Friday, 23 November 2012

More4

Thanks to More4, I finally - five years after it first came out - finally saw Channel 4's "Sex Blog Girls" documentary last night. This was originally released late 2007, which is pre-me, so that's quite a long time back.

Obviously things have changed since then. I started blogging at the end of 2007 myself and I've seen a rapid shift in the world of sex blogs - I've experienced it. I know some of the people shown and referenced in the documentary - Zoe was the focus (perhaps understandably), but Brooke (before she went public as "Brooke"), Scarlet, Bitchy Jones, Silva Fox (whose book I've read), and (oddly enough, considering she's from the US) Vix, whose blog flashed up a couple of times - and some of them are still writing.

But there are more bloggers now than there ever were, and there are more things to consider than there were in 2007. Or if there aren't, then they're more obvious - at least, they are to me. Hey, it's my blog, okay?

If Channel 4 were to make an updated version of the documentary - and they should, considering how dated this one is starting to become - they might want to think about things like this:

  • Belle de Jour outed herself as Brooke Magnanti. She isn't presented particularly well in the documentary itself, something she picked up on via Twitter, but it's not just her either. I think there's a little less anonymity around than there used to be (some people reveal their real names, some people meet up with other people, etc.). That's not to say there's less anonymity out of the sex blogosphere - outing oneself isn't done on a regular basis - but within it is a different matter.
  • With more networking, both through the blogs and in real life, there's still a tight community, but it's spreading more than it may have otherwise. With events like Erotic Meet, there are things that those interested can come to, but with Eroticon, there's an event which was focused on sex bloggers. This has focused less on the whole "secret life" thing and made sex blogging seem more of a mainstream thing... for those in the know, anyway.
  • More bloggers are appearing all the time. There's something to be said for the "old guard" (some of the bloggers mentioned on the documentary are still around, and some have left and come back, or have been working on other projects) - they are, after all, seasoned - but without new bloggers coming out, there wouldn't be many people to play with! (I'd be willing to bet anything I own, including my teeth, that the documentary would have featured Molly had it been made after 2010.) Some of these "new" bloggers have had just as much impact, I'd say, as the older ones, at least within the blogosphere.
  • Some bloggers, myself included, have had and are in relationships with other bloggers. We've even got blogs written by couples, but those are slightly different - meeting someone through a sex blog is something very unusual, but still kinda cool. Well, I think so anyway. But without things like the aforementioned events, that sort of thing wouldn't easily happen. And also...
  • Twitter. It's revolutionised everything, and the sex blogosphere has benefited incredibly from Twitter. A great tool not just for publicity, but for communication, messages, arranging meetings, even just getting to know people. It's brought more bloggers together than anything else I can think of.
  • Bloggers are getting asked to review products - from Blacksilk's multitude of sex toy reviews to the Durex Play varieties sent to me in the days of yore. In the pre-blog days, I doubt that the companies would have thought about asking people on the internet to test out their stuff for an unbiased review. To be honest, first e-mail I got on the subject I thought may have been a scam. But it does make sense, though - if you want a well-written review, ask someone who writes. The flip side to this - that blogs seem to be getting more commercial these days - does irritate me a bit, but it's still something that's changed.
Of course, you can probably also see where I'm going with this. The documentary focused on (and seemed to insinuate that) sex blogs are all written by women. That isn't the case, and - while I'm sure they now that - I'm not entirely sure why that was made so forcefully. One of the points made was that the stereotypical man is more able to talk openly about sex with his mates, whereas anonymous blogging was a way for a girl to be open about her sexuality... but I don't think that's true either.

And I speak from experience, as a young man myself; I've always been interested in sex and sexuality, but I wouldn't (and still don't, considering who I'm talking to - I'm more open with my friend-who-is-a-midwife, or 47, than I would be with the young raver, or Mane) be overly comfortable with boasting about sexual exploits to my friends in the pub. I wrote about sex once on my LJ, but had to be quite restricted about what I said - and only had selected friends read it. And I'm anti-censorship, so I'm not entirely sure that worked. But I felt I needed that platform just as much as I felt (and still feel) like I needed this one.

I'll agree that ridiculous women's magazines like Cosmopolitan - although their focus has changed a bit too, although probably not enough - have too much of the "getting and keeping your man" vibe about them and that the sex blog was a valuable tool for ladies to talk openly (albeit anonymously) about sex, but I think that men need that too. I certainly do and anything that I write wouldn't fit in with the tone of a lads' mag. In fact, I can't think of any lads' mag that has a focus on sex similar to my opinions, whereas at least ladies had Scarlet for a while.

So: here is my proposition, Channel 4. Make another one. Mention everything I've said in this post and take a more thorough look through the sex blogosphere. There are some great links on my sidebar to get you started. And there's nothing to stop you coming to Eroticon next year, either.

(Quite a link-heavy post, I'll admit. But there's a lot to think about here. Excuse me while I go and bake a cake now..)

1 comment:

Ladypandorah said...

Really great read, ILB. I think you're right, there should be an update. Following FSoG and the 'documentary' that prompted, one would hope that Channel4 (who seem to be the most likely broadcaster to commission something like this) broaden the range of bloggers, erotica writers and sex toy sites.

But that's in an ideal world where sensationalized television doesn't exist. But I should still hope!!

LP x