Speaking to Prof. Constance Penley’s UCSB Students

Monday I had the honor of speaking at the University of California at Santa Barbara to a class taught by Professor of Film and Media Studies, Constance Penley. Although I’ve found myself speaking at many universities lately, each experience has been completely different, and this one was exceptionally unique.

The lecture took place in the Pollack Theater, a truly gorgeous venue, boasting the biggest screen I’ve even seen anything I’ve directed on. And speaking of the screen, before I was escorted onto the stage, the first few minutes of my latest starring role, $EX  was shown. As I took my seat onstage and began to introduce myself and talk a bit abut my background and history, I was excited to see everyone paying very close attention – some even taking notes that will come into play later during my time with them.

I did go through the usual introductory information, and after that, I focused on explaining how my series came about. I was describing my formula for writing, casting, and shooting, then we screened Guide to Wicked Sex – Anal Play for Men. As the lights dimmed, I turned sideways to be able to see the screen, but I made sure I was still able to see the student’s reactions as well. On screen they saw my narration, then the amazing interviews my performers gave me, and after that, they saw some demonstrations. Suddenly, in the near dark, on the HUGE theater screen we were treated to all kinds of male anal play – blow jobs with anal exploration, rimming, handjobs, and more. Even as a seasoned professional, I was totally enthralled. I’ve never seen anything I’ve directed on a screen that big, and I’ve never shared it with such a large live audience. Due to time constraints, we stopped short of anal play with toys and strap ons, and when the lights came on, everyone looked as captivated as I felt. Every time I’ve watched porn in a large group, my experience has varied, but I’d never found the sheer curiosity and attention level as I found in Professor Penley’s class.

We concluded our time together with one of the best Q and A sessions ever. This is where the notes they were taking earlier came into play. The questions were insightful, intuitive, and really original. After the questions, I went into the lobby of the theater for awhile to meet the students personally and gift them with copies of the series and also my newest feature movie, $EX. I also answered questions privately, on a one on one basis, and then it was time to leave.

As I drove home and replayed the afternoon in my head, I thought once again about how truly grateful I am – for opportunities like this, for people like Constance, and especially for my awesome performers and crew who work so hard for me and always give me their very best. Hopefully a few of them are reading this right now – and to them and all of you – I say thanks.

xo,

jd

jessica drake to Address Film & Media Studies Students at UC-Santa Barbara

‘Guide to Wicked Sex’ Creator to Speak with ‘Feminist Porn Book’ Co-Editor Dr. Constance Penley’s Class! 

MAY 17, 2013 – SANTA BARBARA, Calif – Sexual wellness authority and modern sex educator jessica drake will lecture at University of California – Santa Barbara on Monday, May 20, as part of Dr. Constance Penley’s “Topics in Film and Popular Culture: Pornography” class. drake will be speaking with the class for a half hour, followed by a Q&A.

“Speaking at universities gives me a great opportunity to have an intelligent conversation with students, share my experiences, and let them draw their own conclusions,” says drake. “I’ve always approached my public appearances as an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge, as well as share my own experiences. Growing together as a community is how we are all able to succeed – and I’m looking forward to seeing what sexual discourse Dr. Penley’s class and I can create together.”

“jessica drake is a wickedly compelling and articulate sex educator, who is also smart, funny, and compassionate,” states Dr. Penley. “I am delighted that jessica drake is willing to take time out of her busy schedule to speak to my students about her work as a producer, sex educator, and humanitarian. We are grateful for her generosity.”

Dr. Penley’s major areas of research interest are film history and theory, feminist theory, cultural studies, contemporary art, and science and technology studies. She has penned several volumes on film, sex, pornography and feminism, and is the co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, with Tristan Taormino, Mireille Miller-Young, and Celine Parreñas Shimizu. Dr. Penley also serves on the editorial board of the newly launched peer-reviewed journal Porn Studies and is Co-Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, which supports teaching, research, and public programming about media.

According to the UCSB Film and Media Studies course description, “[‘Topics in Film and Popular Culture: Pornography’] approaches pornography as a major instance of film and popular culture, from the pre-history and history of cinema and video to the Internet and virtual worlds. Course content [is] augmented by guest lectures from the adult industry and academia.”

Recently, drake was a guest lecturer at Pasadena City College for Dr. Hugo Schwyzer’s “Navigating Pornography” class; she also spoke at Chapman University with the “Psychology 340: Human Sexuality” class taught by Assistant Professor David Frederick for the Crean School of Health and Life Sciences. She is also a noted expert in USA Today’s November 2012 Sexual Health and Wellness supplement.

“jessica drake was an exceptional speaker. She not only shared her views on the pornography industry, but more broadly spoke to students about sexual health,” Dr. Frederick said. “She communicated to students ways of learning to become comfortable with one’s own body and learning how to communicate their desires to their partners. She emphasized the importance of understanding and respecting one’s own limits when it comes to sex, and accepting that different people have very different preferences. jessica was a true pleasure to have in class, and the students learned a great deal from her presentation. I would highly recommend her as a speaker for any class related to media issues, gender, or sexuality.”

Dr. Schwyzer echoed Dr. Frederick’s sentiment, adding, “jessica isn’t just an industry superstar, she’s a veteran activist and an articulate and important advocate for pleasure, for common sense, and an end to sexual shame. On screen and off, she’s an incandescent personality and, I have to believe, a tremendous role model for my students. I’m so glad they had an opportunity to hear from her.”

To read jessica drake’s recap of her visit to Chapman University, visit here. For an interview and recap regarding her visit to Pasadena City College, visit here and here.

To help advance her sex education mission, drake writes, produces, and directs the video series “jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex,” which has received positive reviews from adult industry authorities including XBIZ, AVN and Fleshbot.com. The production “jessica drake’s Guide Wicked Sex: Anal” received the 2012 XBIZ award for Specialty Release of the Year and “jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Fellatio” received the AVN Award for Best Educational Release in 2012.

Scheduled for May 20 at 12:00pm, jessica drake’s lecture at Dr. Penley’s Film and Media Studies course is open to enrolled students only. Each of Dr. Penley’s 70 students is invited to bring one roommate or friend to the lecture.

For more information about jessica drake’s appearances and sex education seminar series, visit http://www.guidetowickedsex.com/seminars/.

About Dr. Constance Penley:

Constance Penley is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Co-Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and studied at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Her major areas of research interest are film history and theory, feminist theory, cultural studies, contemporary art, and science and technology studies. She is a founding editor of Camera Obscura: Feminism, Media, Cultural Studies and editor or co-editor of the influential collections Feminism and Film Theory, Male Trouble, Technoculture, The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Science and Gender, and The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure (with Tristan Taormino, Mireille Miller-Young, and Celine Parreñas Shimizu). Her books include The Future of an Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis, NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America, and the forthcoming Teaching Pornography. She is co-producer of Porn 101 with Katie Morgan for HBO Documentaries. Her collaborative art projects are “MELROSE SPACE: Primetime Art by the GALA Committee” and “Biospheria: An Environmental Opera,” on which she was co-librettist. Penley is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Award and the Kenneth Burke Society Prize in Rhetorical Criticism.

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Sparking Conversations on Sexuality at CatalystCon East

This weekend I returned to CatalystCon for the second time – this one took place in Washington D.C./Arlington, VA. From the first evening reception to the closing keynote speech, delivered by Robert Lawrence and Carol Queen, everything was just as amazing as it was last year – maybe even more so now that I have come to know what to expect.

The conference began with a lively warm-up and social lubrication by Maria Falzone and shortly afterward, it was time for the opening keynote plenary, moderated by Tristan Taormino. I was one of the speakers, along with Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, Dr. Hernando Chaves, and Ducky Dolittle. Tristan came up with some interesting questions to get us started, and we spoke of what inspired us, the recent things we have done exemplifying our missions and commitment to change, and so much more. After we spoke, we took questions and comments from the audience, and we could tell everyone was motivated and ready for the next two days.

How can I possibly describe what came afterward? If I condensed my explanation, I’d say two days of brain-stimulating conversations, panels, introductions, and non-stop communication between sex-positive people from many walks of life. I attended panels on Sex Workers and Disability, Sex from the Trans Perspective, Polyamory, and Feminist Porn… and soaked it all in. I tried to go to completely different panels than I did at CatalystCon West, to get myself out of my familiar zone, and instead into realms where I don’t have much experience. Feminist Porn was the most crowded panel I attended, and I spent the entire time crouched down on the floor in the back of the room, shoulder to shoulder with everyone else. The aisles were full as we listened in awe to Constance Penley, Tristan Taormino, Dylan Ryan, and Sinnamon Love. Having just finished the Feminist Porn Book on the flight from LAX to DC, I was excited to hear more from these women. They did NOT disappoint. Each discussed their contributions to the book followed by an intense Q and A session lasting until the next panel came into the room.

I spoke on other panels as well – one on Measure B where I discussed the reality of the “condoms in porn” law with Tristan Taormino and Michael Fatterosi. Originally, when I was pitched the notion of this panel, I didn’t think that people would still be so concerned, or even consider it relevant. I was wrong. The audience intuitively understands it is much more than latex on film, it is a violation of our sexual rights as human beings and could echo repercussions far into the future, and far into our bedrooms.

The other panel I spoke on was Slut Shaming in a Sex Positive Community. Initially, we wondered about the interest in this topic, which isn’t frequently discussed, but it was nearly as packed as the Feminist Porn Panel.  In my background I have experienced Slut Shaming over the years in different degrees, but to hear it from everyone on the panel: Serpent, Femcar, Carol Queen, and Crysta Heart was comforting and reassuring. We opened up the discussion to audience questions and comments, and in that instant, started something that could have gone on for hours. We provoked thoughts; we started open dialogue; we may have even inadvertently started a disagreement/fight. I think it is a panel that must be repeated.

And the evening entertainment!
I went to Girl Gasms by Ducky Doolittle – Take it Like a Man with Charlie Glickman, and then surrendered my “Dirty Bingo” Virginity to Ducky loving every second up until the time I went to bed, knowing I had panels the next day.

I was also a guest on Tristan Taormino’s radio show, “Sex Out Loud,” and had an amazing conversation with one of my all-time inspirations. We also had a studio audience as we recorded, something I’m not used to with my show, but I actually really enjoyed. It was agreed we needed a part two to our discussion, and she may be on my show in the future.

One of the highlights of the weekend was getting #ccon trending on Twitter. Not only did CatalystCon have a hash tag, but each panel had an individual hash tag as well, so people who were unable to make the trip were still able to take part by following along as some of the panels were being live-tweeted by the audiences.

Again, I’m so honored to have been included in CatalystCon East, and even more honored to be included in such an amazing group of people onstage for the opening keynote speech. My sincere thanks goes out to the founder and organizer Dee Dennis, who took a risk having me appear last year, but did it anyway, and also to the notorious Girl Gang & The Evil Sluts who, along with Dee, are truly the glue collectively helping hold CatalystCon together. They also owe me some Nutella.

xo,
jd