I used to be able to say that, for the most part, the sex I had on camera was very much like the sex I have at home. Sure, I don’t usually groom my pubic hair, shave my legs, and put on a full face of makeup for sex in my personal life. There’s also the attempt to avoid showing the camera nothing but the back of someone’s head or blocking penetration with one’s thigh and the interruption of makeup artists running in for touch ups. However, the pounding, biting, spanking, scratching, choking, slapping and shoving a dick so far into my throat that I gag are all par for the course at home. Fun fact: gagging produces a thick, clear fluid somewhere in between spit and vomit that works better as a lubricant than anything I’ve ever purchased in a bottle.
At least in my experience, there have always been guidelines for sex on camera. Four fingers in an orifice are ok but a full fist is largely banned. Rough sex should be continuously asked for and visibly enjoyed or accompanied by a disclaimer explaining that it’s a fantasy being acted out by consenting adults. “Squirting” or female ejaculation is acceptable in most parts of the world but urine is not. Feces and blood are not shown.
The ways that media is purchased and distributed have changed. Streaming video and downloads on the web are now more popular than DVDs. This means that we now cater to the tastes of the credit card and billing companies, which means even more guidelines. At the company I work for, as of a couple of months ago, we are required to refrain from biting, spanking, scratching, choking, slapping, and - while gagging has yet to be discussed - the hands of a blow job recipient on the head of a blow job giver are not allowed. Sex can absolutely be quite enjoyable without these things, but further rules being applied to the way that I copulate at work made me start thinking about some of the other differences between sex-for-pornography and sex-in-real-life.
For instance, let’s look at anal sex. At work, there’s a process of clearing out all traces of fecal matter before we start filming. Sometimes it involves sticking my finger in my rectum and making sure it’s clean, and sometimes it involves 20 minutes to an hour of enemas with bottled water. Sometimes all that water just makes the intestinal situation liquid and we only get five minutes of footage or the anal part of the scene has to be cancelled. In my personal life, I’m more casual about the whole thing. It’s a rectum, and while putting things in my rectum is fun its main purpose is temporarily storing feces. If you want to stick your finger or penis in an anus there’s a possibility that you’re going to encounter some poop and I believe you have to be ok with that. It’s buttsex. Small (or sometimes horrifyingly large) amounts of poop happen. Wash whatever has poop on it with soap and water before putting it anywhere else and move on with your life. Or fingerpaint with it if that’s your thing. While I’m sure my personal disgust for playing with feces is coming through, I’m not here to judge what you do for sexual gratification.
And what about blood? Germaine Greer, one of the luminaries of mid-20th century feminism, wrote in The Female Eunuch that “If you think you are emancipated, you might consider the idea of tasting your own menstrual blood - if it makes you sick, you’ve got a long way to go, baby.” Menstrual blood is a significant part of being a woman between puberty and menopause. I’ve spent almost a quarter of the past thirteen years with blood coming out of my vagina, and I’ve never let it stop me from having sex. Some people think menstrual blood is gross, others find it arousing, and I see it as yet another type of fluid that happens in my underpants. For the camera we have various techniques including cold water douches, absorbent sponges, and cutting multiple times during the sex scene to wipe up any traces of blood. Also, people may try not to book scenes when they’re likely to be bleeding heavily. If I wanted to play with context and phrasing, this could easily be construed as billing companies deeming the visible evidence of my natural fertility offensive.
Keeping my legs open in a particular way for the camera, twisting my torso so my face is visible, and refraining from certain acts that make a product more difficult (or impossible) to sell is part of doing my job well. Pornography is a business and the sales are the reason that I get my paycheck. However, when the portrayal of women in media and the cultural effects of pornography on sex are being talked about the (incorrectly perceived) lack of pubic hair gets plenty of discussion time but I frequently find talk about the realities of menstruation and anal sex conspicuously missing.