A short word loaded with meaning, like the word love. What is it about sex that makes us crazy?
We use sex in so many different ways–for pure pleasure and frolic, to physically express affection, to reconcile after a lovers’ quarrel, or as a weapon to manipulate and get our own way. Sex can be slow and romantic or fast and raunchy. Sex can make us act silly; visions of Tom Cruise’s infamous couch-jumping incident come to mind. Sex can be self-destructive. Sex can be creative. We attach judgment and morality to sex.
Society is so saturated with sex that we obsess about it. Sex brings out our insecurities, our fears, our egos, our sense of self and self-worth. But most of all, sex is one of human nature’s most fascinating mysteries.
For local filmmaker Brenda Robbins, her interest in sex–particularly lesbian sex–led to the creation of Good Dyke Porn, a website for women to share their sexuality with others.
“It’s going to feature sex between women who are really having sex, who are really enjoying it, and really wanting to be there,” says Robbins over breakfast. “The website itself will be sex-positive and community-based.”
The home-grown prairie girl suggests good porn involves variety–something that’s lacking both in mainstream presentations of lesbian sex and in lesbian-made porn itself, and that’s a gap Robbins hopes to fill.
“For lesbian porn, in particular, people are used to seeing the mainstream porn, and it’s not real,” she says. “They’re used to seeing the Barbie doll types with long nails and they’re sort of fooling around a little bit, and that’s sex. It’s a perspective for men. Largely, what’s missing is the female perspective. There’s so few female directors in porn. It’s mostly made by men.”
Citing examples like San Francisco’s Crash Pad and Toronto’s Dirty Pillows–which have both screened at Vancouver’s Out on Screen Queer Film Festival–Robbins says she’s optimistic more women filmmakers will step up to the porno plate.
“It’s starting to grow,” says the Winnipeg native. “It’s an industry that’s so young right now. There just isn’t very much out there. People who aren’t in the community, who aren’t queer, don’t understand that because they think, ‘How could that be possible? Porn is everywhere. It’s completely saturated throughout the world.’ [But] when you have one, maybe two, real lesbian films being released, there’s a lack.
“You want to have different types of sex films,” she continues. “Things that reflect you and who you are. [Women] want to see themselves on film–different types of women and what they really do in bed. That’s what I want to portray. That’s what films like Crash Pad and Dirty Pillows are trying to do. We need more and more people to do it.”
Currently, Robbins is building a library of films in preparation for the summer launch of her website. The women–or models–incorporate a broad spectrum of body types, ages and gender expressions. They include couples, strangers and former film crew members who decided to get in on the action in front of the camera.
Robbins herself steps from behind the camera to appear in some of the scenes.
“I was pretty nervous,” she reveals. “It was my first time in front of the camera. I’m normally a behind-the-camera person. I’m not the performer type. But part of taking on this project was conquering my fear–fear of being a pornographer as my occupation, fear of exploring sex in all of its forms, and fear of being in front of a camera having sex with somebody.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from the University of Manitoba, Robbins’ filmmaking career got sidetracked when she opted for a “real” job with a pension, and began training as a firefighter.
“I think as a masculine woman, I tend to have a bit of an easier time than feminine women do. I think [male firefighters] accept me as being a little bit tougher–even though I may not necessarily be–than the other women who are feminine. I didn’t really like being around the type of men that firefighting attracts; they seem to have this perspective that something is owed to them or that they’re better than everybody else and that they’re better than the women, especially at firefighting.”
Robbins quickly realized she didn’t want to work nights, didn’t like doing First Aid, and chose to return to her passion–filmmaking.
Through her profile on Superdyke, Robbins started recruiting women for her Good Dyke Porn project. She says the response has been primarily positive, with a few skeptics.
“Some people are concerned that Good Dyke Porn isn’t inclusive enough for trans people or people who don’t identify with the word dyke. It can be inclusive, but I’m putting my focus on what I want to do, where I am, and what I identify with. There are quite a few more women like myself who will identify with it. My focus is the dyke porn and I want to contribute to that market.”
Robbins agrees that society has many misconceptions about lesbian sexuality.
“I think the misconception is that [women] want it to be all soft and there’s a story, and have the soft lighting and they’re gently touching and it’s very lovely. There’s a place for that too, but we want to see hardcore sex. We want to see everything and experience the down and dirty sex that they’re experiencing.”
The filmmaker wants to convey a clear message: “that sex is great. That it’s nothing to be ashamed of and watching women having sex is nothing to be ashamed of. I want it to be a safe place for people who don’t normally watch porn to be able to come and see these beautiful images of different types of women and different types of sex and to know that it’s okay.”