Sometimes you can feel the tide turning even when you’re in the shallow end. You don’t have to be a business mogul, a performer… hey, not even a consumer… to detect that – even in its own burgeoning way – the face of porn, sex and erotica is slowly changing. The pornographic landscape is still by and large dominated by images of oversized men banging fantasy girls – the only goal being the means to an end in itself – but there is a sea change occurring.
O’actually are one of the newest proponents of the sweeping changes currently running through porn. It’s erotic, sensual, pornographic, x-rated, steamy, memorable… and all wrapped up in a neat little package akin to a digital art gallery. O’actually are your curators, you are the bunched up gawkers, straining to see some of the revered masterpieces. Only this time – instead of being tutted at and shushed by some stiff collared security guard – you’re encouraged to make noise, get involved, get messy… and a whole lot more.
Remember when Mad Max: Fury Road came out and people revelled in the fact that the film was largely guided by the strong female characters of Imperator Furiosa and the wives of Immortan Joe – well, not everyone – and viewed it as part of the shifting attitudes in society?
Well, with O’actually being run by four strong-headed, opinionated and combative women, the comparison could be easy to make. But instead of the literal wastelands of the Australian outback this furious team are cruising through the wastelands of porn in their War Rigs, salvaging the scrap and reconstituting it into something better, more fun, sexier, longer-lasting.
O’actually’s guiding principle is the simple notion of pleasure. They truly believe that it is important to discover and revel in the things that give you a thrill. But it’s not just about movies and images like the majority of other sex sites out there. It’s a broader, more emotional experience that includes the realms of literature, illustration… even sculpture. We’re taking it all the way back to the days of icons and murals; depictions of love and lust that out date most everything we know.
… and yet there’s more. The inaugural O’actually Festival is accepting submissions from all relevant fields of expression up until June 30th.
Are you a filmmaker, visual artist, or writer who yearns to create impactful change for women and the world? O’actually believe that it’s way past time to show what equality looks like in the bedroom… or anywhere else in the universe for that matter: kitchen, bathroom, forests, cars, on top of skyscrapers, in a rocket, in space! The sky is not the only limit here.
O’actually want to use their festival – and YOUR talents – to showcase the power and beauty of female sexual pleasure and stretch the boundaries of adult entertainment. So let’s flip the tables and focus on what turns women on! Give women what guys have had for years: content focused on celebrating and embodying their fantasies.
The O’actually Festival is welcoming submissions for new tantalizing film content, stimulating visual art and sensual literature that engages audiences and celebrates what women want. They don’t want to fall into the old traps. They don’t even want to follow the same paths as fem and ethical porn before them. They want to imbue sex, erotica and pornography with an artistic and historical passion that has long been absent from the form… if ever really present at all.
Not convinced? Well, you should be. Nonetheless, we caught up with Liz, Chief Creative Guru for the curated adult content platform that could change the way we look at porn forever. But then, as we discuss… is ‘the P Word’ even relevant to them?
Tell us a little about the genesis of O’actually. Was there a particular catalyst for its creation, or was it more of a gradual process?
Kit founded O’actually out of a desire to create a platform for the celebration of women’s sexual pleasure.
She believes it’s time to open up discussion, release the taboo surrounding women’s self-pleasure and to celebrate work made from the female perspective that is arousing to women.
Before founding the company Kit spent years working to address issues of sexual violence. It was powerful and important work, however, it lead Kit to a personal crossroads. In her own words, “I came to see that in O’actually there was an opportunity to channel my passion for gender equity into a celebration. Allowing women to thrive and grow is incredibly important to me. When women are attuned to their bodies and receiving pleasure, the world is a better place. Women are happier, more engaged and fulfilled and doing better work in the world. Once I had that ‘A-ha’ moment, launching the business became the most obvious and clear ‘yes” in my life.’ She is a seriously inspiring and kickass lady!
She is also one of the bravest people I know, because I can talk about sex all day and most people wouldn’t bat an eye, but masturbation – while pretty much socially acceptable for guys to talk and joke about – is still a pretty taboo subject as it pertains to ladies. Kit has founded a company on the idea that woman should add an orgasm to their daily routine. It’s not uncommon to hear Kit say, “Hi I’m Kit and I masturbate every day, and I think you should too.” She is our CEO – Our Chief Executive of Orgasms – and soon to be Masturbation Messiah to the world!
The four members of Team O’actually all appear to be well-rounded individuals and totally distinct from one another. How did the four of you come together and what do they each bring to the team?
Vigdis – Co Founder, User Experience, Tech Goddess. Actually her name means Goddess of War. How badass is that!? The perfect name for an attorney; which she just so happened to be before being the first to join Kit on this adventure and co-founding the company. After years of working as a high powered corporate lawyer in NYC she gave in to her wild urges to escape to the emerald sanctuary of Portland, Oregon, and dive into a brand new and exciting field and really affordable handcrafted cocktails. A Scandinavian background, French childhood and staunch feminist perspective combine to make Vigdis passionate about empowering women to embrace their own sexuality – she is deeply convinced that a better sex life for all makes for a better world.
Molly – Project Management Trailblazer by day and Secret Erotica Writer by night. Truly she is an excellent writer of seriously saucy tales! We have some of her stories already up on the site! Molly joined the team during its first Pleasure Pledge. She was inspired by the idea and knew this was the right company and team for her. Molly remembers being a tween, exploring her body and being completely unaware that the pleasure she was giving herself was called masturbation because there was nothing on TV or in books at the time to let her know women did it too. She felt so alone in her confusion that she was even too terrified to tell her best friend. When she learned that O’actually was going to dedicate a whole month to women’s orgasms – masturbation and partnered pleasure – she felt inspired and empowered. She could finally give back to her younger self.
Liz – I’m the new kid on the block and so inspired by this badass team of ladies! When I was 12 my father – knowing I was a John Waters fan and mistaking it for a different film by the same director – took me to see Pink Flamingos at the world famous Castro Theater in San Francisco. That was the day I knew I would eventually become a filmmaker. My work always reflects my passion for social justice and my sick and twisted sense of humor. As I was wrapping up an animated children’s film about math and princesses – Rapunzel’s Etymology of Zero – I heard that O’actually was looking to bring on a creative. And I was like ‘a company that sits at the intersection of art, feminism and social justice, all things I feel passionately about… sweet!’ It was a no brainer.
Kit – I think what compelled her to manifest this idea into O’actually and what keeps her the happy central cheerleader of our little – soon to be EPIC! – band is that she is a true believer that a genuine celebration of female orgasms will not only help improve women’s lives but also contribute to positive social change and become a highly profitable business. Kit is always bursting with enthusiasm and constantly surrounds herself with fresh cut flowers. I swear, she has a mason jar full of flowers in the console of her truck at all times and sometimes she even carries a bunch of long stemmed roses around in her purse!
How has O’ actually been received? Both in a consumer and business sense?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! We’ve started a shared document for all the sweet, encouraging, and supportive thank you notes that come into us. To know that we are resonating with and helping people further connect to their pleasure is wildly motivating. Twitter and Facebook also keep us inspired as we get daily pings of support and appreciation.
With O’actually we’re doing something different by embracing the full range of ways to celebrate women’s sexual pleasure. This includes an active blog, podcasts with our founder, video interviews with sexperts, seriously sexy stories, x-rated films and steamy SFW videos. We are happy to report that our consumer audience is loving the variety. However the inclusion of x-rated content does make business trickier than you might think. Everything from our credit card processing fees being higher to being barred from traditional financial avenues and institutions. But through strong strategic partnerships and extraordinary angel investors who share our mission, we are persevering.
On your FAQ you state that the question of whether O’actually provides ‘porn’ or not is a complex issue. Has the word ‘porn’ been tainted/ruined by mainstream content (more violent, objectifying, etc)? Does the word need to be ‘taken back’ and is this something O’actually are trying to do?
The ‘P Word’ is playfully discouraged around our office. Not because O’actually is against pornography, but because the company feels that the popular connotation of the word itself distracts from our key principle which is celebrating and promoting equality in pleasure. O’actually is founded on the principle of showing what equality looks like starting in the bedroom with equity in sexual pleasure. So much of mainstream porn (oops! I said it, don’t tell!) is not about female pleasure at all but rather brands females as objects and tools for male pleasure. We hope that our work helps to build a more equal vision of what super-hot videos look like, so we can someday reclaim the ‘P Word’. In the meantime we have been working on coming up with a replacement word… Unfortunately, at this point, all substitutions have all fallen short. Please let us know if your readers have any great suggestions!
In the name of pleasure, we champion genuine orgasms, open discussion, sexpert advice and a curated selection of sexually and emotionally stimulating – and often sexually explicit – content that depicts, promotes and celebrates female sexual pleasure. Not p**n!
Site and content-wise, what’s the next step for O’actually?
Right now we are thrilled about our inaugural festival. The deadline for submissions to the festival is June 30th and we’ll be awarding winners in three categories: film, visual art, and literature. We’re also excited about exclusive O’actually branded original films and a new audio-erotica section coming soon!
Our audience has an incredibly important role in the festival. In addition to the juried prizes, the audience will also be choosing winners in each category! This is a way for our community to get involved and to show us what type of content they are looking to see more of our site. We’ll be listening and offering in accordance with their requests!
Let’s talk about the upcoming O’actually Festival – How is it looking so far? What has the quality of submissions been like up to now?
It’s been really fun seeing the work come in every day! Everyone has such a unique and personal vision of what ‘stimulating content’ means and looks like. We have been a bit surprised by the ratio of male to female submitters as so far it’s more than five to one male to female. We’re particularly interested in increasing the number of submissions from female filmmakers, artists and writers. So come on ladies, tap into your creative side and help our festival achieve gender parity by submitting creative representations of what turns you on!
And to all the men-folk: please do keep submitting! Just bear in mind that we are specifically looking for submissions from people who really understand our vision and mission to celebrate new work that approaches sex from a woman’s perspective with a woman’s needs and desires in mind. That’s right, we’re looking at you Outlander!
You’re not just looking for films. You also welcome literature and other artistic pieces. Have the bulk of submissions thus far been films or has there been a nice spread?
Oh artist and deadlines… I can say that because I am one! Folks usually fiddle with, adjust and perfect their work and finally send it in right under the wire. Our submission deadline of June 30th is still a two weeks out. We are expecting the majority of the submitted work to come in towards the end of the month. BUT we encourage early submissions! They give us the opportunity to have more time to view and reflect upon the content. And that is important, as a critical reason for holding the festival is to connect with the artists and build relationships that could lead to commissions and collaborative projects in the future.
Providing the inaugural one is a success, do you plan to make an O’a Festival a regular/annual occurrence?
Yes, indeed we do! We’re looking to make the O’actually Festival a core tenant of the company and something that our community can look forward to year after year as we continue to build! This year our festival work will be showcased online during July and August. We’ll be having a live awards ceremony with the festival winners and our kick-ass judging panel, which this year includes the legendary Betty Dodson and Stoya! But next year we plan to have one or more live public screenings of our official festival selections! This is just the beginning.