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    Visiting the Green Door

    Visiting the Green Door

    The Green Door is a sex club, tucked away in a strange shopping center off of the Strip in Las Vegas. It’s been quoted as a place tourists go for “instant sex” . The website boasts that it is known worldwide for their swinger parties. I found myself staring at the entrance on a Friday night. I was alone, curious and wanting to finally experience it on my own.


    When I arrived, I realized I had gone too early. The doorman suggested I have a drink for me and for him, so I did. There’s a former western saloon-turned-gay-bar next door. I swung the doors open and strut towards the bar to a Shania Twain pop hit. The bar was filled with characters whose faces I’d never forget.


    The bartender asked to see my identification and I happily showed him.


    “I knew you were young. We’re the same age!”


    I told him that all we had left was our youth, and slid my gin and tonic down the bar to an empty barstool. I sat alone for a few moments before a drag queen took the empty seat next to me. We talked for a few hours before I admitted that I was on a mission that night and needed to go and do that.


    I re-entered the club this time with confidence from my drink. To accurately describe the Green Door would be to describe a maze. Imagine never ending hallways, lined from floor to ceiling with neon and black light accents. Thongs signed by porn stars are framed and hanging in gateways to play rooms. I remember seeing all of the empty beds and feeling more like I was in a furniture store. I sat on a loveseat sandwiched between semi-private rooms, calculating my next step.


    “Can I come sit by you?”


    A man came over, I nodded and made room. We talked about his experiences at the club and my lack of experiences in sex clubs. He told me about the few uncomfortable times he had in the club when the couples he would play with weren’t communicating. Things went sour and they would leave in a rush, with the woman often slapping the man “back in his place”. His storytelling barely floated over the sounds coming from the private rooms around us. A crowd gathered near the curtains. The couple had a chain up, blocking the entrance and representing that it’s okay to watch, but not to join in. I tuned out of our conversation and into the woman moaning. I wondered how much I could dive into all of this. I hadn’t been tempted to even flirt beyond what I was doing now.


    Once I tuned back into our conversation, someone else interrupted.

    “You are being requested in the jacuzzi.”


    We looked at each other for a moment without words. He told me that he’d rather just hang out with me, but I urged him to take care of business. I told him that I’d find him.  think we both knew that wouldn’t happen. I wandered around the other rooms and eventually became bored. I decided it wasn’t my night, but I also decided that I wouldn’t give up on it.


    So I went back.


    This time, it was a weekday night and I knew there would be a different scene. I wanted to see the person I met the first time. I wanted to see what that interaction could turn into. I walked straight away to the steam room. On the way there, I passed him serendipitously. He walked into the steam room a few moments after me, and we were the only ones there. I remember thinking how strange it is that a space can completely define your relationship with someone else. He spoke first. I was intent on listening.


    “Where were we?”

    Sexual Health Apps that will Change Your Life

    Sexual Health Apps that will Change Your Life

    In the ever-changing and always-expanding world of phone applications, it’s hard to find exactly what you need. We searched for the best sexual health apps and are here to tell you why they will change your life.

    Sex Positive

    The University of Oregon Health Center developed a shame-free sex education smartphone app called SexPositive. The app provides judgement-free information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), safer sex practices, communication tips and healthy advice are available on your smartphone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


    “When we launched the SexPositive app, we felt it was vital to provide students information not only about sexually transmitted infections and safer sex practices, but also to highlight effective communication and partner consent. Beneath our innovative and engaging user interface, we’ve included a section of ways for users to increase communication about sex. It’s not enough to tell people not to rape. We made an effort to model what we expect users to do.


    First, we want folks to examine their motivations for having sex and consider whether they’re ready for sex. Second, for users who are ready for sex, we want them to understand that a “yes” to one sexual act is not a “yes” to every sexual act. Third, we want users to consider a variety of personal boundaries before finding themselves in a high-pressure situation. Finally, we want to model the many ways to express and obtain explicit consent.


    Members of the UO Counseling and Testing Center (UCTC) wrote and starred in a YouTube video in which they ask basic questions about a viewer’s readiness for sex. UCTC staff provide contact information for those who want to talk things over with a professional.”


    http://healthcenter.uoregon.edu/Home/SexPositive


    Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a reliable source for sex education.

    My Sex Doctor


    My Sex Doctor aims to be a “main reference point for teenagers and young adults seeking information about puberty, relationships, and sex” and are currently based in London.


    http://mysexdoctor.org/


    Who it’s for:  Though their target market is the younger generation, it is for anyone seeking sex-related knowledge.

     

    Juicebox


    Brianna Rader started a website called Hookup, which turned into an app called Juicebox. Juicebox is a sex education resource with two components: snoop and spill.

    Snoop allows Juicebox users to submit questions that get funneled into a queue presented to sex educators and other professionals in the world of all things human sexuality, all are American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists-accredited sex educators or PhD students in human sexuality who are close to finishing their dissertations. These professionals review questions and provide informative answers and resources based on their training and experience. They are then published for all members of the community to read.


    "Spill" allows users to share their own stories about sexuality and gender.

    "We have a very strict moderating process," she explains (link to:http://www.xojane.com/sex/juicebox-sexual-health-app). "We tried to design the app so it’s a safe space, with a safe tone."


    https://www.juiceboxit.com/


    Who it’s for: Anyone interested in having quick access to sex education as well as sharing their own experiences.

    Eve

    Period Tracker: Menstrual Calendar, Sex Tips Eve by Glow is a period tracker, sex tracker and resourceful community for women. The app predicts your next period, chances of pregnancy, tracks your moods and symptoms to discover trends in your cycles. You’re able to take daily sex quizzes if that’s also your thing.


    https://glowing.com/eve


    Who it’s for: women who want to organize their period cycles and keep track of their sexual history


    Clue


    Clue offers a way for women to track their cycles through simple aesthetics and clear functionality. The app learns your patterns and offers forecasts.


    http://www.helloclue.com/app.html


    Who it’s for: women who want to track their menstrual cycle


    Have we missed any? Tell us your favorite mobile sex health applications.

    Save

    Clone-a-Willy Attends the Berlin Film Society’s
    Erika Lust “XConfessions” Screening in Berlin (NSFW)

    Clone-a-Willy Attends the Berlin Film Society’s <br> Erika Lust “XConfessions” Screening in Berlin (NSFW)

    Still from “Some Never Awaken”. Credit: Erika Lust

    Last month, Clone-a-Willy had the opportunity to attend the Berlin Film Society’s steamy night of erotic short films by Erika Lust, accompanied by a live performance by Taylor Rose at Sisyphos, a club in an old DDR dog biscuit factory.


    Erika Lust screened films from her “XConfessions” project, an ambitious project in which Lust asks her fans and followers to anonymously contribute their erotic stories. She turns two confessions into beautifully-shot and cinematic short films every month. This is significant, as it is the first crowd-sourced erotic film project in the history of the adult film industry.


    To give you more background on the filmmaker, Erika Lust defends the importance of the female gaze and the need of having women behind the camera in all key positions. Her philosophy for modern adult cinema is based on four main ideas:

    • women’s pleasure matters
    • adult cinema can have cinematic values
    • we need more body types
    • different ages and diverse races and the production process has to be ethical

    The screenings were followed by a Q+A, in which audience members both applauded and questioned the motives of Lust and her collaborators. Lust and the Berlin Film Society picked out two confessions from audience members, who then publicly claimed their fantasies and were awarded toys from Other Nature.


    We had so much fun with this party and porn screening and hope to see more similar events from Lust and beyond.


    Find out more:

    www.erikalust.com

    http://www.xconfessions.com

    http://www.berlinfilmsociety.com

    A Conversation with Erika Lust about the Ever-Changing Porn Industry, Anonymous Confessions and Female Pleasure (NSFW)

    A Conversation with Erika Lust about the Ever-Changing Porn Industry, Anonymous Confessions and Female Pleasure (NSFW)

    All photos courtesy of Erika Lust

    Erika Lust is a Swedish, Barcelona-based erotic film director, screenwriter and producer who has been a significant figure in promoting the feminist pornography movement. Lust, along with the Berlin Film Society hosted two screenings in Berlin last month, showing some of her recent work as well as giving audience members a chance to pick her brain. Clone-a-Willy took it a step further.


    Read on below.


    First, I want to say how excited I am to attend the events at Sisyphos. Have you hosted/been a part of events in Berlin in the past?


    Me too! I love Berlin, the audiences there seem to understand me perfectly and I always have an amazing time! My work has always had a wonderful reception every time I have gone! Last February, I held an event there with Berlin Film Society and I really enjoyed the openness, the energy and the engagement from the audience. 500 people came down for 2 evenings of XConfessions screenings and Q&A at Babylon. The event was one of the highlights of my 2016. Due to demand, the first night sold out and they had to organize an encore screening another night. It was overwhelming! People is showing even more interest in this July's screenings in Berlin, so I am super excited since people will be able to watch my latest short films!


    Many of the performers I work with often are based in Berlin too. There is an incredible indie scene there which is part of the emerging ethical adult cinema movement trying to change the industry from within. One of the guest directors for XConfessions Bruce LaBruce shot his short film 'Refugee's Welcome' there as did performer, director and producer Paulita Pappel who coordinated the filming and production of two of the confessions submitted to XConfessions: Female Ejaculation & Birthday Surprise.


    It is a fascinating city where I'd love to shoot one day.

    How do you define the "female gaze"?


    The industry of pornography is dominated by a certain type of male gaze with the same view on sex: white middle aged chauvinist men obsessed with tits and ass, who are only able to release repetitive sex scenes because they have a very small sexual intelligence. The focus is on men's pleasure and women are being used to satisfy others, but not themselves.


    The female gaze in adult film is about female pleasure and adjusting the perspective so that it isn't just solely focused on what a man would enjoy. If anything, the female gaze is an approach that determines what makes the final cut. When making something from the female gaze the question of what women want to see and what women find pleasurable is as important as what men find pleasurable. The female gaze could be described as the mindset of the producers, actors and other people involved in the making-of the film. I am a feminist woman so of course my female perspective and my feminist values as a person have always been injected into every part of my films. All pornography made with feminist values from the female gaze represents people as subjects, it promotes role equality. So when directing an oral sex scene, or any other scene for that matter, I approach the work with open mindedness and a focus on the performers. Male characters are human beings, not machines, and women have their own sexuality and desires and are not passive objects exclusively focused on pleasuring the men. Women have a voice in the story and they seek their own desire. There is a mutual exchange of pleasure and respect and consent is always paramount.

    On what predecessors, art and film, do you draw from?


    Oh there are too many! But if I had to pick a couple I would say firstly, John Cameron Mitchell. He is fun and fearless! He's one of the few who have dared to portray real sex with real actors in a film for commercial theaters. Shortbus portrays sex as a crucial communication tool between human beings, whether there is a conventional relationship behind it or not. The link the film establishes between sex and happiness is so enthusiastic that it might seem naive at a certain point, but every time I watch it I can't help but surrender to the celebration of sex, life and creativity within it.


    Secondly, Transparent, by Jill Soloway is also hugely important to me. Although not a film, it still represents transgender issues very beautifully. The series tells the story of a father coming out as a trans woman to her family. But it's based entirely on the personal story of Soloway herself, which gives the every episode unfathomable depth and emotion. Soloway also made sure the entire production crew was trans-inclusive. This is especially in tune with my own philosophy – using an all-female crew to create female-centric erotica. People must have a voice to tell their own stories and the power to take part in a discourse that concerns them. TV Series today are increasingly playing a bigger role in representing the huge spectrum of varying sexualities and genders.


    Finally, L'Amant directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. I have mentioned this spectacular coming-of-age film a lot in interviews because the first time I watched it, it was really a revelation. The protagonist becomes an adult through sex and an unconventional love story, and this is completely shown from her point of view (probably because it was an adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras). This girl is intelligent and adventurous, and she is not ashamed of her blossoming sexuality. The way her first sexual experiences are depicted is very poetic, but at the same time raw and realistic. To me L'Amant proves that you can build amazing stories around sex with a lot of transcendence whilst keeping the hottest erotic scenes.


    In your short film series with crowd-sourced stories, do you find any recurring narratives from different people?


    XConfessions was a way to get my audience involved and change the experience of making and watching adult films. With XConfessions, I know the films are going to be innovative because it's not just my imagination I'm using and so no themes are really repeated ever. So they're fresh new films to change people's experience. However, there are recurring kinks and themes, like BDSM or threesome/group sex, but the beauty of Confessions is that there are so many confessions and so loads of fantasies to choose from. Also, even though there are recurring themes, each fantasy usually has its own twist that is unique to the author, so although there are a lot of BDSM confessions, the style and intensity and context are different.


    How would you like to see the feminist pornography movement progress?


    Thanks to the ethical and feminist adult cinema movement we are moving away from the conversation of whether porn is good or bad for society so we can now tackle the heftier discourse surrounding content and implications of what is shown on screen. As well as sex work conditions. For a long time, when people talked about porn it would only focus on whether or not it should exist. Nowadays there is real noise coming from the ethical and feminist porn movements and that's very exciting. We are creating a real alternative to mainstream porn and there is a demand for it. I want to see how it keeps growing.


    How do you see yourself continue being a part of this movement?


    As long as I keep being inspired and moving from strength to strength I see myself continuing to charge ahead and hopefully keep changing porn and the stigma around sexuality and sex.

    There is a consensus in the anti-porn movement that no matter how erotic films are made, they are by nature exploitative and amoral. It's discouraging to hear this because many women in the adult cinema industry are empowered and elevated by what they do. They can express their sexuality and keep hold of it, especially women who work in ethical adult cinema. That is one of the ways how they choose to use their freedom. They encounter situations they don't like for sure, like in other industries, but there is this wrong idea that porn is *always* exploitative for women which isn't true. Hopefully with time and with steady progression from me and the rest of the contributors to the movement, we can move on from this topic of argument and focus on making good erotic films and improve working conditions and the production process.


    What projects are you currently focusing on?


    There's a lot happening at the Erika Lust offices at the moment. We will soon be launching XConfessions vol. 10 which I am super excited for!


    I also just launched a new online cinema called EroticFilms.com. It is a new hub of ethical adult cinema where everyone can stream or rent my work. On this website, I curate films from the growing list of directors of the movement, who are trying to change the industry from within and create films that are artistic and realistic, that positively mirror female sexuality and that help changing gender perceptions. All films feature high cinematic production values and aim to create an alternative to mainstream porn for everyone that wants something different, something real and honest and they do it following an ethical production process which is key for me. Every other Wednesday I host the #eroticnights at Eroticfilms.com, where everyone is able to watch a film for free, which is a great opportunity to get to know what ethical indie adult cinema is.


    More on Erika Lust:

    www.erikalust.com

    https://www.instagram.com/erikalust/

    https://twitter.com/erikalust

    https://vimeo.com/erikalust

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    Portland Featured:
    Sarah Mirk

    Portland Featured: <br>Sarah Mirk

    Sarah Mirk is a journalist, host of Bitch Media's feminist podcast “Popaganda”, editor at the Nib, and badass creative human being. Clone-a-Willy talked with Mirk about her past and recent projects, her summer trip around the world and what’s in store for the future.


    I realize this is a bit generic, but truly, how did you get into journalism and freelance writing - specifically with the topics you explore?


    You know, I’ve always been a writer. As a kid, I filled notebooks with stories and drawings—they’re all still stacked in my parent’s garage, these spiral-ring notebooks that are packed with short stories about sea creatures, orphans, and magical dogs (and accompanying crayon illustrations). I think most people grow up loving to write and draw and then are pressured out of it at some point. They’re told it’s not practical or not cool or that they’re not good at it. That’s a real tragedy. Luckily, I always came back to writing and drawing—even when making comics on the side of my math homework got me some ugly stares and mean comments in junior high. As an adult, I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to follow my interests as a writer. Out of college, I got an internship and then a job at an alternative weekly newspaper that allowed me to write about whatever local political issues I wanted to—as long as I got the facts right. I really hope that journalism can change our culture for the better, that telling stories can change the way people see themselves, the world, and the oppressive systems our country is built on. So those are the stories I try to tell these days. Right now, I’m mostly focusing on creating comics and podcasts, rather than print articles, because those are the mediums I’m most excited about. I love the way comics can tell a narrative visually and the way people’s voices stick with you from podcasts.

    Courtesy of Sarah Mirk

    How has working with Bitch Media influenced your own work and practice?


    I hope I’ve become a much better editor, more compassionate human, and more aware feminist because of my work as Bitch’s podcast host and online editor. As the editor in charge of Bitch’s online content for four years, I worked with hundreds of writers from around the world to publish their perspectives on pop culture. I learned so much from them about how to listen. Reading their work and helping craft their stories for publication put a lot of issues on my radar that weren’t there before, as someone who grew up white, straight, and middle-class. When I was in my early twenties, I had a real gung-ho nature and thought I could tackle any project or topic that came my way. Now, at 30, I’m much more likely to take a lot of time to learn more deeply about issues I’m covering, to listen to voices other than my own, and to say, “You know what? I’m not the right person to cover this. Let’s find someone who knows more about it to take this on.”


    What was a recent topic you sought out another person to cover? What did you learn from that?


    Well, before I left my job as the online editor, one of the last things I assigned was a review of the film Hidden Figures. I had read the book that the film is based on and interviewed the author, so I would have been qualified to review the film myself. But a really smart Black female film critic pitched a review and I thought it was more important to publish her perspective on the film than my own. The film centers on Black women and the ways they deal with sexism and racism while also being brilliant mathematicians, so it makes sense for someone who has a more personal history of living that reality to discuss the film than me, as a white woman.


    What are recent illustration and comic projects that you're working on?


    I’m constantly drawing little comics about my life—diary comics, basically, in a sketchbook I carry everywhere. My sketchbooks are always covered in weird stains from coffee, beer, and snacks, because I just stuff them in my bag along with everything else. Right now, I’m living in a small town in Southern California for about six weeks, so I’ve been drawing comics about funny small-town happenings: coming across a peacock in the middle of the road, attending a pool party with old hippies, walking home looking at the stars after the bar closes at 9pm. One hilarious thing about small American towns is the number of guys on Tinder who pose with guns in their profile photos. Big guns, small guns, assault rifles—so many guns! Very American. So right now, I’m working on a series of portraits of Tinder guys with guns. Who knows where it will go?

    Courtesy of Sarah Mirk

    What inspired you to write your nontraditional dating guide book Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules? What have you learned since the release?  (I read there may be a second edition?!)


    When I was in my early 20s, I was in a great long-term relationship but was asking a lot of big questions: is this the person I want to be with for the rest of my life? Why do we have to be monogamous? How do people know if their relationship is good enough? How do you decide to break up? Like any nerd, the place I turn to in hard moments is the bookstore. But the relationship section of the bookstore was filled with absolute crap. I was disappointed to find that the most popular relationship books in the country are absolute scams—books of platitudes and “secrets” about how to emotionally manipulate someone into marrying you. I’m talking about books like The Rules, which are built around very conservative, retrograde ideas about gender and sexuality. There were several excellent books that I found helpful, like The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, Against Love, Tiny Beautiful Things, and Communion, but I wanted more. I decided I would write the book I wanted to read, one that wasn’t focused on the end goal of “snagging a man” and getting married, but on the deeper issue of how to build a love life that’s happy and healthy.


    The book came out three years ago and already feels outdated. It came out before the word “ghosting” was in use! So I’m working on the second edition right now, which includes new interviews, a lot of updates about dating digitally, and fixes some of the sloppy writing problems from the first edition.

    Do you have a release date for the second edition? So stoked for this.


    It’ll come out in winter 2018, assuming I can finish it on schedule.


    You recently took a trip around the world. How have your recent travels influenced your work? What inspired the trip?


    I have always, always wanted to travel, but never had the money or the time. I just have a deep-seated wanderlust. I would go literally anywhere in the world, if I could. I’m interested in everywhere. So when I was 25, I promised myself that when I turned 30, I would leave my job and spend a year traveling. I’ve been saving up money since then and, after I  turned 30, left my staff job at Bitch to work freelance. I spent six months traveling to wherever I could stay with friends in South America and Europe—my rule for traveling is it’s always best to go where I have a friend, so they can show me around and tell me about the history and politics of the place. Now, I’m back in the United States and am hoping to spend the rest of the year traveling around the United States.


    Seeing the way other countries work and meeting people from around the world has a profound impact on how I think about my own country. It helps me see how many things I think of as “normal” are in fact cultural and makes obvious how our capitalist way of running the country is exploitative to its core. It makes me want to never own a house or have kids, so I’ll be able to leave whenever I want and keep exploring indefinitely.


    How many cities did you visit on this trip?


    I started in Buenos Aires, then went to southern Chile and worked my way through Patagonia to Valparaiso and Santiago, where I stayed for five weeks. Then, I flew to Barcelona and took the train from there to Zurich, where I have some family who I was excited to see. I spent a while there, then headed to Berlin for six weeks. I love, love, love Berlin. The city makes me feel very at home in my own skin. From there, I went to visit a friend in Warsaw and then stopped in Copenhagen before heading back to the states.

    Courtesy of Sarah Mirk

    What were some stand-out “a-ha” moments?


    In every country, people often asked me, “So why did you all elect Trump?” which I would respond to with a small rant about xenophobia, white identity, and the way our election laws actually make it harder for millions of Americans to vote. Having to articulate things many Americans don’t think about very often—like why the hell election day is on a Tuesday and it’s not a national holiday—reinforced for me just how undemocratic our systems of government are.

    Courtesy of Sarah Mirk

    What's next?


    One thing that’s exciting is a sexy sci-fi graphic novel I wrote is coming out next year. It’s called Open Earth and is basically about polyamory on a space station—it’s being published by Limerence Press in 2018. Beyond that, I don’t know. I have a lot of plans, but I’m not settled on any of them. I’d like to write a young adult book about witch trials. I’d like to outfit a van into a mobile recording studio and travel around the country making a podcast about political resistance in all 50 states. I’d like to move to Berlin. Maybe I’ll do all these things.


    more on Sarah Mirk

    https://mirkwork.wordpress.com/

    https://www.instagram.com/sarahmirk/

    https://twitter.com/sarahmirk