I don’t think I ever really addressed it, and perhaps it’s a little late in the game to address it now, but the project means something to me, and the audience that TRENCHCOATx appeals to appears to be after something that means something too.
There is a blank spot in my mind where Tx began. Leading up to it, of course, there were plenty of conversations. They weren’t so much conversations with a definite goal in mind, but rather conversations of the ought to variety. Stoya and I thought porn ought to be like _______________. We thought it failed in many places. Porn failed itself in that it never stood up tall enough to take itself seriously. What began as movies with sex ultimately moved away from movies and into just sex on record, and what began as sex ultimately morphed into what can only be accurately described as porn sex. It is sex with a qualifier.
And where else was it likely to go? In response to the notion that a movie that featured sex couldn’t be good—be that in terms of acting, direction, cinematography, or the material it explored—porn laughed alongside the mainstream assumption and succumbed to the joke. Porn punned itself. It became a caricature of what it was made out to be. And so the sex became a caricature too. That is what I mean when I speak of porn sex. It is a cartoon act with exaggerated features.
Don’t get me wrong—I don’t deny that one person’s body entering another’s in today’s pornography is a kind of sex. What I’m denying is that it’s the kind of sex people seek off camera. And of course I’m not speaking in absolutes—the moment I say with certainty that no one is giving milk enemas to reach new sexual heights in their private life is the moment I will be shut down by the couple who does and loves it. Yes, there are people who privately give milk enemas. Just as there are people who privately enjoy the piledriver position on Spanish tile in August in Mexico. I don’t know them, but I believe in their existence.
The people I do know are people who openly enjoy the simplicity of sex on mattresses in the sunlight on a lazy afternoon. They are people who think the jackhammering of male talent in recent decades against their female counterparts is not actually pleasurable. They think this not because it seems that way, but because they’ve tried it and found it to be lacking. They are people who like to explore sexuality, rather than mimic it.
And by no means am I saying that porn ought to be mimicry either. The fact that I like sex that is slow and face-to-face in the daylight does not mean that I only want to film that. What I like about that sex is that I can take the time to really feel it. It’s not so much the pace of the sex or the lighting or the realism of the people involved that ultimately determines whether I label a certain kind of content interesting or cliché, but rather a je ne sais quoi that whatever is on the screen has been crafted by taking the time it really takes to explore the vein of sexuality at hand. TRENCHCOATx was never created with the idea that we would be exclusively content creators, but rather with the idea that we would collect the content that seemed to have that unnamed quality that was most closely in line with giving a fuck, and then maybe once in a while we would create content about which we gave fucks too.
Porn didn’t just fail in fully asserting itself, but failed the consumer with predatory online behavior. Now consumers are wary—and rightfully so—of how many things they might be billed for once they hand over their payment information. They’re wary of issues of privacy. They’re wary of slipping quality. And believe it or not, they’re wary of the source of their content. For the same reason there is a growing consumer interest in purchasing sneakers that weren’t made under exploitative working conditions and fish that were farmed sustainably, there is a growing consumer interest in watching porn that features performers who enjoy the work, enjoy each other, and are compensated fairly. There is a growing number of consumers who don’t take a moral issue with the object of porn, but do take issue with having to click on a link whose title is nothing more than a string of obscenities and racial slurs hurled in the direction of the performers in question. We set out with the goal of creating a site that veered away from what was stereotypically the destructive side of porn.
Whether we’ve succeeded or not is a question that is not raised and put to bed once. In terms of fair billing practices and the quality control that stems from attention to detail, yes I think we’ve succeeded, or are at least trending that way. We pay our performers fairly. We treat them with respect. We list them according to their names as opposed to their skin color. We’ve attracted a consumer base that appreciates such and agrees that it is fair to pay the prices we ask for access to content that they could likely steal, should the desire strike. We are creating more original content now than ever with the idea in mind that the sexuality exhibited is an exploration and not a factor of shock value. We are also bringing in more content from outside studios than ever, each piece selected for no reason other than it is good at what it’s doing—whatever that may be—and makes no apologies for it.
Whether that translates to a measure of financial success only time will tell.