Ethical Porn: What It Is And How To Find It

Livia takes a photo of herself while being filmed in an ethical porn shoot
“Self/ies” behind the scenes image from BrightDesire.com

What is ethical porn?

When mainstream media articles ask this question, it comes with baggage: the default position is that pornography is inherently unethical, therefore “ethical porn” is some kind of anomaly or noteworthy thing.

In reality, there is nothing inherently wrong or degrading about porn and it is not automatically unethical. The phrase “ethical porn” has become popular as a way of discussing pornography from a positive perspective, rather than the default negative position. It’s also become a handy marketing term that can help people find a certain kind of sex-positive porn.

Ethical porn is sometimes also known as feminist porn. Definitions of what the phrases mean vary and it can depend on whether you are discussing how the scene was created versus what is being depicted.

Ethical Porn: How It’s Made

From a production point of view, consent, agency and fair working conditions are vital. It typically is made using these guidelines:

1. All performers are over 18, provide identification and sign consent documents.

2. The porn is made consensually, with all aspects of the sex scene discussed with performers and agreed to beforehand.

3. There is no coercion or pressure on set from either performers or the director

4. Performers may be able to decide what happens in the sex scene and veto any sex acts they don’t want. This agency continues throughout the sex scene. Improvisation may occur if agreed to beforehand.

5. The porn is made in a safe and sober environment. Safe sex choices are honoured.

6. Performers are properly and promptly paid for their time and labour, with good working conditions on set.

The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee has a performer bill of rights and a performer code of conduct that codifies ethic porn production from a performer’s perspective.

From a production perspective, a lot of mainstream porn ticks the “ethical” box and plenty of mainstream producers and performers have actually objected to the phrase because it implies that what they are doing isn’t ethical.

Ethical Porn: What It Depicts

Beyond production ethics, “ethical porn” can be used to differentiate pornography that seeks to be ethical with regards to what is depicted on screen. Given that mainstream porn can be sexist, racist, transphobic and sex-negative, plenty of alternative porn creators are using the term “ethical porn” to create a point of difference from the larger adult companies and the content they create. From this perspective ethical porn is erotic content that:

1. Is sex positive. This means depicting sex as a positive act, using positive language to describe the sex and framing it as a healthy and happy activity.

2. Respects the performers. This means using language that doesn’t degrade, shame or hate on the performers and it also means making an effort to show the performer as a full human being rather than as a sex object. This might include interviews, outtakes, biographies or simply the way they are depicted in the scene.

3. Is diverse and inclusive. This means creating porn that depicts all body types, all races, all sexualities and genders and all consensual sexual activities. It doesn’t all have to happen in the same scene, of course, but ethical porn seeks to create a space that celebrates all sexuality, no matter what it looks like. Ethical porn expands the idea of what sex is and broadens our ability to appreciate the erotic, beyond the narrow confines of what our society tells us is “sexy”.

Ethical Porn Consumption

“Ethical porn” can also be defined by how you, as a consumer, approach it. Genderqueer performer Jiz Lee wrote that “ethical porn starts when we pay for it

In a world of free porn, it’s more ethical to buy it. Jiz argues that paying for porn means you are supporting a production company that is making the porn ethically. It’s the one way to be sure.

Beyond that, paying for porn means that you are supporting the people who made it, including the performers who were paid for their work. Pirating porn takes away the performer’s consent: they agreed to appear in a scene for a particular director or site and to be depicted in a certain way. For the scene to appear on a pirated porn site, often with derogatory language, undermines their decision. And paying for porn means there’s money to make more quality, ethical porn in the future.

So how to find ethical porn?

Plenty of websites are using the term to describe themselves as ethical now but it helps to dig a little deeper. You might want to look for some of these things:

1. The producers have a statement of ethics and / or production details on their website. This statement details their rules about consent, production, workplace safety and performer rights.

2. The website / director / performer is endorsed by performers on social media as being a good place to work / a good person to work with.

3. The site features behind-the-scenes footage or interviews with performers. This gives an idea of the conditions under which the porn was made.

4. The porn is self-produced. This means the porn is depicting the performer in the way they wished to be seen and is created in consensual, ethical circumstances. Be aware that self produced porn that appears on platforms like OnlyFans or Lustery needs to be documented and licensed.

When you find good porn you like, support it with your money. And remember to recommend it to others so that the ethical sites can grow and flourish.

Pansexual Porn is an ethical porn site. The videos you see on this site are licensed videos from ethical porn providers. There’s also non-explicit videos that are publicly available from Youtube and Vimeo. The adult sites recommended here are sites that are sex positive and are open about their production values.

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