Ask Mommy: For the Birds

Rosie

Dear Mommy,

As a predominately (mostly? bi-and-large?) hetero, entirely feminist woman, I sometimes find it hard to find porn that appeals to me. I get turned on by watching women and men both, in pretty much any combination. My challenge is that most porn features women and men whose bodies I don’t find real enough to be attractive – by which I mean, they are overly produced, hairless, and not soft and sexy and beautifully flawed like the humans I know and love. I find that I love burlesque photos, black-and-white shots, and photos that are artistic, highly suggestive or even explicit, as long as they look believable. Photos that give you the feeling of consensual voyeurism. A few years ago, you mentioned a video porn site on your blog that I really loved that featured real women having real orgasms. I’m looking for more suggestions of great erotica, featuring gorgeous, real, fucking hot people. Pretty much a Les Coquettes show, but in pictures…with more sex.

Got any ideas?

Thanks!

B

Dear B,

If that isn’t a Freaky Friday gauntlet throw down, I don’t know what is! I was so excited to get your note, I went into overload trying to find the very best answers, because I know that this post is going to make A LOT of women happy.

My first move was to turn to one of my very sexy friends, Sonya JF Barnett, co-founder of Slutwalk and The Madame of Toronto’s Raciest Art Community, The Keyhole Sessions. Sonya has incredible taste, and she’s deeply invested in creating sex-positive, pro female erotic art. She recently won the Golden Beaver (best Canadian content) at the Feminist Porn Awards for her premiere erotic video ‘Because I Want You to Watch’. You can check out her ridiculously sexy work here.

Sonya immediately recommended Cindy Gallop’s “Make Love Not Porn” (in beta). This is a fascinating web-based profit-share where real people create and share real porn. They don’t like to call themselves amateurs, because of the implication that the only people who can create sexy porn are the pros. I particularly enjoyed Cindy’s amusing and accurate look at the ‘Porn World vs. Real World’. When your kids discover porn, and are old enough to contextualize sex in more explicit terms, this will be highly illuminating and informative for them. As Cindy says in her Ted Talk (see video below) about the influence of hardcore porn on contemporary sexuality, “Sex is the area of human experience that embraces the vastest possible range of proclivities.” The important task of being true to our own desires and needs lies with us.

B, the website featuring real female orgasm that you reference in your note is the delightful I Feel Myself. It’s a members-only site, but well worth the fee if that’s what makes you warm and tingly.

To make sure I’ve thoroughly satisfied you, I also wanted to share the information below which I first published on my sex education blog.

Photo by Andrew Blake

I like porn. The more deeply I delve into the world of adult video, the more I like the genre. It’s hard to believe that once-upon-a-time I used to be intimidated by the idea of watching x-rated movies. I think I believed that porn was only for guys, that I would feel inadequate if I watched surgically enhanced women getting it on, and that porn was degrading to women. This is true in some cases, but like all things wonderful about the Internet, with enough digging, there’s something out there for everyone. Even you, my horny sisters.

Here are some things to consider when delving into porn for the first time:

Fly Solo
Plan to be all alone the first few times you watch porn. Whether it’s free stuff you find on the Internet or a video that you’ve rented, watching solo takes any pressure off, and frees you up to explore what makes you feel good.

Bring a Toy
If you find something particularly arousing, run with it! Note which scenarios and sex acts make you the happiest. Also note the directors or performers involved in your favorite scenes.

Keep the Other Hand on the Remote
Fast forward through the boring parts. This is part of the joy of watching porn. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a feature-length adult movie from start to finish.

Visit Your Favorite Pro-Women Sex Shop
These stores are staffed with awesome people who will make you totally comfortable in asking questions. They often have a rental section, and will gladly make recommendations. Save yourself from the experience of a trashy, alienating sex shop geared towards men. There are also lots of online resources for sex-positive porn from a female perspective.

Female Directors
The face of porn is changing as smart, savvy women are stepping up to the director’s chair. Feminist porn describes x-rated movies told from a woman’s perspective, and includes real female fantasies and POV (point-of-view) shots from the female angle. Some kick-ass female directors include:

Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, Anna Span, Madison Young and Erika Lust

Check out this great website, Porn Movies for Women, for more recommendations.

Educational
While you’re sure to be inspired by some of the scenarios you’ll see in porn, sexual education videos can also be incredibly hot. Add some of these to your DVD library, and plan a study date solo or with a buddy.

Costume Epics
If you think that dress-up might be your thing, look for costume epics and historical dramas within the porn genre.

Plot-Driven
It’s hard to believe, but there are porn films out there that actually have decent story lines. Look for films by Candida Royale, Paul Thomas, and Veronica Hart who are all known for their story-telling abilities.

Natural Bodies
If you don’t get off on the artificial fantasy body of many main-stream porn stars, there are lots of actresses out these still kicking it au-natural. Some mainstream porn recommendations include Belladonna and Tori Black. True lesbian porn almost always features natural women. Also, good old-fashioned 70’s porn features natural bodies, including lots of bush. Consider yourself warned.

Amateurs
Check out the realm of porn created with no budget and a handy-cam by earnest, hard-working average Joes and Janes. Charming, and sometimes quite sexy.

Lesbian or Bi-curious
Curious about the wonderful world of girl-on-girl? Lesbian films, produced by lesbian artists depict realistic lesbian sex. Or, treat yourself to the high-gloss, ultra stylized world of male fantasy lesbian hardcore. Some days it’s hard to decide which is better.

Hot Men
Up until recently, men in porn have more or less served as super-sized units attached to ugly people. With women in the driver’s seat, porn actors are getting yummier and yummier. Actors Manuel Ferrara, Jean Val Jean and Mr. Marcus are popular favorites. Director Anna Span is notorious for treating her viewers to hot guys. There’s also the option of kicking back to enjoy some gay porn. Those boys rarely disappoint when it comes to pretty faces.

Porn for Couples
This is an actual sub-genre of the porn industry. You can search for this on the Internet, and lots of delicious choices will appear. Couples’ porn has something for each person to enjoy, and often depicts real fantasies shared by people in monogamous relationships.

High Art
For a highly stylized treat that looks like the pages of a fashion magazine has sprung to life and started a hump-fest, check out the work of director Andrew Blake. Another noteworthy contemporary is Michael Ninn.

Kinky
Challenge your comfort zone and expand your horizons by experiencing kinky sex from the safe distance of your sofa. BDSM (an acronym that represents the idea of  bondage, discipline, domination, and sado-masochism) and fetishistic sex come alive in ways you can scarcely imagine in the world of porn.

Free Porn
It boggles the mind to think of how much porn is available for free on the Internet. Now that you have some tips on what to look for, set aside several hours (no joke, you won’t be able to stop yourself) and check out the endless selection available at the following websites WARNING: THESE SITES MOSTLY FEATURE MAINSTREAM PORN, NOT USUALLY FROM A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE

http://www.youporn.com
http://www.pornhub.com
http://www.redtube.com
http://www.xvideos.com
http://www.ultrapasswords.com

Let Someone Else do the Work
For the Girls is a subscription-based website that features naughty photos, video, and stories chosen for women by women. A trial membership could be a fun way to introduce yourself to the world of adult entertainment.

Read All About It
There are some great books devoted to the topic of women and porn. If you’d like to arm yourself with as much info as possible before diving in, check out these great titles:

Good Porn: A Woman’s Guide

The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn

Do my readers have any steadfast sources of great feminist porn? Share here so we can all enjoy!

Kisses on your nose,

Playboy Mommy


Talking to Your Kids About Sex

cutebaby

When my eldest daughter was seven, an incident at a parent/teacher evening inspired today’s post. In a Q&A session, one of the parents asked about the school’s approach to sex education because her daughter had begun asking questions. As some of you know, we were in a Waldorf school, which is fairly granola, so I was interested to hear what the reply was. To my absolute dismay, the teacher told the parents in the room that she believed that six and seven-year-olds were too young to grasp the abstract concepts of human sexuality and that they should be told stories about twinkling stars coming down from the heavens, souls crossing a rainbow bridge or storks making deliveries. You can imagine that I had a lot to say about that – like red-faced, sputtering things to say.

The a-z explanation of human sexuality is far too much for young children to grasp and would certainly be overwhelming, but I wholly believe that it is empowering for kids to know about their bodies – real, accurate information delivered in small doses adding layer upon layer of detail as their questions prompt further answers. This is one of your most important jobs, parents. It falls to you to be your child’s most reliable, honest source of information because if those answers don’t come from you, they will come from somewhere else and you can be sure that other sources will serve them up in ways that will anger/upset/terrify you.

The teacher made one very important point though – make sure you really know which question your child is asking. A simple “What do you mean?” is an important response, and the simplest answer is the best route, until these answers lead to more questions. For example, a child asks; “Where do babies come from?” The hair on the back of you neck may start to rise in anticipation of a lengthy explanation. Instead of launching into the birds and the bees, ask what they mean.

They will likely respond with something like; “How does a baby come into the world?” Start slowly with a response such as; “Babies come into the world because their parents love each other and want to make a bigger family.” Spare them terms like ‘husbands and wives’ or ‘a mommy and a daddy’ and keep it gender neutral, sexual orientation neutral to prepare your kids for our modern age. If your child is young, such a simple answer may satisfy them for quite some time.

If you have really bright kids (like mine) you may immediately get; “No! I mean how does a baby get into it’s mama’s tummy and how does it get out?” Yeesh. My eldest was about four or five when she started asking such things. We began with “The parents plant a seed in the mama’s tummy and the seed grows into a baby. When the baby is finished growing inside the mama, then the baby comes out through the mama’s vagina.” My children learned the proper names for all of their body parts when we started teaching about toes, noses, ears etc.

Kids don’t know to be weirded out about their bodies, about making babies, or about concepts like sexuality unless they learn from someone that these things are potentially awkward and uncomfortable subjects. Teaching your children to name their parts, be proud of their bodies, explore in private, and understand that they are in command of their bodies and that your kids can only be touched when they want to be sets them on a path to empowerment and self-respect.

I’m lucky to be free of any fear of discussing these issues, but when my daughters started asking questions, even I got a little nervous. It wasn’t fear of the subject matter, it was fear of delivering the subject matter in a way that would set the right tone and make sure that I was their most trusted resource. My solution was to totally empower myself and the other adults who were close to the girls with LOTS of information.

I turned to Amazon, which I so often do, for highly rated titles that were age-appropriate and read all of the user reviews. I searched books on ‘talking to kids about sex’, ‘teaching children about bodies’, and  ‘books for parents about talking to kids about sex’. We got two books that were for us to share with the girls and two books that were just for the grown-ups to read. Those titles are shared below, and they were excellent.

It’s never too early to begin the talk, as long as you’re providing simple answers that can build in their complexity as your child matures. Please don’t teach them cute names for their genitalia. If you can’t say ‘penis’ or ‘vulva’ at least teach them that’s what these parts are called and then commonly refer to these areas as ‘privates’ or ‘private parts’. If you encounter your child self-stimulating (and you will) use our phrase ‘private parts are for private places’ and teach them to explore in their bedroom when they’re alone, or in the bath when they’re on their own. Say this cheerfully or gently, even if you’re freaking out.

When your kids start to experiment with other kids (and they will) reassure them that it’s very normal and sometimes fun to be curious about other people’s bodies, but it’s very important to respect other bodies, and your own body, and to never touch someone or show them your body if they don’t want to participate. Nor should they touch yours if you don’t want them to, and if they do you should feel very safe to tell a teacher or another grown up whom you love and trust. Generally, a talk about privacy and respect will curb their enthusiasm for exploration.

Tell your children that talking about how bodies work, and how babies are made is a conversation that’s private for families. Explain to them that parents want the chance to teach their children these things, and it’s not your kids’ job to teach their friends about babies and bodies. If their friends have questions, they can direct them to the teacher or suggest they speak to their own parents.

Consider the changing world around you too. Complex families, same-sex families, adoption, fertility treatment are all things that are changing the face of the “birds and the bees” and I believe this is something to celebrate. We used phrases like “some babies” or “when we made you” so that the idea of alternate possibilities was immediately introduced.

The “talk” was one of my greatest bonding experiences with my family. We made a special story time to share the amazing books we bought, and took turns reading and pointing things out and asking questions. When we were finished there were lots of hugs and an invitation to ask any questions that might have come up. The first book ‘Amazing You’ instantly became a favourite and is still sometimes read as a bedtime story.

If you’re still stumped, write to me at askmommy@playboymommy.com. I’m happy to help you out because this is one of the most important talks you’ll have with your kids.

Playboy Mommy Recommends – Talking to Kids about Sex Resources


Amazing You was great for both our girls, who were four and six at the time that we read it.


It’s Not the Stork was shared with both our daughters when they were slightly older. This book is multi-layered so some of the more advanced concepts can be reserved until those kinds of answers are required.


Ten Talks was for the grown-ups and I’m still working my way through this one. I referred to the relevant sex info, and it’s really a great read.


The Talk was another read for the grown-ups and a real eye-opener about how kids are exposed to sex in our modern media age.

My best advice – do your research BEFORE the kids start asking questions. If they ask before you know what you’d like to say, tell them they’ve asked some great questions and that you’d like to get some information and then have a talk about the answer. Keep it light and playful and fun!