NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Special: The Ethics of Lust’s Inaugural Post

Hello and welcome to The Ethics of Lust, a reoccurring piece in which we will discuss sex and people’s issues with it. What makes me, L.M. Fleming, qualified to lead this discussion? Mainly just an intense fascination with people’s intense fascinations with sex – which led me to study sex law, write sex columns and blogs and work as a sex counselor. Plus, I watch a lot of porn. While I may call myself a sexpert, I’m not a foremost expert on anything except procrastination, so I hope you will join the discussion and lend us your input, expertise and experiences.

Ok, introduction done, now let’s get to the good part. For our first topic, we’re going to discuss porn. But not just any porn, fisting porn.

via jarpasmannen

As someone who loves a good fisting show (see the Crash Pad Series scene between Dylan Ryan and her real life partner Trucker Cash), I was shocked to see fisting on the Cambria List of legally taboo topics for porn and even more shocked to see that the U.S. government is actually prosecuting porn producers on “obscenity” charges for fisting.

Apparently, the government thinks lesbians are obscene.

Or at least that’s how it looked when I scanned the Cambria List and saw many acts in which I commonly engage listed there. No wonder people are scared of us sexual heathens, they’re told we’re going to teach their young blonde girls how to be fisted by large men while blindfolded and on their periods – all of which is “obscene” according to the Cambria List and all of which I would totally watch in a porn.

via Someecards.com

What is it about fisting that has the government all riled up? Why is it that, in an era of terrorism, over-population, economic crises and mounting national debt, our Department of Justice is spending its money prosecuting a guy named Seymour Butts who makes a living off of selling fisting porn? (To be honest and fair, he was prosecuted 10 years ago, but 2001 really isn’t that far away, especially in judicial years.)

It’s easy to blame such things on the religious right, but it’s more than just the conservative folks being scared here. When people think of fisting, they think of tears and rips caused by punches in the privates, they don’t think of it as the satisfying, pleasurable and highly intimate experience that it can be. I remember the thrill of the first time I saw my whole hand was inside my girlfriend, realizing that she had gotten so turned I just slipped in without really trying. Neither of us were in pain – on the contrary, both of us were extremely turned on – and when she climaxed it was one of the most pleasurable, personal moments of our entire relationship. Sure, you can hurt yourself if you’re not careful – I know someone who has permanent damage from a fisting gone wrong – but if done right, fisting is both safe and sexually satisfying.

Fear and misinformation has kept fisting on the list of taboo topics and given it a spot on the Cambria List of obscene topics. For something to be considered obscene, a judge and/or jury must find that the contemporary community would consider the work (in this case fisting porn) “appeals to the prurient interest,” which means it can cause an excessive interest in sexual matters. It also has to lack artistic, political or scientific value, in which case pretty much every episode of The L Word was obscene.

via L Word Wiki

If the whole basis for something being obscene is causing the average person to get extra turned on, and the whole basis for fisting being taboo is fear, what does that say about our society’s connection of fear and arousal? Are we simply afraid of being aroused or are we aroused by that which scares us? Is fisting considered obscene solely because people are too afraid to try it themselves?

In a recent case regarding California’s attempt at outlawing obscenity and violence in video games sold to children, Justice Scalia, in an uncharacteristically liberal moment, stated, “Disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression.”

via Kotaku

I’m rarely able to say this, but I’m with Justice Scalia. Disgust and fear shouldn’t be the sole basis for keeping anything illegal. Therefore, fisting, if done consensually and cautiously, should be legal to do and view.

For those out there who may still have trepidation regarding fisting, check out Hand in the Bush: The fine Art of Vaginal Fisting, a guide to the subject and remember, patience and lube are the keys to not getting hurt.

via NorthernSun.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: L.M. Fleming is a writer, sexpert, recent law school graduate and occasional burlesque dancer. Although she currently resides in Portland, Oregon, she often travels the world in search of colorful queers and frothy beers. When not volunteering, cooking or attempting to be crafty, she does logistical consulting for creative projects, manages a nonprofit dedicated to making promotional documentary films for other nonprofits and runs SinfulMisadventures.com, a site dedicated to the Seven Deadly Sins.

Profile photo of Queerie Bradshaw

Lauren Marie Fleming is Queerie Bradshaw. She loves shoes, social justice and sex. Born a farmer's daughter, she believes everyone deserves a good roll in the hay, and feels empowered by her feminine sexuality. She frequently travels both domestically and abroad, exploring women and wine from all regions. A recent law school graduate, she fights for international rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of good porn. When not studying sex and the law, Lauren Marie Fleming is a freelance writer, speaker and consultant, owner of Creativity Squared, LLC, a digital publishing and consulting company and is Editor-in-Chief of QueerieBradshaw.com, a site for Frisky Feminists and Politiqueers.

Queerie has written 9 articles for us.

63 Comments

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      Technically, it’s not a list of obscene stuff, it’s a list of topics of which can land you in court for obscenity charges if you distribute images of them. Lawrence v. Texas gave the right to do sexual acts in your own home, the obscenity laws are for distribution where others might have to see it.

      But yes, still ridiculous a list exists.

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    I mean, pretty much everything on the Cambria List is ridiculous but I was particularly baffled by the “black men-white women themes” at the end there. Really? Perfectly boring, peen-in-vag interracial sex is still considered too obscene to distribute?

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    I think it is interesting that black men penetrating white women is on the list but not white men penetrating black women. And by interesting I mean it makes me angry. Traditionally one of the ways the dominant group expressed their dominion over the subjugated groups was to engage in sexual relations with the subjected groups women while outlawing the subject groups men from entering into relations with the women from the dominent group. This has got to be a survival of that and I think it says repellent things about the way race and women are viewed by the persons who prosecute obscenity.

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          How about addressing whether porn commercializes sex and if that has a negative affect on people’s attitudes about sex, i.e., viewing sex and women as a marketable commodity?
          Don’t get me wrong. I love porn. A lot. I just also have a lot of feelings about the commercialization of every aspect of human life. Conflict!

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            I can haz antee-capitalisd porn?

            Look up the East Van Porn Collective. They made a documentary about filming the porn they made, but kept the porn itself strictly among the folks who made it. Neat, eh!

            Kind of gets around that whole commercialization thing.

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            Daaaamn, A., you are like the fairy godmother of queer sex ed and porn! <3
            I mean, how about porn made by people who just enjoy having sex and who want to turn other people on, as a public service, y'know? ;-)

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            Oh, ya knooooow, I try.

            The folks who do it as exhibitionists and an awesome public service are usually feminists who get other feminists (friends, coworkers, other sex workers) to act for them. Feminist, liberationist, HAWT porn that embraces the diversity of genders, ethnicities, bodies and desires that exist in our world is totes a public service! That’s a great word for it, actually.

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            Yay for this porn collective! Thanks for introducing us all to it. As far as capitalization of porn, I agree, it is made by and sold for the massive. In the same way I buy local, organic produce, I buy local, “organic” porn, which in porn terms means porn made by and for people I know are not being used, abused or taken advantage of. If more people bought quality porn, more quality porn would be made.

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    I find the notion of fisting incredibly unappealing. I will just never “get” it. But it seems to at least be pretty consensual. There’s a lot of blatantly degrading and violent porn that I would really hope would would fail the Miller Test before that would. I don’t know. I sometimes think porn itself is something the world doesn’t really need. I’ve watched porn myself, but it certainly hasn’t added anything to my quality of life. I think there are arguments about the porn industry that makes me lean toward, “Ban all porn for all I care.” This is a huge topic, but the summary is I hypocritically think porn is more bad than it’s good.

    “It also has to lack artistic, political or scientific value, in which case pretty much every episode of The L Word was obscene.” Strongly disagree with that interpretation. The show itself touched on many political topics and the artistic value is that the characters became real people with feelings and emotions capable of affecting the audience. “Obscene” porn has only the goal of turning someone on. And I would argue that while in a TV show, if someone is raped or degraded, we feel very bad for them. In porn if that happens, it’s only meant to be a turn-on. That’s a huge difference.

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      I used to be very uncomfortable with the idea of fisting. But I read a few books … and then a few more … and yeah. It felt incredibly intimate, and makes me feel so close to my girlfriend in a way that strap-ons don’t exactly do.
      But to each her own, you know? lol

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      i feel like in that last paragraph you moved from porn to snuff flicks. if there is a rape scene in porn it’s because that’s the kind of porn it is, domineering; and although it maybe hard to believe, there are people that are into that, men and women alike. i also believe that porn has to be extremely consensual between both actors or else it becomes snuff (where someone films an actual violent or other disturbing act). this is also why paying for it will guarantee you a higher quality than just watching whatever is streaming for free.

      also i feel porn is an outlet for people’s closeted sexual desires. a place where people can let loose wether by acting or just watching. i do feel that you have an option and an opinion on wether you personally like it or not, totally your choice, but to say it’s obscene is taking it a little far and in away is suppressing (this same argument could be totally turned around to describe trlw or tlw too). different strokes for different folks, ya know?

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        I know people are into that. Does that make it right? Does it make it OK to watch a (simulated) rape where the victim is treated like an object and the audience is supposed to get sexual satisfaction and positive reinforcement from it? You can believe porn has to be extremely consensual, but is it? If a woman has been abused throughout herself and consents to being raped in a porno, is that OK because she agreed to it? Or are the porn producers taking advantage of her when she honestly probably needs therapy? I remember a scene from a documentary PBS’ Frontline did on the porn industry and it was “consensual,” but you have to wonder where the line ended and the woman was actually being physically hurt and feeling scared. I agree porn is an outlet for “people’s closeted sexual desires.” But so is fantasy and fantasies will never hurt anyone, ever.

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          i see where you’re coming from. i haven’t seen that interview but have read different articles and saw another short documentary on it where people who were or are still in the industry are interviewed. by what i have read it seems like most of the problems stem from the side that’s all about the cash (the people who don’t use contracts/safe sex practices/and use anyone that walks in the door). there is a dark side to this industry as much as there is to any industry (a few even compared it to the music industry, but of corse with sex being the main tag line). what makes the problem worse with this one is that it’s so taboo.

          what i think creates the problem is how american society in particular censers it when it’s advertising anything other than sex (it’s okay to market pepsi, gum, cars,etc. as long as it’s not actual sex). vilifying and trying to ban porn only brings about worse and more dangerous ways around it (reminds me of the japanese porn industry, human trafficking, mob involved, etc). if it was treated as an actual industry were there’s a tab being kept on the companies and their workers there would be a lot less problems. my point is that by treating it as a dirty thing essentially that’s what it becomes.

          i do agree that praying on people who need the money and don’t really want to do this is disgusting. i agree that if someone is scared of doing something they are not fully okay with and are forced to anyway is wrong. i do not however believe that all people involved in the porn industry are damaged. i have seen cases where people have been greatly affected by drugs or past abuse who do this kind of work. that is not healthy and i do agree that they should seek help. it’s up to the company wether they use that person or not and this is why i feel it would help if this industry were better regulated and accepted instead of looked down upon and seen as underground.

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            thanks for linking it. i watched it and have come to the same conclusion . what makes things bad in any industry is when money becomes the main motivator and when there is human suffering involved. i guess it also gives you the inside behind the cambria list, but i still don’t agree with it.

            like the rest, i would recommend picking up stuff like crash pad, juicy pink box, etc. where there isn’t such a revolving door of new faces.

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      I agree that there is a major difference between scenes in movies and in porn, the most obvious being that most movies don’t actually contain full sexual acts, just mimicked ones, and therefore there’s less chance the actors are actually being violated (notice I said less chance, not no chance, as I know it still happens).

      I also agree that there is some seriously messed up porn out there that takes advantage of women and men (yes, men as well, not just in gay porn either). But there are also some intelligent people making intelligent porn to express their natural sexual desires in a safe and fulfilling manner. It’s reconciling the major industries with the smaller, more sex-positive people that becomes a difficult thing to do at times, so I get your frustration with porn in general because of that, as I have it too.

      Oh and my L Word comment was tongue and cheek mostly. I own all seasons on DVD and got Showtime just to watch them, so I kind of have to admit there’s some value in them, if for nothing else, it gave me a reason to go to the Lexington in SF and rub up against hot Shane wanna-bes for an hour while it played.

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      I saw the Frontline documentary — it was so fucked up. Porn is much easier to watch when you view the women in it as objects. You can’t think about that they are people, why they are doing porn, how they feel about it, who is or what happens behind the camera, etc. It works best when you treat it as simply viewing sexual objects and not real people. That in and of itself makes me think maybe it’s wrong.

      Porn is an industry that relies on the abuse of women, either directly in filming, or indirectly, in the childhoods of these women that draws them to porn. I don’t think the idea of porn is inherently bad, but I think ultimately how it’s made and what it can do to people is bad. I have watched porn and I’m definitely not proud of it. The ol’ imagination and fantasy works fine too, so much that I don’t see why porn is necessary when you consider the bad aspects of it. Shrug.

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      There are horrible abuses that sometimes occur in the making of some porns.
      But not every woman in every porn is being forced, abused, or is living out a childhood trauma.
      For those who do want to watch porn, there is a lot of good real queer porn, and there are many performers who talk openly about their experiences.
      To say that every woman who is in porn is a victim denies that some women genuinely enjoy expressing their sexuality in that way.
      Of course, if you don’t like porn at all, don’t watch it. I’m not suggesting that everyone should like porn.

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        THANK YOU. ^This, this, this. No matter what shit sandwich of a situation folks have been handed in their lives, they still have AGENCY. Sex workers have three-dimensional lives where they exhibit strength, intelligence and fortitude in often precarious situations that folks in more privileged positions never have to know.

        Want to end the socioeconomic coercion that drives the commercialization of sexuality and the mainstream porn industry? End capitalism, end patriarchy, and for god’s sake, end rape culture. Just sayin’.

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    1. California didn’t actually outlaw obscenity and violence in video games. It was being reviewed by the supreme court and ultimately failed to pass.

    2. The way I see it, humans are humans. So why the hell are people so eager to censor the stuff that comes out of our brains? I mean, really. What’s the fucking point?
    [See what I did there?]

    3. Yayy Portland!!

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    I’m all for this being a regular column but can we also have normal Lesbosexy Sunday stuff back? I’ll be sad if I have to spend my Sundays being all intellectual and reading about ethics if I can’t also have a page full of naked ladies in the next tab over.

    As for the Cambria list, who could take seriously a list of obscene things that includes -food- and saliva being transferred from mouth to mouth? These are the least obscene things I can think of right now. I’m trying to think of less obscene things and I can’t.

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    The Wikipedia link said “For anal fisting a lubricant is typically used. Crisco is a popular lubricant for this purpose amongst the gay/BDSM communities”

    Ah… Wikipedia, you’re so wacky, and lardy.

  7. Pingback: Fisting Day Link Roundup! Share this far and wide! | International Fisting Day

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