James Deen, one of the world’s most successful porn stars, is growing increasingly uncomfortable with how online pornography affects people at younger and younger ages.
In a recent interview, Deen expressed his concern that the plethora of easily accessible pornography is providing a warped view of sexuality and relationships, especially given that the average child is now first exposed to pornography at age eight.
“I’ve been paying attention to consistencies and behavior with the younger models that I work with,” he recalled. “And intimacy almost is uncomfortable for them….it just seems that there is this programming and desensitization to what sex and sexuality is and it’s creating this very odd dynamic within the industry.”
Deen, who himself runs many pornography websites, said that he proposed a secure age-verification system to a business partner, who responded, “As a father I agree with you 100%….(But) I will go out of business in a day.”
Complicating Deen’s possible moral reawakening is the fact that multiple women accused him of sexual assault in 2015.
A more complete transcript of his interview (with NSFW sexual references) can be found here.
Scandal-scarred porn star James Deen is proving true that old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
A lot of people thought his career would be over after several women late last year accused him of rape and sexual assault — allegations he vigorously denied.
Porn producers turned their back on him, his legions of female fans took to social media to tear him down, and he even lost his job as a columnist for The Frisky, a women’s lifestyle website.
It turns out reports of Deen’s demise were greatly exaggerated.
The website Vocativ found that, at least by the numbers, Deen is more popular than ever.
The number crunchers report:
— After the first allegations were made in late November, searches for “James Deen” on the porn site xHamster tripled.
— Deen released 38 movies in the 100 days before the scandal broke and 45 in the 100 days after.
— Deen’s production company increased its share of the porn business from 13.2 to 17.8 percent.
“James is continuing to perform in scenes for other companies the same amount as he was before,” the Jewish porn king’s big bucks spokesman Howard Bragman said. “Any defections were made up by new partnerships and his business is growing as it has been for a number of years.”
Frum porn. It’s a thing.
A recent story published in Vice found no less than 74 videos tagged “frum fetish” on a porn site called clips4sale.com. Another 31 were tagged “frum lesbians.”
Most of these clips, Vice reports, come from a site called frumvids.com(click at your own peril), which specifically caters to an Orthodox Jewish audience.
Obviously, this brought up a lot of questions, which I’ve attempted to answer below.
What does that even look like?
Let’s all give a big hand of applause to Arielle Pardes, author of the Vice story, who watched the teaser for one of these videos, and reports back that “you can see a pair of women in ankle-length skirts and headscarves (a display of modesty) making out and then undressing each other. The whole thing gives off an amateur vibe, with poor lighting and bad video quality.”
The videos also include religious markers — a tallit katan for example — to signal to those in the know that they’re watching religious Jews doing the nasty.
But wait, doesn’t this flout all kinds of modesty laws?
Yes, it does. Orthodox Jews, and Orthodox Jewish women in particular, live their lives according to a set of rules: Legs and arms are covered. Women wear wigs to hide their hair from anyone other than their husband. In some cases, men and women do not even touch outside of their marriage.
So you can understand why porn, especially porn in which an Orthodox man paws at a long-skirted woman under fluorescent lighting, seems incongruous.
In fact, even the experts are confused. Nathan Abrams, who teaches film studies at Bangor University and edited the 2008 anthology “Jews and Sex,” told Vice he found the phenomenon a little baffling. “When I first came across [frum porn], I was skeptical that it was actually a real thing,” he said. “The film industry is market-led—as soon as something arrives, it caters to that taste. So if this is a thing, why has it only come about now?”
So, who watches this stuff?
Vice reached out to the moderator of frumvids.com, who answered: “frum porn is porn for religious Jews or people who have fetish f***ing religious Jews. Why? Because people like to see people who are like themselves. And I can assure you that religious Jewish people are people.”
Basically, unlike Nice Jewish Boy James Deen porn, where “the only thing that’s Jewish is the menorah on the background,” frumvids.com specifically targets an Orthodox audience, with a cast of Orthodox or Conservative actors, according to this unnamed representative.
A quick scan of frumvids.com’s Twitter account, @FrumSex, shows that they have just over 500 followers. Sample tweets include:
Super video is going to be on this page - Motzei Shabbos. 9pm. Be here!— Frum Sex (@frumsex) February 14, 2014
Hello Pron Melech! You are the lucky 613th like of our page! Please contact us for your free month access to FrumVids— Frum Sex (@frumsex) February 25, 2014
There’s no real way to prove that Orthodox Jews are the ones watching or acting in these videos — Frumvids.com doesn’t actually compile data on its users. But as the Vice story points out, the vast Craigslist community claiming to be “seeking frum” does indicate that there is a market for this sort of thing.
Hey, whatever floats your…boat.
Before home computers, before the Internet, there was Linda Lovelace. For those who may have missed the 1970s, Lovelace starred in “Deep Throat,” the first “adult” film to receive mainstream distribution.
Typical porno flicks of the time were sleazy, hurriedly shot and poorly lit. “Deep Throat” was comparatively better, and even had an unusual comic plot. Lovelace was unable to achieve satisfaction in the traditional matter because of — how to put this? — a physical anomaly. Without going into detail, consider the film’s name.
That was humorous, perhaps. But there was nothing funny about her real life. Lovelace later revealed that she was abused by her husband and forced not only to appear in this film, but to perform acts of prostitution, as well.
Her life is the subject of a new biopic, “Lovelace,” which opens August 9 in theaters and on Video on Demand. It is directed by Rob Epstein, 58, and Jeffrey Friedman, 62. The pair are also behind such well received documentaries as “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt” (an Academy Award winner) and “The Celluloid Closet” (for which they won a directing Emmy). Their first narrative film was “Howl,” which starred James Franco as a young Allen Ginsburg.
Epstein and Friedman spoke to The Arty Semite about tandem directing, casting “Lovelace” and how being Jewish affects their expectations.
Curt Schleier: How long have you two been working together?
Images of Israel usually conjure up holy monuments, the Mediterranean Sea and a land steeped in political turmoil. Now you can add Playboy bunnies to that list.
Playboy Magazine, which is printed in over 30 countries, recently added the Holy Land to its list. On newsstands March 6, and printed only in Hebrew, the magazine features images of beautiful women alongside articles and commentary, specifically selected for an Israeli audience.
Founder Daniel Pomerantz, a Chicago-born business attorney who immigrated to Israel last year, says that he believes Playboy will be a welcome addition to the country. “Israelis love to sit around the dinner table and debate social issues. It’s an integral part of life and is an integral part of Playboy,” Pomerantz said. The first issue features Israeli model Natalie Dadon and an interview with minister Avi Dichter.
The Arty Semite caught up with Pomerantz at the Brown Hotel in Tel Aviv. Decorated with retro-looking brown leather couches and a Motown-era color scheme, the Brown sports a larger-than-life Playboy cover poster from 1970 that reads, “The Girls of Israel.” Pomerantz came dressed in Israeli casual — jeans and a button-down — to talk about his admiration for Herzl, meeting Hugh Hefner, and how to say “bunny” in Hebrew.
Abra Cohen: How did you get the idea to launch Playboy in Israel?
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