Porna: plural noun (treated as single or plural) – porn that women really enjoy to watch. The kind of porn that teases and pleases them: realistic, explicit, with ‘real’ people and a well-balanced development of sexual desire, made with respect. ORIGIN: Dusk!, the female-oriented, erotic digital TV channel broadcasting films made for and chosen by women.
Set up in 2009, the Dutch television channel provides over 1.5 million viewers with 24/7 female porn (or fem porn), selected by a panel of over 2000 women.
Any woman can apply to join the panel and, if accepted, will begin viewing clips and rating them according to how “spicy” they are: one pepper for “it turned me on a bit”, two peppers for “spicy enough”, and three peppers for “super hot”. Panel members then give their opinions about what they did and didn’t like about the clips and whether or not it was porna or just ordinary porn. The film has to have been viewed and rated 100 times before a decision is made on whether or not to show it on Dusk.
It’s a simple process: ask women what they do (and don’t) want to watch. However, in an industry dominated by misogyny and driven by the concept that women are nothing more than three orifices, breasts distended with implants, a face to come on, and a mouth to fake it, it’s revolutionary.
By showcasing pornography made by and for women, Dusk has become part of a growing sea change in the porn industry. And it isn’t all about soft lighting, Knights In Shining Armour, or pleasant love-making. Pioneered in the 80s by Candida Royalle, fem porn is a renegade movement. It is the luscious surrealism of Maria Beatty’s The Black Glove; the sensuality and humour of Petra Joy’s Pleasure Slaves; the so-coolness and artistry of Erika Lust’s 33 Rooms; the irreverence and zaniness of Emilie Jouvet’s The Apple; the anarchy of Dirty Diaries, a collection of Swedish feminist porn shorts; Asa Sandzen’s dreamlike animated short, Dildoman; beauty redefined by the Suicide Girls; Tristan Taormino’s guides to many things sexual that are both erotic and education; and the playfulness of Anna Span’s Diary. (There are, of course, many more – these just happen to be my personal favourites.)
These films take sex and make it the lustful, creative, fun, intimate, and adventurous thing it should be. They’re provocative because they explore turn-ons, fantasy, and desire. Unlike straight male porn, they don’t assume that all anyone, male or female, wants to do is insert as many penises as possible into as many orifices as possible. Of course there’s vaginal intercourse, but it’s only one of the myriad ways to get off. Fem porn has a joie de vivre lacking from mainstream male porn. It’s playful and consensual: gonzo doesn’t mean a woman having her face shoved in the toilet while being gang-raped; BDSM is about domination, not degradation; queer porn is women exploring each other’s bodies, not faking it for the boys; an orgy is an adventure, not a gang-rape.
It’s fetish, sex toys, feminism, love, reality, and role play, all seen from a female perspective. Most of all, it’s about lust and where it takes us. Sex is supposed to be fun, right? Part of that is both men and women learning about our desires and telling them to our partners. Fem porn has the power to revolutionise attitudes towards sex by presenting it as something creative, consensual, and joyful. And all while turning us on.