National Masturbation Month has come around again – hooray! What better way to welcome the spring, and look forward to summer, than with a whole month dedicated to self-pleasure?
Petra and I were talking about the best way to celebrate the month, and we decided that as we’ve recently discussed male masturbation in porn, it’d be great to highlight some of the more unique methods of female masturbation. Even though most mainstream porn shows women wanking frantically air guitar style whilst staring into the camera more focused on doing a great performance than genuinely getting off, Petra told me that:
“Alternative porn is great for celebrating new ways to document self-pleasuring. There is a legendary scene of Annie Sprinkle having an earth-shattering megagasm using a Hitachi Magic Wand on herself in her classic film “Sluts and Goddesses”. Annie is completely absorbed in the self pleasure and seems to have forgotten that she is on a film set. I also love the ground-breaking film “Orgasm – Faces Of Ecstasy” that features women (and men) of all ages pleasuring themselves but all we see are their faces, uncut. The range of emotions is beautiful and this intimate glimpse of other people’s self-pleasuring is liberating and inspirational.”
Let’s be honest: women’s bodies are subject to a hell of a lot of scrutiny. From what we’re wearing (Short skirt? Make up? Type of underwear?) to our physical appearance itself (Colour, shape, size, body hair – you name it).
If you’re a woman, you know this already.
If you’re a now-infamous brand of protein and weight loss supplements, you clearly don’t.
You’ll probably have seen the Protein World posters, and the backlash against them, in the news. A few weeks ago bright yellow adverts appeared on the London Underground – a slim, toned model staring sultrily at the camera, and in huge lettering the question: “Are you beach body ready?” The image was pretty stark, and the implication caused outrage. Why, in order to be ‘ready’ for the beach, must women dedicate themselves to making sure that their bodies match that of the model?
While there are plenty of straight porn films which feature women masturbating – whether with a partner or on their own – there are far fewer films which really celebrate the beauty of guys jerking off, and package and present that to straight women.
It’s not impossible to find videos of men masturbating, of course. There’s gay porn, for a start. But in mainstream straight porn, male masturbation is incredibly rare. If I want to find a video that gives me a long, hot look at a guy masturbating, usually it’s one of those homemade porn videos where he props the camera on a stand so you can watch the action. Understandably, given that most of these guys aren’t porn stars, the action is limited to a close-cropped, often low-quality shot of them jerking off. I love this type when I’m in the mood, but it’s missing something really significant: the face.
The nominations are out for the 2015 Feminist Porn Awards – a great opportunity to celebrate fantastic porn performers and producers, as well as have a broader discussion around feminist porn. Of course it’s also fantastic to see Petra’s pleasure-focused porn film (S)he Comes in the running for an award too.
When Petra approached me and asked me to write for her site, I leapt at the chance. We’d been following each other on Twitter for a while, and connected because of a mutual passion for amazing porn, and a frustration with the ‘porn is bad for you’ narrative. Both Petra and I believe that the solution to mainstream porn that’s formulaic and lacking in diversity is not to censor porn, but to show people that there’s a much better alternative out there!
While I’ve always been a fan of well-made porn, it’s only since I started sex blogging that I’ve become more engaged and involved with erotic film-makers, and passionate about what feminist porn can do. Not just in terms of enhancing and catering to women’s fantasies, but in showing everyone that sexuality doesn’t have to be limited to the narrow, mainstream idea of what porn currently is.