You'd think that a sexually adventurous soul like me, who authored a book called The Principled Libertine, would actually like porn. In truth, I have a love/hate relationship with contemporary smut. My thoughts on erotic entertainment are much like Gandhi's view of Western civilization – I think it's a good idea.
But, there's hardly much erotic entertainment which is truly entertaining. And a good chunk of it is barely erotic. I mean, you can only watch so many close-ups on body parts and repetitive pelvic thrusts before you get downright bored. Maybe I've been spoiled by not-so-sexually-explicit movies where the directors have nitpicked over such mundane things as plot and character.
And this is just the beginning. The "mainstream" media industry is far less exploitive, and far less mercenary in their advertising. You don't hear about mainstream actresses being pressured to do their own stunts, or of movie companies sending tons of spam through unscrupulous third parties to get the word out about their films. (Not to mention how so many porn sites are riddled with viruses – how ironic!)
Yes, I'm dismayed at the state of smut today – not because I'm so anti-sex, but because I'm so pro-quality. I'm not a prude, I'm just picky. Some of the best porn I've seen comes from BDSM sites – real BDSM, not the "pretend" type where they decide to tie up a vanilla porn star and spank her a few times. I'm talking sites like kink.com, where they know how to do suspension bondage, not to mention paying their talent a decent wage and guaranteeing their health and safety. And they don't spam people, either.
So why can't more purveyors of porn be like that? Good question, and the only answer I can think of is that they relish the role of being the persecuted, misunderstood rebels. "Hey, it won't matter to the blue-noses what we do, so we might as well do whatever we want!" Problem with that argument? In between the rebels of raunch and those who would censor them are a whole bunch of folks who aren't quite sure which side to believe. And when you're already on the "wrong side," you've got more chance of convincing people to come to your side when you show some respect, consideration and imagination. The folks at kink.com know that – let's hope they won't be the last.