Dita Parker

Friday, November 25, 2011

Girls on film

Caveat lector: If you are a minor, leave. If you object to viewing sexually explicit material, including but not limited to images/video of nude adults, adults engaged in sexual acts and/or other sexually oriented material, leave. If your community prohibits the viewing of such material or there are federal/local laws which prohibit the viewing/possession of adult oriented material, leave. If you believe that regardless of content and context all porn is the same, that everyone involved is a victim of abuse, probably on drugs, and forced in front of the camera, leave. No, wait, maybe you should read on, just this once.

Sex is emotion in motion.
~Mae West

Porn. Quick. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word? A woman with chest enough for two and the vulva of a prepubescent girl going through the motions with a hung guy or two, even three? Heels, thongs, fake boobs, fake orgasms, facial ejaculations, and little/no emphasis on female pleasure? Unsafe practices, women reduced to sex objects, violent acts sexualized? Repetitive, formulaic, lame, images stripped of any authenticity, of healthy sexuality, sex based on trust, respectfulness and consent, on true intimacy, on mutual passion and satisfaction?

Who wants to watch that? Who wants to do that, on camera, for all to see? I guess the latter is one for the countless couples/individuals (enhancement-free for the most part) making porno at home and putting their posterior online for posterity for all eternity, most for free, some for a fee. But maybe you're not interested in either variety, neither the mainstream movies nor filming what you'd like to watch, let alone flashing the world (your imagination and bandwidth is the limit!).

Maybe you'd like to watch some some-some all the same, alone or with your partner. Maybe you feel that since tastes and orientations vary, and since women are watching, too, adult films should reflect this diversity. Maybe you feel, as I do, that sex is such a healthy, fun, positive thing that it's a shame porn has given it a bad name; that porn has become a blanket term; that sex is too important to be left in the hands of venture capitalists.

Make no mistake, there are a lot of sad people and sad stories in the business, everything from I-was-young-and-needed-the-money to human trafficking. Commercial sexual exploitation is a serious problem. When you feel that what you're watching is racist and/or discriminatory in nature, that it's abusive and/or demeaning toward women, there's a problem. If viewing porn has become compulsive, if you feel addicted, if it's affecting your relationships, your work, how you divide your time, you have a problem. If you can't get aroused/off without watching, you have a problem. [Remember when we talked about how rough stimulation can desensitize the body? The brain is no different. Consume responsibly, for your own sake.] If you're baffled because your date refused to let you help yourself to every orifice, I mean, is she normal, isn't that sex, the women in those films not only seemed ready, willing and able, they seemed to enjoy it, you have a problem. When you forget that porn is an industry, the participants performers, the act an act, and the end product a product, a source of revenue, you have a problem.

So maybe you feel as I feel that that there has to be something else out there. Maybe you feel like rejecting the reality offered by the mainstream porn industry (i.e. a male-dominated fantasy) and substituting your own. I'm happy to report there's a slowly but steadily growing movement trying to do just that. Sex-positive, female-friendly, high-end websites, independent production companies, distributors and filmmakers catering to all races and orientations, women writing and directing with women in mind and female pleasure and ethical production values as their guiding light.

I want to introduce you to a few. Some I've found a while ago, some I've just befriended but they came highly recommended via women whose judgment I trust so I feel safe passing them on. Of course I have no idea what you like. There's a good chance you're here because you read erotic romance, so maybe that's where you should start, by taking a minute to think about what stories turn you on and what setups turn you off and take it from there. One woman's fantasy is another woman's nightmare, so feel free to click away or delve deeper according to your tastes.

Bleu Productions
Fetish and erotica films by independent, award-winning filmmaker Maria Beatty.

Cinema Erotique
Female-focused fetish and fantasy à la Cherry Chapman.

Femme Productions
A line of woman-friendly erotic movies.

Good for Her
A diverse mix, Special Mention: the Feminist Porn Awards.

Good Vibrations
Another diverse mix.

Hot Movies for Her
And another.

I Feel Myself 
A female (authentic) orgasm appreciation site par excellence.

Your destination (18 sites, actually) for all things kinky, BDSM and fetish. Safe, sane and consensual!

The Crash Pad Series
Director and producer Shine Louise Houston explores female and queer sexuality. 

The Masseuse starring Jenna Jameson and (then husband) Justin Sterling. I know what you're thinking because I thought so too, that aren't these mainstream porn stars, but this came up so many times, described as a fairly regular love story with really hot sex, centered on female pleasure, maybe we should check it out, what do you say? 

Tristan Taormino’s Chemistry Series
I'm not a fan of reality television, but these reality porn movies got honorable mentions for, well, chemistry, hot and authentic, so I'm giving these the benefit of the doubt even though I haven't seen them. And because it's TT. Porn performers left to their own devices, when, where and with whom strictly up to them, focused on female pleasure.

The Viv Thomas production The Art of Sex.

As the tagline reads, beautiful erotica. Just like The Art of Sex, it does what it says on the tin. These are really sensual.

One thing pro-porn and anti-porn advocates seem to agree on is the need to raise awareness about content. And it's not just a feminist issue or a women's issue. Countless men are just as insulted by and tired of the mainstream portrayals of women, sex and sexuality. They are fathers who worry over the sons and daughters who will come across these images sooner or later. Will it affect their self-image, how they view and treat others, their relationships? Because sex should be a positive, pleasurable experience, not frightening, degrading or disturbing.

The answer to bad porn isn't no porn...it's to try and make better porn!
~Annie Sprinkle

Friday, November 18, 2011

If you don't know me by now

I've been having the weirdest dreams this week. Weird weird weird. It's also been a productive week, which is nice. I've known the other variety, too. I've been thinking a lot about last year and last fall lately and how maybe it's not a surprise that the Romantica I submitted, rewrote and still couldn't get right didn't work out. I'm absolutely astonished I managed to write anything at all, all emotion one minute, feeling nothing the next just to stop the hurting, even for a second, as I was. Some of the stuff I do profitted from the detachment, other areas suffered a severe blow. Turned out I'm not Superwoman. Imagine my surprise.

Ah, sweetie darlings, we are all just troubled souls, aren't we, swimming in an ocean of illusion, dead calm on the surface, violent currents underneath. How can I say that? I don't know you, you say? I know how you feel. [Look into my eyes.] I know how you feel. [Look into my eyes.] I know how you feel. [Not around the eyes. The eyes.] 

I know how you feel.

What the hell?

I'm hypnotising you into forgetting it's Frisky Friday. It's not working, is it? (And did I promise to post every Friday? I can't check if I did. It'll drive me to drink if I did, and now is not a good time, seriously.) I know what you're thinking. I didn't have time to write a post, right? Wrong. I started writing about porn, one thing led to another as it often does, and before I knew it I had written some seven thousand words instead of seven hundred and oops.

It's the curse of the multidisciplinary mind. It ain't funny. It's a curse. A curse! It has you wishing you had a spare brain or two, 72 hours in a day, a desert island and an extra month all to yourself so you could read and write and read and write and try it out and try it again because that's how you make sense of life the universe and everything, and that you could live to two hundred because there's so much to do and look into and try to understand, too much!, in one lifetime. What a fascinating world we live in, dearest denizens. Fantastic! And people, OMG, people are the best, and relationships better than best, and what about sex? None of us would be here if it weren't for that drive!! Brilliant!!!

So I got a little carried away as I'm wont to do in my pathology and have stuff enough for ten blog posts about pornography, and maybe one day we'll look into those one interesting tidbit at a time, but first I need to sift through the thing, choose a POV, my position (but I want all positions!), and write a focused, coherent post about porn, not a Theory of Everything. And I've only started looking for No-Performers-Were-Scarred-For-Life-While-Making-This-Movie movies for your viewing pleasure, because there's porn and then there's porn, and if you'd like visual stimulation beyond what reflects from the mirrors around the house you should be getting some, but not just any ol' crap.

I'll dig up some suggestions for next Friday. When some of you will be elbow-deep in turkey and gravy. Well, The Rest of The World won't be. Everyone is equally welcome to join and pitch in when Frisky Friday ventures into the world of adult movies. Same time, same bat-crazy channel. Until then, if you can't be good, be careful, okay. And keep thinking those sexy thoughts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The choice is yours

I love my job. I love Hubby's job, too. I wouldn't survive it for a minute. Then again, he couldn't write to save his life. He wouldn't stop as long as his heart beat in his chest, though. He would die trying, my hot man from the cold.

His hours are far from conventional, and that's okay. In fact, it's a bonus. We've had a steamy office romance going for as long as I've worked from home. What? Tsk. As if you wouldn't take advantage of the situation. Born to be mild or wild, moaner/screamer/do you want to get arrested, you would if you had kids and the constant prospect of interruption that comes with the package.

But the surest way to put out a fire is to deprive it of oxygen. So tonight I'll step out for some air and spend the evening with two women I'm absolutely demented about, women who love me as Hubby does, for me, women I love, admire and respect with all my heart.

You can't be all things to one person. No one person will ever fulfill all your needs. Expect that and set yourself up for disappointment. I wouldn't survive doing what Hubby does because I haven't got and never will have the skills and knack for it. I don't understand half of what it involves. It doesn't mean I can't be interested in what he does, appreciative of the fact that it's his chosen profession, thankful someone's at it because it can be stressful and demanding and laden with responsibility. 

What I'm truly grateful for is that he has people who understand exactly what he's talking about if he needs to talk about it with someone, and that I have people to unload to so I don't have to dump it all at his feet and watch his gaze glaze over as I talk shop. It takes nothing away from what we have together. If anything, it adds a very important layer to the relationship, one I consider all-important, the one where we belong together, yes, but where we don't belong to one another, exist for one another, are the other's only reason to live.

Marriage, or any other serious relationship, say friendship, is such a paradox. It's supposed to be a source of joy and enjoyment. So why does it sometimes feel like so much work? Where's the fun? Wasn't it supposed to be fun and fulfilling? Here's a thought: It's all of that, too. Chances are you're not married/friends for money, security, convenience or any other particular reason other than you choose to be. You want to be. 

And nothing requires more strength of will and determination than something you choose to do of your own volition. That's why marriage, and friendship, can sometimes feel like so much work. It's a choice you have to make every day. And unless you are absolutely free to make that decision, unless you have choices and you choose them above all others, you can't commit yourself heart, body and soul.

Told you. A paradox. Sorry if I lost you. My intentions are, as always, good; doubly so on a Frisky Friday. Feel free to comment, dissent, nod in agreement. Just promise you'll think about it, and that you won't be too upset with me if I don't immediately get back to you, because tonight yours truly madly deeply and partners in crime will burn this town.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

To whom it may concern

[Promised myself I wouldn't dip my pen in this ink again, but the things I've been seeing and reading lately...damn.]

No one pays me to write. I write a story, submit the story, and if I get an offer for the story it's published. Or something happens on the way to heaven and it isn't. If and only if the story is published, I get a shot at making a part of my living writing.

My royalty check is equally proportional to how my book does. So it is with many authors. Every cent I don't make writing is a cent I go in search of somewhere else. Not that bad a deal when you like what you do. Not that sweet a deal when you dream of writing for a living, when the less you make writing the less you write and do something else instead.

The myth of the starving artist is a myth about artists starving. Bills to pay, mouths to feed, just like everybody else. I've gone without sustenance while writing. Because I forgot. Lost myself in it and simply forgot. That hunger I know, the satisfaction this craft brings. But no trade comes without frustrations and challenges and there are people out there making this one harder than I ever believed possible.

Piracy is not a big problem in digital publishing, it's huge. So if you're downloading or uploading thinking it's just me, just this once, just one, no harm done... Did you check the counter? With downloads by the dozens, hundreds, even thousands? Many writers do. They see what's going on, cry in the shower and resent you for it. Pick themselves up, fight back wondering if it's a losing battle, have another round in the shower and resent you even more. This is the demoralizing reality of those cooking up your favorite fantasies; something so prevalent everyone's sincerity is coming under suspicion.

I don't want you to write me telling me how much you liked my book and all the while think but where did you get it. I don't want to sweat months writing and revising, writing and revising some more, only to have my book stolen the minute it comes out. No author does. That is not how I want to start out a story; with the thought they will copy the hell out of this. I don't want to stop writing, either. No compulsive wordsmith does, and yet some are forced to cut back. Some never seem to get it off the ground. Mouths to feed, bills to pay, you know the drill.

What's it to you? Well, what if it were your favorite author down for the count? Hold your breath and hope for the best? You really want to take it that far? Really really? What if they switch to some other stuff they're good at? Some other craft you don't give a flying fig about? Are you prepared to hand them over to people who will never love them and appreciate them and understand them the way you do? What if you never find another author who understands you, life, the universe and everything the way they did?

I know many multitalented authors. They could have been a great many things, and what do they choose to do, the fools? They write. For reasons most can't explain and many refuse to dissect. Because that is what they love doing, what they'd rather do above all things. I for one don't want to lose a single one of my favorites so do us both a favor and don't encourage them, okay? Don't give them reasons, excuses or ideas. They're brilliant, yes. They're also highly impulsive and extremely impressionable. Give them the impression there's no future in writing and some will run.

I want to trust you. I want to write. I want to believe it doesn't have to be this way, that illegalities don't have to be accepted as part and parcel of digital publishing. Free reads are free reads, free content is free content. I get that. Books and content with a price tag are not free no matter how you come by them and you know that. You know what you're doing. What you don't seem to realize is how much deeper than an author's pocket the hurt and the harm goes.

Oh but you had no idea? You don't want to die a pitiful putz, do you? Of course not. You want to make sense of those questions, those objections, those buts burning within you. May I suggest you take a look at Shiloh Walker's rather comprehensive Q&A sure to put out the fire?

Long story short: No author, no book. End of story.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not a dry eye in the house

It's that time of the year again, dearest denizens. The 5th of November. Bonfire night.

You know what that means. It's V for Vendetta night. Try making it through Valerie's letter without crying, I dare you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Say it with a kiss

Osculation, "the anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction,"* smooching, snogging, the prelude, interlude and postlude of platonic, romantic and erotic encounters alike. Kissing. You can't write a romance novel without some, and it's impossible to imagine a romantic relationship, any close relationship really, without any.

I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing.  

~Jonathan Swift

Well, Jonathan, since you asked, Mother Nature. Kissing may well have evolved from the mouth-to-mouth feeding practices of primate mothers who chewed food for their young. Or/and Mother Nature saw it fit for the process of mate selection, because as philematologists** will tell you, a kiss is not just a kiss. It's a complex, multi-sensory exchange of information by way of taste, smell, touch and pheromones. You are not aware of it while at it, but you're in fact tonsil-deep in exploration for clues not only into another person's genetic makeup but the current status and future of your relationship.

A man's kiss is his signature. 
~Mae West

Biologist Claus Wedekind found that the more different a man's genetic code immune system is from a woman's, the more attractive, or unatractive, she will find him. How do women detect those proteins? Via a man's scent and taste. Which explains the inexplicable, i.e. why some people turn you off the minute you kiss them. Fifty-nine percent of men and 66 percent of women say they have ended a budding relationship because of a bad kiss.***

Before I take out all the romance out of something very romantic, kissing is more than nature's reproductive litmus test. The messages it carries to your brain evoke an euphoric response you can feel from head to toe. Dopamin, serotonin and oxytocin all rush through you, raising your heart rate, dilating your blood vessels, sharpening the senses and your desire, elevating your mood and making you borderline obssessively focused on and attached to your partner. It's not only lust that kissing propagates, it's love.

Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together that they can't see anything wrong with each other. 
~Rene Yasenek

Kissing is a good indicator of how your relationship is doing. Says evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup: "In an established relationship, the frequency of kissing is a good barometer as to its status. If it's no longer featured prominently or is entirely absent, there's a much higher probability that the relationship is in trouble." Kissing is an act of flirtation and foreplay, it's an expression of caring and tenderness, it conveys love and desire. It can be soft, slow, long and tentative, it can be hard, take-charge, deep and urgent. You won't remember each and every one, but you will remember the first one. And when there are none to be had, they are sorely missed.

So. Sex drive (ruled by testosterone), romantic love (ruled by dopamine) and attachment (involving bonding chemicals like oxytocin). Anthropologist Helen Fisher says kissing evolved to fulfill all of these three needs. Customs, styles and techniques abound, but the need to kiss appears universal. More than 90 percent of known cultures kiss romantically. It brings lovers closer together, it inspires artists, it's a language that transcends time and borders.

Soul meets soul on lovers' lips.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

I did save the best news for last, meaning that of course you don't have to consider science or worry about tomorrow while kissing. All you have to do is let nature take its course and enjoy the joyride. Your next week's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to kiss with a vengeance. Write a sonet with your lips on theirs. Write a symphony with your mouth all over their body. Easy on the teeth and tonsils, okay? Going straight to tonguing and thrusting can be an explosive, spontaneous encounter, but try working up to it if you can. Vary your approach, the place and your pace. Brush with your lips. Brush with your tongue. Suck gently. Suck intensely. Explore. The only limit is your imagination.

Sweet smooching!

"A kiss is one of the most potent stimulants that a man or woman can indulge in...and is more intoxicating than strong wine."
~Sheikh Nefzawi, The Perfumed Garden

* Dr. Henry Gibbons
** scientists who study kissing
*** research conducted by Gordon Gallup of the University of Albany