Transsexual (porn) superstar Buck Angel.

buckangel3

photo credit: Isauro Cairo

This is Buck Angel, as mentioned in class. He’s a transsexual porn superstar, educator, advocate and supposedly all-around awesome dude. He was recently interviewed and photographed by Dirty Magazine:

BUCK WILD
By Kirsten Matthew

Buck Angel has lived through several lifetimes. Born a girl in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, he made a living as a model (and developed a serious crack habit) before deciding to become a man, 18 years ago. As the “Man with a Pussy” he went on to marry a woman, and make award-winning porn. Now, he’s keen to mainstream, by becoming an author, educator and lecturer.

DIRTY: DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU REALIZED YOU WANTED TO BE A BOY RATHER THAN A GIRL?

BUCK ANGEL: I always felt like a man. It wasn’t ‘I think’; it was ‘I am’. My parents treated me very much like a boy. They called me Buck. They didn’t treat my sisters like that. My sisters are both butch too; they have that masculine energy. But mine was male energy. That’s not really normal but it felt normal to me. Going through puberty at 15, things started changing. That was a breaking point for me. I got into drinking and smoking pot; had a psychological breakdown. I was extremely shy. I always wore a baseball cap. I couldn’t make eye contact, start up a conversation.

[…]

D: HOW DID YOU MOVE INTO THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY?

BA: I think it was over 10 years ago or so that I made my first fetish film. It was for my own company, The Pro Dominatrix, that I started with my wife at the time. We made dominatrix and fetish (foot, smoking, bondage) films in our dungeon in downtown Los Angeles. I taught myself to use a camera and edit. We put them on VHS and sold them through the website. Then I started trying the Buck stuff. I have done 15 Buck films; most under my own label, Buck Angel Entertainment. I control my image. I only release one or two movies a year because I do not want to over-saturate the market with my product. I really love all my films. I have seen such a growth with my work and also with the talent that I am able to cast now. In the beginning it was very hard for me to cast, as people were scared to be in a film with me because they had no idea how this would reflect on their career. The adult entertainment business is very conservative in a sense that you can not really do crossover gay, straight work. But, I did it. And one more film and then I think I’m done with making adult films.

His commercial website can be found here (NSFW!).

Buck did a talk a while back at Idea City. He discussed his experiences growing up, his rise to stardom in both the adult movie industry and the popular media, and the politics and culture surrounding transsexualism. The clip of his talk is long, but worth every minute.

A documentary about Buck was released last year. Here’s the trailer:

Max Hardcore and (un)ethical porn.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

Depending on your perspective, Max Hardcore is either a champion of free speech or one of the most reviled men in the porn industry (second only, perhaps, to Khan Tusion, the director of the infamous Meat Holes and Rough Sex series, etc. – to read about him it’s brutal, so heads-up, click here – it’s brutal, so heads-up). Max Hardcore recently did a 4-year stint in prison for breaking American obscenity laws. He is also successful; in other words, his content sells.

Max Hardcore’s films feature adult women dressed as, and acting like, young girls, gynecological toys and extremely rough sex. He regularly spits and urinates on his performers, and chokes them with his genitals until they vomit. [These acts aren't necessarily indicative of unethical pornography in and of themselves - what matters more is the intent, the mindsets and motivations of the performers and directors, and consent.]

Max Hardcore claims that all his performers provide free consent and that pushing their boundaries is a requisite part of the contract. Some women like performing for him, but many do not, and some have even tried to press criminal charges of sexual assault against him. Performing for him was once considered a rite of passage – i.e., if you could work for him, you could work for anyone.

Despite his claims that he treats his performers with respect and that they freely consent to work with him, anecdotal evidence suggests that his tactics can be emotionally abusive, manipulative, and that he uses soft coercion to get performers to do things they would not normally do. For many of the women that worked for him, if they refused certain acts, or stopped their scenes, they knew that their careers were in jeopardy.

This is a scene about Max Hardcore from the documentary Hardcore. You can see the rest of the documentary here, although the video quality is very poor (NSFW!).

If the previous info and clip about Max Hardcore haven’t already left a bad taste in your mouth, this is a post-scene debriefing with one of his performers likely will. Presumably, he secretly taped it as insurance against claims of misconduct and exploitation. The woman he’s talking with later accused him of sexual assault, among other things. This clip includes extremely NSFW language, is uber-creepy, and may be a trigger for those who have experienced sexual violence. It perfectly exemplifies the dark side of the industry.

This video clip is an interview with from the AVN expo, post-release from jail:

And here is a longer interview with him from 2011:

Make Love, Not Porn.

Cindy Gallops’ project, Make Love, Not Porn, has become a huge success. There are two websites, one which provides a dose of reality to counter the unreal expectations one might develop watching pornography (link). Here’s a sample (click to make larger):

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 12.27.16 PM

The other site features user-submitted video content. From the website (link):

MakeLoveNotPorn.tv is of the people, by the people, and for the people who believe that the sex we have in our everyday life is the hottest sex there is.

We are not porn – porn is performance (often an exceedingly delicious performance, but a performance nonetheless).

We are not ‘amateur’ – a label that implies that the only people doing it right are the professionals and the rest of us are bumbling idiots. (Honey, please.)

We are #realworldpeople, #realworldsex, #realworldfeelings, #realworldrelationships, #realworldbodies, #realworldhotness, #realworldeverything.

The site works on a profit-sharing basis. Users submit their videos for curation, and if posted on the site, the videos can be rented for $5. Half goes to the users, half goes to the website. Read about how it works here.

Here is a sample screenshot from the homepage (click to make larger):

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 12.46.43 PM

Repost: The limits of GGG.

In class a few weeks ago, I discussed several rules to live by when it comes to sex and one’s partners. One of those was Dan Savage’s GGG, or good, giving and game: “GGG stands for ‘good, giving, and game,’ which is what people engaging in sex should strive to be. Think ‘good in bed,’ ‘giving equal time and equal pleasure,’ and ‘game for anything—within reason.’”

However, there are limits, and this relates to what we were talking about in class last week – how to fit atypical sexual preferences into a sexual relationship that is otherwise typical. It’s also worth mentioning that vanilla sex, or typical sex, is becoming the equivalent of being described as boring. In other words, it’s starting to be seen in a negative light. Is there really anything wrong with vanilla sex?

Dan Savage posted the following letter to Savage Love:

It seems like a lot of the questions lately have been from straight women saying things like, “I want to be GGG, so I agreed to do this fantasy for my husband/boyfriend…”
Um.

Is “wanting to be GGG” the only reason they’re agreeing to these fantasies? It doesn’t sound like any of them particularly WANT to be a part of the action, they’re just agreeing to make the male partner happy, and because they want to seem cool and fun and agreeable, and they also probably want to keep the guy from straying and seeking fulfillment elsewhere. Which I guess is fine, but I’m not getting the sense that the dudes in these relationships are doing anything similar for their ladies—they’re not going outside their comfort zones to accommodate their female partners desires. It doesn’t really seem like a super great deal for these women.

Maybe you should clarify that GGG doesn’t have to mean “pretending one’s own reservations don’t exist.” It just seems like a lot of women are falling into this “must be cool and not nag and go along with what he wants” trap and your GGG concept is playing into that. I just really feel like there are not a similar amount of guys almost desperate to prove how GGG they are by going along with their female partners’ desires and fantasies.

Troubling To Me

His response:

People should be “good, giving, and game” for their partners. But GGG doesn’t mean a person has to do any damn thing their partner wants. I’ve been hammering away at that point for as long as I’ve been promoting the GGG concept. Here, for example, is some recent advice I gave to a woman who was wondering if her “GGG Card” would be revoked if she refused to vomit on her partner:

Let’s revisit my original definition of GGG: “GGG stands for good, giving, and game, which is what we should all strive to be for our sex partners. Think good in bed, giving equal time and equal pleasure, and game for anything—within reason.”

Some kinksters skip past the “within reason” part of the definition when they’re discussing kinks with vanilla partners. They shouldn’t. Extreme bondage or SM, shit and puke, emotionally tricky humiliation play, demanding that your partner have sex with other people because it turns you on (asking your partner to assume all of the physical risks that go along with that, to say nothing of the emotional risks for a partner who isn’t interested in having sex with other people), etc.—all of that falls under the FTF exclusion, or a “fetish too far,” which you’ll find in the fine print on the back of your GGG card, PUKE.

There are definite risks when someone heads out of his or her sexual comfort zone to please a partner. But anyone who learned about being GGG by reading my column will also have learned about the importance of good communication, mutual respect, and honoring a partner’s boundaries. And sometimes respect for a partner’s boundaries—respect for a partner’s limits—means a particular fantasy/kink/desire is forever off the table.

Read the rest here.

Pornography and sex ed.

pornography-300x300

From the CBC:

Pornography, Kids And Sex Education: What To Do?
Porn industry the main sex educator of kids, says child advocate
By Daniel Schwartz

More kids at ever younger ages are accessing pornography online, according to a range of international studies, but there’s not much consensus about what, if anything, should be done by parents or teachers to address the issue.

Today in Winnipeg, a children’s advocacy group called Beyond Borders will host a symposium entitled “Generation XXX, the pornification of our children.”

“The porn industry is the country’s main sex educator of our boys and girls,” says Cordelia Anderson, one of the experts scheduled to speak at the symposium, referring to the situation in the U.S.

“Young people have never had this ease of access to this type of material at this young of age,” the founding president of the U.S. National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation told CBC Radio. “This alone should encourage us to be talking about it and studying it.”

Cathy Wing, the co-executive director of Ottawa-based MediaSmarts, another conference speaker, says “we really need to talk to kids from an early age, before they become exposed to online porn.”

[…]

“Porn can have both negative and positive impacts,” says Alice Gauntley, a sex education activist and a student in gender and sexuality studies at McGill University in Montreal.

“It can reinforce sexist, racist and transphobic stereotypes and give us unrealistic expectations about sex and our bodies. But it can also be a source of pleasure and a means of exploring our sexualities.”

But for young teens with no sexual experience, processing the porn on their screens may be quite a challenge. Gauntley argues, “it is necessary to equip teens with the tools they need to make sense of the erotic material they might come across.”

Sex educators are concerned that young people are getting the wrong picture about sex from viewing online pornography.

As Wing points out, “you’re not going to get realistic portrayals in the pornography industry. It’s a business; everything is constructed, like all media.”

She advises teachers and parents to, “make sure the kids understand that this is not reflecting reality, that it’s a constructed reality that contains bias and it’s there to make money.”

Fantasy, not reality

Sex therapist Wendy Maltz says that while kids have a sense that they should view pornography as fiction, she doesn’t think they do.

“That takes a lot of high-order thinking to maintain that, especially under the influence of sexual arousal. It can start getting blurry when there’s an excitement associated with it.”

Maltz, author of The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography, says “the image is the reality on the internet.”

She adds that you won’t stop young people’s curiosity about sex, but that it’s important for them to know that curiosity is normal. “It doesn’t mean you’re sick if you found this stuff exciting.”

But it bothers Maltz that, because of the prevalence of pornography, “kids are getting robbed of having their own sexual conditioning come from real-life romantic experiences.”

She would like to see kids start getting a healthy sex education before they start viewing pornography.

Getting educated about porn

The questions is where should young people get that education?

Linda Kasdorf is studying the impact of pornography on children and youth for her social work degree at the University of Regina, and she works at Saskatoon Christian Counselling Services. She says parents have the responsibility not only to protect kids from pornography, but also to educate them about sex.

“Sexual intimacy is totally missed when kids view porn, and there’s no way to prepare them to understand that void.”

Kasdorf argues when it comes to pornography, the education needs to begin with the adults. “Many parents have no idea that their children can even access pornography, they’re that naive.”

She adds that, “parents needs to be taught how to talk about pornography with their kids, how to help dissect experiences when kids are exposed to pornography.”

But she also wants to see pornography become a component of school sex education programs. Those programs should ensure that, “kids actually have trusted adults that they can talk to about things they’re curious about.”

Gauntley would like to see a media literacy component on pornography, “because it encourages teens to be critical thinkers — to be able to recognize the differences between sex in porn and in real life.”

Nominations for the 22nd Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

murikami

From The Telegraph:

The shortlist for the 22nd Bad Sex in Fiction Award has been announced.

According to Literary Review, which has run the prize every year since 1993, its purpose “is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them”.

The 2014 shortlist contains some illustrious books, including The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, recipient of this year’s Man Booker Prize, The Snow Queen by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. Also featured is BBC broadcaster Kirsty Wark for her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle.

The Bad Sex panel also considered Andrew Marr’s questionable prose in his political thriller Head of State – “they bucked like deer and squirmed like eels”, reads one sexual description – but ultimately was not selected.

Past winners include Melvyn Bragg for A Time to Dance (1993), Sebastian Faulks for Charlotte Gray (1998), and Norman Mailer for A Castle in the Forest (2007). A Lifetime Achievement Award for Bad Sex in Fiction was given to John Updike in 2008. Last year’s winner, The City of Devi by Manil Suri, described a sexual episode through a metaphor of exploding supernovas.

So far, the 2014 shortlist includes:

The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

The Narrow Road to the Deep Northby Richard Flanagan

The Hormone Factory by Saskia Goldschmidt

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

The Age of Magic by Ben Okri

The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

Desert God by Wilbur Smith

Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark

Below is a selection of quotations from this year’s nominees:

“Her body was hairless. Her pudenda were also entirely devoid of hair. The tips of her inner lips protruded shyly from the vertical cleft. The sweet dew of feminine arousal glistened upon them.”
Wilbur Smith, Desert God

“Her mouth is clean in an herbal way, no herb in particular but that sense of green rampancy.”
Michael Cunningham, The Snow Queen

“He kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line.”
Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North

When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch & she came alight. He touched her belly & his hand seemed to burn through her.”
Ben Okri, The Age of Magic

I unbuttoned my pants, pushing them down past my hips, and my beast, finally released from its cage, sprang up wildly. I started inching my way back up, continuing to stimulate her manually, until the beast found its way in.”
Saskia Goldshmidt, The Hormone Factory

“I arched my body against him and taking his hand I guided it down over my navel and placed it between my legs, my hand on top of his, holding it there, gasping as his fingers circled me softly. I had never imagined that I was capable of wanton behaviour, but it was as if a dam within me had burst and we made love that day and night like two people starved, slowly suffused with more and more pleasure, exploring and devouring every inch of each other, so as not to miss one single possibility of passion. It was as if I were drinking in life itself.”
Kirsty Wark, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

She became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness & strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up & began a low rhythmic wail.”
Ben Okri, The Age of Magic

“Her throat as open as her body, wet everywhere from tears and the coming, and I did hear it, a long high twisting cry and a twisting in my arms as my fingers dove up and up into the full expressive wetness of her.”
Amy Grace Loyd, The Affairs of Others

“She comes and comes, waves of hot silk – I grit my teeth and push her off. I bend her over and really give it to her.”
May-Lan Tan, Things to Make and Break

“He feared losing himself, his freedom, his future. What had a moment before aroused him so intensely now seemed charmless”
Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North

“The girls entwined themselves lithely around Tsukuru. Kuro’s breasts were full and soft. Shiro’s were small, but her nipples were as hard as tiny round pebbles. Their pubic hair was as wet as a rain forest.
Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

“His mouth is on hers; his tongue is jabbing around her gums, the wrinkled roof of her mouth.”
Helen Walsh, The Lemon Grove

The winner will be announced on December 3.