Porn for the Soul

Experimental Blog, This is better than porn, Leaves Fans Wanting More

  • After a three year publication run, This is better than porn remains on an indefinite break. Photo Marie Brière de la Hosseraye

Photos of soft-lit bare skin, with shadows highlighting the smooth-and-freckled plains of the human body, and phrases of intimate poetry, all curated to whet the palate—this is the aesthetic of This is better than porn.

Following a three-year run, the Montreal-based blog has been on a definitive break since Feb. 15, due to the busy schedules of its creators.

Olivia Lagacé, a budding film director, is part of the blog’s backbone, along with Linakim Champagne. They also happen to be best friends. They’ve known each other for four or five years now and started the blog not long after they met.

“I think both of us had thought about [the concept], but the idea had sprung from an exposition that I had done before. It explored the themes of sexuality and intimacy,” Lagacé explained.

“Linakim had written for the exposition too, so we both bonded over that,” she added.

Their seedling of an idea began with exchanging themes involving erotica, intimacy and their relationships. It was created for their own interest by addressing these themes in a way that wasn’t being done elsewhere.

Their goal was to find a new way to stimulate the erotic imagination, a sort of alternative to pornography. When they started to see that people were investing their time in reading the blog site, the creators decided to expand their horizons.

“It’s especially intimacy and the desires in all its shapes,” Lagacé said. The creators addressed these ideas with mediums such as photographs, stories, and poems.

“We really wanted to have variety with a general [focus on] things dealing with sensuality, sexuality and intimacy.”

Six months after the start of the blog, Lagacé and Champagne decided to turn their blog into a magazine.

“We did a launch party,” Lagacé said. “We thought there would only be a handful of people who would show up, but the place was full after 20 minutes.”

That night, they discovered they had a bigger following than they originally thought, as well as fans willing to contribute their own texts.

Unlike the first two magazines, which are labelled as being “sexier” by Lagacé, the third instalment is rawer, with a larger focus on another level of sexuality.

“The third magazine is different than the others, because there’s a lot more variety in the models and texts,” Lagacé said. “Linakim was pregnant while she was writing, so there’s another side to what she wrote.”

Despite all of their success, things started to pile up in their lives and new ambitions arose.

The soft and raw eroticism of This is better than porn’s third magazine arouses and teases the mind.

“We’re going to bring back the theatre piece that we did last June,” Lagacé said. “We had in mind to perform it multiple times. Otherwise, we have a lot of side projects. [The blog] brought us many contract projects, which is nice, but we’re both overloaded right now.”

The concept of This is better than porn has nothing to with Lagacé’s upbringing. She grew up a normal life on the South Shore. At a young age, she became interested in performing arts.

“I started doing theatre at the age of 12,” Lagacé said. “I pursued theatre in CÉGEP, but I discovered cinema and I realized I wanted to become a director, so that’s why I went to school in cinema.”

Cinema has been her focus for a few years now, and is among the projects she intends to pursue with the time no longer being spent on the blog.

“I’m in video production, so I have a short film and then a series coming up,” she said.

While the state of the blog lies in limbo, likely permanently, fans and curious minds can still buy the 52-page third volume, available exclusively in their online boutique, which can be accessed via their Facebook page. Interested parties should not hesitate—half of them have already been sold.

In the meantime, Lagacé is looking forward to the creative future.

“We’re always trying new things and after three years with the blog, we’re hungry for new challenges.”

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