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January 21, 2008

Women-and-Eroticism Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Gotta love the New Burlesque.

* Kelly DiNardo interviews burlesque artiste Ravenna Black. At the end of that posting you'll find links to interviews that Kelly has done with other current burlesque queens.

* The rise and fall of Britney in one well-illustrated blogposting. Britney really was amazingly cute for five minutes or so, wasn't she? (Link thanks to those horny brainiacs at GNXP.)

* Sarah Blake -- famous for looking like a fresh-faced co-ed -- confides that, when she went into the porn industry, she planned to work in the field for only 30 days.

* Nude model Iona Lynn tells about one of her least-favorite photoshoots.

* Flickr diva Katie West insists that she's really very shy.

* Amateur porn producer Abby Winters says that she finds it important to stick to her paradigm.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I read some books about sex by women authors, and looked back at the French erotic classic "Story of O."



posted by Michael at January 21, 2008


I dunno, Michael. Sarah Blake still manages to look plenty porno-skanky to me. Too much makeup, wrong lighting, those annoying "sexy" underlook face-things they do, esp. with those lipstick-slathered, twisted, contorted everted porno-ho-lips. I mean, one look at that and it's like goodbye libido! As for the "amateurs" (sure they are! And that stripper really likes me--look at the way she's smiling!) they're not so smothered in face paint, but they still manage to look phony, fake, and somehow callow, shallow and tired all at the same time.

Not erotic. Of course, IMHO, JMHO, YMMV, etc. etc. etc.

Why does porn have to be so bad?

Posted by: PatrickH on January 21, 2008 5:44 PM

Can't remember whether I've mentioned this here before, but I recall reading an interview with a stripper once, in a Glamour magazine. She said that the experience extinguished her desire for men, for as long she was a stripper, and made her sexuality entirely self-focussed. Not in the sense of taking up masturbation: it was just that it was only contemplating her own image, or else the idea that others were looking at it, that she found arousing.

Looking at some of these things you post (which I have to ration; I find them too depressing en masse, esp. to read), I can't help but think of that woman's description of her experience. It seems to happen to many of these other women too.

I've said before that I'm not opposed to the idea of taking pleasure (within certain, ahem, limits) in the contemplation of the beauty of the human body, clothed or naked. I just don't think that becoming a professional stripper or nude model seems to be very good for the women (and men?) who take it up. And yes, I can imagine what your response to that will be! But I had to offer my two cents.

Posted by: alias clio on January 21, 2008 8:37 PM

Yes, why must porn be so bad? Why must they be too skinny, ribs showing, and/or tattooed, and/or pierced, and shaved?

Perhaps for the same reason erotic literature is almost never about 'vanilla', monogamous, ordinary married-couple sex.

Because people don't want their fantasies too realistic.

Posted by: anon on January 21, 2008 11:32 PM

Interesting point, anon, and fair enough as far as it goes. But the alternative to porno-skank badness isn't vanilla married next-door sex. Have you no imagination? Consider the terms Michael used: "fresh-faced", "co-ed". That's not vanilla, not if it's hard-core on-screen you-know-what-ing! And yet, somehow, even the fresh-faced ones always end up getting tarted up (or down) and adopting the revolting conventions that today's sick culture thinks of as "sexy": the pouts, the underlooks, those horrible white leggings the girls all seem to wear, the pumps, the long fingernails...blech!

The problem is that so much porn seems unerotic. I've been watching on-and-off a reality TV series called Porno Valley, about porn stars working for Vivid, the king of porn films for some years now. And they all look farking horrible--too much makeup, the same android bodes, and those breasts! Those awful, ghastly, horrible pneumatic breasts!

So the question isn't: why is porn so bad? It's: why is it so bad in the way it is? I can only conclude that, indeed, many men do find porn sexy, and get all stiff and stand-uppy when they see that kind of look. It's when I think thoughts like that that I despair of my gender.

Posted by: PatrickH on January 22, 2008 11:51 AM

PatrickH, anon -- I despise the typical porno-thang myself. All that blaring pink and turquoise, the wet lips, the absurd posing ... Seems meant for midwestern fratboys at best. It's all so predigested -- as though it's been filtered through some other idiot's mind before reaches my idiot mind. Not for me, in any case.

But don't you guys find the Abby Winters girls, for instance, pretty refreshing? They really are (as far as I can tell) everyday Goth-punkette-hippie types having a once-in-a-lifetime lark. Oh those rowdy Aussies. Peter especially should rejoice in the natural stylings so many of them sport.

Anyway, Abby Winters brought three of her girls to AVN a few weeks ago, and they apparently caused a sensation. Among all the vinyl and plastic and silicone -- real girls. Who knew?

A. Clio -- I don't spend a lot of time approving or disapproving of erotic material or performers, let alone recommending erotic performance as a lifestyle to anyone. As far as I'm concerned, there it is, there's sure a lot of it around these days. And it's interesting (or not) both for what it offers in the way of pleasure and beauty and for what there is to be found out and learned about the people who choose to put themselves out there this way and to lead these lives.

I am grateful that there are people who choose to put on erotic shows, and to display themselves erotically, etc -- I'm really very appreciative of that. Some of them, after all, are genuinely daring and beautiful. And some of them have given me a lot of pleasure.

But I suspect that my curiosity and my occasional applause isn't causing too many young girls to throw their lives away stupidly. None of them actually know about me, after all. And in any case many people in the more legit arts (actors, painters, standups, cooks, etc) lead quite kooky lives too. Let's just say that breakdowns, drug addictions, and neurotic-carrying-on are hardly limited to erotic performers.

Anyway, if I have a point of view on all this it doesn't have to do with making moral judgments. It's that I root for a better culture of erotic appreciation than the one we have.

We have a weird push-pull relationship to erotically stimulating material that seems to me damaging. We seem to crave it, and we can't resist it, yet it disturbs or repulses us ("us" as in "we Americans, often"). We don't respect the erotic dimension sufficiently, it seems to me. We're so torn about it that we seldom actually settle into it for a decent visit. Which, since the erotic dimension shares space with the aesthetic and religious dimensions, is a pity. And which results in the crappy, fast-foody erotica culture that PatrickH deplores. Blech to that.

So what I hope to do with postings like these (between you and me, and allowing myself to get all pretentieux for a sec) is to hint that it's OK to pay attention to this kind of thing, it's ok to enjoy it and be curious about it, it's ok to compare notes about it. It's OK in other words to view erotically-stimulating material as a potentially pleasant and interesting part of life, as rich a source of interest and pleasure as food, art, music, etc. Seems to me that that kind of attitude can feed the soil from which a more nuanced and appreciative view of erotic experience can grow.

And ain't I pretentious indeed?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on January 22, 2008 4:42 PM

Patrick H.: I consider erotic literature and erotic photography / porn rather different animals, since the former is more involving the brain, whereas the latter operates on a more animal level. My point was just that, it seems, the world of porn / erotic photography can no more tolerate women looking like ordinary women, in poses and lighting which one would ordinarily encounter when viewing a non porn-star / erotic model naked in the flesh, than erotic literature can escape the conventions of everything-but-vanilla sex depicted, whether casual encounters, threesomes, etc.; the name of the game in both cases is to not be the everyday; apparently that's what the market demands.

Michael: for one thing, the Abby Winter girls, like so many Playmates, Co-Eds, and Cybergirls today, and all the Eastern European chicks of Domai, Met-Art, etc., show too damn much fricking ribcage. Nothing gives me a soft-on quicker than a chick who's starving and you can see the outline of her ribs. You'd want to grab them, and force-feed them chili, not fuck them. For Pete's sake, eat something, girlies!

I guess I'm jaded, but that's what porn ultimately does - at first, something like SuicideGirls or Domai or even CoEds, seems fresh and new, but eventually, they all look like interchangeable cookie-cutter dolls - just like Playmates or Pets do. There really is, as PatrickH says, a sameness to it all, despite the differences. Maybe that just can't be helped, ultimately. After all, a pussy and pair of tits, is a pussy and pair of tits, is a pussy and a pair of tits.

Posted by: anon on January 22, 2008 7:19 PM

Michael, have you clicked around YouPo.rn? I think you'll like it.

Posted by: JV on January 23, 2008 12:58 AM

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