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Beautiful, erotic cinema that’s not for the male gaze

Beautiful, erotic cinema that’s not for the male gaze

There are few subjects that elicit such strong reactions as those related to pornography. The stigmatisation of sex workers and sex work in general permeates through our society, a society that consumes more porn than anything else. And it’s not just men. Some statistics say that up to a third of women watch porn regularly – and those are just the women willing to admit it. Porn, as pervasive as it is in our culture, is ironically one of the last taboos. We watch it – but we don’t ever want to talk about it. 

There is a growing movement in adult cinema – that of ethical, female-produced, arthouse and feminist filmmaking. Films made with passion, intimacy, creativity and care. Films that represent female sexuality in the way we as women experience it, and not just as a male fantasy. Films that don’t centre on stereotypes, on racism, homophobia, or heteronormative ideas of beauty. Not all porn is made equal – just like any industry, there’s good stuff and bad stuff. 

But why should you care? Well, visual stimulation is important for your sex drive. If you’ve found yourself feeling less horny than normal, or you struggle to get aroused, watching adult cinema that features real pleasure, desire and consent can be a delicious and very enjoyable solution. We’ve rounded up five projects that provide unusual work – representative, intersectional, feminist and queer – so that everyone can find something they like.

For more information from trusted sources on sex work, feminist porn and why we should pay for our porn, you can check out the links at the end of the article.

(Parker Marx & Lupa Vaux in Idolotry – image courtesy of Four Chambers Vimeo)

A Four Chambered Heart

Vex Ashley makes (in my opinion) the best adult cinema in the world. Creative, imaginative, arousing for both your body and your mind, A Four Chambered Heart (or Four Chambers) features all films that are written, produced, directed, edited and distributed by Vex herself. You can sign up to her patreon to get access, and watch the more vanilla trailers for the films on her Vimeo (which are breathtaking in their own right).

 

 

(Stoya in Hysterical Literature)

Hysterical Literature

This series isn’t so new, but it never gets old. 20 women are asked to read aloud from their favourite book as, unseen under the table, their partner brings them to orgasm. All you can see are their expressions, but watching them attempt to concentrate and keep reading whilst the pleasure builds is unforgettable. 

Watch here

 

 

(Anne DeWinter and Bishop Black in Second Date by Artichoke Films)

Blue Artichoke Films

Blue Artichoke films dedicate themselves to portraying sex and sexuality in a real, emotional way. The best part about their films is how real everything feels, from the shy giggles, to struggling with more complex positions, it always feels like an experience that is close to something you’ve had in real life – which makes it all the more arousing. Award-winning, unmissable erotic cinema.

(Image courtesy of Aorta Films, from the film “W/hole”)

Aorta Films

Queer, intersectional, inclusive, sex-positive and all-round brilliant, Aorta Films is a site where you can find people with all kinds of genders, sexualities, bodies, desires and experiences. Beautifully shot, you can see how much these performers really like each other – so much so that it feels almost voyeurisitc! 

 

(Kali Sudhra & Jean Jumel in Spit It Up by Adriana Eskenazi. Image courtesy of Erika Lust Films)

XConfessions

Turning your sexual confessions into a reality for over a decade, Erika Lust, the Swedish indie adult filmmaker, has been making waves across the world with her XConfessions series. Making award-winning short films with high production values and beautiful performers and settings, XConfessions is by far the most popular indie adult cinema platform in the world. Lust also produces films by Guest Directors all over the globe, all of which are available on the site, including work from Bruce LaBruce, Poppy Sanchez and Sadie Lune.

 

So, do any catch your eye? Can you recommend some other feminist, empowering, ethical adult cinema? Leave us a comment below! And most importantly, emjoy… 

Extra reading for sex nerds:

Who Gets to be Sexy? – The New York Times

Why paying for porn makes you a better feminist – Cosmopolitan

Can there be good porn? – Stoya for the The New York Times

The future of female-led porn – Dazed

Just a girl? Your guide to (some) terms for gender & sexuality

Just a girl? Your guide to (some) terms for gender & sexuality

They, she, he or ze?

One of the first things you need to know about referring to someone with the right pronouns is that you should never assume – but if you get it wrong, it’s okay, it happens. Deliberately getting it wrong is not okay. Whatever their gender identity, a person who frequently is misgendered or referred to with the wrong pronouns will much prefer that you ask (politely) than assume. But this is different for everyone. Also remember that asking someone for their pronouns might unintentionally “out” them. If you’re in a group, maybe you can ask a friend of theirs what pronouns to use – or listen to how they refer to themselves. Whatever the case, isn’t it always better to make someone feel good, than not try at all? Often, those who are gender-fluid or non-binary use “they” and “them” pronouns as in English they are gender neutral. Some people use “ze” or “zey” too. You can also add an x, for example in womxn, Latinx, humxn.

Queer

“Queer” has been through a lot. From being a derogative a few decades ago, it’s now a word that encompasses pretty much anything that you want it to encompass. For many, queer is a way of being. It doesn’t reflect a sexual choice, but rather, an outsider-ness from the hegemonic, binary culture we live in. Being “queer” doesn’t mean someone is necessarily gay, but they probably aren’t straight. “Queer culture” embodies everything from being gay, bi or a lesbian, to being pansexual, polyamorous or gender non-conforming. Queer is being anything and everything you want, without the limits of a dichotmous “straight” or “gay” narrative. Check out Queer Eye for more insights but be ready to cry your eyes out, it is phenomenal.

Non-binary, gender fluid, gender non-conforming

I, and many before me, would argue that gender is all performance. The concept of being non-binary or gender fluid is a desire to explore gender identities and expressions outside of the dichotomous “male/female” world we live in. Famous examples would be David Bowie, Peaches, Ezra Miller, Jill Soloway or Prince. What purpose does a stereotype (the alpha male, the weak woman) or cliché serve? Why do men have to be strong and women emotional? It isn’t science – it’s social conditioning, and non-binary folks are making a conscious effort to confront it. Isn’t that the most powerful, brave, political thing you could ever do?

Transgender or transexual?

Transexual usually refers to someone who has transitioned from one sex to another. Transgender refers to a person who feels that their genitalia or their assigned gender at birth does not match with the gender they feel they are. You can be transgender or transexual and use any pronouns, including “they” and “them” – it’s not always that someone transitions from being ‘he’  to ‘she’ or vice versa. For incredibly articulate and insightful discussion on being trans (as well as a world of other subjects), check out Shon Faye, Laverne Cox and Buck Angel. Being trans makes folk vulnerable to violence – whether that is being forced to use a bathroom that doesn’t fit with their gender identity, or being murdered at one of the highest rates within minority communities. Check out the award winning “Tangerine” film shot totally on iPhone that features two of them best performances ever committed to camera.

P.s. Did you know Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” is about real people? You can see a documentary about the people of all genders and sexualities that inspired Reed’s song about taking gender for a wild ride. Contrary to popular belief, being trans isn’t just the latest “trend”. 

Passing

“Passing” is used to refer to when someone who is transgender, transexual or in drag “passes” as the gender with which they identify, essentially, that when they walk down the street, another person would look at them and assume they were the gender that they identify as.

Cis-gendered or cis

Cis-gendered refers to people who identify with the gender identity that they have been given at birth.

Polyamory, non-monogamy, open relationships and swingers

Three isn’t necessarily a crowd… as we move further and further in time away from the concept of a woman needing to marry in order to secure her finances and keep the bloodline going, more and more people are rejecting not just the idea of happily-ever-after consisting of babies and marriage, but moving towards living sexually and emotionally freer and fuller lives. There are different ways to explore this however, which is where all the different terms come in. Open relationships usually refer to a couple who have sex with other people. Polyamorous people want to have intimate relationships with multiple people. Non-monogamous people tend to reject the idea of monogamy and fluctuate between having open-relationships or being polyamorous. Swingers are couples who like having sex with other couples – whether that is all together, or in a kind of “swap” situation. Although it’s cheesy, “You Me Her” is one of very few instances of seeing a “thruple” (three-way couple) on tv.

Pansexual

Pansexuality encompasses a sexual attraction to all people no matter their gender or genitalia. It is considered by some to be more inclusive than the term “bisexual” as “bi” refers to a binary, and thus implies a sexual attraction to only people identifying within the binary as either male or female.

Kinky & Vanilla

Kinky people enjoy sex that is a little taboo or unusual. In reality, we all have kinks. Having “a thing” for men with beards is actually just a beard fetish – otherwise known as a kink. In the kink world, people refer to those who don’t engage in kink as “vanilla”.

Drag

Drag! How much we love drag. You can be a Drag King (a woman dressed as a man) or a Drag Queen (a man dressed as a woman). Drag is political, it is artistic, it is everything you imagine and more. Drag is not just Ru Paul. Drag has been around longer than you think and it will continue until the end of time because it will always have something to say. Generally, people who perform drag are making a comment upon gender – they are messing with your conceptions of how you see their gender identity. Drag was underground for a long time – watch the incredible, heartbreaking, inspiring, beautiful documentary “Paris is Burning” to see where Vogueing and an exploration of gender performance takes some of its roots.

BDSM

Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission and Sadism/Masochism. The world of BDSM is full of endless possibilities, and people who like all kinds of things. Most importantly it is about consent. In fact, those engaging in BDSM tend to have more conversations about consent than “vanilla” people. It makes sense though, right? How are you going to find the person with the same likes and dislikes as you if you don’t talk about it? BDSM is a way of engaging in sexual activities that include (but are not limited to) submission and domination, masochism and sadism. It is as broad a definition and term as the word “sex”. Many have a “safe word” when they engage in BDSM – a word they say when they have had enough and want the session to stop. This is especially useful if you are role-playing. “50 Shades of Grey” isn’t really BDSM, it’s more manipulation and coercion and it doesn’t represent the community in a healthy way. Try “Secretary” instead – soft, but kinky.

LGBTQIA+

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and more. Intersex refers to folk whose genitalia have several variations in gender characteristics, i.e. having gonads as well as a vulva, etc. and Asexual folk are those who are less sexual, or completely uninterested in sex. The “+” is to signal that anyone who identifies out of these labels is still included. Because the future is inclusive!

Disagree with anything? Are there any terms that you want us to explore and talk about? Let us know! We always want to do and be better. With love from your queer, pansexual, polyamorous friend at Emjoy.

 

Ten Instagram artists to boost your sex drive

Ten Instagram artists to boost your sex drive

As you can probably tell, here at Emjoy we are tired of stereotypes and myths pertaining to how “male” and “female” sexualities work. So we want to balance out the science with some good old-fashioned myth busting. And one we hear on repeat is that “men are visual creatures” and by this inference, women are not. But that’s incorrect! We may react differently to visual stimulus, but one thing is for sure – everyone has a reaction to it.

And I’m not just talking about porn. Looking at erotic visual stimulation can be anything, from noticing the curve of someone’s lips you see in the street to a classical painting. One of the sections of the Emjoy app is pertaining to how visual stimulation can effect your sex drive. Looking at saucy things regularly can help increase your sex drive, so if you’re struggling to get in the mood, one of the best things you can do is follow some erotic artists on Instagram. And there is a plethora of them out there!

 Here is a roundup of 10 of our favourites so far. If you know any others, send us a message and we’ll take a look!

 

Frida Castelli

Apollonia Saintclair

Stikstok

Tina Maria Elena

Nikki Peck

Emir Shiro

Neon Ako

Julian Mouffron

Regards Coupables

Isamuzugura

You’re my aphrodisiac: Does “female viagra” work?

You’re my aphrodisiac: Does “female viagra” work?

Female viagra. A promise made to a generation of sexually liberated women decades ago that seems as unlikely to ever actually work as male contraception. Both great ideas, both stuck in a continuous “will they, won’t they” cycle of trials, re-trials, placebos and failures.

Life would be so much simpler if we could just pop a pill and turn the horny switch on. But will it ever be that simple?

Let’s clear up some stuff. Viagra for men* doesn’t increase sexual desire. All it does is send blood to the genital area which creates an erection. So a man may take Viagra and have sex and even have an orgasm and yet still maintain a hard-on, even when he has no more interest in sexual activity. Pills of this nature for women however have been focussed on increasing the woman’s sexual desire. So calling them “female viagra” is actually inaccurate – they target your brain, not your genitals.

Why is this? Well, it’s taken for granted that men are just hornier than women. The common “problem” for men is not being able to have an erection when they want to have sex, and for women it’s seen as not having a “high enough” libido. The persistent myth is that men are always up for it and therefore spend their lives attempting to convince women to sleep with them. This isn’t a particularly fun (or accurate!) narrative. It pressures men into performing or behaving in highly sexualised ways and it shames women for being sexual. So let’s all agree, right here and now, that sexual desire and libido aren’t determined by our genders – they are determined by a multitude of other factors. This is why “one size fits all” medications or solutions don’t work in the ways we want them to. The reasons we may struggle with our libidos, with attaining orgasm, with getting an erection, come from (frequently, but not always) our brains. Our self-esteem, our internalised shame, being distracted, feeling anxious, depressed or pressured, going on different medications, going through menopause or pregnancy – all of these things can affect your libido. It’s far more often a question of how your mind feels rather than some kind of biological factor lowering your libido (although, of course, there are physical things that can affect your sex drive too).

Flibanserin, or “female viagra”, has been available since 2015 with very mixed results. For one thing, it has to be taken daily over a long period of time before you see any results – and some studies suggest that it is only slightly more effective than a placebo. It has side-effects, such as dizziness, nausea, drowsiness and fainting. And it does not have strong support from the scientific community:

“I am very opposed to the drug and have been since it first went to the FDA in 2010 and it was rejected. Then it was rejected a second time. The drug hasn’t changed, the data hasn’t changed, and my opinion hasn’t changed. I think it’s a disaster. It’s unsafe and it doesn’t work. That is all a drug is supposed to do. Work and be safe.” – Leonore Tiefer, clinical associate professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, speaking to Time Magazine.

It’s the only thing on the market designed for women to help them increase their libido or have higher levels of sexual desire. Until now! We have a carefully curated and designed series of audio guided practices and theory, made to cater to your specific needs on our app, Emjoy. If you are having trouble with your libido or you want to experience more sexual desire, we have a whole section dedicated to helping you boost your libido – without taking any pills.

The most important lesson that we want you to learn is – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you are happy with your libido, with how you experience sexual desire, that’s fantastic! We don’t want you to feel pressured into having more or less sex. What you like is what is right – and no one should tell you otherwise!

If, however, you want to make a change and you have stumbled upon this blog in the hope of understanding your sex drive and how to gain some agency over your sexuality, we’re here to help. We believe that you have the power within yourself to find your own sexual happiness – we are just providing the tools for you to use to find your way there, through practical exercises, guided meditation, theory lessons and daily habit-builders.

*men refers here to cis-gendered men, but we also include any person with a phallus that can take viagra and see results. We are always trying to be as inclusive as possible in our language – send us feedback and we will do better!

What’s the difference between desire and arousal?

What’s the difference between desire and arousal?

“One is not born, but rather becomes, woman. No biological, psychic, or economic destiny defines the figure that the human female takes on in society; it is civilization as a whole that elaborates this intermediary product between the male and the eunuch that is called feminine.” – Simone DeBeauvoir, The Second Sex

Why is sex so god damn complicated? It seems, the more we learn about sex and sexuality, the clearer it is that our historical understanding of women’s anatomy and sexual desire has been woefully limited. Take a read of the first chapter of Simone DeBeauvoir’s prolific The Second Sex and you will discover how until the 20th Century (!!!) in the West, the vulva and vagina were described as anything from an inside-out penis to the real location of a woman’s brain. So, don’t blame yourself for not knowing exactly how your body works – it is only in the last few decades that it has even been socially acceptable in the West to study or learn about a woman’s sexuality. Up until then, it was considered either uninteresting, unimportant or strictly taboo.

One of the most common questions that we get asked at Emjoy is about sexual desire and arousal. What are they? Are they the same? Are they linked with libido? Which comes first?

There is no right way to have sex, feel aroused or experience your libido. We are all different. And like I said before, we are still learning about how the vulva and vagina actually work! What we do know is that there is a common misconception that arousal and desire are the same, when in fact, they are not.

Desire is emotional: it’s your libido. It is wanting, or not wanting, to have sex.

Arousal is the physical symptoms your body produces when you are turned on: heart rate increasing, lubrication between your legs, dilated pupils.

You can be unexpectedly aroused, and you can feel unexpectedly desirous; like going to a doctor’s appointment and suddenly finding yourself fantasising about them; or sitting on top of a washing machine and finding yourself more and more aroused from the vibrations…

Desire is as changeable as the seasons. We all know there’s a big difference between the honeymoon period in a new relationship and the part afterwards – it’s almost expected for us to stop having good and frequent sex. We are used to the idea that over time, our desire for our partner diminishes – as if we’ve run out of desire, like an old battery.

There are lots of different ways you can initiate both desire and arousal – separately or together. One of the main things that we work on with you in our app is building desire, from the ground up. You can head on over to the “Libido” section for a whole session on Desire vs. Arousal and techniques to incite them.

Sometimes, arousal can happen first and lead to desire. Maybe someone kisses your neck and you feel aroused – which then makes you want to have sex. Watching a steamy movie can also generate arousal in you, which can lead to desire; or looking at saucy pictures. It’s proven that looking at visual stimulation increases desire and arousal.

The good news is, you can have control and agency over your desire and your arousal. You can incite them. You can plan them. You don’t need to take pills that often are only slightly more effective than a placebo. It’s perfectly natural and normal to have fluctuations in your desire, and for your arousal to manifest in different ways. The key to taking control, of course, is to first understand them. So perk up your ears – it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Click here to be taken to the Emjoy App and get started on the “Libido” series, designed to help you understand and control your desire and incite arousal.

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