The Roots Of Classy Porn

Sep 24 2011 @ 9:14pm

Tracy Clark-Flory interviews sex pioneer Susie Bright:

There were about a dozen women in the '80s who started making their own movies, magazines, images, and we fought against all the naysayers. Then, to everyone's shock, the women's erotica movement made significant sales. Into the middle of that mix, came along a filmmaker named Andrew Blake, who did a series of very high-tone, music-video-style X-rated videos. There was no narrative; they were all similar to a very long commercial for luxury goods — with sex in them.

It was just Blake's thing; he had no particular interest in women viewers. But these movies were wildly popular with women. For all the ranting and raving everyone had made about wanting "a good story," that turned out to be untrue.

What novice female viewers wanted, without being able to say it, was class-conscious reassurance that one could be a nice, well-dressed, well-kept woman, and indulge in "erotica" while maintaining your dignity and marriageability. Everyone looked like a millionaire in Blake's movies, and that turned out to be the ticket. Not story, not orgasm, but reassurance that you weren't a terrible worthless slut to be looking at such things.

I found that discovery enlightening but depressing. I wish women wanted to look at sex stories and movies because of their unapologetic sexual self-interest. Luckily, once many women got through the Andrew Blake gateway, they loosened up and started enjoying other things that were more personal to them.