Alternative porn (also known as alt-porn, altporn, alternaporn, or simply alt), a shortening of "alternative pornography", tends to involve members of such subcultures as goths, punks, emos, scenes, skaters or ravers and is often produced by small and independent websites or filmmakers. It often features models with body modifications such as tattoos, piercings, or scarifications, or temporary modifications such as dyed hair. The term indie porn is also sometimes used, though this term is more generally used as a synonym for independent pornography, regardless of affinity with any kind of alternative subculture.
While pornography specifically oriented toward alternative culture did not arise until the 1990s, the work of Gregory Dark, David Aaron Clark, Michael Ninn, and Stephen Sayadian are seen by some as predecessors of alt porn. The Cinema of Transgression of Richard Kern and Nick Zedd (as well as Kern's later photographic work) can also be viewed as early examples of alt porn.
The first venue explicitly devoted to "subcultural erotica" was Blue Blood, a glossy magazine that began in 1992 and featured models with a goth or cyberpunk look. The biggest market for alt porn, however, has been on the Internet. Other than a few ephemeral personal websites, the earliest explicitly alt porn site was Blue Blood's GothicSluts.com, established in early 1999. This was followed shortly after by Raverporn.net, which was later renamed to EroticBPM.com, in July of the same year, and later followed by NakkidNerds in December. Supercult began in 2000, followed by SuicideGirls in late 2001, which has grown to become the most popular and financially lucrative alt porn site. With the success of SuicideGirls, the number of alt porn sites has grown enormously since 2002. In addition to the above-mentioned sites, well-known altporn websites in operation as of September 2008 include Lazerbunny, Burning Angel, and GodsGirls.
The terms "alternative porn" or "alt porn" were coined in the early 2000s in reference to SuicideGirls, RaverPorn, and similar sites; longer-standing projects, such as Blue Blood, generally used terms such as "subcultural erotica".
Alt porn websites are often distinguished by their use of message boards, blogs, social networking, and other features of online community, encouraging participation by both models and viewers. While these features are not exclusive to alt porn sites, their inclusion stands in stark contrast to the standard operating procedures adopted by more typical porn sites, which tend to feature more or less anonymous models who are viewed by anonymous visitors.
Alt porn-themed videos are also becoming a growing niche in the adult video market. The work of directors Stephen Sayadian and Gregory Dark during the 1980s and early 1990s had many of the features of later alt porn, and are often cited as being contributing influences on current alt porn video. In 2001, two amateur videos under the title Technosex were produced, featuring women involved in the rave scene along with a techno music soundtrack. Since 2004, director Eon McKai has been producing alt porn-themed videos for VCA Pictures (an otherwise mainstream adult video studio), and in 2006 was signed by Vivid Entertainment to produce alt porn-themed videos under the Vivid-ALT imprint. Vivid-ALT has also signed noted fetish photographers Dave Naz and Octavio "Winkytiki" Arizala.
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Many members of the alt porn community disagree on the definition of alt porn. Some consider it mostly an aesthetic quality while others see it as having a more ideological definition. This includes controversies over whether alt porn sites and videos should restrict themselves to softcore pin-up photography or include more sexually explicit hardcore content, whether alt porn need be explicitly feminist or not, and whether alt porn venues should present models of all genders and a range of body types rather than just conventionally attractive young women. Since every pornography company conducts its business and treats its models differently, it is hard to define it on an ideological basis, although the models' freedom to speak their mind both about the industry, their employers, and political agendas is considered by some to be a vital part of the alt porn community. SuicideGirls have been criticized for restricting their employees' ability to make public comments of this nature. This led to a very public falling out between the owners of SuicideGirls and a number of their former models, and larger debates as to whether alternative porn was inherently any more empowering than mainstream porn.
- "Corporate Red Tape on My Mouth and the Punk Art Porn Allstars" by Amelia G, BlueBlood.net, October 29th, 2006.
- "Altporn: Just Because it Looks Punk Rock, Doesn’t Mean it Is" by Brandon Stosuy, BlackBook magazine (website) #45, 2006.
- "Richard Kern" (interview) by Daniel Robert Epstein, SuicideGirls, September 1, 2004.
- "About Us", BlueBlood.com.
- "Evolution of Alternative: History and controversies of the alt-erotica industry" by Ginny Mies, American Sexuality, September 25, 2006.
- "AltPorn: AltPorn Genre History Timeline (part 1) by Beeker the StatsNrrd, Altporn.net, April 28, 2007.
- "AltPorn: AltPorn Genre History Timeline" (part 2) by Beeker the StatsNrrd, Altporn.net, May 15, 2007.
- untitled comment by Forrest Black, altporn LiveJournal community, February 11, 2003. Archived March 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Prince of Alt-Porn" Archived 2007-05-15 at the Wayback Machine. by Tristan Taormino, Village Voice, November 11th, 2005.
- "Vivid Forms Vivid-Alt To Distribute Eon Mckai" press release by Vivid PR, Adult Industry News (website), February 17, 2006.
- "Vivid wins Alt war without shot being fired" by Gram Ponante, Porn Valley Observed (website), May 10, 2006.
- "SuicideGirls revolt" Archived 2008-02-14 at the Wayback Machine. by Deirdre Fulton, Portland Phoenix, October 7, 2005.
- "Obscene But Not Heard" by Peter Koht, Metroactive, January 4, 2006.
- Diehl, Matt. (2007). My So-Called Punk. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-33781-7. Chapter 8: "Sex and the Single (Suicide) Girl: Are You Ready to be Liberated?" p 207–234.
- Jacobs, Katrien. (2007). Netporn: DIY Web Culture and Sexual Politics. Rowman & Littlefield Pubs. ISBN 0-7425-5432-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alt porn.|
- "Sex, Dreads, and Rock 'n' Roll" by Annie Tomlin, Bitch, December, 2002.
- "Orgasm Addict: Punk Porn Gets Off on the Internet" by Chris Ziegler, OC Weekly, January 23, 2003.
- "Maximum Tits 'N' Ass" by Sean Nelson, The Stranger, February 5, 2003.
- "Alternaporn: We Sing the Body Politic" by Paul Watson, The Lazarus Corporation, February 29, 2004.
- "We Want Our Porn and We Want It Now!" by Peter Stokes, AVN, November, 2005.
- "Behind The Scenes at Vivid-Alt" by Chris Thorne XCritic, September 2006
- "The Berlin Porn Festival: Alternative Smut for the Silver Screen" by Alex Bakst, Der Spiegel Online, October 20, 2006.
- "A Real Alternative?" by Jessica Bateman, The F-Word, January 3, 2007.
- "From Barbie Doll to Razordoll: The Sexual Shift in Porn" by Lauren Mayberry, The Skinny, July 30, 2009.