This is not an essay about porn

Let us dispense with the 4,000-word essay I could write on why it is acceptable for me not only to make pornography, but to refuse to separate it from the rest of my body of work. I claim the right to do this.

As you may know, Dylan and I have been posting more-and-less experimental erotic documentaries on Make Love Not Porn, a “social sex” platform that aims (in a world where almost everyone watches highly staged porn on a semi-regular basis) to normalize the recording and viewing of everyday sexual acts and sexuality. Given that the internet is becoming an increasingly puritanical place (see, for example, Tumblr’s rejection of its own raison d’etre and the recent American legislation that severely limits the safety and freedoms of sex workers) and that representing oneself sexually online is still a surefire way to compromise many people’s (read: many women’s and many trans and non-binary people’s) reputations and job prospects, despite the fact that sexuality of some strain or another defines and affects almost every (if not every) human being on the planet, I believe it is vitally important to participate in this movement.

While MLNP is not an artistic (or, according to many definitions of the word, “pornographic”) platform per se, we’ve chosen it (over Vimeo, Porn Hub, or independent hosting) because: 1) it puts our videos in front of people who are already open and eager to explore explicit, unstaged sex on screen, 2) it’s not only free for us to use, but actually enables us to make a bit of money off of rentals, 3), it, unlike Porn Hub, presents material in a non-misogynistic, ethical, shameless light, 4) it makes it more straightforward to affiliate ourselves with MLNP’s extensive and admirable advocacy and education work on what it means to share one’s sexual life on the internet.

As an artist, the idea that sex, especially my own, should be off-limits (whether as subject, object, or mode of exploration) seems ludicrous. I will make work about whatever I find most compelling, and lately sex and polyamorous relationships are more interesting to me than just about anything else.

Which leads me to our most recent short, which is, I think, possibly my best piece of filmmaking to date. It is certainly the best-contextualized unsimulated sex I’ve ever seen on screen.

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I wanted to make a film to honour my own erotic imagination. A film about what I find exciting. And so this one opens with text, one of the most reliable ways to turn me on, and goes on to include rough sex, laughter, power exchange, community (our friend Hannah was in charge of the camera and ended up providing some directorial input as well), conversation, and references to one of Dylan’s other partners. This is a multi-dimensional look at one of richest, most telling activities that I participate in. It’s designed to be comprehensible and enjoyable to my audience. It attempts to expand what it means to make and watch pornography, and maybe even reclaim that activity as something beautiful, thought-provoking, healthy (and yes, hot).

Our MLNP handle is Hierophant. You can watch the film here.

For a look at what the professionals are up to, check out Four Chambers and (obviously) Erica Lust’s XConfessions.


(See? Only 553 words.)