But What is Porn-Porn?

Apneatic was in my kitchen the other day. She’s a human nude model, not a personification of sleep disorder.

She was describing a shoot she’d done recently, and Steve Prue said he didn’t realize she’d started shooting porn-porn (as opposed to soft-porn, art-porn, sort-of-porn.) Both of us turned to him all like “That isn’t really porn-porn,” prompting him to ask what the demarcation line of porn-porn is.

I shouted, as I do, that it’s only really porn when you wake up in the middle of the night worrying about a spelling error on the 2257 age verification documents. It’s only really porn when you dread some kind of cop busting in demanding to see that paperwork.

It’s only really porn when VISA gives you a hard time and AmEx won’t even touch you. When you don’t know when your bank account might be closed, much less have any chance of getting a small business loan.

When you’re shut out of PayPal, paying ~13% instead of ~3% for a payment processor. When Big Cartel will host your store but you can’t sell videos because that violates Stripe’s TOS.

When you’re unsearchable on Patreon/Tumblr/etc., waiting for Facebook or some armchair hacker to out your legal name—making it easier for strangers to call every aspect of you garbage, instead of just your public persona.

I’d add it’s only really porn when doctors routinely insist on an even fresher HIV test than the  one you just had done the prior week, but that’s specific to on-camera talent.

Clearly, I’m a bit tired of art dudes collecting the street cred of pornography while knowing that they can talk their way out of trouble if they shoot in the streets, while Kickstarting their books, while keeping their mainstream clients.

Even though a lot of those dudes are acquaintances, and some them are close friends and confidants. Their nipples are not a deleting offense on Instagram, and mine are.

It isn’t about sharing the suffering so much as it is sharing the effort to get access to the same level of infrastructure that media companies who broadcast hardcore violence or hateful misogyny get to use.

CC 4.0 BY-NC-SA


Also published on Medium.

7 Replies to “But What is Porn-Porn?”

  1. Interesting insight into how people in the industry demarcate various areas of “porn”. Quite an unfortunate double standard that porn-lite creators can benefit from the path cut by “porn porn” while not suffering the stigma. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Woah, flashback. I vaguely recall the legal kerfuffle Apneatic and Lithium Picnic had with $uicide Girls. LP used to be a photographic inspiration for me, back when I still had a passion for photography; but when the dust settled, I was disappointed with *everyone* involved.

  3. This made me think of something from earlier this week, in regards to Kickstarted art books. I received one this week, production wise it’s great, top notch stuff. What made me twinge a little bit was the lack of credit for the models, all of them in some state of undress. I recognize some from porn, and there’s a list of some (I’m guessing not all) in the back. But as far as attribution to who is on what page, nothing.

    It kind of puts me off. Now my understanding of the photographer is he is an upstanding guy and people like working with him, you’re in the book after all and supported the kickstarter which brought it to my attention. It feels like exploitation though when there isn’t proper attribution. I mean, even the demon tube sites typically tell you who you are watching, shouldn’t the guy doing the book have an index of some sort so that those that we like we can know who they are?

    Anyway, maybe I’m attributing something that isn’t their, I don’t own a bunch of art books at this point so I don’t know how model attribution works. In this case, from what I can tell on his social media, I don’t imagine a lot of money changed hands so it seems wrong not to have that proper attribution. (I of course have no idea how the models/photog worked on this product, I’m basing my opinion on his social media only.)

  4. I wonder how long it will be until the multi-billion-dollar porn industry simply starts its own bank and credit card.
    “I’m sorry, you’re shooting soft-core porn? We only offer the 3% rate to people shooting porn-porn. “

  5. Some good news: The Trump/Sessions Department of Justice is ending Operation Choke Point, the DOJ problem responsible for (among other things) much of the financial harassment of adult content producers and performers that you describe here. (A stopped clock, it seems, is right twice a day.)

    This won’t be an end to the payment-processing bullshit, but it is a big step in the right direction.

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