The Sexy Times | The hunt for better (ethical) porn

Genna Edwards covers sex, love and relationships in her weekly blog. Want advice? Email her at gee9@pitt.edu.

The+Sexy+Times+%7C+The+hunt+for+better+%28ethical%29+porn

TPN file photo

The Sexy Times is The Pitt News’ weekly sex column written by Genna Edwards. The following material is not suitable for readers under 18. 

Last week, I tried to watch porn with my boyfriend of two years. Emphasis on the “tried.” I’d love to tell you that you should try it too, that it was the most thrilling night of my early-20s life, but alas — we both hated it.

As soon as the two women on screen started going at it, I tensed up. Neither of us said a word for maybe 10 minutes. Then I was like, “Hey, are you enjoying this?” My boyfriend, I’ll call him Adam, said the porn was hot, “I guess,” but he was uncomfortable. I agreed. We laughed.

We got to talking, as we do, about ethics. If there’s anything about myself that I cannot stand sexually, it’s that I have a hard time turning my brain off. I told Adam that I couldn’t help but wonder if everything that’s happening on screen is consensual. Are the ladies comfortable? Do they like each other? Are they having fun? Have they gotten enough vitamin C today?

I think about the ethics of sex a lot. More than I’d like to admit. Or, rather, screw that — I think about it a lot because it’s important, and you should care about it too. Everyone should. And because people don’t, because people just want to get their rocks off, we end up with sites like Pornhub.

Pornhub was the first place I ever watched porn. AKA, it ruined my life and further solidified that being a woman sucks. I won’t go into the details here, as I’m assuming you are all well aware of some of the terrifying subgenres of porn out there that degrade women to levels I didn’t know possible.

There’s nothing wrong, of course, with consensual BDSM. If a woman wants to be hit and consents to it, good for her and her partner! That stuff is great. But that’s not what you see on Pornhub or most other mainstream porn sites — because much of the content on there is not ethical.

Pornhub does not protect victims of rape and revenge porn. Underage porn content is rampant, as is porn that delights in gross violence against women. Multiple sex trafficking allegations have been made against content creators on the site — with no action taken against many of them.

A 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida last year, and videos of her rape found their way to Pornhub. The videos have since been removed, but for other rape victims, the videos are harder to take down. Imagine having to struggle, as one 14-year-old girl did, to remove the video of her rape from a site where people got off to it all over the world.

This issue is so much bigger than I can cover in a tiny blog. Pornhub is only the tip of the iceberg. The porn industry has been a hotbed of harassment, sex trafficking and shady business practices for decades. Because so many men get off to violence against women, rape and assault videos will only continue to be made and posted. The porn world is dark and scary — no wonder I can’t get my rocks off to anything on sites like these.

MindGeek is the company that controls Pornhub, and it also controls many other adult entertainment sites. They have a reputation for harming sex workers and not paying their employees. Do not support their other holdings: Girls Do Porn, RedTube, YouPorn, Xtube, PornMD and others.

There are alternatives out there, and if you care about the treatment of sex workers — and the less blatantly violent, but no less insidious, social implications of unethical porn — you should search them out as I have. The first way to support ethical porn practices is to pay for your porn. Simple as that. But, since we’re all broke college students, I have a feeling you don’t like that idea very much.

There’s a huge variety of free porn options out there that don’t harm their makers. I’m a big fan of all the content on Reddit. It’s great for amateur porn, and when couples are making the videos, you know the love is there. I like a little romance, alright? There’s Bellesa, a porn site made by women for women. There’s Manyvids, where creators are in sole control of the content they publish. If you want ethical BDSM, there’s Kink.com. There’s MakeLoveNotPorn, a site focusing on showcasing what real sex actually looks like. And there are so many more sites you can use to get your porn fix, knowing that no one is underage, no one is being raped and no one is being robbed of their rightful profits.

I cannot focus on getting myself off if I’m worried about the safety of the woman or women on screen. I wish our society wasn’t so attracted to seeing women in pain. The unwanted suffering of women has become the highlight of the show for so many young, naive men who may grow up thinking this is how you’re supposed to treat another human being.

Until we live in a sex-positive world that also puts female safety first, I’ll be sticking to my amateur porn sites where couples pick the worst camera angles possible to film themselves doing the hanky panky. Might have to try watching that kinda stuff with my boyfriend. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Leave a comment.