When I look at Black pornography, I wonder how the performance of sex has become so disconnected from real life. When I think of Black heterosexual porn, the first images that come to mind are beautiful Black women sporting bad weaves and make-up jobs. I think of Black men agreeing to follow a universal script that depicts them as chauvinists, determined to assert their control over Black women’s bodies. I think of Black women on their knees giving fellatio that’s clearly not about pleasure but rather a submission to male domination. And worst of all, together, these Black men and women feed the stereotype that sex is dirty and dishonorable instead of a beautiful way to reconnect human beings with the erotic.
I am not against pornography. In fact, I’m an advocate for real sex on film, as it’s an opportunity to incite human arousal, pleasure, and learning. I am against the low standard performances and scripts being fed to Black porn stars, thus fueling widely inaccurate depictions of how Black men and women have sex.
I know very few people who have sex like porn stars, and that's a positive thing. When I hear Black men and women discuss their sex lives, there’s more sensuality, tenderness, and affection in the way that they perform sex. There’s more connection, whether in the moment or long-term, than what they see in porn videos. Simply put, there’s more of a balance between selfish desire and selfless giving in their bedrooms. It’s not just about squirting and ejaculating all over each other’s faces to feed the ego. They perform the erotic.
In the words of Audre Lorde, "The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire."
Erotic sex is a life force that thrives off several ingredients including satisfying the self, following our desires, honoring sex as the personification of love (even for just an hour), and recognizing that selflessness is required for sensual connection. It is the balance between power and harmony. It is catalyzed by mutual vulnerability. And it is unlike the majority of Black pornography that dumbs down the power of what’s happening in many Black couples and singles’ bedrooms.
What porn viewers are seeing is the Basketball Wives version of Black sexuality. Do some Black people experience sex as it stereotypically appears in porn? Sure. But if you ask the majority of Black couples and singles, I think the vast majority of them experience the erotic power of sex that is lacking in Black adult films.
Is it a hopeless cause to expect the adult film industry, primarily controlled by White men, to produce realistic content instead of misrepresentations of Black sexuality? Perhaps, yes. But there is a double standard in the way Black audiences call foul on misrepresentations in mainstream entertainment compared to adult film.
In mainstream film and television, Black viewers continuously advocate for better content despite the same white male demographic controlling the majority of Black images. Black audiences have supported Black filmmakers and television executives attempting to counterbalance the madness that’s trashing our screens. But of course, their advocacy goes mute when it comes to porn, as openly admitting to watching it still holds a stigma. Without this courage or fearless attitude in admitting that yes, the majority of humans love a good sex scene on film, many Black viewers stare in silence at images that don’t look like the real life stories of sex they’ve heard or the sex they’ve personally experienced.
As money is always an issue, the question remains: would Black viewers financially support better images of Black people having sex if they were well done and available? Is it time for them to openly advocate against the low-bar performances of Black sexuality that not only spark confusion in the way younger generations understand sex but also other racial demographics?
Well, I’m clear. The more Black heterosexual pornography I see, the more unaffected my vagina remains. Perhaps other races in pornography are depicted similarly, but I’ve never been interested in viewing those flicks. What I would like to see is Black people having sex on film that shows us in our true personas: sexy, tender, intimate, and erotic.
Arielle Loren is the Editor in Chief of Corset, the go-to magazine for all things sexuality. Find her on Facebook and Twitter. Download Corset’s inaugural issue now and join the community’s daily discussions.