An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Feminist Porn

See what I did there? <wink>

Pro Tip: if you don’t like porn, don’t read this. If you think porn is evil, don’t read this. If porn upsets you, don’t read this. I happen to like some kinds of porn and have found it helpful at several points in my life.

Could porn be better? Hell, yes.
And that is what this post is about.



The first time I ever watched porn was in college. With three guy friends (one was a boyfriend), I sat in a dark dorm room and watched some poorly scripted, vintage 80s, sex vignettes.

I remember being curious on both a sociological and sexual level. What would this be like? Would it be gross? Would there be giant penises? What does sex look like? What would their bodies do?

My curiosity overcame my fear.

Turns out, it was fine.
Normal-ish sized penises.
All kinds of sex.
From every angle.
Laughable ‘plot development.’

But something happened I wouldn’t be able to put a finger on until years later: I was sexually excited by the porn, but it also made me sad and confused.


Fast forward 17 years and I’m going through the Sex Surge. My inhibitions are lowered, my fantasy life has revved up, and I’d like to see some of those fantasies played out on the big screen. I turn to porn (and erotica, but sometimes I just want to see human skin, instead of imagining it, you know? Human skin is a great delight to me, turns out).

What I see is not 80s vintage stuff.
Some of it is really horrible and degrading.
Some of it is not exactly horrible, or exactly degrading- but it’s not enjoyable, either.
Nearly all of it is inconsiderate to women.

As Amy Schumer says, they all end up the same way, with the guy coming on the girl’s face. And all you can think is “poor her.” (For 99% of women, that is just a total turn-off. More cleaning. Goopy, smelly cleaning. The idea is a total shut-down on arousal.)

I still feel sad and confused about the porn.
Yeah, it’s my feminist values…. (porn isn’t feminist or female-positive*).
But it’s also that the women don’t get to come in most of the porn I see.
They get super close, several times, but mostly they are left with blue box (the girl version of blue balls).

It’s easy for me to see that porn has become even more male-centered.
Or, more precisely, entirely male-centered.

I stumbled upon Erica Lust’s TED talk a few weeks later (the link is NSFW). In it she talks about having a similar experience with porn in college. And she says, “my sexual self was very excited and turned on, but my feminine self was deflated.”


The feminine was missing from the porn.
More specifically, female pleasure.

So, Erica Lust did something about it.

She made feminist porn.

What’s feminist porn?

It’s very simple: everybody gets off.
Everybody gives and receives pleasure.


So, I watched some of it.
(I truly love that I get to write this off as a business expense.)

And it is very beautiful.
And damn hot.

And I finally feel like this porn is something that has to do with me.
Because women climax.
Because we see partners interested in pleasuring her.
And that her pleasure turns them on.
Because I can imagine being part of the interactions- all the way through.

This feminist porn is gorgeous and I finally feel like I can fully enjoy it.
Feminist porn is awesome.


Now, having said all this I want to point out some things:

*Porn is not woman-positive for the most part. (This may be a giant, “duh!” for some of you, but for others, it’s new.)

Porn has also seen the advent of more surgery to ‘fix’ and ‘improve’ lady parts than any other genre. Fixing boobs, bellies, legs, labia, and vaginas to name a few. Also, hair removal (which I am not a fan of). This is wrong and unfair; I don’t see dudes going out to improve their pecs so they can be ‘porn quality,’ you know? ‘Regular’ porn feeds negative messages about women and also feeds insecurities they may have.

Darker species of porn also hurt many different groups of people.
And that’s not okay.
I don’t care if you get off on it.
Pain without consent is not okay.

We could demand that porn go be made illegal for these reasons.

But, you know what? Porn will never go away.
People will always want to see other people naked.
Naked and having sex is a bonus.

(By the way, wanting to see other naked people is a totally normal, human desire. There is nothing wrong with this.)

It’s never going away.
And forcing porn underground just means we have less say about what it looks like and who it involves.

The only thing we can do is demand better porn.
Porn that is woman-positive.
Porn that is pleasure positive.
Porn that is body positive (some of Erica Lust’s stuff is not- and it needs to be).
Porn that is beautiful and aware.
Porn that is consent-positive.

I’m sure that some of this stuff is already out there.
But we need more of it.
And we need it to be the norm.

Just like anything, porn can be used for good (or evil).
It can be used to excite, to communicate, to explore, and express.
It can be used to climax, for goodness sake – and that is some serious good.

I believe that only in encouraging feminist porn will we see a reduction in the harm it can create.

Now- pardon me, I have some research to do.


Resources for suburban mothers and wives who might like porn
(or be curious):

Liberator  Videos
These videos are made in tandem with a sex toy shop (I cannot recommend their Wedge highly enough. GET ONE.) that also has instructional videos related to the Kama Sutra. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to actually do the ‘Congress of the Cow’- they will tell you. It’s also tame as porn goes- a naked couple simulating positioning (no visible penetration), and obviously enjoying it, but no actual sex.

Erica Lust Films
Great stuff, as discussed in this post. The videos are lovely, but so are the trailers. I like the library tryst in XConfessions 2 (not so much with the foot fetish- that’s not my thing!). All my nerd-girl fantasies were fulfilled!

Hysterical Literature
Want to see what it looks like when normal looking (non-porn) women climax? In these short films, women are filmed in black and white, fully clothed, reading a piece of literature as they are pleasured to climax. It is funny, but it is also really beautiful.




Music Magic :: Naughty Winter Playlist

My friend, Sarah, thinks I have magic tastes when it comes to music.

Truth be told, I do not.

There are other, much bolder, much wider-listening folks than me.

I think she just happens to like what I like.

She has asked me for my playlists.
So I’m sharing one today.

It is my ‘Naughty Winter’ playlist.

The songs are not in any great order.
Usually I am a much better DJ than this; my playlists tend to run smoothly.
But this one…I just let Apple Genius figure it out.

If anything, it is both the prayer and the embodiment of dark, sensual, indoor desire of all kinds.
(Links to the playlist, so you can purchase, are in 8Tracks. Go here.)

Shut Up and Dance | Walk the Moon
It’s my song to guide my year.

Pocketful of Sunshine | Natasha Bedingfield
A little song about self-pleasuring. Mmmmmm….

Ghost | Ella Henderson
A song about how women pray to let go. We ask the river to carry us, to carry it, away. As many times as we need to.

Under Pressure | Queen & David Bowie
“Love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night.”

Partition | Beyonce
Be sexy. This is how.

Where the Boys At? | Chelsea Jane
Two reasons: “I’m five-four and I stand tall!” and “Pretty good for a girl? ha ha! I’m pretty good world class!”

Desire | Meg Myers
The best valentine ever.

Beggin’ for Thread | Banks
The sexiest voice on the most interesting metaphor for lost love.

Get Ur Freak On | Missy Elliot
Because: This Girl Can.

Again, you can listen to the playlist over on


The ‘Spring Expansion’ Mix will be coming up soon.
I am in the refinement process.
It is shaping up to be quite different.




What if…

looking though a stone window into a sun-filled courtyard, as if in a dream


I don’t even really know where to start this story. I just know it is important.

Yesterday while I was working with my coach, she noticed, “You do things very incrementally.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I do.”

As we talked, I realized that I do things incrementally because I don’t want to ruin my health. My belief and experience have been that if I push too much, I will become sick.

This ties back to an incident in 2010, when after almost two years of grad school, I got so sick with a lung infection they weren’t sure I was going to make it.

[I will never forget the look on every doctor’s face (6 of them) at a table when I said, “Am I going to die?” and they all looked down, shook their heads and said, “No! No, of course not.” Their words did not match their body language. It frightened me, deeply.]

And now I have this belief that I can’t risk my energy, my health, to get to the big things I want.

So, yesterday, my coach kindly pushed me, “What if you blew the doors off, Joanna? What if you let go of everything – all the restrictions, all the limitations, all the fears?”

“And what if…what if that meant that you didn’t have to waste energy holding back anymore?”

“And what if you didn’t have to put out energy, or get depleted? What if by living wide you got all the energy you needed?

Well. Damn.

I made a scrunchy face and she laughed.
I had never thought of it that way.

I sat with that for about 6 hours.

And then I started to imagine, what if…

What if I was real enough to admit that I am a health intuitive. Not just a health educator.

What if I was real enough to say that I can hear your soul and feel your body when we work together. And that is magic. ??

What if I know that, when it’s a right fit in working together, you will find healing and retrieve pieces of your soul?

What if I was real enough to admit that this skill has taken me a lifetime to develop. And it’s worth charging for?

What if I was authentic enough to say that blasphemy is as important as reverence in getting to know God?

What if I said I wanted to find the best book deal for the Sex Surge because I know it will answer a lot of questions, and change a lot of lives, and I want the biggest amount of service to women I can get?

What if I was as fierce at encouraging myself as I am at encouraging my clients?

What if I said I wished that I could write like other people (especially those women at Rebelle Society)? But that I’m starting to understand how I write is just fine. People read this, after all. ??

What if…

These questions are my truths.
They are not ‘what ifs.’

These questions are the best of me, standing at the door, ready to burst through into my life and make it as beautiful as my dreams.

And as I wrote them yesterday, and write them again today, I feel something different.

All that I have worked on up until now has solidified in some way.
All that I have worked on- all that I have become- is the truth and experience upon which I stand.

These questions have brought me deeper into my own fierceness.
They have brought me close to my own fire, and given it air to breathe and grow.

And asking these ‘what ifs’ is a way of blowing the doors off.
They are a way of asking what more I am ready step into.
Of being more me than I already am.
Of beginning to dream even bigger, even wider.


There are other ‘what ifs’ within me right now.

But I really wonder, what are the ‘what ifs’ within you?

What if your art business really took off?
What if your heart was stitched back together?
What if you quit that (shit) job?
What if you told your mother not to come for your birthday?
What if you said what you think about that project?
What if your marriage got juicy?
What if you started running again?

What if…
What if…
What if…

‘What if’ is the way of dreams.
And dreams are the way of soul.




The Refinement of Desire

At first, you will think it is only because of him, this fire.

His beauty.
His exoticness.
His differences from all that seems mundane to you.

But that will only last for a split second.
Because you know, after all the years of work:

What we want in another has nothing to do with them.

What I want in another is only about what I feel I am missing in myself.

And so, you will begin to refine your desire.

It is not the wide, gorgeous sexual, physical fantasies you have.
No, desire is made of other things.
Other things you want. Other things you need.

It is being seen.
You wanted to be seen.
You wanted him to see you.

And so you begin to let yourself be seen.

By the grocery clerk; a little ‘hello’ with your eyes.
By the librarian; an honest smile.
By your dearest friends; your full laughter.
By your partner; this body, this way.

And finally, finally, you feel seen.
You feel welcome in your own eyes.
That space is full.

But then, desire.

You refine again.
This time for freedom.

Freedom to do what you want, when you want.
Freedom to call the shots in bed. Or the freedom not to.
Freedom to dance.
Freedom to choose.

And the place that needed freedom is free.
Full with freedom.

You will refine desire again and again.
For joy.
For touch. (Yes, especially for touch.)
For sexiness.
For connection.
For beauty.

And life gets better. Full. Different.

But then, desire.

And this time you know better.
You will not take the composite pieces; you want it all.

You will seek Life as your Lover.
This is a fulfillment that no human could ever compete with.
It’s so much better than him.

And you begin this dance with Life.
It does love you.
It presses you up against a wall and makes you tremble with pleasure.
It caresses you gently and whispers beautiful dreams and experiences in your ear.
It angers you. Passion.
You learn how to open to Life. To be touched by Life.
And Life touches you every where. Everywhere.


woman on a bed contemplating desire


You take up the Sacred Call of sensuality.
An ancient sisterhood only few have been called to in this era.
And it is the most alive you have ever felt.
Sexy. Sensual. Gorgeous. Real.

You know your desire is this.

Until, after visiting the watches, he wanders into your shop.
(Why did he visit? You’ll never know; never be able to ask. Boredom? Curiosity?
That lonely place deep inside?)

And there it is. Again.

He sees it, written all over the wall.
All over you.
And he is disgusted. Angered.

And so are you.

Because the truth is painfully clear: refinement does not work.
Refinement will not kill desire.
Refinement will not kill desire.

That’s what you had been hoping for all this time.

Now you know: desire cannot be killed.

It is the first emotion we feel.
Desire is that deep in our blood and bones.
The first cry is for skin.
A hearbeat.

And desire is the last thing we feel.
Just one more breath.
Just one more life.

Desire cannot be killed.

It can only be satisfied.
It can only be left to live.

You are frightened.
And angered.
And so upset that the Sacred Call is this.
You are humbled.
So humbled you do what you should have done long ago.
You know this is the only way out, much as you did not want it.

You give in to desire.

You lay yourself on its altar.
Trembling with hope.
Trembling with desire.
Unsure of the future.
And strikingly sure of what you want. Now.

Your mind opens all the gifts you so desperately wanted.
And they are beautiful.
And time shifts around you, filling in something from long, long ago.
You know the puzzle piece is finally fitting into place.
The perfect desire, just as it was, unrefined.

And finally, desire is satisfied.
She curls at your feet.

She has not asked for anything since.




The Body Prayer of Aphrodite

(or Beyonce, you pick.)

This beautiful video of women pole-dancing has been making its way around social media in my circles.

With good reason.
It is stunning.

The confidence, beauty, and artistry of each dancer- and the piece as a whole- are emotional and honest and gorgeous.

You can see in the comments of the dancers, in their bodies, and in their eyes that this is meaningful to them. It’s not just about being sexy or dancing sexy – it goes deeper. One woman writes as much, that pole dancing feeds her soul.

Some women in my circles have been brave enough to say that they would like to dance like this.

We want to move in gorgeous ways, many of us.

Ways that feel sexy and sensual and solid, all at once.
Ways that express a deeper wholeness of who we are.
Ways that connect us to ourselves.

We want to embody the qualities of Aphrodite – beauty, sex, sensuality, and self-confidence.

We want to pray that prayer and be transformed into another part of who we know we truly are as women.


I am a big believer that the divine creatures of old still show up in our modern world. Pop culture is just another way for the divine to crack through human reality.

(Other musings on this theme include the sacred Sufi teachings of Justin Bieber and the Britney-Christina-P!nk phases of womanhood.)

If there was a woman who personified Aphrodite in our modern age, I would say it is Beyonce. I’m sure this topic has been covered before by people far more intelligent than  I, so I won’t go on too much. But…

Beyonce (and before her, Elizabeth Taylor) personifies all those gorgeous qualities of femininity we associate with Aphrodite: beauty, talent, sex appeal, relational attraction, sensual movement, power, and self-confidence that many of us wish we could bring out more.

I like to imagine that the video of the pole dancers is exactly what it would have looked like in the courtyards of Aphrodite’s temples.

(Can you imagine??? How lush…)

We all want to be goddesses.


The lucky thing is, this video shows us how to be just that.

Dance, my loves.

Dance is the body prayer of Aphrodite.

Do you need a pole? No.
Do you need fancy black clothing? No. (But, if you’ve got it…by all means…)
Do you need a light-filled room? No.

If you want to feel like a luscious goddess, complete with sexiness, sensuality, and va-va-va-voom confidence, you only need music, a few feet of space, and a little teaspoon of permission.

I would also suggest that you be alone.

In order to let yourself be wild and luscious and goddess-y, you need to feel most yourself. Be of yourself. Dance for yourself. You need to find your own way.

To prepare:

What songs bring out the best you?
What music makes you wanna go slow and slink across the floor?
What songs make you feel whole, sexy, confident?
If you had a pole, what music would you use to burn the house down?

Go grab some of that and get your Beyonce on.

Give it a few minutes and your goddess self will show up.
Notice how the goddess wants to move.
Give yourself permission to go there.

Let those arms undulate.
Let those hips swing wide.
Let that butt take up space.
Lift those gorgeous breasts.
Swirl that neck.
Run your hands along your ribs and down your hips.

The goddess within will enliven and delight you.
And she will bring you confidence and joy.
And she will make your eyes shine and your body pulse.

And whatever bit of Aphrodite is in you will come alive.
And you will see your goddess self.