Feb 042013
 

Feminist_Porn_cover
The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
is co-edited by Celine Parreñas-Shimizu, Constance Penley, Mireille Miller-Young, and me
and is published by The Feminist Press

The Feminist Porn Book brings together for the first time writings by feminists in the adult industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world’s most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, Lynn Comella, Jane Ward, Ariane Cruz, Kevin Heffernan, and more, The Feminist Porn Book updates the arguments of the porn wars of the 1980s, which sharply divided the women’s movement, and identifies pornography as a form of expression and labor in which women and racial and sexual minorities produce power and pleasure. Check out the book’s official website to read the table of contents and see what people like Melissa Harris-Perry, Laura Kipnis, Jack Halberstam, Lisa Duggan, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, and other luminaries have said about it. I am so unbelievably excited that The Feminist Porn Book is here! This is a project that is five years in the making, and I cannot believe it’s in print.

Inspired by the book, I am producing The Feminist Porn Conference, a one-day event on April 6, 2013 at the University of Toronto during the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards festivities. Speakers include Lynn Comella, Ariane Cruz, Loree Erickson, April Flores, Kevin Heffernan, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Shine Louise Houston, Jiz Lee, Nicholas Matte, Mireille Miller-Young, Ms. Naughty, Nenna, Bobby Noble, Celine Parreñas-Shimizu, Constance Penley, Carol Queen, Dylan Ryan, Tristan Taormino, Courtney Trouble, Madison Young, and more to be confirmed soon. Registration is now open, and Early Bird Registration Rates are good through March 1, so register today! Our host hotel is the Holiday Inn; get our special discount code here. Special thanks to our sponsors Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, Good for Her, The Feminist Porn Awards, and The Feminist Press.

Jul 082012
 


My head is still spinning from my first appearance on Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturday. Watch it below or at these links—Segment 1: Porn in America and Segment 2: The Business of Pornography. I’ve done a fair amount of television appearances, and I have mixed feelings about them. In the past, I feel like many TV producers shy away from difficult topics, don’t allow for complex, nuanced analysis, and often want me to “dumb it down.” This time, none of that happened. I was excited when a producer for the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC contacted me last week about a show about female sexuality and porn. We had a spirited conversation where I feel like she really listened to me, rather than attempted to fit me into a quasi-script she had already written. When I found out that one of my co-panelists was author and activist Jaclyn Friedman, I felt relieved to have a sex-positive feminist sister there.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Segment 1 of 2 “Porn in America”

Fun fact: Jaclyn Friedman and I were both in the class of ’93 at Wesleyan University, and we were fellow activists and friends during college. Although we’ve followed and supported each other’s careers since then (I blurbed her newest book What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame Free Guide to Sex and Safety and she appeared on my radio show Sex Out Loud), we hadn’t been in the same room since the late 90s. We had dinner the night before, and Jaclyn reminded me we wouldn’t talk about the show, so that everything would stay fresh for the next day. We had plenty of catching up to do, so it didn’t matter!

At every stage of the booking process, the folks behind the scenes at MHP were competent, respectful, and, well, have their shit together. In the green room before the show, Jaclyn and I met Zephyr Lookout (author of Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics) who sat on the panel for an earlier segment and would be joining ours. She is a law professor at Fordham. I liked her immediately, and we bonded over our love of the children’s book Tuck Everlasting. She admitted she was “probably the most anti-porn of everyone on the panel,” which I appreciated her saying up front. It’s actually refreshing to engage with someone who really wants to dig into the topic and isn’t just ready to shut you down (like Gail Dines and crew are). After being fitted with our mics and mic packs (during which Jaclyn had her hands all the way up my dress to assist the sound guy), the three of us sat down at the table. That’s when I met the fourth panelist, Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson (author of Holler If You Hear Me), and I truly had no idea what he was going to say about porn. I was pleasantly surprised to discover he knows quite a bit about it (he name checked Lexington Steele and Mr. Marcus!) and had smart things to say.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Segment 2 of 2 “Business of Pornography”

MHP introduced me as a feminist pornographer and showed the cover of my new book The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, co-edited with Celine Parrenas Shimizu, Constance Penley, and Mireille Miller-Young and forthcoming from The Feminist Press at CUNY in 2013. The two segments just flew by so fast, and suddenly, she was doing the closing of the show (naming activist teen Julia Bluhm the Foot Soldier of the Week for petitioning Seventeen magazine).

Afterward, we all stood in the hallway, continuing the conversation, and I got to meet several more of the show’s producers including Jamil Smith and Executive Producer Shirley Zilberstein. Melissa Harris-Perry is so smart, it’s actually intimidating. But in a good way. Obviously, we barely scratched the surface on some pretty important topics. I have a whole lot more to say about race politics in the porn industry, shifting representations of sexuality in porn, today’s porn economy, queer porn, and on and on. But this was definitely a start, and great one.

Jaclyn Friedman, me, Melissa Harris-Perry, Michael Eric Dyson backstage at MHP

Very few mainstream media outlets, and even fewer, if any, television news shows are willing to look at porn in an intelligent or balanced way. I am so impressed that Melissa Harris-Perry and her producers took a risk and really broke down a barrier. I know they have already gotten flack about it from conservatives and anti-porn feminists. So, if you want to show your support for the topic of this show, applaud Melissa Harris-Perry and MSNBC for making space for this conversation, you can do so in a number of ways:

Watch the clips: Segment 1 “Porn in America” and Segment 2 “The Business of Pornography”

Comment on the blog about the segments

Email the MSNBC network with your support

Tweet your support to @MHPShow and @MSNBCTV

 

Jul 012012
 

Performer and activist Ignacio Rivera joins me this Friday, July 6th at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET for a nuanced discussion about some highly charged subjects. Ignacio, who prefers the pronoun they, will talk about their gender identity and how it impacts their sexuality. We will discuss polyamory in people of color communities, race politics and racially-charged fantasies in the kink world, and how to create a truly inclusive, multi-racial community event. Then Ignacio will look at the challenges of their starring role in the feature film Mommy is Coming and reveal what it was like to work with acclaimed indie director Cheryl Dunye. This episode was recorded live during the OpenSF Conference in San Francisco and includes an audio excerpt of Ignacio’s co-keynote presentation with Yosenio Lewis.

Ignacio Rivera aka Papí Coxxx identifies as a Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, polyamorous, kinky, Black-Boricua. Ignacio, who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” is a lecturer, activist, filmmaker, sex educator, sex worker, and performance artist, sharing spoken word, one-person shows, and storytelling internationally. Their work has appeared in ColorLines, Ebony, Yellow Medicine Review, The Ultimate Guide to Kink and in their chapbooks, Las Alas, co-authored by Maceo Cabrera Estévez; Ingridients; and Thoughts, Rants and What Some Might Call Poetry. Ignacio is the recipient of a Marsha A. Gómez Cultural Heritage Award from LLEGÓ: The National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization. Ignacio is one of the founding board members of Queers for Economic Justice; they are also the founder of Poly Patao Productions. Ignacio has been facilitating workshops, doing lectures and creating events for kinky, kinky-curious Queer/Trans POCs and their white queer and trans allies for over a decade.

May 182012
 

Author, Sex Educator, Filmmaker Tristan Taormino to Host Show on VoiceAmerica Radio Network

Tristan Taormino, internationally acclaimed author, sex educator, college lecturer, and feminist pornographer “Sex Out Loud” on VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. The show debuts June 1 at 5 pm Pacific Time, 8 pm Eastern Time.

PHOENIX, AZ, May 21, 2012 – VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network, Internet broadcasting pioneer, producing and syndicating online audio and video, today announced the debut of Sex Out Loud, hosted by internationally acclaimed author, sex educator, college lecturer, and feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel on Friday, June 1, at 5 pm Pacific Time, 8 pm Eastern Time.

Sex Out Loud explores the world of sexuality from every angle. Tristan Taormino will interview leading authors, educators, artists and icons and give listeners an uncensored, inside look at alternative sexual practices and communities. She’ll delve into topics from the popular to the taboo, including sex education and sexual health, erotic fantasies, BDSM, non-monogamy, the adult industry, and more. Tristan and her guests will also answer listeners’ questions live. Her first guest will be Dan Savage, sex advice columnist, author, co-creator of the “It Gets Better” campaign, and star of MTV’s “Savage U.” Upcoming guests include Kate Bornstein, Buck Angel, Jaclyn Friedman, Jessica Valenti, Bobbi Starr, Susie Bright, and her daughter, Aretha Bright.

Tristan has been educating and entertaining people for over fifteen years. A former columnist for “The Village Voice,” Tristan’s sex-positive attitude and sharp wit have made her a sought after guest on radio and television shows across the United States and abroad including “Howard Stern,” “Loveline,” “Ricki Lake,” and HBO’s “Real Sex.” Most notably, she was a recurring guest on “Ricki Lake” for two seasons, gave sex advice to Danny Bonaduce and the late Dick Clark on the NBC talk show “The Other Half,” and debated Dr. Drew Pinsky and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. She is a widely recognized expert on sex education, GLBT issues, alternative relationships, and feminist pornography. She frequently lectures at top colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, UCLA, and NYU.

“Tristan Taormino is known around the world for her honest, down to earth, sex-positive advice, books, and films,” says Karen Dana, Executive Producer of Sex Out Loud. “We are so thrilled that she’s joining the VoiceAmerica Network, and her show is sure to inform and inspire our listeners.” Sex Out Loud follows Sex with Jaiya, the Variety Channel’s most popular show, giving listeners two hours of exciting, informative sex education.

Sex Out Loud is sponsored by The Smitten Kitten, an award-winning progressive sex toy retailer; Astroglide, one of the leading personal lubricant brands; and We-Vibe, the most popular rechargeable vibrator for couples in the world.

Sex Out Loud airs live on Fridays at 5 pm Pacific / 7 pm Central / 8 pm Eastern on The VoiceAmerica Variety Channel. To read more about the show, go to sexoutloudradio.com. To access the show, log on at http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2096/sex-out-loud. All shows will be available in Tristan Taormino’s Content Library on The VoiceAmerica Variety Channel for on-demand and podcast download.

May 042012
 

Cyndi's amazing classic car

We arrived at the Melbourne Airport and Cyndi Darnell, sex therapist, counselor, sex educator, and creator of Pleasure Salon Melbourne, picked us up at the airport. We’d met her in Sydney at Xplore and connected right away. Cyndi drove us in her classic car, which turns heads wherever it goes. She took us to where we’d be staying, the home of Fiona Patten, the CEO of the Eros Association, Inc. (Australia’s national adult retail and entertainment trade association) and the head of the Australian Sex Party, a progressive political party that supports free speech, the adult industry, sex workers’ rights, comprehensive sex education, gender equality, same sex marriage, decriminalization of drugs, and more. Fiona is a total bad ass: a smart, articulate, radical, multitasking whirlwind of sex-positive politics. It’s inspiring to be in her presence. She was super busy taking media calls and preparing for her presentation at The 2012 Atheist Convention, which took place at the same time we were in Melbourne. Fiona took us to a wonderful dinner out with two adult industry distributors and an American who was in town for AdultEx. We talked about legal issues surrounding selling and distributing porn in Australia, politics, and the Bong Task Force (the SNL skit writes itself).

The window display at Hares and Hyenas

The next day, Cyndi picked us up and we headed to Fitzroy, the artsy neighborhood of Melbourne. We went to Hares and Hyenas, an LGBT bookstore that’s been in busy for over 20 years. I was shocked to see that the entire window display was devoted to my books! It was beautiful, and I felt honored. It’s an amazing shop, and we scooped up lots of local books and magazines, including Dude Magazine, Dirty Queer Magazine, f2m: The Boy Within, and The Drag Queen Baby Name Book (a gift for friends who are expecting). We met the owners, Rowland and Crusader, who were wonderfully warm and charming. We went to another great bookstore, PolyEster Books (“world’s freakiest bookstore”), which carried tons of great sex books, including those from small and obscure presses, I was very impressed. I would later regret just how many books I bought as I dragged them back to the States (they weighed a ton!). Then, we went to some art galleries, which were closed for various unexpected reasons. Ah, artists. But it didn’t matter, really, because there was so much amazing street art throughout the neighborhood.

Just one example of the amazing street art in Melbourne

That night was my first presentation for Pleasure Salon Melbourne. It was simply an amazing night. There were about 150 people there.

A view from the audience at my Pleasure Salon Melbourne talk (photo courtesy of msnaughty.com)

I spoke for about 45 minutes, then we had intermission. Rowland from Hares and Hyenas was there with cartons of books, and by the end of intermission, he had sold out of several titles! It was totally overwhelming.

My books (photo courtesy of msnaughty.com)

At the end of the evening, I stayed as audience members waited almost an hour to have their books signed by me. Each person I met told me a little something about themselves, and they were all fantastic. Fiona Patten and friends were there. There was a pack of adorable queers, including Kit, Louise, and Lauren from D.VICE, a lesbian-owned sex-positive sex shop in New Zealand and Australia. Two of them had me autograph their boobs. It was my pleasure. I finally got to meet several women in person who I’ve corresponded with by email or Skype, including sex therapist Sandra Pertot, who wrote an amazing book called When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match. I met Lyndal Coon, whose new book Sexual Biversity: Loving My Bisexual Husband was just released and sex-positive coach Chantelle Austin, author of The Essential Guide for Adventurous Couples…Who Want to Explore Threesomes, Foursomes, and Moresomes. All the sex and porn people were there: Anna Brownfield (winner of a Feminist Porn Award for The Band), feminist pornographers Ms. Naughty from ForTheGirls.com (who blogged about my talk) and Gala Vanting, Blair from Adult Voyeur, a spunky, gorgeous performer named Angela White, and blogger Ultra Hedonist.

I was blown away by the audience at Pleasure Salon Melbourne. It was overwhelming, actually. Thanks to each and every person who came, asked questions, introduced themselves, and supported me and the local sex-positive community.