The Crush Letter No.79: Good Porn

. 9 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife.  Because midlife is so much hotter than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Happy Saturday morning, Crushes. We are diving into the deep, dark, choppy waters of porn this week. Let me know what you think.

If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.

In This Letter.  +In Good Hands: A Midlife Couple’s Immersive Porn Surprise. By A.K.A Darla  A nude masseuse would alternately massage Rita and Nick for a total of three-and-a-half erotic hours while each took turns observing the other’s enjoyment.   +How to Find Porn That’s Actually Good. By Dish Stanley Thankfully things are starting to change.    +Meet the Good Porn Activist Cindy Gallup. “Make Love, Not Porn,” Because porn is not real-world sex…and we believe it is possible to change the world through sex.   +Hefner. By Bob Guccione, Jr Hefner hated my father, the Founder of Penthouse Magazine.     +Our Song of the Week I like the way you make me feel about you, baby

In Good Hands: A Midlife Couple’s Immersive Porn Surprise.  By A.K.A Darla

In search of titillation, one PrimeCrush columnist shares a sexy story about a long-term couple’s search for a porn experience that they could both enjoy, together...

Porn comes in many varieties. It can be mainstream, hardcore, softcore, DIY, parody, anime, queer, educational, erotic, feminist, and so much more. Whichever brand of porn you fancy, one thing is certain: porn is subjective.

I discussed porn with Rita, a friend since high school with whom I’ve swapped many a sex story. Rita has been living with Nick for close to ten years and maintains that their time between the sheets has never been anything less than sizzling, however, when it comes to agreeing on what type of porn they can enjoy together, they are at an impasse.

Determined to find something that would strike both their fancies, Rita came upon a site that offered a “Couples in the Nude Massage.” In a luxury hotel room, a nude masseuse would alternately massage Rita and Nick for a total of three-and-a-half erotic hours while each took turns observing the other’s enjoyment.

Rita decided to keep the massage a surprise and told Nick nothing more than “prepare for the hottest date of your life.” The night began at their favorite restaurant and, after dinner, Rita called a car. Inside the car, she kept Nick blindfolded until they arrived at one of their city’s finest hotels where they rode the elevator to the masseuse’s room. Wearing nothing but a gauzy, white robe, the masseuse invited the couple inside and asked Rita and Nick to take a seat on the couch where she explained the rules: “I will not put my mouth on you. You may not put your mouth on me. I will not have sex with you. Please change in the bathroom where you’ll find robes to wear to the massage table.” Then, the masseuse answered some of the couple’s questions and asked them to sign a release (yes, I know, it’s a groove-kill but everyone must play nice). With business out of the way, it was time for pleasure.

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How to Find Porn That’s Actually Good. By Dish Stanley

How to find porn that’s actually good? As in ethical as well as enjoyable? Porn may be ubiquitous, but finding good porn is much like finding a good book. You often pick up some bombs before you find an author you love. But once you land on (in this case, a director) you like, you might want to stick with them.

Statistically, people over 40 are having sex in droves, but you wouldn’t know it by browsing the major porn platforms. Finding porn that you like, that reflects you, is easier said than done. This goes double for women, people of color, people who have experienced abuse, and those who want an emphasis on consent and pleasure. The only people who tend to feel very seen in mainstream porn are young, white, straight, cis guys and, of course, blonde teens with their requisite pigtails and lollipops.

Sometimes, when you want to watch porn that stars people who look like you, you’ll watch something that fetishizes whatever is different about you, whether that’s your race, age, or identity. So, while you may find an older woman onscreen, the entire film is predicated on the taboo nature of this interaction. I want to be clear here: Pornographic sex is not by its nature kinky or transgressive simply because it features anyone other than a young white person.

Even Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, the recent, celebrated film in which Emma Thompson stars in the part of an older woman hiring a younger sex escort, fits into this taboo genre. The film is an age/gender bender whose power rests entirely on our culture’s shared assumptions around who wants sex, who hires for sex, and who is deemed sexually attractive. Our view of sexuality desperately needs to change.

I want to be clear here: Pornographic sex is not by its nature kinky or transgressive simply because it features anyone other than a young white person. Our view of sexuality desperately needs to change.

On most standard websites, including ethical porn sites that claim to offer more diverse films, you will often find only depictions of younger people. Even large sites like Bellesa produce no results for the category “mature.”

Thankfully, things are starting to change. People with different perspectives are getting behind the camera and showing alternative views of sex. This means that you don’t have to settle for the same disappointing trope as always when you (and your partner, if you have one) pull up a XXX flick to watch. You could watch something beautiful—something that feels like art—instead.

Continue reading here.

Meet the Good Porn Activist Cindy Gallup.

Make Love, Not Porn" is Cindy Gallup’s social sex video sharing platform that's NOT just another DIY porn platform. In her 2009 Tedx Talk concerning the pitfalls of pornography and technology’s impact on our sex lives, Cindy Gallup discusses why hardcore porn has become the sex education of today and how it led to her creating the video site “Make Love, Not Porn,” where content is “consensual, contextualized, and porn-cliche free.” Says Gallup, “I’m tackling the total lack in our society of an open, healthy, honest conversation around sex and porn which would then enable – amongst many other benefits – people to bring a real-world mindset to the viewing of what is essentially artificial entertainment. We post the myths of hardcore porn and balance them with reality…because porn is not real-world sex…and we believe it is possible to change the world through sex. Watch Cindy Gallup at her Tedx Talk at Oxford here need more Cindy Gallup? Here’s more candid talk in an episode of StyleLikeU’s“What’s Underneath.”

A side note — Cindy Gallup has several fabulous YouTube posts but I particularly like this one because she talks to young people about how porn has confused their ideas on sex…watch here

Hefner. By Bob Guccione, Jr

Bob Guccione, Jr. is the founder and Editor in Chief of WONDERLUST ( and the son of the founder of Penthouse Magazine. His father and Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, were great rivals. Here are Bob's reflections on that rivalry and Hefner's place in the publishing Pantheon following Hef's death in 2017.

My father hated Hugh Hefner. Which I always thought was irrational and, by the end of his life, just force of habit, something he no longer felt with any real emotion, a default position for which the source code had long been lost. If it hadn’t been for Hugh Hefner my father might have died the penniless painter and cartoonist and erstwhile drycleaning chain store manager he was in 1964, when he realized that Playboy, an American import, was the biggest selling men’s magazine in England, where we lived at the time, despite making no attempt to Anglicize whatsoever. He thought, well I can do a version of this that would at least have the advantage of being native, and written in English rather than American English. So in 1965, he started Penthouse, which immediately outsold the invading Playboy, and, once he brought it to America to compete with Hef on his home soil, eventually became one of the most famous and infamous, and influential magazines in history.

And Hefner hated my father --- the both of them, for all their undeniable toughness and strength, incredibly thin-skinned to each other’s criticisms and provocations. For decades they fought for domination of the men’s market in print in America. At their height, the two titles sold a combined 10 plus million copies a month. Both men bestrode the publishing industry, Titans in a Pantheon that probably only otherwise included Henry Luce, Willam Randolph Hearst, and DeWitt and Lila Bell Wallace, the founders of Reader’s Digest, people who changed the world and opened it up culturally. It is not an exaggeration to say Hefner and my father did that.

Hefner resented that my father was the usurper, and my father resented that, even though Penthouse passed Playboy, he never vanquished Hefner, never replaced him in the American psyche as the Alpha male. My father was always the brasher, cockier, bolder and, I think it is fair to say, more liked by the audience, but always the outsider. Hefner stayed more in bounds, more establishment and to the public, the more iconic, in the same way, Charlie Brown is more iconic than The Simpsons, or Coca-Cola is more essentially Americana than, say, Starbucks.

Continue reading here.

Song of The Week

Best of My Love by The Emotions

Best of My Love is the background music to the great opening scene from Boogie Nights. Director Paul Thomas Anderson's opener for this movie about the porn industry in the 70's in San Fernando Valley, California is taught in film schools. In a single long shot of three minutes we are immersed in the seedy world of Boogie Nights and introduced to all of the main characters. And what characters they are! The cast included Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Luis Guzman, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy and Heather Graham. "Best of My Love," is such a smart, ironic selection as the opening score for a morality tale focused on porn stars – you just have to smile at the cleverness of it.

Watch the great opening scene from Boogie Nights.

A pretty fun live version of The Emotions performing the song in the 70's is below.

Best of My Love by The Emotions. Listen here

Giving you the best of my love, Crushes. Have a good week.

Dish Stanley XO,

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.

+TOPIX:  Exile in Normalville By Dish Stanley “Topix” is a new series where PrimeCrush’s always-anonymous friends start all-important conversations about their views on life, love & friendship in midlife.

+Three Things I'm Crushing On: Liza Lentini, Managing Editor at In this new series, readers like you share recommendations for the things they love the most, right at this moment.

+SIGHS & Moans. By Ralph Greco, Jr. In the 6th installment of his series, writer Ralph Greco gives tips for approaching roleplaying safely.

+Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck: “John Doe” An occasional pop-up where we share the songs that make the readers of The Crush Letter want to bang. Got one?  Send it to me at


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