Pornography can be one of the delights of life: it can be arousing, it can be fun figuring out what kinds you like, it can sometimes be a way for partners to get ideas for things they might like to try together, and some of it is good for a laugh. Pornography can enhance masturbation, and masturbation can be used to either learn to reach orgasm more easily or to learn greater orgasmic control.
The problem is that not all porn is well-done. And, unlike mainstream movies and books, typically neither your morning newspaper nor everyday conversation will point you towards the better stuff. As such our hope is that the following guide saves you time.
This guide is divided into separate sections for erotic videos, books, comics, and audio recordings.
How to select and watch adult videos...
How to rent adult videos...
For most people, rent-by-mail or video on demand will be the most comfortable and convenient way to rent adult videos. As it stands AdultDVDEmpire appears to offer the widest selection of both, and we were pleased with the quality of their service the time we tried it. All links below are to the AdultDVDEmpire rental page for that title.
Het videos which may be good choices for couples
Het videos with a more "artistic" or "serious" edge
Het videos focusing on the best scenes from just one actress
Note: These "Deep Inside" films often features scenes with unusual amounts of chemistry, or scenes with the actresses' real-life partners, since the actress is picking their favorite scenes.
Het "all-sex" or "gonzo" series
Note: "gonzo" indicates an informal filming style, with the person behind the camera becoming a part of the film. They're often a lot of fun, with sex that's a bit more real and less staged, even if production budgets are lower. A good strategy is to sample one film from each series until you find a series whose director you like.
Het videos featuring an all-female cast
Note: "all-female" doesn't necessarily mean "lesbian" - basically all of the films in this section were still created primarily with a heterosexual male audience in mind. There do exist films made by and for a lesbian audience (for example those created by S.I.R. Video), but unfortunately AdultDVDEmpire doesn't carry any of them at this time, and I don't currently know any other way to rent them by mail. For this kind of film you'll need to purchase rather than rent, in other words.
Note: Essentially all het videos will feature at least one scene with two women - the term "bisexual" when applied to adult videos simply means that the men will have sex with each other as well.
It's hard to go wrong when picking a film directed by the the famed Chi Chi LaRue. Another option is to use www.gayvnawards.com to find last year's award winners.
For men-only videos featuring serious BDSM play, those offered by Shotgun Video (although quite extreme) are some of the best-regarded.
For additional suggestions and reviews...
See either The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos, or the more recent The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn, both by Violet Blue.
If you're watching with your partner...
Here are a few ideas, based on suggestions from Violet Blue's book:
For waiting until after the film to have sex: Don't be surprised if the sex is hotter than normal, even if the film isn't that great - just leave the remote within easy reach so that either of you can fast forward through ny material which turns him or her off. Another alternative (frustrating but in a fun way) is to watch the entire film without touching yourselves or each other, and when the video is over to write down a list of your favorite parts, or things you wish you'd seen in the film, and later on swap your lists for play.
For having sex while watching the film: One easy way to do this is watch the film with your hands in each other's laps, under a blanket: this can be especially hot if you make a "rule" that you can only touch each other, but not yourselves. On the other hand, if intercourse is what you'll prefer, then one possibility is for one partner to straddle the other while facing the TV, and another possibility is doggie-style facing the TV (particularly comfortable if the receiving partner has some big pillows to lie on, so their weight isn't all on their arms). Of course, you can also take turns giving each other oral sex, while the receiving partner watches.
If you prefer your erotica in the form of the written word, then you're in luck: you'll find a wider range of material, and often higher quality material, than in almost any other genre of porn.
Something for Everyone: The Best American Erotica
Stories for Couples: Sweet Life: Erotic Fantasies for Couples
Bisexual: Bisexual Women's Erotica
Lesbian: Best Lesbian Erotica
Gay: Best Gay Erotica
BDSM/Fetish: Anne Rice's The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, and Beauty's Release. Kim Corum's Breaking the Girl. Molly Weatherfield's Carrie's Story. Laura Antoniou's The Marketplace. Also the anthologies Best Bondage Erotica and Best Fetish Erotica.
Ultra-Short Short Stories: Five Minute Erotica and Down and Dirty: 69 Super Sexy Short-Shorts
Stories Told in the First-Person: Hers: 30 Erotic Tales Written Just for Her and His: 30 Erotic Tales Written Just for Him
Female Perspective: Best Women's Erotica
Romance: Secrets: The Best in Women's Erotic Romance - Volume 15
Sex Toys: Sex Toy Tales
Food and Sex: Juicy Erotica
Right now the three best erotic comic artists are Phil Foglio, Colleen Coover, and Michael Manning: it's all fantastic stuff, and the all-time favorites of many.
Basically, you'd probably prefer Phil Foglio's pansexual work (XXXenophile) or Colleen Coover's all-female work (Small Favors) if you want something sexy and lighthearted, and you'd probably prefer Michael Manning's work (Hydrophidian, In a Metal Web, Tranceptor: The Way Station, Tranceptor: Iron Gauge, and Inamorata) if you want something more stylized and exotic.
We hope this form of erotica grows in popularity, because it's a lot of fun. As it stands one of the best examples of audio CD's featuring the sounds of real-life sex is Encounters Erotica. Also, a company called Passion Press specializes in producing recordings of actors reading erotic stories: if that sounds like the kind of thing you'd enjoy, then you'll be pleased to learn audible.com carries several Passion Press titles. If you're not sure whether this is the sort of thing you'd enjoy then you might want to check out Violet Blue's free podcast Open Source Sex, which in addition to interesting news, sex tips, reviews, and interviews, also features readings of short stories by leading erotic authors (of the early episodes the ones to try are 1, 3, 4, 6, and 7 if you're interested in stories rather than interviews or news).
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