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The V-Spot: Watching Porn in Public with Bella Vendetta

It’s not what you’d expect — this whole watching porn in a room full of strangers with your friends thing. On Saturday night, in an expansive room of the Eastworks building, about 50 of us did just that. And it was a wicked good time.

The Training of Poe is an award-winning documentary-style erotic film shot in the beautiful hills of Western Massachusetts. The indie porn/documentary hybrid (docuporn?) follows the two-day BDSM submissive training of Chelsea Poe at the instruction of local professional and lifestyle dominatrix Bella Vendetta.

Heavy on power play, and low on overt penetrative sex acts, the film takes viewers through a lovely arc of intentional consent negotiations, playfulness, tenderness, sexiness, and really at many points, downright humor.

Vulnerable and self-assured in both their work and in person, Chelsea Poe and Bella Vendetta nearly charmed the pants off us, and watching the film in their company complete with a Q&A was one of my favorite things I’ve done this fall. Lucky me, I got to have a little chat with Bella Vendetta afterwards.

Yana: What are three things you hope people take away from watching the Training of Poe?

Bella: 1.) That BDSM doesn’t always have to look like Fifty Shades of Grey.

2.) That sexuality and sex can go far beyond traditional orgasms.

3.) The natural beauty of Western Mass and how unique fetish films made here are.

Yana: How did you get started doing this work and what motivates you to keep doing it?

Bella: I got started by doing a formal training at the world’s oldest BDSM training chateau. Messages I get from students and retirees alike thanking me for opening their minds up to new ways of thinking about sex and sexuality is what makes me want to keep going.

Yana: What’s the hardest part of this work?

Bella: It’s just so much WORK — actual labor that’s exhausting. The stigma that goes along with this work because you’re a sex worker can get overwhelming. Then, most folks don’t view your work as actual work, so it’s a constant fight for legitimacy.

Yana: In what ways do you think watching smut is positively sex educational?

Bella: For the queer community, it’s one of the only places where we can see our sexualities being played out in an authentic way.

Yana: How do you prioritize consent in these projects and how can we apply that to our real, everyday sex lives?…continue reading on ValleyAdvocate.com where you can also watch a NSFW trailer of the Training of Poe…

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Husband Seeks Female-Friendly Sex Ed

Hi Yana,

My wife is interested in exploring her sexuality a little further — things she might be interested in trying, etc. — but is hoping to do so in a way that is female- and feminist-friendly. Do you have any suggestions for things she can do or read either individually or with me?

— Helpful Husband

Hello HH,

My favorite kind of husband is the one willing to lend a helping hand to his partner’s continued sexual exploration — especially when they’re flexible about their level of involvement!

Googling “sex” willy-nilly on the internet can get sticky to say the least. Before y’all surf the web, hit the books. Come As You Are by our very own local sexpert Emily Nagoski is the first thing to read. This is one of the most comprehensive, shame-reducing and normalizing books about sex I’ve read. Her helpful worksheets direct the reader through some great self-reflection and sexual explorations and can be done solo or with a partner (that’s you, HH!).

Other good readings include Mating in Captivity by my professional idol Esther Perel and O WOW: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm by Jenny Block.

Watching feminist porn either solo or with a partner is great sexploration fodder. Feminist porn isn’t that wam-bam-thank-you-whatever-your-name-was mainstream porn you find easily when you Google “porn.” Feminist porn is intentionally made for the non-male gaze, is often directed by women and queer people, features scenes co-created by the performers, and proudly displays real orgasms and consent practices. (Read my past column, Grass Fed Porn for more on feminist porn.)

Tristan Taormino directs great feminist-friendly sex educational porn she calls “expert guides” on topics that include female orgasms, the G-spot, oral sex, threesomes, and rough sex that blend smut and educational lecture for a real pleasurable learning experience.

Also, your truly humble sex columnist teaches a variety of workshops on topics such as the G-spot, kink, anal sex, non-monogamous relationships, and sex toys! You can find my upcoming workshops at yanatallonhicks.com.

Sexual shame can be a heavy shroud to lift for a lot of people — especially women, queer people and other folks who have not been granted the same social permission to talk about and explore their sexuality and experiences of sexual pleasure that straight men have enjoyed…continue reading…