Sex

What Is Ethical Porn And Where To Find It?

You don't have to guiltily watch hardcore porn anymore - thanks to ethical porn sites. But what exactly do we mean by ethical porn?

Porn is a compelling way to reach an orgasm, it's quick, it's free and it has every sexual fantasy you can ever imagine. But as soon as you're done with it, looking at the phone screen seems a little uncomfortable, even repulsive. So, you exit the porn window in a second and then forget it ever happened. A lot of people face negative emotions such as shame and guilt after a porn-induced orgasm. This can be because the porn content had abusive or misogynistic elements in it like revenge porn often does. However, the physical pleasure from it may be so overpowering that their actual sexual preferences or moral stance may not matter at the moment. But most people still continue watching it. To be precise, almost 89 per cent of Indians watch porn on their mobile devices.

But you don't have to carry around the guilt and shame that comes with watching hardcore porn or violent porn, there are ethical porn sites creating healthy and more consensual sex acts. So, what exactly do we mean by ethical porn and what sets it apart from mainstream porn?

Ethical pornography, also known as fair-trade porn is made in a sex-positive way keeping in mind certain regulations. This can mean avoiding harmful racial and gender stereotypes, giving importance to queer porn, showing consent on-screen and pleasure for all. On the business side, it's compensating porn stars with good salaries, safe working conditions and allowing performers to choose their work and partners.

In an interview with Bustle, Ayesha Hussain, a sex and porn coach, porn activist, and founder of The Violet, says that to create ethical porn, producers must create safety and a sense of intimacy that can be felt off-screen as well.

The creators must also try to honour performers' boundaries, allow them to physically and emotionally prepare before filming and hire writers that are content-driven. Lola Jean, sex educator and mental health professional clarifies that this doesn't mean that ethical porn is against all aggressive behaviour, BDSM or power play.

Jean explains, "People can have healthy, consensual, aggressive sex. It just shouldn't be that we only see abusive porn, or only seeing women being submissive, or only seeing the person with a penis ejaculating - it's the variety. We need more things available." The main features of ethical porn are the commitment to good labour practices, sexual diversity, consent and fair pay.

If you've visited mainstream porn sites such as YouPorn, PornHub, Xvideos, RedTube etc, you might have noticed titles that are demeaning towards women, videos only focus on male pleasure specifically ejaculation and sexual violence is normalized to a great extent. For some videos, there isn't any credible source and are independently uploaded to the site meaning the content isn't verified. This means we really can't tell if there was consent to be recorded and put on the internet. Here are some other reasons that may convince you to say goodbye to mainstream free porn.

Why you should stop watching mainstream porn

Violence has become ubiquitous in mainstream pornography. Women are slapped, punched, pulled by the hair, and verbally abused by men. In heterosexual porn, the man is treated like a king while the woman is expected to act servile and submissive sometimes, in disturbing ways. This can spread toxic ideas to viewers, especially to impressionable younger viewers. These aren't hollow claims, unfortunately, there's proof to back this up.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) released a shocking report about what pornography is doing to our youth. One study found that men who consumed mainstream pornography expressed a greater intent to commit rape if they knew they would not be caught than those who did not consume pornography. A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that consumption of pornography was associated with indulging in verbal and physical aggression among males and females.

Men who perpetrate violence towards women or batterers are more likely to subject a woman to sexual abuse. The study showed porn consumption alone increase the odds two times and the combination of pornography and alcohol increased the odds of sexual abuse to three times. Other research found pornography viewing is linked to learning about sex through porn, imitating behaviours, filming sex acts without consent and treating their partner like a porn star.

Apart from the ill-effects of watching porn, the creation of porn also holds several issues. The porn industry has never been the paragon of fair-trade and good working conditions but it doesn't even come close to passable work conditions. Documentaries such as Netflix's Hot Girls Wanted depicted cases of exploitation where female performers agreeing to shoot a particular act and then being coerced into a more hardcore scene by the producers.

Porn producers have been accused of using problematic and sensitive tropes for porn storylines. For example, in July, Pornhub was accused of profiting off racist porn and anti-semitism in their videos and reports said they had monetised many videos that were made with coercion and abuse.

However, we're experiencing a reinvention of porn with creators and audiences coming together, demanding more "ethical porn". Australian adult film actress Lucie Bee, who has worked with Ms Naughty during her career, tells ABC that demands for porn are changing. "People are seeking content that not only caters to their fantasies but also better reflects their sex lives or what they'd like their sex lives to look like," Bee says.

"It'd be naive of me to say that the mainstream porn of the past hasn't given people bad habits, so I think the fact that we're creating stuff that reflects more the joy and intimacy I'd like to see people enjoying, is working towards correcting some of that," she continues. So, how do you know if the porn you're watching is truly ethical not just labelled as "ethical"?

How to know if you're watching ethical porn

Ethical porn adheres to certain work practices and standards during shooting. Here are the top signs to tell if your porn is ethical.

1. Creators and porn stars are paid well

If you've to pay for your adult entertainment, you can be sure that the performers are getting paid well. Free porn, on the other hand, means salaries are being cut, usually from the performers' pockets. As an alternative, you could subscribe to ethical porn sites or your favourite performer's website and pay for their content. This is similar to paying your favourite music artists or YouTube creator, why not do it for your favourite porn star too? The money will be used to pay the crew fairly and ensure the film is shot in a safe space.

3. The scenes are shot in a safe and respectful manner

Beware of homemade clips or clip without proper production as it's hard to know if consent was present in those videos. Chanel Preston, a porn star and the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), tells Cosmopolitan, "I would define ethical porn as any pornography that is created where all the terms of the scene are consensual — sex acts, pay, conditions." It also means the performers are comfortable with the sex acts they're performing.

Kayla Jane Danger, who owns her own porn company and directs performers, says in the same interview, "Ethical porn production has to do with taking care of your talent emotionally, physically and financially. My performers know what they're doing before they get to set, and that is all they do. I never surprise them with something." Empathize with the performers and look at the porn from their perspective.

4. If performers on social media talk about their scenes

Most porn stars are quite active on social media and chances are, will speak about their work on the platform. Danger says, "If the performers are supporting and tweeting about scenes they were in, you should feel comfortable that they are ethical. They're sharing it because they're generally proud of the work they have done and they're happy with the product that comes out of it.

Andre Shakti, a porn star in queer porn films, says that performers really appreciate if you tip them or buy them something from their Amazon wish list. "Support them in any way you can and recognize it's labour and not all fun and games for them," she says.

5. All performers are of legal age

Ela Darling, an independent performer, suggests users watch American-made porn as all U.S. companies have to document and demonstrate that porn performers are at least 18 years old. But a lot of performers think even 18 is too young. Ashlee Graham, a performer and director says, "I don't think 18-year-olds know what they're getting into. [Porn] stays on the Internet forever. I've turned a couple of girls away who I thought looked like a deer in headlights."

Darling agrees with her, " If you're bringing in new models who have never shot porn before, it's your responsibility to communicate the weight of the decision they're making." So, watching videos featuring young girls may perpetuate the cycle of producers casting them.

6. It is body-positive and doesn't have race, gender or sexuality stereotypes

Most people don't look or act like porn stars and mainstream porn tends to forget that. It rarely depicts fluidity of sexuality, LGBTQ inclusivity, the fact that every age group has sex and focus on female sexuality. Ethical porn strives to feature all kinds of people and shows sexual diversity. If porn producers cast people who look like us, we don't have to compare ourselves to the "ideal porn star body"

Keeping in mind all of these requirements, you may be surprised to know that BDSM porn can be the most ethical porn being made. This may seem far from the truth as BDSM acts can come across as abusive and violent.

But Maitresse Madeline, a fem dom who also works for Kink.com (a well-known ethical porn producer) tells Cosmopolitan, "BDSM is totally misunderstood. It's the consensual exchange of power between two adults. One person trusts the other person to not do any harm to themselves or them. Harm is permanent. We're not going to say they won't have pain, because as a BDSM practitioner, pain is our tool. We use it to heighten our sexual experience, but we don't want to cause harm and we respect limits."

Before signing up for a BDSM shoot, Kink. come asks performers to fill out an extensive questionnaire about everything they are willing and not willing to do. Darling recalls one of her shoots with Kink.com where she was having so much fun that she had to control her laughter throughout. She says, "It's OK to be into bondage and to want to submit, as long as everybody is consenting and happy about it. While it seems like I don't have the right to stop anything, as a submissive I have all the power."

Where to find ethical porn?

1. Erika Lust: Erika is a Swedish porn producer who makes artsy erotica films. She's also directed feature-length films, short films, documentaries and an incredibly hot series called XConfessions, where she brings fan-submitted fantasies on-screen. You can submit your fantasy on her website for possible inclusion in the next anthology of the series! It's miles apart from free porn as the production is high-value and is extremely aesthetically pleasing. A perfect watch for a self-care night or a date night with your partner.

According to the website, full access costs $100 per year or $35 per month. Individual movies can be purchased for $10-$15 (to stream).

2. Pink and White Productions: Created by Shine Louise Houston, this production house caters to queer audiences. It amalgamates feminist, queer porn from like-minded companies and makes them accessible on her site. She has also created her own series, Crash Pad about a secret San Francisco apartment and called it a "dyke series". The series is known to have the most diverse cast of any of the production companies listed here. Houston is known to have her cast and crew consent to all activities that are filmed and be very upfront about payment.

3. Bright Desire: This is a woman-owned company that films real couples and sometimes, professional performers too. Bright Desire wants to film real couples to show real, messy but still tantalizing sex. Their website says, "Bright Desire is a celebration of sex. It's a deliberate attempt to show all the good stuff that we love about sex - intimacy, laughter, connection and real pleasure." They have a series for audio-porn enthusiasts too and erotic fiction for literature nerds.

According to their website, membership is $20 for the first month, then $10 for subsequent months, or $35 for three months.

4. Make Love Not Porn: As the title implies, MLNP shows real sex based on love. Cindy Gallop, the creator of the website, accepts submissions from real-life couples and collates them on the website; it's a great place to visit if you're into amateur porn. The site still in beta, so there isn't a huge selection, but they are slowly adding more content. According to MLNP's website, they charge a flat rate of $5 per video and the video creators make 50% of the proceeds.

5. O'Actually: This site showcases female sexuality and women's pleasure in beautiful ways. They also have a small selection erotic fiction section with naughty images and audio to ramp up the excitement. If you're not ready to pay for ethical porn, this site is perfect for you as all the content is free.

Problems with ethical porn

The biggest problem with ethical porn is difficulty in identifying it - just because a production house labels itself as ethical doesn't always mean it's made ethically. It can merely be a false selling point.

Similar to how the term 'organic' is being thrown around for defining food, ethical porn can be ambiguous and sometimes, a misleading label. In an interview with Mind Body Green, Nicole Prause, PhD, researcher and neuroscientist says that "ethical porn" platforms or film companies should clarify their stance on what exactly makes their films ethical and "help consumers by being more specific about how they think they are honouring ethical concerns."

It's cumbersome for users to do all the research by themselves so companies should be vocal and clear about how they pay their performers, consent procedures and expectations from performers. The least that users can do is following your favourite performer on Twitter or other social media. These platforms give a voice to performers to share their thoughts and issues about their work - this way you can know what really goes on behind-the-scenes.

Sex

What Is Ethical Porn And Where To Find It?

You don't have to guiltily watch hardcore porn anymore - thanks to ethical porn sites. But what exactly do we mean by ethical porn?

Porn is a compelling way to reach an orgasm, it's quick, it's free and it has every sexual fantasy you can ever imagine. But as soon as you're done with it, looking at the phone screen seems a little uncomfortable, even repulsive. So, you exit the porn window in a second and then forget it ever happened. A lot of people face negative emotions such as shame and guilt after a porn-induced orgasm. This can be because the porn content had abusive or misogynistic elements in it like revenge porn often does. However, the physical pleasure from it may be so overpowering that their actual sexual preferences or moral stance may not matter at the moment. But most people still continue watching it. To be precise, almost 89 per cent of Indians watch porn on their mobile devices.

But you don't have to carry around the guilt and shame that comes with watching hardcore porn or violent porn, there are ethical porn sites creating healthy and more consensual sex acts. So, what exactly do we mean by ethical porn and what sets it apart from mainstream porn?

Ethical pornography, also known as fair-trade porn is made in a sex-positive way keeping in mind certain regulations. This can mean avoiding harmful racial and gender stereotypes, giving importance to queer porn, showing consent on-screen and pleasure for all. On the business side, it's compensating porn stars with good salaries, safe working conditions and allowing performers to choose their work and partners.

In an interview with Bustle, Ayesha Hussain, a sex and porn coach, porn activist, and founder of The Violet, says that to create ethical porn, producers must create safety and a sense of intimacy that can be felt off-screen as well.

The creators must also try to honour performers' boundaries, allow them to physically and emotionally prepare before filming and hire writers that are content-driven. Lola Jean, sex educator and mental health professional clarifies that this doesn't mean that ethical porn is against all aggressive behaviour, BDSM or power play.

Jean explains, "People can have healthy, consensual, aggressive sex. It just shouldn't be that we only see abusive porn, or only seeing women being submissive, or only seeing the person with a penis ejaculating - it's the variety. We need more things available." The main features of ethical porn are the commitment to good labour practices, sexual diversity, consent and fair pay.

If you've visited mainstream porn sites such as YouPorn, PornHub, Xvideos, RedTube etc, you might have noticed titles that are demeaning towards women, videos only focus on male pleasure specifically ejaculation and sexual violence is normalized to a great extent. For some videos, there isn't any credible source and are independently uploaded to the site meaning the content isn't verified. This means we really can't tell if there was consent to be recorded and put on the internet. Here are some other reasons that may convince you to say goodbye to mainstream free porn.

Why you should stop watching mainstream porn

Violence has become ubiquitous in mainstream pornography. Women are slapped, punched, pulled by the hair, and verbally abused by men. In heterosexual porn, the man is treated like a king while the woman is expected to act servile and submissive sometimes, in disturbing ways. This can spread toxic ideas to viewers, especially to impressionable younger viewers. These aren't hollow claims, unfortunately, there's proof to back this up.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) released a shocking report about what pornography is doing to our youth. One study found that men who consumed mainstream pornography expressed a greater intent to commit rape if they knew they would not be caught than those who did not consume pornography. A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that consumption of pornography was associated with indulging in verbal and physical aggression among males and females.

Men who perpetrate violence towards women or batterers are more likely to subject a woman to sexual abuse. The study showed porn consumption alone increase the odds two times and the combination of pornography and alcohol increased the odds of sexual abuse to three times. Other research found pornography viewing is linked to learning about sex through porn, imitating behaviours, filming sex acts without consent and treating their partner like a porn star.

Apart from the ill-effects of watching porn, the creation of porn also holds several issues. The porn industry has never been the paragon of fair-trade and good working conditions but it doesn't even come close to passable work conditions. Documentaries such as Netflix's Hot Girls Wanted depicted cases of exploitation where female performers agreeing to shoot a particular act and then being coerced into a more hardcore scene by the producers.

Porn producers have been accused of using problematic and sensitive tropes for porn storylines. For example, in July, Pornhub was accused of profiting off racist porn and anti-semitism in their videos and reports said they had monetised many videos that were made with coercion and abuse.

However, we're experiencing a reinvention of porn with creators and audiences coming together, demanding more "ethical porn". Australian adult film actress Lucie Bee, who has worked with Ms Naughty during her career, tells ABC that demands for porn are changing. "People are seeking content that not only caters to their fantasies but also better reflects their sex lives or what they'd like their sex lives to look like," Bee says.

"It'd be naive of me to say that the mainstream porn of the past hasn't given people bad habits, so I think the fact that we're creating stuff that reflects more the joy and intimacy I'd like to see people enjoying, is working towards correcting some of that," she continues. So, how do you know if the porn you're watching is truly ethical not just labelled as "ethical"?

How to know if you're watching ethical porn

Ethical porn adheres to certain work practices and standards during shooting. Here are the top signs to tell if your porn is ethical.

1. Creators and porn stars are paid well

If you've to pay for your adult entertainment, you can be sure that the performers are getting paid well. Free porn, on the other hand, means salaries are being cut, usually from the performers' pockets. As an alternative, you could subscribe to ethical porn sites or your favourite performer's website and pay for their content. This is similar to paying your favourite music artists or YouTube creator, why not do it for your favourite porn star too? The money will be used to pay the crew fairly and ensure the film is shot in a safe space.

3. The scenes are shot in a safe and respectful manner

Beware of homemade clips or clip without proper production as it's hard to know if consent was present in those videos. Chanel Preston, a porn star and the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), tells Cosmopolitan, "I would define ethical porn as any pornography that is created where all the terms of the scene are consensual — sex acts, pay, conditions." It also means the performers are comfortable with the sex acts they're performing.

Kayla Jane Danger, who owns her own porn company and directs performers, says in the same interview, "Ethical porn production has to do with taking care of your talent emotionally, physically and financially. My performers know what they're doing before they get to set, and that is all they do. I never surprise them with something." Empathize with the performers and look at the porn from their perspective.

4. If performers on social media talk about their scenes

Most porn stars are quite active on social media and chances are, will speak about their work on the platform. Danger says, "If the performers are supporting and tweeting about scenes they were in, you should feel comfortable that they are ethical. They're sharing it because they're generally proud of the work they have done and they're happy with the product that comes out of it.

Andre Shakti, a porn star in queer porn films, says that performers really appreciate if you tip them or buy them something from their Amazon wish list. "Support them in any way you can and recognize it's labour and not all fun and games for them," she says.

5. All performers are of legal age

Ela Darling, an independent performer, suggests users watch American-made porn as all U.S. companies have to document and demonstrate that porn performers are at least 18 years old. But a lot of performers think even 18 is too young. Ashlee Graham, a performer and director says, "I don't think 18-year-olds know what they're getting into. [Porn] stays on the Internet forever. I've turned a couple of girls away who I thought looked like a deer in headlights."

Darling agrees with her, " If you're bringing in new models who have never shot porn before, it's your responsibility to communicate the weight of the decision they're making." So, watching videos featuring young girls may perpetuate the cycle of producers casting them.

6. It is body-positive and doesn't have race, gender or sexuality stereotypes

Most people don't look or act like porn stars and mainstream porn tends to forget that. It rarely depicts fluidity of sexuality, LGBTQ inclusivity, the fact that every age group has sex and focus on female sexuality. Ethical porn strives to feature all kinds of people and shows sexual diversity. If porn producers cast people who look like us, we don't have to compare ourselves to the "ideal porn star body"

Keeping in mind all of these requirements, you may be surprised to know that BDSM porn can be the most ethical porn being made. This may seem far from the truth as BDSM acts can come across as abusive and violent.

But Maitresse Madeline, a fem dom who also works for Kink.com (a well-known ethical porn producer) tells Cosmopolitan, "BDSM is totally misunderstood. It's the consensual exchange of power between two adults. One person trusts the other person to not do any harm to themselves or them. Harm is permanent. We're not going to say they won't have pain, because as a BDSM practitioner, pain is our tool. We use it to heighten our sexual experience, but we don't want to cause harm and we respect limits."

Before signing up for a BDSM shoot, Kink. come asks performers to fill out an extensive questionnaire about everything they are willing and not willing to do. Darling recalls one of her shoots with Kink.com where she was having so much fun that she had to control her laughter throughout. She says, "It's OK to be into bondage and to want to submit, as long as everybody is consenting and happy about it. While it seems like I don't have the right to stop anything, as a submissive I have all the power."

Where to find ethical porn?

1. Erika Lust: Erika is a Swedish porn producer who makes artsy erotica films. She's also directed feature-length films, short films, documentaries and an incredibly hot series called XConfessions, where she brings fan-submitted fantasies on-screen. You can submit your fantasy on her website for possible inclusion in the next anthology of the series! It's miles apart from free porn as the production is high-value and is extremely aesthetically pleasing. A perfect watch for a self-care night or a date night with your partner.

According to the website, full access costs $100 per year or $35 per month. Individual movies can be purchased for $10-$15 (to stream).

2. Pink and White Productions: Created by Shine Louise Houston, this production house caters to queer audiences. It amalgamates feminist, queer porn from like-minded companies and makes them accessible on her site. She has also created her own series, Crash Pad about a secret San Francisco apartment and called it a "dyke series". The series is known to have the most diverse cast of any of the production companies listed here. Houston is known to have her cast and crew consent to all activities that are filmed and be very upfront about payment.

3. Bright Desire: This is a woman-owned company that films real couples and sometimes, professional performers too. Bright Desire wants to film real couples to show real, messy but still tantalizing sex. Their website says, "Bright Desire is a celebration of sex. It's a deliberate attempt to show all the good stuff that we love about sex - intimacy, laughter, connection and real pleasure." They have a series for audio-porn enthusiasts too and erotic fiction for literature nerds.

According to their website, membership is $20 for the first month, then $10 for subsequent months, or $35 for three months.

4. Make Love Not Porn: As the title implies, MLNP shows real sex based on love. Cindy Gallop, the creator of the website, accepts submissions from real-life couples and collates them on the website; it's a great place to visit if you're into amateur porn. The site still in beta, so there isn't a huge selection, but they are slowly adding more content. According to MLNP's website, they charge a flat rate of $5 per video and the video creators make 50% of the proceeds.

5. O'Actually: This site showcases female sexuality and women's pleasure in beautiful ways. They also have a small selection erotic fiction section with naughty images and audio to ramp up the excitement. If you're not ready to pay for ethical porn, this site is perfect for you as all the content is free.

Problems with ethical porn

The biggest problem with ethical porn is difficulty in identifying it - just because a production house labels itself as ethical doesn't always mean it's made ethically. It can merely be a false selling point.

Similar to how the term 'organic' is being thrown around for defining food, ethical porn can be ambiguous and sometimes, a misleading label. In an interview with Mind Body Green, Nicole Prause, PhD, researcher and neuroscientist says that "ethical porn" platforms or film companies should clarify their stance on what exactly makes their films ethical and "help consumers by being more specific about how they think they are honouring ethical concerns."

It's cumbersome for users to do all the research by themselves so companies should be vocal and clear about how they pay their performers, consent procedures and expectations from performers. The least that users can do is following your favourite performer on Twitter or other social media. These platforms give a voice to performers to share their thoughts and issues about their work - this way you can know what really goes on behind-the-scenes.

Sex

What Is Ethical Porn And Where To Find It?

You don't have to guiltily watch hardcore porn anymore - thanks to ethical porn sites. But what exactly do we mean by ethical porn?

Porn is a compelling way to reach an orgasm, it's quick, it's free and it has every sexual fantasy you can ever imagine. But as soon as you're done with it, looking at the phone screen seems a little uncomfortable, even repulsive. So, you exit the porn window in a second and then forget it ever happened. A lot of people face negative emotions such as shame and guilt after a porn-induced orgasm. This can be because the porn content had abusive or misogynistic elements in it like revenge porn often does. However, the physical pleasure from it may be so overpowering that their actual sexual preferences or moral stance may not matter at the moment. But most people still continue watching it. To be precise, almost 89 per cent of Indians watch porn on their mobile devices.

But you don't have to carry around the guilt and shame that comes with watching hardcore porn or violent porn, there are ethical porn sites creating healthy and more consensual sex acts. So, what exactly do we mean by ethical porn and what sets it apart from mainstream porn?

Ethical pornography, also known as fair-trade porn is made in a sex-positive way keeping in mind certain regulations. This can mean avoiding harmful racial and gender stereotypes, giving importance to queer porn, showing consent on-screen and pleasure for all. On the business side, it's compensating porn stars with good salaries, safe working conditions and allowing performers to choose their work and partners.

In an interview with Bustle, Ayesha Hussain, a sex and porn coach, porn activist, and founder of The Violet, says that to create ethical porn, producers must create safety and a sense of intimacy that can be felt off-screen as well.

The creators must also try to honour performers' boundaries, allow them to physically and emotionally prepare before filming and hire writers that are content-driven. Lola Jean, sex educator and mental health professional clarifies that this doesn't mean that ethical porn is against all aggressive behaviour, BDSM or power play.

Jean explains, "People can have healthy, consensual, aggressive sex. It just shouldn't be that we only see abusive porn, or only seeing women being submissive, or only seeing the person with a penis ejaculating - it's the variety. We need more things available." The main features of ethical porn are the commitment to good labour practices, sexual diversity, consent and fair pay.

If you've visited mainstream porn sites such as YouPorn, PornHub, Xvideos, RedTube etc, you might have noticed titles that are demeaning towards women, videos only focus on male pleasure specifically ejaculation and sexual violence is normalized to a great extent. For some videos, there isn't any credible source and are independently uploaded to the site meaning the content isn't verified. This means we really can't tell if there was consent to be recorded and put on the internet. Here are some other reasons that may convince you to say goodbye to mainstream free porn.

Why you should stop watching mainstream porn

Violence has become ubiquitous in mainstream pornography. Women are slapped, punched, pulled by the hair, and verbally abused by men. In heterosexual porn, the man is treated like a king while the woman is expected to act servile and submissive sometimes, in disturbing ways. This can spread toxic ideas to viewers, especially to impressionable younger viewers. These aren't hollow claims, unfortunately, there's proof to back this up.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) released a shocking report about what pornography is doing to our youth. One study found that men who consumed mainstream pornography expressed a greater intent to commit rape if they knew they would not be caught than those who did not consume pornography. A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that consumption of pornography was associated with indulging in verbal and physical aggression among males and females.

Men who perpetrate violence towards women or batterers are more likely to subject a woman to sexual abuse. The study showed porn consumption alone increase the odds two times and the combination of pornography and alcohol increased the odds of sexual abuse to three times. Other research found pornography viewing is linked to learning about sex through porn, imitating behaviours, filming sex acts without consent and treating their partner like a porn star.

Apart from the ill-effects of watching porn, the creation of porn also holds several issues. The porn industry has never been the paragon of fair-trade and good working conditions but it doesn't even come close to passable work conditions. Documentaries such as Netflix's Hot Girls Wanted depicted cases of exploitation where female performers agreeing to shoot a particular act and then being coerced into a more hardcore scene by the producers.

Porn producers have been accused of using problematic and sensitive tropes for porn storylines. For example, in July, Pornhub was accused of profiting off racist porn and anti-semitism in their videos and reports said they had monetised many videos that were made with coercion and abuse.

However, we're experiencing a reinvention of porn with creators and audiences coming together, demanding more "ethical porn". Australian adult film actress Lucie Bee, who has worked with Ms Naughty during her career, tells ABC that demands for porn are changing. "People are seeking content that not only caters to their fantasies but also better reflects their sex lives or what they'd like their sex lives to look like," Bee says.

"It'd be naive of me to say that the mainstream porn of the past hasn't given people bad habits, so I think the fact that we're creating stuff that reflects more the joy and intimacy I'd like to see people enjoying, is working towards correcting some of that," she continues. So, how do you know if the porn you're watching is truly ethical not just labelled as "ethical"?

How to know if you're watching ethical porn

Ethical porn adheres to certain work practices and standards during shooting. Here are the top signs to tell if your porn is ethical.

1. Creators and porn stars are paid well

If you've to pay for your adult entertainment, you can be sure that the performers are getting paid well. Free porn, on the other hand, means salaries are being cut, usually from the performers' pockets. As an alternative, you could subscribe to ethical porn sites or your favourite performer's website and pay for their content. This is similar to paying your favourite music artists or YouTube creator, why not do it for your favourite porn star too? The money will be used to pay the crew fairly and ensure the film is shot in a safe space.

3. The scenes are shot in a safe and respectful manner

Beware of homemade clips or clip without proper production as it's hard to know if consent was present in those videos. Chanel Preston, a porn star and the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), tells Cosmopolitan, "I would define ethical porn as any pornography that is created where all the terms of the scene are consensual — sex acts, pay, conditions." It also means the performers are comfortable with the sex acts they're performing.

Kayla Jane Danger, who owns her own porn company and directs performers, says in the same interview, "Ethical porn production has to do with taking care of your talent emotionally, physically and financially. My performers know what they're doing before they get to set, and that is all they do. I never surprise them with something." Empathize with the performers and look at the porn from their perspective.

4. If performers on social media talk about their scenes

Most porn stars are quite active on social media and chances are, will speak about their work on the platform. Danger says, "If the performers are supporting and tweeting about scenes they were in, you should feel comfortable that they are ethical. They're sharing it because they're generally proud of the work they have done and they're happy with the product that comes out of it.

Andre Shakti, a porn star in queer porn films, says that performers really appreciate if you tip them or buy them something from their Amazon wish list. "Support them in any way you can and recognize it's labour and not all fun and games for them," she says.

5. All performers are of legal age

Ela Darling, an independent performer, suggests users watch American-made porn as all U.S. companies have to document and demonstrate that porn performers are at least 18 years old. But a lot of performers think even 18 is too young. Ashlee Graham, a performer and director says, "I don't think 18-year-olds know what they're getting into. [Porn] stays on the Internet forever. I've turned a couple of girls away who I thought looked like a deer in headlights."

Darling agrees with her, " If you're bringing in new models who have never shot porn before, it's your responsibility to communicate the weight of the decision they're making." So, watching videos featuring young girls may perpetuate the cycle of producers casting them.

6. It is body-positive and doesn't have race, gender or sexuality stereotypes

Most people don't look or act like porn stars and mainstream porn tends to forget that. It rarely depicts fluidity of sexuality, LGBTQ inclusivity, the fact that every age group has sex and focus on female sexuality. Ethical porn strives to feature all kinds of people and shows sexual diversity. If porn producers cast people who look like us, we don't have to compare ourselves to the "ideal porn star body"

Keeping in mind all of these requirements, you may be surprised to know that BDSM porn can be the most ethical porn being made. This may seem far from the truth as BDSM acts can come across as abusive and violent.

But Maitresse Madeline, a fem dom who also works for Kink.com (a well-known ethical porn producer) tells Cosmopolitan, "BDSM is totally misunderstood. It's the consensual exchange of power between two adults. One person trusts the other person to not do any harm to themselves or them. Harm is permanent. We're not going to say they won't have pain, because as a BDSM practitioner, pain is our tool. We use it to heighten our sexual experience, but we don't want to cause harm and we respect limits."

Before signing up for a BDSM shoot, Kink. come asks performers to fill out an extensive questionnaire about everything they are willing and not willing to do. Darling recalls one of her shoots with Kink.com where she was having so much fun that she had to control her laughter throughout. She says, "It's OK to be into bondage and to want to submit, as long as everybody is consenting and happy about it. While it seems like I don't have the right to stop anything, as a submissive I have all the power."

Where to find ethical porn?

1. Erika Lust: Erika is a Swedish porn producer who makes artsy erotica films. She's also directed feature-length films, short films, documentaries and an incredibly hot series called XConfessions, where she brings fan-submitted fantasies on-screen. You can submit your fantasy on her website for possible inclusion in the next anthology of the series! It's miles apart from free porn as the production is high-value and is extremely aesthetically pleasing. A perfect watch for a self-care night or a date night with your partner.

According to the website, full access costs $100 per year or $35 per month. Individual movies can be purchased for $10-$15 (to stream).

2. Pink and White Productions: Created by Shine Louise Houston, this production house caters to queer audiences. It amalgamates feminist, queer porn from like-minded companies and makes them accessible on her site. She has also created her own series, Crash Pad about a secret San Francisco apartment and called it a "dyke series". The series is known to have the most diverse cast of any of the production companies listed here. Houston is known to have her cast and crew consent to all activities that are filmed and be very upfront about payment.

3. Bright Desire: This is a woman-owned company that films real couples and sometimes, professional performers too. Bright Desire wants to film real couples to show real, messy but still tantalizing sex. Their website says, "Bright Desire is a celebration of sex. It's a deliberate attempt to show all the good stuff that we love about sex - intimacy, laughter, connection and real pleasure." They have a series for audio-porn enthusiasts too and erotic fiction for literature nerds.

According to their website, membership is $20 for the first month, then $10 for subsequent months, or $35 for three months.

4. Make Love Not Porn: As the title implies, MLNP shows real sex based on love. Cindy Gallop, the creator of the website, accepts submissions from real-life couples and collates them on the website; it's a great place to visit if you're into amateur porn. The site still in beta, so there isn't a huge selection, but they are slowly adding more content. According to MLNP's website, they charge a flat rate of $5 per video and the video creators make 50% of the proceeds.

5. O'Actually: This site showcases female sexuality and women's pleasure in beautiful ways. They also have a small selection erotic fiction section with naughty images and audio to ramp up the excitement. If you're not ready to pay for ethical porn, this site is perfect for you as all the content is free.

Problems with ethical porn

The biggest problem with ethical porn is difficulty in identifying it - just because a production house labels itself as ethical doesn't always mean it's made ethically. It can merely be a false selling point.

Similar to how the term 'organic' is being thrown around for defining food, ethical porn can be ambiguous and sometimes, a misleading label. In an interview with Mind Body Green, Nicole Prause, PhD, researcher and neuroscientist says that "ethical porn" platforms or film companies should clarify their stance on what exactly makes their films ethical and "help consumers by being more specific about how they think they are honouring ethical concerns."

It's cumbersome for users to do all the research by themselves so companies should be vocal and clear about how they pay their performers, consent procedures and expectations from performers. The least that users can do is following your favourite performer on Twitter or other social media. These platforms give a voice to performers to share their thoughts and issues about their work - this way you can know what really goes on behind-the-scenes.

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