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Feminist Porn: where to find it and how to feel good watching it

Posted at 09:40 on 16 Aug 2017 by Pandora Blake

Feminist Porn: where to find it and how to feel good watching itI'm really excited to be giving a workshop on ethical porn and how to find it, on Thursday 31 August. It's part of the Sex Ed for Grown Ups series of events on sex, sexuality and gender, held at The Book Club in Shoreditch, London. I shall be talking about what makes porn ethical, and how to find porn you feel comfortable watching. Porn is a very personal topic, and some people's squicks are other people's squees. But it's a fact that the free tube sites where a lot of people browse for porn don't make it clear whether what you're watching was consensually or ethically produced, and don't include much material by queer and feminist producers.

I'll be sharing some of my favourite porn which has not been created for the straight male gaze, but instead centres the pleasure of queer and female performers. The evening will include some screenings of hot feminist porn clips, plus the opportunity to discuss what we see. I'll give advice about how to be an ethical porn consumer and find porn where the performers were treated well. I'll also talk a bit about my experiences as a performer and producer in the porn industry.

The workshop is on the evening of Thursday 31st Aug and costs just £6 + £1 fee, so it's super affordable. Tickets are available here on The Book Club website. It should be a fantastic event - I hope to see some of you there!

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Tags: ethical porn, events, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, film screenings, porn, queer porn, teaching, workshop

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#MasturbationMonday: what's the weirdest object I've ever used to masturbate with?

Posted at 15:25 on 31 Jul 2017 by Pandora Blake

I don't know about you but I find Mondays a bit dull - back at work, energy dipping after the weekend, and five whole days to go until next Saturday - so I thought let's spice them up a bit! I'm excited to introduce my first #MasturbationMonday! I'm hoping to find inspiration in the hashtag for semi-regular naughty posts, and I encourage you all to share your selfies, stories, favourite images and video clips, recommendations and nudes on Twitter, tumblr and Instagram with the hashtag #masturbationmonday.

To kick things off, here's a smutty interview I did for Erika Lust's Masturbation Interview series - it's always an honour to be asked to do an interview by Erika, and I was happy to oblige. It was a interesting and quite sexy to think about questions I'd never considered before such as 'what colour is your orgasm?' and 'do you agree that there should be masturbation areas in airports?' So if you ever wanted to know what the weirdest object I've ever used to masturbate is, whether I've masturbated in public, or been caught masturbating, now's your chance to find out! 

Pandora Blake #masturbationmonday interview with Erika Lust

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Tags: #masturbationmonday, Erika Lust, interviews

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Age verification critiqued on Radio 4

Posted at 18:35 on 30 Jul 2017 by Pandora Blake

Photo of credit cards, one of the potential means of age verification mentioned by Digital Minister Matt Hancock

So while I was away this month, I got cited by a Radio 4 presenter.

I listened to the segment on the BBC website after a heads up from some kind folks on Twitter. You can listen to it here until Wed 16 August - the relevant section begins at 32:51. Presenter Eddie Mair was interviewing Matt Hancock, the Digital Minister, about the age verification policy enshrined in the Digital Economy Act 2017. Unfortunately, Matt Hancock didn't come across very well. He sounded bumbling and under-informed, unable to give any clear answers about how age verification will work in practice. After caiming that age verification won't require giving any identifying information, the only means of verifying your age that he was able to think of were a passport and credit card - both of which involve revealing your identity, and exclude many marginalised adults without access to these documents from being able to look at porn. Not only that, but it's in doubt whether credit cards will be accepted by the regulator as a compliant form of age verification, as it's possible for under 18s to have them. Clearly Matt Hancock hasn't spent much time looking into this.

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Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Act, Digital Economy Bill, in the news, interviews, Matt Hancock, media

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The wrong kind of pain

Posted at 16:49 on 21 Jul 2017 by Pandora Blake

My laser hair removal appointment was meant to be yesterday afternoon, but had to be postponed after my train stalled at a platform halfway there due to a track fault, and we had to disembark. I was grateful to be able to reschedule the appointment rather than lose it, but the delay did have one unwelcome consequence.

Before my appointment yesterday, I made sure to do a close shave of all the relevant areas. The heat from the laser is transmitted down the length of hair to burn out the follicle, so you need to shave beforehand to prevent burns - if the hair is too long, it will have more time to heat up and will hurt a lot more. Today, I have a light dusting of 24 hour stubble - barely visible, but more than enough to make me wince as the laser passed over it.

I love being smooth, but I hate sting!

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Tags: laser

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Tantra Punk podcast

Posted at 15:28 on 19 Jun 2017 by Pandora Blake

Tantra Punk logoI love recording audio. Since I haven't found time yet to record my own podcast series, I welcome the chance to appear on other peoples'.  Tantra Punk is a podcast devoted to sexual liberation, healing and empowerment, with a new episode released every week or so. He interviews a fascinating range of individuals, from shamans to social workers. I spent an hour talking to him on Skype, and our chat is now available on his site.

We talked about what it means to be a queer feminist porn producer, my ethos behind making films and creating Dreams of Spanking, my fight with ATVOD, the Digital Economy Bill campaign, age verification, what ethical porn means to me - especially when it comes to performer's rights - and lots more. Do have a listen!

Tags: activism, audio, digital economy bill, feminist porn, interviews, podcasts

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Dear Dreams of Spanking.... an announcement

Posted at 14:00 on 7 Jun 2017 by Pandora Blake

I've recently made some decisions about the future for me and for Dreams of Spanking.

'We've been together a long time. It's been six and a half years since you opened for business, and I was working and planning for two years before that. You are a labour of love, and before ATVOD came calling, you were a pleasure. I was passionate about you and preferred you to any other project. But under the present circumstances the weight of obligation is growing increasingly heavy'. 

Read the full blog here

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Tags: ATFOD, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, kink activism

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Sex work decriminalisation news

Posted at 21:23 on 6 Jun 2017 by Pandora Blake

It's two days until the UK general election, and the English Collective of Prostitutes have organised a drive to write to MPs and party candidates urging them to support the decriminalisation of sex work. Austerity, benefit sanctions and rising poverty are forcing more people into prostitution, particularly women and mothers. The UK's prostitution laws make it harder for sex workers to stay safe. People who lack other options shouldn't be penalised for making the best choices they can to survive and feed their families. When our government is letting down people with disabilities and mental health problems, defunding and selling off the NHS, cutting welfare and funding to public services, more of those people are likely to turn to sex work as a last resort - and the UK's deeply unjust prostitution laws make it illegal for sex workers to support each other to stay out of harm's way. I've just filled out the form to email my candidates, it's a model letter and only takes a minute or two.

It's too late for them to write back before the election, but it's not too late to take the opportunity to make candidates aware of this issue - and put pressure on whichever of them gets elected to support the recommendation of the Home Affairs Select Committee to decriminalise prostitution. If you have any time today or tomorrow, please take a second to contact your candidates and put sex work decriminalisation on their agenda. 

The ECP have also finally released the evidence report from their parliamentary symposium on sex work law at the House of Commons, which took place in November 2015. I was there; it was an amazing day that brought together academics, activists and sex workers from all over the world to to give evidence on the social and health impact of prostitution laws. It delves into the real world consequences of the criminalisation of clients (the Nordic model), full criminalisation as in the US, and full decriminalisation (the New Zealand model). It's an amazing resource which is available in the parliamentary archives for MPs to access - if you email your MP using their lobbying tool the link is included to encourage them to have a read. Do take a look and educate yourself, there's a lot of misinformation about sex work but once you look at the evidence it's really clear. 

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Tags: decriminalisation, English Collective of Prostitutes, politics, sex workers' rights, SWARM

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A new conversation about 'ethical porn'

Posted at 17:26 on 12 May 2017 by Pandora Blake

I'm really pleased to be featured on a newly-launched site, ethical.porn, a fantastic timely addition to the conversation about the politics of porn production - click here to read my contribution. This is a really important issue to me: as a producer and director my production ethos is always performer-centric, and prioritises transparency, explicit performer consent, and equal pay for equal work. My work as a performer has informed my politics about porn working conditions and I hope that even when I'm directing, I still see things from a performer's perspective.

I look forward to following the conversation - there are some fantastic contributions on the site, including by feminist porn pioneers such as Shine Louise Houston and Ms Naughty. I hope this will have some influence on the often overly simplistic mainstream and feminist discourse about porn, and complicate the standard takes on the issue with some much needed nuance and critical thinking.

The mission statement of the site is as follows:

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Tags: decriminalisation, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, politics, porn, sex worker rights, working conditions

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BREAKING: Digital Economy Act 2017 receives Royal Assent

Posted at 18:05 on 29 Apr 2017 by Pandora Blake

I'm told that a grand total of 13 MPs showed up to the House of Commons vote on the Digital Economy Bill. If so, it's a pretty damning indictment of the democratic process. Rushing to get legislation through before Parliament recesses for the election campaign, a total of 21 Acts of Parliament received Royal Assent yesterday - and the newly minted Digital Economy Act 2017 was one of them.

After it was passed by the Commons, the Bill bounced back to the House of Lords for final consideration. I've only skimmed the transcript of the debate  so far, but as far as I can tell there were no substantive changes to Section 3, covering age verification for online porn.

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Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Bill, in the news, politics, porn

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Talking to ORG London about age verification

Posted at 20:00 on 28 Apr 2017 by Pandora Blake

A few of you expressed interest in the Open Rights Group talk on the Digital Economy Bill and age verification with myself and Myles Jackman the other week, but couldn't make it. Well, I'm pleased to announce that the whole event was recorded and the video is now available to watch:

The event was hosted at Newspeak House, a political community space dedicated to helping technologists improve the way that we make collective decisions as a country. It has regular communal meals and there's lots going on, so if you can get to Bethnal Green and this sounds like your cup of tea, I recommend looking it up.

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Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Bill, events, Myles Jackman, Open Rights Group

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