Porn Makes Me Uncomfortable…

But I still find supporting good porn to be important.

I have always had a fraught relationship with porn, and sexuality in general.

That relationship is a large reason why I started researching and teaching about sexuality. I’ve always been fascinated by others’ experiences — since I’m so distant from my own sexuality.

When it comes to porn, I either have no-reaction or become uncomfortable. Consequently, it ends up being more of a “huh, interesting, I never thought of that” exercise than anything else.

For decades, there has been a big discussion over whether or not porn is a “good” thing. Between religious individuals concerned for moral reasons, anti-porn feminists, and others admonishing “porn addiction,” there’s a pretty large volume of rhetoric out there about how “bad” porn is.

Though I agree that unrealistic porn shouldn’t be something people model their own sex lives off of— it is a fantasy after all— I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with it, especially when it elevates consent. Furthermore, creative, unique, and playful depictions of sexuality — even idealized and unrealistic portrayals — are important for our imaginations. While not all fantasies can be real, porn can help us tap into and safely explore some of these deeper desires.

There are several companies and groups challenging the porn status quo. There is demand for respectful and realistic representations of queer sexuality, people of color, trans women, fat women, individuals with disabilities etc. — all without fetishizing them. Many viewers want ethically produced porn, and there is a clear desire for porn that is artistic, creative, and innovative. We need more porn where performers are treated with respect and given opportunities to pre-negotiate acts that truly interest them. But for these companies to thrive, we have to pay them.


Now, you’re probably wondering what these alternative porn companies I’ve been alluding to are. Here is an incredibly abbreviated list of some that inspire me the most:

  1. The Crashpad Series centers around diverse casting with people of many genders, ages, races, body types or abilities, and experience levels. Also focuses on performer agency and consent, sexual health, and equal pay practices. Beyond that, their series has a fun concept and you can also watch the porn of other awesome producers on their site.
  2. CineSinclaire is one of the newer producers on the block, and I’m proud to admit that the person behind it, Kate Sinclaire, is a good friend of mine (but that’s not the reason it’s on this list). It’s here because Kate centers realism, crafting scenes in real locations with real people who are actually into each other — all while ensuring boundaries are clear and respected.
  3. TRENCHCOATx was created by Kayden Kross and Stoya in an attempt to answer the question of how to get modern, internet-based audiences to pay for porn, while also trying to provide fair and equal pay to performers. Part of the answer was having episodic series so people could pick and choose scenes, rather than sifting through a multiple-hour chunk of vaguely-related interactions. I highly recommend Episode 2 of the Girl/Boy series if you’re into gender-bending in a realistic and creative way.
  4. Spit Magazine is a Toronto based group that describes themselves as an “alternative porn collaborative.” They treat the models in their scenes and photos as collaborators, with everyone involved as equal participants in every stage of the process.
  5. Erika Lust has always made intriguing porn, primarily because she comes at it with the eyes of a cinephile. Her films are beautifully thought out, with complex, engaging, and titillating storylines and visuals. This isn’t your usual “women’s porn” either. It’s mature, enigmatic, and beautiful without being hollow or condescending. Her xConfessions series — where she takes user-submitted fantasies and collaborates with them to make a short erotic film — is particularly fascinating. Erika set out to change porn, and I think she’s succeeded.
  6. Four Chambers is a fledgeling erotica studio from the UK. Their films are mystical and visually engaging. It’s something you have to see to understand, so check out some of their shorts!
  7. Inside Flesh is definitely not for everyone. It’s very clearly on the more ‘hardcore’ side of the spectrum, with a lot of BDSM and a special focus on medical play. That aside, their pictures, gifs, and films are visceral and artistic, taking sexuality and refracting it through an alternate reality that is sterile while also dirty, with idealized bodies that are broken and without identity. It is certainly a “new vision” of porn. Curious? You can always review a lot of their imagery for free on tumblr. And hey, if you like what you see you can support them (and many alternative porn producers and performers) on Patreon.

These are just a few companies that come to mind. There are many more out there, including those that go beyond traditional “producers” such as cam performers, erotic writers/artists, and graphic novelists—giving ‘graphic’ a dual meaning.

I believe sexuality should be creative and playful. It should take many forms, and we should celebrate it and take the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.

That is, ultimately, why I support porn despite it not really being my “thing.”

Please feel free to share some of your favorite porn sites in the comments below.

How do you feel about porn? Join the discussion by downloading tabú today!

Caitlin Murphy is a sexuality professional, writer, consultant and occasional visual artist currently residing in Philadelphia, PA, when they’re not traveling. Among other honors, they were once referred to as a Level 5 Glitter Elemental. When they’re not writing or teaching about sex toys, Caitlin can generally be found with their plants — #PlantParenthood — as well as at www.sex-ational.com and @sex_ational.