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To Choke or Not to Choke: Consumer Choices


Fuck Slaves 3 by Jake Malone!

Any of you out there that have read my reviews over the past 8 or 9 years know that I am a huge proponent of consumer choice in what they can watch (as long as the porn involves consenting adults). This philosophy is in keeping with the Xcritic Mission Statement (paraphrased below):

"Xcritic exists for one simple reason. We sift through the choices
out there and help you find the ones worth your time and money. We do this to help you find the
best of what you are looking for

Pretty straightforward, yes? We're always looking for like-minded folks to review with this in mind and we do our best to embrace this concept while so many others pander to the industry, personal interests, or simply just don't give a fuck about you.  Unlike some places, we don't let industry insiders masquerade as "consumer reviewers" to shill their latest titles, nor do we expect most of you to simply take our word for it when we share our thoughts on titles we check out. Because of this stance to bring you insights on what you want, there are some out there that get upset, attacking our credibility, our motivations, and least importantly, our personal tastes in porn.  ;)

Butt Licking Anal Whores #10 by Khan Tusion was rough!

Recently, I engaged in something of a debate regarding choking in porn titles.  I make it clear in my reviews that I'm not a huge fan of guys abusing women in porn when the women are not "into it".  I know some of you truly find such porn appealing and it gets you off quicker than a wad of hundred dollar bills attract strippers and I'm fine with that, signifying such titles in the body of my reviews as "made for a different type of audience than me".  That said, if a lady likes being choked or engaging in "breath play" and shows it in how turned on she looks in her scenes or how passionate she gets during such a scene, I'm going to acknowledge that too and reward the title with a higher score.  Mutual consenting partners going at each other with a sense of lust and energy is a major turn on for many people, myself included.

My detractor in all this (a friend who shall go unnamed) was quick to point out the dangers of choking in his comments to me, leaving no room for any appreciation of the sex act at all.  If a movie has the slightest bit of choking in it, his rating system automatically lists it as being one of the worst movies of the year no matter what else it has going for it (we're talking mere seconds of choking merits such a treatment too).  I find that contrary to the principles on which Xcritic was founded, helping fans find what they are looking for.  If I were to take a similar approach and insist that anyone reading one of my reviews had to share my personal vision of what makes for great porn, I'd be rightfully dismissed as a niche character (like the now gone reviewer elsewhere that insisted all porn women had to be at least attractive enough to make the cover of Seventeen magazine, only be in a couple of movies before leaving the industry, and a whole litany of other criterion most people would laugh at).

Annette Schwarz is Slutwoman 1

Seriously, who is anyone on the fringes of the industry to tell the masses what they can and cannot like and enjoy?  Citing a state law about simple assault, he suggested that choking as a sex act was illegal (there is no such provision specifying the act in the law he quoted) and it led to numerous deaths.  Unfortunately, his case was built around a different kind of choking, a solo act called "Auto-erotic Asphyxiation" where a guy will literally hang himself for the endorphin "high" it provides at the point of orgasm.  Needless to say, virtually ALL deaths in the public sector are such cases, a young male, all by himself, choking his chicken and his air supply off at the same time to horrific consequences.  Extrapolating this plight to the ladies of porn, the ones being paid to perform on camera with other people present, he railed about how dangerous such sex is. Yet how dangerous is it?  With thousands of movies released each year around the world and probably even more internet scenes shot in recent years, how many deaths or disfigurements have been attributed to a case of choking on a set?

If you answered ZERO, I suspect you are correct since no such cases have been reported to date.  Contrast this to number of deaths or ended careers from AIDS (numerous in both straight and gay productions) and you would think said person would be a stanch advocate of condoms and ultra safe sex practices. Does his reviewing system lower ratings for a lack of condoms, unsafe sex, or proven risks?  Not one bit since that all dangerous choking is the focal point of his wrath.

Dementia 5 by Jim Powers!

I took a beating on AVN's blogs several years ago defending your right to watch whatever consensual sex acts you enjoy, most members of the AVN team agreeing it should be a personal choice, followed by the nice members of the XRCO, and heaps of others.  Make no mistake about it though, just because I advocate a free market deciding what should be on sale (with minimal limits) doesn't mean I get off on seeing women hurt, maimed, or mistreated but let's face it; women in porn are made aware of what is going to happen on most porn sets and are paid a premium to engage in riskier behaviors.  They are making a CHOICE to participate, collect a bigger payday, and gain more fans when they get more extreme in their scenes.  Belladonna, Audrey Hollander, Ashley Blue, and numerous other ladies have extended their careers years by becoming what I call "extreme queens".  Does their love of being choked encourage others to engage in reckless behavior that results in death? That was the same argument some loser used to justify killing people "I saw it in the movies".  Are any of you out there willing to buy into that kind of logic, the kind where you will relinquish personal responsibility in favor of a nanny state set out to protect you from yourselves?

Belladonna in Manhandled 3!

Anyway, I like the guy and his outlines for movies have assisted a lot of people over the years by giving a basic, if quick, glance at scores of titles where no critical analysis got in the way of his takes on flicks.  I even offered him a guest blogging spot to make his case for ending the practice of choking in porn here at Xcritic (he declined several times) and I will defend his right to speak his mind about the topic with any that would silence him but ultimately, fans know what they want and will find it no matter how many artificial barriers individuals set up to prevent them from finding out.  I suggested he simply refuse to outline any movie he sees choking in since his stance is as likely to get people doing the opposite of what he suggests (like when Roger used to hate on Max Hardcore's titles) but that fell on deaf ears too.  That said, I was curious if this was a major issue with any of you out there?  Do you want to know about choking in porn we review (like some of you insist on knowing about condoms, for example)?  Does the practice automatically merit a failing grade in your collective estimations?  Should the industry rally to ban the likes of Max Hardcore, Jim Powers, Jake Malone, Belladonna, Mason, and others that use choking in their movies?  Email me at my hotmail acocunt (houstondon@...) or comment in the forums so I'll know what more of you think.


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