Monday, March 30, 2009

Now You Can Buy Your Very Own Copy of The Price of Pleasure

That's right folks. You too can own a DVD of The Price of Pleasure for just 29.95, complete with all its stolen, non-2257-compliant sexually explicit footage. No proof of age required. You don't even need a credit card. They'll happily take your money with all the convenience of Paypal.

Don't let this stirring example of bullshit agitprop ... er ... courageous documentary film making get away. All you have to do is mouse-click on over to The Price of Pleasure promotional Web site at and you'll be able to order your DVD, regardless of who you are and what your interests might be, directly from the producers. You don't need to be affiliated with any educational or research institution such as might conceivably qualify for exemption under 2257 record-keeping requirements or even have to state that you are over eighteen to see the hardest XXX images the producers were able to acquire.

All you need is a Paypal account and a strong stomach and this baby's all yours. So hustle on over right now and add this to the collection of stuff you hide under the bed.

The Price of Pleasure - you know you want it and now it can be all yours for not much more than a copy of Grand Theft Auto.

And you'll be supporting a noble cause. An unspecified portion of your payment will be used to defray the expenses of the producers and their associates as they travel the nation decrying the evils of the kind of material they're peddling to the general public. You too can enjoy the satisfaction of feeling morally superior to the creators and consumers of the stolen material contained in this movie while being horrified, titillated and shamed all at the same time.

Don't miss out. Order your copy of The Price of Pleasure Today. Just $29.95 while supplies last, or until the producers get busted by the feds.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Sexting": The New Sex Moral Panic...or Web Porn 2.0??

Much has been made in the media recently on the supposed dangers of "sexting", the phenomenom of using cellphones using "3G" wireless technology to send and receive sexually explicit images and text to each other. It has particularly become grounds for recent well-publicized prosecutions of individuals (especially teens) under "child pornography" laws for sending such images over their wireless phone lines. One such prosecution in New York State drew the unexpected disapproval -- of the prosecution, not the child -- of the mother of the child who inspired "Meaghan's Law" (see story here).

And then there was the story (which I documented here) of Jessie Logan, the young woman who ended up committing suicide last year after being severely harrassed and bullied by her classmates after one of her nude photos ended up being "sextexted" over the Internet. That particular case has been unsurprisingly exploited by the dominant MSM and by "child security experts" as a crutch to ban "sexting" as a means of "protecting children" from the apparent harm of sexual images.

Fortunately, though, saner and less ideologically motivated voices have come forth to debunk the scare tactics and excessive panic over teen "sexting". Dr. Marty Klein, the emminent sex therapist and social commentator, has recently come forth (via here, h/t to Aspasia at LaLibertine's Salon) )to defend "sexting" as a form of simple adolescent human interaction that should not be prosecuted.

Arresting these kids for the creation, possession, or distribution of child pornography is a perversion of the law. It turns the 15-year-old who poses into both a victim and a perpetrator (what kind of law does that?). It defines a stupid boyfriend as a snarling predator.

And by watering down the definition of “child pornography,” it undermines our attempts to reduce the actual sexual exploitation of children, and to catch and treat those who would really harm our kids. Real child pornography is a record of child abuse. “Sexting” is a record of adolescent hijinks. Lumping the two together reflects adult anxiety about young people’s sexuality, not a sophisticated understanding of it.

And what about the supposed “dangers” of “sexting”? School counselors, police, even Bill O’Reilly all agree that kids’ lives could be ruined—by insane laws making them lifetime criminals, not by any actual harm. “These photos will be on the internet forever,” we’re warned—yes, and quickly forgotten. And in twenty years, everyone’s physician, accountant, and local sheriff will have nude photos of themselves somewhere on the web. Welcome to the 21st century.

Ironically, the campaign against “sexting” holds kids to a higher standard of judgment than adults. With adults, we generally don’t criminalize poor judgment unless it involves coercion or demonstrable harm. If you take nude photos of your wife, and send them to her friends the day after your divorce, she can call you a bastard (which you would be), but she can’t sue you. She certainly can’t get you on a sex offender registry that lumps you in with rapists and child molesters. But that’s what angry adults like Cynthia Logan want.

And this week, the alternative online daily CounterPunch posted an essay by author David Rosen which basically repudiates the entire argument for censoring "sexting" on its face, as well as dissecting concerns about the Obama Administration adopting such censorship. An excerpt:

These are but a few examples of a new and growing social phenomenon known as sexting. Adolescents are sending and receiving explicit snapshots or video clips of themselves or other teens from their cellphones or handheld PDAs like a Blackberry. The original image is then often resent to an ever-expanding universe of viewers.

Sexting is a post-modern form of flirting, a game of sexual show-&-tell; so far, it hasn’t involved sexual predators. A recent study indicates that one in five teens have either sent or received such images. [see “Nails in the Coffin: Last Gasps of the Culture Wars?,” CounterPunch, January 30-February 1, 2009]

What makes these incidents most troubling, especially the ones on the Cape and in Greenburg-Salem, is that the participants can face felony child pornography charges. The Greenburg girls, who are 14- and 15-years and allegedly took nude or semi-nude photos of themselves, face charges of manufacturing, disseminating or possessing child pornography; and the boys, who are 16- and 17-years and distributed the images, have been charged with possession.

Each generation re-imagines the erotic. In this process, notions of the pornographic or the obscene are challenged and changed. And in the process, the generation is changed, its erotic sensibility remade, thus shifting the sexual landscape. The eroticism of today’s teens is not that of their grandparents, let alone their parents.

Today’s popular culture is based on aesthetically rich, Web 2.0 digital connectivity. This digital culture engenders a new erotic sensibility. CDs and streaming video extend traditional forms of erotic representation of a book or a film-TV program. Web 2.0 social networking opens communications to two-way exchanges, group associations and shared experiences. Sexting extends the functionality of mobile communications by adding images and, in the process, expands popular erotic sensibility.

The entire essay is a rich history of how sexual imagery and media is transformed through technology and personal demand, and how attempts to control and/or censor such media simply end up being as much ineffective as it is damaging to the principles of free speech and expression.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some words about sex and the pubic square

An interesting post over at The Legal Satyricon on pubic shaving and "porn culture". The article gives a much-needed and historically-informed smackdown to the idea that shaved pubic hair is solely driven by the porn industry or that there is a ubiquitous "porn culture" that is dictating how women present themselves sexually:
With the long history of pubic shaving packed into a few paragraphs, lets look at that term — “porn culture.” What a deliciously expedient rhetorical tool. I think that the good professor is perhaps a bit under-exposed to what “Porn Culture” really is. The fact is this:

There. Is. No. Such. Thing.

One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it completely democratized porn. Back when you needed a lot of money to run a porn company, and only a few companies controlled the market, you had “porn culture.” The marketplace demanded that porn companies aim at the bulls-eye of sexual preferences, which usually followed along with body types and body images that Madison Avenue and Hollywood fed to us. Therefore, most porn actors and actresses looked relatively similar.


How we dress, adorn and decorate, and yes, groom ourselves may relate to our personal feelings on hygiene or religious practices. However, when it comes to pubic hair in western culture, it largely has to do with sexuality and the many varieties of things that flip our perverbial switches. So, while one person’s approach to pubic hair maintenance may be largely pragmatic, others may do it to attend (however minimally) to their particular erotic ideal. Unless you believe that attending to any erotic ideal is bad and oppressive, there’s no reason that pubic grooming is any better or worse a practice than the many other erotic ideals out there.

(A note on one thing that did make me wince a bit about the article is toward the end – the emphasis on the word "empowering" in a way that now seems a bit dated for those of us who have been around the block in debates about choice and empowerment – in a word, issues like this are a typically far too nuanced to fit into simple "empowerment vs. exploitation" rhetoric.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prohibitionism marches on

More bad news from the legal front – the long-running Extreme Associates obscenity case is drawing to a close, with EA owners Robert and Janet Zicari (aka Rob Black and Lizzy Borden) copping guilty pleas. Story here, here, and here. Reason magazine provides further background here.

Black and Borden face up to five years in prison for the "crime" of producing extreme porn that included violent imagery. (Though at least they're not facing a potential 50 years each, as they were under their original counts.) And unlike the earlier Max Hardcore conviction, this is entirely about the content of their videos – to the best of my knowledge, in this case there are no rumors of non-consensual incidents on the production end which some people offered up as a round-about justification for Hardcore's obscenity prosecution.

Whether or not this round of obscenity prosecutions is just a bad hangover from the Bush years remains to be seen. As the Reason article points out, Mary Beth Buchanan, the right-wing moral crusader who's leading the EA prosecution, is asking to keep her job under the current administration. And the dual choices of Eric Holder and David Ogden for the number 1 and number 2 spots in the Justice Department show no clear indication of what federal obscenity policy will look like for the next 4-8 years, though hopefully the fact that the nation is facing much bigger issues will reaveal moral crusades like this for the waste of resources that they are.

In other news, Iceland is poised to become the first country in the world to impose a blanket ban on the entire sex industry. Pornography is already completely illegal there (at least in theory), and the new Left government there is about to put in place Swedish-style laws against buying sex, and goes one further by also banning strip clubs. Thus, in one country at least, achieving the anti-sex industry trifecta that prohibitionists have been shooting for. All, as usual, justified by rhetoric claiming that all sex work drives human trafficking. Further background here. It is interesting to note that in the story I just linked to, Iceland is considered a desirable enough place to work that strippers were coming to Iceland of their own volition from places like the Netherlands and Puerto Rico. However, the fine upstanding social democrats now in charge of the country have decided that this is all exploitation without bothering to ask anybody who actually works in that industry whether they are being exploited.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sasha Grey Speaks Out

(H/T to Aspasia and Fleshbot):

The Daily Nexus, the UC Santa Barbara student paper, just published a response by Sasha Grey to an article by Jenni Perez, that paper's sex columnist. The article was in many ways a kind of a "Female Chauvinist Pigs" rehash and a description of the authors prior experiences of self-objectification, but it needlessly singled out Sasha Grey in particular as representative of a kind of inauthentic female sexuality the Perez once suffered from. Sasha responds:

Sex on camera is performance. While I enjoy the same pleasures at home, I’m not attempting to “keep the train moving” in a sex scene; I am there for myself and for my audience…not to stroke the egos of my male counterparts. At home, I am there strictly for my partner and myself.

I am neither ashamed or reluctant to admit what I do is performance art; I have also expressed that at times I come prepared with dialogue. This resonates two of my primary objectives in the adult business (in which the supermodel’s show cut out of my response) one: challenge the idea of what women are supposed to like or be like in bed, and two: most of the porn I used to watch was boring and I wanted to make it more fulfilling for myself and viewers. These statements were made in order to challenge the one dimensional, romanticized Hollywood-idealized perception of “couples friendly sex”.

Aside from my objective, I also enjoy many facets of sex that most people can’t fathom.

I fetishize psychological play; I enjoy perverse “disgusting dirty talk” and improvisational fantasy of such acts. This also allows me another area of exploration in a business where many men are jaded by the sex they are having, it gives me the opportunity to push them for an honest reaction, an animalistic response if you will, that you don’t see in many adult films.

Entertainment often makes satirical references to dirty talk, and as we all know satire/comedy is derived from real life experiences-people enjoy it but are afraid to talk about it without making a joke, as are most sexual exploits. As human beings we often make fun of what we don’t understand, personally I refuse to live a fear-based life. Like insensitive gay jokes of bygone and present generations, bdsm and rough sex are the new black.

I am a very sexually healthy young woman and I take pride in the liberation of female sexuality, I have a cause, I am determined, and I am a hard worker (pun intended). As a sex symbol, with an intellectual stance, I am and will continue to be vilified, and I am ok with that…in fact I am content; it gives me the opportunity to shed the light on the darker areas of sex and validate the insecurities of sexually repressed women. The days of victimized, disturbed porn stars (and civilian women) are fading away… I am the new breed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How Does An Ageless Sex Goddess Celebrate Her 50th Birthday??

If you happen to be Nina Hartley, you....

1) reflect on your impact on the world at large. (Which would be, on the subject of sex and pleasure and women's sexuality, and bringing progressive values into the hardcore erotic medium, pretty much HUGE.

2) You have lots and lots of sex. (Ahhh....duh.)

3) You debut at the Huffington Post with a killer essay depicting a fictional brunch with another legend and world changer who has had her own share of ups and downs....and has managed to persevere through it all with strength.

What's that you say....Barbie's a doll, and she can't speak??? Well. let's pretend that she can, and that she and Nina decide to have a gettogether where they shoot the breeze about their lives.

Fortunately, Nina can speak, and type, and write. Based on the results, pretty damn well, too.

Show her your love by going there and reading..and then drop her some birthday wishes and some thanks for...well, just being, talking, and doing the sexy for so long.

Nina Hartley: My Brunch With Barbie (from The Huffington Post)

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Hot Air from the Windy City

So last month I posted about the meeting between Robert Jensen and Tom Dart, the Chicago-area sheriff and anti-prostitution crusader. This grandstanding prick is now making headlines suing Craigslist in federal court in an attempt to force them to drop its "erotic services" section entirely. Story here and here. Bound, Not Gagged posts a response from SWOP Chicago here.

His argument is that advertising prostitution online is promoting a "public nuisance" and should be banned on that basis. Evidently driving more prostitution back out onto the streets (which is what is likely to happen if internet prostitution is curbed) doesn't come under this guy's idea of "nuisance".

I also notice from one of the videos of Dart's press conference that the anti-prostitution group CAASE was part of it. And CAASE, in turn, is a group that has worked quite closely with Melissa Farley in the last few years and who's "Alliances" page is pretty much a laundry list of the usual suspects from the "progressive" anti-porn and anti-prostitution milieu.

I point to the latter, because I'm so sick of hearing how anti-porn radical feminists are a marginalized group that doesn't exercise real political power. Once again, very real links to powerful players in politics and law enforcement who are doing their bidding is revealed here. The antis, both Right and "Left", have real power in the real world (power that in the opinion of those of us here at least, does real harm to real people). Its about fucking time they owned up to that power.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On Proof

Short and sweet, here.

Recently I was talking online in a thread that turned to porn and trotted out the old "Porn causes addiction, and people seek harder porn as they might seek harder drugs" line. I mentioned that this was never the case with me. I don't look at porn nearly as much as I used to, for one, and for another, I'm not hopelessly obsessed with gonzo (which is where I'd definitely be these days if the theory were true.) I've also observed similar things in my lovers: we like certain things and go looking for those things, rather than "graduating" from our own preferences to those of our porny overlords.

The response was pithy snark:
Dude, over time everyone’s fantasies are dictated by porn. They may seek their own fantasies out at first, but porn use tends to escalate in nearly everyone.
Bleak indeed! I guess I'll be jilling off to Max Hardcore when I'm sixty, then. Maybe the process is just slow.

Of course, I asked for the proof, and got an answer: Simply consult the almighty Google!
There have been so many studies about people’s porn use “escalating” that I’m sure you could Google a few thousand. Porn is more like drugs or booze than books; it’s a taboo, it’s tied to pleasure, etc. That means escalation is very, very likely. And I can tell you that every dude I know who is willing to discuss his porn use will admit to escalation.
You can't make this shit up.

That's the thing that gets me, really. These people feel totally comfortable stating something as fact, but when pressed can't even remember the name of any study that even supposedly proves them right.

Where I come from that's called believing old wives' tales, and about as silly as thinking that waving dead chickens over warts will cure them, but apparently it's been proven to them...