Ever heard of ethical porn? Here's where, exactly, to find it, plus why you'll want to get behind it

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  • All the pleasure, none of the guilt

    The traditional feminist position on porn has always seen it as an exploitative display of male power; an act of sexual pleasure ‘done’ to women’s bodies. But a new generation of women are interested in sustainability, equality, and porn’s potential power to turn them on, when done the right way. Enter stage right, ethical porn.

    The stats reveal a lot. More than a third of 18 to 35 year old women watch porn at least once a week, according to a recent survey. And, fun fact: the majority of women surveyed reported being in a relationship and watching porn on their own for their own pleasure. As you totally should, if you want to, single, in a relationship, or other.

    Another fun fact: most of the women also reported an interest in the ethics of the videos they were watching. That is, making sure the individuals featured are treated well, and ensuring what they’re watching isn’t perpetuating sexual stereotypes.

    That’s what ‘ethical’ porn encompasses. Keep reading to learn more.

    Ever heard of ethical porn? Here’s your beginner’s guide. 

    So, what is ethical porn? 

    In short, any content that cares about the performer’s welfare. That’s according to Mistress Tytania, a fetish pornographer and dominatrix who prefers the term ‘independent porn’ to ‘ethical’.

    “Independently-made porn gives importance to the performers and to their sexual expression,” shares Tytania. “It often shows sex in a context that avoids cliches: think stereotyped body shapes, repetitive, mechanically-performed sexual acts, or reactions that sound and look predictable, or staged. Once you’ve seen porn when the people in it are enjoying what they are doing, you will always recognise it. You can’t unlearn it.”

    Interested? We thought you might be. Oh, and pssst: make sure to check out our guide to the best eco friendly sex toys, while you’re here.

    A couple watches ethical porn together on their bed

    Where do you start with knowing how to find ethical porn

    Not sure where to start? Let these simple tips from Nichi Hodgson, author of The Curious History of Dating.

    The Curious History of Dating, by Nichi Hodgson, £9.72
    Bursting with little-known facts and tantalizing tales of lovelorn men and besotted women, Hodgson’s intriguing history of amorous relationships may leave you grateful that you live – and love – today.

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    1. Do your research

    “Like going to the supermarket hungry, searching for ethical porn when you’re horny isn’t likely to result in a nutritious video haul,” shares Hodgson. Instead, it’s better to do some exploring when you’re not in the mood for pleasure, then create yourself a playlist, per se, for when you are.

    Some good sites to start with include:

    Joybear, an all-British upmarket affair
    – Pandora Blake’s Dreams of Spanking
    – Director Erika Lust’s site
    BrightDesire.com
    – Anything by the filmmaker Shine Louise Houston
    – Cindy Gallop’s Make Love Not Porn site, which showcases the amateur videos of real-life couples.

    2. Get to know your favourite stars

    Like any porn, getting a taste for your favourites will only set you in good stead in the long run.

    “These days, adult performers know the value of social media, not only for connecting with their fan base, but for building a brand and expressing their real views about the industry,” Hodgson shares.

    “Depending on where they’re positioned within it will affect just how ‘real’ they are, but the most independent-minded and creatively engaged – people like Vex Ashley or Stoya  – are consistently open and expressive about their vision for their work and what they enjoy doing with their bodies.”

    Be sure to check them out.

    A woman watches ethical porn on her laptop in bed

    3. Always pay

    This is important. “Porn is no different to any other venture,” explains Hodgson. That means that if you haven’t paid for it, realistically, someone isn’t being paid fairly to make it. “That’s frequently the performers,” she shares.

    Top tip: the best thing to do if you have a favourite performer, according to Hodgson, is to visit their personal website. “Either watch the videos available there or order yourself a bespoke video, which is made to the performer’s own schedule with a larger share of the revenue going to them.”

    And, remember… enjoy.

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