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Doctor of the Erotic Arts


goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Mar 18 2010 : 9:02PM
Since I started here, I've noticed a significant number of posters are interested in books that are in some way related to porn - there was a thread devoted to Confessions of an Ivy League Pornographer, and I regularly get asked about books on various topics.
This is a pretty dorky idea, and maybe I'm the only one who will do it, but if at least one other person besides me learns something new from it, I'll be happy.
Here's how I figure it will work: if you're reading, or plan to read, a book that is in some way related to porn, commercial sex, or representations of sexuality, post the name of the book here, and give us a little review when you're done (or even provide little updates as you go along). Books could range from histories of sexploitation film, to sociological studies of male porn watchers, to anti-porn feminist texts, to porn star autobiographies, and many more topics besides. Maybe some of us will end up reading the same book, and then we can chat about it. At the very least, the goal is for us to find out what people are saying on topics that I'm sure a lot of us are interested in.
*************
So, I'll kick it off with an admittedly horrible first entry: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen (South End, 2006).
This is my second time reading this book - the first time, I spent the entire read in a mixture of frustration and fury, frantically scribbling question marks and exclamation points in the margin. This time around, I'm a little older, a little wiser, and more prepared to accept his underlying argument, even if I fucking despise his rhetoric. This book will likely infuriate many folks here.
The essence of his argument is that porn is degrading to women, but more specifically that porn is a symptom of the damaging ways in which we socialize boys/men. This last part I agree with - we raise men to believe that conquering and mastering things (particularly women) is the manly way to approach things. Jensen uses the "King of the Hill" game as an example of how boys (and girls to a lesser extent) are brought up to think they need to "win" via trampling on other people. Men are raised to shun empathy and emotions, and as a result we have a society of anxious masculinity, seeking an outlet for their frustrations in the form of porn that routinely abuses and degrades women.
So far, I pretty much agree, but I kept asking myself why Jensen was focusing on porn ( as opposed to the myriad other media forms that strike me as equally problematic, just in a more palatable form...and thus perhaps more damaging?), and what exactly he was asking us to do about it. To me, porn is a mirror of culture, and is able to reflect the ugly side of society in an exaggerated form. Of course, there's also the complication of porn's unique fantasy/reality fusion, meaning this is also a sex worker issue. In a nutshell, Jensen is calling on men to renounce their masculinity (read: socially constructed maleness) in favour of being a human being. He tries to explain how one might go about this, but in my opinion fails. He uses vague descriptions of what a man might do to change, but then how could he explain it except in vague terms? It just seems so unfeasible, even if it would be a good idea.
My real beef with this book, however, is the way Jensen appeals to the reader's emotions, using embarrassingly sensational rhetoric ("close your eyes and imagine she's your daughter..."), as well as ignoring an entire faction of feminist criticism that does not simply condemn an entire genre. He doesn't allow room for progressive and/or subversive pornographies, which leads me to wonder: if Jensen's wish came true, and men renounced their masculinity, would porn disappear? If not, what form would it take? I think this points to the glaring hole in Jensen's book -- namely, any consideration of the subversive possibilities of the genre, and what this means in connection with the seedier, more depressing and abusive sides of the industry.
Topic Moved by - flash on Apr 16 2010

fubar

7535 Posts
12/09
Posted - Mar 18 2010 : 9:52PM
I've read one nonfiction book about porn, for my Human Sexuality class a decade ago. smartbuydisc.rus and various sites have this subject covered as much as I would ever want to read. I have read Cop to Call Girl, by Norma Jean Almodovar, and Porno, by Irvine Welsh, several years ago.
This topic would get more mileage if it's open to any type of book, although that mileage might be endless pages of drivel about pulp fiction. Anyway, my favorite fiction authors are Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Senior Member

Subterfuge......
17161 Posts
4/07
Posted - Mar 18 2010 : 10:03PM
You will be a tough act to follow Gore Gore Girl,the last book i read with a sex theme to it escapes me right now lol(what a start).It was about the swinging scene/lifestyle,something i have slightly dabbled in before and would love to get back into .The book was about a swinging couple and there exploits or sexploits,parties and general love of acting out fantasies with other people invited into there secret little world of sex.

Senior Member

Somewhere in Yellowjacketland
41895 Posts
10/00
Posted - Mar 19 2010 : 4:37AM
Could it be a picture/photo book? I read lots of books with (naughty) pictures...

Member

650 Posts
9/06
Posted - Mar 19 2010 : 9:50AM
That would probably turn me on.
Ok, so I've recently read Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible” by Linda Williams (University of California Press, 1988). It's a bit of a classic, I know, but it's a good place to go for an "academic" analysis of pornography. She traces the history of the visual genre up to the 1980s, and while there's a bit too much theoretical jargon for my taste, she does a good job arguing in favor of pornography as a field of scholarly inquiry, and she steers clear of the moral condemnations that plague most critical works dedicated to the subject.
For my own work, I especially like how she discusses how pornography only came to hold "redeeming social value" by overlooking its prurient appeal and concentrating instead on greater political and intellectual concerns (88-89). I found that very useful. I also think she does a good job explaining the importance of the money shot (which is something I never cared for, personally) to most male viewers.
Some interesting tidbits regarding my personal reading experience:
1)The copy I borrowed from the library had been read previously by a (presumably college-aged) female who left comments in pencil in the margins and at the end of chapters. Many were of the typical "porn is degrading toward women variety," and made me quite angry. So that just gives an idea of what kind of people Williams is up against in academia.
2)I was reading it on the subway, and some old guy sat down next to me and saw the chapter heading "The Stag Film." He tried to strike up a conversation, and it got real creepy real fast.
"That book must be about 50 years old!" "Why?" I asked, thinking that it wasn't in bad shape at all and didn't look old. "Stag Film, I haven't heard that term in ages." "Oh. Yeah. It's feminist criticism from the 1980s." I tried to communicate that I didn't want to talk to him, but he kept on going on about stag films and how "It used to be that you needed a college degree to understand what pornography was" and such. I left at the next stop, and made it a point never to read anything sexual on the subway again.
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Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Mar 19 2010 : 10:34AM
^
That last part is hilarious. Dudes very rarely approach me about the crazy books I read in public, though a student once saw me reading a book about strip clubs, and posted a facebook comment about me being "weird." And I, too, often get irritated by marginalia, though it's often interesting too.
I have read Hard Core about 3 or 4 times, and I re-read portions every time I have to write something new. It's definitely a classic, like you said. What did you think of the last chapter? I thought it was a bit simplistic in its "women's porn will make porn great" kinda perspective.
The other thing is that now it's pretty out of date in terms of how porn functions as a genre - then again, it's such a good book, the basic arguments and her application of theory are still relevant, even if the feature is no longer King.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Mar 19 2010 : 10:37AM
I'm guessing this is a cheeky little joke, but seriously, photo books can qualify, especially if they're things like that XXX book, which seemed to try and do some form of artistic examination of porn, with little articles and stuff. I dread to think what you might bring to the table though...

Senior Member

3914 Posts
5/05
Posted - Mar 19 2010 : 12:13PM
Philip Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint" is full of jerk-off material.
In fact I once used his story about having his dick, though hidden by a newspaper, out on a city bus while seated next to an immaculately made-up and hosiery-sheathed woman.
When I say I used it, I used it while fucking a hot porn star, telling her the story as if she were in it. She went wild.

Senior Member

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious - Brendan Gill
1938 Posts
4/09
Posted - Mar 26 2010 : 6:58PM
Wendy Chapkis’ “Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor”(1997) is worth looking at for its first section alone, “Sex Wars,” which is a concise and very informative overview of the different factions in feminism.
This was a particular eye opener for me. Although I have supported women’s rights since the modern feminist movement began in the 60’s, I really had no idea that there were such radically different beliefs WITHIN feminism itself: everything from the view that sex empowers women to the view that it enslaves them, every prescription from the uninhibited celebration of sex in all its forms to the total abolition of sex!
The book focuses primarily on prostitutes, examining aspects of their lives and work. I was personally disappointed that there was not more here about girls in porn, although the interview of Nina Hartley is a gem of an exception.
Each chapter, discussing such things as the emotional demands of prostitution, the motives for doing it, how women feel about being sex workers, the business and legal pressures of the work, and so on, begins with Chapkis’ overview of the subject followed by the transcript of several interviews of people in the business, or people that deal with sex workers in some way.
Overall, the book is an engrossing journey into the sex trades that will likely give you a better understanding of and respect for these women and the real work they do. While Chapkis is clearly a champion of decriminalizing prostitution (and is careful to explain the difference between this, and legalizing it) she keeps her distance in the narrative, usually juxtaposing opposing views on a subject that leave the reader to decide which is more valid.
What really makes this book worth looking at is the human and humane and good and generous and caring people that you meet in it who happen to be whores. What makes it worth reading is the thorough job it does explaining the problems of prostitution.
The book is not an advertisement for de-stigmatizing the sex trades, even though I personally believe it does a good job of leaving the reader with the conclusion that the sex trades should be de-stigmatized. It is, rather an objective detailed inside look at sex work that gets its persuasive power from the fact that it IS so objective.
This is NOT a salacious peek at what whores do and how they do it. It is a serious, academically rigorous sociological study of sex workers. I recommend it here to the very people who are least likely to look at it: the testosterone crazed, atavistic conceited mouth breathing ego junkies that come on here and call women skanks and bitches and dismiss them as good looking meat that think of nothing but money. Nothing could be further from the truth.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Mar 26 2010 : 8:36PM
^ Fantastic review! That last paragraph is fucking awesome!
My favourite line though: "What really makes this book worth looking at is the human and humane and good and generous and caring people that you meet in it who happen to be whores."
Couldn't agree more. I like how you say we "meet" these women. It really does feel that way. I liked how Chapkis sets things up in the preface, explaining that she forced herself to include the interviews that made her uncomfortable, so as to insure as much objectivity as possible (while still having an opinion, of course).
I remember one part that really struck me, for some reason -- the piece written by Jo Dozema (was that her name? The Amsterdam sex worker who also worked at that center...Red Thread?). The part where she said that anyone else can come home from work and say they had a really bad day, and not be judged/told they are being degraded etc. As a sex worker, she discovered she couldn't do that, and always felt the pressure to say everything was great because of how people perceive sex work. I found that so insightful.

Senior Member

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious - Brendan Gill
1938 Posts
4/09
Posted - Mar 26 2010 : 9:38PM
What was remarkable to me was the range of motives the girls had for STAYING connected to the business. Though it was invariably money or force that started them in it, they developed pride in their work, responsibility to their clients, altruism: the same things that turn any job from a grind into a source of satisfaction.
You know already that my favorite hooker was Margot Alvarez. Her clear joy and concern and deep empathy in working with the disabled literally choked me up, and the fun she had feeling naughty about "doing it" in a hospital with the doctors and nurses milling around just outside the room was delightful to share.
The last chapter, "Researcher Goes Bad and Pays For it" was hilarious. "so I took my courage -- and my yoni in hand and agreed to participate" as "the only dyke in the room." God Damn! I wish she'd have filmed it.

Senior Member

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious - Brendan Gill
1938 Posts
4/09
Posted - Apr 15 2010 : 8:14AM
Placing a book order that includes Mary Roach's latest, I was reminded of her last title, "[ invalid url ]," an examination of modern sexuality. Like her other books, "Stiff" about dead bodies, and "Spook," about ghosts, "Bonk" is authoritative and thorough, but its greatest virtue is that it is hilarious and fascinating.
It's been a while since I read it, so I can't give too many details, but Roach always writes in the first person about her research into her subject, which frequently involves her own participation. For "Bonk" for example, she actually has sex while hooked up to an array of sensors.
Suffice it to say that those who enjoy a good laugh with a good read can't do much better than Mary Roach
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 15 2010 : 12:54PM
Neat! Thanks for the tip.
I've been reading mostly essays this week, including Laurie Shrage's 2005 piece, "Exposing the Fallacies of Anti-Porn Feminism" (in Feminist Theory journal). It's an interesting read, and quite convincing. She compares Catharine MacKinnon's anti-porn theories to Kant's anti-sex theories, and argues that in looking at this comparison (and the fact that most people have now rejected Kant's claims) we should also "question the assumption that the expression of sexual desire is unique in its power to degrade and dehumanize persons" (1).
She asks some useful questions, and ultimately suggests that there is no reason why the performer/consumer business contract cannot be as healthy as any other business contract: "As long as porn consumers respect the boundaries that the porn stars define, the buyers are respecting the sellers as persons while simultaneously enjoying their sexed bodies" (60). In this way, assuming "women can participate in these activities autonomously and achieve some of their own ends (experimental and mercenary) in doing so" then "the acts of the male consumer are not morally objectionable" (60).
Most reassuringly (and that might signal something problematic in my own attitudes), Shrage suggests that consumer/product relationships are not as sadistic or dehumanizing as people assume. It always irritates me when people (who generally don't watch porn) cannot accept that any man is watching gonzo and actually valuing the woman performing. I often ask these people how consumers become fans of specific women, if they don't value the performer in some way. Shrage states, "Perhaps the consumer recognizes the porn model's desire to be the object of sexual interest, even to strangers, and his consuming habits simultaneously acknowledge her as a person with the ends of her own and a physical body that provides him visual pleasure" (59). In other words, acknowledging that the performer is an autonomous human being with "ends of her own" is not mutually exclusive from enjoying her performance sexually.
Interesting essay.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 9:05AM
Why was this moved to Story Time? I'm confused.

Senior Member

Somewhere in Yellowjacketland
41895 Posts
10/00
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 9:27AM
You and me both.
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Poetic Moderator

Long and Cursive road to the Ivory Pagoda in the province of Loraine
12553 Posts
12/03
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 12:41PM
Because I wanted an active thread.


Senior Member

Somewhere in Yellowjacketland
41895 Posts
10/00
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 1:14PM
It worked, never posted in that smartbuydisc.ru before...
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 2:26PM
Is that really the reason?
I hope it's not because these analyses/essays are seen as "stories"...
 
Poetic Moderator

Long and Cursive road to the Ivory Pagoda in the province of Loraine
12553 Posts
12/03
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 3:51PM
No, I asked Flash to move it here because I wanted to have it here.
I do not consider what you are writing about these books to be 'stories.'
Story Time should be about all kinds of reading, as well as stories. Do not worry about that.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 7:15PM
To be clear, I am now totally down with the move to Story Time, and thanks to Redish for the respect. You are now overlord of our dominion and King/Queen of our club (that means you have to read something).
Edited by - Gore Gore Girl on 4/16/2010 7:17:28 PM

Dianic

Wicked Pictures,Vouyer Media, Axel Braun Productions, Marc Dorcel, JoyBear Pictures, abbywinters.com
12401 Posts
7/05
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 8:00PM
confused.jpg
 
Poetic Moderator

Long and Cursive road to the Ivory Pagoda in the province of Loraine
12553 Posts
12/03
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 8:00PM
Shit, you mean I have homework?
Damn.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 16 2010 : 8:49PM
Would you like me to compile a syllabus?
Edited by - Gore Gore Girl on 4/16/2010 8:49:54 PM
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 24 2010 : 3:17PM
I was hung over this morning, so crawled back into bed and did some reading instead of writing. I read a chapter of Lisa Moore's [ invalid url ](2008). The chapter is called "Overcome: The Money Shot in Pornography and Prostitution."
I haven't read anything by Lisa Moore but I really like her style - it's written in witty prose that is simultaneously dense and complex in terms of theory and ideas. The book itself is pretty esoteric, and I'll have to read it when I have some free time - I only read this chapter because of its porn focus. I wanted something a bit more recent than Linda Williams' 1989 Hardcore and a professor recommended this to me.
In terms of what angle Moore comes from, she's not anti- or pro-porn, like me, so that's refreshing. She's also analyzing the money shot via the book's existing focus - the varying and contradictory meanings that semen has in our culture -- "sperm's elasticity of meaning" (91) -- for example, the tension between semen as dangerous and dirty, and semen as desirable and sexy.
After explaining that the significance of the money shot in porn, the fact that "the cum shot is the period at the end of the sentence," and giving a (very brief) overview of genres, the sex industries, and the health risks associated with semen and sex work, Moore analyzes what men might find arousing about watching other men ejaculate and women desire it - the fetishizing and eroticizing of semen and ejaculation. She argues that, rather than seeing the money shot as simply the desire to degrade women, we should see it as an opportunity for anxious, insecure men raised to "be a man" (an impossible feat, and a constantly precarious position), who want to feel more masculine by seeing another man perform to standard (with obvious homoerotic implications). In addition, they want to see semen -- risky in the era of STDs and HIV, thought to be "gross" in the real world -- be adored and desired by beautiful women. Moore explains, "the constant messages about risk and danger from seminal ejaculate have likely affected men's own relationship to their semen, as well as amplified a sense of it as forbidden" (83). Genres such as "bukkake" take this to the extreme, and "capitalize on recovering and eroticizing the raw material of semen as safe, natural, organic, whole" (83).
In a way, Moore suggests, these spectator experiences "may seem liberating" yet they are existing as part of a system of male domination that subjugates men as well as women. As a result, "hegemonic masculinity maintains its dominance by providing commodities that work to placate those oppressed by activities that are in reality disempowering" (90). In other words, damaging and impossible constructions of masculinity are maintained and strengthened by soothing those men who are unable to embody such masculine roles (i.e. every man on the planet) into believing they can.
This chapter was really convincing, if a little short (but then, it's a book about sperm not porn). I already wholeheartedly agree that men suffer crippling effects of sexism, homophobia, and gender norms, so this was a useful way of connecting these ideas to the money shot. There is also a section in it that has testimonies from prostitutes about how they handle the "occupational hazardous waste" that is sperm, and try to keep it sexy and spontaneous. Really interesting stuff.
Edited by - Gore Gore Girl on 4/24/2010 3:19:19 PM
Edited by - Gore Gore Girl on 4/24/2010 3:20:54 PM
Edited by - Gore Gore Girl on 8/4/2010 4:49:47 PM

Senior Member

40354 Posts
4/05
Posted - Apr 25 2010 : 3:23AM
Since Redish is the king of the club, this could be his logo:
ist2_7046174-king-of-clubs-two-playing-card.jpg
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All-Star Member

pornography wasn't sex but fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world
17059 Posts
9/07
Posted - Apr 25 2010 : 4:02AM
The most recent book on pornography I read was Sinema by Kenneth Turan and Stephen Zito. I've been looking for it for a few years and it finally popped up through Amazon's used sellers for a reasonable price.
Written in 1974 this is fascinating partly because you get a writer of Turan's skill writing seriously on pornography but also as a time capsule. Written soon after the 1973 Miller decision the authors assume that the new ruling will lead to the destruction of feature pornography, instead the form would ironically blossom into what is now considered the 'golden age' of xxx features from 1975-1983ish.
There's a lot of invaluable direct period detail related here in interviews with Russ Meyer, Radley Metzger, John Holmes, Gerard Damiano, the Mitchell Brothers, Marilyn Chambers and Harry Reems. They also don't ignore gay xxx with interviews with the oddly visionary Wakefield Poole and the legendary Casey Donovan. At the time this book was written The Devil in Miss Jones had just been released and the majority of the great films of the 70s are still to come.
This is one of the few serious books on the porn film industry of the 70s that I can think of that was written contemporaneously (Carolyn See's Blue Money is the other).
The odd thing is that so few liberal intellectuals, academics or writers were brave enough to write in-depth and seriously about the pornographic features of the 70s, even though they are clearly the offspring of the counterculture.
Looking back today it seems there were so many interesting films produced during this period but practically no real attention was being paid to them at the time despite all the populist sexual-liberation and pop-art rhetoric. It seems that barely anyone was willing to risk suggesting that there might be anything of value or interest in this sub-sub-genre.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 25 2010 : 9:21AM
^ Thanks Blacksix! I'm very excited you reviewed this, because I'll be reading Sinema over the summer (along with a bunch of other historical accounts of porn). Good to know it's an interesting read, and that it takes itself somewhat seriously (also sounds like it's not snobby, which is always my worst fear - Steven Marcus' The Other Victorians is so damn snooty, he writes as though he's repulsed by the stench of his subject the entire time).

Senior Member

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious - Brendan Gill
1938 Posts
4/09
Posted - Apr 25 2010 : 6:30PM
My thanks too.
As one with a lifelong love of movies, I would not hesitate to put pictures like "The Devil in Miss Jones" right alongside the classics of so-called mainstream cinema by any criteria one cares to name: acting, writing, production qualities, you name it.
I have alays thought that the 'stigma of porn', the prejudice that no sex movie is to be taken seriously, just because it IS a sex movie, has not only doomed some damn fine work to undeserved critical obscurity, but it derailed what started out to be a genre of film that, I believe, could have competed with any other film in any other genre for Academy Awards, Golden Globes or any 'best movies ever' list. It's a tragedy than porn succumbed to a business model and gave up the effort to become an art.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - May 24 2010 : 4:20PM
I just read a chapter from Laura Kipnis' excellent book, Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America (1996). The book is a fantastic read, really witty and intelligent - highly recommended for those of you who like to read theory that feels relevant, and written in an accessible way that is never dumbed down.
The chapter I read, to refresh my memory for a chapter I'm writing, is "Disgust and Desire: Hustler Magazine."
The basic argument of this chapter is that a) Hustler is/was doing something distinctly political, and stands out from other magazines as a text that self-identifies as working class; b) the reason why people have such a problem with it is rooted in the magazine's goal of violating all social morals and decorum, in a decidedly grotesque and base/bodily manner; and c) pornography in general is political speech that seeks to transgress bodily control, manners, public/private spheres, and high/low in general.
Furthermore, Kipnis argues, pornography is particularly interested in violating constructed notions of feminine decorum - and this, she asserts, is why so many women are offended by it. Kipnis states, "what she's assailed with is the fact of her own repression (which isn't inborn or natural, according to Freud and Hustler, but acquired). Pornography's net effect (and perhaps intent) is to unsettle a woman in her subjectivity, to point out that any "naturalness" of female sexuality and subjectivity of the sort that [Robin] Morgan and many other feminists propagate isn't nature at all, but culture: part of woman's own long-buried prehistory" (148-9).
Hmmm. I agree with Kipnis, but these types of feminist arguments too easily gloss over the fact that women live these constructed lives, just as all people live real lives that are nonetheless constructed by our various social positions in life, and even if femininity is a socially conditioned, repressed state, women should still have the right to say no to sex, and to decide their sexual boundaries for themselves. Of course, nowhere does Kipnis argue that if women would get over their socialization, rape wouldn't exist anymore, or any such thing, but it is still troublesome that misogynistic imagery can so easily be dismissed as simply imagery that women are offended by because they don't understand their socialization (that's a gross simplification of what Kipnis says, but this is what it could be reduced to).
My suspicions on this front are strengthened by the fact that after a few pages of Kipnis defending images from Hustler as not really sexist, but rather attacks on bourgeois sensibility, she moves on to topics of race with a slightly altered, more hesitant tone: "On the other hand, Hustler is certainly not politically unproblematic. While it may be radical in its refusal of bourgeois proprieties, its transgressiveness has limits, and its refusal of polite speech in areas of social sensitivity - AIDS or race, for example - doesn't automatically guarantee any kind of countercultural force" (157), admitting that the magazine routinely depicts crude racial stereotypes as the butt of a joke. I wonder, if women's reactions to porn are bourgeois, privileged, gender-based reactions, why doesn't Kipnis' argument follow through into race? Is this topic simply out of bounds for such a thesis? And if so, what does this say about our attitudes toward women?
I see these same contradictions right here at ADT - the person lapping up the latest "gag that bitch" series will moments later be shaking his head over "Blackzilla" or the latest Hush Hush release. Society in general, I think, has a disconcerting tolerance of sexism (and sizeism - perhaps the most accepted form of bigotry around), while racism is for the most part intolerable (although recently, I wonder...). Women can be called whores and bitches on a routine basis, in mainstream media, but as soon as someone calls a group of women "nappy headed hos" it's grounds for dismissal due to the racialized component (further evidence that black women are either gendered or raced, depending on the needs of the context - check out bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins if you're interested in this societal ignorance of interlocking oppressions).
Food for thought, and certainly my tangent was not the core of Kipnis' argument, but it is related in many ways.
Either way, I highly recommend this brilliantly-written, thought-provoking book. It's daring, and will certainly cause even the most open-minded and liberal of folks to experience moments of uncomfortable self-reflection, which to me is the sign of an excellent piece of work.
 
All-Star Member

pornography wasn't sex but fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world
17059 Posts
9/07
Posted - May 25 2010 : 4:07AM
^ Sounds good, right now I'm reading [ invalid url ] and so far its an excellent history on a little discussed subject even with film studies' obsession with gender and 'subversion.'
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - May 25 2010 : 10:40AM
^ Woot! Be sure to come back with a review. I have that on my summer reading list, along with a couple of other books (one of them is rare though, and costs $150 used!), as it's an area I'm too unacquainted with, and I certainly don't want to be one of those writers who ignore it, as you correctly observe of the current state of porn studies. I'm about to start writing about a gay Jekyll and Hyde movie (Dr. Jerkoff and Mr. Hard), so have to brush up on my gay porn theory pretty quick.
 
All-Star Member

9920 Posts
7/04
Posted - May 28 2010 : 11:47PM
Sex & Laughter edited by Susannah Indigo. Samba Mountain Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-9716623-7-7
196 pages. No illustrations.
Contents:
Chris Bridges: The New Guy
Greg Wharton: Cock Sucking in America
Dorothy Bates: After Bill
Jerry Erwin: Pig Heaven
Benjamin Reed: Ol' What's-Her-Face
Mary Anne Mohanraj: Fleeing Gods
Bill Noble: The Roll
Lorri Lambert-Smith: My E-Mail Man
Diane Fisher: The Lucky Dick Club
Souvie: Jitterbug
Wayne Scheer: Naked Lady in 3B
Paul Beckman: Soap
Ian Philips: Love in the Time of Cold Cuts
Melanie Burke Zetser: Your Dick
Janice Eidus: The Ping-Pong Vampire
Arica Carlos: Anonymous Johnson
Mike Kimera: Santa Claws
Samantha Emerson: The Official Slut of the New Millenium
Bar Katz: I've Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now
Matt Twassel: How to Write a Sex Story
Scott Poole: Why I'm Supposed to Let It Ring
Nola Summers: Mad Ida Loved the Wind
Susannah Indigo: Stuck Inside the Uh-Ohs with the Red State Blues Again
This is a collection of fiction and poetry which presents sex in a less than reverrent way. For an activity that's supposed to be fun and comes with a release of inhibitions, sex is often portrayed with all the gravity of Wagnerian grand opera. On the times when it is presented with humor, it's often in a juvenile level where you get a Beavis & Butthead "Heh heh heh heh--he said "Dick" heh heh" laugh.
It's hard to say how well this bridges the gap. I love humor so I snapped this book up as soon as I saw the title, because sex and laughter in print is damn rare. It still is: but at least they try.
The pieces here run the gamut. There are regular stories, there are just short observation pieces, and there are a couple of poems. The subjects are all over the place. In The New Guy, a guy tries to introduce his sweet girlfriend to a 3rd party--a dildo. Cock Sucking in America is a story told while the narrator gives a homosexual blow-job to a stranger. The Lucky Dick Club is a daydream of an entrepreneur. Santa Claws is a twisted Christmas tale.
A few of the stories are pure XXX porn, but most just have a sexual theme. A few are no more explicit than a Cosmo article.
Not sure if I recommend it. I liked a couple pieces. I was hoping for more things I thought were out-and-out funny stories, an X-rated Jean Shepherd anthology, but no luck. Still, if you like sex-themed stories and poetry with an unusual bent, things that aren't seriously trying to get you off like real porn or Erotica, then it's worth a look.
If anything, each item is pretty short so it makes good bathroom reading.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
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1/09
Posted - Aug 12 2010 : 2:14PM
^ Sounds interesting. I think the relationship between sex and humor is too often overlooked.
You might find the book Sex & Humor interesting - it's a collection of archived erotic art from the Kinsey Institute, all of which is humorous. There are a few essays in there too.

Senior Member

1251 Posts
3/10
Posted - Mar 31 2011 : 12:37AM
Ummm, this was presumably tongue-in-cheek (and no, I will not follow with any jokes on that idiom), but yes, I would be interested in the benefit of your clearly wide expertise in the area.
To make clear my limitations, perhaps I should note that my background is in mathematics and that I am severely deficient in pretty much everything else. You may filter any recommendations accordingly.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
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Posted - Mar 31 2011 : 9:03AM
^ Great! I'm guessing you want the bibliography/book list, as opposed to a full syllabus (that part was indeed tongue in cheek, but I've sent many an ADTer a bibliography matched to their interests). What kind of thing? Histories, analysis, autobiography, a little but of everything as long as it's interesting and entertaining?
I will email you later with a list. I'm happy to do so.

Senior Member

1251 Posts
3/10
Posted - Mar 31 2011 : 12:34PM
The little bit of everything sounds lovely. Through most of my professional life I had painfully little time for reading, and spent a quarter century stockpiling books for retirement. Now is my time to wallow in them! Recommendations for stuff that is interesting and entertaining are always appreciated. Thanks so much, Ms GGG!

Edited by - alphadachs on 6/14/2011 9:58:26 PM

 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Mar 31 2011 : 3:43PM
^ I'll get right on it Mr. Alpha!
 
All-Star Member

pornography wasn't sex but fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world
17059 Posts
9/07
Posted - Apr 9 2011 : 5:54AM
Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore by Jeffery Escoffier
This is an excellent historical overview of gay porn up to the late 90s, starting with the films of Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey and the early 'wrestling' films, Escoffier ably covers all the major directors and companies of the 70s that I'm aware of: Fred Halsted and L.A. Plays Itself, Jack Deveau, Boys in the Sand and Wakefield Poole, The Back Row and Jerry Douglas, Joe Gage and his trucker trilogy, Falcon's loops and their modern-day dominance, etc. The most fascinating area for me here was about Jaguar and their features, which sound very interesting, but these days are nearly impossible to find (although I know John Lyons has seen a number of them).
Escoffier has done a lot of research and quotes liberally from the actual people who were involved in these films and it's interesting how thoughtful and especially political their comments are. One finds a more political bent to some of the straight porn performers and directors in the 70s, but here, because homosexuality was so verboten socially, it is much more pronounced. Gay porn was clearly an integrated part of gay liberation in the 70s.
There's so much info here for the newbie it's almost becomes overwhelming. As the book progresses into the 80s and the era of HIV and video, things obviously take a much darker and more depressing turn and it's hard to shake that feeling of diminishing ambition one also finds in straight porn during the same period.
But Escoffier is able to keep things interesting with his discussion of the sexual politics of 'gay for pay' figures like Jeff Stryker, a fascinating section on the modern subgenre focused on black and latino men and an encouraging section near the end about the return of Joe Gage to porn and how the young porn director Wash Westmoreland, inspired by the best films of the 70s, tried to revive stories in gay porn in the late 90s (although in retrospect destined to failure).
Escoffier never lets the factoids obscure the relationship between the films and the gay subculture, but also doesn't fall into the trap of just using the films to discuss political issues. He strikes a nice balance of recognizing the quality of the best films, discussing what they reflected of their times, etc without overcompensating and making aesthetic claims they aren't able to fulfill. A fascinating book that I recommend to anyone interested in this area of porn, which while tremendously important and much more openly embraced by gay men, is oddly not written about to the same extent (even relatively) to straight porn, both academically and on the net.
Speaking of which, is easily the best website I've found for info on classic era gay porn.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 9 2011 : 10:09AM
^ Great review. I can't wait to read this (I am about to do a good deal of research on gay porn, after dabbling in it a little last year).
Thanks for the link too!
Edited by - Gore Gore Girl on 4/9/2011 10:09:40 AM

Member

12 Posts
4/11
Posted - Apr 19 2011 : 6:38PM
I highly recommend "Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex" by Barbara Ehrenreich. She discusses the sexual revolution from a female viewpoint, and talks about how women do indeed respond to visual stimulation, using everything from female fan response at Elvis Presley concerts to the Chippendales dancers as examples.
I first read this book in college and it was very freeing, not to mention thought-provoking and very well written.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 20 2011 : 8:44AM
^ A lot of folks around here could do with reading that book. Folks in general, in fact. I get so damn sick of hearing the tired old myth "well, ya see, men are visual, while women, ya know, they're emotional."
Anyway, *I* could do with reading that book, because I haven't. Thanks for the tip!

Member

12 Posts
4/11
Posted - Apr 23 2011 : 7:36PM
You're welcome GGG, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I think it's available on Amazon at a pretty low price.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Apr 24 2011 : 8:40AM
^ I just got all trigger happy and ordered it. It cost 1 cent! (Plus 3.99 P&P...but still, $4 and I didn't have to leave the house).
 
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pornography wasn't sex but fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world
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Posted - Apr 26 2011 : 11:04PM
I like the other books by Ehrenreich I've read but have never heard of that book, sounds interesting.

Member

12 Posts
4/11
Posted - Apr 28 2011 : 9:36PM
I hope you get to read it, Black Six, it's one of her best.

Member

7 Posts
5/11
Posted - Jun 15 2011 : 5:42AM
I've read one nonfiction book about porn, for my Human Sexuality class a decade ago. smartbuydisc.rus and various sites have this subject covered as much as I would ever want to read. I have read Cop to Call Girl, by Norma Jean Almodovar, and Porno, by Irvine Welsh, several years ago.
This topic would get more mileage if it's open to any type of book, although that mileage might be endless pages of drivel about pulp fiction. Anyway, my favorite fiction authors are Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Member

7 Posts
5/11
Posted - Jun 15 2011 : 5:42AM
^ Great review. I can't wait to read this (I am about to do a good deal of research on gay porn, after dabbling in it a little last year).
Thanks for the link too!
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Jun 15 2011 : 5:41PM
Precisely -- there's a thread in polls where you can post what book you're reading. I made this thread quite specific for a reason. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not really interested in mileage. I'm interested in thoughtful reviews of topical books.
What was the book you read in your Human Sexuality class? Unless my brain is fried from work, you don't name it.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Jun 15 2011 : 5:42PM
P.S. I'm currently reading Escoffier's book that Blacksix reviewed. I'm not that far in yet, but so far so good!
 
All-Star Member

pornography wasn't sex but fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world
17059 Posts
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Posted - Jun 18 2011 : 6:03PM
I'm reading Vol 1 and 2 of Rimmer's X-Rated Video Guide and really enjoying it. My copy of Vol 1 is an earlier edition with about half the number of reviews of the later edition, now I may have to pick that one up too! He has his limitations but takes a refreshingly serious and intelligent approach to these films.
 
Doctor of the Erotic Arts

goregoregirl.com
11853 Posts
1/09
Posted - Jun 18 2011 : 6:34PM
^ I have those! I read them all the time. I agree, he has limitations, but you can't really complain when there's nothing else like it around. I have incorporated "sexvid" "sex making" and "women will love this one!" into my sarcastic repertoire.
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