Inside the World of Educational Porn

Inside the World of Educational Porn

Beth Ashley talks to Florence and Reed of Come Curious about creating educational porn and the benefits the genre can offer

Mainstream pornography has long been a bone of contention. A British Board of Film Classification survey revealed worrying pornography activity amongst teenagers, confirming that children as young as 9 had accessed mainstream porn in the UK and more surprisingly, most parents are unaware.

This report concluded that almost half of 16-17-year-olds said they watched pornography recently, with the researchers believing this number is likely lower than the real figure (because of participants finding the question awkward). 75% of their parents, however, were either in denial or completely unaware of what their child viewed on the internet. 

While many teenagers are accessing pornography purely for sexual pleasure, some are attempting to educate themselves on sex through porn, in preparation for real-life sexual interactions. Since much of mainstream pornography lacks on-screen exchange of consent and features unrealistic sexual expectations, many parents are concerned by this avenue of exploration.    

26-year-old James* says he started watching pornography at the age of 12. “It was mostly to figure out how ‘things are done’. I would look at Wikipedia, because I’m a big nerd, and check PornHub to see how activities like oral sex were performed.”  

I watched porn to learn how to finger a girl ‘properly’.

22-year-old Maisie* used porn at age 16, in the hopes to learn about lesbian sex. “When I knew I was going to have sex for the first time, I watched porn to learn how to finger a girl ‘properly’. I struggled to find anything that helped and ended up watching a YouTube video instead. I thought mainstream porn probably just wasn’t my cup of tea, but nowadays I know I just don’t like porn that’s for the male gaze.” 

Maisie adds “I think would have enjoyed a porn site that threw out all the bells and whistles and just taught me how to have queer sex in an instructional way I could have fun with. Though I’m not sure horny 17-year-old me could have paid much attention!” 

Enter Lust Films. 

Erika Lust, of Lust Films, is a film director creating a new world of independent adult cinema. Lust curates the best, new-in adult films from around the world in her store, making for a more diverse gallery of porn. She frequently collaborates with other directors, writers, performers and filmmakers to create innovative porn that shows sex in a realistic way, without losing the magic of sensual art. 

Alongside her partner, Lust founded The Porn Conversation, a resource website for parents that actively encourages them to have open conversations about pornography with their children. And, provides fun materials to do this with. On the website, she explains that while it’s getting harder to control what our children access online, “prohibition and shame is not the answer. Instead, we believe in education and conversation. By choosing to shed light on pornography, we are campaigning for more equipped and alert young beings, who are ready to make better choices; driven by knowledge instead of fear.”

By choosing to shed light on pornography, we are campaigning for more equipped and alert young beings

Through one of her pornography brands, Xconfessions, Erika creates instructional pornography. This unique type of tutorial porn, featured in titles such as Tips ‘n’ Tricks for Licking Clits and Tips ‘n’ Tricks for Sucking Dicks, lays out the do’s and don’ts of oral sex. While, importantly, maintaining the sultry magic that makes porn actually pleasurable and fun. The films begin how any mainstream porn would; kissing and fumbling towards the bed before one performer says “Hang on. How do I give an amazing blowjob/cunnilingus?”. 

The films then use cutaway interviews with members of the public describing what they enjoy during these sex acts and features two narrators commenting on the technique of the stars as they perform oral sex on one another. This setup offers a level of vulnerability usually unseen in porn stars, which many viewers would find relatable. Lust describes this as “the sex-ed we should all have been given” and invites viewers to “watch, enjoy, take notes, and practice later”. 

The guest directors and narrators for these titles are the sex-positive creators of Come Curious, Florence Barkway and Reed Amber. Amassing over 220k followers across their platforms, the duo create fun and informational podcasts, YouTube videos and social media posts about sex – free of shame and stigma. 

Restless sat down with Florence and Reed to get their insight on porn and learn the process and message behind their tutorial-style porn films. 

“We wanted to combine pleasurable erotic film with educational tips. We know that many people come to porn to learn how to be better in bed, so it made sense to make something specifically for that! There’s a huge gap in the market for ethical educational porn, and we wanted to fill it.” 

It was the best film set we’ve ever been on!

With this idea in mind, they drafted a script and sent it off to Erika Lust’s team. After a lot of planning and pre-production, they were ready to make the first film. “It was the best film set we’ve ever been on! It felt like a family working together to create something beautiful. We made sure there was open communication throughout the whole process. Anyone could come to us with anything, whether you were a performer or a runner.” 

Florence and Reed both agree that all pornography should be produced this way, adding that they’ve been on much less pleasant sets in the past. “Working with Erika was the first time we worked with an all-female set. It was the first time we realised how relaxed and amazing making erotic films can be! 

In the future, the girls of Come Curious would love to continue the Tips n’ Tricks series, as they believe this genre can be really beneficial to those looking to get better in bed or understand how certain acts work. “We’d love to have our own porn production company in the future, for educational, ethical porn.” 

When we asked whether educational porn could help with the problems society faces with porn right now, Florence and Reed added that inclusion in sex education is the only way to ensure children aren’t negatively influenced by porn. “It’s always going to be there, and curious kids will always deep dive on the internet,” they say. “Instead of trying to shut down sites, the best avenue would be to start educating on what’s real and fake in porn. They should be taught about consent and appropriate behaviour.” 

inclusion in sex education is the only way to ensure children aren’t negatively influenced by porn

Along with Lust’s The Porn Conversation, Reed and Florence believe parents can do more. “We’ve heard of parents buying ethical porn subscriptions so that they know the porn their kids are watching isn’t misogynistic, unrealistic or violent without clear consent.” 

Ultimately, porn is here to stay. And despite its issues, porn does provide benefit to sex workers, and curious people looking to explore their sexuality. Florence and Reed want those exploring porn to remember that what you see isn’t real, it’s a fantasy (and that’s okay!). 

“It’s important to remember that a lot of the sex positions used in porn are for show, for the camera. Those aren’t necessarily that pleasurable in real life! It’s purely for the masturbator’s eye. Action movies use smoke and mirrors all the time, and porn does too.” 

The best way to know that you’re watching ethical porn is to pay for it directly from ethical websites, such as Lust Films, Bellesa, and Lustery. Finally, they add “Remember the porn you see on tube sites is an extreme version of sex. It’s fine to want to recreate this, but ensure that all parties are up for it and are consenting!”

*names have been changed

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