Stoya, Porn star, Pornography, Women in porn

Porn star and director Stoya in Las Vegas in 2013.

photo: Wikimedia Commons

The porn industry, many agree, can be cold, hostile, and even outright dangerous for performers — especially women. 

Many porn stars and other sex workers believe that violence and sexual assault is an "occupational hazard" that comes with the job.

That's why more and more women are starting their own porn production companies and creating environments that are friendlier and safer for female porn stars.

Paulita Pappel, Ersties, Porn

Paulita Pappel.

photo: Screenshot via Ersties

Paulita Pappel is one of these women. She runs a by-women-for-women porn site, Ersties (NSFW), that specializes in female-friendly sex.

Before shooting, Pappel makes sure the performers get to know each other a little bit, and the film crew makes sure everyone on screen is comfortable.

"We ask, 'Is there any part of your body where you don't like to be touched?' 'What turns you on?' 'Are you ticklish?' 'Do you like kissing?'" Pappel told Melia Robinson at Tech Insider

She said she doesn't want to have to watch an adult film and wonder, "Does that woman on screen really want to be doing that?"

Stoya, Trenchcoatx, Porn

Stoya.

photo: YouTube/SequartTV

In November of last year, award-winning porn star Stoya came out on Twitter and accused co-star James Deen of rape.

"James Deen held me down and f*cked me while I said no, stop, used my safe word. I just can't nod and smile when people bring him up anymore," she wrote of the incident, which happened while she and Deen were dating. Since November, at least eight other adult-film stars have also come forward and accused Deen of sexual assault.

In March of last year, Stoya launched a new porn website and production company called TRENCHCOATx (also NSFW) that promises high-quality content at fair prices for the consumer, as well as fair pay (and good treatment) for performers.

"The kind of performers that I hire and perform with, they're educated enough about ... all of the options to be able to make their own decisions," Stoya said on the Guys We F****d podcast.

 "When you have a huge platform [in porn], and you perpetuate this idea that as a worker in porn, as a performer, you are going to get kicked around and taken advantage of, then when the kids who are like, 15 now, seeing that — when some of them turn 18 ... and go into porn, they're not going to know that it's actually totally possible to be like, 'Here are my limits, here's what I'm willing to do ... and here are the terms that I'm willing to do it under.' They don't know that it's totally OK to do that."

Porn director Erika Lust at her TEDx talk "It's time for porn to change."

photo: YouTube/TEDx Talks

Feministpornguide.com (yes, there is such a thing) lists more than 30 directors creating feminist, female-friendly, and sex-positive porn — and that's only on the one website. Many more in the industry are recognizing the need for a change — whether through experience as a performer or simply as a consumer — from a chauvinistic, dick-first approach to one that values, dare I say, female pleasure, the female viewer, and respect for women (and men) who work in porn.

That doesn't mean the end of bondage or sadism or humiliation or any other kind of kink people are into — as long as the actors and actresses are willing to do any of these things, and are treated like human beings in the process. That, I'd have to say, is the sexiest thing of all.