Once I had a discussion with a fellow feminist about the potential risk in using sexual expressions in art. She argued something which I could not agree upon, but it was days later I first realized just how wrong she was. This is what she claimed.
When an artist is going to show naked and/or explicit material in public, they should be aware of the way they will be projected in the eye of this same public. Meaning, in a man's world we are not free to set our own boundaries but we have on obligation to other women to not give men a chance to objectify us in a disrespectful way.
A statement like the one above is to me both repulsive and depressing. At the least, it is definitely sex negative.
It is letting fear and masculine suppression set the agenda for what you do with your own body. I get sad when I witness this kind of false safety. Women believe they are taking control over their bodies and sexuality by hiding it. In fact, they are doing little else than giving up more room for the masculine practics.
For every hiding female sexual expression, a masculine one takes it's place. If you do your thing, sexually and naked and full of love for your own and other's bodies, you still may be objectified in a disrespectful manner. This is why my friend thinks you shouldn't do it at all, but instead find a way to communicate your art with your clothes on. But if you once wanted to do it sexually explicit, you are at once compromising with yourself. I think artistic compromises only gets justified when they are grounded in a personal conviction with the artist. It should definitely not be taken on terms of patriarchy and be grounded in fear.
I want to remind you that I am talking about artists that makes a decision about wether or not the want to appear naked/sexual or not in their art form. I am not making any general conclusions, even if the fear of nudity preferably is fought on many other dimensions of life. This article, though, is talking about how an artist can take a sex positive approach to their work.
Artist should be naked and sexual in so many colours, variations, contexts and ways ever made possible. Only by feeling safe enough in our own bodies we will be safe on stage. And only when we stop listening to bullies, masculine power plays and mocking birds - we can conquer the public space. We have to inhabit the public space that is rightfully ours, with uncompromised art.
When I have the pleasure of being invited to discussions about sex art/sex work/porn etc, I always end up defending sexuality as a basically progressive force.
Because the questions posed in these kind of debates are so often founded in assumptions about the destructive/disturbed/harmful sexuality. And suddenly, I find myself to be the guy/rl with the radical statements about listening to our desires and show them some respect.
I will present some of these questions, followed by a suggestion on how to revise them in a more sex positive matter.
A sex positive approach-guide, no less!
Why are men abusing sex/having irrational amounts of sex?
LFCPP: This constitutes that a) there is something that is considered to be a rational amount of sex b) there is something wrong with the sexuality of men that make them exceed this amount.
Let's take a look at the sex clubs and cruising areas. There is a difference in what kind of treatment they get in (western) media whether they are straight joints, or gay. Whether their are women involved to be victimized, or not. If straight men come together (or individually) to jerk off to whatever they like, almost whenever they like, certain voices are raised to point out how irrational and unhealthy this is. There is little understanding for the pleasurable privilege to be able to have an orgasm in an exciting environment (in best cases - a kind of sex Disney World!). In some way, there are always some poor woman that has to pay for his filthy behaviour.
On the other hand, if it is a gay club the same voices will defend it's clients' right to "be true to themselves" and live out there sexuality. Not seldom are their sex practics rather romanticised. I don't get it.
OK. Of course I have noticed that orgasms in a straight sex club are not always joyful and/or respectful towards all parts. There are a lot of shame, a lot of low self esteem and fears along with social-economical troubles sometimes. As in the gay ones. But I do oppose of these pictures to be the ones defining what goes on inside these spaces, and inside of these people.
The masculine dominance of this planet has left the masculinized sex practice a lot of room to act. It has created a very privilieged position for the male sexuality.
The problem to me is not the sex. We will not reach an equal society by limiting the amount of sexual activity in the male population.
The problem is the incompetence, lack of will and ambiguity surrounding creating as much room for female sex practices.
Furthermore, the question about irrational amount of sex could in a more useful way be posed as "Why are women not having more casual sex with strangers in a sauna?"
We must give options to all females to express their sexual reality. On their own terms and in the open.
That last sentence is a contradiction to many women in Sweden, I know. But I will return to that certain contradiction in my next post, step 2 in this sex positive guide!
Read a very thoughtful article on anti-sex rhetoric here
Watch trailer for the documentary that opened up this discussion - "Like a Pascha" here
Attending this year's Berlin Porn Film Festival, I entered the beautiful safe place that is queer sex positive community. I also got the new wave of queer porn making painted before me in lively colors. This is how I would describe 21st century indie porn to you:
one of the most important mission for the queer porn pics today is to represent bodies. The stories are secondary to the body telling it, and being queer and/or transgendered in front of a camera is the main purpose. In short; you need little more than the mere excitement of seeing real queer bodies having sex. The arousal lies in the empowerment of this act.
the actors are portraying themselves and their actual desires. The director is not directing the way the actors should fuck, but her task is to put together a great collaboration. The director may change some details to fit the story, but in general she stays the hell out of the sexing. One example of this is from the making of Courtney Trouble's "Roulette Toronto". Her actors Jiz Lee and Drew Deveaux were supposed to do a scene together, but when Courtney showed up to the set they had secretly invited a third actor to the shoot as a surprise. This was not a problem or a violation of work agreements. It was welcomed.
This new wave is sending ripples to my own creativity. Where do I stand in relation to this way of making porn?
Do I dare to begin a second wave to this new one? Because although I enjoy the sexy bodies and realistic sexing, I get tired of it real quick. I guess I am lucky to be one of the queer people that has a lot of queer sex, and hasn't any problem of finding opportunities to gender play in bed. So, the queer porn is kind of giving to me what I already am getting.
One question keeps coming to me in the Moviemento theater in Berlin, while the personal pussy fucking is getting applauded; where is the fiction?
I want to make queer porn where the actors doesn't play themselves. I believe it is possible to make fiction art with fictional desires, without anybody getting used or disrespected.
Because I get turned on by fiction. By strange plots and sometimes impossible desires/sexual acts. The strange sensation of pushing a tongue against a pussy is (to me) better represented if the actor is not in fact licking the way it feels good, but in the way it looks forbidden and surreal. This, of course, means that the actors most likely will have to act.
I want the extremely pornofied non-reality to offer me an alternative sex life, something to boost my fantasies and inspire me to explore. Not just to fuck. Because I do fuck enough already. But maybe that's just me?
At this year's Berlin Porn Festival I realized what it is about Judy Minx that scares me. But I also found what makes us alike.
Her frenzy about the work she does, the people she fucks and the activism that envolves all of this - is impressive and charismatic. But I feel it being frightening close to the kind of charisma the leader of a suicide cult possesses just before they leave a bunch of dead bodies and run off with the money.. Don't get me wrong, I do not in any way accuse Judy of being a dangerous leader of some cult. I think this is merely my mind going haywire about the fact that Judy is impersonating a little girl with absolutely no boundaries for her own sexuality. She will seduce you without taking any responsibility for you, she is forcing you to be true to yourself and decide if you want to welcome her or refuse. She is forcing you to be blunt.
At the festival she was shamelessly flirting and touching a butch dyke at a screening of her own performance in a porno. That was absolutely provocative and radical to me. I loved it and at the same time it annoyed me because it was forcing me to confront my own sexual inhibitions.
This impersonation that she does, this femme school girl act, is just as much a 24/7 sexual play as it is reality. A charade and a truth. Judy said herself at this festival that she doesn't identify herself as a woman at all, but as a femme. With theese words she liberated me and articulated something I needed to know about myself for such a long time.
I get surprised every time someone calls me a girl. Still, I know I'm not a boy. I feel solidarity with women, but I don't think I am one (who is, anyway?).
Judy Minx is okay with the pronoun "she" as a indication of the femme that is Judy Minx. Gender is accessories.
I am wearing my gender as a dress to my androgenous body. I am not femme but I'm feminine. I am tomboy with a pussy, I am mainstream masculine with a pink.
I am futch.
I told you in my latest newsletter that I was going to show my brand new visuals at Club Freshest this Friday 21st.
Unfortunately, the producer who have no experience of sexual art and empowering porn screenings - got scared. Too often, the scared and anxious people are the ones that have the power.
So my art got turned down before she even got a look at it.
Tindra Jonsson Wiberg, the producer of Studion that are hosting the club, is surely not a bad person. She just doesn't know what to do in this "new situation".
Help me help her by explaining some of LFCPP's basic guidelines; Naked is not shameful and Sex is not a crime!
Copy the text below (pick Swedish or English version) and e-mail it to
Vad tråkigt att du inte vågar visa Lo-Fi Cherry Porno Pics nya porrpolitiska projektionerna på Freshest 21a oktober!
Jag förstår ifall du tror att du behöver särbehandla konst som innehåller nakna, sexuella kvinnokroppar. Det är mycket i vårt samhälle som följer en sådan logik.
Men jag hade gärna dansat till sjysst, porrig, personlig videokonst på Freshest på fredag!
Det är väldigt beklagligt att du känner dig nödgad till att diskriminera och censurera vissa konstuttryck.
Jag hoppas att du snart kan komma fram till att nakenhet aldrig bör straffas för att det är just naket, och sexualitet aldrig förnekas för att det är just sexuellt.
Jag hoppas vidare att Kulturhuset så fort som möjligt formulerar för sig själva, skillnaden mellan övergrepp och formgrepp.
I am so sorry to hear that you will not be screening Lo-Fi Cherry Porno Pics' latest porn activist projections at Club Freshest October 21st!
I understand if you feel obligated to discriminate art that contains naked, sexual bodies of women. There is a lot of that going on in our society.
But I was really looking forward to be able to dance to some nice, slutty, personal video art at Freshest this Friday!
It is unfortunate that you feel that you have to censure certain art expressions.
I hope you soon will be able to reach the conclusion that nakedness never should be punished for being naked, and sexuality never be denied because it is sexual.
I also wish for Kulturhuset in Stockholm, to be able to articulate to themselves the difference between abuse and art.