What Do Lesbians Want From Lesbian Porn?

Jiz Lee, a real lesbian porn stars

While mainstream lesbian porn is filtered through a stereotypical male gaze, more and more women are producing adult entertainment for lesbians. But what do lesbians want from porn exactly, and does the perceived exploitation of women in porn clash with feminist ideals? Ruth Seavers reports.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2016 Sex Issue of GCN (Issue 324) which is available to read online here.

 

Our sexual orientation does not necessarily equal our porn orientation. Being a lesbian does not necessarily mean you only watch lesbian porn. Some gay women watch straight porn, some straight women watch gay porn; in fact I have a lesbian friend who exclusively watches gay male porn. And some women don’t watch porn at all.

But what about when you do want to watch lesbian porn, and you just happen to be a lesbian? Type it into Google and you get a vast array of eager-eyed women purring into the camera about how much they love pussy as they stick a false nail right into it.

Mainstream lesbian porn is made by and for a male audience, so it’s fetishised and falsified to cater to their expectations. The women in lesbian porn don’t look gay. Probably because in the majority of cases they’re not.

 

Real Lesbian Porn

So, I went searching for the best real lesbian porn. And the reality is that if you want lesbian porn that isn’t for the mass market (eg. men), you’re going to have to pay for it. But this isn’t such a bad thing when you break it down.

Most people get their porn from the free tube sites – the first few that appear on Google. Those sites were initially started as a kind of porn YouTube, featuring taster clips for other websites intending viewers to click away and subscribe, the tube sites gaining a fee each time.

But it’s gone horribly wrong. Anybody is able to upload to these tube sites and a lot of the content on there is stolen – uploaded without the performer or creator’s permission.

The owners realised that regardless of whether content uploaded was legitimately licenced or not, they would not only still make a ton of money, but probably more from the huge in ux of traf c attracted by this stolen content. While those who made the films, don’t see a dime. Piracy is the single biggest problem in porn.

 

Sparse Pickings

The free sites overwhelmingly feature slim white cis females and so serve as another space in which bodily, sexual and gender stereotypes are perpetuated.

So there are sparse pickings for the lesbian audience (or anybody) who desires something outside of these parameters. But there is a counter movement deconstructing this.

A whole new feminist space is being carved out in the porn industry, encompassing and combining the body positive, the queer positive, the gender positive, and the sex positive.

Keep reading to find out more about feminist porn and hear from porn star Jiz Lee.

 

Feminist Porn

Trouble Films, owned by Courtney Trouble, labels itself: “Ahead of the Trends: The Next Golden Era of Porn”. Trouble runs sites like Indie Porn Revolution and Queer Porn TV, both of which feature a unique selection of LGBT porn.

According to her, “feminist porn is aware of sexism and intersectional oppression, how it affects sex work, porn, modelling, marketing, everything. It’s about avoiding sexism on set, and challenging oppressive behaviour that’s inherent to our puritanical society’s ideas of what sex, porn and adult entertainment should be.”

Some may argue the words ‘feminist’ and ‘porn’ inherently don’t belong together but Doctoral Scholar in Sexuality Studies at DCU, Caroline Ryan, disagrees.

“In the ’70s and ’ 80s radial feminists like Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon only allowed one experience and interpretation to porn – that it was exploitation of women. This argument has continued today but has also been challenged by those who make feminist porn.

“Feminist porn is not accepted by all feminists, but surely it can be considered a feminist act to transform the portrayal of women into a more positive, powerful and authentic representation?”

 

Jiz Lee

Porn star Jiz Lee (pictured), who works with alternative porn company Pink and White Productions and also appears as a regular character on Amazon TV’s Transparent, agrees.

“I find it rather telling, and often insulting, that sex work is so commonly assumed to be at odds with feminism,” they say.

“No other industry faces such charges, and when you start to question why that may be, it comes back to a cultural denial that a woman can have ownership of her sexuality.

“To make overt assumptions that a woman doesn’t have agency simply because she chooses to be sexual reveals a woeful misunderstanding of consent and the concept of feminism itself.”

 

Misogyny

Lee insists there is no such thing as ‘feminist porn’, but they recognise why it’s out there as a buzzword.

“It catches people’s attention,” they say, “and it should, because society needs to understand that sex work and feminism are not polar opposites, but are attached at the hip.
“Still, while ‘feminist porn’ is a powerful phrase, to simplify it as a genre or proclaim that only a select few produce it does the industry a disservice in its implication that porn is inherently misogynist, and I don’t believe that at all.”

Keep reading to find out about what real lesbians have to say about lesbian porn, porn sites, and piracy.

 

Off The Mark

While there are endless representations of ‘real’ heterosexual sex in porn, there does seem to be a desire for a ‘real’ representation of lesbian sex in porn.

A straw poll of friends gave me diverse results, with lots of people wanting lots of things, but there was an overriding sense that most lesbian porn doesn’t hit the right note.

“There’s no lesbian porn where they actually look like lesbians, like Ruby Rose or something; lesbians that look like they’re actually gay and aren’t just pretending,” said one. “That’s such a turn off.”

“I couldn’t begin to imagine what a universal lesbian desire would be,” says Courtney Trouble. “But I think high chemistry, whether it’s a real couple, talented performers, or both, is something that most people really respond well to when watching pornography.”

 

Target Audiences

Creator of another lesbian porn site, The Lust Garden, Rococo, tries “not to focus on the idea of a target audience too much. I figure that if I and the people I work with like something that we don’t see enough of, the chances are good that there are others who do as well.

“We focus more on visibility of under-represented people than who our audience is, and don’t really want to limit ourselves and potential audience by marketing too much to a niche.”

According to Jiz Lee, viewers want more variety. “Some want to see people who look like themselves represented on screen. With more accessible and affordable technology, we can now expand the possibilities.

“It’s what we’ve been doing with Pink and White Productions in our own casting and our sex positive documentary style filming of sexuality, and, in supporting our peers in the industry. We do the work. People of color, people with disabilities and all types of bodies, queer and trans people, older people… we are capable and deserving of happy and healthy sexuality.”

 

Real Representations

Good Dyke Porn, The Lust Garden, Crash Pad Series and Pinklabel.tv are excellent sites for the lesbian audience who are looking for ‘real’ lesbian representations.

In the porn produced by these sites, the women look genuinely turned on by the women they’re having sex with, which makes it seem like a very positive experience.

The fact that you pay for them, according to Lee, adds to the experience.

 

Piracy

“Piracy is a huge issue impacting performers, directors and producers. If you value the kind of porn you’d like to see, pay for it. Be an ethical consumer by supporting adult filmmakers and performers. Porn is not exploitative; piracy is.

“I believe feminism is the most effective in this industry when it centers itself with sex worker’s rights. Let’s talk about those rights. Let’s talk about improving technological and financial access that is currently unavailable to adult film producers, most of whom are women.

“If you want to change the cultural conversation around female sexual rights and representation, let’s focus not on a cyclical conversation of if women can own their sexuality, but of how to expand that ownership.”

© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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