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The Beginner's Guide to Adult Videos and DVDsby Alicia Guinn

Whether you're venturing into the world of adult film for the firsttime or you're a skinflick veteran, the dizzying array of pornavailable these days can be overwhelming. Luckily, we here at Babelandhave been busy "researching" porn for years and can give you anintroduction to the basic types of adult videos as well as answers tosome frequently asked questions. Hold on to your hat, and you'll bepicking porn like a pro in no time.

The Wonderful World of Porn

There are as many different kinds of porn as there are people in theworld, but the main types of movies fall into predictable categories. These descriptions of the basic typesshould give you an idea of where to start in your search for the pornthat's right for you.  

Wall-to-wall. The most basic type of porn. Essentially, there is noplot to get in the way of the hours' long fuckfest. It's a great choicefor people who find plots unwieldy and distracting. Babeland favorites: Welcome to Chloeville and Deep Inside Chloe.

Plot-driven. A lot of folks want some context with their sex. Whilesome folks just want a setting and characters, others love lavishcostuming and storylines. Love the Wild West? Pirates? Cops? Sci-Fi?Comedy? There's a porn film out there for you. A lot of newer,independent films feature shorter vignettes rather than one long plot.It's like reading short erotic stories versus an entire novel. Babeland favorites: Edge Play.

Classics. Most classic films excel in the area of sexyplots. Filmed in the 1970s, also known as "The Golden Age ofPorn," these movies often feature lush sets and storylines. Somewere even filmed on location with budgets that seem outrageous bytoday's standards. All of them were shot on film, so theproduction values are very high. Classic films are also a goodchoice for people who want to see natural-bodied beauties because theywere made before the advent of major plastic surgery, especially breastaugmentation. And the pubic hair is generally a little moregenerous than today's bare shaven styles. Babeland favorites: The Opening of Misty Beethoven and Sex World.

Amateur. Amateur videos feature everyday people withnaturalbodies, including real-life couples performing for the camera. They'regreat for folks who want to avoid mainstream porn star bodiesand who want to see real people having real sex. At their best,amateur films have an almost voyeuristic quality about them?you geta peek into someone else's relationship and love life. At theirworst, amateur films can seem awkward, with bad production values andthe actors looking very self-conscious. Babeland favorite: Urban Friction.

Gonzo. Gonzo is a style of filmmaking that is often associatedwith amateur films. In a gonzo flick, actors talk to the cameraand the person behind it. The person is essentially a characterin the film and usually directs the action. There is oftenminimal plot or background music. Babeland favorite: Evil Pink.

Girl-on-girl vs. Dyke/Lesbian. The distinction betweengirl-on-girl versus dyke or lesbian porn is a fascinating and confusingcultural phenomenon. Here's the scoop.

Girl-on-girl films are generally made by mainstream porn companies andare geared toward audiences of straight men. The women conform tostandard porn star bodies, which means they tend to be tall and blondwith surgically enhanced breasts and long, manicured fingernails.Depending on the actors, the scenes can seem genuine and exciting orhesitant and tentative. Babeland favorite: Four Finger Club #2.

Dyke porn is mostly made by small, independent, dyke-run productioncompanies. The casts are much more diverse, featuring an array ofbody types and a much higher-prevalence of people of color. You're likely to see women who identify as butch.  In addition,most actors in dyke porn are lesbians in their day-to-day lives, whichmakes the sex seem more genuine and "true-to-life." The sexitself is much different than in a girl-on-girl film. Strap-onaction, whole-hearted pussy licking, and finger fucking are standard.Babeland favorite: Hard Love and How to Fuck in High Heels.

"Bisexual." It's worth noting that the term "bisexual" has aslightly different meaning in the world of porn. Since virtuallyevery "straight" movie has a girl-on-girl scene, "bisexual" pornsignifies a movie that features straight sex as well as man-on-manscenes. Babeland favorite: Slide Bi Me.

Are You Looking For . . .

  • Woman-directed porn? More and more women are directing porn thesedays.  Candida Royalle, the first major female porn director, is aconsistent favorite for couples-oriented movies. Veronica Hart'spopular film Edge Play is highly recommended. In addition, two ofour favorite porn stars?Chloe and Belladonna?have starteddirecting their own movies.
  • Good-looking men in straight porn? Many straight ladies findtheir porn-watching aspirations are stifled by the lack of hot maleporn actors. You can go three ways in your search for attractiveguys. 1) Seek out movies with well-known hotties Lexington Steeleand Mr. Marcus. Or find your own favorite porn star and rent allhis movies! 2) Go straight to where the hot boys are and rentsome gay boy porn.  Widening your search to gay porn takes an openmind, but a lot of women find the hot bodies more satisfactory. 3) Skip the boys altogether and rent lesbian porn. At least youwon't be distracted by men you find unattractive!
  • People of color? Most porn stars are white folks, although thereare some notable exceptions. Look for movies with LexingtonSteele, Asia Carrera, Tera Patrick, and Mr. Marcus. Afro-CentricProductions such as the Sista series and Sex Positive Productions like Slide Bi Me and Voluptuous Vixens feature diverse casts.
  • Natural bodies? Some of our favorite porn stars, including Chloe,have beautiful natural bodies. Classic 70s porn and amateur pornare also great resources for women with natural breasts.
  • Decent music? You may have to negotiate on this one. If thelow-quality background music in porn drives you crazy, it might be bestto turn down the volume and put on your favorite make out CD. New productions like Erocktavision are beginning to combine MTV-style vignettes with rockin' sountracks.
  • Better production values? Any movie shot on film will haveproduction values miles ahead of video or digital productions. Check out classic movies or films directed by Andrew Blake. Also, Fashionistas, one of our favorite films to come out recently, is ahigh-budget production that was shot on film.