Currently reading : Re-coding Online Porn Spaces

Re-coding Online Porn Spaces

16 April 2014

Author : monique-todd

Come4

Embrace all fetishes licensed by Calvin Klein, refuse with disgust any female body bigger than Terry Richardson’s thumb, only re-blog Tumblr GIFS of women elegantly convulsing in response to some deft fisting. Preferably, forget your own partialities if you can remember them.

Concepts of sexual normalcy, acceptability and appeal are interwoven through every facet of consumption, pouring themselves over our dark spaces and private geographies. It seems as though quests to satisfy or even discover alternatives are attached to a degree of shame, wrongness or plain inaccessibility. That’s not to say that extreme fetishes and perversions are not catered for, rather, those very practices are framed with a hetero-normative stiffness where the watcher is rarely mirrored if not totally erased. Despite this framework, sex-positive initiatives are permeating online landscapes, continuing from the post-porn movement initiated 30 years ago, though at present it’s finding ground in start-up culture.

 

I stumbled across Come4 whilst watching a YouTube clip from this years Transmediale Conference in Berlin. The panel, titled ‘Tube as Trashure’, focused on porn’s Internet infrastructure, its economy and influence on body perception – porn as social trash and private treasure. Porn activist Slavina introduced Come4 as the ‘first user-generated, non-profit ethically driven erotic porn site’. There is an obvious dichotomy between a billion dollar industry and the terms ‘non-profit’ and ‘ethical’, although if anything is to pull porn out of its monotonous tragedy, a sort of ‘green’ approach might do it.

The platform aims to cater for a diverse range of sexual preference when it fully launches, whilst the money visitors spend on the site’s multi-media content directly funds a charity supported by the platform at that given time (currently it’s the Asta Philpot Foundation which seeks to highlight the sexual rights of disabled people).

 

It’s true, voyeurism as charity sounds like a lewd buffet where feasting actually seeds crops … ‘eat, for we’ll feed the starving’… but is they’re anything to feel guilty for? In this case, indulgence begets good will. Land on Come4’s website and see a purple pig mascot lurking in the corner of a hazed splash page where two hands embrace over ruffled sheets. No trashy signifiers reside here either, and so another layer of porn muck is removed to reveal something more acceptable. Make Love Not Porn and Bright Desire are two other online predecessors that embrace a similar quality – porn as legit consumer product, porn as ‘giving’, porn as ‘sharable’, porn as ‘eco-friendly’…

Of course, the lure of porn is partially due to its social wrongness, its grime and the still incessant need to cleanse one’s history after a viewing session – in many ways the paranoia and shame contribute to arousal. However, as more inclusive online channels assert their presence, offering alternative modes for experience and discussion, the more chance there is to explore a wider spectrum of pleasure. In this regard, it wouldn’t do much harm to forfeit some of the slimy gratification surrounding porn consumption for a less demeaning landscape.

 

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