The best thing about 2019 is that everything women have always hated has come into question. I’m mostly referring to all the things that were made by men “for women.” High on that list is Victoria’s Secret. The lingerie chain canceled its annual television fashion show and is closing 53 stores. Victoria’s Secret models aside, there was not one woman who did not despise that runway erotica.
Still, we’d all gather with our girlfriends every December and watch with bottles of wine, ready to drink ourselves into oblivion. My penchant for watching things that disgust me disgusts me more than the thing I’m watching. I don’t know why we all watched when we hated it and everything it stood for so much. Probably the same reason we’ll stalk models on Instagram for hours. Inspiration? Masochism? Definitely the latter.
It seems as we ease into this new era, no one wants anything of any kind that, simply put, isn’t kind. Because, well, it’s not kind.
Porn being called into question isn’t anything new. Like Victoria’s Secret, porn is used by both men and women but is predominantly designed for the male gaze.
And there have been countless articles, reports, documentaries, and talks about the abuses that go on in the industry and its effect on young viewers and their sexual expectations.
Now, however, there is an alternative: ethical porn. Ethical porn is porn, but it comes with the full knowledge that the actors are being paid fairly, the crew is treating them respectfully, and the sex acts are 100 percent consensual—meaning the performers are only engaging in acts that they actually enjoy, not just agree to.
Historically, none of this has been the case, but many sites are doing what they can to spread the word on how to make and watch porn ethically. Searching for ethical porn is likened to shopping for organic eggs, or shade-grown coffee. If you know where the beans come from and that the eggs were gathered by people who were paid for their labor, you can consume them “ethically” and with zero guilt.
Of course, how ethical is it to equate human beings performing in porn to eggs and coffee? A better analogy would be to the chickens, who vulnerably have to push eggs out of their privates with a team of people standing around and staring, cajoling them to do more—egging them on, as it were.
Searching for ethical porn is likened to shopping for organic eggs, or shade-grown coffee.
The most logical suggestion I found for how to watch ethical porn, which I will now call “free-range porn,” was that you should just pay for it, which is asking a lot since no one expects people to pay for anything they don’t have to. The most illogical advice I found was on Cosmopolitan.com, suggesting that readers befriend the porn stars they watch on social media. That seems to completely contradict the fundamental pleasure of thoughtlessly watching pornography. Also, what makes you think the porn stars want to be friends with you?
Because everything I could find on ways for people to watch ethical porn was pretty unrealistic, I came up with a few tips to make and distribute porn more ethically for our 2019 standards.
- As the tech industry works on V.R. porn, I think it would be beneficial to make it more like a game, as are so many of our real-life interactions before sex is on the table. For instance, anyone who wants to watch V.R. porn must first pass a courtship test, like taking the actor to a virtual-reality high-school prom or sitting at his or her Thanksgiving dinner with the family.
- The porn must use biodegradable condom wrappers and promote condom use as the actor is putting one on.
- Participants, including the person watching the porn, must divulge their deepest traumas in a group chat prior to watching.
- To be safe, porn could feature only Instagram robots, because they can’t be mistreated despite captions claiming they have feelings. Lil Miquela should be the face of porn. We could also make it even more ethical by making her look at least 30.
- After the porn is over, a tip bar should come up, at which point the actors are simultaneously Skyped in so they can see if you tip them or not, like at the register at every Starbucks. Imagine how guilty you feel not tipping the person who just handed you your coffee. Now imagine looking into the eyes of people you just watched have sex and not tipping them. Impossible.
- Everyone, including crew members, needs to be in regular therapy and have a note from a therapist saying he or she is emotionally fit to be on set and/or participate. I also think it wouldn’t hurt for them to take the Pottermore test.
- The porn can only be filmed if every actor has a parent present on set. Actually, never mind, because that’s probably someone’s fetish and that porn probably exists.
- No leather in bondage. Only pleather and vegetable dyes. Although I recently found out that, despite no animals being harmed in the making of it, most vegan leather is not biodegradable and is made with incredibly toxic ingredients. So, actually, just no leather or anything that resembles it at all. Also, it goes without saying that, in acts of bestiality, a PETA rep should be present on set.
Lil Miquela should be the face of porn. We could also make it even more ethical by making her look at least 30.
I feel like ethical visual porn may just be HBO? At least there you know the actors are paid well. But at the rate we’re moving toward 100-percent-ethical standards, it is no surprise that audio porn is growing and is most likely the future of porn. In some ways it’s a trend that goes back to what we all once had to do: use our imagination. Slightly off topic, but do you think there are people who still jerk off to magazines by choice, a form of vintage masturbation?
Now Hear This
Audio porn feels like the perfect in-between of our past and future desires. A way to tailor exactly what it is that we want, without having to see an unsightly tattoo or expression. No one in your mind is unkempt, unless, of course, that is your preference.
Whenever a movie sex scene comes on the screen, I react to it as if I just walked into a room where two people are in the throes. I blush instantly, profusely apologize for walking in on them, shut the door, and give them their privacy. There is not the same sense of intrusion when you hear sex. You may even put your ear to the wall to listen more intently.
Caroline Spiegel, 22, the sister of Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel, recently launched Quinn, one of several new sites offering an alternative to image-based pornography. Quinn provides audio-porn episodes labeled things like “Mall Changing Room” and “A Little Bit Rougher” (“ … If that’s okay with you?”), each rated with pink flames. Most of the material is created and made by a woman, for women, and also for men if they’re looking for something a bit more kind. Women should probably just make everything that’s meant to be mostly for women.
Except when that woman is Kylie Jenner, because that makeup has far too many chemicals in it. That’s makeup for Instagram porn robots.
Cazzie David is a writer, actress, and an Editor at Large for AIR MAIL