Sex School makes porn films that are as sensual as they are educational

Photography courtesy of Sex School

All women can squirt. Indian women are a fetish. It is my job to be submissive, and a man’s to be dominant. I should shave off all my pubes. All of these things I learned from porn when I started watching it at the age of 12, before event a hint of breast had developed on my chest.

We know that the average age that children first watch pornography is around 11 years old. Without proper education, children are left to learn a lot about sex and intimacy from the porn they stumble across online. Anyone who has watched mainstream porn knows it is miles away from a true depiction of sex. It is designed to look good, not necessarily feel good. But, what choice do people have in a world where sex, porn and intimacy are still taboo? If everyone is watching it, perhaps porn could serve as a useful outlet.

Porn literacy is just the state of understanding what we’re really seeing when we watch porn, similar to the way in which the public need media literacy to distinguish fake news. Moving towards a model of porn literacy is crucial, Berlin-based porn performer Lina Bembe told gal-dem.

The 37-year-old from Mexico has dedicated part of her career to sex education for adults and believes banishing these conversations from shame and bias is the way forward. She is working with Sex School, a platform created by Anarella Martinez, who says she wanted to “give voice to the sex workers, because, who is gonna talk best about sex than us?”. It shows explicit sex education films by certified sex coaches and porn performers, the vast majority Lina describes as “unapologetically queer”.

Lina thinks that mainstream sex education we have as a society is “inadequate” and that it needs to delve deeper than just anatomy, STDs and contraception. It should be more about mutual pleasure, sexual identity, consent, and conversations around dating and relationships. “There’s a large part of sex education that isn’t spoken about from a young age, which is where lots of abuse happens,” she says.

Over the weekend, the school showcased their unique education web series at a London-based event about art, porn, and activism, Uncensored Festival. It will soon be launched on their website. “When you’re uninformed about things, you take that into your own life, which also happens to adults,” she explains. “It’s very important to educate people about what pornography is and what pornography isn’t. We educate by not hiding things from people, but confronting these issues without shame or bias, giving them the tools for critical thinking.”

Photography courtesy of Sex School

Berlin is a “complex environment” for sex workers, Lina says. But it provides a “visible space” for alternate forms of feeling pleasure, and is inclusive of diverse bodies and sexualities, which is what she was looking for. Her career began very simply, after she arranged a coffee with a director.

When asked if she thought porn had a generally negative presentation of sex, Lina’s approach is more nuanced than you’ll often hear. “I think that porn in so many ways is a reflection of our collective realities and how we collectively think about sex,” she says. “Because as a society we are flawed, as a reflection, porn has some flawed views on stuff. It can be excessively focused on white straight men, but because society is.”

“Because as a society we are flawed, as a reflection, porn is. It can be excessively focused on white straight men, but because society is too”

Lina Bembe

Taking all of this into consideration, Lina and the team at Sex School are keen to broaden sex education in a more representative way on-screen. Their pilot episode on threesomes begins with Lina, as well as her fellow porn performers and sex coaches, Bishop Black, Sadie Lune, and Parker Marx, discussing the emotional side of threesomes. This includes everything from respect, jealousy, and boundaries to self-reflection. Lina and Parker then flip a coin to decide who will join them in engaging in a threesome for the viewers to see them put their thoughts into practice. The educational porn that follows includes natural fumbling, vocal consent and boundary-checking – such as when Sadie asked Lina if she likes being penetrated with fingers. There’s even true-to-life orgasms, complete with cuddles and chatting at the end.

According to Lina, being on set at Sex School feels great compared to conventional porn because of the ethical and working chemistry between cast and crew, and the fact that it’s “not about tapping into a fantasy”. Instead, it’s about “delivering a performance based on things that could happen in real life in order to normalise and educate”. Using the threesome episode as an example, Lina explains: “When we’re shooting a threesome in porn, there is much less warming up, and it would look more flawless, edited to go straight into intense bits of the sex.”

View this post on Instagram

Revamping the Classics ⛓✨

A post shared by Sex School (@sexschoolhub) on

Sex School’s realistic depictions of sex have received positive feedback from their audience, as they guide their viewers through the most vulnerable moments of an encounter, like their in-depth episode on kissing. In this, they discuss what makes a good kiss, body language, power dynamics, and awkward moments. Spoiler: Lina reveals she chipped a tooth during a kiss once. A sensual montage of an array of people kissing in many different ways on a neon-lit dance floor ensues. Questions have also come in from those struggling with body image, self harm, and eating disorders. “People can’t enter proper relationships with themselves and even masturbate because they have difficult relationships with their own bodies. Questions like that are really important,” Lina explains.

Mainstream porn is obsessed with categories, and as a Latinx porn performer, Lina told me she found these categories problematic. “I’m very careful about what pornographic narratives I work in. I choose not to work with companies who will portray as within any sort of tags or categories that are stereotypical for people like me, like skin colour, that I’m Latin American, speaking Spanish, the colour of my nipples. I just keep myself away from that because I cannot tolerate that.” The host of Sex School’s XO Podcast, Bishop Black, is a prominent figure in Berlin’s alternative porn scene and talks about his difficulties with racial fetishisation as a black man in porn. “I think you need to decolonise sex education, you have to have this intersectional approach to sex education that takes into account racial biases,” Lina told us.

It’s vital we come up with a new approach to sex education. How can we teach people about porn and sex in any meaningful way without teaching them about respect, love, relationships, consent, sexual identities, self-love, health, and diversity? With so many children watching porn from before they start puberty; it’s either denial or progress. Maybe it’s time we all went back to Sex School.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Sex School launch

You may also like

error: Content is protected !!