PORN SHRINES

Although I hate Sundays, today I venture out of my house with a warm feeling of anticipation and a tingling heart. For the first time, I am going to be behind the scenes of a feminist porn movie and I don’t know what to expect. I walk along the street thinking about all the things that are happening right now inside of these grey buildings where the action is supposed to happen. Trying to guess the amount of bodily fluids flowing in the different flats. Sweat, semen, blood and milk behind the walls. The old couple with fake teeth playing cards in front of a way too loud TV. The lovers whispering in a language I don’t understand. The sleeping cat.

The apartment has a sign that reads “DR. Acula” and 13 inhabitants, and it does look like a former doctor’s examination room with white puffy doors and engraved radiators. The windows of the room I go in are covered with dark fabric and it makes me forget (almost immediately) that it’s only 2 pm. My flatmate and director, Åslög aka Lo-Fi Cherry, is my guide through this experimental porn trip in which two slippery and sexy tentacle creatures will perform their mating dance in front of us.

Tentacle Creatures

The air is warm and sweet, just as Åslög’s voice, who is carefully attaching a prosthetic labia set made out of gloves to one of the actresses. “Are you ok? Are you comfortable with that?” She pronounces these words so delicately that we all nod at the same time, feeling wrapped up in a sort of soft sisterhood intimacy.

And it is exactly this magnetic and sticky feminine atmosphere that haunts me most. This velvety comradeship arouses me and makes my body shiver. The set reminds me of the Virgin Suicides’ bedroom. Like the Lisbon sisters, they have built their own private shrines, but in this case the religious imagery is replaced by whips, condoms and strawberry-flavored lube. Purple and pink gloves spread all over the floor like rose and lilac petals, and the reddish lights flicker like altar candles.

But these girls are not immersed in a gloomy contemplative sulkiness, they seem to me more like the Berliner March sisters from Little Women, rehearsing full of playfulness and joy for their annual Christmas show. However, instead of attaching fake beards to their faces, they are crafting bionic-looking lower extremities and performing an architectural show of naked body. But if you have a sister and are a sister yourself, you know what I am talking about. The solemn nature of this sorority intimacy makes this piece of sexual expression outside the male gaze a sacred and powerful tool of transgression like a coven of witches during the Spanish Inquisition.

On the lunch break (guess what, porn actresses eat), the conversation flows between the most various topics, ranging from party tips to the difficulties of being an expat in Berlin, to commenting on the awesomeness of the Contra-sexual Manifesto by the queer academic Beatriz Preciado. I sip on my Club Mate, surprised at how well I can identify with this group of people I barely know.

The experimental porn union exemplifies a cheerful vendetta for every time a woman has been told not to touch herself down there, to keep her legs closed, to wait for The Right One, to keep herself for someone special. I would say almost every woman I know carries the burden of feeling obliged to have justified sex: sex because you are in love, sex because you are free, sex because you are sexy, sex because everybody is doing it. For me it feels like we are always trying to make a meaningful experience out of it, we perform sex as an act of solemnity, virtue, technique, or even as a mystical rite of passage in the porncapitalist era.

So I guess trivializing sex can be a poweful way to put an end to the moralist patriarchal policies on women’s bodies and/or sex practices. And it is here where the paradox comes in. The more banal and profane your sexual expression is, the more meaningful and effective it turns in terms of the feminist struggle in order to reclaim the female body.

I think that porn can be a fierce expression of feminism by considering sex a playful and inconsequential experience, where it doesn’t even matter if the pleasure is real or if you like the person in front of you. It’s about the freedom of using your body as the tool it is, it’s about crossing the line of decency and trying to demystify female bodies. Why should my genitals have more value than my arms?

To make porn is for brave women. These women in front of me are getting money for sex, and there is something really empowering about it. They are selling their ancestral burden of solemnity and virtue that comes along with owning a female body. For most part of human history, women’s bodies have been property of men by the laws of the state, God, or good moral. Nowadays I would say it belongs to mainstream media, which is always drawing the fine lines between “sexy” and “slutty” and trying to guide us away from victorian Puritanism and sexual apathy into “the next level of sexual freedom”, full of uniformly tanned heterosexual (but bi-curious) women in size 36.

But these actresses are earning their bodies by selling them. They are taking their flesh and bones back from the patriarchy, in an extremely rebellious act of reclaiming what was taken from them long before they were born and getting away with it.

And that, my friends, is brave.

Words by Lo Pecado

Photos by Judy Mièl

Watch the teaser here!

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