Giving consent to capitalism

The week in sex events, plus a porn-friendly discussion

(15) performer Dylan Ryan: "Every performance I do is about showing women how much fun I'm having"

SEX "BDSM so quickly and easily gets painted with a broad brush," said porn performer and author (her piece this week on Jezebel, "How I Became a Feminist Porn Star" is not to be missed) Dylan Ryan.

I'd called her in the wake of last week's SF Weekly cover story ("Gag Order," 2/20/13), which included some healthy critiques of, the local porn company often held up as the standard when it comes to shooting kinky sex.

The piece also included testimony that was run without being fact-checked from certain ex-Kink employees — and that aside, the article was clearly timed to capitalize on controversy surrounding owner Peter Acworth's recent drug and gun arrest. (ATTN: Weekly, you need not call into question the "strict code of ethical behavior and transparency" a pornographer is known for when it is discovered that said pornographer does cocaine, nor when he fires guns in the bowels of a building made for that purpose.)

The Weekly's investigation continues. Hopefully it will help move conversation forward on how to make better porn.

As Ryan — who has shot for for nearly 10 years — pointed out, the trouble with porn wars is that they can be skewed into a referendum on whether such-and-such porn (and often, by extension, the sexual desire it portrays) should exist.

So real quick, let's use this moment to convene members of our occasionally dysfunctional, but forever-forward thinking sex work community. The question: can sexual consent exist when you're doing it for the money? Who is in charge of making sure everyone's needs are respected?

"When capitalism is involved, it makes the situation...interesting," wrote performer Maxine Holloway [after protesting and ceasing to shoot for when it removed base pay for web cam models, Holloway settled out of court with the company. Her voice appears in the Weekly article.] "As models we want to perform well, we want to push our boundaries, we want to get paid, and we want to be hired again and again."

But, she continued, "money can be a perfectly legitimate reason to consent. Most people would not agree to show up at their nine-to-five job if they were not being paid an agreed amount of money."

Ryan re-enforced the importance of the shoot's producers stating clear run times, expectations, and other matters with performers before filming. After that point: "it's a fine line, but so much of the onus is on the person to be their own agent."

Locally, performer Kitty Stryker has examined these issues in her "Safe/Ward" consent workshops. And Holloway wrote she hopes to create an "industry standards" rating system that could guide performers to responsible producers. "Porn performers are not inherently victims and producers are not inherently exploitive," she cautioned.

"These things can be positive, sexually healthy," Ryan continued. "Every performance I do is about showing women how much fun I'm having." Would that all debate on ethical porn started off with how its participants want to demystify, and excise shame from, sexuality — instead of drug charges.


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And why the bitching about They give work to people whose only skill, apparently, a willingness to get naked abd be degraded. Heck, some people pay to do that.

Posted by anon on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

Have you ever seen BDSM porn? Check it out and then talk to me about how whiny the performers are.

Posted by caitlin on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

If Acworth was not forcing them at (alleged) gunpoint or luring them with (alleged) blow, then so long as the safe words are honored, then it is just whining.

Remember, Caitlin, what you are seeing is movie magic.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

I've known dozens of adult performers, strippers and kink performers. When that kink guy started with in the late 90's I would go through the free pictures and know 1/4 of the models. Many of the people mentioned as sex worker activists or whatnot in these articles in the SF area I know.

I would say that 1/3 of the models are as you describe.

Lots of them make good money at part time sex work so good for them, lots of them are going to school and a sex work job makes them good money so that they have time to study. etc...

2/3rds are just doing what all of us do, making the most out of their time. For the other third you are correct, stop complaining, they are not collecting welfare.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 8:22 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 2:51 am

"The question: can sexual consent exist when you're doing it for the money? "

If you're going to go there, then the question should be broadened: Can *any* consent to do *any* work exist when you're doing it for the money?

Either porn/sex work is inherently exploitative no matter how the work arrangement is structured (in which case it might as well just be banned!), or it isn't. If you believe the latter, as I do, that porn or sex work is just a subset of work, then your answer to the first question has to be yes.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

Few people waste their time on obsessing over these womens studies exercises.

It's not really which way you lean with these questions, it's the absurdity of asking them in the first place.

If people agree to a price then it should be up to them what they are up to.

"There are no honorable bargains involving exchange of qualitative merchandise like souls. Just quantitative merchandise like time and money. So piss off, Satan,"

- Burroughs

Posted by matlock on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

“Never do business with a religious son-of-a-bitch. His word ain't worth a shit -- not with the Good Lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.” "

Posted by marcos on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 10:48 am

"But, she continued, "money can be a perfectly legitimate reason to consent. Most people would not agree to show up at their nine-to-five job if they were not being paid an agreed amount of money.""

Posted by caitlin on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 10:33 am

Speed reading I suppose.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 28, 2013 @ 12:07 am

The only way to live a totally politically correct lifestyle is to kill yourself. Now.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 6:44 am

I've seen zero evidence that it has ever helped anyone except a few white liberals who feel it dischages their guilt without changing anything else.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 7:20 am

Seems like the only people, mainly women, who are complaining are the ones who are not getting hired to do shoots. Hmm...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

...about consent and porn I went a litter deeper into fun things like rape culture, double standards, privilege, oppression and Downton Abbey!

Posted by Maxine Holloway on Feb. 27, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

Literally not a single person outside of a tiny self-obsessed women's studies bubble cares

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 8:47 pm