opinion

Simply Sensual

Stephen Yagielowicz

Adult operators today are engaged in their own “arms race,” striving to outdo each other by continually pushing the line — with some seeking to secure market share by publishing increasingly edgy or outrageous material, while others take the high ground through elevating the bar beyond reach of most competitors.

In the first case, several high profile obscenity prosecutions have resulted from those taking the former business approach, while the latter strategy is exemplified by the cinematic quality of Michael Ninn’s “The Four” — which delivers “adult entertainment” at a level far beyond the ability of the majority of porn purveyors to successfully compete against.

Somewhere between “shock and awe” and Cecil B. DeMille lie the bulk of adult operations — many of which swim in a sea of sexual mediocrity as they face the necessity (but not necessarily having the ability) to move into one of these two extremes in order to stand out from the competitive crowd. Of course, going down is easier than climbing up, so it’s simple to see why a pyramid is pointy at the top…

A pyramid has a broad base, however, because it provides the support necessary for the apex to reach its lofty heights. Indeed, the aggregate demand for the basest material far exceeds the call for cinematic extravagance when it comes to masturbatory fodder — but “art” does have its place in porn...

I contemplated this over the past weekend, when my wife and I went to one of our favorite relaxation retreats, the Chozu Bath and Tea Gardens in Ashland, Oregon. This clothing optional spa is tranquility defined and boasts a wide range of sake samples and other niceties to calm the body, mind and spirit. We stay in a private garden cottage, but spend a lot of time in the communal areas, such as the large Jacuzzi pool: the hot water meets the cool night air here, causing an ethereal mist to form over the pool’s surface, which is lit from below for another-worldly effect.

As nighttime fell and the darkened silhouette of my wife’s softly curving nude form glided across this misty pool, I found the simple sensuality of it all quite breathtaking — and it made me see new opportunities for a renewed creative vision — a vision bolstered by our earlier browsing at a local art gallery featuring nude photographic prints finished with silver, gold and colored metallic effects, for a striking example of erotic expression.

It wasn’t porn, but it was damn sexy — and worth paying for...

While I am not suggesting that we return to the days when most people only saw a nude image in an art gallery or museum, there is something to be said for taking a more simplistic approach to depicting (and commercializing) erotic artistry and sensuality.

Part of the problem from the planning and production side is that it is easy enough to become jaded in this business, where our own exposure to adult material may far exceed what consumers experience; resulting in different standards of normality as to the sexual expectations of the paying public, along with uncertainty as to where the “sweet spot” is, in the marketing equation that balances titillation with profitability.

As they say, “different strokes for different folks.” The key is to find your place in the richly diverse adult entertainment ecosystem and then to develop a following from there.

By focusing on the sensual appeal of your content, regardless of where it fits in the pyramid of porn, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your audience’s expectations and of deriving profits from the resulting enhanced level of consumer appeal and satisfaction.

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