So let’s say that you and your guy are settled in for a romantic evening, and he suggests that you enjoy some XXX rated entertainment via your friendly neighborhood porno channel.
“Oh, joy,” you muse, rolling your eyes heavenward. “Will we be enjoying a viewing of ‘Gang Bang Sluts’ or ‘Cheerleader Baby-sitters III’? Since I missed the first two installments of this epic trilogy, I seriously doubt that I could grasp the true and deep meaning of the third.”
Well never fear Ladies; the dawn of women’s adult entertainment, delivered straight to your TV, has arrived—or should we say, the Dusk?
Recently recognized by the Feminist Porn Awards, Dusk! is an adult cable and VOD service that specializes in the broadcast of porna; adult films made by and for women. On this channel you see movies handpicked by a panel of female adult viewers; and thanks to these ladies, you are far more likely to see films with titles like Need Your Love and Cabaret Desire: In Wonderland, films by studios like Playgirl and directors such as Candida Royalle and Petra Joy, than Squirt on My Face 5. And you’ll see the work of filmmakers like Ms. Naughty, the revered feminist adult writer and content creator who puts female fantasies on film.
“I’ve got a few films on Dusk!: Connections, The Thought Of Her plus two shorts, That’s What I Like and Fucking Is The Only Prayer. I’m hoping there’ll be more in the very near future,” said Ms. Naughty, whose work can be found at IndigoLush.com and BrightDesire.Com.
“I first met (Dusk! creators) Martijn and Liesbet in Berlin in 2008 when they were first planning Dusk and we had a great chat about porn for women and what it means,” she said. “Since then they’ve built a fantastic business and I admire them for being bold enough to understand that women will watch and pay for porn. I think it’s fabulous that they’re expanding into America.”
Ms. Naughty sees Dusk! as an exciting development in the area of adult entertainment for women.
“I’ve made a career out of trying to offer porn to straight women. Even now, female viewers are regularly ignored or sidelined by mainstream porn so those who are making an effort to cater to a female audience should be applauded. Over the last 14 years I’ve seen porn become much more accepted and I think younger women are completely comfortable with it; far more than when I first started out,” she said. “Having Dusk TV as a cable option is really important because it shows that there really is an audience for this type of content. And it provides a vital distribution outlet for the independent and self-funded filmmakers – such as myself – to get our work out to a wider audience.”
For female viewers, Ms. Naughty says, “Dusk TV shows that there IS porn out there that doesn’t ignore them as a viewer. Even today, women have a hard time finding content that doesn’t insult them or ignore their needs. The search engines don’t help at the moment; many people end up on the porn tube sites and think what they see in the dodgy ‘female friendly’ categories is all there is. That’s not true. There’s such a huge variety of feminist and female-inclusive porn out there. Dusk shows that porn doesn’t always have to be the same old clichéd, sexist stuff. And it also shows that ‘porn for women’ isn’t just soft-focus, candlelit romance (or pics of guys doing housework). You’ll find a huge diversity of content on Dusk.”
Ms. Naughty also likes the fact that, when it comes to Dusk! programming, viewers make the call.
“I also applaud Dusk for having the Dusk panels. They’re the only porn company that’s done any serious statistical research into ‘what women want,’” she said. “In my own career, I’ve gone on what I myself wanted to see, plus feedback. But Dusk have done the proper research. I think that’s vital and we need to pay attention to what the viewers are saying. Their research shows that yes, women do want to see a different kind of porn.”
Laurie Handlers, author, radio show host, and erotic film producer, agrees that the ‘dawn of Dusk!’ is a welcome and revolutionary one.
“I am eager to welcome a TV station that caters to the erotic tastes of women,” said Handlers. “This could be considered a revolution! In fact, I feel it is redefining the porn industry by calling their offerings ‘porna.’ I am thrilled to be a part of it!”
Also thrilled is Dusk! co-creator and porna expert Liesbet Zikkenheimer, who is now preparing to introduce ladies in the US to the concept of porna.
Megan: Dusk TV is an exciting adult cable channel for women now making its official launch in the United States. To a lady that is new to the Dusk! experience, how would you describe the channel and its programming?
Liesbet: We are starting in the USA with films, which you can see by VOD on your television. We hope that the whole channel will follow later….
What does Dusk! offer? And why is Dusk! so unique? We offer porna, that is erotic films or porn (by VOD or the 24/7 channel), that are chosen by women. Not the 3 women who comprise the editor staff of Dusk!, but films chosen by a panel of 2000 women. Dusk uses a self-selected panel of over 2000 women to decide what content is shown. All kinds of porn are being reviewed by the panel, but what they really like, what the women of the panel found really hot will be broadcast by Dusk! and that is what we call porna.
Dusk! uses the term “porna” to describe the content we offer. We created this term as an alternative to the phrase “porn for women” or “porn chosen by women”; it essentially means the same thing. We settled on that word because in European languages, adding the suffix “-a” to a word makes it feminine. They wanted an alternative to the word “porno” which can be read as masculine due to the “-o” suffix.
Is it soft porn, or porn with a good story? Or lesbian porn? It is a misunderstanding that porn chosen by women should be soft, or should have a good story line. No, the women of the Dusk! panel also like explicit hard porn and there should not be a long story before the action starts. More important is, that there is real passion, that the sex play gives both partners fun and pleasure, that it is a play of given and taken for both. That you can see both the beautiful bodies but also the body language and the passion in the eyes. And the women of the Dusk! panel are mainly straight and they prefer to look at straight people having sex; (lesbian scenes), however, are not necessarily unpopular.
Megan: Dusk! made its debut in the Netherlands, with its programming determined by a panel of female erotica fans. When did the channel debut and how has it been received by audiences overseas?
Liesbet: Dusk! was started in 2009 by a small TV cable company: Caiway. But in 2010 Dusk! was broadcasting a 24/7 channel broadcast by all the biggest TV cable companies in the Netherlands: UPC, Ziggo and KPN. You can say, that almost every household in the Netherlands can choose Dusk! It was a big success. We got a lot attention from the media. Newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. And through all that media attention, the Dusk panel was growing. A lot of women want to become members, so they can have influence on the programming of Dusk!
In 2011, one of the biggest women magazines in the Netherlands–Viva.nl–came to us, and wanted to do a PR (promo). They wanted to give a free sample DVD with 5 examples of very hot porna clips with their magazine. It was one of the bestselling items of this magazine, and nowadays, still I meet women who own these DVDs. In 2012 they wanted to do the same, but this time the readers of Viva could choose which clip was the hottest and should be on the free DVD.
Megan: Tell us more about the Dusk! programming team.
Liesbet: First we start by searching all over the world and the aim was to find “porn for women.” We started with the help of Candida Royalle and Petra Joy. But we also visited all kinds of alternative porn film festivals to find unknown and independent erotic filmmakers. We were also talking to the big porn labels like Wicked, Vivid, Playgirl that make porn for couples. And all those films have to been seen and reviewed by the ladies of the Dusk porn panel. If a film or scene is rejected by the ladies of the panel, it will not be broadcast by Dusk! At this moment Yvette Luhrs and I are searching for new material, for new contact with filmmakers, and are preparing the selection for the Dusk panel. And the Dusk panel is in fact our programming team. Sometimes we find new content by reading Reddit and the opinion of women who like porn over there, or we find new content at an alternative film festival. But our network of independent female filmmakers is growing and now we can even ask them to make special for the audience of Dusk! the real porna, that just fits into the taste of the Dusk panel.
Megan: I know that Dusk! has scored several nominations from the Feminist Porn Awards. How does Dusk embody and support the concept of porna, as opposed to standard porn?
Liesbet: Standard porn is porn made for men, by men and applies to the fantasy of men. Dusk! and the Dusk! panel chooses only porn that women really like, what makes them tick and click, that is exciting, stimulating and titillating. And maybe sometimes it is a film from the mainstream porn industry, but most of the time these are films made by independent female porn directors, who know what women like. And the nice thing is, a lot of men also like the more high quality porna. Because it is less fake, there is more passion and therefore it is more exciting and thrilling.
Megan: Who are some of the leading directors and stars of feminist pornography that can be seen on Dusk?
Liesbet: We are proud to show the films of: directors from the USA: Nica Noelle, Candia Royalle, Jamye Waxman, Kelly Holland (Megan’s Note: I’ve worked and/or talked with all of these ladies and they ROCK!); directors from Europe: Petra Joy, Erika Lust, Anna Span, Ovidie; and directors from Australia: Ms. Naugthy, Michelle Flyn. Of course, we also hope that we can soon show the films of Tristan Taormino (USA).
Megan: We’re seeing a real women’s sexual revolution right now, with the success of online magazines like Scandalous Women, written erotica, movies like Magic Mike and TV shows like Gigolos. And of course, Playgirl must be credited for paving the way. What part does Dusk! play in helping to sexually liberate women?
Liesbet: We hope we can help to liberate female sexuality. Just by giving people easy access to porn that is chosen by women, and also to give female porn directors a stage for showing their work. We hope that we are soon on all the TVs in all the households of the USA. So that everybody who likes to watch good and high quality porn can choose the channel of Dusk! and choose porna. We are sure that when a couple can more easily enjoy looking at a porna together, their sex lives will get an impulse. Instead of a man watching porn solo, now they can watch together. And watching together maybe leads to talking together, about what they like or dislike. But they also get new inspiration, for new experiments.
Megan: How can US viewers join the Dusk! panel? And how and where can they see Dusk on their cable systems?
Liesbet: For the Dusk panel: http://www.duskpanel.com and I hope it will soon be available in the USA. Customers of: Comcast, Verizon and Cox can watch Dusk! starting June 5, 2014.