- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Seal Press (25 May 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580053068
- ISBN-13: 978-1580053068
- Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 447,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Good Porn: A Woman's Guide Paperback – 25 May 2010
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Fun, fact-filled, and totally racy, Good Porn is an unapologetic celebration of porn-and a guide for women who like it and those who don't know what they're missing
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The Kindle version is very poorly done. This book has many images, tables, and other types of formatting that don't translate well in Kindle. You can't see any of the images or formatting in Kindle, but you can in Kindle4PC - however, the images are so low quality that you can't really see them properly. Since you can't zoom in on the pictures in Amazon's Kindle4PC software, there's no solution. After buying the Kindle version, I'm now having to buy a paperback version so I can properly read this book.
About 20 years ago I managed a video store that rented mainstream movies and also had a section of adult movies. I learned which customers rented each type of movie - but I also noticed something interesting. Many of the men who rented porn, came into the store and wandered through all the sections, glancing at many video box covers - eventually ending up in the area where they could choose their adult movies. However, the women who rented porn walked in the door and straight to the back of the store. The men would linger over the covers for a long time - but the women could make their decision in just a few minutes. It was interesting and entertaining to watch on a daily basis.
Over the last 20 years, some things have changed in the adult movie industry and the content they are producing and distributing. I remember in the mid 90s, there were many movies produced to appeal to men - and I processed our videos, so I was familiar with the selection of movies available each month. There were some more "story" type movies which were the ones that were promoted as "women's" porn. These were much tamer than the "men's" movies and some female clients thought they were too tame.
However - now, there are directors and producers who are developing better porn for women. That is the topic of Good Porn by Erika Lust. You may wonder why she is qualified to write this book. That's because she is the Award Winning director of Five Hot Stories for Her (2007) and the Barcelona Sex Project (2008).
These are the topics in the book -
Chapter 1 - Porn For Men
Chapter 2 - Women, Feminism, and Pornography
Chapter 3 - The History of Porn
Chapter 4 - FAQs
Chapter 5 - A Dictionary of Porn
Chapter 6 - Horror Movies, Comedies and Porn
Chapter 7 - A Word to the Wise Wanker
Chapter 8 - Sexy Shopping
Chapter 9 - A Smorgasbord of Adult Films
Chapter 10 - Relax and Enjoy It
Chapter 11 - Adult Films for Grown Up Women: A Manifesto
This book is written in a way that it is very useful for people who aren't familiar with the diversity in the porn industry, but also full of detail for people who understand what is available.
One of my favorite parts is the "In the Phony, Predictable Porn by Men". She totally nails it - there are many things that you just know will be in traditional porn films. Some of these things appeal to women, but it seems that these things turn off a good number of women. So - women need to know that there are alternatives - there are a growing number of women directing and producing porn --- that appeals to women in a greater way.
There are plenty of objections to porn that we've all heard - but seriously, how many women do you know who enjoy steamy Lifetime movies or various series - that contain plenty of steamy scenes. What about soap operas - is there a place of network TV where you see more sex and especially in the middle of the day?
So - there are plenty of women who enjoy erotic, sexual content and now they can find a selection of adult movies that are more graphic, but done in a more subtle way. There is atmosphere in these films that you won't find in the porn produced by men. To quote Erika Lust - "We want sexually explicit images, but we want to call the shots when it comes to how they are made." She also says, "We want films that are made for adult women, films that show us real women, films that tell us about our sexuality. We don't want to be portrayed as passive objects or victims but as active subjects giving and receiving pleasure. We want to see other women enjoying themselves."
There is a great section in the book that gives details of the "better known" porn over the last 30-40 years. I bet you've heard of Deep Throat, Debbie Does Dallas, The Green Door, The Devil in Miss Jones and many more - the details are all here. Learn about various directors over the years, the differences in their work. Learn why you will likely see multiple women having sex on screen, but rarely see two men showing any affection.
If you enjoy surfing the online porn sites, there are plenty mentioned in the book - where you may find some new videos and clips that you will enjoy. You will also learn about the many types of porn - there are many sub categories in the porn industry and this is your guide book to learn more and to learn how to identify the types that will appeal to you. In addition there is information and reference links for information about adult boutiques, sex toys, and so much more.
Very simply - this is an awesome guidebook to help anyone understand porn and various parts of the ever expanding sexual options better. If you are ready to get in touch with your sensual, sexy side and you would like to learn more about the type of adult movies that are available - you need this book - today!
Although only 238 pages long, Good Porn manages to be a comprehensive book. We get not just a feminist discussion of the porn industry as it stands, but also a history of pornography, and an extensive list of films that go beyond the limited views of the world presented in mainstream porn. The reader learns about GLBTQ issues, hentai, BDSM, sexual education, alt-porn, and art films. Good Porn is a truly well-rounded account of erotic film and the ways in which women (and men) can explore their erotic interests in a way that is empowering and fulfilling. In addition, Lust's writing style will appeal to both the academic and the more general reader.
I have very few criticisms about Good Porn. The biggest problem I have is that while Lust is genuinely interested in having more diversity in pornography, she consistently uses the word "fat" in a pejorative sense. For example, when listing the problems with traditional porn made by men, one of the items is: "Beautiful young women just love to have sex with fat, ugly, middle-aged men" (21). While I agree that the double-standard applied to appearance in traditional porn is a problem, I also believe that fat people are just as beautiful as thin people, and that the word "fat" should never be used to denigrate someone's appearance. If we want porn to be more inclusive, diverse, and realistic, we need to respect all sizes.
The other complaint I have is with Lust's negative use of the word "whore." She notes that in traditional porn, "Women enjoy dressing up as whores or little girls" (23). Elsewhere, when speaking of the motif of the pizza delivery guy in traditional porn, she says "the girl is foolish, she's a whore, she's easy, and the guy is happy trading sex for money" (40). While I loathe situations in which prostitutes are exploited by pimps, or forced to enter sex work against their will or own wishes, I also realize that there are women who become whores voluntarily and enjoy their work. As I read Good Porn, I didn't get the sense that Lust was using the word "whore" to criticize exploitative, male-dominated strains of prostitution, but rather pass judgment on whores themselves. While I agree with Lust that acting in pornography and working as a prostitute are two different kinds of sex work, they are both still sex work, and I felt frustrated seeing a porn director criticize whores rather than attacking oppressive systems that render prostitution unsafe.
Good Porn is perfect for any woman who is interested in pornography but struggling to reconcile it with her feminist beliefs. Lust show the many ways in which porn can be feminist, and highlights the directors, writers, and actors working to make empowering films. But Good Porn is not for women only; men have the potential to learn a lot from this book, especially those who have previously only been experience to more traditional pornography. The porn world is changing rapidly, and Lust's book lights the way.