The Accidental Voyeur: Revenge Porn Isn’t Porn

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Revenge is a dish best served cold, as they say, but revenge porn bothers me. I’ve never been a porn performer per se, but I would definitely have a problem if I’d been filmed and then shown without permission. As those who have followed my recent columns will recall, I’ve even done things with people watching but some of my more amazing sexual situations done in private would have to be scripted to be believable, though thankfully no cameras were around.

During my college days, for instance, a girl from my dorm took the initiative to seduce me after I’d burst into her room without knocking – freaking her out because she was on her bed, masturbating. Her way of enacting revenge on me was to become my fuck buddy. I’d already seen her diddling herself, she probably reasoned, so why not go to second base? Some last-night trysts ensued and, in particular, she had this curious habit of coming to my room (I’d left the door unlocked, of course) and, without a word being exchanged between us, she would take me in her mouth, blow me and then leave as if nothing had ever happened. It was like a silent movie, starring ourselves.

Did I dream all that? Some years later, we met again after she’d moved to a different city and I actually asked her about all those sessions we shared and she told me, to my amazement, that she had no memory of them at all – back in those days, she explained, she had a tendency to sleepwalk and those must have occurred during her nocturnal wanderings! Imagine if I’d had a webcam going at the time, though that would’ve been impossible since it was in the pre-Internet era. But would either of us have liked those soundless scenes being blasted out to the wider world? I think not. We’re still good friends today and I know she would agree.

I recalled that recently when I learned that in London, legislation is being passed through the British Parliament to make it illegal to publish revenge porn. Prosecution can then result in offenders receiving up to two years in prison. As reporter Ben Tuftt noted in the newspaper The Independent on October 12, 2014, this “will cover any private sexual image of someone that is circulated, both on and offline, without consent and designed to cause distress. Distributing sexually explicit pictures of individuals on the Internet, or via text, has become ever more common as people seek easy ways to exact revenge on former partners when a relationship has ended.”

This is a time of sea change, however, and 2014 is year zero — this past January, Israel became the first country to pass a law classifying revenge porn as a sex crime, and Brazil has also done it. In the United States, 12 states already have laws addressing revenge porn: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Canada attempted to introduce a bill but it ran into opposition from critics concerned about privacy issues.

Privacy issues? How less private can things be when images of a sexual nature are circulated without the consent of the parties involved? We’re not talking about poor Jennifer Lawrence (and Ashley Greene and Rihanna, et al) and those nude celebrity photo leaks but Jane Doe next door who lives to regret her ex-boyfriend’s camcorder. Interestingly, research shows that in this age of Instagram and Twitter and the insatiable appetite for snapping “selfies,” 80 percent of revenge porn images were actually shot by the very subjects themselves. Still, if you ask me, revenge porn isn’t porn at all — since the person being depicted doesn’t want to be displayed as such, at least not at the time of uploading or printing. There’s nothing sexy at all when the intention is to cruelly victimize someone because of some nefarious need for comeuppance.

In my world, porn makes sense and works beautifully when you know the girl you’re looking at actually wants you to see her in her naked, shameless glory – when she looks straight at you, her nicely manicured fingers pulling back her vulval lips, daring you to imagine what she could do with her wide-open pink power. In point of fact, when I came across that report about the potential legislation in the UK, I thought of my friend Anna Span in London, with whom I’d spent many good times when I lived there in 2005. Anna won Best Director in 2008 and 2009 at the United Kingdom Adult Film and Television Awards (and she then entered politics and ran for Parliament in 2010 as a Liberal Democrat under her married name Anna Arrowsmith), but back in 2004 one of the English girls Anna directed was the sultry McKenzie Lee (photo above), whom I’ve always loved for her sassy attitude.

In Anna’s film A&O Department (a hospital spoof – A&O means “anal and oral,” Anna explained to me, as opposed to the real-life A&E, “accidents and emergencies”), McKenzie gives you the raised eyebrow and the knowing smirk, even when she’s changing positions, implying she’s in on the joke – and that you’d better be, too, to fully appreciate her carnal skills. That always added extra sizzle to her scenes for me and I wasn’t surprised when she won the 2006 AVN “Best New Starlet” award when she crossed the pond, signing with Club Jenna in March 2005 (and, more recently, Digital Playground in 2009). She’s pure porn star, in the way she makes no apologies for being seen with a cock in her mouth or taking on five guys in Hustler’s Gangbang Auditions #25.

And that’s why we who love porn love porn – it’s consensual sex, in every conceivable way, and nobody is being harmed. (Yes, there are girls too self-medicated to remember bending over for that anal creampie, but that’s a different issue.) The people who do revenge porn might want to remember that revenge is motivated by the lack of love, or the inability to express love, and we know there’s love of all sorts that can be perpetrated in the name of sexual expression. Real porn is made purely for pleasure and slut-shaming someone is not porn at all. Anyone who engages in it really needs time in the slammer to think it over. Lock that damn door, and I’d even throw away the key.

 

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Drew McKenzie was previously the "Cinema Blue" columnist for Penthouse Variations and also wrote for AVN Online, Fox (from Montcalm Publishing, New York) and Guld Rapport (from Stockholm, Sweden). He is also the author of seven books -- three on porn stars, all done under his real name.