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Intimate allies

The hot and heady world of queer porn.

A few years ago, I needed to decipher my changing tastes. Born and raised small-town straight, there was lots of conditioning to undo, and self-help books just didn’t cut it. Instead, I had to own my desire, feel it in my body and see people I was attracted to engaging in the sexy acts I craved. That’s why the hot and heady world of queer porn became my coming-out companion.

In the past, I’d gotten off on the amateur porn you can find on sites like XTube or PornHub, but this didn’t fit my current journey. For one, while cruising these sites, I’d often happen upon scenes where performers looked bored, drugged or non-consensual. As well, the female stars showed a lack of believable skill and fit a specific mould of femininity, which wasn’t quite what I was after.

So began the 2am Google searches for “hot butches,” “trans boys” and “tomboy femmes.” I was on a hunt for sultry queer visuals, and, as is the way of the internet, the more I explored, the more I discovered.

Crash Pad DVD covers

DVD covers courtesy of crashpadseries.com

My first big find was the Crash Pad Series, and right away I loved Crash Pad‘s creative plot, artistic camera shots and queer performers of all body types and gender identities. As blogger Charlie Spats described in his goodqueerporn.com review, the DIY authenticity of Crash Pad, and queer porn in general, doesn’t make you feel complicit for watching.

I also came to trust the integrity of Shine Louise Houston, Crash Pad‘s mastermind. Houston rightly asserts, “I believe there’s a lot of room and need to create adult content that’s real, that’s respectful and powerful . . . I think it’s the perfect place to become political. It’s a place where money, sex, media and ethics converge.”

The Crash Pad Series further introduced me to a trio of performers who became my onscreen coming-out allies. My personal pornstar constellation included Jiz Lee, Syd Blakovich and Torontonian Dylan Ryan.

Jiz Lee and Syd Blakovich

Jiz Lee by Tristan Crane. Syd Blakovich by Dolores Park Studios

Dylan Ryan

Image of Dylan Ryan courtesy of drivenbyboredom.com

And it’s Dylan Ryan’s words on coming out that still resonate: “There came a point some years ago when I realized I would never be ‘straight’ again . . . A doorway had been opened in front of me and after entering the hallway of a new way of understanding myself, the door behind me was shut. Never to re-narrow.” (Good Vibrations Magazine, July 2010)

So, not only were these boundary-pushers hot, they were articulate. I’d watch scenes where they came, switched and conquered. Then they’d blow my mind talking about gender-fuckery, art and life.

For me, this is one of the clear differences between mainstream and queer porn. In queer porn, the performer’s smarts mix well with smut, and they take obvious and political pleasure in what they do. This shines through in Jiz Lee’s personal explanation about why they are a pornstar: “From the beginning, each project I do is a choice . . . a lesson in helping me define and articulate the power I have of my own sexuality and autonomy.”

I second Lee’s sentiment, but from a slightly different angle. For me, watching porn has helped articulate my sexuality. Being queer, as I explained to my loved ones when I finally came out, is about being sexually open and gender-fluid. This is the heart of my sexuality and also at the core of the porn I watch.

When I purchased my first film, Champion: Love Hurts, featuring all three of the heavy hitters mentioned above, it was a milestone. Watching super-hot Syd’s fishtail fisting made me melt. The sex was raw, rough, at times tender, and between people who didn’t pass as mainstream pornstars. In fact, they looked like the people I was beginning to meet in Toronto’s queer scene.

Champion

Still from Champion: Love Hurts, courtesy of Jizz Lee

Beyond cracking the gender code, queer porn has an instinctive alliance with kink. It’s not just about choosing from a flashy sidebar of fetish themes. Rather, bondage and role-play are used to enhance the pleasure of the players as much as titillate the audience. There is also ample switching, so in one shoot, you’ll see a performer topping with gusto, and in another they are the most gorgeous little bottom.

It has been liberating to see this versatility onscreen, and it’s provided guidance for another aspect of my coming-out process. Turns out that my toppy tomboy self can coexist with my sweet submissive side and that my kinky streak has a place in the world.

As if this weren’t enough, unique viewing opportunities have connected me to a larger virtual community. In February of 2011, Sinclair Sexsmith, of the Sugar Butch Chronicles, held an online porn party. Queers across North America logged in to Hot Movies for Her to watch Alpha Femmes for free and then discuss on Twitter.

As I sat in my living room that winter night, it was both surreal and comforting to know that an entire group of people were out there, getting off on the same scenes I was. A group, I imagined, of progressive, sex-positive gender explorers. My evolving sexuality is affirmed by these unknown, yet intimate allies — the queer porn community has helped my coming out become more than just a fantasy.

Feminist Porn Awards

Contributor Andy B will be taking it offline by attending Good For Her’s 7th Annual Feminist Porn Awards this weekend (April 18 to 20, 2012). Many of the directors and performers in this article will be attending, alongside a full slate of delicious films. She hopes to see you there.

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