Review: Keep it couch-side for Courtney Trouble's latest Live Sex Show

Jiz Lee (left) and Nina Hartley raise their fists for sex education in Live Sex Show.

The phrase “live sex show” invokes a history of glitzy spectacle designed for the viewer eager to escape the intimate, nuanced relationships of home. But a recently released film from director Courtney Trouble turns that idea on its head. Filmed at the Center for Sex and Culture’s annual Masturbate-A-Thon, every scene from Trouble's Live Sex Show (Trouble Films) takes places on and around a grand green couch – and the live sex that takes place is as intimate and nuanced as it gets.

The sex in the film range from peeks that make the viewer feel voyeristic,  to fourth-wall breaking performative coupling, and actors seem to be having tons of fun playing with these varying approaches. 

Jolene Parton and Peter Devries fuck in a way that feels unaltered from if they had been on a couch in their living room. They switch between positions naturally, and do not strain to “open up” for the camera as mainstream porn actors are taught to do. Nonetheless, the scene delivers super-sexy shots of tits, ass, genitals, and sweaty orgasms – not to mention hot cuddling action after climax. 

Tina Horn and Roger Wood power-play their way through a spanking and strap-on scene, screaming and grunting with a gusto that straddles the line between “real sex” and “performance.”  In one nice moment, their movements end naturally and morph into a bow that is greeted with cheers from the audience. When the two realize they're not being yanked with a cane, however, they shrug and keep fucking. 

This show’s indisputable main attraction is a scene with legendary porn star and sex positive crusader Nina Hartley and the young, wildly popular Jiz Lee. These two play to the audience, delivering a wonderful comedy routine-anatomy lesson-crash course in how tell your partner what you want during sex. 

Their scene does with joy and ease what the sex workers' rights movement has been working on for years; it makes it clear that porn actors are workers who spend time having sex on camera, but who are also complete human beings with real lives and real desires. It’s sexy and exciting when, faced with Lee’s dripping pussy and smiling face Hartley exclaims, “I love my job!”

It’s also unashamedly political. Ditto Hartley’s expert dirty talk—“you’re so tight, so slick, so strong,” she moans to Lee during the fisting. Commenting on the strength of vaginal muscles is almost as unexpected as the scene’s end, with Hartley asking Lee about college majors. 

One of the ideas of queer porn is that it is made by and for people who have been oppressed and not considered part of the sexual “norm”—those with nonwhite, trans, queer, hairy, natural bodies, among others. 

People like this are often in mainstream porn, but framed as fetishes. Watching lesbians, strap-on, trans people, interracial sex is considered kinky. 

Like all good queer porn, Live Sex Show shows that when not “normal” people have sex, it’s about their own enjoyment; not who’s watching.  Wood fucks Horn with a strap on, and both parties are clearly having a blast. Lee can’t get enough of the fact that great sexcapade with icon Hartley, and brags about it to the audience. When the audience whoops and cheers, you can tell it’s because they’re just that pleased to see hot performers having such a great time.

In the immortal words of the Lady Gaga parody that went viral on YouTube, “Queer Porn this Way”: “Porn that humanizes is so hot, you’ll want that shit on DVD.” 

Yeah, you probably will.

Pick up your copy of Live Sex Show at

The Bay Guardian respects all gender identities and preferred pronouns. This post was updated per Jiz Lee's request to be referred to as 'they.'

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