, to hot faux hawked and shaved headed wrestling bois (again, see picture above :). This was also a pleasant shift from straight porn, where women can only inhabit a small box of femininity... the high-femme.

It was great to experience this movie, full of hot kissing, sucking, double penetration strap-on action and more. As a hetero-dude, this felt like porn therapy for me! To watch an adult film that wasn’t pitched to me in this narrow, oppressive, dysfunctional way... was really a corrective experience. This was made for primarly for queer folks to enjoy... and maybe its queer for me as a straight person to appreciate this in a heartfully refreshing way... but it left me wondering if other straight-identified men would have a similar experience. To see that kissing is sexy, that listening to each others bodies and eye contact is sexy. To see that women are beautiful, fierce and sexy in their real bodies, and alla that can have a beautiful diversity of expression. Because you know, we don’t get those messages much. I’m sure that there are more progressive adult films marketed to straight folks out there, but i can’t say i’ve come across any good ones.

Jiz has linked this post to the movie reviews, and has stated that s/he feels that my post speaks to some of their mission; which is to humanize queerness and queer sex. In this regard, Jiz sees this work as activism, and I consider Jiz to be one of the Bay Area's premiere sex positive activists.

For now, i’ll just be happy with my corrective experience, and wait til somebody tells me about some hot, feminist, anti-racist, multi-ethnic, pan-sexual porn, perhaps a bit more marketed to straight dudes.... Won’t hold my breath though! And for you bi-curious ladies and queer porn fans out there... this is the naughty stocking stuffer to get!! Available for rental and purchase at Good Vibrations, and you can order it online through Toys Of Babeland. Also look out for Jiz and Shawn's soon to be released film "Champion".... click the link for the teaser trailer (ages 18 and over only people!) and just peep the high production quality, hotness and emotionality people. Its gonna be hot! Something to keep you warm over the holidays...

PS: don't forget to peep the new link list of Sex Positive Goodness!

19 comments:

richard said...

hmmm! seems people might be a little shyer than i expected...! even with the anonymous interactive poll on the home page...

i see that lots of folks are clicking through to read this (thank you!!), remember you can holla on the anonymous tip if you wanna :)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the honesty and I agree with so many points around straight porn and its exploitative nature towards women. As a queer/bi woman, I can't help but feel uncomfortable, though, about a straight man delving into queer/lesbian porn with such a celebratory spirit...whereas I trust that the producers and actors of this are likely fine with a man like you, or you in particular, enjoying the film, there is a sort of gut reaction I'm having. For me, part of the joy of finding queer/lesbian porn is that it is for ME - not for my straight male lovers, and not something I wish to speak with my straight male friends with much. Does this make me exclusive? With how much porn out there is NOT for me/a queer audience, part of the excitement of queer/lesbian porn (as with shows, venues, events) is that it is not diluted by trying to reach other audiences. In a queer women's space (which is not the same as a film, but somehow there is a similarity) I don't enter wondering whether or not a straight man might watch me, be attracted to me, misinterpret my friendliness. When I enter a women's space, I can be fully myself as a woman-loving-woman, and it is a rare thing. The rules have changed. I'm not subject to hetero rules and the male gaze (yes, arguably in queer spaces there are versions of the same rules/gaze, but not quite the same, considering how queer spaces destabilize patriarchy and create rules of our own). Queer women's spaces are where lesbian and bi women can express desire, flirt, be seen in the inexplicable beautiful way that only women can share. It is sacred, I might even venture to say. Part of me can hear the voice of a critic saying, "but you're bi so who are you to say this? You benefit from straight privilege." But it's still a real, and undiluted, part of me. I still want to keep it sacred. I want to keep it for "us" and only for "us". In other words, as much as it's noteworthy that you support this work...is it FOR you? If it is, then somehow it feels less like it's for ME...an odd thing, perhaps, but some food for thought.

I wonder what other queer (lesbian, bi or otherwise) women think?

richard said...

Wow. Anonymous. Thank you so much for steppin up with the realness! I hear what you are saying, and this was my first concern around watching this or any other of Jiz' movies. I was also curious about her thoughts around bio straight men watching her films... and how that intersected with friends watching her films. We haven't delved deeply into that, but she has shared that she really enjoyed this post and thinks this is an awesome review, and that she wants to link it in on PinkWhite.biz.

But that doesn't speak to your experience, and the issues of the male gaze on queer bodies. It did feel complicated to write about this movie. In truth, I hadn't even selected this movie for purchase (my honey did who is also a bi/queer woman), but i don't necessarily want to get into those technicalities, and instead deal more with what it means that i watched and enjoyed this movie.

As i wrote, my first reaction was relief from the toxicity of most straight porn. I am very excited that such non-oppressive and hot erotic film actually exists. A little about me, i am a slightly femme-y straight guy who can confuse people's gaydar sometimes. and a lot about how i walk in my masculinity does not conform with heterosexual male norms. I still have straight privilege though. What else... oh yes. I am not particularly attracted to high-femme women. And to be honest, high-femme women usually aren't attracted to me. my friends and lovers tend to be women more in the middle of the gender spectrum, and people who appreciate fluidity.

My experience watching this movie was relieving because even though i am straight-identified, what is marketed to me as straight porn does not feel like it is for me. I am not attracted to ultra-femme women with fake breasts. I was excited about this movie, because i finally felt like i could let down defensive psychic filters while watching porn. It left me with a question around whether movies like this are not only people for queer sexualities, but also for people who do not conform to rigid constructions of gender, which is how i definitely identify.

Perhaps the question comes down to a question of porn altogether-- because either way, straight or queer porn, my gaze is on bio women.

I see this movie as an example of what i would like straight porn to be closer to. If a watch porn, which isn't often... i just don't wanna feel gross. i wanna feel good. this was the first time in a long time i felt good afterwards. Though i was still nervous about **writing** about it! In truth, that is a big factor here, that i wrote about it. Because people will definitely consume porn according to their kinks, fetishes and preferences, but usually... we don't know which people and populations are really consuming whatever genres. So i was hesitant, because of the dynamics you mentioned, and also because i made something private really public. In the final analysis, I felt that this was too rich of an experience not to blog about. And the idea of drawing people to a feminist blog because "porn" came up in a search feels... perfect.

I acknowledge that this movie was made by and of queer/genderqueer folks for queer folks. I am straight and male. some of my sensibilities and gender may feel not-straight, but i am still a hetero dude who possesses the gaze and privilege of such. I also understand that reading my review could be triggering because of these reasons. All of that makes sense to me. Please continue to engage me if you feel unresolved. And thank you again for naming the elephant in the room! And for doing so in a way that appreciated aspects of my post, while being true to the gut reaction you had.

bless up....

Michelle said...

I really appreciate Anon's comments about the value of women and queer spaces. I too relish being in queer women spaces--the comfort, connection, the sacredness. And it is impt to me that I have those spaces to call my own.

To answer Anon’s question, I think of films like Crash Pad as being created with the gaze of female queerness in mind, so in that sense they are not *for* hetero men. And I'm glad they're not. That is, the intent and purpose is not for the enjoyment of hetero men, hence distinguishing it from the type of girl on girl porn that jiz lee described. To me, girl on girl porn is problematic b/c it's created for the hetero male gaze/ fantasy and feels diminishing of queer sexuality.

That’s a key difference from the Crash Pad.

Where I differ from Anon is that I’m not concerned about straight men viewing the Crash Pad or films like it, because I don’t think that having hetero men consume it undermines the unique space the film inhabits. If instead the creators tried to broaden its appeal explicitly and specifically to hetero men, I think that would undermine the space. But I don’t think hetero males watching the film undermines the integrity of this queer poc-friendly woman space b/c the film maintains its queer female gaze.

Also, I think so much straight porn reproduces, reinforces negative sexual dynamics. If one agrees with the premise that porn/ erotic film is not problematic in itself (which is a reasonable debate), but that instead it’s the negative dynamics, oppression, violence, etc. reproduced in porn that’s problematic, then perhaps one can appreciate that there is sex positive porn being consumed.

I prefer that positive, passionate queer sexuality and genderqueer images are being viewed and experienced—even by straight men—rather than oppressive straight porn dynamics. I’m not saying that porn is the ideal portal for it, but I have this sense that if more straight folks appreciated the real, passionate experiences of queerness, and felt the sexual energy of queerness as part of their human experience within themselves, we wouldn’t have such staunch homophobia. Instead of tabooing queer sexuality, repressing it, I’d love for more folks to acknowledge their own sexuality as not so rigidly heteronormative. Like I said, not sure that queer porn is the way to accomplish it, but maybe there's something to that. :)

Anonymous said...

This is from anonymous #2 (not #1). I actually had a similar reaction to Anon #1. For the same reason that I do not want to see straight men at a women-only space, I do not particularly want straight men to be the consumers of queer, sex-positive porn. If I had a queer-friendly straight male friend or lover, I would still not bring him to a women-only space because his very presence negatively affects the dynamic of the space. Similarly, I try to avoid bringing white folks to women/people of color spaces. I think my concern is somewhat similar to the idea of not bringing white folks to poc spaces...this is not simply a matter of being exclusionary, but of honoring the spaces and communities that we are trying to build despite racism, homophobia, etc. I speak from the position of being a queer identified woman who dates both male and female identified people. I also think that the audience and sites of reception are important to the meanings that a film produces, so I do think the question of who is actually watching a film is important.

richard said...

Michelle: Thank you for your perspectives. They are always insightful and thought provoking. I was especially resonating with the point around how films like this humanize queer sex, an experience that a lot of people could use... though not necessarily by distributing queer porn to the hetero masses! hmm, i wonder what Jiz would think about that...

Anonymous #2 Thank you for your perspectives too. I am definitely hearing that people are being triggered by me watching this. And I am definitely a person who values poc only spaces, and respects women centered spaces. I am holding onto that to engage deeper empathy. I am imagining something sacred to me as a black man, meant for other black people, consumed by non-black people, and it doesn't feel good. In fact it feels all too real, historically and in the present.

Where I am experiencing a disconnect though, is equating a film with a physical space. For instance, i would never DREAM of asking my friend if i could chill out on the set and WATCH the production live!! That feels like a clear, effed up breach of space. Also i think the genre of porn makes things more complicated... because the parallel of white people in poc spaces... is actually a norm in porn. I don't have stats, but i'm pretty sure that white people consume more porn featuring Asians than people of Asian descent in this country. In most porn, race is sold to a white majority as something to fetishize, and boundaries around who consumes what remains fluid, and mostly private.

I am not saying all of this to minimize that it doesn't sit well with you that i watched this movie, and i'm sure if some white guy was raving about Asian porn that he would also get some not so great feedback. In that sense, i am feeling you, and i do understand. In lots of ways, i don't HAVE to understand or get it, all i need to understand is that you are a queer-identified woman, and this is how i made you feel. On that level, know that it was not my intention to impact you (and Anon #1) this way. I hope that this dialogue is helpful, and i thank you both for being real.

Gwen said...

I feel like I'm significantly dumbing down the intellectual quality of the comments here, but all I can say is "Hell yeah." It's actually one of my criteria that if I'm going to date a guy (especially a straight guy), he has to love P&W's films when I show them to him. Which I felt kind of bad about- I mean, really, you can't control whether or not a porn stirs your loins!- but I think your post underscores something deeper than just erotic enjoyment, but the appreciation of an aesthetic and mindset/worldview that is queer, feminist, and sex-positive. So, yeah. I have no qualms about men watching- I wish I could hold large viewings and lure in unsuspecting straight dudes with the promise of porn and then blast them some "Crash Pad" and break down a few of the stereotypes in their head about lesbians and lesbian sex but also just porn and sex in general. But then again, you're not exactly coming at it from an angle of a drooling fetishist . . . I'm not sure how I would feel if an unenlightened guy with a thing for butch lesbians wrote a long blog extolling it but mentioning nothing about its creators and the fact that it is not just lesbian, but queer, in a cultural and political way.

It'd be interesting to see you review non-queer porn that attempts to break out of the mainstream porn mode. Though there are some rare gems, it often fails (at least in my eyes), and I'm still trying to figure out why- is it the perceived audience? the inevitable dynamics of heterosexuality? the lack of a strong community? old porn filming habits that stick around? I just don't know.

Ducati_Guy said...

As a straight guy I find that CrashPad extends beyond gender and sexuality. The interaction between the performers and the way it is captured says something really profound in a way which defied all our preconceptions.

I think it's an essential part of the genre that at least one of the performers (Jiz Lee) places no boundaries on who might choose to watch and what they might choose to think of it.

Even calling it 'porn' does it a disservice by associating it with the shallow and perfunctory sex that term means to us. We are seeing a fascinating interaction between two (or more) people who ignore convention.

Lesbian women are entitled to claim Crashpad as 'theirs' but those who would exclude non-lesbians from watching are creating discrimination where CP is all about tearing it down.

richard said...

Gwen! Thank you for injecting some lightness into this discussion, your words are definitely appreciated!! I smiled reading that you spring the Crash Pad on hetero male partners as a kind of litmus test... cuz yeah... i would imagine that on one side of the spectrum you don't wanna be with someone that finds queer sex to be gross, and on the other side, you don't wan't some dude who gets wide eyed and sez he's got stacks and stacks and stacks of queer porn and never leaves home cuz he's watching it all day. I am wondering if the image that the Anons have is of a dude on the latter extreme pole...

And you know, the next porn flick i will review will definitely be a straight film. i followed the lead of "hmmm... so there's a Feminist Porn Awards... what else has won that award??" a lot of the films i found didn't look very racially diverse, but i think i found at least one i would give a try. it has qualifiers like "no facial cum shots". THANK GOD.

Ducati Guy, thanks for bringing another hetero male perspective! i agree that Crash Pad has a quality that transcends gender and sexuality. Perhaps that is a significant part of why i had such an awakening watching it.

re: Jiz Lee's thoughts, she shared with me that she will soon be writing a post about "queer porn audiences, and the grey lines in between" on her blog. I'm definitely looking forward to that!

re: calling it porn, i'm ok with that myself, it feels good to me to reclaim the term for sex-positive films. i also like the idea that sex-positive films/porn includes our kinkier, grittier, raunchier selves, and that carnality isn't just in the realm of oppressive porn.

I did however get a my own little gut wrench when i saw you use the word "discrimination" when talking about "those who would exclude non-lesbians from watching". It kinda felt like when people use phrases like "reverse racism" or "reverse sexism". Phrases that kinda take liberties with existing institutions of power, privilege and oppression. I respect that you want to transcend boundaries of gender and sexuality, and at the same time, i believe it is valuable to be very mindful of our straight male lens/privilege in these conversations.

That said... thanks again for adding to the richness of this conversation, and... nice blog man!!

Lucrece said...

I have similar qualms with gay male porn as you have had with straight porn. It's hard to find intimate kissing! And fingering. They usually get to the fucking, and the foreplay is very tepid; it's always a blowjob/anal sex sequence, with some rim jobs thrown in between.

I've also have confined myself to watching white gay male porn, since it's the most egalitarian and playful. Any interracial porn-- predominantly the "thug+ white/latino bitch" kind is so thoroughly offensive, both for the depiction of black men and how it frames the bottoms, as lesser beings to be had for enjoyments without concern for their pleasure. A parade of verbal and physical degradation. If you do have black+black man setups, the "thug+bitch" model usually remains, which just tells me that is black on black porn created by white guys for a specifically white sector.

Let me not get started on Latinos. The racial typecasting (I'm Venezuelan; I know how my people look like, and we're not all the same indigenous Mexican/Puerto Rican mulatto stereotypes; we're an incredibly racially-varied ethnic group) is appalling. The constant thug angle keeps getting on my nerves, always painting us like brusque delinquents.

I will admit that gay porn is far more egalitarian in general than straight porn (of my very limited glimpse; sorry, I'm allergic to vaginas), and you don't see the same shit going on: The language used to describe the participants (in most genres the men remain "studs", not "dumb sluts/whore/bitches/chicks"), the way they fuck (it appears straight porn makes fucking look like fucking a couch; the man wants his needs satisfied, so he grabs a woman like some object without any interest for feedback), and the marketing (gay male porn boxes actually show the entire body; they don't fetishize orifices and breasts the same way straight porn does).

HOWEVER, some fellow porn erudites have commented on how things are starting to change. Straight porn is putting in more muscular, good-looking young men. The women are given a chance to take initiative. Of course, I can't confirm this, nor do I care to ;). I'll leave that to my fellow straight men ;D.

kalamadea said...

I can not put into words how important it is that a majority of our society have the opportunity to see/experience healthy sexual relationships. My heart actually swelled due to the hope from the review that was posted by Richard. I know what unhealthy relationships/porn looks like and I've had the honor to experience healthy ones as well (relationships only... I've never yet seen anything I consider healthy porn stories).

Unfortunately, I was hurt reading how persons here who have experienced racism, sexism and sexual preference discrimination would choose to do the exact same thing to me that was done to them. It sounds like this is a beautiful and in some ways healing video and some would want to keep it from others because it makes them feel special and/or superior?

Having special moments with special persons is wonderful, but to want to keep something good from persons because of their gender, race or sexual identity would put you on the opposite side of a fight I'd be willing to bet you've experienced.

Do you really want to be on that side?

With Love,
A Straight White Man.

richard said...

this just in! Jiz Lee from "The Crash Pad" wrote an amazing piece on her blog that refers to this thread. Its entitled:

"Porn for Women Who Love Women... for more info call Steve."

richard said...

i'm just reading over the richness of this thread... queer women who don't feel comfy with straight men watching this movie, straight men who don't wanna be told they can't watch this movie, bisexual women who love the idea of hetero men watching this movie, a gay man who also craves more sex-positive films, but in gay porn... i'm feelin this!!

as for me, i do feel strongly that i came across this film in a public, sex-positive space (Good Vibrations), and that all dvds there are for any patron to view. If this dvd was in a queer physical space, i would not have barged in and grabbed it. I am glad that i had the positive experience with this movie, andat the same time, sad to know that this has upset some of my queer sisters. but i have really appreciated the dialogue we all have had.

amd for sure the next film i review will be a sex-positive hetero film, so if that sounds like your thing, look out for that in early '09 sometime!

i love that i'm blogging about sex-positive films on Xmas Eve/early Xmas day :)

Anonymous said...

Pansexual/bi (XX) genderqueer here,

"is it FOR you? If it is, then somehow it feels less like it's for ME...
I wonder what other queer (lesbian, bi or otherwise) women think?"

I strongly disagree. Straight porn is usually crap. If we can get enough straight people hooked on the good stuff they'll start making their own good stuff. So, it'd only be a temporary "borrowing" or "stealing" of "your" porn.

Seriously, do you not think that feeding themselves crap porn does bad things to their minds? They get used to certain memes, and while they're likely to try their best to keep the straight porn fantasies separated from IRL, it'll still always be in the back of their head when their sexuality will be invoked. There seems to be a lot of straight guys who do crave genuine affection and playfullness between the people in porn, as far as I can tell most of them have to resort to random online amateur porn for that sort of stuff. I for one am all for more people realizing they don't have to put up with the mental sex equivalent to shittastic fast food. They may migrate to your restaurants for a while, but soon enough people 'on the other side' will realize that offering real 'food' pays off and will try to do it too.

Anonymous said...

Hm... Just realized that this online queercomic (story oriented, not gags, but still funny) may be quite relevant to some here:

http://www.khaoskomix.com
Randomly stumbling upon that comic made me very happy: good story telling and interesting characters I can relate to.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with my fellow Anonymous. As a queer womyn of color I feel that it is very important to have spaces that are all our own. If it becomes open to everyone then it won't be unique. The neighborhood I used to live in was a queer friendly place where we were free from the patriarchy and the tyranny of the male gaze, then a bunch of breeders moved in and the neighborhood became white bread, it lost its special quality. I know just how Naomi Klein felt when yuppies started buying loft apartments. We womyn have to stay ahead of the crowd so we can enjoy spaces that belong just to us.

richard said...

heylo (new?) Anonymous, thanks for your response. i definitely understand you having discomfort with some hetero dude going on about the greatness of queer porn. And the reality of my male gaze persists, though it persists no matter what type of porn i would decide to watch. At this juncture in my life, i've decided that if i am going to watch porn at all as a straight man, then i would prefer it be as sex positive as possible. Perhaps my mistake was to blog about the process!

And you know, it turns out that at least one of the Anonymous women is a friend of mine, and we have had really good conversations on this topic, and come to good understanding, while more or less holding our stances.

As a hetero man, i do want to respect queer/female spaces. to reiterate, i found this movie in an open space not specific to queer womyn (Good Vibrations), and my queer female partner purchased it.
It is my belief that anything in sex positive spaces like Good Vibrations is open to anyone. If it were in a store for just queer womyn, or if this was only performed live, we would not be having this conversation.

I am also happy to affirm the work of one of the performers in the film (Jiz) who sees this work as something to de-marginalize queer sex as something strange. not only was this a corrective experience for me, but was also immensely helpful for me to do more work on my homophobia. this was very humanizing.

if its any consoloation, know that i am not not tryin to stock up on queer porn, and if anything, it has awoken a search for sex positive straight porn. so far the "Chemistry" series is the best i can find, but still not up to the caliber of the Crash Pad.

thank you for your contribution once again- and if you know me, know we can discuss this in person too. bless up

Jacob Aziza said...

All throughout everyone is using the term "straight porn" as though it were interchangeable with "mainstream commercial porn".

If you limit your choices to the glossy boxes with the little screenshots all over them in the sex toy shop, sure, most of it is formulaic and degrading.

(As has been pointed out in the comments) there is plenty of formulaic gay porn as well.

The divide isn't between straight and queer. Its not about who its made for either (I've read that (hetero) women actually tend to enjoy Hollywood style fake idealized bodies in porn more than hetero men.
http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=27&ContentID=60324
http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Women_&_Porn.htm )

The divide is between Hollywood-produced mainstream commercial porn, and small independent producers & self-made amateur.

Its about the mindset of the individual producer/director and actors.

Even within high production value commercial porn there is plenty of healthy sex positivity, (just not in the mainstream selections) I haven't browsed in years, but I remember there being a "feminist, anti-racist, multi-ethnic, pan-sexual porn", called Slide Bi Me which GoodVibrations put out a few years ago. (Never seen it myself). There is straight porn directed and produced by women, (Candida Royalle and Nina Hartley for example), and there are small indy companies whose focus is on real people/couples who aren't scripted (like the one I worked with).

With the internet, though, a whole world of movie sex is opened up.
Want to see Asians without the fact that they are Asian being fetishized? Easy - download porn made in Asia. Better yet, using file sharing and youtube like sites, there is an unlimited amount of free stuff (w/o even violating copyrights), self-made, by people who aren't in it for the money, but apparently enjoy knowing that people are enjoying watching them.
It seems realistic because its real. There is an awful lot of amateurs deliberately mimicking the crap that comes out of LA, but there is even more which doesn't.

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Re: the objection to straight men watching this or similar videos and enjoying them:
I am all for the universal acceptance of people who prefer partners of the same sex, or of either, or people who prefer to identify with an inbetween gender, or whatever other preferences people might have, but it seems a bit off to me to make generalized comparisons of queer vs straight people, sort of putting one group on a pedestal in relation to another, emphasize the divide. I feel like the objections some raise over straight men enjoying a queer film is emphasizing the divide. I feel putting all straight porn into the commercial LA category is too. There is, for example, sexism, violence, prejudice, etc within the queer community just like there is in the mainstream. Just as being different doesn't make someone worse, it doesn't make them better either. We don't get to choose what turns us on. Personally I have never particularly enjoyed gay/lesbian porn (even the sex positive egalitarian emotion infused kind reviewed here) but even if some guy does fetishize lesbian porn and hoards it and enjoys it without making any sort of connections about feminism or alternate sexuality, so long as he is enjoying it in the privacy of his own home, I object to the suggestion it could be objectionable. So long as one person is not hurting another, no form of pleasure should ever be objectionable.

jeffer said...

Sorry if I repeat already-stated thoughts. I only got to read the first few comments.

Anyway, I definitely agree with Gwen: "I think your post underscores something deeper than just erotic enjoyment, but the appreciation of an aesthetic and mindset/worldview that is queer, feminist, and sex-positive."

As a queer woman/lesbian (and a Gender Studies major, hehe), I am THRILLED that straight men would enjoy this film for the above reason. Not only is Crash Pad a queer film, it's QUEERING sex and how people should think about it. I don't mind if straight men watch it, because if they like this kind of stuff, I feel like it's not with some kind of creepy malice towards women. Instead, he may be seeing and enjoying this breakdown of gender norms and roles that typical straight porn reinforces. The women in these films have real bodies, are enjoying themselves, are not being degraded, etc. If straight men can see that such a feminist and queer positive thing can be sexy, well... that's just fantastic. Also, where else can you find a bio-male, bio-female pairing where the male happily sucks her strap-on cock? HOT! Genderfucking to the max. And you know what, in some of my academic writing, I use queer as a more political term to refer to a queer mindset that is aligned with this kind of feminist/queer-positive/rejection of binaries kind of thought. I would consider Richard to be queer in this manner. The world would be better if everybody were politically queer. :) So if these films can encourage healthy attitudes about sex, bodies, women, race, blahblahblah, then I don't mind at all.