Sex, Society, and the Making of Pornography: The Pornographic Object of Knowledge (Paperback)
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Hardcore pornographic films combine fantasy and real sex to create a unique genre of entertainment. Pornographic films are also historical documents that give us access to the sexual behavior and eroticism of different historical periods. This book shows how the making of pornographic films is a social process that draws on the fantasies, sexual scripts, and sexual identities of performers, writers, directors, and editors to produce sexually exciting videos and movies. Yet hardcore pornographic films have also created a body of knowledge that constitutes, in this digital age, an enormous archive of sexual fantasies that serve as both a form of sex education and self-help guides. Sex, Society, and the Making of Pornography focuses on sex and what can be learned about it from pornographic representations.
About the Author
JEFFREY ESCOFFIER writes on the history of sexuality, pornography, and LGBTQ issues. He is a research associate at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.
“With Bigger than Life Jeffrey Escoffier had already proved himself the most informative and lively chronicler of the history of gay pornography. Now, against the background of this history, he turns his attention to the making of gay sexual fantasies to convincingly explain how the unfaked realities of sexual acts work to connect with fantasmatic sexual scripts to sell alluring performances.”
— Linda Williams
"Jeffrey Escoffier brilliantly lays bare what really drives pornography: less the pumping bodies than the underlying sexual scripts, which draw on historical conditions to shape individual desires. No scholar has tracked this process so comprehensively, from the labor arrangements of production to the evolving sites of consumption. Sex, Society, and the Making of Pornography offers pointed observations on everything from 1970s 'homo-realism' to contemporary gay-for-pay performance, as well as comprehensive theorization that reshapes porn studies."
— Whitney Strub
"Escoffier returns to the topic of gay pornography that made his previous book Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema From Beefcake To Hardcore so notable. This one examines how the sexual imagination and identifies of the performers, writers, directors and editors have shaped the contours of gay porn."
— DNA Magazine
"The study investigates several aspects of the porn industry, including straight and, later, transgender porn, focusing on pay disparity (men get less than women) the rise and fall of 'narrative' stories in features, the persistence of the fictive 'story' told via sex acts, and even a chapter on 'gay-for-pay' among the likes of Jeff Stryker and Ryan Idol. With a focus primarily on the rise and fall of studio porn and its related scenarios and economics, toward the end, Escoffier touches on other forms of porn; actors' cam-shows, nightclub appearances, strip acts and escorting."
— Bay Area Reporter
"Published as a collection in February, Sex, Society, and the Making of Pornography reflects some 25 years’ worth of interviewing on-and behind-camera talent."
"Escoffier covers porn’s relation to the sexual revolution, he movement from softcore to hardcore porn, the emergence of gay porn, identity through porn, porn screenplays, gay for pay, female actors in straight porn, porn stars, trans porn and porn and the technological revolution."
— Reviews by Amos Lassen
"Enlightening and even affordable."
— Lambda Literary
"While many might think of pornography as only a minor aspect, Escoffier offers a strong argument that hardcore pornography has been integral to the recent historical developments of sex and sexuality. Hardcore, it is claimed, is an archive of desires and the structural conditions that both propagate and constrain them."
— Gotham Center for New York City History
"Constructing the Pornographic Object of Knowledge: A Conversation between Whitney Strub and Jeffrey Escoffier"
"A key point for Escoffier...is that porn’s supply creates its own demand, restructuring and expanding viewers’ desires: someone might not be into or even know about a particular kink until they see it. And porn is obliged to endlessly introduce new content since viewers bore easily."
— Boston Review
"The G&LR talks with the author of Sex, Society, and the Making of Pornography: 'In porn there are scripts at various levels.'"
— Gay & Lesbian Review
"Engaging and accessible. This volume can serve as an excellent introduction both to Escoffier's work and the broader scholarship on pornography (gay, straight, and trans)."
— Gay & Lesbian Review