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Talking about sex or what’s going on with our bodies is something most of us are used to doing one way: in private. The Embodied podcast invites those conversations to come out of the dark, into the light. This discussion guide will take you deeper into each episodeof the first season, introduce themes and big ideas to consider as you listen and give you fun bonus resources to keep learning about each of the topics. Are you ready?

Episode Two: Porn For All

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Charnel Hunter
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This episode examines our personal relationships to pornography and erotica and how they’re shaped by dominant cultural narratives about pleasure. It also journeys inside the adult film industry with a filmmaker and actor to interrogate what it means to create ethical erotic content.

Episode Two: Porn For All
What can our porn search terms tell us about ourselves? Are we ready to find out?

Am I a good person if I watch porn?

Tens of millions of Americans watch porn every day. While there is not a lot of specific data about what exactly people watch or how often, it is clear that porn consumption in the U.S. spans age, race, sexuality and gender. Despite the numbers, a lot of people keep their porn consumption private and may even carry shame about the kinds of stuff they find arousing. While there has been ample media coverage of porn addiction studies in the past decade, there’s actually not that much data to support thatt porn itself is the problem according to sex researcher Emily Nagoski.

“Most people can have a healthy relationship with porn,” Nagoski says. “Most of the time when people struggle, it’s not because there’s something about porn inherently that’s dysfunctional.” What are your stereotypes about who watches porn and who gets addicted? Are there aspects of your identity that particularly inform your beliefs about porn? How do those beliefs shape your ability to access pleasure?

Should I pay for my porn?

According to historian and author Lynn Comella, the adult industry in the U.S. began to form in the late 1960s as the result of loosening obscenity laws and countercultural movements. Plot-driven adult films shown in theaters guided the industry through “the golden era” of pornography in 1970s, and by the early 1980s the industry began to shift with the advent of VHS from public theaters into the privacy of one’s home.

And then...the Internet changed everything. Some online services give performers a lot more control, while others create opportunities for millions of folks to access content for free and provide little-to-no transparency about whether or not that content was created consensually.

Adult filmmaker Shine Louise Houston says that if people pay for their porn, they engage in an economic cycle that allows talent, producers, directors and other crew members to get paid for their labor. That payment helps support systems like the Free Speech Coalition, which is the adult industry’s national trade association. It provides legal support to industry members, as well as runs the FCS-PASS system, which regularly tests performers for a cornucopia of sexually transmitted infections. If you currently consume free content, how much have you thought about how those performers are compensated and treated? Did learning about life inside the industry from Shine & Mia change how you think about the kind of porn you consume or want to consume? Would paying for porn change your relationship to the content?

What kind of erotic content works for me?

While the adult industry is diverse and ever-growing, some people still prefer not to watch porn. The audio erotica app Dipsea is one alternative. It features a diversity of short audio narratives recorded by voice actors and a “Wellness & How-To’s” section with everything from guided tantric breathing exercises to an introduction to BDSM with a certified BDSM and kink educator. What was your experience of listening to the Dipsea story at the end of the episode? How did the lack of visuals shape your experience? If porn is not your thing, is there something else in the world of erotica you’re curious to explore?

Meet the guests
  • Monet is an artist and activist working on a forthcoming exhibit about people’s sexual shame.
  • Shine Louise Houston is the founding director and producer of Pink and White Productions. The adult film company produces the Crash Pad Series and PinkLabel.TV.
  • Gina Gutierrez is a co-founder and the CEO of Dipsea. She and her team create original audio erotica to empower women to access their sexuality.
  • Mia Little is an adult film actor and content creator with about seven years of experience in the adult film industry.

Want to dig in further?


Return To The Embodied Podcast Discussion Guide >>

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