Tag Archives: porn

Rel@tionships: Writer and digital lit theorist Joanna Walsh on AEWCH 84

24 Sep
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AEWCH84TitleCardFriends,
We have so many inherited metaphors about love, relating, and intimacy, that even the thought of new narratives about them makes us uncomfortable. Well, good. Let’s be uncomfortable. To that end, I spoke with writer and literary & digital theorist Joanna Walsh, whose work explores the contours (and corners and failed uploads)( of love and intimacy, and relationships.
When I read Joanna’s book of stories Vertigo, a few years back, I knew I wanted to talk with her. Joanna’s fiction has an intense and even at times relentless quality of repetition, of observation. It’s the sort of fiction that gives you the sense that you are not just engaged with the efforts of a great writer, but a great thinker too. The conversation is, as usual, wide-ranging, but we stay close to the idea of how we relate to one another and why our old ideas of relating are not enough to describe our experiences.
Talking with Joanna is a dizzying experience because she is so brilliant, so learned, and able to articulate so many profound truths in clear, concise language. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to spend time with her. Three good places to start: her book of short stories, (which she reads from), her novel, Break.up: A Novel In Essays, and her book of pornographic fairy tales Grow A Pair.
We discuss
  • How intimacy is formed
  • How the I is composed by others
  • Tension in fairy tales
  • Why we have sex to masturbate
  • Theorists with bad ethics
  • Experimental writing as a way of relating
  • “Emotional logic problems”
  • Living in tension
  • The emotions women are “supposed” to feel in their assigned roles
  • The occult bodies and technological intervention
  • What the internet gives, what the internet takes away
  • Watching porn in clips instead of a whole movie
  • Who we are in our normal lives (and how that contains our creative and erotic life)
And in addition to the conversation, Joanna also reads her entrancing story, “Vagues”!

 

Porn Work Is Work! AEWCH 69 (yes that is actually the episode number) with Dr. Heather Berg & Sovereign Syre!

7 May

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Pay for your podcast  is the new “pay for your porn.” At least in my case. Your support you love, is crucial to keep my work going. If youfind something of value on my show, give back and support themany hours of free content I offer every month for the price of alatte or cocktail or lunch or, you know, a month of Only Fans.

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AEWCH69Title

Friends,

So excited to talk directly about adult performance, the sexual politics around it, the labor politics around it, and when those politics clash and support one another.

And who better to invite than Gender Studies professor Dr. Heather Berg and writer/comedian/porn maven Sovereign Syre! Heather is a brilliant mind and one of the most thoughtful Marxists I’ve ever met; she’s really pushed the needle for me on understanding and embracing Marxist discourse. Sovereign is

We talk

  • labor tactics developed by adult performers
  • Sov’s and my histories in adult
  • How vocal people are about watching or not watching porn
  • The benefits of the (extremely problematic) “gig economy”
  • On being compared to Colby Keller by dumb journalists
  • Why the sex in sex work matters in the “sex work is work” conversation
  • Whether or not porn is art (it is!)
  • Why our picture of patriarchy should be informed by porn and not merely informing us ABOUT porn
  • What the best tactics are for performers to thrive
  • Why “feminist porn” isn’t always good for workers
  • Heather and I trying to make Marx and Freud sync up

I love this conversation.

XO
CH

SHOW NOTES ARE HERE

Conner Habib on the Blindboy Podcast: Recorded live at Vicar Street in Dublin and available now!

24 Apr

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Friends,

In lieu of an episode of Against Everyone With Conner Habib this week, I’m posting my appearance on The Blindboy Podcast! We recorded at a sold out live show at Vicar Street on March 4, and it was amazing. It was my first Irish media appearance since moving here, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Irish audiences.

And it’s a great introduction to both me and the range of my efforts, as well as Blindboy’s (who’s a great author, and part of the Dada-esque band/political prank group The Rubberbandits.)

We discuss

  • What the occult is
  • Paranormal experiences, including my dead mom
  • How I got my porn name
  • Why sex workers want decriminalization, not legalization, and Sex Workers Alliance Ireland
  • What a post work world looks like
  • Why adult performers (like Bill Bailey) deserve mainstream recognition and memorials when they die
  • Consent in porn

I wish Blindboy would’ve put in the audience questions! But don’t worry, we’ll do something together again sometime soon.

So excited to share this with you folks. New AEWCH ep up next week!

XO
CH

CH+BB

The One With The Bleeding (Adult Star Missy Martinez on AEWCH!)

13 Aug

 

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Happy to have another performer on the show for the first time: the amazing Missy Martinez! We talk shop, of course. We also talk about being in relationships while making scenes, what words we prefer for our nethers, eroticizing jealousy, the technicalities of intergenerational and family scenes, on how producers waste performers’ time, what it’s like to be on set, how adult can help you let go of racism, feeling fat. If I talked too much, it’s just because I was over caffeinated and Missy makes me gay boy nervous because she is INCREDIBLE. 

You can and should follow Missy on twitter: @MissyXMartinez

Show notes, as always, are available to patrons who support the show.

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The Future-Non-Future of the Adult Industry

2 Dec

image1In 2013, I wrote an essay (called “Facing the Torsos”) for The Stranger about hook-up apps (like Scruff, Grindr, etc) having the potential for becoming individuated pornographic experiences. Actually, let me restate that – these apps have already become our new porn, whether they claim to be or not. I’m presenting it again here because, porn companies have still failed to realize better models and structures for delivering erotic and arousing experiences to viewers. Basically, studios/producers are still doing the 1980s/1990s VHS model of things: Record a scene, deliver it to viewers, hope they’ll pay. What they don’t realize is that the potential for new realms is not in the platform or even the content, but the INTERFACE. This is why something like VR where you wear a giant occulus goggle thingy is still ultimately a boring extension of the VHS model: You’re still just watching it happen. Sure, it’s a different sort of watching, but the interface is essentially the same, panoramic or not.

I’m tired of constant complaints from producers in the porn industry about piracy and how people not paying for porn is why the industry is failing; ultimately using that as an excuse to justify docking performer pay.

No, it’s not piracy, it’s lack of innovation (or better said, lazy refusal to innovate) on multiple levels, and one of the big ones is interface.  

But producers won’t get this till they understand: porn is not a set “thing,” it’s not just a scene of people fucking on a website. It’s a set of aesthetic rules that inspire a way of watching by individuals.

I’ll write more on this later (I’ve given talks on this at a bunch of art schools now, so the essay is imminent). What might be “porn” for you may not be porn for me (for example, did you masturbate to the Macy’s underwear catalog when you were a kid like I did? Or The Real World Season 2 whenever that blonde surfer dude came on?).

Until people get a handle on this, porn payouts will continue to decline, decline, decline, and at the same time drag performer wages, quality of experience, and producer integrity down with them.

And let’s not forget that all the while, anti-sex bigots and internet censorship dressed up as anti-porn legislation will keep coming at us.

Innovate happily, adapt, or die.

If you’re a producer, feel free to hire me to consult on this.

Anyway, here’s the article again. Hope you enjoy it.

***

fttFACING THE TORSOS

You’re at a gay bar with a group of searching, horny guys, and you’re talking to a bunch of them at once. “Pull your dick out,” you say to one of the cuter ones. He does, and it’s hard and good-looking. “Nice dick!” you say, naturally.

“Sup,” someone else says to you while you’re admiring it, but you don’t pay him much attention.

One of the guys in the group has been talking for a while, but he’s so boring that you turn your back on him mid-sentence and ignore him.

Just a few feet away is a guy who’s really attractive but doesn’t seem interested. You go up and say hello. When he doesn’t respond, you say hi again. Nothing. Well, you’ll see him again a few days later anyway, in the same spot, and you’ll say hello again.

But look, there’s that boring guy you turned your back on. Now that you know what it feels like to be ignored, you reluctantly say, “Sorry. I had a phone call.” Or whatever. Then you pick up the conversation right where you left off.

These are the absurd in-person equivalents of phone hookup apps like Scruff, Grindr, Mister, and Jack’d: brief hellos (“sup”), the trading of nude pics, the dance of expressing interest, dropping in and out of conversations, and picking up chats you abandoned days ago.

It’s obvious in the imagined bar above that our in-person behavior doesn’t mirror our behavior and expectations on the apps. But there’s a good deal more confusion as to how much of our behavior and expectations on the apps should mirror real life. This can be seen most clearly in the common declaration of many profiles: “I wouldn’t talk to someone without a head at a bar, so have a face pic.”

I don’t like when profiles don’t have face pics, and I wouldn’t talk to a headless person in life, either. But neither would I—at least for the most part—ask to see a guy’s dick at a bar and expect him to pull it out. And I wouldn’t suddenly stop talking to someone with no explanation. So there’s a tension and confusion between how much “real life” we’re supposed to enact on these apps. This is, in part, because when we download an app, we don’t just download the standard features, we download a narrative.

The narrative we’re sold is a nice one, and sometimes it plays out: You create a profile, you chat with guys, you meet in person and fuck or even go on a date. I’ve had the good fortune of having this happen, but that’s not what usually happens. Just last night I was on Scruff while in bed, facing the gay man’s dilemma of too-horny-to-sleep-but-too-tired-to-go-out-and-get-some. Typical. With my phone hand, I was scrolling through pics, and with my other hand, I was casually and lazily playing with myself. I talked to a few guys, unlocked my photos, jerked off, and called it a night. Also typical.

Masturbation cued me in, as it has more than a few times, to something valuable: These apps are geared not specifically toward sex but toward stimulation, masturbation, and desire. Put another way, hookup apps are pornography—individualized, participatory pornography.

As a porn actor, I’ve been hearing fearful noises from porn studios and misguided journalists for years now, bemoaning how porn isn’t as lucrative as it once was. While a lot of these concerns are aimed at the internet, what’s overlooked is that a lot of our sexual attention is being diverted to our devices and hookup apps. Instead of writing about how apps compete with bars, we should be looking at how apps are dovetailing with other forms of sexual imagery. Because the substance of these apps isn’t hooking up—it’s browsing. All the traditional elements of porn are there, and more. By creating a profile, we agree to put ourselves on display. Many of the photos we post are borderline pornographic, even if they’re “G-rated.” They’re chest pics or pics of us looking seductive, or they’re goofy because we’ve sexualized goofiness. Exhibitionism is part of the agreement of these apps. We turn ourselves into desirable objects for others to look at.

Meanwhile, we’re voyeurs, looking into everyone’s little windows. The interface is similar to the way we view porn now, not fixating on one scene until we come but flipping through scenes—bringing up the next and the next until we find the one we want to stick with. The ability to chat with the person whose image you’re getting off to amplifies the individualization of the experience. While I’m looking at someone’s dick, I’m also wondering: Is he a top or a bottom? Does he like the same sexual acts as me? But it goes further than that—everyone on the app has access to what turns them on about personalities, too. Does he like the same movies? Is he into comic books? Will he wear that Thor helmet in his pic when he fucks me?

And the best thing is—unlike porn on the computer—we get to be on the screen, too, displaying ourselves to the other player.

But these encounters often do not lead to meeting. When you get to the point of hooking up, the person you think you’re about to hook up with disappears. Or the person says, “I’m busy.” Or you call it off because you don’t feel like cleaning out your butt or going all the way over to that neighborhood because that’s like a 20- minute walk!

And of course, there’s the possibility that the person in the photo is not who he seems to be, that he’ll look different than his photos, or that maybe he’s expecting too much from you.

So instead of meeting up, the next step is turning the app off (or leaving it on) and masturbating. After the interaction has, um, come and gone, you “star” or “favorite” a guy’s profile and revisit the scene again—like a replay, only better.

With apps, we create living pornography on the spot; they embody exhibitionism and voyeurism par excellence. They’re portable, they’re accessible when we want them to be (in your office! In the Starbucks bathroom!), they’re not one-way like much live cam porn, they’re not expensive, and everyone who signs up is agreeing to the same basic premises.

Some features are even optimized for the pornographic experience. The Global feature on Scruff, for example, allows you to engage in chatting and pic sharing without the promise of an encounter. If the person you’re talking to lives in Papua New Guinea and you live in Chicago, you’re probably not getting it in anytime soon. In other words, the Global feature presents a more realistic expectation of what’s probably going to happen when we sign on.

This kind of realistic expectation can help save us from becoming dependent on these new technologies or trapped in the nervous energy that propels them. We’ve all seen people at bars staring into their phones, chatting up the very same sorts of guys they feel unable to approach in person. When we use the apps too frequently or depend on the narrative we’re sold—one of meeting rather than browsing—it can become a crutch and diminish our skill sets for approaching others. We all know someone (or may be someone) who checks his apps constantly or inappropriately. I’m guilty of saying hi to someone via app when he’s sitting four tables away from me at the coffee shop (embarrassingly, he didn’t respond even as I watched him check his phone).

If we can see most of our time on these apps for what it is, we can access the apps’ potential. Seeing the apps as pornographic allows us to interact with our desires rather than try to approximate in-person experiences. Engaging in—rather than just receiving—personalized sexual imagery can afford a degree of healthy detachment through which we can explore the contours of what gets us off. Right now, because the apps are clinging only to the prepackaged narrative, their potential isn’t yet realized. Not expecting our devices and apps to approximate the same experiences we have via in-person contact will let us drop real-time expectations for them. Then we can face the torsos, whether they have faces or not.

 

 

Event! Pornworld: Why Porn Is A Healthy Part of Our Culture

17 May

barwithoutwatermark

On June 5, I’ll be giving a one-day-only live webinar with Q&A about why porn is good for you!

So take a break from watching porn and come hang out with me for  an afternoon. We’ll talk porn and hang out. And it’s only 15 bucks! If you can’t attend the day of, not to worry! Registration includes 90-day access to a recording of the course!

Sign up here!

Pornworld: Why Pornography Is A Healthy Part of Our Culture

People throughout the world have an uneasy relationship with pornography.

We love it! 

I mean, obviously we love it. With millions (billions?) of porn-content internet views per day, maybe some of you have even loved it today. Several times.

And we fear it. We hate it. It’s the subject of taboo, anxiety, and stigma. Porn is attacked regularly by legislators, religious fundamentalists, neuroscientists, and many feminists.

What that boils down to: Everyone is looking at porn, but not many people know how to stop feeling ashamed about their porn use, how to stop hiding it, or how to start enjoying something that brings them pleasure.

To bridge the gap between our porn use and our feelings about porn, we need to stop demonizing pornography and emphasize instead the positive functions porn serves in our culture. Why do we need porn? What’s it doing for us as viewers? What can it teach us about sex and sexuality, not to mention oppression, repression, and everyday life?

That’s why I’m offering this one-session live online course about what porn teaches us about sex, and the positive effects porn has had in my life as a viewer and my eight years of experience as a sexual rights activist and porn performer.  

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • What porn tells us about sex and sexuality.
  • How porn helps people in marginalized communities.
  • What makes porn porn, anyway?
  • How pornography can help us deprogram society’s harmful messages about sex and intimacy.
  • Why we need more open discussion about porn.
  • What being in porn is like, and why appearing in porn or doing sex work can be an act of positive civil disobedience.
  • And more!

The course starts with a live webcast lecture by me, and the second half is a Q&A, where I’ll engage with you and your questions.

Registration:

There are three kinds of registration:

INDIVIDUAL registration includes individual access to the course and the Q&A, as well as a link to a recording of the course for 90 days if you can’t attend. $15.00

PLUS registration includes the Individual registration, plus a 20 minute, one-on-one Skype (video or audio, you decide) follow-up meeting with me to talk more about the course topics, and ask to any questions you might have after the course is over (or that you feel may be more personal in nature). $65.00

GOLD registration includes everything in the Individual AND plus registration; as well as a list of Conner Habib quotes on sex; and a unique, personalized, short video sent from me to you. The Gold registration is limited to fifteen participants. $150.00

Practical stuff:

You must be at least 18 to sign up for this course. Signing up for this course indicates your statement of age.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email. 24 hours before the course starts, you’ll receive an email from me with a link to the webinar and instrcutions on how to enter. The process is simple and easy. Just a few clicks.

For GROUP REGISTRATION (ie, more than one person in the room) please contact me at connerhabibsocial at gmail for a group rate.

If you can’t attend the day of the course, remember, you can always watch the course after. You don’t have to be able to attend the course to sign up or have access to the recording. And if you sign up for PLUS or GOLD registration, you’ll get all the follow-up perks as well!

WHEN

Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (PDT)

SIGN UP TODAY!

Consent and Porn

14 Apr

In the past few months, I’ve been contacted multiple times to discuss consent in porn, particularly in relation to the rape disclosures related to straight performer (and former chairperson of the organization I work for), James Deen.

I’m tired of it. The gesture is almost always framed as “what can porn performers and studios do better?”

The real question is, “What can non-performers learn about better consent practices from porn performers?”

Unfortunately, very few people are interested in that. Instead, performers are subjected to rescue pleas, when, largely, no rescue is needed.

To broaden and correct public discussion, I took part in a panel called “Consent in Porn: Debunking Myths & Managing Realities.” Also on the panel, adult film stars Mercedes Carrera, Nina Elle, and Mickey Mod, as well as talent agent Mark Schechter and Director Dee Severe. The panel was moderated by Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals.

In the talk, I try to move the discussion away from consent as a concern when it comes to bodies interacting with bodies and instead to deeper and more urgent questions of permission, like: Do we actually consent to having our images used by studios forever? Should we consent to lower wages? Why are we trying to get people to pay for our porn when performers don’t get royalties?

That’s when things get a weeeee bit contentious between myself and the production people.

Watch the entire video is below.

(Note: for some reason I can’t get the video to start at the beginning, so just click on the beginning.)