opinion

Porn As Eco-Activism

Rodger Jacobs
Titillating tofu eaters. Erotic environmentalists. Sensual sex educators. Nudists against Bush.

Welcome to the world of adult entertainment with a social conscience — a fascinating blend of alternative porn and politics that just might have you humming Grateful Dead tunes while you surf.

The Internet, said 21-year-old Furry Girl of VegPorn.com and FurryGirl.com, really turned the traditional dynamics of porn upside down and empowered and encouraged hundreds, if not thousands, of everyday people to suit up and play ball on the erotic edges of the Internet.

"Lots of people want to show off their bodies and sexuality and gender identities in non-fetishized environments, and the Internet is surely the place to go for that," Seattle-based Furry Girl told XBiz. "It is in itself a form of activism that says we can all be desirable porn stars."

She opened FurryGirl.com in January 2003 as a personal amateur site with an emphasis on the unshaven, all-natural look and soon after branched out and opened VegPorn.com as a link site in fall 2003. Overwhelmed by the site's popularity, she took the leap and turned VegPorn into a pay venue, re-launching the site in May 2004 as an inclusive "alt-porn" site that features only vegetarian and vegan models.

"I'm surprised no one else had started such a site yet," said the webmaster and model. "It seemed like something that should be out there. I love promoting a meat-free lifestyle and inclusive porn that gives everyone a shot in the spotlight."

VegPorn receives 1,000-2,000 unique visitors per day, and the herbivore said most of the feedback she receives is positive.

All of the content on VegPorn is exclusive. The members’ area boasts more than 2,000 photos from 21 models. But don't expect to see airbrushed photos of curvy blondes with breasts like basketballs.

"Alt-porn and politicized smut are hotbeds for gender queer folk, curvy girls and all sorts of amazing people you'd never see in a Vivid production," says Furry Girl. "Many of them would never be hired by a mainstream adult company; others would never want anything to do with mainstream."

'Porn With A Heart'
Along similar lines, the Sensual Liberation Army (SLA) bills itself as "Porn With a Heart." They maintain a daily updated blog at SensualLib.com, offering links to literally hundreds of softcore and hardcore images, and all they ask in return is that visitors pay a visit to linked sites such as The American Red Cross, The Human Society and the America's Second Harvest Food Bank Network.

SLA was founded in 2000 by idiosyncratic, politically progressive blogger Dr. Menlo. Alongside links to scores of erotic sites are links to a slew of websites promoting liberal and progressive politics, including Air America Radio and Democracy Now.

"Dr. Menlo's idea with SLA was to try to harness the significant porn traffic on the web and try and redirect at least some of it to progressive sites," said Pagan Moss, SLA's webmaster. "So its first aim was more along the lines of guerrilla politics. We have no way of knowing, however, how much our readers give to good causes we link to, but at least we know we give them traffic."

NakedProtesters.com exposes the world of nude social activism, such as the 13th annual Nude and Breast Freedom Parade in Berkeley, Calif.

"All over the world, people are getting naked to get attention and to promote their causes," the Naked Protesters mission statement explains. "The purpose of this blog is to give them a little bit more of the attention they so obviously crave. We here at Naked Protesters don't propose to judge the causes being promoted; rather, we see it as our job to celebrate the flesh that gets exposed in the process. Nudity is beautiful, folks, and these activists are freely baring and sharing it with us all."

FFF is the acronym for FuckforForest.com, an eco-porn website devoted to using smut profits to help save the dwindling rain forests.

Norway natives Leona Johansson, 21, and Tommy Hol Ellingsen, 28, FFF webmasters, describe themselves as "concerned youngsters, using the freedom of open-minded sexuality to save nature."

Johansson and Hol Ellingsen now live in Berlin. They fled their homeland after an onstage public sex display during a music festival got them hauled before a judge and fined $1,500 each. The couple believes it is still possible to use sexuality as a way to raise money for environmental causes and create awareness about what is happening to Mother Earth.

Saving The Rain Forests
The FFF website features exclusive X-rated content that is "100 percent environmentally friendly." So far Hol Ellingsen and Johansson have raised 100,000 euros to save the rain forests, but finding charitable and activist organizations that will accept money from their carnal efforts has proven a tough row to hoe.

Among the organizations that have turned down money from FFF is the World Wildlife Fund. It doesn't help FFF's efforts, perhaps, that its website links to the militant and radical Earth Liberation Front.

"We are in contact with organizations who want to help us, but we will not say too much right now," Johansson told XBiz. "The future will show great results."

Scarleteen.com, the first online sex education resource for teens, was founded by author, artist, activist and vegan Heather Corinna. Daily, the site serves 12,000 young adults seeking sex education. Five percent of all sales from the online sex shop at Furry Girl's VegPorn.com is donated to Scarleteen.

"I started Scarleteen in 1998 because at the time there wasn't any young-adult sex information online," says Corinna, the curvaceous, self-described "queer" founder and editor of ScarletLetter.com, Scarleteen. com and FemmErotic.com. "It became apparent that many teens online who were winding up at sex sites were looking for actual information, rather than entertainment, especially since the abstinence-only policies were just gathering steam at that time."

Because Scarleteen does not promote an abstinence-only lifestyle, it does not qualify for federal funding. Corinna runs the site off private donations and cash infusions from membership fees at FemmErotic.com.

Through her stirring and sometimes challenging erotic photography, Corinna is actively and aggressively seeking to change how people perceive the nude human form, and to portray it as "more than masturbatory fodder."

"My aim in my work — be it the photography, the nonfiction writing or the sex education — is not to hand people sexual images to look at or peruse but to examine, to explore, to ask questions of and create more questions with," the 35-year-old says from her Minneapolis home.

Corinna reports that the monthly traffic at FemmErotic averages around 60,000-70,000 unique users.

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