Life during lockdowns - part 2 - playing at home In part 2 of our Lockdown special, having looked at how to work at or from home yesterday, today, we're going to take a brief delve into how to stay entertained and specifically at the area of online adult entertainment.
This, it has to be stated upfront, can rightly be a contentious issue on a number of levels and we do not intend to take a stance on many of these but we are going to defend the need for an acceptable way to access pornography online and that it needs to be inclusive, non-exploitative, ethical, private and decentralized.
The simple facts are that porn production and consumption are more prevalent than ever and have, frankly, been around since the beginning of time. Suffice to say, a lot of the moral and ethical issues surrounding it have been around that long as well. These, in turn, have morphed and deviated as social mores and religious influences have ebbed and flowed.
The current global situation, and the enforced layoff and isolation that so many of us are enduring, provides us with an opportunity to re-evaluate so many things we do in our lives.How we interact with others, what we value and how these collide and impact on others.
And why shouldn't our collective porn habit and substantive changes to that be part of that process? Ethical porn, which focuses on performers' rights, consent, content and legality has increasingly become a central issue within the industry, isn't it about time that we, the consumer, exercised our rights & purchasing power to help drive this change?
Questions to ask (and answer) when searching for ethical (and ethically made) porn
We all want to be good, upstanding, ethical humans, maybe particularly so when it comes to sex and that includes when consuming erotic media!
Watching porn with others (your partner, SO, FB or other consenting adult(s)) can be a great opportunity to expand and explore your sexual dynamic. It's also a chance to discover what you and your partner may and may not like. Humans learn a lot by behavior modeling and a lot of us didn't grow up with a great deal of healthy modeling around sex.
However, we need to be aware of the tensions and unrealistic expectations that porn can produce and that consent remains key so you're fine on your own but should be respectful when others are involved.
Ethical adult content is defined as much by the production & consumption processes as it is by the content so here are a few things to think about when you're out there searching for it.
- Was it consensual?
Did all of the performers and members of the crew agree to be present and participate in the creation of adult content? If so, you are watching ethical porn. It's not so difficult to tell if it's not, if in doubt, just get out!
2. Was it legally made, downloaded and watched?
Not just in terms of how it was made, what it contains and who was in it but also in how you are receiving it and where.
Regardless of the ethicality of things (the laws of nature, if you will), there are also the laws of the land and in many jurisdictions, there are still prohibitions in full or part (age restrictions for example) that make it illegal to access and/or watch many things, porn included. Be situationally aware!
Free porn sites, the so-called 'tube sites', also often rely heavily on pirated material.
And accusations of monopoly and piracy aside, MindGeek, Pornhub, Xvideos and many others have been linked to troubling legal allegations including the Girls Do Porn scandal which saw a judge award US$13 million to 22 women who accused a porn producer of tricking them into performing.
3. Are you watching something that's actually porn?
If you are viewing something that showcases people without their consent or is illegal in some other way, you are not watching professionally produced adult content.
Revenge porn isn't just unethical, it's not porn!
4. Did you pay for the content you are watching?
Few things in life are free, and performers, producers and crew need to be compensated for their work. If you're watching porn for free, the chances are that it was unethically made/procured by the provider and thereby unethically consumed by you. This particularly includes tube sites which masquerade as ethical but can be largely populated with content that was obtained for little or nothing either by illegal procurement (sold on by owner or part owner or other without consent) or piracy (outright theft).
Actors may face external pressure to create content be it economic necessity, peer or partner pressure or employer coercion, regardless, respect all sex workers, you have to ensure they are paid as the claim of being ethical hangs on this.
5. Can it ever not violate human rights?
In the interests of fairness & balance, there are serious, legitimate concerns that porn has many social downsides...the objectification of women leading to,
or encouraging,exploitative behavior, addiction, even trafficking and the persecution of minorities.
This is a matter for the individual and if you can't get beyond the feeling that porn is degrading to society and a catalyst for sexual exploitation in all its forms, then it is unlikely you should go on any further.
Generally speaking, in our/my view, an ethical porn production is one where the performers are paid a fair wage and treated with respect and where no-one is made to perform acts with which they're not comfortable. It should also feature a diverse range of bodies, preferences, genders and proclivities, it should be inclusive and it has to be legal, by the rules of law and of nature.
Finally, before we let you loose on the sites we have identified for your future entertainment needs, we thought we would share a couple of practical tips to, maybe, ease or avoid some of the potential pitfalls of porn pleasuring.
1. Black screen blunder
Recently, an employee of a large London financial firm phoned in sick but volunteered to 'work from home'. After a couple of hours on day 1 of this enforced absence, he received the following email from his line manager:
"Good morning, hope you are feeling better. Can see you are logged on via remote access. Your screen is visible here and we can see you watching porn in between enquiries. If you go to the menu bar, one of the icons will have a Black screen option. If you click on this it will blank out your screen here and you can continue in private. Have a good day"
2. The VPN veil
PornHub in Italy just announced that it's Premium service would be free in that country until this crisis is over..so you understand how VPNs work, right? If not, find the chapter on these in the Privacy Cookbook and learn all about them!
Many people are watching porn, whether they admit it or not. But aren't you tired of just doing the same old thing to get off online over and over?
One company, MindGeek, pretty much dominates the mainstream online porn landscape.
In addition to Pornhub, it also owns RedTube, YouPorn, Xtube, Brazzers, Reality Kings amongst many others. In fact, in the USA, it owns three of the top 10 sites and seven of the top 100.
So if you're wondering why you're becoming bored by the most widely available mainstream porn, Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek, deserves part of that blame.
But never fear, the internet is overflowing with porn and erotic alternatives that will re-energize your self-love sessions. There are whole worlds of unique NC-17 content just waiting to be discovered suitable for both aficionados and newbies. There are sites with artsy high productions, the down and dirty, kinky, genuine amateurs, personalized experiences with stars and an underrated category of erotica that isn't just video porn.
We cannot vouch for the quality of the content or the production values of any of the following sites, as the remit of our research only went so far (didn't go all the way), however, they do all broadly pass the benchmarks we suggested earlier.
So in no particular order, here are a few places you might want to explore during your enforced layoff:
This is a blog, store and sexual education site, which hosts hundreds of streaming feminist porn videos. The company is committed to supporting healthy, inclusive business practices such as offering women and trans only hours in their (Canadian) store, supplying sustainably produced products and carefully curating its erotic content. If you're getting porn from them, you can be confident that its been vetted by people who are well acquainted with ethical production and genuinely care about it.
It's a collection primarily of masturbation videos mostly featuring female-identifying participants. Female masturbation content can be helpful for women and their partners and as there is still a lot of socialized stigma around the subject, IFeelMyself does a great job of redressing that. Their collection of over 5,000 videos includes all body types and emphasizes an honest, diverse and artful depiction of sexual pleasure.
This is not exactly a porn site. It's an educational video series produced by researchers at the Indiana University and The Kinsey Institute, who interviewed thousands of women about the techniques they enjoy sexually.
There are demonstration videos, as well as an interactive section that allows you to practice the various techniques on a touch screen. OmgYes is a website, but it works like an app and is available on desktop, phone and/or tablet. It's a fun and educational experience on your own or with a partner.
Categorizing itself as a feminist porn site, it provides ethical, free content through a partnership program with curated and lengthy free clips directly from the creators. They also include paid videos from their in-house studio, Bellesa Films.
Suitable for beginners or those with more softcore, women-friendly, sex-positive tastes that are on a budget and don't like to waste too much time searching getting off.
This performer-oriented platform is all about creating a space where free porn helps instead of hurts content creators. With a format that spotlights performers who are usually just starting out and trying to make a name for themselves, it includes only the free clips they offer, from interviews to previews to full videos.
MVTube not only serves as a promotional tool for newcomers to build a loyal following, but also provides 67 cents for every 1,000 views. It includes inclusive categories that are much more queer-friendly than the typical tube site.
An unexpected haven of ethical and free communal horniness that has an abundance of thriving porn sub-reddits where there's basically something for everyone.
You'll find the kind of grounded, guilt free, home video stuff that leaves you feeling like maybe this whole porn thing can actually be a net positive for society. It's also perfect for voyeurs and exhibitionists.
If you know Reddit, you'll know the best moderators take their rules seriously. In each of these sub-reddits, the identity and age of every submission is vetted and protected to ensure the content isn't being uploaded maliciously.
BDSM is one of the most misunderstood forms of porn, often used as evidence to show how it is misogynistic and, therefore, bad it is for us. Kink.com proves the contrary, considered one of the most ethical names in porn while providing a seemingly endless library for every type of perversion.
OnlyFans has created a new category in adult entertainment. Essentially combining social media influencers and models with the appeal of camming, it's a platform that gives fans direct access to much racier versions of their Insty faves' feeds (for a fee). You can even DM them with personal requests!
This predominantly app-based platform provides a expanding library of high production audio erotica for all orientations, experience levels and proclivities. There are even guided sessions, like partnered exercises for dirty talk or mindful sex exercises and because the sex is all imaginary, and the platform is subscription-based (meaning contributors are paid), there really aren't many stronger ethical guarantees.
A longstanding showcase for written erotica, Literotica engages your mind as much as anything!It's a community that pushes you to consider new perspectives and ways of getting off and even provides you with ideas you can bring to the bedroom.
Authors submit their own work for consideration and continue to own the copyright.Also, as we're talking about imaginary sex, you know you're getting your rocks off ethically.
Its creator, Cindy Gallop, insists it's not porn, nor is it 'amateur'. Instead, it's positioned as the antithesis to PornHub and all tube site porn, as a "social sex" environment where you can upload yourself or watch others have "real world sex."
There's something for all tastes and, more importantly, inclusive of all different bodies, orientations and races. MLNP introduced categories that are less crude and help you to see content in new ways.