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

Before I installed a sufficient buffer in between myself and the comments section, I noticed some things. The most topical being the way that my smiles and laughter during sex scenes resonate with some people as “not how real women have sex” or just “fake.”

The thing is—I tend to be even more giggly off camera. A and I are particularly boisterous together. Learning the knack of spanking seems to be only as high of a priority for him as blowing a solid raspberry.

(I’m into it, in case that wasn’t clear.)

Last night though, mid finger stroke across my clitoris, A said something about Uber.

Immediately my mind jumped to some discussion of Jon Ronson’s audio-only piece on Manwin (currently operating under the name MindGeek), piracy, and independent pornography. My vulva went “NOOOOO, we’re doing something fun” while my brain went “80% of pornography is viewed through them. MONOPOLY.”

And, you know, monopolies aren’t particularly sexy to me. He quipped about only name-dropping Lyft or Juno from now on when we’re in a bed, and the laugh was as good for me as the orgasm that followed.

Stoya x Team Rockstar

Steve Prue and I made a book…

…called Stoya x Team Rockstar…

…published by and available at Bad Books Ltd.

Limited run of 500, and I’ll have special editions with the original instant photos available in Chicago at Exxxotica.

xo

Stoya

 

Are You There God? It’s Me, Stoya.

Before Wonderlust started I had most of a day with nothing scheduled in Helsinki. Mitcz sent me a couple of lists of things to see. A Finnish burlesque performer named LouLou D’Vil reminded me that walking can be fun by pointing out how walkable Helsinki is. Steve Prue (my platonic domestic partner) emphasized the Temppeliaukio Church—I’m uncertain about whether he wanted to live vicariously or wanted me to see something specific there.

So I walked over to it. Even though the sky was intermittently pouring rain and hail. Perhaps because it was—when in Rome/when in Finland, yes?

The Temppeliaukio church is carved into rock. It’s Lutheran, which is a branch of Christianity I’m unfamiliar with. The ceiling is a giant coil of copper, ringed with windows. I laid on a pew to look up more easily.

My memory tossed up two things: Rebecca West’s descriptions of the underground worship spaces she reported as being Bogomil (bog is generally slavic for god, and the Bogomils were a Christian sect that was considered heretical) and the boisterous fire & brimstone church my family went to when I was very young.

———

That church practiced a form of the laying on of hands, but the thing is they didn’t actually touch people until they’d already begun falling backwards. Whole lines of adult humans would be gently guided onto the floor as they started twitching and babbling in guttural syllables.

Whether you believe in a god or not, what sent those people keeling over was the intensity of their faith in one. Other strong themes included our bodies as temples of the lord which should be cared for as such, and the concept of being called. If a member felt moved (by the hand of the lord) to the pulpit then it was believed they should preach from it.

———

Back under the copper coil, I wondered what the Lutheran God would think of my work and of the fact that I had felt called to it. Since the practice of candle-lighting in Catholicism always seemed like a way of attaching a high-priority flag to a message to god, and there were candles on the wall, I lit one.

———

As a child, I thought these adults flailing on the floor were driven by the same intensity that made me into a perpetual hyperactivity machine. School looked like a process of removing intensity, therefore adults must need somewhere that they could be intense, and this speaking in tongues must be it.

A few years later, sex sounded like exactly the same thing—a place where adults were allowed to get their intensity out. However, I would not have been able to articulate this at the time.

———

Back under the copper coil, I remembered being wrist deep in Jiz Lee a few years ago. I felt as though I was touching the inside of god. My hand inside Jiz in my memory was touching the inside of god, my body contained in the rock was inside a representation of god.

Because whether you believe in a god or not, I believe it is important to understand how powerful beliefs and intentions can be. Those two things with little else can create and destroy entire worlds. They can unite people, and turn us against each other. They can do things so incredible they might as well be magic.

———

Are you there god? It’s me, Stoya.

boop

A long, long time ago, in an internet that was… um… this exact one, there was a troll.

They seemed to keep to instagram, and devotedly told me whether they had been able or unable to fap to each of my posts. It was impossible to figure out what would be fapped to and what would be unfappable.

(Fuck, I’m having way too much fun conjugating fap.)

One day a journalist asked me about trolls. Generally, when journalists ask about trolls, it seems like they want to hear about the horror show in a way that feels uncomfortably close to that voiceless-pornstar trope that just refuses to die—the sex worker as unable to speak for themselves meme is more viral than cold sores.

(In case you’re uncertain: We aren’t voiceless. Some of the rest of the world just acts pretty earless when we’re talking.)

So instead of the horror show, I told the journalist about the “fapped to this/no fap” thing. Specifically, how hilarious I found it. I remember saying “What if they find out I enjoy it and that ruins the fun for them and they stop?”

Shortly after, they disappeared.

(This would be a great place for the sad trombone sound.)

I bemoaned this to my friend Chris Steffen, and he started leaving boop, no boop, and can’t boop—as applicable—on my posts. It makes me giggle every time.

Radley, for Russ

I’m guessing you read Ashley West’s tribute to Radley Metzger at the Rialto Report. I’d love to tell you about meeting Radley. It’s sort of a saga though, so I’ll start in the middle.

…of this party celebrating Catherine Robbe-Grillet and Toni Bentley, where a well-groomed British man walked over and asked if I’d like to meet Radley Metzger. The Image was one of Radley’s films, and he’d worked with Toni on a few things. He was still living in New York. And sitting on a couch in the next room.

After I began wondering how a person who is questioning the integrity of their reality testing might verify it, but before I’d gone too far down that rabbit hole, I said yes. A few minutes later Ashley had volunteered to coordinate lunch.

———

We met at a diner in midtown. Pretty shortly after we’d ordered, Radley told a story about filming in the former Yugoslavia. He’d had a crew from all over Europe and if the day went too far into overtime the set would become Tower of Babel-esque. (Or, you know, whichever Why We Have Many Languages myth you favor.)

Radley knew how to quickly find points of commonality and use them to develop a rapport. Trust between performer and director is integral to good work, so it serves a director well to start building it early on. His life had been so fantastical that he could dig up a personal anecdote for any occasion, and he shared those stories freely.

———

Mostly, though, we talked about arnica. It’s odd, I googled “radley metzger arnica” and didn’t get a single result containing all three words—but that man loved arnica.

Radley swore by it for inflammation and was quick to follow up with a reminder that inflammation is linked to stress and poor health in a sort of vicious triangle. I happened to swear by it for bruises—and abrasions when mixed in petroleum jelly.

(I’m going to go one step past “This is not medial advice” here and proceed directly to “you probably really shouldn’t go rubbing mildly toxic flowers and basically K-Y into broken skin and it’s a miracle I haven’t developed unsettlingly neon patches or something.”)

He’d either made or begun a documentary on arnica, and spoke at length about his visits to the European mountains the plant grows on.

———

Radley was active and lucid through his 80s, and while I’m sad to have missed the chance to work with him I’m happy to have participated in the fun he seemed to have thinking about it. And it may be for the best that he left before he felt like he had nothing else to give.

 

Hello World

Hello World,

(Please, fuck, tell me someone out there gets the reference.)

I’d like to start by rewinding all the way back to my stoya.tumblr.com blogs. Many of those early writing-ish-things were titled “Stoya vs. ____,” a format stolen from Chuck–a show I used to like having on in the background while I sewed things to other things or glued rhinestones to various kinds of stuff. I learned a lot about how people who are sensitive to social justice concerns tend to interpret words and statements. I was also pretty clearly telegraphing the fact that life frequently felt like a battle to me, if not a war.

(I couldn’t see it at the time, but other people could.)

Later, people started asking me to write things for their publications in exchange for money. For about 18 months I took basically every gig that was offered. I learned a lot about how freelance writing works, about small scale exploitation under–um, neo-liberal?–capitalism, and why a good editor is worth at least 10x the weight of a publication’s prestige or traffic. My year freelancing for VICE gave me a crash course in the mad-and-looking-for-someone-to-take-it-out-on flavor of troll.

(Predictive text suggested “women” instead of “someone” in that last sentence. This feels accurate enough to mention in an parenthetical.)

Then came Graphic Descriptions. I was being told I needed a domain of my own, and I knew that my presence on any individual social media network or blogging service was subject to change at the whims of new ownership, founders responding to straw concerned-public demands, totally automated “inappropriate content” reporting systems, and evolving ToS’s. A (theoretically more stable) web presence required a name, so I did what I tend to do when I can’t find one that feels right: describe what it is.

And indeed, I posted blogs describing (in fairly graphic ways) the world around me and what I was up to. When these things were about a sex scene, I added links out. But I was never able to write *just* to get-and-send clicks to push porno. That’s a skill I wish I had, and an aptitude I know I don’t.

And then I stopped writing. Entirely. I could barely even email.

It took a few months for me to understand what the block was. All that previous writing had been addressed to the Entire Internet, and the Entire Internet had become a bit terrifying. Threats like “I’m going to fuck your spleen” were harder to laugh off, and some MRA group had posted something claiming to offer a bounty for putting this bitch behind bars. It took a whole damn year for me to find that one funny… and then it was hilarious.

Seriously though, the Internet felt scary enough to make the writing part of me freeze up.

Over the summer I tried a couple of things and managed to write two real pieces: A poem about blowjobs that was sent as a newsletter and a lengthy description of a Balkan gonzo porn adventure with Zak Sabbath.

Then I went back to troubleshooting that writer’s block problem. The poem had been a way of saying hello to one of the men who was mentioned as a blowee; I knew he subscribed to the newsletter. The Balkan gonzo porn blog was written for friends who I knew would enjoy hearing about the adventure–at their leisure, as opposed to in a 90 minute one woman show.

This fall, Graphic Descriptions was having some malware issues. Rev Mitcz had scooped up hellostoya.com as a possible solo site, and then we decided we still don’t want a Stoya solo site.

(Solo site like the traditional porn thing where there’s one female performer and a range of visual media content of her in various stages of undress and/or fuckery.)

—–

On Friday, 20 January 2017, I went to AVN/AEE to sign for four hours at the Fleshlight booth. A few things were very different from previous conventions. I was calm. I had my own security human (they’re much more affordable than I’d thought.) And every single person who came to see me–except that one guy… fuck, there’s always one guy–spoke to me in ways that felt humanizing. Re-humanizing, even. That’s an audience I can address my words to.

So: HelloStoya.com… because that’s the gist of what y’all say to me when we first meet or see each other again. And because I *need* to be writing towards a group or individual in order to write at all.

(Mitcz installed stock WordPress, which means the comments section was automatically live. Clayton Cubitt once said he wasn’t interested in hosting anyone else’s Ids, and I tend to agree. But for now I’ll leave it open, and we’ll see how that goes.)

Thank you and xoxo,
Stoya

Mitcz

Almost a decade ago, another lifetime entirely.

When we met he asked if I was old enough to drink. I responded by sucking a mouthful of well whiskey through the tiny straw, spitting it in his face, and then licking it off.

I wasn’t old enough to drink.

We both kept the same late night hours. I’d just moved to southern California for the first time, drifting without my social group. He’d pick me up in his car and we’d drive all over Hollywood and the Valley in the middle of the night, talking about absolutely everything. I bluntly flirted and got the slightest hint of interest in return: much discussion about the impropriety he’d exhibit if he were to become physical with me.

One night we drove all the way to San Diego. I think I’d said something about still being unsure the Pacific ocean actually existed. Why he took me that far to stick my feet in it I don’t know. But he did, and I waded in as the sun came up. It smelled very different from the Atlantic and was much colder.

We got coffee after, and he insisted on paying. In the car on the way back to LA I then insisted on blowing him. Finally one of us had checkmated the other.

A week later we stopped the car in what looked like an empty field, or whatever barren space of sand and dirt served for an empty field in Burbank. I crawled over him, into the drivers’ seat. Flipped my body upside down, firmly clasped my legs around his neck to press my cunt into his face, and swallowed as much of his cock as I could. 

When we were done I dismounted. Rolled back to the passenger side. And spotted a cyclist. 

We’d parked smack in the middle of a bike track and dawn had come while we were distracted. A veritable marathon of 30+ people were cycling around the car. He hurriedly zipped up while I maniacally giggled. 

We ran, metaphorically. But we were safely ensconced in the vehicle and the car was fast enough to escape before someone reported us for public lewdness.

The head of his dick was pierced. Still is, as far as I know. Although I wouldn’t be in much of a position toknow as I haven’t seen it in years. 

I’ve seen him lots since. Slept next to him in his bed, been analyzed by him in ways I wouldn’t take from most friends, much less a stranger—regardless of whatever psych degrees they might have. 

Almost irritatingly, he’s always right.

During the period of our lives that we were fucking he had special condoms with a baggy tip. When people ask if I’ve ever had sex with someone with a ring through their cock, and then ask what it’s like, I hedge my response with the preamble that I’ve only had one such partner.

But.

It’s like all the rolling internal stimulation of being fingered by an expert with all the entwined bodies and pelvic bone-to-clit sensation of being fucked by someone with a penis. 

We were once friends with benefits. Now we’re friends, without benefits and also without the “just.”

x

Stoya

CC 4.0 BY-NC-SA

(This piece was adapted and illustrated by Dean Haspiel for Heavy Metal Magazine’s 2016 SEX issue as “One Such Partner” and appears in my forthcoming book “Philosophy, Pussycats, & Porn” through Not A Cult Media.)