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The Long, Hard Work of Running the Only Academic Journal on Porn

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In 2014, Clarissa Smith and Feona Attwood launched “Porn Studies,” the world’s first academic periodical devoted exclusively to pornography, although many of their colleagues—and anti-porn feminists—advised them against it.

Academic Journal on Porn

Clarissa Smith, a professor of sexual cultures at the University of Sunderland in the UK, is describing to me the ideal sex robot. “Maybe it wouldn’t look like a human at all,” she says. “It could be like a sleeping bag you zip yourself into and have a whole-body experience. How fabulous would that be? You could have your toes tickled and your head massaged at the same time.”

I ask if she’s seen the two-legged cyborgs from Boston Robotics that don’t fall over, even when shoved. “They kind of look like horses,” she says. “They’re not sexy.” She tells me that if she had any business acumen, she’d design her own pleasure bots. “I wouldn’t be talking about this journal.”

The journal we’ve been talking about is Porn Studies, the first academic periodical devoted exclusively to the study of pornography. Founded in 2014 by Smith and Feona Attwood, a professor in cultural studies, communication, and media at Middlesex University London, it’s since become the go-to quarterly for hot-and-heavy, peer-reviewed research on how porn is constructed and consumed around the world.

After receiving a raft of coverage from the Atlantic, the Washington Post, VICE, and, of course, the Daily Mail, nearly 250,000 people viewed the journal online over its premiere weekend. The first issue featured an article by groundbreaking film scholar Linda Williams, an essay on how porn literacy is being taught in UK schools, and a meta-analysis of porn titled “Deep Tags: Toward a Quantitative Analysis of Online Pornography”—which reads sort of like Nate Silver’s guide to PornHub. Later issues have explored topics as varied as the “necropolitics” of zombie porn to the “disposal” of gay porn star bottoms who bareback.

Porn has long been a popular field of academic research—professor Linda Williams’s seminal text on the subject, Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible” was first published in 1989—but its scholarly inspection has not been without controversy.

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“It has been considered a ‘despised form,'” Smith said. “But I think there are enough people around now who are approaching pornography from a whole range of viewpoints, not just asking, ‘Should it exist?’ or ‘How should we regulate it?’ but ‘What is it? Who’s in it? How does it work?'”

Before Smith became a leading expert in pornography, she was working at an ad agency and pursuing a master’s degree in women’s studies. “I sat through so many lectures about the radical feminists’ rejection of porn,” she said. Then, one day at the office, she received a press packet from two publishers who were just about to launch soft-core magazines for women.

“I was like, hang on, two publishers think it’s worth it to launch porn magazines, and yet women supposedly have no interest in this?”

Smith had friends who were into porn, she enjoyed a good Chippendales show now and then, and she’d watched as the Ann Summers sex shop in her neighborhood had transformed from someplace dark and seedy to a “bright and colorful” spot to buy sex toys.

“I saw these things happening, which, according to theory, couldn’t be happening.” She had a gut feeling that porn, too, was being misjudged.

In 1999, Smith decided to analyze For Women magazine, a relatively upmarket glossy that ran features like “Semen: a user’s guide” and “Women who sleep with strangers night after night.” The magazine, Smith argued, sought to manufacture “a space where women [could] be sexually free” by writing about things like three-ways, cuckolding fetishes, and anal sex in a way that made them seem normal. It was also primo masturbation material, offering “male bodies for female consumption” and real-life sex stories.

Academics and peers she respected tried to dissuade Smith from continuing down the porn path. “They would ask me, ‘When are you going to move on from this area into more serious study?’ They’d also tell me I was really brave.” She laughs. “I wasn’t brave, I was interested!”

For Women

When academics analyze comics, horror films, video games, or anime, it isn’t generally assumed that their scholarship constitutes a ringing endorsement of everything in their field of study. But with porn, it’s different. The topic is so “burdened with significance,” as transgender studies professor Bobby Noble once described it, it’s easy to get trapped in the debate over its existence—instead of looking at it objectively as a cultural product.

But Smith ignored the naysayers and, over the next few years, penned a number of articles with titles like, “Shiny Chests and Heaving G-Strings: A Night Out with the Chippendales” and “They’re Ordinary People, Not Aliens from the Planet Sex! The Mundane Excitements of Pornography for Women.”

She was cavorting with other porn academics and traveling to conferences when she fortuitously met Feona Attwood. “It felt like we were the only two people talking about [porn], at least in the UK,” Smith said. The pair eventually brought their idea for a porn studies journal to the multinational academic publishing house Routledge, initiating two-and-a-half years of negotiation. When, finally, the two were told their proposal for the journal had been accepted, they “sat in stupefied silence for about ten minutes,” Smith said.

Nearly as soon as Porn Studies was announced, a feminist anti-porn organization in the UK called Stop Porn Culture circulated an online petition demanding the creation of an anti-porn journal for the sake of balance. Signatories claimed the journal was akin to “murder studies” from the viewpoints of “murderers.”

Smith and Attwood believe they somewhat missed the point. “We were trying to move away from the idea that there were only two ways of thinking,” said Attwood. “Like for or against television, or for or against the novel. It’s a bizarre way of thinking, from an academic point of view.”

porn studies

At the time, the UK had recently banned a long list of hardcore sex acts from porn produced in the country, including “spanking, caning, whipping, penetration by an object ‘associated with violence,’ physical or verbal abuse (consensual or not), urination in sexual contexts, female ejaculation, strangulation, facesitting and fisting (if all knuckles are inserted).” The country’s mood wasn’t exactly sex-positive.

“We have this idea that we can just keep undesirable things out of the country,” Smith said.

That fearful attitude, naturally, extends to university campuses. “I don’t think there was ever a golden age for studying porn,” Attwood told me. “It’s always been tricky!” She says the resistance the pair encountered—and continue to encounter—is part of a “much broader” problem related to academic freedom; at the University of Houston, for example, teachers were recently told they might want to modify what they teach in case students are carrying concealed weapons.

“The social and political context we are working in at the moment as academics makes our work more precarious and dangerous in all kinds of ways that are not just about what we study,” Attwood said.

Yet the history of porn research in the United States isn’t as dramatic as you’d imagine. Linda Williams was able to teach porn with full support of her administration way back in the (H.W.) Bush years.

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“There is still such a thing as academic freedom,” Williams said nonchalantly when I asked how administrators reacted to her porny syllabi when she taught the subject at UC Irvine, in the heart of conservative Orange County, in 1992.

Back then, Williams, who’d already published a book on the subject by that point, would screen whatever porn was floating around in the cultural ether. She had her students watch gonzo porn; feminist porn (“cleaned up with lots of potted plants and no money shots”); and sadomasochist porn (“the theatrical kind…and the other kind”).

The biggest issue students had was with the gay porn, which Williams says freaked out the hetero guys—a lot. Usually, though, what students did in her classes was laugh their heads off. “That’s kind of a protective measure, because otherwise they might, you know, get horny,” she said.

When I asked Smith if she screened porn in her classes, though, I was surprised to hear that she didn’t.

“Both Feona [Attwood] and I have tenure, but that still doesn’t mean that you can do what you like. Also, I’m at a small, provincial university that is one of the post-1992 schools [formerly polytechnics or colleges of higher education in the UK], and we don’t have a very bullish attitude that we’re the elite, so I have to be aware of the university’s sensibilities, which are: Can we defend this to parents? I don’t want to cause that kind of trouble.”

For now, Smith is advising graduate students, conducting research, attending conferences, and, of course, editing Porn Studies. She says she’s most concerned about making sure the next generation doesn’t feel the same sense of shame over their sexual desires as the older people she’s interviewed in her research. “In the research that Feona and I did, one of the key things that comes through when you talk to older people about their engagements with porn [is that] people say, ‘I just wish someone had had a proper conversation with me about sex. I just wish I hadn’t felt so much shame about looking and finding bodies attractive and going looking for it. It’s taken me a long time to understand what I like sexually.’ Why do we want another generation coming up afraid of their bodies and ashamed of their desires?”

Complete Article HERE!

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A Rose By Any Other Name

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We’re all back from spring break. The Dr Dick Review Crew is all rested and relaxed. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about me. oh well, no rest for the wicked.

Doc:

I enjoy your podcast, the frankness and open vocabulary is exactly what I like. No need in beating around the bush, just get to the point. Wish more people would live by that philosophy.

Ok. I am a 45 YO, gay male, very experienced sexually, some say whore… LOL! I enjoy a lot of fetishes; the unusual has always been very attractive to me. The more bizarre the more I will probably like it.

Until I was about 40 I was a DOM top. I started experimenting with the group party world and enjoyed it greatly. Became an experienced fisting top with some formal training, I guess you could call it an apprentice who graduated, or so I thought. Then a few of the FF bottoms suggested I was missing something. Because I didn’t have any experience as a FF bottom I couldn’t realize the true feelings and emotions involved with fisting. I was encouraged to experience fisting as a bottom.

This was a HUGE ordeal for me. The mental change alone was like, wow. The first time I crawled into a sling and had my whole ass on display, legs spread like a woman at her gynecologist…man was I uncomfortable. This was 5 years ago. Now I can hop into a sling and take a fist-fuck fairly easy. I now understand the advice given to me: I finally understand what fisting is all about.

Now my issues.

I have changed. My whole personality has been altered. Changing from a Dominate Top to fisting bottom has created issues with my head and overall sexuality. These changes are now affecting my sex life. I guess I need some help figuring things out.

Thanks,
Jimmy

Thank you, Jimmy, for your message and your kind words about my podcasts.

We really get boxed in with all our self-identification we do, huh? I mean I know why we categorize ourselves and others as gay or straight, top or bottom, sub or Dom. It helps us understand ourselves and communicate in a kind of shorthand with others. But there is a downside to this, as you suggest.sex sling

I believe that human sexual response is a whole lot more fluid than we give it credit for. But this fluidity is often stifled when we overly compartmentalize ourselves or others. Not to mention the fallacy of the binary system — being one thing or the other.  It just ain’t so and you are the perfect case in point.

I’m always talking about how the best tops are those who, on occasion, bottom. The best submissives are those who, on occasion, dominate. Besides the wider range of experience this provides us, we also grow in emotional maturity encompassing both our yin and yang.

Also the words we use to describe ourselves have, over time, become heavily laden with unintended cultural connotations. Top/bottom, sub/Dom are classic examples of this. That’s why I believe that we ought, from time to time, reinvent the language we use to talk about ourselves. In this case, I prefer terms like: giver/receiver over top/bottom. A change in vocabulary can certainly cut through a lot of the cultural nonsense and it can open the door to a more fluid sexual expression; as I believe it ought to be.nekkidbookclub

I hasten to add that at lot of hard-core pervs disagree with me on this. And that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s just that, if our language detracts from our experience, or hems us in, rather than facilitates it, and frees us up, something’s out of whack.

You will pardon the shameless self-promotion, but I’d like to call your attention to my latest book, The Gospel of Kink. It’s a communication and relationship building workshop in workbook form. It centers on the skills us kinksters need to communicate with others, and initiate, build, and maintain the relationships that will serve us well. Learn how to ask for what you want and get what you ask for from the people best situated to fulfill your desires. The book covers a lot of the territory that you raise in your question.

Stay in touch and let me know how this sits with you.

Good luck

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A Kink In Her Pink

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Name: Dena
Gender: Female
Age: 32
Location: NYC
I love my cunt. In fact you could say I have a cunt fetish. I love to stuff my cunt with really big toys. My current BF introduced me to fist fucking and I love it. I guess what I want to know is can this be dangerous?

I love it, a chick who refers to her pussy as a cunt! You go, girl!

But what’s this…you’re just now gettin’ around to askin’ if fisting is dangerous? Not before, but AFTER you’ve had a fist in your cunt? Well, so much for being proactive. I’d be willing to guess that you probably already have some data on the advisability of this form of extreme sex play. You certainly have enough information to declare that you LOVE IT.

Ok, for everyone else in my audience (both those with a cunt and those who are cunt-less) who haven’t heard of fisting, let’s start at the beginning. I trust everyone knows what fingering is, right? Whether it’s fingerin’ a pussy or an asshole, it’s loads of fun to diddle someone’s insides. We already know that fingerin’ a dude’s hole will stimulate his prostate, which more and more non-gay men are discovering to be way fun. And fingerin’ a pussy can stimulate a chick’s G-spot, which a lot of women find delightfully pleasurable. Ok sex fans, take fingerin’ and multiply that by 5. That’s right, fisting is inserting a whole hand/fist into a cunt or asshole.

For all you folks who haven’t fainted away, yes, it is anatomically possible, and yes, it can be EXTREMELY pleasurable. I hasten to add that gettin’ a whole fist inside a pussy is somewhat easier than gettin’ a fist in an asshole. But for folks like you, Dena, those who are into massive penetration, nothing is a bigger turn-on.

To your question…is this practice harmful? Well not if ya do it right. First off, the fisting top does NOT make a fist and ram it home. Fisting aficionados say that handballing is the most intimate and complete way to touch another human being. This kind of extreme penetration has to be worked up to slowly and gently.

Trust and communication between partners is essential, as is tons of lube. Some folks swear by Crisco, others think the legendary J-Lube — a handy-dandy concentrate that veterinarian use — stands apart from the rest because it’s the most slippery and gooey.  If you choose this stuff, you simply follow the recipes for reconstituting the concentrate. These recipes are available on several handballing sites. (Here’s another tip, instead of schlepping down to your local veterinary supply warehouse, you can find J-Lube in the Dr Dick’ Stockroom. See the swell banner in the sidebar to your right and make your purchase through there. How freakin’ convenient is that?

The fisting top must, of course, respect his/her partner’s limits and pain threshold. Safe fisting is happy fisting. And to that end, keep the following concerns in mind.

First of all, cut and file all your nails until every finger is as smooth as it could possibly be. Your fingers will be in some very delicate places — places that may not have pain receptors. You’ll want to insure that you minimize all chance of causing injury.

Make sure your partner is relaxed, comfortable and turned on. When a woman is aroused, her vagina relaxes, expands and lengthens; all very important for accommodating a fist, don’t ‘cha know.

Even the wettest cunt will need lots and lots of lube during fisting. There’s no such thing as too much lube, so prepare for a big fat mess. Lube your hand, the back of your hand, between your fingers. Keep applying lube as you go. Push the lube into the pussy (or asshole) with your fingers. Remember if you’re using latex gloves, oil-based lubricants dissolve latex.

Start with one or two fingers and work your way up to three and then four. Most people need some time to further relax their muscles, and some may require several stretching sessions, over weeks or even months, before they can actually accommodate your whole hand.

Tops, be sensitive to your bottom’s feelings. You are trying to persuade part of her body to open for you and to admit part of your body deeply inside her. If you take your time, the energy exchange between you and she will move you both into an altered state. Communication and relaxation is key.

Once you’ve reached a five-finger insertion, you’re almost there. But it’s at this precise point that the handballing top needs to be the most attentive. Your partner’s pussy is being stretched to its near limit. Your partner is going to be riding a wave of pain/pleasure. If you find her cunt has reached its limit for the time being, respect that and pull out slowly. But if your partner wants more, then slip your knuckles inside. Be sure to fold your thumb “inside” your fingers, so that your hand will NATURALLY form an elongated fist. Think of the shape of a duck’s bill. This makes your hand into a wedge shape that allows you to gradually stretch your partner open as you press on. Apply steady but slow pressure.

Your partner should be telling you when to push and when to back off. Careless fisting can cause muscle and tissue injuries if the top goes too fast or too hard. Obviously, there’s gonna be some discomfort during handballing. Listen to the owner of the pussy being fisted, she will let you know the difference between hurts so good and hurts real bad.

The knuckles are the widest part of the hand and the most difficult part to get past the opening of the cunt. If there’s gonna be resistance to the insertion of the fist, this is probably that point that it will happen. Wait until your partner is ready before making the big push. She may be able to help by bearing down (as if she were giving birth or having a bowel movement). Once your knuckles slip past the ring of muscles around the vaginal entrance, the pressure will ease off. Now gently roll your hand into a fist.

At this point, the owner of the pussy or asshole may want a gentle pumping movement with your hand. Fisting can produce extremely intense sensations; so ask her what feels good to her.

When the session is done, make your hand into the duck bill wedge shape again, and gently slide it out slowly.

Good luck

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Sex EDGE-U-cation With Lance Navarro – Podcast #261 – 02/02/11

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Hey sex fans, welcome back!

Porn and sex work are two hot button sex issues for most people. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but very few of those opinions come from more than gut reactions. Not many of us have any first-hand experience to guide us in sorting out our feelings and making up our mind. To remedy this, at least for you, my audience, I’ve been bringing you periodic interviews with porn stars and sex workers as part of this the Sex EDGE-U-cation podcast series. Because I think it’s important to hear from actual people in the business before we decide where we stand on these matters.

Today I add to the list of porn luminaries that already includes — Robert Black, Chris Yosef, Tony Buff, Luc Wilder, Madison Young and Bruno Bond — a relative newcomer to the industry. I have the pleasure of welcoming the charming and remarkably philosophical Lance Navarro.

If you are a connoisseur of cutting edge fetish smut, then I’m gonna guess that you may already know our guest and his body of work. And if you don’t you have a treat in store for you. Because Lance now adds his unique voice to the ever-growing chorus of prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles that is this podcast series.

Lance and I discuss:

  • Busting the porn star lifestyle myth;
  • His philosophy of life;
  • Becoming Lance Navarro;
  • Coining his stage name;
  • How he got his start in porn;
  • His specialty — a fisting bottom;
  • Urethral sounds;
  • His piercings;
  • Enjoying his work;
  • On-camera chemistry.

Be sure to visit Lance on his kick-ass site HERE! Find him on Facebook HERE! And follow him on Twitter HERE!

Click on the thumbnail images below to see a slideshow of Lance at work and play.

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BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Adult Sex Toys .com.

SEX TOYS

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C’est Bonne

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Welcome back to Product Review Friday, sex fans. Today we bring you news of a handsome Tantus cockring with a unique design. This product comes to us from our friends and neighbors in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, Trinity Romance.

Here are Dr Dick Review Crew members Glenn & Hank with their thoughts.

C-Sling by Tantus —— $44.99

Glenn & Hank
Glenn: “This perky little thing is the C-Sling by Tantus. As you can see from its design, it is not your ordinary cockring.”
Hank: “I had to do a double take on the package. The packaging calls it a C-Sling. What’s up with that? Were they too timid to call it a cock sling? I don’t get it. I mean, it’s not like you’re not gonna find this thing on a rack at the local Walmart. You’ll only find this in an adult store, so why be so coy? C-Sling doesn’t tell me anything.”
Glenn: “Whoa, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!”
Hank: “I’m just sayin’, ok?”
Glenn: “Now that we have that rant out of the way, let’s take a peek at the C-Sling. It’s more than just a cockring; its teardrop shape works as a ‘taint’ (perineum) stimulator. This is not the first cockring of this design that I’ve seen. But it is the first one that I’ve seen that is made of 100% silicone. So that’s totally cool in my book.”
Hank: “I’ve been wanting to get a silver one, but they are really pricy. They make for some beautiful cock jewelry tough.”
Glenn: “That’s true enough, but I like the comfort the C-Sling. There is a little give with the silicone, not a whole lot, but there is a little. The metal ones have no give at all. And I think the black is pretty hot too. It also comes in red.”
Hank: “Ya got me there. The C-Sling is handsome, no doubt about it. My complaint is that it apparently comes only in this one size. That sucks, because there is no way this thing would fit on my cock and balls. One size fits all is not a good idea for a cockring, IMHO.”
Glenn: “Mr Big Meat over here has a point. The C-Sling fits me fine, but I have an average endowment. The cool thing about this kind of cockring is that you can wear it several different ways. There’s the usual position pointing down and back towards your asshole for the promised taint massage. If you point the tongue upward you get this freaky look of the tongue nestled in your pubes. Turn the ring around point the tongue tip outward and it hits ya right in the nuts. I love this. When I’m fisting my meat the C-Sling pushes up on my balls for this really great sensation. Also, when I wear it this way, it lifts my balls some so that I look like a have bigger package. Very hot!”
Hank: “A couple of weeks ago we were in Palm Springs and Glenn wore the C-Sling, in that way, under his skimpy Speedos. It really made his package pop. All the guys were staring at him.”
Glenn: “I got a kick out of that. Stole some of Hank’s thunder, thank you very much. Oh, and I use a bit of water-based lube on the rim of the C-Sling for easy placement. The lube also prevents chafing if you’re gonna wear if for a while. There’s an illustration on the package that shows you how to insert your balls first, then your limp dick. Don’t try to put this thing on with a boner.”
Full Review HERE

ENJOY!

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