I’ve been modeling since I was 12 and my brain can be hyper literal. So, every time I heard someone suggest I “make love to the camera” my brain always went to a silly place. Shine Louise Houston may have a similar sense of humor. Camera and I is worth a watch. (It’s 14 minutes long, you have the time to watch it right meow. I’ll wait.)
Are you back? Good! There’s not much I can say without spoilers. I try to watch films without reading much or watching previews ahead of time. I want to go in with a clean slate and nothing to potentially sway my opinion. I’m glad that I went into Camera and I with that clean slate. I was audibly laughing in the first few minutes. I didn’t expect it to be that funny. My favorite line was “you seem stable”. Kudos to Jasko Fide for not only executing a hot scene, but for bringing the viewer directly into their experience of pleasure. The best thing about watching porn is when the actors are not acting, but enjoying themselves. Here are some more films featuring Jasko Fide. Another moment of joy was when we saw the bliss “Sony” experienced when they bathed Jasko in what I can only describe as celestial lighting. This film went from funny, to sexy, to romantic with a post-coital scene unlike any other.
Sometimes you watch a film and you hope that no one ever tries to remake it or change it in any way because it was perfect in its execution. Camera and I is one of those works. (I’d totally watch a sequel to see what “Panasonic” could bring to a scene, just sayin’.) Camera and I is great just the way it is and I hope it gets all the recognition it deserves. Happy Birthday, Shine! Well done!
Watching a documentary is always an interesting trip. I’m driven to watch documentaries for the sake of furthering my education on matters somewhat foreign to me. Before I tell you about my experience watching and learning from “How to Female Ejaculate” (1993) directed by and featuring Deborah Sundahl, I want to cover some language that I’ll be using in this post. People with vaginas are not always women and women don’t always have vaginas. I’ve spent enough time with cadavers in anatomy classes to know that every human body is different. Throughout this post about vaginas and the marvel of vaginal ejaculation, I’ll be using the term women with the aforementioned understanding in consideration. For the CisHet men reading this, please note that I won’t be explaining any “hOw To MaKe hEr sQuIrT!” sort of business. This isn’t about you learning some tricks for the bedroom. This is about self-exploration for women who wish to feel what the presenters in this doc felt. (Dudes, I encourage you to read “Whose Orgasm Is It Anyway?”) Alright, still with me and ready to read on? Great!
From the jump, the early ‘90s aesthetic made my heart sing tunes of nostalgia. The hair and clothes were enough to dive all the way into this doc. Even if you weren’t a ‘90s kid, I think everyone should watch this doc. Human bodies are wonderful and there hasn’t been remotely enough research on women’s sexual pleasure response (more on that lack of research later). For all the CisHet men out there who fancy themselves to be “good at sex” take more time to listen, learn, and study instead of back patting yourself. Watch HTFE for the sake of education, not to “learn some tricks”.
I loved the educational components from this documentary. In the event that you’ve ever believed squirting or the g-spot to be a myth, please watch HTFE. Here are some great takeaways from the video to keep in mind the next time you find yourself with a squirter.
1. Female ejaculate is not urine! I’ve heard a heartbreaking story from a friend who ejaculated all over her lover’s bed and he ghosted after accusing her of peeing during sex. Wow! If only he had watched HTFE and learned some things!
2. The urethral sponge is a much better name for the pleasure receptor than the “G-spot”, IMO. Science has been moving away from the habit of naming areas of the body after the person credited with their discovery. Ernst Gräfenberg was credited with discovering the g-spot, hence the name.
Fun Fact: A quick Googling will show present day arguments as to whether there even is a g-spot and to that all I can rhetorically ask is what the fuck!
Watch HTFE and learn why the urethral sponge is not only a more physiologically accurate term, the naming convention also tells you where to find it. That is assuming that you know where to find a woman’s urethra and of course you know that no one pees out of their vagina (another myth perpetuated by the miseducated).
3. Please note that squirting doesn’t have to be a goal (however, hearing what it means to this group of women could inspire others). Everyone’s pleasure response is different and that’s perfectly fine.
4. The video discusses some techniques for Kegeling. You should watch it for that alone. Imagine being able to work a muscle that helps to give you stronger orgasms! Yes, please! Exercise those PC (pubococcygeus) muscles. You can have stronger orgasms (if that’s something you want).
Fun Fact: Anyone with a pelvic floor can Kegel! (I’ve met some people who were surprised that men can Kegel.)
5. Something I loved about the demo portion (this is a Porn Club review after all) was the reminder that different people call for different methods and yield unique pleasure responses. To phrase it another way, if you have “go to” methods when assisting someone with their pleasure, keep in mind that all bodies are not the same.
Carol Queen, who I had the pleasure of working with (not in that way) last year on a panel at ConvergeCon, had some great points about women ejaculating. She spoke about the sense of empowerment that came from the self-discovery of female ejaculation. Sex education for teens is often inaccurate or non-existent. Sex education as it relates to a woman’s pleasure is even scarcer. When the conversation shifted to safety, because we are talking about a bodily fluid, Carol pointed out the insufficient AIDS research as it related to women’s pleasure response.
I encourage you to watch HTFE, not because you want to learn some tricks, instead because you want to celebrate in the self-discovery of the women featured in the film. Afterwards, you may find out something about your own pleasure response. Even if you don’t, it’s still both educational and an erotic joy to watch.
I’m constantly reminding myself how important it is to shift my brain and see with the eyes of the audience from an era. I can’t watch porn from 1973 with 2019 eyes. I can’t consider modern heteronormative #ConsentCulture when I’m diving into a period piece from the gay culture of 1970s San Francisco. I’d never heard of Peter Berlin before diving into Nights In Black Leather. By the end of the film, I understood his appeal. However, it took me a while to get there.
Director Ignatio Rutkowski’s approach to filmmaking took me on a trip that was at times hard to hear or see what was happening. I have a different level of expectations for the cinematography of films from the ’70s. It was the director’s choice to film sex scenes through tent screens or to feature conversation scenes from across the street (making the dialogue practically inaudible) that left me frustrated. I really wanted to get into the story of this German tourist (Peter Berlin) from the start, but there was a lot of noise in the first sex scene.
The phone sex scene, more importantly learning what gets Peter off, sets the tone for the film. From the vantage point of an awkward (knee height) camera angle, Peter walks into his apartment, puts on a record, turns on the TV, and then takes a phone call. That’s a lot of noise for my ears to sift through, but sussing out the dialogue with the person on the other end of the call was worth it.
I’ve never been a part of the cruising culture that seemed natural in the film’s 1973 San Francisco setting. It’s because I’m not familiar with that culture that Peter initially struck me as too aggressive and borderline threatening. (That’s what I mean when I say it took me a while to get there.) It wasn’t until the third scene (which I won’t spoil for you, watch for yourselves at this link) that I began to see that he was maybe just a Daddy. “This is fucking hot!”, I said out loud to the screen as I watched things heat up between Peter and his newly anointed sub (have you watched it yet?).
The takeaway from watching NIBL is to pick up on those signs sent by the universe that highlight our desires. In Peter’s case, it came in the form of an unexpected phone call that ascended into mutual masturbation with his caller. That call set him on a path to seek more of what aroused him. Peter’s arousal tourism happened in chance meetings on the street, in a restroom, and at a party.
If you’re a cisgender heterosexual man, what are some ways that you can learn more about what you desire? I’m not talking about pursuing desires, just understanding what you desire and the arousal of others (even if you’re not attracted to them). I encourage everyone to watch porn. If you have an image of porn that repulses you, I encourage you to watch better porn, I encourage you to #PayForYourPorn
While NIBL isn’t my favorite film, I do love the story. I love the raw erotic energy that stems from getting to the root of our desires. I love the hedonistic approach to Peter’s arousal tourism. I love being able to see what the magic of 1970s San Francisco must have felt like. I’ve already asked my lover if she wants to watch this with me on our next date. This might be a good date night movie for you as well! Leave a comment below after you watch it. Enjoy!
While writing today, I came across an Evernote file from April. I drafted the speech I was to say at my father’s funeral while on the plane to Detroit. It wasn’t the official eulogy, but I was not going to pass up a chance to speak loving words about my father. So, I wrote this for him and said it at the service. Yes, I did say all the words even though we were in a church and some of the older women were mortified. I’m sharing this with the internet today because my father was a good man and I just want to celebrate him today.
I cry about love because of you, Pop I know about love because of you, Pop I first talked about love with you, Pop It feels like I told you everything I needed to But, there’s still so much I want to tell you, Pop I want to tell you how it all works out for your baby Boy I want to show you my life so you can see yourself in it I want to show you my love so you rest knowing that I have someone who supports my life
I’m grateful, Pop. All that cussin and plenty shit talkin? You the one that got me poppin with the gift of gab Hard not to think about you when I’m creating in the lab. You’re influence of kindness, not just as an inference has helped my anger to rest And for me to press forward Writing a eulogy for an immortal man, my big strong dad who still called me his baby right up until he could no longer speak.
Pop seemed invincible because he didn’t fight with the world around him. He didn’t argue with the neighbors. I never heard him talk shit about another human being. I never saw any sort of conflict surrounding his life. A man without conflict is at peace and that peace made Pop immortal. He’ll be remembered for his kind eyes, warm smile, and his enthusiastic greetings. He always spoke with the slang of his youth. It wasn’t uncommon to hear him exclaim, “Hey! What’s happening, Jack!” to people who were not named Jack. He was always approachable and affectionate. There were never any bad moods with him. We could always talk to him. I’ve been in disbelief these last few years. I didn’t want to believe that my big strong dad was getting older, that he was becoming elderly. He used to pick me up without bending his knees. He took us anywhere we wanted to go, whether it was on his bicycle or in his van. He took me all around town. We had our disagreements when I was a teenager and he didn’t like my music. But, it took me growing up and traveling to other countries to really appreciate how good my Pop was to us. He listened when we needed an ear, he never lost his temper with us, and he still called me his “baby” even at 41. Whenever I meet someone and I decide that I like them, I’ll often describe them as “peaceful”. Pops was the most peaceful cat I ever had the pleasure of knowing. I thank him for showing me how to be gentle. I thank him for showing me that i can have a life free from conflict. I thank him for the example he modeled when he would notice an attractive woman, but he would never cat call or harass them. I could tell you all the stories about how great he was as a dad, as a husband, and as a man. Instead, I’ll leave you with a few of his quotes.
“Don’t start none, won’t be none.” There was no conflict in his life because he practiced this maxim daily.
“Keep livin!” This is what he said as a reminder that all we can do (when tragedy strikes those around us) is to keep on living. Life still has more to show us.
“Oh! I think I can make it!” This was the punchline of a joke he used to tell. He had told the joke, about a man driving the wrong way down a one way street, so many times that he’d reduced it to just the punch line. “Oh! I think I can make it!” is what the man says after being told “Hey, man! You can’t go that way!” He would always laugh the loudest at his own joke and I’m proud to have picked up that habit from him. I hear Pop’s voice saying I think I can make it every time I’m about to do something challenging. If you want to honor his memory, then believe that you can make it the next time someone tells you that you can’t.
I just had the absolute pleasure of watching Suburban Dykes (1990) starring Nina Hartley, Pepper, and Sharon Mitchell. It was a pleasure because it took me back to my teen years when I watched porn on VHS (yes, I’m #GenerationX). Assume that the rest of this writing has the intonation of *insert 40-something accent* “Back in MY day…” Well, let me tell you about the magic of 80s/90s porn. I grew up in Detroit and had a long distance love for California. It seemed like a magical place and all of the porn I watched felt like field trips to the golden state. Porn from that era often felt (feels) like a group of friends, who thoroughly enjoy fucking each other, got together at a house in California and once the camera crew was set up, they did just that. I have a special place in my heart for 80s/90s porn. If you want to witness some of this magic, watch Suburban Dykes by Fatale Media.
Some of the things that may come to mind when you imagine watching porn from that era is (brown chicken, brown cow) music during the sexual play. Something that sets SD apart is that the only time music is presented is to transition the scene, sort of like an energy shift. Once the screen begins to heat up, the music leaves us alone to enjoy the sounds of the actors. Make no mistake, those sounds don’t feel like acting and they become a soundtrack of their own. This choice by Fatale Media makes the viewer feel like a fly on the wall. It was SO MUCH hotter to watch this bathed only in orgasmic sounds from these women.
The narrative was crafted in such a way that helped the viewer care about every scene. In an attempt to avoid “Lesbian bed death syndrome”, Nina and Pepper reach out to the Butch of their phone sex dreams. This is where the story gets hottest. If you want to learn why Nina Hartley is a fucking legend, just watch her on screen. Nina Hartley’s on-screen charisma is unparalleled and I’ve been watching her since my teens. Something I found brilliant about Sharon Mitchell’s role in SD was how their* character was inviting instead of invasive. I encourage you to watch (and re-watch) the scene when they first arrive. They were not aggressive, they were assertive and I found it easy to understand their appeal. Everything about Sharon made me say yes.
SD had some components that we don’t always see in porn today, but was important commentary for 1990. There was a rapid-fire safer sex proclamation (not really a conversation) about bodily fluid exchange and AIDS awareness. A clear statement of boundaries around sexual health didn’t slow down the pacing of SD nor did it “break the mood”. (People who are reluctant to have these conversations should take note.)
Watching and reviewing this for Porn Club has been a joy. I would re-watch Suburban Dykes. I’d even order the DVD and invite friends over to watch it. I hope everyone gets a chance to watch porn where the cast looks like they enjoy fucking each other. Porn gives us fuel for our fantasies, it’s entertainment. But, SD was socially conscious fantasy fuel that focused on the pleasures of a loving couple. If there were an epilogue, I’d bet that Nina and Pepper never experienced Lesbian bed death syndrome.
*-I don’t know Sharon’s pronouns, so I’ve decided to use they lest I misgender them.
When I chose “Bijou” (directed by Wakefield Poole) to review for PinkLabel.TV’s #PornClub, I chose it because I wanted to watch something that I normally wouldn’t choose on my own. I’m cisgender and heterosexual, but I’d probably let *that* one guy suck my dick. *ba dum dun ttsshh* So, I chose to watch some masculine porn. I’m glad that I chose Bijou.
Bijou (1972) feels like a place I’ve visited in past time fantasies. When I first started going to underground clubs in the late 90s, I remember similar vibes. Some spaces were loud when it felt like they shouldn’t have been, disorienting (due to their mix of neon, dark spaces, and mirrors), and salacious at every moment. Those are the same things I’d say to describe Bijou.
As the story begins, the music feels sorely out of place. I even suspected that I’d left Gustav Mahler playing in another program. Imagine a big, jarring score cascading out of your speakers as the characters on the screen move calmly through their day, setting the scene for an elegant experience. Generally, I try to avoid going into a new viewing with any expectations. However, I can still be surprised with happenings that I didn’t expect. Early on in the film, the main character steals something and that makes it hard to like him as a person. (It’s not the stealing per se, it’s who from and how that left a bad taste on it.) At any rate, it was a challenge for me to celebrate his pleasure in the beginning. Eventually, I got over it because the casual speakeasy sexual encounter that evolved into a hot group scene was absolute poetry.
Once the audience discovers what Bijou is, it’s hard to look away. Once Bill Harrison’s character enters Bijou, it’s easy to feel like you’re on a trip. Once inside, I watched a room full of yes. I watched a room balanced with exploration, desire, and natural intoxication. There was no drug/alcohol use in the flick, but everyone in Bijou seemed intoxicated with primal arousal. (I also loved the juxtaposition of the laissez-faire gatekeeper.) It’s always a pleasure to see actors enjoying their fucking work. I was into the entire “dark room” scene.
This isn’t a scripted, man meets man, sort of lust story. Instead, this adventure is like a surreal experience for the main character. The imagery on which he focuses during his (early) masturbation scene, ultimately, leaves him unsatisfied. (Note to self, try jacking off to Led Zeppelin in the future. It worked musically well in Bijou.) It’s easy to see that he’s searching for some unnamed experience. A friend once spoke about what constitutes a story. A character goes through some significant change and there you have your story. Bill Harrison’s character experiences change once his fantasy is fulfilled. The first time we see him smile, we know that the jewel that is Bijou was exactly what he needed in that moment to bring him joy that rounds out his story.
Would I recommend it? Fuck yes! Why? Watch it for the pleasure. Watch it for the surreal fantasy. Watch it to watch people enjoying their fucking work. But, watch it. I’d especially recommend this one to any CisHet man who has never felt comfortable talking about their pleasure out loud. Arousal and pleasure can be plain to see no matter how you feel about the characters on the screen.