This post includes discussion of coercion and non-consent. If you give a shit about spoilers, it also contains details of episodes 2 and 3 of SexFactor.
It’s a reality show in which wannabe porn stars compete to complete challenges which include anything from sultry poses to full-on fucking: of course I have watched ‘Sex Factor’. I usually avoid Xhamster, but this show has had a huge amount of press attention, so I couldn’t really not.
And I have very, very, VERY strong feelings about it.
Here goes: a round-up of some things you need to read. Which I’m switching to Friday because, hey, who wants to do work on Friday when you could instead be reading about feminism, censorship and condoms?
In my sex education classes at school, I was told that sex was this:
A man puts his penis in a woman until he ejaculates.
There was a lot of stuff surrounding that, of course, all of it important: how to avoid getting pregnant, or reduce the risk of an STI. How the sperm meets the egg. Why menstruation happens. But at the heart of it was that: a man puts his penis in a woman. Train goes in tunnel, you know?
Everything I learned was grounded in that train-in-tunnel thing. Sure, we got timetables, instructions on emergency exits, and a map to where the buffet car was, but we were still always focused on the train.
For as long as we’ve been enjoying sex and porn, we’ve also had to listen to people telling us that there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to enjoy it. These two posts highlight the problems with this.
Get stuck in.
This post – which includes frank discussion of rape and sexual assault, fyi – has been swirling round in my head for a while. I almost wrote it a few weeks ago, when student George Lawlor feigned horror at being asked to go to consent classes and held up a sign saying ‘this is not what a rapist looks like.’ Then I almost wrote it again after watching the BBC3 programme ‘Is this rape?’ Now a number of porn performers have come forward about James Deen and – because I think it’s important to support people who speak out – I figured now’s as good a time as any. I believe them, obviously. Please read their stories:
I don’t want to put words into their mouths or make any assumptions about their experience, which is why I’ve put all these links at the beginning of the post so you can read, and offer your own support however you like.
From now on the rest of this post is not specifically about any individual – just our response to hearing someone’s personal story of rape or assault. Specifically, it’s about this phrase:
“But I thought he was a nice guy?!”
It comes back to the George Lawlor thing: ‘This is not what a rapist looks like.’ Let me tell you about some nice guys I have known.