Dear Candida

Porn advice from a feminist who revolutionized the industry

| September / October 2006

When Candida Royalle was starring in adult flicks in the 1970s and 1980s, pornography was about women's bodies—what they were doing and what was being done to them. In 1984 Royalle created Femme Productions and stepped behind the camera to make films about women's pleasure, pioneering a new genre of 'couples erotica' that promoted positive sexual role modeling and communication. In June, Royalle received a lifetime achievement award at the first Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto. The author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do: Sex Advice from a Woman Who Knows (Fireside, 2004), Royalle told Utne how pornography can be a healthy force in people's lives.

What advice do you have for people who are struggling with how to talk to their partners about pornography?

I always tell men that the most important thing is to make your woman feel that she is the one you desire. If the woman has any concerns that you don't find her absolutely ravishing, she's certainly not going to feel confident looking at other women on screen. Explain to her: I don't want to look at these women because I'd rather be with them, I just think it would be kind of fun-maybe we'll get some good ideas.

In some ways it's even more difficult for a woman to bring up because of the stigma that we're not supposed to like pornography. Explain to the guy that it's not that you want to be with those men or that you're comparing him to those men, but that it would just be a fun experience.



What about the person who just isn't comfortable watching porn?

If you're absolutely not comfortable, you should never feel like you have to do it. Your partner should be willing to understand that there are just places you are not comfortable going.