I found it difficult to stick to a straight review of the film so consider this one more of an Op Ed piece.
There are three kinds of people in this world
1) People who believe porn is bad for everyone, it degrades women, sexualizes people at a younger age, is a cause for broken marriages, unwanted pregnancy and all sorts of other ills.
2) People who think porn is fine, healthy and should be accepted by others adults as a normal sexual outlet.
3) And people who are afraid to take a side or won’t say what they really think because it will piss off their boss, partner (lover or spouse), mother, preacher, or the government.
So realistically the stereotypes like the ones above are unfair. The documentary: Adult Entertainment Disrobing America walks a fine line between an academic study, an evil science experiment, and functions as much as an indictment of both the government’s in ability to stop people from fucking on camera and the adult entertainment industry for profiting from it.
Filled with interviews of pro adult film types (pornographers), sexual health advocates, it’s the liberal and conservative institutions tied to the business that were meant to be shocking. Did you know major book stores (Barnes & Nobel), internet outlets (Amazon, Etc), electronics companies and even GM sell dirty movies? Even for me there are some things that were shocking like the association of Adult company Adam & Eve with people who are responsible for Sex Ed in our school systems. Sorry that’s a bit wrong even in my book.
There are outlandish claims by some well credentialed types that pornographers are in bed with pharmaceutical companies that make Erectile Dysfunction drugs (no ED is not cause by bad diets or lack of exercise its caused by watching Porn) and things that need more data to be identified one way or another such as crime rates in area’s with adult oriented business increases when they’re there.
The one thing this move did was cause a tear in my own preconceptions I found it impossible to relate to one of the study participants without blaming her for some of her own issues. If you asked me if porn was fine for adults I’d say yes before and after the movie. If you asked me are children under or mis-educated about sex, love and intimacy beyond the pure egg and sperm conversation. In most cases I’d agree. It points out that beyond the basic biology it really is the role of parents to teach the topic at home. Sure it’s a byline but an important one. But it didn’t address sexual incompatibility in couples, and only hinted at the increased awareness of that due to adult entertainment.
The main premise was to follow one single man and one married couple in a blind study where they were to watch an hour of adult content everyday ranging from XXX DVDs, to internet sites, to strip clubs and finally magazines for 30 days. Two things stuck me. The first was the inability of either man as time progressed to be honest about their reactions and interests in the material with themselves and their partner. Maybe I’m all wrong but I think needing a sexual release is a normal thing. The second is that when it came to the couple the study itself seemed flawed. The wife knew the husband was watching porn, surfing adult sex sites, reading girlie mags and even going to strip clubs. What seemed to be missing though was content that might or would appeal to her. Despite common misconceptions I guess not every house wife is into a girl on girl anal gangbang.
The second was that the couple due to the tension of the experiment grew apart. You got the feeling that it’s what the film makers wanted to show. As while the wife talked about her concerns and insecurities it became quite clear to me that she wasn’t trying to cross the gap between their traditional sexual roles and her spouses newer fantasies. I see it all the time in the confines of “normal” monogamous sexual relationships. One partner or the other is simply unwilling to try.
She found herself worried he was jerking off to thoughts of other women, she worried about his preference for differ sized breasts. What was never pointed out on camera was she was rejecting his fantasies that he shared with her (none of which seemed at all like edge play to me, then again I’m a Pornographer right) , ignoring his requests, not even attempting to accommodate him or share what she’d like as an alternative. It’s a key point the work missed, possibly quite intentionally since the message was Porn is bad. She was asked questions and made excuses. The very critical communication between lovers, the ability to recognize your partner’s needs and stop and go beyond your own comfort zone without violating your own values to meet those needs was never pointed out. Instead it was look at what porn is doing to them not maybe she should give him a lap dance like he fucking wants since they’re married and monogamous.
You see if you buy into Porn is bad, Sex outside of marriage is bad, it’s only for procreation, and all the other assorted beliefs that go with the monogamy and abstinence set then it’s no wonder people and their relationships fail. If your partner isn’t willing to help meet your needs then of course many if not most people will find other things that do. It could be food, alcohol or drugs but it could also be affairs, sex workers, strippers, adult content of whatever type. Who do you blame on this one? Porn, advertising, the over sexualizing everything or government and region induced guilt about sex, our bodies and pleasure.
Back to the topic at hand…
Ron Jeremy of giant penis and multi decade pornography fame added both a mix of levity and industry insight. However even he couldn’t answer the question of would you want your wife, daughter, or sister to be in that line of work with a smile and a chuckle.
My opinion is the film leans right politically/morally. It is not a feel good sex positive piece and that’s ok because politics aside you would have to be a mindless drone for it to not cause you to stop and take an inventory of your own beliefs if you are pro porn, sex toys, swinger, etc. Points were made, very valid points that the industry has gone over the top with who can put how much in their ass and lacks some of the actual connection that was at least hinted at during the early days of the XXX boom. So it’s another one of those do what works and sells things that the right wing are usually touting as wonderful and free enterprise….unless someone else gets off on it. Then it must be wrong.
So I am all those things this piece would hate; pro sex, Poly, yeah for Porn, I like having a hard on and think everyone so go to a few orgies in their life type , and I like to watch people fuck. So according to one “expert” my affinity for S&M…ohhh that stings (clever word play right? ) Oh and all of the people working in the industry are damaged. I hate that stereo type, I think it’s unfair, and none of anyone else’s business but I’ll also admit that I also think it’s largely true of humanity as a whole not just sex fiends, pornographers, XXX Starlets, Guys with Giant Cocks, and strippers. I believe 95% of people are damaged in some way. It’s just not called that when you believe in God and become a religious wing nut, obsess over a sports team to the exclusion of having an actual life, or what your neighbor is doing, or how your garden grows, or if you steal people’s souls to make a bigger corporate profit. Oh that’s not something damaged people would do because its completely fucking normal!
In a final ironic twist in doing a little additional research and making an attempt at fact checking I hit the link off the IMDB page for the movie to the official website and it redirected me to a “Affair Ads” site so I could hook up and get some strange. Guess either I misread their messaging in the movie or someone didn’t make enough money to justify keeping the URL.