Stoya Pens N.Y. Times Op-Ed Column on 'Good Porn'

Stoya Pens N.Y. Times Op-Ed Column on 'Good Porn'

NEW YORK — The New York Times on Sunday published a contributing op-ed column written by Stoya, the veteran performer and TrenchcoatX's founder.

In “Can There Be Good Porn?” the adult performer explains that due to a “nonfunctional sex education system” in the U.S. the function of her job has become instructional in nature.

“I have that responsibility,” Stoya wrote. “Sometimes it keeps me awake at night — but I try to do what I can.” She explains that pornography can have a “warping [effect on] the way young people, especially young men, think about sex, in ways that can be dangerous.” 

She explained that she’s committed to creating positive content, what she calls the “spread of good pornography” — which, she admits, has no concrete definition at the moment. “I can’t say for certain what that looks like yet. We still don’t have a solid … consensus on what makes it good or ethical.” 

It’s a slippery slope, Stoya said, when it comes to “putting limits on the ways sexuality and sexual interactions are presented. … What right do we have to dictate the way adult performers have sex with one another, or what is good and normal, aside from requiring that it be consensual?”

Part of the crusade involves “taking steps to try to minimize porn’s potential harm to young people and adults for years … by putting our work into its proper context. Context reminds people of all the things they don’t see in the final product. It underscores that pornography is a performance, that just as in ballet or professional wrestling, we are putting on a show.”

Stoya said that BTS shots and videos help to demonstrate the work and showmanship involved in creating scenes and features. She cited Shine Louise Houston’s set live streams as a prime example of providing such “context." 

“When viewers have access to context,” Stoya continued, “they can see us discussing our boundaries, talking about getting screened for sexually transmittable infections and chatting about how we choose partners. Occasionally, they can even see us laying bare how we navigate the murky intersection of capitalism, publicity and sexuality.” 

Stoya explained that tube sites are stripping away this context, providing only the features themselves and giving open access to people of any age as long as they have a credit card. “The problems that come with porn are inseparable from the way it’s distributed.

“Porn will never be a replacement for sex education,” Stoya concluded. “But porn is not going anywhere [and] that means that we have a choice to make. We can hide our heads in the sand or we can — in addition to pushing for real lessons on sex for young people again — tackle the job of understanding the range of what porn is, evaluating what’s working and what we can qualitatively judge as good and try to build a better industry and cultural understanding of sex.”

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