PVV/Review – examples of romance porn #1, Adult Source Media’s Book of Love (2011)

A new genre seems to have been emerging in mainstream segments of adult content production during the past two-ish years – romance porn intended for women and couples.

Hmmm… interesting, probably problematic, and definitely interesting!!

Even at its most nascent and/or broad, I find the idea of porn for women and/or porn for couples compelling – whatever could these descriptors mean? What does such content look like? Who is it for? And is it possible that there’s content out there that can appeal to ALL women and/or ALL couples??

I’m gonna go with probably not.

From everything I can tell, the bulk of the content being produced under the auspices of this genre is intended for heterosexual women and/or heterosexual couples. But certainly there is a narrower, far more defined target audience here… I decided to take a gander at three recently produced (and conveniently all XBIZ Award-nominated) examples from this genre to get an idea of what’s what* – enjoy!!

Romance Porn for Women and Couples, Example #1: Adult Source Media’s Book of Love

Book of Love is the first release from Adult Source Media’s romance/couples’ line, Intimate Encounters. In order to fully appreciate the scope of what was intended with this project, a little press text is needed…

“…Each film [in the Intimate Encounters line] will present a unique, romantic story that specifically digs into topics women [as in, all women??] find to be the most interesting attributes of the most popular novels and narratives in the romance field.

‘Intimate Encounters was created to cater to the couples market with a very unique approach,’ [Adult Source Media] President Wendy Crawford said. ‘When my husband and I began discussing a new path targeting the female demographic, we made a commitment to introduce a studio whose films would be directed and produced by a husband and wife team. We were both actively involved in the entire decision making progress of producing and directing Intimate Encounters.

‘When people watch Book of Love, they will witness the intricacies unveiled in a very realistic love story, while at the same time, seeing a beautifully choreographed display of eroticism that they will want to mimic in their own bedroom.’

Book of Love was shot using a Canon 5D camera, giving it the look and feel of a Harlequin romance novel come to life. The film captures the essence of authentic relationship issues couples go through, with just enough imagination to make female viewers feel they are participants rather than witnesses to a great love story.

In Book of Love, Angela, a beautiful homemaker, begins to feel she is destined for a life of married monotony. But when she turns her attention to a paperback romance, she finds herself lost in the sensual erotic stories that unfold around her. The intense excitement of young lovers touching for the first time, a modern Adam and Eve finding their ardor-filled oasis, a mysterious maestro teaching his beautiful ingénue the art of making love, are just a few of the explicitly sexual tales that the Book of Love offers.

Adult Source Media assembled several conferences with a contingent of female focus groups and test audiences in order to gather valuable feedback on what women find most important in an adult romance film as well as what would encourage them to purchase and share the film with their significant other. Based on these results, Intimate Encounters was born with an unapologetic dedication to high-quality couple themed films.” (original post here)

Aside from the likely well-meaning but certainly limited and presumptuous scope backing this project, I can say with little hesitation that Book of Love fell absolutely flat on its face.

In spite of ASM’s commendable efforts to conduct market research while somehow still completely conflating sex and gender, the cheeeesy “romantic” music, the ridiculous (to me) Harlequin-romance-novel-come-to-life premise, and the excessively long introductory sequence, Book of Love looks just like any other typical C grade porno – close up shots of penis banging vagina while balls clack unceremoniously everywhere coupled with improbable scenarios and set/wardrobe/art design (heels in a barn? carrying a romance novel around in the pocket of your satin robe? playing the piano while sitting on a basket?)… Except that it also looked dated.

Rather than capturing something new, Book of Love made me feel like I was wearing one of those throwback Brenda Walsh rayon dresses I see struggling for facetime in the mall lately. Or a vest.

I didn’t like that feeling.

Now, it is entirely possible that this film is simply another one of those things “intended for women” that I just don’t get. Maybe I’m not whatever sort of woman it is that’s supposed to feel Book of Love‘s point. Because not all women are the same and because I definitely can’t speak for anyone other than myself, it is entirely possible that there is an audience out there that this text will resonate with. And in that respect, yay.

But in my opinion, Book of Love sucked. Sorry.

Recommended for: I cannot fathom :(

Book of Love Notables

Girls: Kiara Diane, Bianca Benett, Iwia, Kari, and Satin Bloom

Guys: Ramon Nomar, Victor, Mark, Lenny, and Cage (Cage!!)

Directed by J & W Crawford for Adult Source Media. Released in September, 2011. Get your copy of Book of Love (2011) here.

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*My three-film sample here is based strictly on 1) being 2012 XBIZ nomed and 2) being from what seemed to be a broad representation of romance porn content. I also just pulled from what I had on hand. This little sampling is in no way representative of all the content currently available in this genre.

Stay tuned for Romance Porn for Women and Couples Example #2 (New Sensations’ Dear Abby) and Example #3 (Wicked Pictures’ Heart Strings)!!

For PVV reviews of more award-nominated titles, go here.

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