It's the ultimate feminist gangbang," Tristan Taormino says, managing to put these words together without a hint of the oxymoronic when describing the final scene of her video, The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women.
The second tape of the two-tape hardcore instructional anal sex extravaganza ends with Taormino making her porn debut in a feisty scene that has the entire 10-person cast showing their teacher what they've learned.
What makes it a feminist gangbang? Well, if you watch the behind-the-scenes black-and-white footage at the very end of the tape, you see that Taormino is very much the one calling the shots, literally. She presents the cast with a list of specific instructions on who is to do what to her in the final scene.
Porn shoots "Everyone laughed at me because it's not usually done like this on porn shoots, but when we did the scene they all ended up following my instructions and it worked out great."
The video is the companion to Taormino's 1998 best-selling book, The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women. "I discovered anal sex with my first serious girlfriend," Taormino -- the editor of the lesbian porn magazine On Our Backs and the Best Lesbian Erotica series tells me over the phone from her home in New York. "I found that when sleeping with women, the whole heterosexual script goes out the window and all body parts and sexual acts are fair game."
Anal sex became her favourite. In fact, she admits she's a little obsessed. She even runs anal sex workshops, like the "Buttplay 101" session she'll be holding at Toronto sex shop Come as You Are on Sunday (July 23) when she's in town for the International Ms. Leather convention.
"It's easily twice as intense for me as any other sexual sensation," Taormino says. "And that combined with the trust you have to have in your partner to do it and the fact that it's still taboo is a big turn-on.
"Most of us grew up learning that our butts are private and dirty and definitely not considered an erogenous zone or any site of pleasure," she continues. "On top of that are the myths and misinformation flying around about people getting things lost in their butts, people getting fucked in the ass and losing bowel control or hurting themselves and ending up in hospital."
It's enough to make anyone's sphincter snap shut.
Other common myths about anal sex, says Taormino, are that straight men love to do it but straight women only do it to please their partners, that it's a big, disgusting mess (as Chloe so aptly puts it in the video, "Get over your fear of shit!") or that if you have a lot of anal sex you'll stretch your rectum and spend the rest of your adult life in Depends.
That's why Taormino decided her book needed a visual component. "I wanted to do an instructional video geared to women that was hot."
And rather than go the usual feminist, lesbian route, "which is to beg, borrow and steal and get everyone you know to work on it for practically nothing and then try to distribute it yourself," Taormino decided to "sell out to the man," as she puts it.
And what a man he is. John Stagliano, or "Buttman," is the granddaddy of a genre known as "gonzo" porn. In his videos, Buttman, camera in hand, takes to the streets to "convince" female "strangers" (obvious-
ly porn actors) to show him their tits and ass and eventually come back to some pre-set location to have sex with other actors. Plus, living up to his name, and like Taormino, he's obsessed with women's butts.
But Buttman, like most of the other commercial porn producers she approached, initially wasn't interested in her project.
"They didn't get it," she says. "These producers are still not comfortable acknowledging women as an audience, so a video that was going to focus on women's pleasure wasn't credible, though the tides are starting to turn. Also, as soon as you say 'instructional,' they think dry and boring."
Well, trust me -- The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women is not boring and is definitely not dry. Of course, some of it was lube, something Taormino says you can never have too much of when it comes to anal sex.
Obviously, Buttman finally came around, and the result is fascinating. Taormino has done something I've rarely seen. She's positioned herself in an extremely traditional male environment and messed with it. Yeah, Buttman is his usual female-objectifying, traditional-male-porn, slobbering self, but with Taormino in there commenting, cracking jokes and giving really valuable, uh, hands-on information about anal sex, the result is nothing short of revolutionary in the world of porn.
The female actors actually speak, giving valuable information about their experiences (a rare opportunity to take advantage of these women's expertise), about what they like and don't like, and how things feel. And they have orgasms, lots and lots of earth-shattering, wildly abandoned, I-couldn't-care-less-if-a-man-is-watching-me-right-now-or-not orgasms.
Truly hardcore It's one of the few truly hardcore feminist porn videos I've seen. Yes, it's true, feminist and hardcore can be used in the same sentence. I mean, a girl can only take so much plot and "I'm OK, are you OK?" sex in her porn.
Taormino sees a place for different kinds of feminist porn.
"I have no desire to make a feature porn movie. I may like to watch those, but for me it's asking a lot for someone to be really good at having sex on camera and also be able to act. I just want to cut to the chase."
Besides, she adds, showing the hardcore stuff was important. "After all, not enough of us look at our own butts. I wanted to show that anyone, even the girl next door, can enjoy anal sex."
Tristan Taormino's workshop for women, and men accompanied by women is at Come as You Are (701 Queen West) on Sunday (July 23) at 7 pm. 504-7934.