Kira Noir


Porn Star Kira Noir’s Tips For Better, More Consensual Sex

The porn industry is becoming more consensual — here’s how that can help your sex life.

“I would say that if you are too uncomfortable to talk about sex, maybe you shouldn't be having sex,” says Kira Noir, a Pornhub performer and brand ambassador who has been in the adult entertainment industry for nearly a decade. “It doesn't mean you should never have sex, but having these kinds of conversations is a prerequisite to good sex.”

For years, education around consent — what little there is — has been about reducing harm, not around prioritizing pleasure. In the porn industry, conversations around consent weren’t present across the board until recently. When Noir first started in the industry, BDSM shoots were the only sets where talking about consent was standard. Now, she is finally seeing a palpable shift across the industry towards ensuring consent.

“There’s a good reason why the kink community has had these kinds of conversations for a long time,” Noir tells NYLON over Zoom. “They've had a lot more experience doing more risky kind of sex acts, so it's very, very, very important to make sure that everybody's on the same page.” Oftentimes, the conversation around consent in those cases is recorded and even included in the video. On what she calls “vanilla sets,” this wasn’t always the case.

But OnlyFans changed all of that. In 2020, the pandemic helped cause OnlyFans to explode – a change that drastically lowered the social stigma for buying and selling porn, Noir says. The change also impacted performers, who no longer felt like they had to depend on studios for their careers.

“Sometimes you would have this kind of fear that if you were a little bit too aggressive with asserting your boundaries, that you would be labeled a diva and people wouldn't want to have you back,” Noir says. “A lot of people were letting stuff slide out of fear. And when OnlyFans exploded, a lot of performers realized they could entirely support themselves with their own content, it became less of a necessity to coddle performers that weren't that great with checking in with their partners or directors that were a little bit too pushy.”

The moment led to “a bit of a Me Too movement,” in the industry, Noir says. “Everyone was calling out the sh*tty people who were repeat violators of boundaries.”

Companies took note and enacted policies to make porn shoots more consensual, which included things like consent checklists and exit interviews. Last month, Noir was part of PornHub’s Consent Event video series, which the company launched with Pillow Talk. The series features intimate discussions between artists, cultural figures, activists, and academics exploring consent, including Chloë Sevigny, Whore of New York author Liara Roux, Noir, and and others.

“If you just look at it on the surface, consent is absolutely necessary to any sort of good sex act,” Noir says. “This is what we mean, we say, ‘consent is sexy’ because if you are enthusiastically consenting to everything that's happening to you, and if your partner is enthusiastically consenting to everything that you're doing to them, then everyone gets to have a great time.”

NYLON spoke with Noir about what policies porn sets are enacting to ensure consent and how to translate those conversations off-screen in a way that’s natural.

“You don't need to print out a consent checklist before you hook up with somebody. But it is helpful to just say, “This is what I like. What do you like?”

Can you talk a little bit about the “consent checklist” you go through before a scene?

Something a lot of porn companies have been doing lately to try to make sure that people are having thorough conversations about consent and boundaries is to have us fill out a consent checklist. It's in no way legally binding, where if you check off something and that means you have to do it in the scene. It’s just to get the conversation going. You’ll ask what are your dos and don'ts, a very typical question between performers before a shoot, and they'll just say, “Oh, I'm cool with anything” or “anything's fine,” because they're just thinking of vanilla sex. But with porn, sometimes the scene might call for choking or it might seem appropriate to do some spanking or some derogatory language, so you have to really speak up and ask questions of your scene partner or partners. That way everyone knows what's going to happen and you have a pretty good guideline of what everyone's okay with.

These consent checklists will usually have pretty much every sexual thing you can think of, all the way from kissing to fisting, everything in between. Then usually we'll go over our checklist together with a talent coordinator in front of a camera.

Having these conversations on set has really helped me in my personal life with being more comfortable speaking up with my partners and telling them what I'm comfortable with and asking them questions of what they're comfortable with. The more we have these conversations, the better the sex will be. It doesn't always have to be as clinical as it is on set. We're doing it that way because it is a business, so we're just trying to make sure that we're doing it as cut and dry as possible.

That’s so cool. People aren't used to bringing that kind of stuff up beforehand, I feel like it often happens more in the moment.

I think that has a little bit to do with how people consume porn. Even though we all know it's entertainment, they'll still watch a porno and think that because they just zip through all these positions without really talking and they're just naturally flowing, that that's how sex should be. Part of the reason why I love that we're talking about this behind the scenes aspect of porn is because people don't know all the work that we do to choreograph a porn scene. We will talk about, we're going to start with doggy and then we're going to move to [missionary]. But you don't see that part in the video; you just see us seamlessly moving through all these things. So people will see that and think that that's what they need to be able to do, and it's just not possible. Not even porn sex is like that.

“I would say that if you are too uncomfortable to talk about sex, maybe you shouldn't be having sex.”

I want people to feel more comfortable with those awkward conversations and also think about how to integrate it into actual sex. Like I said before, it doesn't need to be exactly how we do it on porn sex. You don't need to print out a consent checklist before you hook up with somebody. But it is helpful to just say, “This is what I like. What do you like?” And then during sex, be like, ‘I really like this,’ ‘are you having a good time?’ Still checking in with your partner. I think you can do that same kind of communication in real time, off camera, normal sex. And keep that idea of being open to criticism, being open to hearing what your partner wants, and being confident enough to be very clear on what you want.

Are there signals you use during shoots to indicate when you don’t feel comfortable?

A lot of us will have some sort of signal. There's also nonverbal signals for when you want the scene to keep going, but you need your partner to ease up on what they're doing. For vanilla scenes, what a lot of people will do is just do three taps. Let's say somebody is giving a really rough blowjob and they need to come up for air, but they don't want the entire scene to stop, so they'll just give the guy three taps on his leg and he knows to ease up a little bit. Or for BDSM scenes, a really common kind of yellow signal is to say “mercy.” That way you can say in character, hey, you've been slapping this side of my face really hard. Maybe you can slow down on that or go to the other side, but I don't need things to stop and cut all the way.

What would you say to people who are uncomfortable with these kinds of conversations?

I have two answers to that. The first one is not very fun. I would say that if you are too uncomfortable to talk about sex, maybe you shouldn't be having sex.

It doesn't mean you should never have sex, that you should just cut yourself off from any sort of sexual encounter – but having these kind of conversations, it's a prerequisite to good sex. If you're not quite there confidence wise, that's okay, but maybe take some time getting more comfortable with yourself. That can come in many forms. Masturbation, therapy, I guess really exploring your own sexuality so you feel comfortable sharing with other people.

It's always going to be a little bit scary, opening yourself up in that way, saying that you want your p*ssy licked a certain way can feel very vulnerable. But it's one of those things where once you do it with somebody who is going to be open to that kind of communication and will be able to take that and apply it, it's going to be great. So have your heart beat a little faster for a little bit and continue on to your awesome sex.

Tell me about the“exit interview” on porn sets – is that something you can incorporate into your sex life outside of porn?

We do exit interviews a lot with porn where they'll ask us, “What was your favorite part, is there anything that you thought was really difficult or you wouldn't want to do again?” You could do that with your partners off-camera too, where you can say, “I really liked it when you did blank,” or, “I really liked that we tried this sex act, but I think that maybe it's not really my thing.” A consent can be checked on before, during, and after the entire sex act. I think that whenever you do that kind of thing, it gives you cheat codes to what your partner likes instead of just assuming or trying to guess, and then feeling bad if you don't get it exactly right. If you have the conversations, then you get to have amazing sex. They'll tell you what they want, you get to tell them what you want.

On a porn set people are going to be very receptive to hearing what worked and what didn't. But off camera, if you're just with a partner maybe who isn't as open to criticism, how would you approach a conversation like that?

It doesn't have to be super formal like we do on porn sets. I like to try to encourage people to talk a lot about what they like. If you were trying to be gentle about it, you can say, like I said earlier, “I like that we tried this, but I think maybe it's not my thing.” I would also encourage people to not take criticism personally. Instead, if somebody tells you, “I don't really like what you just did there,” go ahead and accept that and be happy that they felt comfortable enough to share that with you. Because again, you don't want to be doing something that somebody doesn't like. Instead of taking it personally and thinking you’re so bad at sex, think to yourself, “Thank God they told me now before I kept doing it.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.