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Classic Porn, Made By and For Lesbians: A Viewer’s Guide to Fatale Video

Fatale Media Classic Porn

Guest author Desirae Embree, @desembree

In 1985 with the release of its first video Private Pleasures/Shadows, Fatale Video made history by becoming one of two companies creating commercial adult video by and for lesbians. Fatale’s founders, Deborah Sundahl and Nan Kinney, had already made history the year before when they launched On Our Backs, one of the first lesbian sex magazines, and they saw adult video as another way of achieving their vision of a sex positive feminist lesbian sex culture. Over the next twenty years, Fatale produced and distributed over a dozen films in a variety of genres and styles.

Whatever you’re into—Fatale has probably made a video for you. Are you into 1980s new wave and punk? Watch Private Pleasures. Want something tender and romantic but still hot? Hungry Hearts is a great choice. Butch-on-butch action? Full Load. Classic films stars like Sharon Mitchell delivering a sex education lecture? Suburban Dykes is for you.

If at times some of the videos seem amateurish or dated, it’s important to remember that they were made by women who were teaching themselves how to make movies as they went along, who were trying to create a new kind of pornographic film language from scratch, and who were doing so with pretty much no support from either the adult film industry or the feminist community. They were truly feminist pioneers, and their work is still as exciting now as it was then. Here are some selections to get you started…

Viewer’s Guide to Fatale Video

 

Private Pleasures

Probably the first porn film made by and for lesbians, Private Pleasures is an erotic, moody meditation not just on lesbian sex but on porn viewing itself. Mariko is simply breathtaking, and Teri and Caerage—who were, at the time, a couple off-screen—vibrate with chemistry. [watch full film]

 

 

Shadows

Released together with Private Pleasures as a double feature, Shadows features soft-butch bottom Teri and hard-femme top Caerage engaged in light BDSM play and fisting—in a sex swing! The scene progresses as Caerage moves from flogging Teri to riding her like a pony, and it finishes with Caerage reclining in a sex swing while Teri provides an expert fisting. [watch full film]

 

 

Clips

The title really says it all. Clips is a selection of pornographic shorts, similar to vintage “stag films.” Each clip has its own style, and taken together they cover a variety of acts: solo anal masturbation, safe sex with light BDSM, squirting, and more. [watch full film]

 

Suburban Dykes

Suburban Dykes was Fatale’s first narrative feature film, it also featured two of the biggest names in the mainstream adult film industry: Sharon Mitchell and Nina Hartley. The video has several scenes that showcase the variety of both lesbian gender and lesbian sex, including butch-on-butch penetration, a hard butch/soft butch/high femme threesome, and a butch/femme mutual masturbation scene. [watch full film]

 

 

Hungry Hearts

Hungry Hearts is like a sapphic ode to the ‘80s power-dressing career woman. Pepper and Riva—who were, at the time, a couple off-screen—get away for the weekend to enjoy some quality time. The video is sensuous, tender, and romantic. Pepper feeds a blindfolded Riva strawberries, and they make love in a whirlpool before moving things to a bearskin rug in front of a fire. [watch full film]

 

 

Bathroom Sluts

An early lesbian foray into gonzo, Bathroom Sluts follows five women as they shave, shower, strap-on, flog, and fist one another—all in a gym locker room. Shot by celebrated lesbian photographer Phyllis Christopher, the video intersperses still photography throughout and ends with a short interview in which the performers discuss their experience on set. [watch full film]

 

 

Safe is Desire

While lesbian safer sex practices are a central part of the dyke porn genre, Safe is Desire stands out for how thoroughly—and erotically—it delivers its lesson. A resistant dyke learns the joys of using barriers after visiting a private sex club where the Safe Sex Sluts demonstrate safe sex technique that is later modeled in an orgy upstairs. [watch full film]

 

 

Bend Over Boyfriend

Featuring Dr. Carol Queen, a pioneer of feminist sex education, and made by Shar Rednour and Jack Strano, who would go on to form their own dyke porn company S.I.R. Productions, Bend Over Boyfriend is another erotic educational video—for heterosexual couples interested in pegging. If the idea of dyke porn video for straight couples seems a little queer—that’s because it is. [watch full film]

 

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