Not too much to know really. Cycling enthusiast, outdoor enthusiast, can't spell worth beans, and a little off his rocker. That's about it.|
Current Residence: Canada
Personal Quote: "Sometimes crazy works"
2) The adult entertainment industry is something I've tried to research over the years. This is a surprisingly difficult thing to do as reliable information is difficult to come by. Its harshest critics are most often puritanical religious extremists who aren't so much against erotica as they are against open sex and sexuality in general. These same people also tend to be against homosexuality, sex before marriage, contraception, abortion, and so on and they are also the same people who tend to portray completely unfounded apocalyptic consequences if the practices they don't like aren't immediately stamped out. This kind of behaviour towards sex and sexuality, when taken to extremes, is what leads religious extremists to claim that earthquakes are caused by female infidelity, that acceptance of homosexuality caused Hurricane Katrina, and led evangelical christians from the United States who used lies and misinformation to convince the Ugandan government to ban homosexuality, persecute homosexuals, and spread misinformation about who homosexuals are and what they do. As a result, I dismiss those critics as they are either lying or cherry-picking facts to support their pre-determined point of view. They hate anything erotic and will use whatever they can do subvert it, sometimes using, as Stefan has illustrated with his recent submissions, ridiculous claims, such as "perverts will turn us all into sex slaves". If someone will never be convinced by compelling evidence to the contrary, then their opinions cannot be relied upon. That's not to say that all criticisms of erotica are levied by such extremists, some criticisms are quite legitimate, but the harshest criticisms generally come from that direction. The reason I have spent so much time illustrating the extremist criticisms is to illustrate that accurate, trustworthy information is not easy to find. While adult entertainment certainly has a dark and exploitative side, the same can be said of any industry. Take the wholesome practise of farming which in the United States, routinely employs child labour in harsh and inhumane conditions for long hours with inadequate compensation that is usually under minimum wage. Yet, no one is jumping up and down demanding that farming be banned.
My research has led me to a few conclusions. The first is that wide sweeping generalisations are unhelpful and inaccurate; the phenomenon (I refuse to call erotic content a "problem" merely because it exists) is far too complex for such a simple answer. The second conclusion draws on the first in that my quest to answer the question, "Do porn stars enjoy their work?" cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." At its most basic level, I think adult performers can be broken up into three general categories: some performers are exploited, others enjoy what they do, and others are indifferent and just in it for the money. Given the existence, as Stefan has pointed out, of things like Fair Trade Nudes, the same can be conclusion can probably be applied to the kind of erotic, though not sexually-explicit (i.e. penetration), content that he produces. Artists like Stefan seem to have a great deal of respect for the models they work with, as evidenced by the routine use of words like, "please respect the models" and the moderation of comments that are disrespectful.
3) I reject your assertion that the models that people like Stefan photograph simply "give in to pressure." As with #2, while some models probably give in to pressure or are pushed into it, the assertion that all or most models fall under that category is unlikely and unhelpful. Whatever their reasons, a surprisingly large number of women like the idea of posing nude in front of a camera. My research has led me to believe that some see it as liberating and empowering to expose their bodies while others even extend the liberating and empowering feeling to when they know that other people will see them in a highly sexualised manner and even when consumers masturbate to those images. I've stumbled across some adult performers who say that the thought of someone masturbating to their photograph or video is a turn on and a source of sexual gratification, confidence, liberation, and empowerment all at once. Others, still, don't see sex, sexuality, and erotica as inherently taboo or something wrong and, rather, as something to be enjoyed and celebrated. Seeing sex, sexuality, and erotica as somehow wrong is a huge part of the underlying problem Stefan is trying to talk about. Your assertion that no women genuinely wants to be photographed nude or seen in a sexual manner is a remnant of Old World thinking and a lingering remnant of religious and patriarchal views that see women as property, that women are inherently sexless, and women who embrace their sexuality are somehow sinful or dirty; it is part of the problem. Is it so crazy that a woman would want to be and feel desired and desirable?
4) One side of the picture is that artists like Stefan and producers of other adult content are catering to a market; they're giving the public what they want. I have no problem with this in terms of adult content provided it is genuinely consensual and all parties are adequately compensated for the time and work they provide. One could argue that child pornography is merely catering to a market, but that is fundamentally different because it involves children rather than adults, it is not genuinely consensual, and the However, by poisoning legitimate discussion on adult content, it generally drives the production further and further underground cloaked in increasing secrecy, and this is where the problems of exploitation are fostered. We need greater transparency in erotica in order to prevent abuses by those seeking to exploit people, mainly women, in order to make a quick buck and who don't care about human cost of their profit.
5) Even if your drawings are not meant to sexually arouse anyone, chances are that they arouse someone or that someone sees them in a sexualised manner. Remember Rule 36: If it exists, it is someone's fetish. It's surprising and sometimes creepy what turns people on and I wouldn't be surprised if someone's rubbed out a few crafty ones to your art. There are some drawings that even I find equally if not more arousing than photographs or videos of actual human beings.
6) I've heard that some photographers have sex with their models, though I haven't been able to definitively confirm or debunk this. Regardless, if the models want to have sex with the photographers then I see no problem with that provided it is mutually and genuinely consensual and unrelated to the work done. If the photographer uses his position to exploitatively obtain sex from the model, then that is unacceptable. But, believe it or not and completely contrary to classical views towards women, some women like sex and are not only willing but eager to engage in sexual intercourse with men they find attractive. When it comes to sex, only two conditions need to be satisfied in order for it to be acceptable; both parties must be over 18 (in order to prevent exploitation of minors) and both parties must give genuine valid consent to sex (consent must not be given as a result of any sort of threat, coercion, or undue influence. Though I am fine with giving sex in order to obtain something else and that something else is legal and/or not being illegally withheld, provided consent was genuine.
7) A recurring criticism of erotic art, even the very tasteful and beautiful erotic art that Stefan produces, is that "this is porn, not art." I've thought about the question, "What is art?" and have come up with an answer. I define art as, "anything created by humans." That's it. Anything created by humans is a form of human expression, requires some kind of skill or effort to create, and is therefore art. Justin Bieber is art, pornography of all types is art, nuclear powerplants are art, engine pistons are art. The question you have to ask yourself is, "is this the kind of art that I like?" What one considers "good" or "bad" art will vary from person to person because it is an inherently subjective question. What I consider "good art" (i.e. the art that I like) is unique to me. However, just because something is art doesn't mean you have to like it.
8) I disagree with the notion that "looking at porn is the same as rape." Quite frankly, I don't know how to respond to this statement as it makes no sense. Provided the content is consensual, the participants are over 18, and the participants are adequately compensated, then I see no connection between pornography and rape. That may be different with pornography featuring rape, but such pornography is a very small minority and among that, the content featuring actual rape rather than simulated rape where the participants are just acting is even smaller and very much illegal.
To be honest, I'm on the fence in terms of simulated rape pornography. For individuals who are turned on by the notion of rape, I don't know whether simulated rape porn gives them a way to relieve themselves without anyone actually getting raped or emboldens them to act out their rape fantasy on real human victims. I honestly don't know, but would like to see legitimate study to find out. The same goes for simulated child pornography. Does it provide paedophiles with a way to relieve their desires without actually hurting any children or does it embolden them to act out their desires on real child victims?
9) In regard to the notion that "nude photography is porn," I must also disagree. I've written on this topic in the past, but simply put, I see porn as involving visible penetration by penis, toy, fingers, tongue, whatever. A naked woman is not porn. I think of it like this, "all porn is erotica, but not all erotica is porn."
10) One of the greatest lines regarding sex, erotica, and everything that goes with it is, "everybody does it, just nobody talks about it." There's nothing wrong with looking at and enjoying erotica. However, if it does make you a pervert, then I'm a pervert. I enjoy porn, erotica, and the beautiful women artists like Stefan capture brilliantly. Porn is ok art. Stefan makes great art.
11) So far as boob jobs go, I don't have any feeling of animosity towards women who go that route. For models and other performers, it's what the market demands, so I don't see it as any different from makeup or getting your hair done. Big breasts are desired by the market, so these women are just giving the market what it wants. For non-performers, I also have no problem with boob jobs. The reason being is that big breasts are, again, desirable, and if having a breast enlargement makes a woman feel more desirable, confident, sexy, and she feels better about herself, then I have no problem with that. We change and tailor our bodies in so many ways to appeal to others and, in many ways, doing so makes us feel good about ourselves, provided we keep it within reason and don't obsess about changing ourselves for others' sakes even when we don't want to.