How Pornography Affects Our Lives, Relationships, Families, Law, Economics & Culture (2005)

Pornography in the United States has always been controversial. About the book:

It has been subject to attempts to have it banned in a number of strategies, including outright bans, prohibiting its sale, through censorship or rating schemes, by claiming it is prostitution, besides other means. These are reactions from the anti-pornography movement in the United States.

There have been court decisions dealing with aspects of pornography, including relating to the definition of pornography and obscenity, covering personal possession of pornography, and its relation to prostitution, and in relation to the right of expression.

Pornography is a big business in the United States, with total sales estimated to be $13 to $14 billion.

Much of the pornography produced in the United States is in the form of movies and the branch acutely competes with the internet. The market is very diverse and ranges from the mainstream heterosexual content to the rarefied S/M, BDSM, interracial sex, ethnic, etc. through enduringly popular gay porn.

Early American stag films included Wonders of the Unseen World (1927), An Author’s True Story (1933), Goodyear (1950s), Smart Alec (1951), and Playmates (1956–58). Breakthrough films such as 1972’s Deep Throat and 1978’s Debbie Does Dallas, which launched the so-called porno chic and enabled the commercialization of the adult film industry. In this period America’s most notorious pornographer was Reuben Sturman. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, throughout the 1970s Sturman controlled most of the pornography circulating in the country.

The country now houses over 40 adult movies studios featuring heterosexual scenes, more than any other country. The branch, according to founder and president of Adult Video News Paul Fishbein, involves the manufacturers of adult products, distributors, suppliers, retail store owners, wholesalers, distributors, cable TV buyers, and foreign buyers. The production is concentrated in San Fernando Valley (mainly in Chatsworth, Reseda and Van Nuys) and Las Vegas, where more than 200 adult entertainment companies gather to network and show off their latest wares. The world’s largest adult movies studio, Vivid Entertainment, generates an estimated $100 million a year in revenue, distributing 60 films annually and selling them in video stores, hotel rooms, on cable systems, and on the internet. Vivid’s two largest regional competitors are Wicked Pictures and Digital Playground. Colorado-based New Frontier Media, a leading distributor of adult movies (at NASDAQ since November 2000), is one of the two adult video companies traded publicly, the another one being Spanish Private Media Group.

The industry’s decision to embrace VHS in the early 1980s, for example, helped to do away with Sony Betamax, despite the latter format’s superior quality. Video rentals soared from just under 80 million in 1985 to half-billion by 1993. Suffering at the hands of video warez tended not be publicly stressed by country’s film industry. In 1999 there were 711 million rentals of hardcore films. 11,300 hardcore films were released in 2002.

In the recent years, according to Fishbein, there are well over 800 million rentals of adult videotapes and DVDs in video stores across the country. Digital Playground said it is choosing the Blu-ray Disc for all of its “interactive” films because of its greater capacity.

The female demographic is considered to be the biggest catalyst for pornographic cultural crossover. According to Adella O’Neal, a Digital Playground publicist, in 2000 roughly 9% of the company’s consumers were women while four years later that figure has bloomed to 53%.

American adult pay-per-view television is presently unregulated since it is not technically “broadcasting” as defined in the Federal Communications Act. Cable and satellite television networks host about six main adult-related channels. Most of them (particularly Playboy TV, Penthouse TV, and Hustler TV (there is also a “Hustler Video”, a line of raunchy films created by Larry Flynt)) are maintained by three mainstream porn magazines. In 1999 Playboy Enterprises sold to Vivid Entertainment a small channel which was renamed to Hot Network. Since that Vivid launched two more channels—the Hot Zone and Vivid TV. The viewers paid close to $400 million a year to tune into Vivid’s hardcore content and the company soon overtook Playboy as operator of the world’s largest adult-TV network.

Image By Alan from Chicago, USA (DSC00903 – Penny Flame) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( via Wikimedia Commons