Back in February I was lucky enough to win a two month premium subscription to CrashPadSeries.com in Marvelous Darling‘s three year Blogiversary giveaway. For those not in the know, Crash Pad is a Pink & White Production series focusing on Queer and Trans pornography. Crash Pad has a commitment to showing “authentic queer sexuality, whether it is with safer sex, strap-on sex, cocksucking, kink and bdsm, gender play and fluidity, and always-authentic orgasms.” As a pansexual woman who is constantly disappointed by the porn industry’s representation of LGBT+ folk, I was intrigued, and I’d love to share my experiences with you:
Crash Pad’s basic shtick is this: a mysterious figure called the keymaster owns an apartment, the crash pad, which they allow various queer and trans folk (played by a large and diverse crew of actors) to use as long as they’re recorded for our viewing pleasure. So, the porn is done via traditional filming and through a voyeuristic lens as the camera cuts to the keymaster watching the performers.
I’m not really a voyeuristic type of person, so I wasn’t fussed about that premise of Crash Pad. To be honest, I just wanted to watch people fuck each other and hopefully, hopefully, find porn that represented people like me without being fetishistic, dehumanizing, or, at best, boring. And that’s what I got, but I also got a hefty dose of baby queer feelings.
I’ve known I was not-straight since elementary school. I had crushes on boys and on girls in equal measure and never thought anything weird about it. I was raised by very liberal parents and my great uncle is gay so I was never worried about what my parents might think. I don’t think I ever even “came out” to my family, I just showed up with girlfriends and boyfriends and that was that. I identified as bisexual until I grew into a young preteen and my understanding of gender expanded to the point that the words “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” entered my vocabulary, which is when I discovered pansexuality. Pansexuality is being attracted to all genders, which I felt fit me more than bisexuality (while many bisexuals are attracted to non-binary folk, at the time I was forming my own identity I didn’t know any other bisexuals who acknowledged or were attracted to non-binary people. The distinction remains important to me and my personal identity, although it shouldn’t be considered applicable to other bi and pan people.)
Then, high school. My high school was a public school but it had a reputation for being very artistic and liberal and, with that, came a very LGBT+ friendly culture. I started dating in earnest in early high school and started having sex, with people of varying genders, around the time I was sixteen. I have very fond memories of this time in my life, although I have to say I was absolutely privileged and blessed to have a supportive community and loving family to back me up even when people responded negatively to my open sexuality. This is not the case for many LGBT+ teens.
Still, when I was *ahem* legally allowed to watch porn, I found the porn out there for people like me severely lacking. There was a strong disconnect in the sex I was having and what I was seeing on screen. While I’d had a decent sexual education, including discussing pornography, nobody had sat me down and told me what I soon came to realize: Porn is made to seen, sex is made to be felt. What looks good on camera is not necessarily what feels good on a person (read: scissoring. What the fuck is up with that.)
And meanwhile, I had sex. I’ll spare you the gorey details of my first times fumbling to eat my girlfriend out, or figure out the right rhythm for riding, or learning out how hard is too hard to bite, or hiding hickeys the next day. I will say, in summary, that it was not like porn. It wasn’t perfectly choreographed to be appealing. It messy, it was silly, it was fun. Just like sex should be.
As I’ve grown up even more, I’ve pretty much ignored mainstream “lesbian” and “bisexual” porn. The disconnect between what I was seeing and my experiences was too great, and the sex was just so much better. If I watched porn at all I hunted for Femdom BDSM clips, which (although artificial in their own way) weren’t as horrifically boring as I found most mainstream porn.
Then, enter Crash Pad.
I tested Crash Pad’s claim to be authentic queer porn with the first video I watched and it only took that one video to get me hooked. Watching actors giggle as they fumble to undo bra straps or accidentally hitting the off button on sex toys makes me so happy. I won’t say that it strictly reminds me of being a fumbling baby queer trying to figure out how to have sex, the actors are much better at it than I was when I was younger. Still, discovering Crash Pad was like discovering queer sex all over again. Not choreographed, not made with a (primarily) heterosexual male audience in mind, not perfect. Human. Real.
I watched, mesmerized and clinging to my Sonia, for hours.
What sets it apart from porn made (primarily) by heterosexuals and with a male gaze in mind is hard to quantify. I can only list things that made me nod knowingly. Full awareness of the other person’s body, not just the breasts, ass, and genitals was one. Hands roamed everywhere freely, exploring and charting new territory or retracing familiar steps. Partners were constantly in communication, reaffirming consent and asking what the other person liked. Toys and lube and condoms and gloves were used without question. Positions were switched. Safewords were used. This feels real, I reflected.
Not only that but Crash Pad has a commitment to a diverse cast of actors spanning much of the sexuality and gender spectrum. There are also actors of many different races and actors with disabilities, actors at different points of their transitions, and yet none of the actors seemed to be fetishized like the models in mainstream porn. They weren’t isolated to their different body traits, they’re pitched very much as people. Everyone’s character profile has a little bit about their likes about who they want to meet, about their identities as queer people, even a quote from each. All of this makes the porn hotter for me.
Is Crash Pad perfect? Very nearly, but nothing really is. Crash Pad has been running since 2007 so if you go back far enough in the archives (or watch it from the beginning) the earliest episodes are kind of low quality. Alongside blurry visuals the sound engineering is especially irksome and whispered lines often get lost. The more recent episodes have fixed this issue, but it’s something to be aware of (especially if you find a character you love and they only appear in early episodes.)
Also, part of the shtick of Crashpad is that there is a voyeuristic keymaster who watches all of the couples having sex in exchange for using the pad. Unfortunately, especially early on, the episodes are really heavy on cutting to the keymaster instead of focusing on the performers, so I end up frustrated that instead of watching Abby Normal and Skye make out I have to watch this semi-anonymous person lift weights.
At time of writing there are nearly 200 Crash Pad episodes for you to peruse. I like my porn kinky, it’s just how I am, but there are such a wealth of performers with different styles and personalities it’s almost guaranteed you’ll find something to suit your tastes.
Crash Pad gave me a serious pang of LGBT+ pride. Their depictions of queer sex gave me what mainstream porn was lacking and I’m happy to say that there’s definitely some vanilla porn I enjoy watching now. They also gave me new favorite performers to watch and look out for and I’m so glad I’ve had Crash Pad to accompany me as I test out new toys for this blog. The community surrounding the series is also absolutely wonderful (follow the Crash Pad Twitter and the Pink and White Productions Twitter to see more.)
If you would like your own subscription to Crash Pad the basic two-month subscription for streaming videos and looking at photos is $22 for 30 days, with discounts applied after a certain number of months and upgrades to see more content costing slightly more. You can also buy DVDs of Crash Pad content. If you’re LGBT+ and interested in truly representative porn, and you can afford the subscription, I would absolutely recommend Crash Pad. I’ve treasured my subscription and I can’t wait to see more from the series.