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In corners of the Internet, especially where the erotic meets the intellectual, Stoya is kind of a big deal. She may be the titular example, or at least one of the ground zeroes, of inserting discussion into sexual desire, or the sexual desire that we can find immediately and on the Internet — known as pornography. Yes, for those who are unfamiliar, Stoya has sex, on screen, for money, but she won't let anyone tell her what that means about her, who she is, or her approach to feminism (something of which she is passionate).
In fact, take everything you think you know about a stereotypical porn star — the notion they've been manipulated into their career or lack self-respect — and imagine its antithesis...and that's Stoya. (Though, as she says, attitudes in porn aren't always "sunshine and daisies," a reality she readily addresses.) Willing to engage people about her work, full of smiles and Internet-speak, and quoting theorists and fellow porn activists, she is proof positive that the assumption that people who work in the adult industry cannot be articulate is a folly. In fact, she is a writer who happens to do porn, or an aerialist who happens to write, or a porn actor who knows how to perform acrobatics — and doing one doesn't have to discredit any of the others.
Here, we sit down with Stoya, who talks to us about the reality of having sex on screen, what pornography means for women, and why Fifty Shades of Grey is massively, massively lame.
We had such a wonderful time with her, we asked her to start writing a column about sex and the complications that come along with being a human with a human body. So, join us in welcoming her to the Refinery29 family, and send any questions about sex, sexuality, orgasms, organisms, or your cat to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographed by Craig Rathgeber