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anna richards frolicme

What is ethical porn?

Relationships

Anna Richards, the founder and CEO of ethical porn site FrolicMe tells us about the revolution taking place in producing quality erotica that is produced well, looks at the realities of sexuality, and allows couples to explore their fantasies

“When I launched this, I didn’t really think much about anybody being interested in me, I thought it would be all about the site,” says Anna Richards, “I’m very much learning that actually people are almost as fascinated to know about who the person is who actually decided to go ahead and create FrolicMe.” Well, indeed it seems people are very interested in Anna, the founder and CEO of the cult independent porn site and probably the leading producer of ethical erotica in the country. Clearly this is to do with the charisma of Anna, and how she is able to articulate sexual desire both personally and in the films she makes; and it is also to do with the inherent personal touch that comes with ethical porn. This is not coldly put together, exploitative sex content, it is one very specifically from a female point of view and put together with care and consideration but which certainly doesn’t hold back. Men should certainly should an interest here, for an insight into female desire, but also as part of a couple (and not merely heteronormative) – for FrolicMe is designed to be watched together.

Here’s Anna’s guide to what is ethical porn in general, as well as the particularities of FrolicMe:

ethical porn
Getting in to ethical porn

I was a creative individual and I had different businesses in the past, although never in this world. But when I reached my forties and was married with children, I never really understood why there wasn’t a real go-to brand in this world of erotica. You hear so much about the size of the adult industry, and yet I really struggled to come down to brands that were geared to the middle ground.

From a brand perspective, I was aware of what people like Agent Provocateur were doing – they took lingerie and took it into this boutique boudoir marketplace. They used to do some incredible cinematic adverts when they launched and they’d have Kylie Minogue and even Elle McPherson, and it would all be about this empowered woman. I used to think, ‘My God, that is so erotic, that’s so sexy’. But I never, ever found anything that really  translated that style and that vibe and that message when it came to adult films.

The Internet is awash with the free ‘Tube’ sites, with an awful lot of content, but it was so male-centric, so gratuitous, so there for that instant gratification. It was not catering for the other 50% of the market. Women were just seen as vessels and it was all about the male vision. I just felt their image made sex so degrading. I felt that they’d lost sense of the fun, they’d lost sense of the passion, the lust, the desire, the real fantasy.

So from my perspective, as a woman interested in sex, and wanting to find the fun and the exciting erotic vision, I was struggling. There was nothing that catered for people who were just curious about sex but weren’t necessarily porn consumers.

I decided that I needed to create my own films because I needed them to be about female pleasure. I felt that was the big thing that was so missing, and that was exciting. I also knew if I could really get that across in the films, I would also be courting a lot of male interest, because I’ve always felt that there’s not a man out there that wouldn’t be just bowled over to be in the situation where this female partner is just having the most orgasmic moment and he’s been part of that. There’s nothing more mind-blowingly sexy.

I get some fabulous comments from men saying, ‘thank you so much for producing something I can watch without shame.’ As well as couples going, ‘oh, my God, we watch this together, and this is my wife’s fantasy’. Right the way through to women going, ‘I’ve never explored anything like this before and I find it so incredibly sexy. It’s helped create some adventures in our own sex life.’ The more time has gone on, the more I realised how important this is, that we actually give a balanced view of pleasure that has been so missing.

What is ethical porn

I very much wanted to produce my own films, which I’ve done from the off. I launched in 2015 with just 20 films. We’ve got over 400 films now. We publish weekly on the site, and I wanted it to be somewhere where people could explore healthy sexuality, in a world of tasteful sex. It would support our health and our well-being.

But it was also ethically produced. That was something that I feel has been so important because it’s one of the big negatives when people look at the porn world. You don’t know who’s produced what, you don’t know what consensual aspects there are about it. You don’t know the people behind the scenes, you don’t know who actually owns the business. I wanted to bring that transparency to really look at disrupting that typical stereotypical image of porn and actually go: do you know what? There’s nothing wrong with porn. The problem is how we actually portray it.

Why ethical porn can be different

Straight away, it’s the fact that the woman’s pleasure is at the core. She’s not a vessel, she’s not being used, she’s in control. She’s actually wanting this pleasure to happen to her. And it’s blatantly clear when you see this. I talk about it being very balanced, but if anything, really, the control is in the female having and enjoying and experiencing the sort of sex and pleasure that she’s after. Because of that, it makes the whole scene of the film so much more erotic and exciting to watch.

I’ve got a big wealth of different styles of films. It might be that it’s a threesome film, it might be a Hot Wife film, which are very popular, it might be lesbian films, girl on girl. There’s one film I did where I actually didn’t show the heads, I just had the torsos of three guys who were naked and the woman was very much in charge, a very sultry, sexy, seductive woman, looking gorgeous, very much in control. She, in essence, just enjoyed and used and had these guys. By not showing their faces, I was trying to get that message across that the sex that was had was incredibly naughty, but because she was so in control of directing that action, you could just see it, she was having an incredible moment, full-on orgasmic pleasure.

That’s the sort of thing that is playing with people’s fantasies, imagining, ‘my God, can you imagine being in that situation?’ All of a sudden, even the naughtiest of sex becomes absolutely fine because it’s consensual and it’s about pleasure. There’s nothing wrong there. This, I suppose, is the other thing: I don’t want people to think, oh, just because it’s made by a woman, it’s going to be soft because, no, we’ve got spanking dungeon scenes or group scenes, they’re still very naughty. But because you’ve got that clarity of seeing a woman really have a genuine time, then it takes sex into far more exciting places. It’s far more understood because you can see the desire, you can see the context for what is actually happening. That for me is really important and that really does separate so much the sort of films that I have, to those that people may come across randomly on the internet.

ethical porn

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Female-focused porn appeals to men

I’ve always had such a strong belief that the majority of men in relationships actually want to give the female partner an incredible time. It’s only the style of porn that has become so commercialised that says different. Unfortunately, because there’s so much of that, as soon as you say ‘pornography’, that’s exactly the image they’ve got. And yet pornography really can encompass a much, much broader array of erotic stimulation.

It’s about starting to realise that there’s a whole world of exciting, stimulating material to enjoy. Don’t just feel that that’s all there is.

One style of film in particular that always gets a lot of comments and a lot of interest and a lot of positivity, is threesomes where you’ve got two guys and a girl and there’s actually a bit of soft bisexuality.

All of a sudden you get this real hedonistic, entangled romp of three people all enjoying each other. It’s not about two guys coming on to one girl, it’s very much all three are enjoying the central pleasures of all being together. I did my first one of these films a few years ago now, and I was quite astounded at the responses that I got. So many couples finding it incredibly hot, men saying, ‘I found that incredible, I’d love to have a moment with my partner, to be in that situation where all of a sudden we’re not conforming to a particular sexual orientation.’ Everything becomes a little bit blurred and it’s more about giving and receiving pleasure within this group.

Equally, again, playing with the fantasies, some BDSM – being restricted with restraints or blindfolded or maybe a bit of spanking. It plays with the whole mind, that being our biggest sexual organ. If we get our mind really going, thinking about something sexual, then the rest of our body follows and we’re really stimulated.

Hot Wife sex plays with the mind. That’s a different dynamic to the threesome, this one being a couple where the guy finds it incredibly exciting to consensually allow his girlfriend to be with another man. So that’s where he’s aware of it happening, hearing it happen, seeing it happen, and having that whole excitement of knowing it’s happening, but that she’s still theirs.

And then men and women love to watch any girl on girl action because it’s very much about understanding the pleasure a woman derives

Then we just play with all other kind of voyeur scenes where you’ve got that excitement and kink of being seen, or are you aware of being seen?

I get a lot of couples or individuals emailing and saying, ‘we watched this film, it’s been our fantasy, that was fantastic and we played with it in our mind and had a great night. And then I do also get those that say we took some of the ideas and went ahead and did whatever, whether it’s blindfolds or restraints or so on. It gives people ideas. It also allows people to think, ‘what is it that actually turns me on? What is it that I find horny?’ And sometimes it’s the hardest thing to have to explain to somebody else what is it that turns you on? People go, ‘oh, I don’t know!’ But all of a sudden, if they see something and they go, I found that really erotic to see that, then straight away, you ask, ‘is it because it was a bit of BDSM? Was it about the control? Was it about that switch up of the dynamic of it?’

Communication is key

Once I started publishing and the site was up, I was actually starting to support a lot of people’s personal lives in a way I’d never really thought so much about. I started to get a lot of sex and relationship therapists getting in touch, going, ‘your site is great, I use it to suggest couples therapy or use it as somewhere safe to actually go along and start talking about sex.’

Couples who can’t talk about sex will sometimes go and watch a few films and that may spark a conversation. Women who are trying to understand issues with their husband where you’ve got the old mismatch libido, which I think is one of the most common topics of discussion with sex therapists. It’s trying to understand that both genders can be equally aroused, it’s just women do it in a slightly different way and we need a different context to actually get us just as aroused as a man and it’s a different type of response that we have, but equally, we can be just as turned on and interested in sex – but how do we get there?

We’re not necessarily very good at talking about sex so it helps to go and find out what it is you like and then talk about it

I think women don’t necessarily say what it is they like and therefore men don’t really know and go and just go, ‘well, nobody else has else has had a problem with me doing this, I assume it’s okay’. But actually the woman might be going, ‘I hate it when he does that.’ But they don’t speak up and all of a sudden you’re not kind of meeting each other at the right level and then you get this whole orgasm gap.

This is a situation where you’re not reaching the same levels of gratification. It’s because women aren’t getting the sort of sex that they’d like but equally they’ve got to vocalise what they would like and then the men need to listen. You’ve got to have that kind of discussion to know what it is you both enjoy and then you’re more likely to get the sexual satisfaction that you’re after.

It is a fascinating world when you start to analyse it and you start to realise it’s not necessarily that complex but the whole essence of communication is really at the core.

Why ethical porn matters

There is an alternative to the big porn sites and I think the more we get to show the sort of pleasure in ethical porn, the more I believe it will massively change our view of sex and our relationships, and our understanding of consent.

I think for men and women, it’s really important to start seeing this is what good, healthy sex is all about – and it’s still damn naughty and it’s still got all of that lustful desire in there.

Porn historically was all about that quick male gratification. And then all of a sudden, the search for ‘porn for women’, as a term, has just grown exponentially. And it’s actually been as much about men looking to see what it is that women like as much as women, going, well, I’m a woman, I want to find things that I like.

Unfortunately, we haven’t necessarily had the brands or the sites out there that genuinely, in my eyes, are about porn for women because there aren’t porn producers that are women. We’re a bit of a bit of a rare commodity at the moment.

And what it is, I think, is not that it’s soft but is actually about understanding the erotic sex that turns a woman on. It could mean that there’s a flogger involved, or it could mean she’s got a spreader bar. It could be group sex. But it’s just the style of sex actually happens that you can see that her pleasure is first and foremost, and that is what makes the difference.

After the MeToo movement, after COVID, I think women came out of all of that and have gone inwards to understand their health, their well being, their mental well being. And all of a sudden, sex has become really cornerstone to our health. No longer are we talking about sex being just a bit of kinky fun. We’re actually going, sex is good for your health.

For more information go to FrolicMe

This article is part of our 30 Days of Taboo Special, in association with Cialis Together. #peekataboo

Anna Jackson

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