As a DVD reviewer, I really look forward to lesbian scenes as a welcome break from the monotonous in-and-out action. Without a man in the scene, things move at a different pace, usually—one I find a little more welcoming, friendlier, and less frantic. Male performers aren’t exactly chosen for their looks; they’re chosen for their… um… size. And endurance. Which means that the guys performing usually aren’t so nice to look at, and so the camera focuses entirely on the woman because, despite the occasional set of grossly oversized boobs or the too-bleached dye job, most of the women in porn are stunning.
And with lesbian scenes, I have the opportunity to watch two (or sometimes more) stunning women doing stunningly sexy things to one another. I get a performance with more gentleness (usually), more prettiness, and more… well… boobs. And who doesn’t like boobs? They can and do only add to my appreciation of good girl-on-girl action.
But ah, there’s the rub, that one little word: good. Alas, despite the prettiness of the sex being had by porn “lesbians,” very little of it looks remotely good to me. As a woman who knows what she wants from sex, it’s easy for me to tell that in most of these scenes, the so-called “lesbians” are not feeling very good at all. Because they’re doing it all wrong! For instance: a little pat down there with one finger wouldn’t get much of a reaction from the women I know, yet these ladies seem to need little else to get them going. Sucking on a fake phallus, as these women so eagerly do in most scenes, would likewise not do much to get most lesbians going: the only exciting thing about giving head (to a man or a woman) is the other person’s response to it—the knowledge that you’re turning that person on. The physical act of fellating is pretty neutral. But these girls sucking on a glass dildo and moaning in ecstasy? No. It makes me roll my eyes and fast forward because it’s neither convincing nor arousing.
But I can handle the silly little things like those. There are others that get me more annoyed, like the licking. Oh my god, the licking!
I’ve been reviewing porno DVDs for going on three years now, and I could probably still count on both hands the number of times I’ve seen a satisfying-looking lesbian oral sex scene in a mainstream porn film. It’s that bad. I understand—really, I do—that the point of porn is not for the performers to actually feel good, but rather to show the sex acts in detail so the viewer will feel good while watching them. I get it. And I get that cunnilingus is not easy to show on film—there’s not a lot of action, really, and the cranium of person doing the lingus-ing always gets in the way of the lights and camera. The whole point of the act is the physical contact between the lingus-er and the lingus-ee, but the more contact, the more shadow and less room for the camera. So I comprehend why these spray-tanned young women lap at each other’s nether regions like the world’s most refined kittens at an eye dropper of milk. But just because I understand the logistics does not make it any more fun to watch them grunting and moaning and writhing when I can tell from the mostly dry state of their hoo-has that they can hardly even feel it! The clitoris may be the most sensitive organ in the male or female body, but you still have to touch it, and not as if you’re afraid it will break off, to get a lady going! It upsets me because I can’t feel good about it as the viewer unless I at least have reason to believe that the performers also feel good, and these scenes just do not convince me!
Another thing that bugs me is the use of fingers! Oh lord! Female orgasm induced after mere seconds of simple in-and-out with one digit? Yeah. No. Depending on which study you read and who funded it, the percentage of women who can orgasm from penetration alone ranges from a mere seven to twenty percent, and while I’m sure many female porn performers are among that small percentage (hell, if more of us could do that, we’d probably all be in porn!) I do not believe for one second that all of them have this ability. The numbers just don’t stack up. And I don’t believe, either, that even the women who can come just from penetration can necessarily do so when it’s just one little lonely finger doing it, and inexpertly, at that.
It angers me that the men in charge of this industry (by which I mean both those on the production side and the consumers, because really, they’re all the ones running it) are so willfully ignorant about women, but again, that’s not the point of porn. The point is to make the viewers feel like sex gods, and presenting them with women who can orgasm that quickly and easily is a good way to do that. But let me point out that except in very rare (and very lucky) cases, real women do not respond to one-finger penetration, fancy-feast tongue lapping, or glass dildos like they do in porn films. And yet I have been with at least a few men who seem to have taken this porn-centric reality about female sexual response a bit too much to heart—one went to great lengths to tell me that he didn’t have a problem going down on women, “unlike a lot of his friends.” I was excited to hear it, but when we got to the bedroom, I got a performance very much akin to someone with a sensitive palate trying to consume a wedge of fresh lemon. Just the very tongue tip, lapping ever so softly. I let it go, assuming he was just warming up, but when he popped up with a huge grin on his face mere moments later, I realized I’d been deceived. And so had he. Now that I’ve watched these “lesbian” scenes, I know who was responsible. And I’m pissed. If he’s reading this right now, he’s probably pissed too. But here’s the thing: he’s not the only one! I’ve had variations of this experience with other men, all of whom seem to think female sexual response is easier to trigger than, well, anything with a trigger. It ain’t right.
But even with the lame and unsatisfying oral sex and treatment of penetration and silly dildo sucking, I’m still willing to put up with these lame lesbian scenes a lot of the time. What can I say? I like watching girlie love. But there is one thing that I cannot, no matter how I try, reconcile with my female body and desires. One thing that makes me so angry that, when it rears its ugly head in any skin flick I’m watching, makes me stop, rant and rave at the TV for a while, throw the remote, pick it back up, and either fast-forward through the scene or turn off the DVD altogether. That thing? Acrylic nails. Not only are they usually ugly, but they are also wrong in certain settings, and one of them is a girl-girl lesbian sex scene! I simply cannot fathom how, in the years that pornography has existed in its current formats and in the many more years that women have been having sex with each other, it has apparently not occurred to the porn establishment that fingernails are sharp. They hurt when they poke into things. And they hurt a lot more when the “things” being poked are vaginas. Who on earth would go into a girl-girl scene with giant—square-tipped for Christ’s sake—fake nails on, and think, “Oh, this was a good idea”? When is the last time any of you saw an honest-to-god, real life lesbian with long, much less square, fingernails? Never, right? Ever wonder why?
And who would get behind the camera and watch those god-awful, tasteless, and dangerous claws getting anywhere near the tender, pink flesh of lady parts and not stop the scene? I just… It boggles my mind. How has nobody figured this out? How is this ok? Would anybody film, much less watch, a woman with nails like that digging them into a man’s genital flesh? Not in a million years. (Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve seen some fetish films where nails on… er… dangly bits… were all the rage, but those were for a niche audience that enjoys the sight and idea of pain. The girl-girl scenes I’m talking about here are 100% mainstream, average, ho-hum porn. If you put a fingernails-on-scrotum shot in them, the audience would run for the hills.) One would think that nobody could possibly look at those nails and think, “Man, those look like they’d be fun to stick into a very sensitive area,” but it has apparently happened on numerous occasions and been filmed for posterity. I can’t… I mean, have these people never heard of cuts? Has no one realized that when one’s flesh is cut open, the risk of STI transmission is much higher? That getting cut hurts?
Grrr… I cannot handle it. It’s yet another symptom of porn’s willingness to misrepresent human sexuality and manipulate our perceptions of what looks sexy for the sake of… what? Sales? And this one thing—the nails—has over time become the one thing that I absolutely cannot tolerate in a porno. I will not watch it.
Ok, I’m going to try to be somewhat positive about this. Going to calm down. After all, a good manicure is a very good idea for anyone who’s planning to go downtown—hangnails and ragged cuticles are not any fun to deal with, for a manor a woman. But a manicure is one thing. A set of razor-sharp talons is quite another. But, ok, I’m trying for positive vibes here… I mean, I do realize that there a lot of really excellent lesbian scenes out there where the ladies are way into lady parts and don’t decimate each other’s doo-dads with killer acrylics. As I’ve mentioned before, alt and queer and lesbian-friendly pornography out there in the world continues to proliferate, and I’ve seen some really well-done scenes in just the past few months. Even mainstream lesbian scenes are starting to feature fewer French manicures these days. As time goes on I’ve seen proportionally more women who seem to really enjoy women arrive on the scene, but the vast majority of girl-girl sex scenes out there still look like exactly what they are: two straight women doing something they find pretty distasteful. It’s a shame, because it’s teaching porn viewers completely untrue things about how to have sex with a woman, and the last thing this world needs is more misinformation on that count.