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Is There Such a Thing as Spiritual Porn?

The negative impact of sexism, stereotypes, and degrading language used in porn.
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Lately, I haven’t been feeling too happy about my job as a porn producer, and I’ve started to contemplate an interesting subject… spiritual porn.

Navigating the complexities of sex requires a deep understanding of its intricate dynamics. It can be an act that can be blissful and satisfying or painful and confusing.

Furthermore, in our culture, sex and gender are intertwined in a way that’s not really healthy. I previously talked about the insidious effects of sexism. The idea that we are compelled to act a certain way based on the sex organs that we have leads to expectations and stereotypes that are harmful. Sexism produces nonsensical ideas like “Real men don’t cry” and “Women should look pretty for their husbands.” We try to live based on a conflicting list of shoulds and should-nots.

And truly, women get the short end of the stick when it comes to sexism because the rules to which we are supposed to adhere are extremely confining and impossible. We should be sexy because that’s desirable, but not too sexy because that’s dangerous. Ultimately, mousy women are not attractive, and vampy women are rape bait.

My Career in the Sex Industry

I operate on a daily basis smack in the middle of the age-old controversy. I write columns that contemplate whether women hate porn and if women who like sex are wicked. I’ve debunked the theory that getting raped can make you become a lesbian. As a sex-positive feminist, I feel that my life’s work will be in disentangling the myths about sex and trying to spread the good word.

I’m not perfect. I don’t always get things right. I’ve been accused of sexism and misogyny, and I feel really bad when that happens. The truth is that I get it hard from both sides. Many conservatives think porn degrades women, and on the other end of the spectrum, many liberal, so-called “second-wave” feminists feel the same way for different reasons.

And These Voices Aren’t Necessarily Wrong!

Porn is very often degrading to women, to gay men, to transsexuals, and to women of color. The other day, I was perusing a competitor’s website, one of those sites with lots and lots of categories, and some of the descriptive titles really disturbed me: A Father’s Lust 2; It’s Okay, She’s My Mother; 18 and Abused. I’m afraid even to click on those videos, because I don’t want that kind of Internet trail on my computer.

The standard way in which the industry describes sex must change.

Straight porn calls women “horny sluts,” “whores,” and “stupid bitches.” People of color remain in siloes according to race. Sex between white and black people is still called “interracial,” whereas sex between white and Latino people, for instance, is not. Black women earn the term “hoes with big asses.”

Female-to-male transfolk receive the stamp of “shemales” and trick straight men into trysts. Male-to-female transfolk are almost nonexistent (except in queer porn, which generally features them in a positive light). In many cases, there is no humanity, and only genitalia make the description and the footage (for instance, “Watch this big hairy cunt take a huge cock”).

What’s up with all the depersonalization and disrespectful language?

A big trend in porn seems to be showcasing incest. The Huffington Post ran a story about the Sexxxtons, a mother/daughter duo who regularly appear side-by-side in porn scenes. Although the pair claim that they aren’t breaking the law because they don’t touch each other onscreen, they do admit to having had a threesome offscreen. There’s a plethora of porn showing fictional father/daughter sex scenes, too. As an incest survivor, let me assure you that there’s nothing sexy about sexual abuse.

Free speech proponents and others defend depictions of sexual abuse and say, “Come on. It’s just a fantasy.” Producers say, “It ain’t my fault! I’m just selling a product that people want to buy.” I’m not suggesting that watching porn will turn you into a child molester, but what does it say about us as a society that so much of that kind of porn is on the market? Why are we glorifying rape and incest?

Another Caveat

I also understand that some people might feel that lesbian sex is objectionable and, therefore, find fault with my company’s product. That’s fine. However, I don’t shoot in a manner that makes my porn stars look underage. I choose not to show radical imbalances in power and authority that appear when a much older person seduces someone far less experienced. I empower my stars by allowing them to negotiate the boundaries of their scenes. And lastly, I try to market my movies in a way that is respectful to the women who have courageously bared their bodies.

I Might Make Porn… But I Have Morals

It bothers me deeply when people assume that I have no morals because I make porn. I’m not religious, but I am guided by a strong sense of ethics and by principles that grow stronger with all my experiences and mistakes.

I constantly evaluate and rethink the way in which I present my business and the way in which I talk about sex. Spirituality is a big part of my life and my inner landscape. Love, respect, and empathy are my core values. I don’t think we have to choose between being a good person and being sexual. I think we are happiest and most harmonious as people when we find a balance between body, mind, and spirit.

So why is porn so off-kilter?

Originally published by the Huffington Post on Jan 24, 2013

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