Pink News Explores the 'History of Lesbian Porn'

Pink News Explores the 'History of Lesbian Porn'

CYBERSPACE — Ella Braidwood of Pink News has published “A history of lesbian porn,” an article on Pink News exploring the back story of Sapphic adult content.

Braidwood explained in the piece that lesbian erotica dates back to the Greco-Roman era, an age of erotic frescoes in places like Pompeii — “images [that] were predominantly made by men.”

In the 19th century, “lesbianism became more widely discussed, including in paintings by Francois Boucher and J. M. W. Turner … as well as in works by artists in Asia like Hokusai."

But for most queer and lesbian theorists, said Braidwood, the true age of lesbian erotica began when the material started being made by women for women instead of filtered through the male gaze. The porn was a “’reaction’ to the so-called ‘feminist sex wars’ of the 1980s — the heated debates between anti-porn and sex-positive feminists.”

Braidwood quoted Amalia Ziv, a senior lecturer for the Gender Studies Program at Ben-Gurion University: “The context of lesbian porn in the ‘80s was a rejection of the anti-porn politics, but also [a] rejection of mainstream porn.” A number of lesbian porn magazines, including On Our Backs (on which queer porn producer Courtney Trouble worked through 2005), Bad Attitude and Quim, debuted at the time.

The first true lesbian porn company, Braidwood said, debuted in 1985. This studio, Fatale Video, was quickly followed by producers like SIR Productions (which was run entirely by self-described “dykes” Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano) in the ‘90s.

“As Ziv notes,” Braidwood said, “this pornography had an educational purpose, both in showing how women could actually enjoy sex — rather than being submissive and passive objects of male desire — and in promoting safe sex.” Ziv explained that demonstrating “sex practices that were less familiar,” like female ejaculation, was part of the educational plan.

Lesbian content has since exploded, noted Braidwood. Pink & White Productions emerged in the ‘00s as a leader in the industry “alongside body positive [companies] Reel Queer Productions.” A number of performers and producers were listed as being at the forefront of the wider queer porn movement, including Jiz Lee, Lorelei Lee and Buck Angel. Trouble began making her own porn in the early 2000s. Braidwood also highlighted Bree Mills’ studio Girlsway, which has “been praised for creating authentic lesbian porn.”

Feminist porn producer Erika Lust of XConfessions.com spoke with Braidwood about why she casts real lesbians and bisexual women in her porn. Lesbian porn, she says “should show an authentic representation of lesbian sex and real pleasure.

"A key feature of patriarchy has been perpetuating the myth that women are asexual or sexually delicate and uninterested or undeserving of consuming sexual media. … Women have rarely been seen as a valid porn audience. … I want to see more queers, femmes, people of color, non-binary folks, differently abled folks and other traditionally marginalized people … given the means to create the kind of sex films that they want to make and see.”