Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Public Sex: Kinky, Taboo, and . . . Unethical?

With the brand-spankin' new launch of Kink.com's new site Public Disgrace, agoraphiliacs will finally be able to rejoice. Bringing Kink.com's legendary production values and creativity to an all-too-rare fetish should make everyone happy.

Except . . . it isn't.

Behind Kink's
sneak peak video received a few praising comments, but the majority of the 23 (so far) comments are from some concerned porn enthusiasts who question the morality and legality of this public porn.

On the one hand, I'm thrilled to see this level of commitment to principles in the porn that people are consuming- they are not blindly watching without any consideration to the ethics behind it, but hold dear to the idea that their porn should be as responsible as it is hot. Far too few porn niches have such intelligent and caring fans to act as watchdogs that can hold porn and companies to the highest standards.

And then, on the other hand, public porn is hot. It gets my panties in a bunch. It feels fun, risky, taboo, and naughty. Take away the public part, or the unassuming-passersby part, and you take away that aspect- it becomes essentially "outdoors porn with lots of paid extras". And what's fun about that?

You see, I'm all sorts of ambivalent about this stuff ("ambivalent" here, meaning strongly pulled in both directions, unable to make a decision, not "apathetic"). I'm conflicted. The general argument against it is the question of whether or not people have the right to not be exposed to pornography without their consent.

Although there are all sorts of fundamentalists and moralists trying to change it, we [in America] generally accept that if you encounter something that offends you in the private realm, you can just walk away. Turn on that V-chip/parental controls or change the channel (that is part of the package you paid for, let us remind you). Don't go into that adult bookstore. Ignore it and be on your way. But what about when it's in the public arena- on the streets, and parks that you stroll by on your way to the grocery store? You can, of course, ignore it and go on your way there, too, but since there are no warnings- no "This site is of adult nature, click here to go back/enter", no "This TV show contains nudity."- does that mean it violates your right to not be molested by such sights? You obviously have no way to even attempt to avoid it.

Kink's PR has issued a statement detailing their extensive measures to make the endeavor safe and responsible: it is shot in European countries that often have far more lax attitudes towards sex and nudity, even in public, the locations are chosen firstly with only two points of entry (each staffed with lookouts who can warn if children are coming) as well as being areas generally more accepting/tolerant of such behavior, and I assume there is also a lot of background stuff going on that is not divulged (in order to not spoil the fantasy)- people in scenes who may have began as passersby but who give consent off-camera before proceding. These guys aren't just some dude with a camera parading naked girls down Main Street. There's some consideration here.

But of course, it's just impossible to account for every person who randomly wanders into a certain area. Assuming that children are safely out of the picture, then (although someone poses the good question about children in cars being able to see), is unsolicited hardcore sex in public something a person has a right to not see? Forgetting laws for a moment (since laws and morality, let us remember, may overlap but very often do not- or at least, are part of someone else's subjective morality), is showing sex to unsuspecting people unethical? On one hand, I understand. Yes, it is, at least in America. But is it truly unethical, or have we simply become so used to it as to expect it as a right, and not what it truly is- a privilege? And does the whole idea stem from the idea that I hate- that sex is somehow corruptive and corrosive, and even one look at it before scurrying away will scar you for life? What does it say about us as a nation that we would [presumably] embrace a violent public boxing match, but not a hot sex scene? Surely violence is just as "offensive"- and maybe more so- than sex, but it's not seen in the same way. Can we say 'double standard'?

I have no answers. I understand where the dissenters are coming from, and I respect them voicing their opinions. But my mind also protests that there is nothing unethical about it. And then there's the really loud protests coming from my loins, which are screaming "Screw all of that! This stuff is Sex-ay!". I love the idea of random, ordinary folks getting to participate in a scene (especially when the model has no say in it), both at the thought of having it happen to me and of getting to be the lucky girl who'd be invited on her way from the coffee shop (hmmm . . . maybe a trip to Europe is in order?).

What are your thoughts? Yay, nay, or "God, I don't know."? I can only wish Princess Donna and Kink.com luck with this endeavor, because, like all of their websites, they come from true fetishists who get turned on by this stuff. It's genuine and real, and that gets it big props in my book. But I wonder how many Kink.com fans have abandoned or "lost faith" in the company from this move. Only time will tell . . .

Until then, you'd do well to head over to a sex club if you want to be a voyeur/exhibitionist, and avoid all of these hard questions.

2 comments:

Fox said...

Hey there,
i have pretty much the same ideas and thoughts about it - I am from Europe, Germany to be precise, and there is at least one thing i can answer without any doubt: it IS against the law. What Kink is doing here is against the law. Despite that fact... i really am glad to see that there are people actually thinking about it, and just like you said - "caring". Sometimes it seems hard to remember that there are people who are not into BDSM, who don't even know that it actually exists, and that SM (or any other kink for that matter) could really be (part of) a lifestyle. Not just a cheap porn topic. Just thinking "C'mon it's just sex, get over it" can't be the right way. Imagining my Grandma, or my Mother passing by such a scene... They would associate nothing else but violence, bitter humilation and ultimate downfall of any sanity. They would be ashamed, and really hurt, worried and scared.
Not your problem? You don't care? You just think it's pretty hot stuff? If they don't like it, they just should forget about it?
I just don't think so, and i do care. I love this "community" so much because it always seemed to me like "they" actually care more about feelings and psychological aspects in some kind of way, than "the usual". (safe, sane, consensual...) - but never forcing yourself on others. The public aspect is the thrill. Of course. But that doesn't change the fact that it's against the law - and violating the freedom of others, in a way we might not even be able to imagine. And now doing it on a commercial base? Sex sells and money ruels? Just getting off on your kink at any costs?
It is hot. But it doesn't work for me in that way. There must be a different way, although it might be much more work and much more expensive - and a little less authentic on the "public" part. (You could cast a crowd for example, make the STD tests, and just do your best to make it look real.) Maybe an uneasy compromise, but one i could live with. To be honest kink.com lost some of my respect and encouragement. But i'm sure the money they'll get out of the new site will compensate for that thousand times.
By the way, I'm sorry, but i'm no native speaker, and it's been a while since my last english classes... ^^'

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted this, I've been such a big fan of Kink for a long time, but I was sooo disappointed to see this development. I'm a big proponent of extrapolating the idea of consent from active parties of sex to parties that are subjected to said sex... I guess ethical exhibitionism would be a concise way of putting it.

Is it legal? I don't even know... strictly speaking, I guess it could be. Is it moral? I have opinions, but they're my own. Is it ethical? No, I don't believe so at all, and I don't feel conflicted at all in saying so.

Many people -- and let's be realistic, probably the great majority of people -- feel that sex is an intimate act that should involve a basic criteria of discretion and privacy. Whether you define discretion and privacy as two people doin' it alone in the bedroom with the lights off, or an orgy of 300 in a specially rented hotel conference room, we can basically understand that the participants are there voluntarily and fully informed. But from what I saw on the site, the most recent shoots are taking place right out on the street. And this system of "lookouts" they have to avoid exposure to children? Seriously? Can this legitimately be said to be meeting that basic criteria, fully and consistently?

The thing is, this isn't even a matter of high-minded, heavy-handed moralism, you know? These are very, very basic boundary concepts that deserve to be honored. To me, these shoots demonstrate a serious lack of respect, but also empathy. Witnessing a hardcore gangbang porn shoot on your way to the grocery store would be deeply disturbing to some people. Like, well, myself... and this despite the fact that I have looooved most of the other stuff from the Kink conglomerate.

It's just... we live in a society! And it's really not that hard to do basic human courtesy. If you're in a church, you have the courtesy to not drop f-bombs left and right. If you're standing in line at the bank, you have the courtesy to not discuss your your last pelvic exam with the person behind you. And if you're out on the street in public, I think you should have the courtesy to not fuck someone's ass for random people to see. Really, is that so much to ask?

-Violet