Ethical Porn Is the Best Way To Get Off — Here’s Why

ethical porn
Courtesy of PinkLabel TV

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Porn has been around for a long time, providing a space for folks of all kinds to explore their sexuality. Unfortunately, mainstream porn hasn’t always been a safe space for porn actors and models. The male gaze is usually the only perspective we see, women are often degraded and concepts like virginity are fetishized. And free tube sites like Xtube and RedTube often host leaked revenge porn posted without the consent of the person being filmed.

But the last few years have seen the launch of several new studios and sites dedicated to eroding the old way of doing things in the adult space. As a result, feminist porn and ethical porn have bloomed, bringing more rights to the arena and offering a perspective that’s more inclusive of the female sexual experience.

  

What Is Ethical Porn?

Isabelle Uren, certified sex expert and site manager of BedBible.com tells SPY, “The main aim of ethical porn is to produce porn that protects the actors and creators working in the industry while providing the audience with diverse, representative and respectful porn that caters to female pleasure. While there are no set regulations that qualify something as ethical porn, there are some common principles.

“All activities must be consensual and actors’ boundaries must be respected. There should also be a safe working environment, and everyone involved in making the movie should be paid fairly,” says Uren. “As well as protecting the rights of the actors and other people involved, ethical porn aims to produce porn that shows a diverse range of actors and sexual acts, with a focus on feminist content.“

It’s also much more inclusive of its audience, appealing to women and a range of tastes, kinks, genders and sexual orientations. Contrary to what many think, feminist porn does not mean softcore; there are tons of ethical sites featuring hardcore and BDSM content.

Mainstream porn is often intimidating for couples to watch together, given the unrealistic nature of the scene and the often idealized bodies of the actors involved. The best ethical porn, on the other hand, shows sex in a context without clichés, which can make it more realistic (and hotter) for viewers. Think less stereotyped body shapes, fewer predictable reactions and more authentic enjoyment. Along with being a better viewing experience for hetero couples, it’s a safer space for queer people as well.

Sexual communication expert Dr. Tara says, “Ethical porn can help reinvigorate couples’ desires and passion for each other. When we’re being stimulated through media, we can transfer that excitation to real-life interaction. Ethical porn can also help relationships by demonstrating healthy sexual encounters (that’s not super fake like some traditional porn).”

  

Why Is Mainstream Porn Problematic?

When it comes to well-known studios like Brazzers, there is often little representation of the BIPOC or LGBTQ+ communities that doesn’t reduce them to fetishes.

And think twice if you’re bypassing the studios to watch your porn on a tube site like Redtube or Pornhub. While studios upload condensed clips of their releases to their channels on those free sites, many more users upload pirated clips, making it hard to tell where content is coming from. Free porn doesn’t benefit anyone except the people getting off to it. And if you do use free sites, consider finding out who made the videos you’re watching and see if you can contribute via their site or fan platform account.

Non-profit organizations like the Sex Work Survival Guide are helping to advocate for the safety and rights of sex workers, but with smaller indie studios like our recommended picks below, studios are implementing better pay and boundaries.

  

Tips for Exploring Ethical Porn

  • Pay for your porn

Pornography isn’t different from any other business venture — people need to pay to enjoy it. If it’s a free service that doesn’t require payment, chances are the creators and actors aren’t being paid fairly to produce it. Shelling out a few bucks can also help ensure that your porn is high quality, features updated content and is never boring.

Angie Rowntree, founder and director of ethical porn site Sssh.com, explains, “Free content often hurts artists and studios — but especially those of us who are independent and invested in presenting a unique vision. When you pay for your porn, you, the consumer, become an integral part of our ethical business practice. It helps us pay a fair wage to the actors, crew and our staff.  It also pays for all production and post-production costs.

“Paying for your porn is a sign of respect to everyone who made it possible, and it guarantees that we will be out in force making more of the content you love, so it’s a win-win.”

  • Do your research

Consider doing your research before you’re in the mood for pleasure. That way, you‘ll have a healthy list of video or photo resources when you’re ready to masturbate. A new kind of bedroom playlist, if you will. Some might be more kink-forward, while others might focus on amateur actors rather than staged scenes. By curating a list of sites according to your needs, you’ll have fast access to steamy content at all times. Consider the way you’d like to consume your content as well. Do you prefer to rent or buy videos, or does a streaming model fit your needs best? Do you prefer audio over visual stimulation? Would you like to talk one-on-one with the performers you’re watching? All of these factors will help you find the content that’s right for you.

  • Get to know your favorite stars

Everyone loves a new social media follower — especially when so many platforms institute shadow bans on adult performers, making it difficult for them to appear in search results. Some sites, like Ersties, even include interviews with the performers on their websites so you get a sense of their personalities, while services like Only Fans allow you to directly interact.

Knowing that the performers you’re watching are respected and paid fairly is the most empowering way to get off. Here are all the best ethical porn sites to help you maximize that self-pleasure session. Fair warning: Many of these links are NSFW.

  

1. Ersties

BEST OVERALL

German ethical porn company Ersties has gone viral on TikTok for showcasing its pre-filming consent conversations with models. Created by performer, filmmaker and pornographer Paulita Pappell, Ersties puts a focus on amateur performers.

The archive of images and videos from this independent studio is packed with 11 years’ worth of high-quality content (HD videos and high-res photos only) that’s updated five times a week. Viewers can get to know performers with lengthy interviews where they talk about their sexuality and the areas they’d like to explore. Ersties fans love that they get the amateur experience without sacrificing visual quality.

It also stands out from the crowd of competitors and mainstream porn sites in that it offers not just realistic action from couples and amateurs, but shows naturally unfolding scenarios so that it’s relatable as possible. This opens up the possibility of acting these scenarios out with a partner after you watch. Plus, all their content is 100% exclusive to their site, and, best of all, there’s no download limit.

ersties Courtesy of Ersties
  

2. OnlyFans

RUNNER UP

Subscription-based fan platforms like Only Fans are pioneers in ethical porn in that performers are creating their own content and selling it directly to consumers. It cuts out the middleman, giving performers control and money (besides the 20% fee taken out of their cut). On OnlyFans, the creator is fully in charge of the experience, and the tiered payment options make it a versatile choice. Plus, subscribers can DM their favorite creators and interact with them, sending video requests, tips and more.

A rep for OnlyFans’ PR agency Lexington says, “Due to its inclusive nature, many adult content creators choose to use OnlyFans to connect with their online fan base and monetize their content. OnlyFans has positively disrupted the creator economy and the adult content industry.

“Creator safety is a top priority. Prioritizing identity verification and safety means OnyFans knows who is creating and sharing content and the subscription model means we know who is getting paid for the content and that our content creators remain in control of their content. By upending the traditional revenue model by paying creators 80% of all earnings, OnlyFans has been able to pay out $7.5 billion to our ever-growing community of more than 2 million creators since 2016.”

Only Fans Courtesy of Only Fans
  

3. Bellesa

BEST FOR WOMEN

Sex toy and ethical porn platform Bellesa is all about inclusive, unscripted content that helps women understand and fulfill their desires. It’s porn made by women and for women, but all genders will appreciate their erotic clips. Featuring cams, videos, written erotic stories and images, there’s lots of variety and exploration of the fact that women are “subjects of pleasure, not objects of conquest,” as their website puts it.

Porn is often male-dominated but Bellesa focuses on female sexuality and turning women on, making it an ideal choice for couples. In a world where major search terms are “teen” and ”step-mom,” it’s clear why women are hesitant to watch porn. Plus, Bellesa includes an equal focus on male bodies and noises. They have free videos in a range of categories like girl-on-girl, rough and passionate, but signing up for Bellesa Plus gets you 1,000+ 4K videos, 50+ premium channels and other perks.

Bellesa Courtesy of Bellesa
  

4. Sssh.com

BEST STORYLINES

This crowd-sourced erotic film platform was one of the first “Porn for Women” sites and aims to artistically explore sexual desires and fantasy. With gorgeous visual storytelling, narrative film and VR features, this site is perfect if you love an intelligent narrative and need some context for your masturbation session. Female-led and female-focused, Sssh is an award-winning indie adult cinema choice for women and couples. The sophisticated content is inspired by members’ shared fantasies and brought to life in the most powerful way possible.

The Sssh Soiree video viewing platform allows members to invite guests to watch movies together for an elevated watch party, which no other platform is currently offering. And Sssh.com offers a helpful $5.00 two-day trial to see if it’s up your alley. They’ve also won more adult entertainment awards than their competitors, and they host live-stream discussions called MindBrowse.

“The Sssh.com experience is unique because we produce the content our members ask for,” says founder Angie Rowntree. “Everything that exists on Sssh.com is there because members have requested it via our long-running survey. The sex carries the story forward; it’s not the story. We are a very collaborative studio, which greatly enhances our films. Our sex scenes are filled with chemistry, passion and mutual pleasure.

“Our movies are our foundation; however, we also offer guided masturbation, erotic stories, audio content, ASMR and articles and videos on various sexual wellness topics. We also have sex toy reviews, suggested movie/sex toy pairings, the ‘Ask a Man’ panel and ‘Sssh Members Share,’ where members submit stories and anecdotes on different topics ranging from aftercare to their favorite self-pleasure techniques. If you’re in the mood for ’emerging technology,’ we have a virtual world to explore, and, of course, Sssh Soirée if you want to invite a friend.”

Sssh.com Courtesy of Sssh.com
  

5. Make Love Not Porn

BEST FOR AMATEURS

Cindy Gallop, the founder of Make Love Not Porn, is all about providing a platform that shows real sex with real people. Encouraging body confidence in viewers so they can feel as sexy as possible, this site isn’t as slick as professionally produced porn — here, real couples can submit videos of themselves getting down and dirty and half the money goes directly back to the stars themselves. With a rent-and-stream model, this user-generated site is ideal for those who feel intimidated by produced porn and would prefer to see someone onscreen to whom they can relate. You can preview content with a sneak peek in the form of intro videos, which are chosen by the creators.

Beyond the transparency on how much performers earn and the ability to rent and stream content, Make Love Not Porn can help boost body confidence in men and women, blurring the lines between porn and sex.

They acknowledge and include the silly and quirky moments that can occur during — and skip the performative cliches.

Make Love Not Porn Courtesy of Make Love Not Porn
  

6. Dipsea

BEST AUDIO PORN

If your ears are one of your erogenous zones, check out Dipsea, an audio porn site that offers clips in every flavor, for a range of interests and fantasies. Scripts are written in-house, and Dipsea partners with paid voice actors to bring them to life. In their stories, they’re as obsessive about details as they are with their characters’ consent and chemistry, making for a more “immersive sonic experience,” as they put it. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find a story to get you going, and it can be a spicy form of foreplay to try with a partner. Monthly subscriptions start at just $9, making it one of the most affordable (and discreet) options.

Every month, this service becomes more representative and inclusive. They pay attention not just to the narratives, but to telling positive queer stories and prioritizing the casting of characters voiced by people of color — over 50% of the content at Dispsea is POC-voiced, while over 25% is queer content. Realism is also an important factor. Beyond stories, Dipsea also offers modes like erotic breathwork and meditation.

They recently also launched a celebrity-driven audio storytelling series, voiced by actor Sarunas Jackson of Insecure.

Unlike other erotic audio stories, you can hear the build-up between the actors and the sound of them having sex. Perfect for those who prefer to ease in with sensuality rather than straight-up action, or for those who feel triggered and intimidated. Plus, all the sex is imaginary! Is there a better ethical guarantee? The mind-first approach is one of the safest forms of porn, and a useful arousal tool for all genders.

 

Dipsea Courtesy of Dipsea
  

7. Afterglow

MOST EDUCATIONAL

A newer platform, women-led site Afterglow posts a ton of cinematic sex, filled with that intimacy and passion viewers crave. But unlike other sites, Afterglow puts a focus on sexual wellness and sex education, with an articles section covering everything from how to watch porn with your partner to building sexual confidence. There’s also an entire dedicated guide to ethical porn. Head to the “Journeys” tab to pick from different goals, like improving partner connection, exploring desire and having more satisfying sex. Each film is accompanied by articles, audio and exercises, making it an approachable way to get your pleasure and education on.

Founder Lilly Sparks shares, “What sets us apart from everybody is: Afterglow is porn that helps you have a great sex life. Porn was ranked the No. 1 resource to learn about sex, so Afterglow makes porn you can learn from. Cosmo was always ’50 Ways to Please Your Man,’ but where do you go to learn how to please yourself? Afterglow has sexy videos, guided masturbation and partner exercises to help you live your best life.”

Afterglow Courtesy of Afterglow
  

8. PinkLabel TV

BIGGEST SELECTION

With niches like gay, trans, threesomes and more, there are tons of options on PinkLabel, including its originals and award-winning content from other studios. From categories like BIPOC porn to vintage classics, the range of content you’ll find here is unparalleled. They consistently add 20 new titles a month and while signup is free, movies must be rented or bought.

While variety is a major perk with this site, so is inclusivity, as it offers plenty of stars with disabilities as well as POC and members of the LGBTQ+ community. For viewers looking for more representation of fluid sexuality and blurred gender lines, PinkLabel stands out from the crowd. Its ethically-produced porn is for more than just women and doubles as a safe space for marginalized communities to watch what they crave.

As marketing director, Jiz Lee explains, “PinkLabel.TV aims to bring films screened at international adult film festivals to an online audience. Our site was created by filmmaker Shine Louise Houston in 2012, inspired by her trips to the PornFilmFestival Berlin. Our curation currently hosts works by 200 filmmakers from around the world, spanning classics to contemporary, and broadcasts virtual film screenings with artist Q&As.

“We offer an adult film calendar to track upcoming events and a blog with resources and adult film guides. We’ve partnered with Takedown Piracy to provide copyright protection for artists and are proud members of the adult industry’s trade and advocacy organization, the Free Speech Coalition.“

The site is an ideal hub for emerging and independent producers who aren’t yet able to afford their own website due to the high costs of credit card processors working with adult content. They also operate a queer-centric site called Crash Pad Series, where performers script their own sex scenes in collaboration with their director and crew.

PinkLabel TV Courtesy of PinkLabel TV
  

9. Four Chambers

MOST ARTISTIC

If you majored in film in college or just appreciate some aesthetic artistry while getting your rocks off, take a look at Four Chambers. This erotic content challenges the presentation of modern porn and is stunningly filmed — we’re talking light contrasts, mythological narratives and sharp color. This highly stylized website comes courtesy of Vex Ashley, an adult film star with a background in photography who has created an unconventional form of elevated (but accessible) arthouse porn that you’ll never be bored by.

Producer-director Rachael says, “For me, ethical porn means prioritizing the welfare of those involved in a production who are at most risk. That’s not just the risk of working with your body but also the risk of the stigma and the shame that society heaps on people who put their sexual selves on film.

“This means paying performer fees that are as high as possible and working in collaboration with performers to make a set that feels like their needs are paramount. This means flexibility as a director to read, listen and work around performers’ needs on the day of a shoot.

“I also give performers control in post-production, to veto or remove any shots they’re unhappy with so that there’s a degree of control of their own image. I try to be the best producer-director for my own performer self.”

Four Chambers Courtesy of Four Chambers
  

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