Sexually Speaking: We have a porn problem / by Carl Bindman

Published in The Concordian 33.13 on Nov. 24 2015

If you watch porn, you probably watch it on PornHub, YouPorn, or RedTube. You probably watch it for free.

Those three sites are among the top 10 most visited, globally, for porn, according to an article from Slate. They—along with five of the other 10 most visited porn sites—are owned by MindGeek, a Canadian company who states on their website that they have over 100 million visitors every day.

So what’s popular on some of MindGeek’s mainstream, monopolized porn sites? One common example is Backroom Casting Couch, or BrCC. It’s a series where a man with an STI poses as a casting agent to coerce women who need money into sex, according to an article from the Phoenix New Times. These women aren’t actors. They are paid, and they sign a release, but these women don’t get revenue from views of their “casting” tape. These videos are often tagged with “painal” and “ambush creampie.” These videos are sex abuse, and they’re wildly popular, as on various porn sites, they have hundreds of millions of views recorded.

BrCC is mainstream porn in a nutshell, because mainstream porn is MindGeek and MindGeek is abusive and awful and toxic. They have saturated the market with extreme content, normalizing it, forcing performers of both genders to do more dangerous sexual acts, more often, for less money, according to interviews with performers by GQ last month. Plus, mainstream porn caters to a very narrow demographic: young heterosexual men. The supermajority of porn is not made with other than young hetero males in mind, and mainstream viewership reflects that.

You don’t have to watch that porn if you don’t identify with it, if you don’t like it or if you find it troubling. But you don’t have to not watch porn, either. There are options outside of mainstream pornography that aren’t shit. There are people who want you to watch them.

Luisa Ramírez Lartigue is a sexuality educator who works with Head in Hands and Concordia’s Centre for Gender Advocacy, and she ascribes the ubiquity of unethical porn to a few things.

“When most of us go looking for porn, we tend to not look further than what’s available,” she said. And because of MindGeek’s monopoly, it’s often what’s available. “We don’t talk about our porn consumption the way we talk about our coffee consumption,” she added, so it’s hard to know what’s good.

“There’s no Yelp! for porn, but maybe there should be,” said Lartigue.

Until there is, she suggests thinking about what you consume, and why you consume it. Is it because it’s what you want, or is it because it’s there? She also suggests researching the porn you consume—the performers, the directors, the distributors. Google is your friend. So is social media, she said, where you can learn a bit about who the makers of porn are—as people. Pay for your porn, she said.

She said it’s crucial to talk with your money. Money lets actors get paid well, and keeps working conditions safe. Shelling out for ethics shows huge companies like MindGeek what matters. Plus, she said, paid porn is usually much higher-quality. So if you really care about your porn, you get to consume better stuff at the same time as being a better person.

There are always alternatives, Lartigue said, both in content and in medium. Here are some that she recommends: there’s Crashpad Series for trans* (and also cis) intersectional, fun, ethical video pornography. Make Love Not Porn, a Canadian thing! Adult-fanfiction.org, for, uh, adult fanfiction. Also, kink.com is independent and features extensive pre-act interviews about consent and safety, for all the BDSM fans out there.

But if you’re going to look at mainstream porn, she suggests adding “feminist” or “for women” to your search. In the marketing language of pornography, this means it won’t be hyper-masculine, abusive, and misogynistic.

The most important thing to remember, Lartigue said, is Rule 34. “If it exists, there’s porn of it. But there’s probably also ethical porn of it.”

Source: http://theconcordian.com/2015/11/sexually-...