All Posts By

Michael Ellsberg

Erotic Media

“Luminous Lust” on the Big Screen at HUMP! Film Festival

It was a huge thrill to see the short indy “docu-porn” I co-created, “Luminous Lust,” on the big screen at HUMP Film Festival in SF! If you’re in SF, Seattle, or Portland, don’t miss this festival, playing through Saturday, where you will see over a dozen incredible indy-feminist porn films, (very) explicitly celebrating and representing a wide swath of diverse human sexuality.

 Word on the street is that ours has a great shot at winning the “Best Sex” category! Here’s our description of our film: “Luminous Lust is an erotic short film directed and written by the 2018 class of Madison Young’s Erotic Film School. In this sizzling short film, real-life couple – Dylan Ryan and T. Pfister [in photo] – boldly bring the audience into the most intimate parts of their lives, sharing with the camera how the couple fell in love, what about their partner turns them on, and how they first met. This intimate sexual portrait of this passionate couple gets steamy when they open the door and let the viewer into their lustful and luminous sex life.”

Continue Reading


Using Marijuana to Combat to the Opioid Crisis

Silk-Road-David-KramAs a devoted stoner since age 13 (no, not “cannabis user” or other pretty words lol) I have always been skeptical of government warnings about a “drug epidemic.” After all, I was a proud, bong-ripping part of the “teen drug epidemic” bandied on TV, and I turned out OK, didn’t I? (or maybe I’m a poster-child for abstinence! lol)

Anyhoo, when I started hearing about the “epidemic” in opioid addiction, I was skeptical. Just another sensational ploy for headlines and further advancement of the war on drugs, I thought.

Then, I met David Kram, a cannabis entrepreneur who has devoted his life to promoting cannabis as a healthy and non-lethal alternative to opioids for pain relief.

And what he started telling me had my jaw drop to the floor. So much so, that I started doing a bunch of research into this issue, when before I had ignored it.

No, this is not government/media sensationalism. Currently, opioid overdoses are the #1 cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, far more than car accidents and gunshot wounds. Continue Reading

Erotic Media, Sex

“Luminous Lust” Premieres at HUMP! Film Festival

Michael Ellsberg Dylan Ryan Madison Young

I am thrilled to announce that a short indy docu-porn I co-produced, “Luminous Lust,” is premiering at Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival – indy porn festival – in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Screenings of the entire festival go through November 17th.

Here’s our description of our film: “Luminous Lust is an erotic short film directed and written by the 2018 class of Madison Young’s Erotic Film School. In this sizzling short film, real-life couple – Dylan Ryan and T. Pfister [in photo] – boldly bring the audience into the most intimate parts of their lives, sharing with the camera how the couple fell in love, what about their partner turns them on, and how they first met. This intimate sexual portrait of this passionate couple gets steamy when they open the door and let the viewer into their lustful and luminous sex life.”

Madison Young‘s Erotic Film School was one of the greatest educational experiences of my life. Over 2 days in Oakland, CA in August, four of us beginning film students–a diverse mix of genders, nationalities, races and orientations–gathered under the guidance of master feminist porn producer Madison to create a concept, develop a shotlist, and shoot a short “erotic portrait” based around this amazing real-life couple and their love and passion. (Dylan has been a pro performer for many years. This was her girlfriend T’s first time on camera for adult, though that’s hard to believe from her razzling performance!) Continue Reading


Inbound Communication to You, From Someone Who is a Distant Contact or Stranger, Entails Zero Responsibility or Commitment to Respond

Unpopular opinion: inbound communication to you–via email, text, social media, call, etc– from someone who is not a currently-active business relation, or close personal relation (however you define that), entails ZERO responsibility or commitment to respond, unless you want to. If they get upset at no communication, it’s understandable, but ultimately, you can’t take that on- it’s on them.

Not saying it never makes sense to respond to unsolicited communication from distant contacts, or strangers. Just saying that you really have no responsibility to whatsoever. Having met at a party and become Facebook friends, doesn’t entail a commitment to respond to that person right away, or at all, for years after the party. This is crazy-making for all of us!

“Back when I was a kid,” and you met someone at a party, or at a backpacker hostel in Europe or whatever, you might end up with a phone number scribbled on a scrap of paper. (For a landline! Which may or may not have even had an answering machine attached to it! Thirty-somethings and above, remember messages for people, delivered to whichever roommate answered? Remember guilt at your unanswered personal snail-mail letters, as you didn’t have time to write a minimum pagelong handwritten letter back and drop it off at the mailbox?)

When you met someone, you definitely wouldn’t end up with an immediate digital connection to someone’s pocket, and/or public social media connection, for years to come, along with an expectation of immediate always-on response.

When did people get the idea that, because they meet someone casually, or write or communicate to someone they don’t know super well, they are owed a response? How did becoming Facebook friends with someone, which is often done very casually and spur-of-the-moment with strangers or near-strangers, come to mean a commitment to be in touch for eternity? Good for Facebook, not good for our sanity! Continue Reading

Comedy, Videos

Freudian Kink

I got a vasectomy. My first-ever comedy performance explains why.

[Content advisory: verbal descriptions of extreme taboo role-play between consenting adults.]

Performed 7/8/18 in Oakland, CA as part of Alicia Dattner’s Solo Showdown comedy workshop.


Guys–Stop Forcing the Fucking Issue

Hey guys- if you don’t know her, and you’ve just met her, and you’re attracted to her, and you’re in a clearly non-social place (particularly a space were she can’t just walk away instantly, such as an elevator, or on a bus, or in the corner of room) and it seems like she’s being all super sweet and friendly–and maybe even flirtatious! … it’s *possible* that that’s because she’s attracted to you. It’s also possible that that’s just naturally how she is around people, and it means absolutely nothing beyond passing politeness. It’s also possible that that’s how she has had to act (or has been socialized to act) in order to stay safe around men under patriarchy. Don’t assume you’re good at telling the difference.

Chill out, give her space, remain friendly and engaged (if she is giving you clear signals that she is also friendly and engaged and open to further conversation… and if not, then STFU) and if she *really* wants to know you more beyond this interaction, trust she’ll find a way make it happen – but the truth is, the women you’re probably attracted to (especially given how f*ing picky most guys are about women’s bodies and attractiveness, even if the guy is super basic…) get offers and invitations of “socializing” from men every single day, even every single hour in public. The probability is that you’re just another passing interaction within the ebb and flow of her day. It’s not a commentary on our manhood or our attractiveness – it’s a commentary on how fucking busy she is, and how many other social offers she already has on her full plate. That’s all

Will hanging back to some degree in this way result in some lost potential romantic or erotic connections? Probably. But it will also probably result in more friendships, and more community with women as peers (which we’re sorely lacking with each other.) And fewer women who feel uncomfortable around men, in elevators, business events, etc. I believe, in the age of #MeToo, we should change our priorities. (The understatement of the year.)

Sex will be there, with someone–and when you find that right someone, it will probably be great. We don’t always have to force the fucking issue. We’ve all done that, including myself, and we need to stop, and listen to what women are telling us.

[See comments on the Facebook version of this post here.]

Persuasive Arts

This guy turned a piece of trash into $100,000…

In 2005, Kyle MacDonald was a 25-year-old unemployed guy in Montreal, being supported by his girlfriend, a dietician. She was close to ending things with him, because she was so tired of him mooching off her for rent and other expenses. He had to think of something fast. He applied for a few more jobs (again), and heard nothing (again.)

What he really wanted was to own a home, free and clear, so that he and his girlfriend could live there, without worrying about paying rent or getting kicked out.

But, as a guy who was barely making ends meet, working itinerant gigs promoting products at trade shows, that seemed a far-off dream.

Pondering what he should do, he remembered a game he played as a kid, called “Bigger, Better,” where you trade a small, common object, for something else better, and trade that for something else, and on and on, and see what you can get. He remembered some kid in his town started with a penny one day, and ended up with a couch by the end of the day.

In a spark of genius, or madness–is there a difference?–he decided he would try to realize his dream of getting a house. By playing the game. “I would become the greatest Bigger, Better player the world had ever seen, bar none,” he wrote of his plan. Continue Reading

Persuasive Arts

The 1-Hour Copywriting Method™

I’ve been freelance copywriting for 15 years, and just this year, I discovered a secret for massively increasing the productivity of writing for clients, getting them even better results, much faster.

It’s so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think about it before.

Instead of writing a draft solo (after interviewing the client on what they want), then submitting it for feedback, and then going over the feedback with the client over the phone, then revising it, etc. etc….

I get you on the phone, share a fresh Google doc with you, ask you a bunch of questions about what you want, and start writing it with you right there on the phone. You see what I’m writing word-for-word as I type it, and we incorporate your feedback and input together *in the moment*

I call it the 1-Hour Copywriting Method™ Continue Reading

Sex Work

Sex Educator Ruwan Meepagala Censored From YouTube for Sex Ed Videos–Welcome to the New FOSTA/SESTA World

My friend Ruwan Meepagala just got a lifetime ban from YouTube for creating and sharing sex education videos–no nudity, just sex ed, including videos about consent.

This is the new reality we live in, post-FOSTA/SESTA. Internet platforms simply caved in to the demands of right-wing Christian moralists, who are on a “moral hygiene” crusade to kick anything having to do with sex off the Internet, while dressing it up as a crusade against trafficking. (Unfortunately aided and abetted by an anti-sex-worker wing of feminism–not all feminism, but that particular, moralistic/Victorian wing, who want to shut adult, consenting sex workers down: and who are now winning in high places through Senator Kamala Harris, who was one of the main backers of FOSTA.)

Yes, human trafficking is a serious problem–in many industries, especially in agricultural labor, which is the locus of a massive amount of the trafficking in the world. (Nobody is calling for the shutting down and criminalization of adult, consenting farm workers because some people in their field are subjected to horrendous trafficking.) No, FOSTA was not a good solution to trafficking and is actually making the problem much worse in lots of documented ways. But it wasn’t about trafficking–it was about sex-negativism.) Continue Reading