“Passion in life…is life. It’s contagious. Get naked and roll around in it.” — Lorii Meyers
When I was 18 and working as a model in Manhattan, money was not my priority. I wanted to build my career, gain industry respect and work with esteemed photographers, designers and stylists. I was fortunate enough to do just that. One arguable downside was that I didn’t make as much money as a commercial model would, doing shoots for brands like Target versus editorial spreads. (Because editorial jobs provide tear sheets and invaluable exposure that invite more work, they pay far less than less glamorous gigs models only benefit from monetarily.) I made enough money to support myself in NYC, however, which sufficed for me.
Even so, when one of my bookers called me with a booking offer unaffiliated with the agency (“under the table,” one might call it) that paid $17,000 (!!!) for one day’s work, I was giddy. The pay appealed to me, simply because a heftier cushion in the bank would’ve been nice. It’s not as though models have unions or 401k options. As soon I heard the job’s details, however, I was quite happy to continue on my thrift store-shopping ways.
The job, he said, was a hardcore porn shoot. After “porn,” the rest of the description smudged together. This was well before I gained sexual empowerment or began exploring issues like pornography, and the notion terrified me. I’d only had sex with one person, the on-and-off boyfriend I semi-expected to marry one day, and was shy about physical intimacy of all kinds. Even the casual “MWAH! MWAH!” cheek-turn-cheek kisses common in the industry freaked me out. (Where I’m from in Minnesota, we give one another space!) And to many I knew, premarital sex was a sin. If they were right, I was already pointed toward Hell; there had to be even worse fates for porn stars. I turned it down and that booker, who was years later fired from the agency, never treated me quite the same. That job would’ve allowed him a hefty commission, with the potential of future similar paychecks had the client taken me in as a regular.
I have no problem whatsoever with people’s decision to work in the adult industry, even in the context of hardcore porn. I also appreciate visual sexual expression as an enticing, important art form. While many of my views about sexuality have shifted since my late teens (thank goodness), I remain disinterested in performing in hardcore porn. Similar to a major reason I quit modeling, I take issue with the way bodies, sexuality and “beauty” are portrayed by mainstream porn and the proven ways they can damage our body image, relationships and sexuality. I would, on the other hand, consider performing in choice feminist porn or erotica—both of which support healthier, broader ideals. As someone who’s always loved performance art and creative expression, the notion totally intrigues me. (I did, after all, have sex with an imaginary man in one of my last acting jobs.)
As Cindy Gallop, the advertising exec turned groundbreaking activist and creator/CEO of Make Love Not Porn, a website that teaches the differences between porn and real sex, explained on my show last week, lumping all porn together is like suggesting that all books are similar. While most hardcore, mainstream porn promotes fairly limited, male-centric, unrealistic ideals, broader sub-genres have been cropping up. Appropriately used, there’s something valuable out there for everyone; we simply need to dig a bit deeper if we’re not into mainstream hardcore depictions.
Thanks to Cindy Gallop and her team, we don’t have to search hard at all for a related sex-positive alternative. One of her latest Make Love Not Porn ventures features real-world sex–REAL individuals, couples, threesomes and more having sex on camera for whoever so chooses to see. I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly exciting. When you become a member of MakeLoveNotPorn.TV, you can view, post and share others’ real sex videos! You can even make money doing it—but that’s only one perk.
To learn more about Cindy Gallop and the benefits of watching and making your own real-sex videos, visit Make Love Not Porn and listen to our interview on Girl Boner Radio. You can also connect with Cindy throughout social media. A self-proclaimed Facebook and Twitter addict (yet another of her attributes!), I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.