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Interview! Madison Young Talks Feminist Porn & Why She Loves BDSM

    Who doesn't love amazing porn? Here at GetLusty, we support sex positive feminist porn. To give a little more insight on the topic of feminist porn, kink and BDSM, we chatted with Madison Young. As one of our favorite porn stars, Madison is not your typical sex geek. She's a feminist entrepreneur, artist, writer, director. In our in-depth conversation, Madison shares her experiences with the porn industry, stardom, her favorite projects, why she absolutely loves BDSM and why it's so important to have the female perspective in pornography.

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    #1 How did you get into the adult entertainment industry?

    My first foray into the adult entertainment industry was over 10 years ago. I was just out of college and had started a non-profit LGBTQ art gallery, Femina Potens, in San Francisco. I've been a practicing artist of various mediums for nearly all of my life. I majored in theater and became enraptured with dance, performance art and writing while in college. As an artist, my body is an instrument, a conduit for energy and emotion to flow from and manifest in art, dance, or poetry. Art is a connector, a way that we communicate with others, a way that we connect with others. We share emotions and intimacies through art. We do the same through sex. Sex is a way in which we share intimacies and connection with others.

    Its way that we share pleasure. Pornography is simply the documentation of this shared physical connection. Is pornography always a documentation of mutually pleasurable and authentic connection amongst individuals? No, of course not. But sex with out the presence of a camera is not always a pleasurable or authentic experience either. Individuals engage in sex for many different reasons and not all of those reasons are healthy for our bodies or psyche.

    That being said, sex can be brilliant, mind-blowing and can encompass a huge variation of situations and different methods. These experiences can fulfill mutually consenting and negotiated desires and that is either with or with out the presence of a camera. My endeavors with in the adult entertainment industry felt like a natural extension of my political and artistic career addressing authenticity, identity, and celebration of sexuality. It was a way for me to clearly be a part of creating imagery that was honest, sexy, with pleasure, and with out shame.

    #2 Do you consider yourself to be a feminist porn star? Why or why not?

    Yes I do consider myself to be a feminist porn star, although I rarely use that term, "porn star". I'm most certainly a feminist and the ideologies around feminism directly inform the way I live my life and run my business as well as the way I direct my erotic films and perform in front of the camera. I am a sex positive feminist. I believe in choice. I believe in the importance of women taking ownership of their bodies, knowing and loving your body, your psyche and your spirit.

    I believe that a woman pursuing, claiming and celebrating her sexuality is a feminist act. These same values of choice, pleasure, authenticity, body positivity, healthy sexual communication and connection, spill over into the making of feminist porn. Many feminist porn performers and feminist pornographers including myself want to see a reflection of their own desires represented with in the porn industry. Over the past ten years I've performed with mainstream porn companies such as Evil Angel, Wicked, and Vivid as well as small independent production companies, and no matter whose camera I'm performing in front of, my ethics and values are always my own. More importantly, they are the ethics and values of a confident and powerful woman who loves both giving and receiving authentic pleasure in front of the camera.

    #3 What has been your favorite project thus far and why?

    That is a challenge. I don't know that I have one favorite project. The films that I've taken part of over the years all document different points in my sexual evolution. As far as projects I've performed in, I'd say my favorite projects were usually those that involved my real life lovers and partners at the time. Like being photographed with my ex-girlfriend for the cover of On Our Backs Magazine or my collaring which was documented for the Training of O with my dominant and partner of seven years, James Mogul.

    In the realm of directing feminist pornography, I'd say some of my favorite films were Fluid: Women Redefining Sexuality or Fluid 2: Men Redefining Sexuality. These were important documentary/pornography films that really delve into alternative sexual identity.

    I recently started directing an educational line for Girlfriends Films and my first educational film was just released "Lesbian Sex Education: Female Ejaculation". I'm really excited to be a part of this educational line. Advocating healthy sexual relationships and healthy honest sexual communication are major motivators in why I create feminist pornography and this line of videos means a lot to me. I'm also directing some really fun fantasy narrative based queer erotica for Filly Films. We just released 50 Shades of Dylan Ryan based on 50 Shades of Grey. This was so fun to direct and I'm currently writing the script and casting for the sequel which I'll be shooting in Seattle in February.

    #4 You use the term “queer” to describe your sexual orientation – how would you describe that to our readers?

    Queer is not only a word to describe my sexual orientation but my way of life, who I am, my community, my parenting, my politics, my career, and my identity. Queer, in regards to relationships and sex, refers to my desire for pleasure based connection and relationships with persons of all gender identities. My life is one that veers from hetero-normativity. My community is a mishmosh of sex workers, academics, writers, artists, feminists, gender-fluid, transgender, cross-dressing, drag performers, burlesque dancers, kinksters, polyamorous lovers, and parents. Queers live on the the fringe. We question the norm and push boundaries. As a queer activist and with in my political and artistic based work, I develop programming and educational experiences for further exploration of authentic and alternative expressions of identity.

    5. What drew you to BDSM, and bondage specifically?

    For as long as I have had sexual desires and sexual fantasies, they have incorporated kink. Kink is a natural part of my sexual identity. I think this ties back into being an artist and being queer. My body is a vessel, a container for energy, and I believe that sex and pleasurable energetic connection and intimacy go well beyond our genitals. BDSM gives language to those alternative ways of gifting and receiving intimacy, energy, and pleasure that are not exclusive to our genitals.

    There are many elements of BDSM that I feel are a natural extension of my kinky and sexual identity. Our sexual desires are constantly influx based on a large number of variables including our environment, our partner(s), our hormones, our stress levels and emotional state of being, etc. As those variables change so do my personal desires and my relationship and involvement in kink.

    A few aspects of my kinky identity involve submission, masochism, fetishism, and bondage. Submission is a psychological state of being. Masochism refers to the receiving of energy and sensation such as what might be received by a flogger or paddle. Fetishism is the eroticizing of a particular object. Bondage is the restraint or immobilizing of an individuals body parts. I have a special affinity to rope bondage which combines my fetishism of rope with my desire to have my body tightly restrained. My experience with in rope bondage is one of euphoria, empowerment, and clear peaceful mind such as what I experience during meditation.

    #6 You’ve directed multiple porn series’ from a woman’s point of view – what was the experience like filming those series? Why do you believe filming from a woman’s point of view is necessary but seldom done?

    All of my films are shot from a woman's point of view, mine :) But I also launched a site several years ago - TheWomansPOV.com and also a series of DVD's for Good Releasing entitled A Womans POV. The point of these films and this web site is to empower women by handing them the camera. It was an incredible experience. For our web site TheWomansPOV.com, I asked women to take self portraits and to use video cameras to shoot homemade sex tapes of them and their female partners. The women would hand off the camera or sometimes each of them would have a camera in hand as they gazed at their bodies and their lovers bodies through the lens of the camera. It is beautiful, intimate and personal footage of their individual gaze of what turns them on.

    The women wrote testimonies and shot video interviews of themselves discussing what the experience was like for them. These experiences proved to be very empowering in picking up the camera and viewing the curves and valleys of their body and their partner's body both through the lens and right in front of them. The women expressed feelings of confidence, beauty, and empowerment. It was wonderful to watch.

    For the website, we allow women from around the world to submit videos and self portraits. For the films that I directed I took road trips to Chicago, Ohio, and Las Vegas as well as sending videographers to Italy. We were able to really document a wide range of women of different cultures, body types and experiences. I even did a post-partum self portrait series and a lactation self portrait series of myself. Shooting the photographs of myself really helped me to reclaim my body as my own after the birth of my daughter. It was a really powerful experience and allowed me to document my sexual self during a very transitional time.

    #7 Do you believe women can feel empowered and in control of their sexuality even when assuming a submissive role during sex?

    Absolutely. Whether you are a dominant or a submissive you are creating the language and structure for you dominance and submissive relationship together, as equals. Both individuals sit down, negotiate and build the structure or the container for their dominant/submissive dynamic to exist based in one another's mutual desires. It involves a lot of communication, honesty, and negotiation on the part of both parties. Submission is not about just surenduring control. It's about about both gifting and receiving energy back and forth in a mutually pleasurable way.

    #8 What advice would you give to those looking to get into bondage with their partner? 

    I highly recommend connecting with the BDSM community through events like munches in which folks in the BDSM community meet up for dinner and chat about life, work, and BDSM. It's a nice casual way to get acquainted with the community. I also recommend attending BDSM workshops or checking out some of the excellent online tutorials on KinkAcademy.com. Additionally, talk with your partner about your fantasies. What elements of BDSM are intriguing to you?

    Open that communication and dialogue. You want to communicate with your partner about your desires, fantasies, fears, boundaries and triggers before you start experimenting with BDSM. Start out slow, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on BDSM equipment. Try things like hand spankings, bondage with scarves, or a paddling with a wooden kitchen spoon. Make sure to communicate with your partner about the sensations you are experiencing and know that communicating discomfort as a submissive does not make you weak, it makes your knowledgable about your body and allows you to play with your partner for a longer period of time. Part of your negotiation and communication before a scene should involve discussing your safe word. A safe word is a word that is used to stop a scene. You need to have a safe word. Many folks use the safe word "red" but it can be whatever is comfortable for you.

    #9 What’s next for you in the coming 6-12 months?

    Wow! The next 6 - 12 months? That's a long time. I always have at least a dozen projects going on simultaneously. But right now in the month of December, I'm working on the promotion of my latest three films - 50 Shades of Dylan Ryan, Lesbian Sex Education: Female Ejaculation, and Women Reclaiming Sex on Film. I have three films currently in post production: Milf Shakes, The Real L Word XXX: NYC Edition, and Lesbian Sex Education: Strap it On, which should be released in the next month.

    I'm in pre-production casting and writing scripts for The Real L Word XXX: SF Edition (which I shoot next week), Mommy Dearest, and 50 Shades of Juliette March. I'm currently working with my editor on the final touches of my memoir "Daddy" which is set to be released in August of 2013.

    I'm also in development of a new sex toy line, Crescendo, and are working on the design of our first toy, Make Her Sing. We hope to have this on the shelves by spring of 2013. In February I'm heading to Seattle and Portland to teach classes on kink and sexuality but until then I'm trying to settle into our new house in Berkeley, California.

    We just moved last week so I'm trying to unpack and set up my office while working on writing and casting upcoming films. Its been pretty hectic. For folks in San Francisco, I'll be teaching 3 different workshops at the San Francisco Armory this month on the G Spot and Female Ejaculation (December 8th and 13th) and Fetish and Fellatio (December 27th).

    More about Madison Young

    Madison Young is a sex positive Tasmanian devil. This sexpert grew up in the suburban landscape of Southern Ohio before moving to San Francisco, California in 2000. Since then this mid-western gal has dedicated her days to facilitating safe space to dialogue on the topic of fringe identities and cultures as well as documenting healthy expression of sexuality.

    Young's breadth of work in the realm of sexuality spans from documenting our sexual culture in her feminist erotic films to serving as the Artistic Director of the forward thinking non-profit arts organization, Femina Potens Art Gallery. Young values sexual education in her work and has taught workshops, lectures, and acted as a panelist on the topics of sexuality, feminism and pornography, and kink around the world including at Yale University, Hampshire College, University of Minnesota, and UC Berkeley. Her writings have been published in books such as The Ultimate Guide to Kink, Baby Remember My Name, and Rope, Bondage, and Power. Young's soon to be released memoir Daddy will be available in fall 2013 through Barnacle Books Publishing.
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