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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lady Porn Day

Happy Lady Porn Day, week, year.... For some of us, Lady Porn Day is every day!

I fell in love with porn through the letters in Penthouse, at first, and “My Secret Garden,” by Nancy Friday, second. Back then the letters in Penthouse were really, really dirty. There was this one letter about a guy who sneaks into his sister’s all-girl boarding school… need I say more? There was a “boys with boys” gay-porn section…. It was awesome! It’s kinda nice that I ended up, years later, writing for Penthouse. It was quite an honor for me.

What really gets my blood up, even now, is Victorian porn. I like it because it’s completely uncensored and devoid of political correctness. I am a big advocate of social progress, don’t get me wrong, but I think in fantasy we should allow our fantasies to be as f*ed up as our twisted little minds might be inclined to make them.

Fantasy and masturbation allow us to work out and work through a lot of our deep emotional/psychological issues, and this is a good thing. I think that we learn about ourselves through our sexuality, and parts of us can be helped and healed as we allow ourselves to take that internal erotic journey.

I’ve spent most of my writing career to making down and dirty porn that’s truly masturbatory. I hope I’ve done that. That’s feminism, that’s women’s liberation, to me – a truly erotic female voice: mine, my real-life, New York, sexual, pornographic, female, 51-year-old self.

It was in the early 90's that I discovered a book called "Women Against Censorship," edited by Varda Burstyn. This was the first time that I'd seen anything speaking for women like me: women who considered themselves porn-friendly.

Visual porn didn't do much for me, except those beautifully shot pictures in Penthouse when I was a teenager and in my early 20's (1970's - 1985 or so), but I gobbled up written porn, first by reading Nancy Friday's "My Secret Garden" - remember that? And then by reading "The Pearl." By the early 90's I was discovering Susie Bright and Carol Queen. I found pro-sex women who were smart, powerful and sexual. What role models! The first time I read Susie was in "Angry Women" (RE/Search collection #13). There was an empowered young person claiming her sexuality and waving her flag of sexual self-hood at the world! I didn't grow up in a world where men had internet-easy access to porn. I grew up in a world where porn was tucked into one's parents' underwear drawer, if we were lucky, or stacks of Playboy were under great-uncle's bed, as in my case. Yes, men were sexual, but all I knew was: I was as sexual as they were, and finally I began to find women like me.

It hurt to see Dworkin and company pushing the "penetration is rape" thing. I found it astonishing, and so denying of who I was as a woman. Even in recent years I've found the need to shout my sexuality to the rooftops so people will know we exist: we porn-happy, pro-sex, feminist females.

This is how we do it: we dialogue, we learn to see the myriad manifestations and contradictions in the sexual journeys we, as women, have had to take in this crazily confusing American sexual ethos in which we live. I agree: we need to take into account the complexity of sexual representation, the negatives and positives that are part of any true critique of anything! And we need, above all, to create pleasure-positive sex education for all people.

The porn that gets me off is mostly written. I don't find much visual porn that turns me on. I liked "Tristan Taormino's Guide to Anal Sex for Women," and, in general, appreciate John Stagliano's work, but even that stuff doesn't totally snake its way into my erotic head. I have yet to see a piece of visual porn that completely does it for me. On the writing side, as you said, some gay erotica, esp John Preston's "Flesh and the Word" collection, floats my boat, as does the very dirtiest of Victorian porn. Another writer who sometimes hits it right on the head for me: Carol Queen. Love the juicy gender-fuck of your story about the boy on the bike, and that great one about extra-curricular activities. Bottom line, I agree: what's masturbation-worthy for one woman is not such for every woman. That's the beauty of our kinky individuality! ...And I'm for that. :)