Review: The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos
How to watch adult videos and make your sex life sizzle
by Violet Blue
Cleis Press, 2003
Author Violet Blue is a journalist and sex educator who has reviewed films and books for the female-friendly adult store Good Vibrations for many years. In the course of her job she has watched countless porn videos of every sort, and she brings her immense knowledge of the subject to this great book.
The early chapters focus on who watches porn, and why, ostensibly to reassure the reader that her enjoyment of porn is both normal and exceptionally common. Ms Blue points out that while the porn industry seems to assume the audience is only made up of single white males in raincoats, it's actually a hugely diverse range of people, including plenty of women and couples, and they're watching it for various reasons, be it for masturbation, to spice up a marriage, or just for a laugh.
Violet offers plenty of smart advice on subjects like how to discuss watching porn with your partner, and she even has a few great ideas for sex games to play while watching.
Ms Blue gives details of what to expect from today's porn, and instructs on how to choose the best film for your individual needs. She also addresses the common concerns most people have about porn, from annoyances such as bad boob jobs and facial cumshots, to whether women are being degraded or coerced in films. Her comments are often wryly humorous, with a distinct woman's perspective on the whole industry. Her overall philosophy on porn seems to be that of a realist; it's not ideal, and plenty of improvements can be made, but that's no reason not to enjoy the good stuff that's out there.
The real strength of this book, of course, is the movie reviews, of which there are over 300. Violet lists an impressive variety of titles, divided into numerous categories and niches, from feature films to S&M, from gonzo/reality porn to the "classics".
Her reviews give short, punchy plot descriptions, and a summary of the best aspects of each film, all taken from her own unique female perspective. Violet praises movies that have real female orgasms and unformulaic sex; she prizes films that offer real sexual tension between the stars, or that create a distinct erotic frisson within the viewer. She also looks at production values, attention to detail, acting ability, storylines and sound quality. Her sense of humor isn't far away either. If the film offers something absurd or silly, she's happy to point it out.
Worth mentioning are the cute pictorial icons at the top of each review, telling the reader in an instant whether the film contains dominant women, real female orgasms, intense chemistry, extreme sex acts or, my favorite, unsightly boob jobs. These little pictures are not only useful, they also reveal much about what the reviewer finds important in a film, and again, they're all very female-focused.
Ms Blue also gives some introductory information before each set of reviews about the genre, and what to expect in each category of film. I was happy to discover a lot of interesting new facts about the original porn films of the 70s, as well as find out more about specific directors such as Veronica Hart and Adam Glasser. These introductions are well written and make for great reading.
The book also contains an amusing glossary of porn terms, and a reference guide to female-friendly adult stores and sites.
Essentially, this book does the work for aspiring female viewers
of porn. It cuts through the dross and offers up 300 of the best
titles available, allowing the viewer to easily make decisions about
what kind of movie she wants to watch, and where to get it from.
This alone makes it well worth a look.
This review also appears at For The Girls.