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This review is from: The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn (Paperback)
First, a disclaimer. I bought this book for an unusual reason and am not a part of the author's target market. I was having an argument on a legal forum over the reaches of the first amendment and things eventually moved towards questions of workplace harassment law and whether porn displayed in the workplace should be seen as harassment. Being the individual who thinks the the first amendment should preclude such claims in the absence of more evidence, I went off to do some research which eventually lead me to this book. Basically it seems to me that if at least a third of porn purchasers are currently women, then it seems hard to argue that this sort of approach isn't just court-sanctioned censorship (the question of whether it is wise for a corporation to allow porn in the workplace is a different question entirely). So I went out to look for a woman's pro-porn perspective and found this book.
This book is a guide for women who are interested in experimenting with viewing pornography. The author is a woman who has appeared as a pro-porn voice on shows like Oprah. The target audience will find a description of porn genres, what to expect, potential problems, etc. My guess is that it is probably a very good book in that area. However, I think it is a good book outside of its intended niche in part because it clarifies legal issues regarding "leaked" celebrity sex tapes, legal issues regarding pornography, and other things as well.
Additionally, this book covers a number of topics outside the traditional narrow definition of pornography, discussing adult sex-ed videos (including erotic massage instructional tapes, tapes describing how to have sex with someone who has had a spinal cord injury, etc), for example, and the list of resources has some genuine surprises in it.
For example, she includes as an "indie Porn producer" the company Comstock Films, which has released about seven titles to date. What makes Comstock a bit surprising is the fact that they have received raving reviews in magazines like Oprah Magazine and Women's Health.
One glaring omission in the book is the rise of what we might see as "sexually explicit art films" which have begun to surface in recent decades (9 songs - Unrated Full Uncut Version and Romance are typical examples though I haven't watched either of these). Sometimes Silip: Daughters of Eve is placed in this genre, which may be reasonable, though I found it to be a very un-erotic film even though it is extremely thought-provoking and an excellent art movie (see my review of that film). Often times directors here have been interested not in producing cross-over hits but rather pushing the limits of the art film genre. This is somewhat surprising given the breadth of the book as it is.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a different perspective on pornography.