Why I’ve Always Wanted To Write For A Porn Magazine

 

Issue Four contributor, Leandra Vane shares her thoughts on porn and writing for us.

 

Photo by Always Goody at the Math Magazine Issue Four Release Party & 1st Birthday Celebration

Photo by Always Goody at the Math Magazine Issue Four Release Party & 1st Birthday Celebration

 

I love talking about porn and I strive to open up conversations about the role porn and erotica plays in our lives and relationships. So I'm always on the lookout for great porn -- in particular, what I call "PFA Porn" or porn that operates as being Progressive, Feminist, or Alternative (sometimes all three at once!)

 

Thus, several months ago I saw a buzz on my sex-positive social media circles about a new progressive print porn magazine and I simply had to check it out. I got my hands on Issue Three of Math Magazine and I was instantly hooked. Issue Three of the magazine featured photography, artwork, erotica, and non-fiction writing including an interview with Erika Lust, one of my feminist pornographer heroes.

Everything about the issue was what I had been craving from a porn magazine: high quality, expressive, sensual, and textured photoshoots that feature pretty much every pairing possible (including lots of solos). The erotica was dreamlike and so varied that I literally did not know what was coming next. And the playful but edgy layout kept me turning each page wanting more, more, more. I love the way the physical, book-like magazine feels in my hands as well. And with the ambiguous, iconic cover, I can take this with me everywhere and not worry about it falling out of my bag or leaving it on the table when I brought my copy to show a friend over lunch.

Math Magazine is my PFA Porn dream come true! You can read more about the magazine and the editor, MacKenzie Peck in this wonderful write up. You can also check out the social media tags: #allthegazes and #loveandbutts (Seriously, how can you not be smitten?)

But it doesn't end there.

I'm completely, thrilled, honored, and over the moon that my short erotic story "Luke 6:38" has been published in Issue Four of Math Magazine! This issue definitely has a bent toward kink: a few of the erotic stories (including mine) and photoshoots delve into a fetishistic/BDSM vibe. I love it and I'm so excited to have contributed to the issue.

As the title suggests, my story plays with the taboos of sexuality and religion: it features a protagonist with physical scars and a thing for spanking and a Catholic priest with a panty fetish. (Side note: if you like erotica that mixes priests, religion, kink and sex you should check out this anthology, which also contains one of my stories.) I'm really grateful as a writer to be able to contribute my work to a publication that I was already a fan. But in addition to this, writing for a porn magazine has been a bucket-list item for me in my writing career. 

Some people are confused or perplexed as to why a porn mag publication would be so important to me (other people totally get it!) so I thought I would share here some of the reasons.

 

1. I’m interested in actually solving the problems people have with porn.

I see people rage against porn for a vast range of reasons. And while anti-porn diatribes on the internet are one of my least favorite things, I do understand why there are so many torrid emotions surrounding the topic and why people speak out against porn both online and off. (There was a time in my life where I was anti-porn, see #2.) Some of the problems I had about porn then were as follows: Porn made me feel insecure about my body. I didn't know how to talk about the role porn viewing and sexual fantasy played in my intimate relationship. I could never find the kind of porn I wanted to watch. I thought porn performers were treated unethically. And I thought porn perpetuated unhealthy stereotypes about sex. Progressive/Feminist/Alternative porn works to solve all these problems. PFA porn showcases a variety of body types, sexual pairings, and sexual expressions. This kind of porn is also friendly to a wide range of sexual experiences including kink, BDSM, and sex without penetration or sometimes sex without involving genitalia.

Consent is key and everyone involved from performers to directors and writers share a common goal toward risk aware, safer sex where everyone is asking for and consenting to what they want. Making porn that more people can get behind, that more people desire to watch, and are comfortable with makes it easier to have much needed conversations about porn. When I see someone actively protesting porn in real life or sharing anti-porn articles online, I know it's usually because they are having a conflict in their lives regarding porn, and they need to talk about it, not argue about it. We need to bring balanced conversations about porn to the mainstream and actively solve real problems people have with porn rather than fighting about it or banning it. And while society still has a way to go on that front I feel PFA porn really does promote a healthy dialogue around porn and creates educational, ethical porn. 

 

2. Understanding how I feel about porn was a turning point in my sexuality, and my life. 

At one point in my life, I was fed (and I readily consumed) some pretty terrible anti-porn philosophy that made me feel vulnerable as a woman, and I blamed porn. I started to believe my boyfriend (the man I would eventually marry) didn’t really like or love me because he still watched some porn. I cut my own erotica reading out of my life because I thought I was supposed to if I *really* loved my boyfriend and I tried to stifle my kinks because I had succumbed to a lot of sex-negativity, especially surrounding disability. 

Porn was, in many ways, a breaking point for me in my sexuality. I had to confront a lot of the fears I had about my own sexuality. I had to untangle a lot of insecurities surrounding my body and my relationships. I had to take an honest look at the needs that I and my partner had in our sexualities. I had to start thinking for myself and making decisions about my own wellbeing rather than trying to always make other people happy or fit into a polite mold. Porn helped me do that.

That’s amazingly powerful. I am infinitely grateful to have had this experience in my life, to be confronted with the stigmas society hurls at sex, bodies, and pleasure then take a deep breath and listen to the diverse ideas the brought about a healthier way of thinking about sex, pleasure, my body, and my relationships. There are so many “my life was ruined by porn” stories out there that I can’t help saying, “My life was saved by porn!” (Though admittedly that sounds a little too click-baity for me to actually use, but nevertheless.) I needed these conversations in my life and I want to contribute to something that brings that conversation to more people.

 

3. The stigma related to porn parallels the stigma related to my disabled body.

I've heard people say before that only certain people should view porn. Some examples: "Oh, he's single and can't get a date, it's okay for him to watch porn." 

"Well, that person is a fetishist, so since they don't want real sex, they can watch porn." 

"She's disabled, and no one really wants to have sex with her, so porn is a good option for her." All of these statements are beyond horrid. Saying certain "less than" people can have a "less than" sexual outlet perpetuates shame and leads people to hide or lie about aspects of their bodies and sexualities, which leads to a massive array of problems for people in their personal lives. Lots of people view porn, for lots of different reasons. It is a sexual outlet and all sexual outlets should be treated with respect and care, and given a platform to learn about and express it with others. PFA porn helps normalize the fact that PEOPLE LOOK AT PORN and helps crank up the visibility of both porn viewing and the diverse range of body types, orientations, preferences, and sexual expressions of human beings. Fantastic. Which brings me to... 

 

4. I don't fit into a sexual category and for a long time I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. 

I'm a sexually fluid fetishist. For me this means I can become aroused by a variety of things but I can only orgasm by thinking about one very specific thing. I've been told I can't be both at the same time, but I am. I've also been told I'm not queer enough because I'm bisexual. I've been told I'm not polyamorous enough because I have a relationship hierarchy (my husband is my primary partner). I've even been told I'm not disabled enough because I can pass as able bodied in some contexts. Yeah, it can be really frustrating to be stuck in the middle, to have a certain calibration of traits that make you the weird kid on every playground you try to make friends on. But my needs and my identities are acknowledged, validated, and expressed in PFA porn. Mine and lots of other people's. I celebrate that because it can be hard to find places where this is the case, let alone where it is encouraged. So long live #allthegazes !

 

This piece originally appeared on The Unlaced Librarian.

 
Leandra Vane Portrait.jpg

Leandra Vane is a sexuality writer and speaker. Her erotica has been featured in numerous anthologies and her non-fiction work tackles topics in relationship styles, kink, disability, and sexual fantasy. She writes a book review and sexuality blog entitled The Unlaced Librarian. Follow Leandra on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and her blog, The Unlaced Librarian.  

 
MacKenzie Peck