More on what consent means for BDSM porn: A performer speaks out

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Porn starlet Maxine Holloway: "Sexism, classism, racism, homo- and transphobia do not disappear when the film starts rolling."

Having sex for money can change the dimensions of the kinds of acts you're willing to explore. That's a fact in a porno landscape that rewards greater physical punishment with greater paychecks (as it should.) But if BDSM porn performers aren't doing it all purely for their own sexual gratification, how do we define consent? Where does pushing boundaries become abuse? The question seems really important, especially for those who would defend the existence of BDSM porn to dissenters of all stripes

My article in this week's paper that explored the question of the definition of consent for for-profit BDSM porn (although really, the arguments are the same for all kinds of sex work) was too short. Hey, save trees and all that. But performer Maxine Holloway pushed beyond the limited ink I could give to her comments to expand on her thoughts in an essay posted to her blog last night.

It reads, in part (paragraph breaks my own): 

As models we want to perform well, we want to push our boundaries, we want to look sexy and desirable on film, we want to get paid, and we want to be hired again and again.

As a director you have deadlines, budgets, employees and profits that you are responsible for. Each party has their own pressures.

But it is important to recognize who has more power in the situation. You can be responsible with power and you can also abuse it. In a working environment the boss has more power.

This does not mean that models have no power, it just means that they have less. The boss has the funding, the ability to rehire you, give a good or bad reference, further your career and money making ability. And they often have a slew of other models that would love to take your place.

It is a models responsibility to learn about our boundaries and capabilities, to communicate our needs and use a safe word.

And is the production company/director’s responsibility to communicate expectations clearly and to create an environment where the models truly feel comfortable changing something, slowing down or saying no. 

And it goes. Definitely worth a read.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out this amazing poem by Bay Area sexworker and sometime Kink.com performer Coral Aorta, excerpted by Holloway at the end of her post (and double-excerpted here):

the priceless one

who is always

worth their price

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