It has been argued that when it comes to erotica in the U.S., there are two types of places: Los Angeles and everywhere else. But for an adult webmaster or independent erotica provider in Seattle or Miami, that "everywhere else" can be highly profitable.
Below are 10 of the most important areas for erotica in the U.S.
For people who work in the adult industry, it goes without saying that Los Angeles (especially the San Fernando Valley) is more than the adult entertainment capital of the U.S. — it is the adult entertainment capital of the world. No place on Earth boasts more large adult film companies than the Valley, which is the home of Vivid Entertainment, Wicked Pictures, Red Light District/Platinum X Pictures, Digital Playground, New Sensations, DVSX, Evil Angel, Anabolic/Diabolic and countless other major-league adult operations. Beverly Hills, meanwhile, is where you'll find the corporate headquarters of Larry Flynt's Hustler/LFP empire.
Although Los Angeles dominates the U.S. adult industry — hands down — the contributions of other American cities shouldn't be overlooked. And one city that has attracted its share of successful adult players is Las Vegas, whose residents include Ray Pistol (founder/head of Arrow Entertainment), David Sutton (president of VCX), nude model Justine Sands and filmmaker Paul Interlandi (whose companies Moonlight Pictures and Freedom Distribution merged with Arrow in 2005). Well-known adult actresses such as Ashlyn Gere, Christi Lake, Lisa Lipps and Serenity have lived in Vegas, and Legendary Lars' Streamray Inc. has been Vegas-based since 1998. Vegas even has an organization called the Sin City Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is to promote erotic entertainment in Las Vegas.
In New York City, aspiring adult filmmakers and actresses often are told that if they hope to achieve Vivid-type status, they need to be in Encino, North Hollywood or Sherman Oaks, Calif.— not Astoria or Brooklyn Heights. But then again, people operating adult businesses in the five boroughs aren't necessarily interested in emulating the big productions coming out of the Valley. If anything, they are carving out their own niche. New York is the home of such noteworthy adult entrepreneurs as director Joe Gallant (who heads Black Mirror Productions), Tony Comstock (owner of Comstock Films), Andy Fair of DirtyBoyVideo and Michael Lucas, whose company Lucas Entertainment has fared well with gay erotica. A lot of independent fetish/BDSM and goth erotica also comes from the Big Apple as well as neighboring New Jersey.
When it comes to adult entertainment, the Windy City will always be best known as the place where Hugh Hefner has been doing business for more than half a century. Although Playboy Enterprises has had a strong Los Angeles presence for many years, its corporate headquarters are still in Chicago, and that alone makes Chi-Town one of the most important places in the U.S. for adult entertainment.
Porn historians will always associate San Francisco with Jim and Artie Mitchell, the siblings who founded the O'Farrell Theater, which the late Hunter S. Thompson exalted as "the Carnegie Hall of public sex in America." The Mitchell brothers also put Marilyn Chambers on the map with the 1972 smash hit "Behind the Green Door." But San Francisco's importance to adult entertainment certainly didn't end with the Miller brothers — and in more recent years, the Bay Area has been the home of Sex.com (formerly owned by Gary Kremen), Cubik Media (known for NakedSword.com, TimandRoma.com, GayPornBlog.com and a long list of other successful adult sites) and Kink.com (formerly CyberNet Entertainment). Titan Media and Falcon, two of the top gay adult companies of all time, are based in the Bay Area, as are the adult entertainment-oriented modeling agency FCF (French Connection Franchise) and the Society of Janus (a 32-year-old BDSM organization).
Adult webmasters are plentiful in Miami and other areas of South Florida, and one of the most talked-about adult sites of the 2000s has been Bang Bus. Operated by the Miami-based Ox Ideas, Bang Bus is a "reality porn" site that documents sexual acts performed in the back of a van and reportedly receives an average of 100,000 hits per day. But for all its popularity, Bang Bus is only one of the many adult sites run by Ox (whose other well-known sites have included Monsters of Cock, Boob Squad and Spring Break Spy Cam). South Florida also is the home of Penthouse Media, Nastydollars.com (which gave us the popular 8th Street Latinas site) and PornResource.com (an adult news and commentary site).
Given the huge role that Seattle and other parts of Washington state have played in the mainstream technology industry (Microsoft's headquarters are in Redmond, Wash.), it stands to reason that many of the Pacific Northwest's techies would also be profiting from Internet erotica — and Seattle has been a big player in that area since the 1990s, when webmaster Seth Warshavsky was hyped as "the Bill Gates of Internet porn." The long list of well-known adult Internet companies that have come from Seattle and nearby areas has included, among many others, the Internet Entertainment Group (formerly headed by Warshavsky), Sexuality.org (which is educational in nature) and DungeonNet.com (which lists itself as "the most comprehensive directory of BDSM websites in the world"). And Olympia, Wash. (about 60 miles from Seattle) is where you'll find the gay/lesbian-oriented Richard Anthony Films.
In 2004, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran an article on erotic entertainment in San Diego and described the Southern California city as a hotbed of adult websites, upscale strip clubs and gay bathhouses. The Union-Tribune noted that one of the things that makes San Diego an attractive place for adult businesses is the city's close proximity to Las Vegas and — more important — Los Angeles, which is only about three hours away, depending on the traffic. San Diego is the home of adult industry veteran Dave Cummings, and it is where you'll find Ramco Productions (the adult film company that gave us such unorthodox erotica as "Slaughter Disc" and "Clown Porn").
Many adult-oriented entrepreneurs have a thing for sunnier climates, and Arizona is a state that — from Scottsdale to Phoenix to Tucson — has an abundance of sun and erotica. Scottsdale is the adopted home of the world's No. 1 adult film star, Jenna Jameson, whose Club Jenna is based there. And in the 2000s, Arizona's contributors to adult entertainment have ranged from TopBucks/Cyber Heat/Pink Visual and Old Pueblo in Tucson to BT Productions in Phoenix.
Hillsborough, N.C. (near the Raleigh/Durham area) might seem an unlikely contender for a list of America's most erotic cities, but in fact, Hillsborough is where the corporate office of Phil Harvey's Adam & Eve/PHE empire is based. Adam & Eve, the country's largest erotic mail-order business, has been around since 1970 — and along the way, Harvey has earned a fortune selling everything from sex toys to adult magazines and DVDs. In addition to his entrepreneurial accomplishments, Harvey is a major philanthropist.
Boulder, Colo. (where New Frontier Media is based), Philadelphia (home of National A-1 Internet and its site Hotmovies.com, which offers at least 32,000 video-on-demand adult titles), Pittsburgh (where retailer Adult DVD Empire sells a ton of adult DVDs online) and Portland, Ore. (which has been called the strip club capital of the U.S.).