The 7 smartest, classiest porn sites

Smut doesn't have to be so boring and conventional. Sites like Hysterical Literature prove it can even be artistic

Published April 13, 2015 12:00AM (EDT)

Scene still from "Hysterical Literature"
Scene still from "Hysterical Literature"

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNet According to Rule 34, if it exists, there's a porn for it. Rule 34 doesn't, however, guarantee there's a decent porn for it. What if you want something that's--I don't know--classier, I suppose? Smut that's plenty sexy, but also artistic and intelligent and just less...gross.

If you're looking for some not-so porny porn, start with the seven sites below. Like Swedish art films of yore, these sites occupy a space somewhere between art, erotica and porn. Some are even part sociological study and thought experiment. Or at least that's what you can tell yourself when you look at them instead of bourgeois ol' regular porn.

1. Hysterical Literature

Hysterical Literature, an art project by Clayton Cubitt, is a collection of stark black-and-white videos, each featuring a woman sitting at a table reading aloud from a book of her choosing. However, under the table, there is an unseen person equipped with a back massager who is assigned to distract the reader as she reads.

As the vibrator does what vibrators do so well, the women try to keep it together and keep reading, but begin to show signs of losing focus with a little gasp, a quick intake of breath or wiggling in their chairs for a better position. They fight to keep their composure, and it's completely fascinating. Here's Janet reading from “Friendship and Character” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's that line between control and loss of control that's so interesting about Hysterical Literature.

“On the surface level I want to short-circuit the practiced poses of modern media-savvy portrait subjects. On the next level I want to explore the battle between the mind and the body. On the level after that I want to explore the relationship of female sexuality to society's concepts of shame. On the final level I want to explore the cultural contrast between art and sex, particularly how people react to the mixture of the two,” writes Cubitt. (The site is free)

2. I Shot Myself

I Shot Myself, aka Project_ISM, is a collection of nude selfies taken by women (and a few men). What makes this different than just a collection of nudie pics to leer at--which is certainly is as well— is the intent behind the site and the Euro/arty vibe of the photos (the site is based in the Netherlands).

By taking their own photos, contributors are wresting control of their images from pornographers, and creating a joyful, creative and often sassy celebration of female sexuality.

“What inspires women to submit their naked photos online?” reads the Project_ISM Principle. “The short answer is--control. The ability to show yourself on your terms, how you'd like to be seen, free from the distortion of someone else's viewpoint and the sanitizing of Photoshop. For some contributors this is an exposition of pure art. For others it's a rebellious gesture, erotic expression, a desire to be desired, or a cathartic process. And for everyone, as we're told every day, it's just hugely fun.” (Pay site with free previews.)

3. Audio Porn

Audio Porn is a stripped-down Tumblr site with little to look at, save for the explanation “A collection of the sexiest sounds.” The press n' play audio clips have brief labels like “Boy Masturbation,” “Sex on a Squeaky Bed!” and “Vibrator Orgasm” and include no photos or other information. But damned if they aren't sexy. The sound clips feel shockingly intimate, like overhearing a neighbor or roommate in the throes of sexual thrall. It plays on whatever our aural equivalent of voyeurism is, and seems both arousing and transgressive. At the same time, the sound-only format lends a visceral immediacy and allows space for imagination. (Free.)

4. Beautiful Agony

Beautiful Agony, a collection of short films submitted by users showing their faces during orgasm, is celebration of la petite mort. “Beautiful Agony began as a multimedia experiment,” explain founders Richard Lawrence and Lauren Olney on the site. “We wondered whether film of a genuine, unscripted, natural orgasm - showing only the face - could succeed where the most visceral mainstream pornography fails, and that is, to actually turn us on.”

It is a indeed a turn-on, and thought-provoking as well, if you want to go that way. The experience of going toward and riding the throbs of orgasm is so outside the realm of the rest of our lives. What other thing gets us to this place of grunting and sounds that leads us to a state of transcendence somehow both grounded in, and sublimely beyond, the physical? And these faces contorted in orgasm reminds us that there is a bit of agony in it. If you didn't know the experience yourself, to see someone moaning and grimacing in orgasm's throes would look, well, you probably would not want to "have what they're having."

5. Literotica

Literotica has user-created erotica, including poems, stories, audio clips, drawings and anything else deemed erotic by the user base. The user-created content means that there's plenty you'll find hot, but to get there, you'll have to wade through some possibly weird-ass stuff (uh, no judgment!) created by anyone with a modem and a sweaty, fevered dream.

This means don't go picking categories randomly lest you end up like I did, unhappily in the midst of a story about “That 70s Show” called “Red Rules the Roost” in which everyone in the whole damn family has sex with each other, including the old dad Red. Yes, RED. I contacted my friend, a cool Bay Area techie chick, one of many women who'd recommended the site, to say basically, “WTF? RED?!” But she was undeterred in her Literotica love, “Hahahaha. but that's the best thing about erotica! No gingers were harmed in the making of that story!”

Fair enough. So yes, do go, but follow your trail of passion, not your trail of morbid curiosity or you might end up in SciFi/Fantasy section beholding this passage: “the dark, prehensile limb coiled itself around my left thigh in answer, coming from the inside and curving back around to the front, constricting and shifting up before the tip fluttered playfully along my crotch.”

6. Make Love Not Porn, promotes the glories of real world sex via sexy videos submitted by regular people (uploaders get a 50% cut of rental fees. “ is of the people, by the people, and for the people who believe that the sex we have in our everyday life is the hottest sex there is....We are not 'amateur' - a label that implies that the only people doing it right are the professionals and the rest of us are bumbling idiots. (Honey, please.)” writes moxie-filled founder Cindy Gallop. At MLNP, you won't be offered 8 billion varieties of “overemoting woman with huge boobs gets 'nailed'”--unless that's what you want—but human sexuality is all its diverse glory. Or Gallop puts in, not porn, but “making pegging, married, cinematic, teasing, experimental, owowowheynow, firsttime,softserve, yummy, toytime, gushing, succulent, orgasmic, spanking, dressedup, gentle, Italian, downtown, strappedon, happy, romantic, GAY, blissful, backdoor, condomhot Love.”

7. XConfessions

On XConfessions, acclaimed filmmaker Erica Lust turns two user-submitted confessions, real life stories or fantasies into short erotic films,with lovely production values, fleshed out characters and even a plot. (Note: “plot” usually ends up with much naked rutting.) There's all kinds of variety as well. Current offerings include a randy pool boy, lesbians, a dominatrix, seducing strangers, Skype sex, and even friggin' IKEA. Hot! And coming later this month...Mad Men porn.

By Jill Hamilton

Jill Hamilton writes In Bed With Married Women.

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