“Every time I shoot a sex scene, I fall a little bit in love.” This sentiment from porn star Asa Akira’s autobiography, Insatiable: Porn—A Love Story, jarringly contradicts the relationship typically posited between love and porn. Pornography, we are told, is unequivocally not a love story. Porn is antithetical to love—its consumption is said to destroy loving relationships and leave viewers emotionally stunted, unable to experience real intimacy; its production, prevents performers from ever being able to have a real loving relationship because, the story goes, who could love a whore? As a result, in viewing pornography we search for proof of authentic pleasure or proof of exploitation, but we do not typically look for love.
Videos of porn performers in love, like offscreen couple Danny Wylde and Asphyxia Noir, are presented by MakeLoveNotPorn.tv as a corrective to the absence of love in mainstream pornography. Discussing their choice to document their sexual activities, Wylde says to Noir, “I want to show people how much I love you” suggesting that his love for her will be discernible in the act of making love. Fortunately, MakeLoveNotPorn resists positioning certain acts and rhythms as “making love” while denouncing others as merely fucking, by presenting all forms of sexual activity as love making. In doing so MakeLoveNotPorn rejects stereotypes that would suggest the relation between two people can be determined through the forms their sexual relations take.
Thus, whereas meat and money shots, as Linda Williams discusses, serve as proof of sexual activity and sexual pleasure respectively within pornography, there can be no visual proof of love. By putting the relationship between the act of making love and love itself at the fore, MakeLoveNotPorn tests the possibility of visibilizing and proving love. Watching Wylde and Noir make love, whispering things to one another that are often inaudible to the viewer, reveals that even when offering their love up to our gazes, it remains inaccessible. Wylde recognizes the failure of the video to make their love visible saying, “I like the fact that not everything is accessible…that some of that is only available to my partner.” If pornography is defined as “an exposition of the inexposable” constituted by the impasse that, “there is in fact nothing to say or show” as Jean-Luc Nancy states, then rather than standing in opposition to pornography the (futile) attempt to visibilize love is utterly pornographic.