Features: Porn – We Want It! We Love It! by Ronete Cohen (Part 3)

Read part 2 here

Some women prefer written erotica. But even that has evolved from the early days when it was considered controversial by some. When Emily Dubberley launched Cliterati, men accused them of being sluts, and women of being men because ‘no women would talk like that’, “but that’s been far outweighed by the letters of thanks from women who’ve experienced their first orgasm through reading or sharing fantasies on the site; or who’ve learned how to enjoy a new sex act safely from one of our articles.” One woman tells me, “My likes have changed over the years, but I still prefer text rather than photos or film. DVDs are just too graphic.” Written erotica helped expand her horizons and also reassure her. “I remember reading Nancy Friday’s “Secret Garden” many years ago and feeling relieved that other women had fantasies, not just me. I loved the idea of the zipless fuck in Erica Jong, that was just dreamy and with no messy complications afterwards. My favourite read is Pauline Reage “The Story of O”, but some of the more brutal, de-humanising scenes I find a bit scary. Probably more into light spanking, a feeling of being in someone else’s power than real sadism. I like Anaïs Nin too, and she gave me the realisation that sex was not just about heterosexuality.” Another woman likes both film and written erotica in different ways. “Generally I’ll read (hardcore) erotica rather than watch porn,” she writes. “However, I get wet more quickly when watching porn even if I don’t feel aroused.”

There’s still quite a bit of guilt and shame about porn among women. Several of the written testimonies I received were embarrassed and almost apologetic. You’d never hear a man apologising for that. “No, of course not,” Nan Kinney says. “Women have worked their way out from under the culture that’s trying to keep them down. It has pretty deep roots. If they are anyway out of the norm then there is something wrong with them.” And who decides the norm? If you read what women write to me, ‘outside the norm’ doesn’t really exist. Nan agrees that women sometimes police their own brains and imaginations. “They just have problems with things that are in their heads, you know, fantasies. Whatever you do in your head is okay. Sometimes in sexuality it’s the forbidden that gets us more excited, the taboos. It doesn’t mean that we’re actually going to do them in real life.”

No matter how hard and kinky the porn they like is, all women who wrote to me specifically mention consent as vital. One likes BDSM and extreme gang bangs, “though only from porn providers I know are ethical/where it is clear there is informed consent”. Another who likes extreme kink says, “I used to enjoy straight amateur porn but stopped when I realised that a lot of it probably ended up on the internet without the consent of everyone involved – so I enjoy porn in which the female characters are not seen to be consenting to the activities, but only if this is ‘pretend’ non-consent.” Carlyle Jansen says many women are strong feminists and they’re confused by the fact that they’re turned on by rape fantasies. For the Feminist Porn Awards, the issue of consent is really important. They try to determine at what point a kink film is okay, and at what point it isn’t. This is something Tristan Taormino addresses in her movies, especially around kink. You hear it loud and clear, Carlyle says, “this is what gets me hot, this is what I want you to do to me, this is what gets me excited. Don’t do the other thing, but I want you to do this. You can see that there’s explicit consent which you often don’t get a chance to notice and I think that helps people to feel, okay, I can feel okay about watching this because this person has stated it gets them hot.”

Feminist porn offers a broader and more diverse representation of different sexualities, and not just the same stereotypes. This doesn’t mean that women can’t be dominated. “What that means,” Carlyle says, “is that if it seems evident that that’s what’s turning on the person and that there is consent then and that there’s respect for the person being dominated, then that can be feminist. So we’re looking for diversity of representation. We’re hoping that there’s an expansion out there for what our sexuality can look like.” So what do we want? Everything, but not anything. What we like comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s soft and hard and everything in between. Our desires and turn ons are not restricted by the limits of what others (and we!) imagine us to be. But we like it real. We need to be able to believe it, to feel it, to identify with it and be able to imagine ourselves in what we see, however impossible it is. It needs to respect us, even when it’s taking us to extremes. We need to be in control, even when we’re being sexually submissive. And then we like it. Like it? We love it! We really do!

Ronete Cohen is a psychologist/psychotherapist with a private practice in Mayfair, London (Ronete Cohen Therapy), and online (The Rainbow Couch). She specialises in sex-positive, open-minded and non-judgemental therapy for everyone, including members of the LGBT communities, and those who are polyamorous and/or into kink.

© Ronete Cohen

Links:
Courtney Trouble: http://courtneytrouble.com
Good For Her: www.goodforher.com 
The Smitten Kitten: smittenkittenonline.com 
Crashpad Series: crashpadseries.com 
Pink Label TV: pinklabel.tv 
Good Vibrations: www.goodvibes.com 
Fatale Media: www.fatalemedia.com 
Emily Dubberley: www.dubberley.com

Posted in Cliterati Magazine, Features and tagged as , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *