Jelena Vermilion — Why Ethical Porn?

Article by · June 1, 2017 ·

By Jelena Vermilion

I have been in the adult industry since 2013, including performing in porn since 2014. I have also been performing dance for over five years, as well as modeling in the fine arts department of a prominent Canadian university. My body and its capacity for labour is the main conduit I use to provide myself with income. Through all of these varied kinaesthetic experiences, I see consent and ethics as it relates to pornography a bit differently. I have a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of interpersonal power dynamics and how they affect our autonomy than a layperson may have.

[I]n order for pornography to be more ethical, performers’ self-advocacy of their own boundaries and comfort levels needs to be encouraged. A producer can only accommodate what they know. — Jelena Vermilion

Jelena Vermillion

Jelena Vermilion

I will preface by saying that my experiences performing in pornography have almost entirely been positive – including the fact that I’ve not felt exploited or violated during, or after, a production. I also have the intersecting experience of working with varied, international producers. Seeing how different folks operate within their own productions has also enriched my observations and thoughts about the culture.

One thing I have noticed that seems to go a long way – as far as sustaining the comfort of your models – is having few expectations of them, to start. For example: not expecting a trans model to become erect, to ejaculate, or otherwise, will actually be conducive to an environment where she will A) feel more comfortable performing, and B) possibly be more able to perform in a way that is lucrative. I recently experienced this on set when I was concerned about topping. However, due to the relaxed atmosphere, I performed well and beyond my own expectations. That being said, I also expressed my concerns and boundaries transparently. So with that being said, I think in order for pornography to be more ethical, performers’ self-advocacy of their own boundaries and comfort levels needs to be encouraged. A producer can only accommodate what they know.

Finally, I feel that it’s really important for producers and performers to have a discussion about the forthcoming production before any filming is done. This helps to set the tone and allows everyone’s boundaries be known should they express them. I have seen this approach on some but not all porn sets, and I feel this practise should be more normalized.

Find Jelena Vermilion on Facebook, Insta, and Twitter at @IsisIntrepid. Read her interview with Grooby’s Becca Benz “A Canadian original, the beautiful Jelena Vermilion!” and visit her official site – isis-intrepid.com – currently under construction, but coming soon.


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