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Madison Young emphasizes loving connection in Santa Cruz workshop

Santa Cruz, California – from – Embracing your lover weightlessly in a spaceship, getting down in a public place or making the ice melt with a complete stranger — whatever your fantasies, participants learned how to make them come alive on screen during the “DIY Porn” workshop taught by adult performer Madison Young downtown at Pure Pleasure.

“We’re a woman-owned, woman-made store. So we liked the fact that she was a woman and an independent producer,” said Amy Baldwin, who founded Pure Pleasure with her mother Janis Baldwin in June 2008.

“Porn is a powerful way to communicate about sex and to communicate with your partner,” Young said to the audience.

A feminist director, Young said she wanted her students to forget the stereotypes of mainstream porn.

“Just like McDonald’s finds a way to do fast burgers, they find a way to do fast porn,” Young said. “They just miss a thing that is called pleasure.”

The short, red-haired woman arrived in San Francisco in 2001 and co-founded the art gallery Femina Potens, dedicated to providing a greater visibility for women and transgendered people. Young has always been an exhibitionist, she said, taping her sexual relations. But she created her own studio in 2005, Madison Young Productions, for other reasons.

“I wanted to document our sexual culture,” Young said.

While some view pornography as simply the documenting of prostitution, highlighting an exchange of money, the 29-year-old Young rather focuses on the pleasure earned in the exchange, using the word “sexography” instead.

Last week’s class on making sexualized movies begins with some stretching and breathing. Young warms up the minds of her students, introducing the story of a woman playing with her car keys, then pushing the audience to carry on the fantasy with images crossing their minds. Participants, ranging from the early 20s to the mid-50s, slowly spoke their desires aloud.

The next step is creating a storyboard. Young gives away cards on which she asks her students to detail precisely three “dirty images” they have in mind. Those images are future movie shots that they can put in a certain order, “the way movie director Quentin Tarantino moves his cards and how it affects the viewer,” says Young.

“You need to have a vision that you are working toward. Shoot for the moon, think about the moon, but then really come down to earth,” said Young, emphasizing that filming can be pricey.

As the workshop delves deeper into the meaning behind every movie, Young brings her students to the notion of positive sex, a new form or expression that the bondage model considers the future of porn.

“Positive sex is showing authentic communication and connection,” Young said.

The director further illustrates the concept, telling how she shoots real-life partners, casts all performers herself and shares an authentic experience on screen. To Young, positive sex embraces all things related to the true reality and chemistry of sex, such as filming from a woman’s point of view.

A regular client of Pure Pleasure, Annie Boheler, 20, comes to sex-education classes once a month. Boheler considers the shop an “open, safe and sexy place,” she said.

Talking with Young afterward, Boheler said she had “never heard of porn like that,” and really liked discovering it was the only industry in which women earn twice as much as their male co-workers.

Others, like Jim Vocelka, had a greater interest in technical advice regarding the release paperwork, the distribution circuit, and the promotion of films, in case he would like to break into business.

“This idea has been rolling around in my head for 30 years,” said Volceka, a 50-year-old Prunedale resident.

Whether they decide to take the step or not, couples all walked out of the workshop with new ideas to spice up their sexual life, along with broken taboos — a goal Baldwin and her mother set up when they created Pure Pleasure on the model of the San Francisco shop Good Vibrations.

“We need a place like this in Santa Cruz,” Baldwin said. “It’s hard for women to find sex shops they feel secure in.”


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