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From June 21 to Oct 21 the Museum of Sex in New York City will be hosting an exhibition called Stag: The Illicit Origins of Pornographic Film in collaboration with Pornhub. For just over $20, visitors will have the chance to watch pornographic archives from 1900 to the 1960s – an era of production that’s very much lost in the modern day plethora of porn.

MindGeek-owned Pornhub advocates itself as a sex education resource, and particularly amid today’s growing censorship, Corey Price, Vice President of Pornhub said they “wanted to celebrate the earliest depictions of sex on film and pay homage to the professional filmmakers and amateur producers responsible for this unprecedented time in adult entertainment.”

‘Stags’, also known as ‘Smokers’, are silent, black and white 8mm films that last around 15 minutes. Unlike the ‘money shot’ pornography industry that boomed later in the 20th century, Stags were known for their humorous storylines. They were usually made in secrecy, by men for men, and screened in brothels or fraternities for (hetero) male group entertainment.

These films offer insight into the era’s construction of male and female sexualities, while excluding same-sex and non-white narratives. The Museum of Sex recognizes this and adds that the exhibition “is for this new and inherently more diverse contemporary audience to determine for themselves what has or has not changed from this era to the present day.”

For those who can’t visit the exhibition, Pornhub has a channel dedicated to a few of the top Stag movies [NSFW].

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Oli Lipski
Oli is a freelance sex tech researcher based in London. With an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sex tech, and a BA in History, researching gender and sexuality, she has a keen understanding of the past, present and future of sex.

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