Thursday, May 24, 2012

Transgressive Minds and Comfortable Bodies

Before you continue on to the bulk of this blog, please check out the following VIDEO SEGMENTS. They first appeared as video installations for Lynsey G's art exhibition, Consent. I should be appearing throughout the various clips, talking about things pornographic in nature.

But on to the more boring stuff (aka writing)...

Transgressive Minds and Comfortable Bodies

I'm told the concept of today's shoot is something like this: I'm one of six skater boys who “roofie” our friend and rape his mom. It's worded a bit differently, but that's what I come away with.

As far as porn goes, I'm really excited about it. Because out of all the scenarios I've ever played out, it sounds the most fucked-up.

My mind is going, “Whoa!” and then dreaming up ways I would write or direct a film like this. The details come first, then the consequences. For example, what do I feel about it? And what about other people? I mean, what would it get across to the type of audience who might eat it up?

Like any form of transgressive fiction, the novelty is what gets me in. But after staring long enough at words or images that exist far outside the comforts of my moral universe, I'm expecting some greater form of self-reflection. It's like a craving for conflicted existence – the desire to get off on something I can't help but look down on.

The part about it being porn appeals even more to me. Unlike literary fiction or mainstream film, this scenario takes place with my direct participation. I'm really going to be one of these boys and we're really going to fuck this woman while she's tied up and struggling.
Because there's a story behind it, my reflections on youth spin characters and motivations for our group of misfit kids. I think up tales of teenage faux-immortality (like skydiving for the sexually inclined), machismo-fueled camaraderie, psychological dysfunction, and excessive drug use (after all, where did we get the “roofies?”).

I can't wait for this all to fall into place, even if the stories differ from the ones crafted in my head. If I can actually get into it, I believe something interesting might happen. To me, that means something other than work, and I guess more than porn.

But then the day starts going and lights are set up, and we act out these scenarios with a couple hours of downtime. Before the sex even starts, I begin to feel like the experience I'm looking for might not be possible.

The first problem is this IS porn. While anything is possible to film and release to the world, only very specific things are allowed to be released through a company with lawyers watching its back against obscenity laws and other forms of legal prosecution. Meaning, we're no longer going to be drugging our friend (unless you consider Tylenol PM a precursor to date rape) and the mom is really into getting tied up and fucked by six skater boys. In fact, she's the one who has to suggest it.

So I'm on set with some fellow porn performers and a few new guys. We haven't discussed any real commonalities except our desire to fuck the female model. When I bring up the day's concept, the most seasoned performer says something like, “I hadn't really given it much thought.”

The introductory acting sequence further pornofies the whole thing. The group of us walk towards a single-family house in the Oakland hills. A woman in her late thirties washes her car while wearing cut-off jean shorts and a revealing top. We all refer to her as “Sean's mom” or “Miss S,” and she suds down her tits while talking to us. The guy playing Sean is supposed to be mad that we're ogling his mom, so he herds us into the house to play video games. One of the boys takes a detour on his way to the bathroom and finds some rope, dildos, and handcuffs in Miss S's underwear drawer. Meanwhile she deep-throats a Popsicle for the other five of us. There's some, “Dude, your mom!” talk before Sean gets a crushed-up Tylenol in his drink. When he's asleep, we gang bang his mom.

I guess it's still a decent porn concept, and kind of funny – in a way. It's just that it so closely resembles every other MILF scenario I've been in thus far. The way I read it, it's the same codification of older women as openly flirtatious and sexually available to any young piece of meat with a cock. And sure, that's a legitimate fantasy. So why not?

From the boys perspective, we see hints of sexual availability through an older woman's overt signals, and so decide to remove the only obstacle keeping us from sexual fulfillment: our friend. Fine. But it would be much more dangerous and boundary-pushing if, say, those hints were absent and we maliciously fucked up our friend in order to take something we found desirable (his mom).

As a voyeur (porn consumer), I think it would provide a strange dilemma. The sex scene is essentially going to be the same. But in the first scenario, everyone's on board in a magical universe where gang bangs can happen with your friend's mom. In the second scenario - if you're identifying as a male member of the gang bang - you are clearly violating both your friend and his mother for no purpose other than your own sexual gratification. That should make someone uncomfortable, or at least suggest a sort of self-reflexive jerk off session. But maybe the danger is that it won't.

If that type of material is constantly shoved down the porn manufacturing line, maybe the fear is it has the opposite effect. Could it lead to a place where internal conflict ceases to exist, and we're left only with arousal? It sounds like the argument that porn causes rape, and I don't quite buy it.

My research is personal and essentially non-scientific. But I must admit I've consumed a ridiculous amount of media that deals with extreme acts such as rape, necrophilia, and over-the-top violence. I've jerked off to the rape scene in Gaspar Noe's “Irreversible” and I've gotten hard while reading “American Psycho.” But the same things always make me queasy, no matter how much I take them in. From the first time I read the Marquis de Sade to mid-way through Mathew Stokoe's novel, “High Life,” my stomach always turns at the graphic description of coprophilia (any description of shit and sex). I also can't quite handle the idea of torturing or severing someone's testicles. But these are things I'm unlikely to see in a porn anyways.

The pseudo-rape stuff is a little more common. But while this is all kind of arousing in my head, it's actually extremely distressing to see someone pushed past their limits - even in a controlled environment. Example: the woman in this scene has to take a break because she finds herself fighting to hold down a breath (note: I'm not the one choking her out at this point). The scene immediately comes to a halt and she starts crying.

Luckily, her husband is on set and the director is pretty good at handling the situation. So once Miss S calms down, she seems pretty comfortable with continuing on. But the whole experience really drives home the fact that I would rather be in a scene where everyone's having fun all the time.

I'm also thinking that regardless of my fantasies and consumption of explicit entertainment, my sexuality is relatively vanilla. Why? Well the most personally arousing moments of the whole scenario are when Miss S is tied up to display her ass in its most penetrable position, and when she looks me in the eyes while I'm fucking her (and she smiles). Basically, I like her body and I'm turned on most when we're connecting. The rest is a circus act I've learned to get through.

So I'm wondering whether porn can actually deal with the same boundary-pushing concepts as other media and still come off as sincere – at least without turning into something truly damaging. I mean, I could theoretically come up with the most terrifying sequence for a horror flick and film it. It would probably be a lot of fun because everything would be fake. However, in a porn film, the sex is never a special effect. Otherwise, it's not really porn.

My point is that I don't want a rapist on set and I don't want to document a rape. And if I was really asked to do something like that, I don't even think I could physically pull it off. The reason it works as a fantasy is because it has to stay there. It's unattainable by default.

When I really think about it, it kind makes sense to keep this stuff in my books, art-house flicks, and imagination. It's sexier there anyways.

In porn, I think it's good enough to have a bunch of cute, young skater boys bang a hot lady. The rest is just going through the motions.

1 comment:

  1. I know you published this a few weeks ago, but I just stumbled across your blog and this post was fantastic. As a woman, I struggle with my own sexual interests in subjects like rape and why from a fantasy perspective I find them so arousing. It seems like a challenge to my feminism and my own complete consent to acts occurring in my bedroom. You really helped me to see that this seeming disagreement does not have to be such a difficult one, especially when you said, "The reason it works as a fantasy is because it has to stay there. It's unattainable by default." My fantasy can exist in a totally separate world because as a spectator I have the ability to make the scene into my own fantasy, one prompted by the actions on my screen. I especially enjoyed when you shared that the most arousing moment of the whole shoot was a moment of personal connection between performers. I know that as a viewer we see those moments and at least for me, enjoy them the most.

    That was a bit rambling, but I really enjoyed reading a thought provoking piece by someone in the porn industry. It's great to know that at least some of the performers are thinking about the theory behind the scenes and can write about it eloquently.