A Guide to Ethical Porn Consumption

Although our society has many faults, we’re undoubtedly becoming more ethically conscious. We’re moving towards sustainable living by boycotting plastic and supporting slow fashion bands. However, our ethical standards don’t hold up when it comes to watching porn.

Porn is everywhere – whether we’re watching it or not. In 2018, Pornhub got 33.5 billion visits. That’s almost 92 million visitors mindlessly wanking to mainstream porn every day. This is probably because most of us shy away from discussing the ins and outs of porn, mainly as there is a vocal contingent that maintains it as the source of society’s problems.

There’s no question that mainstream porn gets a lot of things wrong about sex. Porn found on tube sites, such as Pornhub, typically features videos involving rigid, linear closed roles and identities. Women are usually portrayed as submissive and objects to be degraded and used, whilst men are usually displayed as only able to sustain erections and not relationships. Anything outside the mainstream categories of heterosexual, white and thin, is fetishized and reduced to harmful stereotypes.

The female orgasm suffers because of the misogynistic laws that govern the industry. In 2014, the BBFC banned female ejaculation from porn, meaning that you can watch performers with penises jizzing with wild enthusiasm, but the intense orgasm of a vagina-having person is illegal. However, if you care about the equal presentation of genders and sexualities, it’s time that you seek out some ethical porn.

Ethical porn can be used as an empowering tool to help you exercise curiosity and fantasy. By choosing to embrace sexual realism, the main concerns of ethical porn are the consent, pleasure and well-being of the performers. Ethical porn also places no moral value on different sex acts, instead choosing to explore the diversity of human sexuality. This involves producing films inclusive of all genders, sexualities and kinks. “It’s important to broaden our vision of sexuality,” says adult film director and sex-positive producer Erika Lust, “for me it’s about real people experiencing good relations together.”

If you care that performers are treated fairly, the answer isn’t to boycott all porn, but to start paying for your pleasure. This means staying clear of tube sites which pirate porn and wrongly share it for free without the consent of the filmmakers. This contributes to the problematic anonymity of mainstream porn, where the actors and directors go uncredited so it’s difficult to know if the actors were paid or treated fairly.

Interested in sourcing ethical porn? Try Lust Cinema, the brainchild of Erika Lust, which is a subscription website for ethical adult cinema that is produced and directed with a feminist lens. Erika’s productions showcase people from diverse backgrounds with different body types but ensures that these physical traits don’t shape or influence the narrative. She’s also dedicated to creating a safe working environment for performers by getting to know which acts they’re happy doing, which lubricants they like to use, and if there is anything or anyone they are unhappy about working with.

PinkLabel.tv is a hub for emerging adult filmmakers that hosts some of the most inclusive porn available. Not only is it a helpful resource for those looking to find more ethical porn from independent filmmakers, it hosts queer, trans, people of colour, disabled and older filmmakers as part of its large community.

Director Jacky St. James is another great choice for ethical porn. Not only does St. James aim to change women’s views on sexuality, she promotes their own desires as paramount. St. James is also known for the BDSM themes in her films, which she began to explore after feeling unhappy with its portrayal in Fifty Shades of Grey. Her films right the wrongful depiction of BDSM relationships portrayed in the film, which originally angered the BDSM community.

How do I know if the porn I’m watching is ethical?

Research the performers – Twitter can be a great source for finding adult performers, and you’ll know if they’re happy with their work by the way they’re promoting it. It’s also a good idea to seek out a production company’s behind-the-scenes content to see how the video was made. This will help you ensure that the workplace environment allowed for happy consenting actors.

If you’ve found that the ethics of mainstream porn really don’t do it for you, it’s time to branch out and find new sites. Having to dedicate time to research content for future masturbatory experiences may feel like a chore, but sexy ethical porn that focuses on female pleasure is bound to get you off.

Jaimie Hampton

 

UPDATE: This article has been edited to remove an erroneous statement.

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