Ask Jenn Vicious: Porn Watching Protocol

by: Jenn Vicious 


Jenn Vicious is the radical community’s Agony Aunt, providing life coaching and social etiquette answers for radical cultures.  Need poly, kinky, or queer dating advice, need to to know what to wear to court or a family function (you know, one you have to look “respectable” at),  want to understand how not to be an ass hat, ask Jenn Vicious.

Alrighy.  So I am a cis-gendered woman, and I was having a sort of slow start at a relationship with a cis-dude.  Nothing too crazy, just taking our time to get in the groove of our pretty casual relationship.  So after a little while, he admits to me that he’s been watching porn that I am in.  It made me super uncomfortable!  I talked to a friend about it, and we both decided that maybe we didn’t want to date anyone who would watch our porn without asking.  I mean, I don’t even think my porn was good. I wasn’t excited about it, just broke.  But it got me thinking, in radical subcultures where sex work is common, and many people end up in porn, should there be some kind of etiquette for that?  Surely we aren’t the only porn stars around.  Whatcha think, Jenn?

Broke Porn Stars 

You’re right, Broke Porn Stars, there ought to be some etiquette around viewing your friends’ porn. In fact, among people I’ve talked to, it is common to not view the porn of people you are dating/want to date without their permission.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the only people who ever think about this are people who have done porn. I’m guessing your cis-dude hasn’t done porn, and didn’t consider that it would be weird for you if he watched it (though, seriously cis-dude, that is kinda creepy.)

Here’s a few things we in the broke-ass punk subculture can do about this:

a) Let’s not look for porn that our friends have been in without their permission. There’s really no need for that at all.

b) When you tell potential sexual partners about your porn work, they don’t really need to know who you worked for, what name you worked under, or where they can find your porn. So don’t tell them.

c) But do tell them that it would make you uncomfortable if they looked for your porn. And, as always, tell them anything they need to know about any sexual health issues (though practices on porn sets are generally better than most people’s standard sexual health practices, just to dispel any misconceptions people might have about people who do porn.)

d) When doing porn (or really any kind of sex work), use a different name than the one you use among your friends. there is a lot of porn in the world, and there is no need to make it easy to find yours.

e) Let’s communicate our expectations around this issue with each other. It won’t do us any good to only have these conversations with other people who have done porn.

Just to clarify a few points: not everyone is going to be uncomfortable with friends looking at their porn. Some people don’t care. Some people might even show you their porn. But don’t assume it is ok to go looking for. And don’t think that just because someone doesn’t want you to look at their porn means that they are ashamed of having done porn.

Any other broke porn stars out there want to weigh in on this issue? You can comment below using Disqus.


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