Adult Content: How to Know if What I Am Watching Is Ethical

While not inherently bad, mainstream adult content often depicts sex and sexuality unauthentically, is catered to the male gaze, objectifies women, and fetishes minorities. It has also been found to exploit performers. Ethical adult content aims to provide an alternative to mainstream porn by creating a safe, respectful, and pleasurable environment for its performers and audience. Let's explore how ethical adult content differs from the mainstream.

Key takeaways:

What is ethical adult content?

Ethical adult content is porn that focuses on treating all workers fairly and aims to provide an alternative to the often exploitative nature of mainstream porn. It's not a genre of porn but rather a set of values and principles that producers use to make their films.

Principles of ethical adult content:

Ethical adult media material includes values that aim to create a safe and inviting experience for the performers, crew, and audience. Below we discuss each of these values in more detail.

Fair and safe working conditions

Ethical porn producers recognize that all workers should be treaty fairly and, therefore, provide safe working conditions for the cast and crew. Both physical and mental health is prioritized, and performers aren't pressured into performing any sexual acts without consent.

Beyond this, performers are treated well on set and provided with breaks and food.

Fair working conditions also mean that all workers are paid fairly, which often means consumers have to pay to access adult content to compensate each person involved in producing the film fairly.

Consent and agency are at the forefront of ethical adult content, and many steps are undertaken to ensure these values are adhered to. Everyone involved in the production must be over 18 and enthusiastically consent to the acts they perform or witness.

Performers discuss the scene and which sexual acts they are comfortable performing with the production team before filming and are encouraged to speak up during filming if they feel uncomfortable. The production team will check in with the performers periodically during filming to accommodate any change in needs.

Some production companies will show this in their videos, checking in with the performers prior to the scene and asking them what they consent to and are excited to do in the scene, and then checking in after the scene to ask them what they enjoyed.

Diversity and inclusivity

Ethical porn promotes all types of bodies and sex and features performers of all races, genders, body types, sexual orientations, and abilities. While ethical adult content promotes diverse performers, it does so equally, avoiding stereotypes or fetishization.

Additionally, ethical porn doesn't always cater to the male gaze, which often objectifies women, making it not pleasurable to watch for a diverse audience.

Sex positivity

Sex positivity and pleasure are prioritized in ethical porn, aiming to display authentic depictions of sex, sexuality, and pleasure. Vagina owners are often seen as sexually agentic beings (rather than passive receivers of sex) who take time to become aroused and orgasm.

Therefore, you’ll often see authentic sex, with performers having fun, using lube, checking in with each other, sharing intimate moments, experiencing pleasure, and engaging in aftercare.

Additionally, ethical adult content promotes safer forms of sex and often features the use of barrier forms of protection such as condoms, internal condoms, dental dams, and gloves.

Transparency

Ethical porn production companies pride themselves on these values listed above and display them transparently on their websites. Some companies even provide documents detailing the rights of their performers and guidelines for their directors.

The pay rate of all performers and crew is often transparent to both performers and crew so that each person can ensure that they are getting paid fairly.

Mainstream vs ethical porn – what's the difference?

Ethical and mainstream porn differ in a number of ways. Here are the three main differences:

  • Mainstream adult content values profit. Unfortunately, mainstream porn often values profit over everything, and this can lead to serious consequences, including harmful stereotypes, poorly paid performers, unsafe work environments, and inauthentic representations of sex.
  • Mainstream adult content is usually free. As there are millions of videos available for free on mainstream sites, many production companies are not incentivized to pay their performers a fair wage and may cut corners regarding their health and safety.
  • Mainstream adult content isn't as regulated. For example, some popular mainstream porn sites have been found to contain revenge porn, otherwise known as image-based sexual abuse, which has been uploaded to the site without the consent of the person in the video. This is due to poor or vacant verification policies, which allow people to upload a video without confirming the performers' ages and identities.

3 simple ways to recognize ethical adult content

As the industry is not regulated, there is no stamp or award given to ethical production companies. However, there are a few things you can search for to help determine if what you are watching is ethical.

1. Company values are listed on their website

If you're unsure whether the porn you watch is created ethically, it's best to source the company's values and principles, which should be displayed transparently on its website. If these aren't readily available, the company may be using the label to lure in an audience. You can also research individual performers' Twitter accounts, where they often candidly talk about their experiences on set and with different production companies.

2. Requires a payment

As ethical adult content companies value their workers and pay them a fair wage, most ethical sites require users to pay for access to their content. Some companies may offer a small portion of their content for free. Still, generally, you will be required to pay a subscription or one-off fee to help ensure that everyone involved in production and distribution receives fair wages, benefits, and working conditions.

3. Diverse range of bodies

Ethical production companies prioritize inclusivity and representation and often seek to challenge harmful stereotypes and biases. Therefore, there is a wide range of bodies with performers of all races, genders, body types, sexual orientations, and abilities.

Are there risks associated with ethical adult content?

Ethical adult content is generally considered safer than its mainstream counterpart. However, there still may be some risks associated with watching. Although there have been efforts to reduce the stigma around porn, it is still generally considered taboo, which can lead to the stigmatization of those who consume it.

If someone's consumption of ethical porn is discovered, it may result in negative consequences in their social, professional, or personal life. Additionally, when watching adult content claiming to be ethical, there is always the risk that the company is using this label without adhering to ethical values.

Ethical porn production companies strive to provide sex-positive adventures for those who want to enjoy it without exploiting the performers and crew. This means that if you're watching ethical porn, the performers have given consent, are of legal age of majority, and are better compensated for their work.



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