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The Full Chuck: “Everything is Pornography to Someone”

Blogger dude and mover/shaker Chuck McCarthy (of Ideas By Chuck and History of Chuck fame) answers a few questions about his nude modeling debut for Pinups Magazine.

Interview: Porn Performer Sadie West

image via New Sensations

To know Sadie West is truly to experience an enigma. The girl has an exceptionally deep voice and her rumbling laugh will drop to a whisper, unexpectedly. She is an outrageously attractive woman with full natural lips, huge green eyes, deep olive skin, and dark hair. Her breasts are real as is her round, full bubble butt.

Beneath this outwardly goddess-like woman is the little girl that I knew and grew up with. This rowdy tomboy stole my underwear and hung it on the clothesline for her brothers to see at the family barbecue. As kids we would play hide-and-seek late at night on the deserted high school campus, where we would often hide in the drainage sewer. We would spend afternoons at the public pool, Sadie speaking loudly in an English accent, yelling “bloody fuck!” off the high dive. When the new neighbors moved in next door to her parents’ house, she had them thinking she was an adopted British kid for at least a week.

Nothing To Sneeze At

From what I can tell, a sneeze fetish is more about the journey than the destination. While you may consider face covering an action that stops the spreading of germs, to a fetishist you’re hiding all the subtle intricacies of pre-sneeze face. I don’t completely relate, but I do enjoy a good sneeze as much as the next person. Or rather, I get filled with rage when I’m about to sneeze and some jerkoff thinks it’s funny to yell “bananas!” and sabotage me. (I imagine that’s the closest I’ll ever come to understanding the phenomenon that is “blue balls.”)

Seems Legit: Authenticity, Performativity, and Sex

Kitty Stryker with Andre Shakti. (Screencap from Ban This Sick Filth, courtesy of Kitty Stryker)
Kitty Stryker with Andre Shakti. (Screencap from Ban This Sick Filth, courtesy of Kitty Stryker)

I’m in the middle of being flogged by Courtney Trouble for Banned in the UK (NSFW), an anti-censorship porn critiquing obscenity laws. It’s getting a little hot and heavy and my ass is getting red when the tails whip around and smack the cameraperson, my lover, in the face. We all dissolve into giggles.

And they say there’s no authenticity in porn.

I have a boner to pick with Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), an actress and one of the producers of an “intimate and ultimately harrowing” documentary about porn performers (because even when a documentary is expressing disgust and pity for sex workers, it’s still sexualized). Directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus are very concerned about the impact of porn on culture; it was the subject of their first documentary, Sexy Baby. During an interview at the Sundance Film Festival about the film (which was bought by Netflix), Ms. Jones said, “Women should feel pleasure and have sex and feel good about it—and there’s a lot of shame involved with porn,” adding that “[i]t’s performative, women aren’t feeling joy from it.”

I’m an amateur-ish porn performer and one of the directors of a little company called TROUBLEfilms. As a queer owned, queer focused operation, fulfilling cis male fantasies is not really high up on our list of priorities, but I guess since everyone knows that “only men are visual” all porn is basically the same, right? And of course as the casting director of this company, I am blasé about performer safety and health—it’s not like we have a multi-page document of model rights and our ethical standards.

If only porn was as progressive as Hollywood—oh, wait, except there’s more representation in the porn industry for female directors and producers than in the mainstream film industry.

But I’m going to put aside my sarcasm for a minute, because this is a serious issue with serious consequences. There’s been a lot of discussion about “authenticity” in porn and how amazing and valuable and feminist a quality it is, but I call bullshit on that discourse. Indie porn performer Arabelle Raphael made a great point last year by stating that porn is still labor, and as such, it is by its very nature performative. All labor requires some sort of performance, from smiling at customers you dislike to being polite when you hate your boss. Labor in the entertainment field, whether that be acting on stage, screen, or in adult movies, is even more explicitly staged. Activist sex worker Siouxsie Q wrote about how when she was working with a feminist pornographer, the actual, negotiated sex she wanted to have with a real life play partner was considered “too much” to be “authentic” as defined by that director. So who decides, then, what is authentic and what is performative? Are these actually opposite ends of a spectrum?

(Editor’s note: Content warning—NSFW images after the jump.)

Interview with Stoya

When I first saw a clip of Stoya in action, I was awestruck. She was the only female porn performer I’d ever seen who genuinely seemed to be enjoying it—smiling, even laughing a little, and simply radiating happiness. With her pale cheeks flushed pink and her dark hair slapping up and down around her face, she made little pleased noises instead of letting out a forced litany of “dirty talk” while some male performer (can’t remember a thing about him) went to town. I’m not an expert on her body of work, which has earned her AVN’s 2009 Best New Starlet award, but I do know that both those in the industry and casual fans alike all seem to regard her as intelligent, multitalented, and sincere. You can confirm this for yourself by checking out her twitter feed or her tumblr.

She graciously agreed to answer the following questions over email.

Stoya in a self-made skirt at AVN. Photo by Jeff Koga.