February 12, 2010

Cyan Banister Bares It All In Never-Before-Seen First Zivity Shoot

Culture, Interview, web 7 Comments

In 2007, a start-up rocked the web with its fearless vision to combine the social network with adult photography into a formula that enables models and photographers to profit via a user voting system. The start-up, Zivity, even managed to raise a $1 million round of seed capital from Silicon Valley investors, notorious for steering clear of adult sites.

“We think it’s our unapologetic approach that has nabbed our investors,” founder Cyan Banister commented then. “Women who want to be sexy is not pornography, and us stressing that has helped us a lot. It’s never been about creating a site that’s a dirty little secret, and investors really need to hear that.”

We had an opportunity to speak with Banister last week and asked her to tell us something she hadn’t told anyone before about Zivity’s story.

“The first time I posed nude was very nerve-wrecking,” Banister said. “I called all my photographer friends and I said ‘I’m thinking abut this company again’ — I tried to start this company ten years ago and I was very young and inexperienced and lacked a lot of maturity in person and business — and I told them, ‘I need to pose nude because if I can’t do this, I can’t start this company.’ ”

She set up the appointment and dove in.

“I knew nothing about looking at the camera, or how to pose,” she recalled. “I loved it. It was transformative. I didn’t think much about my body but afterward, I looked at it in the pictures and thought ‘wow, my body is nice.’ I regretted not doing it sooner and appreciating myself sooner. If I could go back, I would tell myself to pose sooner.”

That’s essentially the heart of Zivity right there — it’s about beauty in all its forms, it’s about the discovery of self and the sharing of this self through collaboration with photographers and through interaction with users.

Banister’s first shoot never made it into the site because the images didn’t meet the site’s quality guidelines.

“Has no one seen these?” we asked, our curiosity piqued. “Can we see them? Can we run them?”

Ask and you shall receive.

Presenting the photo shoot that started it all. Un-Photoshopped, and never before seen:

“A camera will show you something about yourself a mirror never can,” Banister told us. “When you see a picture of yourself, you see everything. Have some shots taken. Even if you don’t do it for the website, do it for yourself. Delete it if you have to, but do it.”

And just in case you want to check out this fabled website of epic win, you can get a 30-day trial by sending an e-mail to sexandthe405@zivity.com, no credit card required — until the end of those 30 days, that is. Then you’ll need to pay up. But don’t worry, you’ll find no damn good reason not to, and over 500 reasons worth doing so.

(Be patient, the 30-day trial messages are sorted manually, not by machines, so give it 24 hours before you leave us impatient comments. Not that we don’t love your eagerness, our sweet flytraps of oversharing and voyeuristic delight.)

Oh, yeah: you’re welcome.

Special thanks to Enrique Gutierrez for inadvertently catalyzing this.

AV Flox

Your humble editrix-in-command.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook


Add our page on Google+!

Keep up with everything we're covering right in your stream. Please note this page is limited to users 18+.


Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.


Send us news!

AV Flox

In-House Theologian:
Robert Fischer

Eros and Desire Scholar:
Dawn Kaczmar

Scientific Consultant:
Jason Goldman

East Coast Liaison:
Jackie Summers

Barbie Davenporte

Read about the contributors we've had over time on our staff page.

Follow SAT405 on:


Hosted by (mt)


Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...