Tag Archives: Porn

Studying Porn

Sometimes I have a pipe dream of becoming a pornographic academic. I’ve been lucky enough to speak on a few panels and even present a paper at the first Feminist Porn Conference here in Toronto last April. That was definitely one of the highlights of my life, and it’s something that I’d definitely like to experience again. I don’t know exactly what form that’ll take, but it does mean that I take the concept of porn academia to heart in quite a serious way. I spoke with Dr. Chantelle Tibbals for her podcast a while back, and have had this interview that she did with Slate in my back pocket, waiting for a time that I might be moved to blog about the dire need of more research and critical thought with regards to porn… That time has come, blog. That time has come.

The problem is that, because of the general preconceived notions about porn, people have a real tough time seeing value in attributing precious academic resources to its study. This is a really negative bias, because it is an otherwise very culturally dominant medium/art form/phenomena. There’s certainly something to be said about the taboo nature of porn, but if anything, that only feeds the potential for discussion and research, and it should ideally also play a role in piquing general interest about said discussion and research. It’s film, biology, psychology, sociology… It’s obviously the study of sex and gender. It’s ripe for all types of analysis.

As with my unfaltering belief that the answer to bad porn is not no porn, but more porn, I think that more work in the field will balance out some of the more unfortunate pseudoscientific snap judgments that people make about the way porn impacts teens, relationships and the psychosexual self. Maybe this means I should dust myself off and get into writing porn academia in a more serious way. After all, that’s sort of how Dr. Chauntelle came to it. Who knows? Maybe I could be Dr. Sophie some day. There is so much room for a balanced, sex-positive critical and academic response to porn. As far as I know, while mainstream and actively queer/feminist porn is getting traction, very little at all is being written about porn from a pro-am or aesthetically artistic way. Maybe beautiful porn needs a place in academia. What do you think?

Love, Art and Porn – The Life of Carlos Batts

The late Carlos Batts with his wife April Flores

The late Carlos Batts with wife and muse April Flores – Courtesy of LAWeekly.com

It’s been a tough couple of days, probably for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that the world has lost a talented, innovative man. Carlos Batts was a fabulous photographer and videographer who made a name for himself in art, commercial work and adult content. His body of work on all fronts is truly gorgeous and lush with a uniquely vibrant feel. He engaged with a lot of subjects outside the norm, focusing on exposing “unconventional” beauty in raw, creative ways. Though he had many subjects over the years, his muse was his wife, adult film star April Flores. They were together for over 13 years, married for 10, and in that time he said that shooting her never felt like work, according to Gram Ponante‘s wonderful account of their working and intimate relationship. While reading Gram’s piece after finding out about Carlos’ passing, a particular topic stuck out to me:

Can what you do when you’re in love be porn? Is it porn when there’s commerce involved? Each scene of Alter Ego [a film shot by Batts, starring Flores] is lovingly framed, lit, scored, and constructed, but there are women fucking each other with dildos in it.

Sure it’s porn, but that doesn’t mean it’s soulless.

Michael Ninn could have made Alter Ego, or Andrew Blake, but it would have seemed cold.

That is a question I find that I’m asking myself a lot. Porn is hard to define and nail down, and people imagine that the love slips away from the creators and performers when you cross a certain sexual threshold or when money enters the equation. In my experience working with Camille and Mike, and in meeting, talking with and listening to many other people who blur the lines between love, art and porn, there is some almost inexpressible third heat permeating the work. There’s a warmth and closeness, not only drawn out through familiarity, but through the meeting of the professional and the personal in a defined artistic medium. It invokes a kind of solidarity and that radiates out to the audience, creating a community. They’re in this together, and we get to witness this rare thing.  It’s absolutely something you can see between Carlos and April.

My heart aches for her today. Losing a soulmate is an unfathomable thing. I encourage you to peruse his inventive, original work as well as some of the films they made together. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Carlos a number of times, including when I heard him speak at the Feminist Porn Awards screening and again at the Feminist Porn Conference. His desire to move past stereotypes and labels resonates immensely within the industry. As a big girl, seeing his unabashed approach to other big women in his work made me feel beautiful, and I know I’m not alone in this. He will be remembered for his amazing work, his unique approach to blending sexuality and love with his art and, just as importantly, for being a wonderful partner to April. Rest in peace, Carlos.

- Sophie

Sex Box

Now, this is pretty interesting.  And no, it’s not an XBOX that you can have sex with…  There’s a new show coming out on a popular UK television station called Sex Box, which aims to “reclaim sex from pornography” and it has me thinking beyond entertainment value…  Is that a good idea?  Or, rather, is it even necessary?

A huge aspect of this for me is what exactly constitutes porn…  Do they mean every single existing pornographic video, including what I do?  Or are they talking about mainstream porn?  It seems that most people are REALLY talking about mainstream porn, and that shouldn’t be the only representation of sex, to be sure…  But how intellectualized/fancy does filmed sex have to be before it’s reclaimed?  Can the performers be paid?  Can the performers make a living on the videos they’ve made?  I’m sure the couples in this TV show at least got paid to take part.

As far as I understand, the couples have sex in a fairly small box (the sex box!) and then talk about their sex life, both immediate and (I assume) more long-range with a bunch of experts.  I can’t tell if they actually show any footage from the box or if it’s just a gimmick/way to get the couples thinking very actively about sex, but the discussion of sex seems to be the forefront of the show.  And that’s good!  We should all be talking more about sex.  But can’t porn be a part of that?

It’s the same as it ever was, at least lately…  Various pop culture companies try to distance themselves from the concept of porn, explaining why their version of filming sex is different and better, but it seems like these people have very narrow concepts of the adult industry and assume that sex can’t be both real and on film unless it’s shot their particular way.  Of course, it’s hard to identify where that line is…  For instance, I’d consider The Art of Blowjob and Slow Motion Blowjob to be porn (however beautiful!) while I would consider the new site to be more focused on the erotic and the personal, with sex as a part of that.

So, what does this mean?  Can varying levels of porn and “non-porn” sex videos live in harmony?  I think the solution is more and variety, not less and exclusivity.  What do you think?

The Oatmeal on Making Things

Comic from the Oatmeal about making things

This is a really great comic.  The Oatmeal comes up with many clever and touching things, and this is no exception.  It’s all about the experience of creating content specifically for the web.  Although he makes comics and I make porn, the experience actually doesn’t seem to be all that different.

For one, the above comic panels illustrates how it can feel like inspiration is elusive.  I know it sounds funny to say that about blowjobs, but we really do try to make each video different.  Different angles, looks, sensations, focuses, backgrounds, outfits, styles…  This Friday marks the 400th update on The Art of Blowjob.  It’s phenomenal to think that we’ve come this far and managed to keep things fresh.  It’s exciting.

The other thing is the importance of balancing the delicate art of listening to suggestions and comments and not being completely swayed to change beyond what is comfortable and reasonable.  We have certainly evolved over the years, but it’s not because people want to see me do particular things, but rather that there are things I want to try sharing.

For those of you who make creative things and share them, do you ever feel like any of this?  Or even if you don’t, have you felt similar feelings about the ways in which you relate to the world?  It’s funny to think that a hilarious comic could so succinctly describe the interesting experience of putting yourself and your work out there to the world.

Porn or HBO?

We already know that we want more penis on HBO, but that’s because there’s already such a sexy precedent set by the channel!  This video exemplifies just that…  HBO sex scenes, when taken out of context, sound exactly like porn.  Many of their shows feature softcore takes on extremely hardcore sex in situations that might not even organically come up in most porn…  At least not the porn I make.  They’re certainly more intense than the average bedroom, I’d believe.

This is fantasy, of course, but it’s still quite vivid…  As is porn!  Maybe I should be thanking HBO for normalizing this level of vivid erotic content.  After all, if you can see all of the things on Girls, True Blood, Game of Thrones, etc…  What’s to keep you from logging on and looking for some high-quality cinematic porn after your favourite show is over, just when your appetite is whet and ready for a little more?

Are there any sex scenes (and we’ll open this up to non-HBO shows and movies, too) that have made you unbelievably turned on?  Would these scenes, if they did contain non-staged sex, basically be porn, at least when taken out of context?  Or is there a difference outside of the fact that it’s mainstream television, so it couldn’t possibly be objectionable?  Oh, and I hope you find the video funny, too!  I think it’s pretty charming.

Brand New Sex and Nudity Site – CamilleCrimson.com

Gorgeous redhead Camille Crimson having sex

This is a long time coming.  This is a long, long, long time coming.  I have heard every single time someone has told me to show more nudity, take more photos and make videos featuring penetrative sex…  I promise, I have.  But I wanted to wait until the moment was right and I could really focus on making a website that would reflect me and my sexuality throughout the years and in the present.  Luckily, that time is now.  I present to you: CamilleCrimson.com.

The site is still in beta while we bulk up the content, but my friends on my blog and through social media get the first sneak peek.  You can sign up as of right now and see the 40 updates we have so far.  That’s already nothing to sneeze at…  Though you may need a tissue after.  It’s a mix of some vintage content showing different sides of my sexuality and more and more new content, ranging from cute teases to hot sex videos.  We already have a few of them, but there will be more where that came from.

I would really love to know what you think of it, from the layout to the content to the decision to go in this direction.  I’m incredible proud of it, and I think that it’s the perfect way to show a different side of myself and share my sexuality in a new way.  Thank you so much for being such a supportive environment.  I’m glad I can share this with you here first.