The Disintegration of Black Sexy Times

As a young girl, I’ve always been a bit curious about porn, and while it never prompted any deep desire in me to sneak and watch anything particularly hardcore; I did develop an affinity for the erotica shown on Cinemax after 11pm as well as, finding and then reading Jackie Collins's titillating plots, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, and the illustrated wonderment of The Joy of Sex. I found adult literature and cable erotica far more compelling.

I didn't watch hardcore porn until I was in college, with my best friend. We watched out of sheer boredom and because we wanted to know what it’d be like (as two young women) to blatantly walk into an adult video store, rent a porn DVD, and watch the puzzled look on the cashier's face. We walked down to the college town's local video store and picked something from the late seventies/early eighties, much to the store cashier's amusement,  as expected.

The flick we chose and brought back to the dorms featured an interracial raunch-fest; Basic man-on-woman boning, nothing too shocking or sexy, and void of anything particularly depraved and disgusting. It was the usual cheesy porn fare, in fact. Neither of us found the antics sexy or arousing. We laughed raucously and critiqued the clownery the scenarios and uncompromising positions. Other than an art house flick there and here- (like the movie Short Bus, Romance, and 9 Songs; which featured un-simulated sex)- I haven’t felt any pressing interest or need to rent an actual DVD.

Over the years... after having watched and read a great deal of behind-the-scenes documentary style films and books, I came to realize that most mainstream porn that’s distributed, directed, and produced by men, isn’t erotic or very female-audience friendly. It features distorted visions of how women should look and the ridiculous sexual positions we should be bent and twisted in. I've never been one of the detractors screaming for the industry to be wiped from the face of the earth. That being said, a lot has changed with the porn industry. The ever increasing advances in technology, the internet, video cameras, webcams, and the like have made porn more accessible and more achievable for aspiring porn mongers. Any amateur can film their sexual exploits and upload them onto Xtube or Pornotube with relative ease. In turn, the industry has become a virtual free for all. College fraternity houses host parties where group sex and orgies abound, while their peers (men and women spectators) stand off to the side, cheering the guerrilla fuck-fests... clutching beers, fists pumping in the air.

These "gonzo"  films have raised-- (or lowered, depending on how you look at it) the stakes... and the stakes have become even more disturbing in their delivery. The acts women subject themselves to is enough to make the most hardened, difficult to offend person cringe. And it takes a lot to make me want to gag (no pun).

I recall watching a compelling documentary some time ago called, Sex: The Annabel Chong Story, which documents- Grace Quek's (Porn name, Annabel Chong) - rise, exploitation, and eventual fall from the porn industry. Annabel allegedly pioneered the whole "gang bang" trend in the industry. Nothing was too graphic or hardcore for her. She performed a diverse array of hardcore sex acts, including "triple penetration." Annabel's motives for starring in The World's Biggest Gangbang were troubling as the documentary delved into her past. Needless to say, in some respects the current wave of pornography breeds misogyny and perpetuates racial stereotypes about women, particularly the gonzo films featuring Black, Asian, and Latino women and mostly White mal antagonists who take trips to urban areas or under developed countries, in search of "Black ghetto sluts" or African prostitutes willing to oil up, shake, and then spread their cheeks in a seedy looking hotel room, on film. The perpetuation of sexual stereotypes is what frustrates me the most. I believe in people having the right to engage in whatever consensual sexual act they desire, but I would love to see more sex positive images in porn, especially those depicting Black women, which is why I’ve been so intrigued by the history of Black pin-up/adult models and our image in the adult industry and overall media. And why I love and appreciate the photography work of Carnalas Vidal and what Scottie Lowe of Afroerotik is doing and whose company exists to provide people of African descent a place to escape the narrow-mined, stereotypical, limiting and oft-times degrading beliefs that abound about our sexuality.  No, not all Black men are driven by lust by white flesh or to create babies and walk away.  No, not all Black women are promiscuous welfare queens or willing to do any sexual favor for money. “
While I don’t expect porn to be riddled with deep, complex plots and soft, romantic interludes; I wouldn't mind seeing a shift in the very limited images featuring women (and even men) of color, rather than the racist portrayals that continue to pervade the industry. To my knowledge, I don’t know that there are any Black porn producers and distributors… or any Black female porn producers, directors, or distributors who aren’t perpetuating these stereotypes.  

This criticism of the porn industry isn’t about being a prude or even about taking an anti-porn stance. I'm merely challenging the habitually crude images portraying women (and men) of color. It makes me wonder why people continue to frame my folk within this type of based sexual, "ghetto gagger"context. And while I'm sure Black women in the industry don't think folks should be ringing the alarm, it doesn't negate the fact that the racist elements presented in porn definitely sexualize Black women in a negative way and sometimes those ideas spill outside the confines of porn. Porn aficionados, please weigh-in...

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