This past weekend, freelance writer and stand-up comic Jenn Tisdale wrote about her "amateur porn date" with James Deen. You can take a quick look at the trailer of the porn she shot with him here (warning: NSFW. And yes, she used the stage name, "Gwen Derringer").
You see, it seems James Deen is casting a call for women of all kinds — in particular, women who haven't ever done porn.
My first reaction: Jenn Tisdale, you lucky witch.
My second reaction: How do I get in on this amateur porn action? Then I found the model application form here. (Also NSFW).
My third reaction: But it's going on the internet.
And, as I write this, my reaction is:
And that I would film it. And, say, were I lucky enough to ever film a scene with James Deen, the entire internet could see that, too.
Mom, Dad, no matter what, please still love me.
But the reason I won't be scrambling to tell my editors Sam and Thomas to take it down is because I find it difficult to feel ashamed for saying something like that. The internet has erased the lines between public and private, and sexuality has never been more front and center.
Sex and technology have always gone hand in hand, despite some mainstream tech companies' aversion to sex-oriented projects. Electricity and the invention of silicone paved the way forward for sex toys, and porn was allegedly one of the first products to cash in online.
But now, thanks to the internet, sex has more exposure than ever before. At the click of a button, you can find all kinds of depictions of sex —and porn and sexual images have diversified even more, providing viewers all kinds of bodies, sexualities, and gender identities.
With the power of the internet, sex has had more exposure, and openly discussing your sex life or sexuality is less and less stigmatized.
Of course, that doesn't mean the stigma, or the fear of a stigma, is completely gone. During her interview with HuffPost Live, Jenn Tisdale said:
"I was more worried about any potential — and I'll use this loosely right now — stand-up career, versus any morality or ethical issue. I was concerned it might affect that possibility in a negative way.
Then she adds:
But then I don't know — isn't sex one of the funniest things in the world? I mean, sex is actually hilarious."
No, that doesn't mean everything is rainbows and unicorns when it comes to internet's relationship to how we have and talk about sex. Revenge porn is an alarming trend, for sure. Snapchat Leaked, too. Sexual extortion online and web cam sex crimes are both very real.
But many more people are like Jenn Tisdale are saying to themselves, "But so what?" They brush aside the possible consequences — or, rather, the fear of them — and go ahead and do it.
That's not to say that I expect everyone to start making amateur porn, to upload sexual pictures of themselves, or to say "So what?" if a vindictive lover posts revenge porn. Not everyone has the privilege that I do to be surrounded by circles of friends and acquaintances that won't slut-shame or sexual cyberbully me. What you do with your sexuality is for you to decide, and keeping it on the DL is as valid a choice as letting it all hang out.
James Deen and kitten via Tumblr
My point is, I hope one day we can live in a world where, if you choose to upload your own porn or homemade videos, if you choose to discuss your kinks or your lack of kinks, if you choose to discuss your orgasms — or your inability to orgasm — there will be zero repercussions in your chances at employment and on your coworkers' and peers' esteem of you.
The little things people like Jenn Tisdale do — putting aside fear, and not just letting it all hang out on the internet but writing about it and then openly telling HuffPost Live that she can't orgasm (see 2:08) — will take us closer.
And James Deen — I may or may not fill out that model application form. My mother may or may not ground me for life.
But if you do see my name there among the hundreds of applications you get every day — call me?