Everything you need to know about finding ethical, sexy porn

Better Sex

5 min read

Everything you need to know about finding ethical, sexy porn

Written by Team NORMAL on 03 Feb, 2022

Reviewed by Georgia Grace (Sex Coach)

If you watch porn, you’re not the only one.

According to an article published in The Journal of Sex Research, 84% of Australian men and 54% of Australian women surveyed had looked at porn at least once in their lives; and about three-quarters of those men and one-third of the women had watched porn within the past year.

Even our own Big Sex Survey revealed that one in five Gen Z men cite pornography as a resource that has taught them about sex.

Lifehacker further reported that Monday is the most popular day to watch porn in Australia, while Friday is the least popular.

We spend a little under ten minutes watching porn at a time; and the most popular time to watch it is between 10pm and 11pm.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for us Aussies, there’s a notable dip in the amount of us accessing porn during big sporting events: during the 2014 AFL Grand Final and the 2015 NRL Grand Final, viewership dipped and then picked back up again a few hours later.

So it’s clear that we like our porn. But have you ever stopped to think about how your porn is made? What conditions do your favourite porn performers work under; and how much they actually get paid for the scenes they create?

In this article, we’re going to investigate ethical porn: what it is, how to find it, and what exactly we mean when we talk about porn that’s ‘ethical’.

Although porn is popular, it’s not for everyone. There are plenty of reasons why someone wouldn’t watch porn: perhaps it’s addictive for them; perhaps they enjoy other forms of erotica, like written material or audiobooks; or maybe they just don’t like it.

If you’re someone who doesn’t consume porn, we’re definitely not about to tell you that you should—like anything else related to our sexual selves, porn is a personal choice.

But if you do consume porn, we reckon that it’s worth investigating how to do it as responsibly and ethically as possible.

In the same way that it’s become super common to question the conditions under which other products we consume are made, we think it’s important to question how our porn is made as well. 

Porn exists—and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So let’s work out how to find the good stuff.

What is ‘ethical’ porn, anyway? 

The term ‘ethical’ is pretty broad, and not just in relation to porn. When we hear about food, clothing, or other forms of entertainment being made ethically, it’s not always clear what exactly ‘ethical’ means.

Does it mean that workers are being paid fair wages? Does it mean that it’s being distributed in an environmentally-conscious way? Does it mean both of these things, or something else entirely?

We’re going to encourage you to come up with your own definition of ‘ethical’, but we reckon it’s worth considering the following things when you next settle in to watch some adult entertainment:

  • Are the performers all of legal age—and has this been verified by the production studio?

  • Are communication and consent being clearly shown?

  • How are the performers being paid, if they’re being paid at all?

  • Are the performers working long hours, and are they being given breaks?

  • Does the production team receive a fair wage, and do they get breaks?

  • How does the studio make money from the video, and what cut do they receive?

  • Are performers being threatened, coerced, pressured, or forced into doing anything?

  • Did the performers consent for you to watch the video? (This might sound obvious, but not everything online was created for you to view—people’s homemade sex tapes, for example, may not have been made for others to watch even if you can easily find them on the internet.)

It’s worth remembering that porn that’s ethical in these ways doesn’t have to be ‘boring’—ethical porn isn’t all about soft lighting and romantic lovemaking (although it certainly can be!).

A spicy role-play scene can be totally consensual; and a full-on BDSM video can be created in a safe and comfortable space.

Almost any kind of themes can be explored within the parameters of an environment that treats porn performers like the working professionals that they are. 

Why should I watch ethical porn? 

If you care about respect, consent, communication, and fairness in your IRL sex life, you should care about making sure it’s present in porn as well.

Porn performers deserve to work in environments that prioritise their rights and needs—and when we choose to only watch porn that is created in these environments, we make a powerful statement about the standards we have for the media we consume.

Seeking out porn that fits within our own definition of ‘ethical’ also means we have the chance to pay porn performers, the production teams who work with them, and the studios who employ them.

Porn performers deserve to be compensated for their time and effort at work, just like anyone else; and as consumers we have a responsibility to do that, whether it’s paying a performer directly or paying the studio they like to work with.

How do I find it?

So, you’re ready to switch up your viewing habits and start getting into some ethically-made porn? Great.

One of the most exciting things about seeking out porn that’s made ethically is the knowledge that you’re directly supporting performers to keep creating their work.

If there’s a particular performer or studio you like, paying them fairly for their work means they can afford to make more of it for you to enjoy—it’s a win-win situation.

Here are some ways you can find ethical porn:

1. Buy directly from the creator

Subscription apps and websites often allow you to pay a weekly or monthly fee in exchange for regular content from a specific performer. The app might take a small fee, but the rest of the money goes straight to the performer.

2. Check out the behind-the-scenes content

It’s not necessarily a red flag if a video doesn’t show performers giving explicit consent—this might take place off-camera before the scene.

But we recommend watching the interviews and behind-the-scenes content made available by the studio or performer, if possible, so you can see conversations between the performers and the production team and find out how the scene was planned.

3. Research your favourite production studios 

If you look up a porn production company and they have some information on their website about, say, performers rights, fair wages, and how they incorporate consent and communication into their videos, we reckon you might be on to a good thing (Erika Lust’s studio has a good example of this.)

A studio that doesn’t talk about these things, or that seems to be just a ‘faceless’ brand with little background, might be one to be wary of.

4. See who the performers like working with 

Some porn performers and sex workers have active presences on social media where they share information about their upcoming work.

Follow the social media of your favourite performers, and go where they go—if you notice a lot of cool performers like working with a particular studio or website, it could be a good sign.

5. Open your wallet 

You don’t have to spend hundreds, but you will have to spend a little to enjoy porn. Just like you wouldn’t expect to go to the cinema for free, you shouldn’t expect to watch porn for free.

Find some content that fits within your budget, and pay for it in the knowledge that you’re reimbursing a talented professional for their labour—because really, that is exactly what you’re doing.

    Some further reading…

    Keen to learn more about ethical porn? Here are some good places to start...

     

    To learn more about the foundations of great sex with acclaimed sex coach Georgia Grace, check out NORMAL's video masterclass, The Modern Guide To Sex.