Eroticon, Erotica and Porn

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If you’ve ever been to Eroticon, you’ll know it’s amazing*. It blew my mind the first time I went . I loved it just as much the second time I went, but, well, they do say that three times is the charm, and when you add in the fact that the wonderful Ruby Kiddell has hosted this weekend of wonders for the final time, it’s perhaps unsurprising that I’ve spent the past few days with an idiot grin on my face and a profound, unshakeable conviction that I did something amazing, and that we are amazing.

In most people’s heads, there is a dividing line between erotica and porn, whether it’s class-based (erotica is expensive and upmarket, porn is grubby and cheap) or artform-based (porn is visual, erotica is text). Though elements of the mainstream world regard any type of sex-related entertainment as dubious, there’s a general consensus that something erotic is morally and culturally superior to anything designated pornographic.

This is, of course, crap. Erotica can be formulaic, dull, unpleasant and incorporate severely skewed moral messages while the unashamedly pornographic can be joyous, life-affirming and beautiful in its own way. It’s the latter category that this post is about. Specifically, it’s about participating in a short porn film as a little side-project in the course of this year’s Eroticon.

(It should perhaps be mentioned that I am not familiar with the general round of writers’ conferences so couldn’t possibly comment on whether crime novelists get to spend any time running round with rare antique daggers or taking each other’s fingerprints, or whether a chick-lit authors’ event has pre-booked slots for shoe-shopping, but Eroticon certainly tends to include some hands-on aspects in the weekend’s schedule every year. We’ve had rope bondage, spanking demos and basic anatomy, amongst other things).

Saturday afternoon featured, as usually occurs, two workshops taking place at the same time. I went to the one on writing about disability; Charlie, my dear friend and playmate, sat in on Pandora Blake’s session on making your own porn films. As we were making our separate ways back to the refreshments room, I got a text from him: “Pandora is offering her hotel suite for folks to make their own porn in with her assistance for camera etc”. I stood in the lobby, surrounded by friends, opening and shutting my mouth for a few minutes, and then smirking. Hugely.

I should state at this point that I am not entirely new to porn film production: decades ago I was involved with some of the Fantasy Channel’s stuff, though usually as crew rather than as a performer. My main memories of those days are a lot of hanging about while lights and lenses were fiddled with, and prolonged negotiation about what to have for lunch, as much as anything else. This was different.

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We had a little preliminary chat about what we might do and how we would do it: we had no lights or backdrops, no props apart from a selection of our own personal toys which we had packed with a view to entertaining each other in private at some point; no costumes but what we stood up in, no particular script. None of it mattered. We did… Things. We did the sort of stuff that Charlie and I like to do together – a little rope play, some whackings with paddle, tawse and hand, and then some more straightforwardly sexual action. He was naked for nearly all of it; I took my top off part way through, though this was much less about thinking that a potential audience might want to see a bit of tit and much more about my usual powerful impulse to get a little skin-on-skin time with my dear, submissive, adorable boy. I played with his body and his cock, teased him with a length of lovely prickly coconut rope, I climbed all over him, sucked him and generally heated the pair of us up. I wouldn’t say I – or he – forgot that Pandora was there, or that she was filming us: the knowledge that we had an audience intensified what was going on but the whole vibe was warm, intimate, friendly, happy and very, very special.

Some people say that porn (as in filmed sexual activity) is impersonal, exploitative, misogynistic, devoid of emotion, always portraying unrealistic and hypernormative body types (white, young, thin, able, surgically enhanced, mainly cishet). Some of it is. Not all of it is and it certainly doesn’t have to be. I’m 51, plump, got a few scars and some body hair. I like my body, though. It’s served me well over the years. Charlie doesn’t have a six-pack and Hollywood teeth; I like his body. We are two individuals with an existing play-relationship, so the things we did on camera were things we knew worked for us, excited us, made us happy – but this is not a demand for porn performers to restrict themselves to working with partners they are already involved with: you can have just as much sexy fun with someone you only met half an hour ago if there is mutual attraction and goodwill on both sides, whether you’re doing it for an audience or in private. If the performers actively dislike each other, and particularly if the directors and camera crew hold one or more of them in actual contempt then you are more likely to get porn that may be technically competent but is at best a bit ‘meh’ or even unpleasant to watch. Good porn should have a happy, pleasurable, genuinely enthusiastic core to it and always be performed by people who are happy to take part and who are being treated with kindness, fairness, courtesy and respect –  even if the subject matter of any given scene is on the darker side.

The more we support and encourage the work of ethical porn pioneers like Pandora, the better the whole genre becomes. Will our little session ever be available for you and the world to view? I honestly don’t know, yet: there are various factors to consider. Would I do it again, though? HELL, YES.

 

*Yeah, you might also have read my pre-event post on the subject

 

 

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