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What Is the Future of Feminist VR Porn?

Exploring adult virtual reality films—with feminist directors at the helm.

Empowering Eva is a feminist VR porn film

Feminist pornography

OK, so what does feminist pornography look like? According to Feminist Porn Awards [NSFW], it encompasses a number of things on and off screen. On screen, they look for more authentic sex, and pornography that reflects the diversity of desires in both mainstream and marginalized audiences.

Off screen, feminist pornography encompasses a safe space with fair labor practices, which include discussions about performers’ own sexual interests and boundaries, alongside fair payments and proper working conditions.

How does VR fit into the picture?

The rise and decline of the adult film industry have been largely affected by the digital age. Audiences can access more content than ever before, and at a much cheaper rate and often for free. The result: pornography is subsequently produced at a much quicker and cheaper rate, reducing payments for performers and creating content that they know will sell, rather than exploring more diverse options for marginalized audiences.

In more recent years, virtual reality has come into play. So far, it has enabled audiences to watch from inside the space where the performers are, and even allows viewers to move around in that space. It some cases it has opened the doors for audiences to step away from the stereotyped male perspective, and watch the performance from different points of view.

What’s out there?

Empowering Ava, a VR porn experience, explores the dynamic of feminist pornography through a storytelling cinema piece. The 25-minute short film revolves around Ava, an erotic writer, who describes the realm of “pegging” in her latest novel. Her husband becomes intrigued and wants to try it with her.

Director Angie Rowntree explained the elements considered when creating her first feminist VR film on the Shhh.com [NSFW]: “We’re still experimenting and familiarizing ourselves with the technology, but I’m very intrigued with dynamic storytelling and the possibilities it brings. This new medium really does open up a whole new world. A world where the viewer can become an immersed participant in the story, instead of just being a bystander. It’s pretty exciting. It challenges our perception of cinema.”

Future of feminist VR porn

Although virtual reality is often associated with headsets for its viewers, Rowntree has expressed her disapproval of virtual reality headsets in films. Empowering Ava is a film that does not require a headset, and can instead be watched on computers, tablets, or telephones on which viewers can manually adjust the camera position.

Virtual reality can also extend beyond stock films, and instead be presented as interactive performances. An example of this is CamSoda’s live VR shows, which pairs virtual reality and sex toys to simulate sexual experiences.

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Holodexxx studios has been developing a program with adult film stars and models to create virtual versions of themselves for audiences to interact with. The idea is that performers give users permission to interact with their virtual characters and are also paid royalties, a notion that fits in well with the fair treatment of performers in feminist pornography.

But do virtual performances contradict the idea of authentic sex in feminist pornography? In order to align itself with feminist pornography, virtual reality should look to include a variety of performers or models to reflect the spectrum of desires for its audiences.

Though most of the Holodexxx models and performers still seem aligned with the narrow stereotype of what sells to mainstream audiences, they also plan to include transgender models, which does reflect more marginalized desires.

So though the adult film industry is still catching up with the technological advances of virtual reality, it does have some way to go, especially in the realm of feminist pornography.
It is still unclear whether or not virtual characters fit into feminist pornography in terms of authentic sex, though Holodexxx’s royalty payments do seem promising for performers. Off screen, directors like Rowntree, are are treating their performers ethically, which will hopefully cause a positive ripple effect throughout the industry.

Image source: Holodexxx [NSFW] Sssh [NSFW]

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