PORN VALLEY, USA

Horses running

In the late 19th century, California State Senator Charles Maclay stood atop the Cahuenga Pass that runs between Los Angeles proper and the San Fernando Valley and, of the pastoral landscape that lay before him, proclaimed: "This is the Garden of Eden!"
Nowadays, conquistadores Californianos galloping past cattle grazing under massive oaks have been replaced by depressed suburban sprawl: "FOR SALE" ranch-style houses and bloated McMansions; "FOR RENT" strip mall stores and closed gas stations; "FOR LEASE" warehouses and empty gravel lots. Between these lines, the adult movie industry conducts its business in condominiums that homeowners rent out by the day to forestall foreclosure, on soundstages where independent contractors have sex to pay the bills, next to kidney-shaped backyard pools that serve as backdrops for explicit movies in which everybody gets laid and nobody swims. From this 345-square-mile valley, bound by a series of dramatic mountain ranges, a never-ending deluge of porn is sent out across the country and around the world.
Welcome to Porn Valley, USA.
 Porn set

Porn set

In Canoga Park, past Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, where rocket engines are built and in front of which a giant rocket engine sits like a piece of spaceship that has fallen out of the clear blue sky, I park in front of a brown shingle-and-clapboard building. Inside, open rooms line the soundstage: a locker room, a bedroom, a dungeon. The day's shoot will take place on a set the color of pea soup with a leather sofa the color of diarrhea and a 12-by-12 fake wood floor. Shortly, a poorly rendered seascape hung on one wall will be knocked askew.

Tori Black

Since she got into porn a year and a half ago, Tori Black has done between 200 and 250 scenes. In the makeup room, she leans towards the mirror and checks her skin. The makeup makes her face break out. I ask her if she was really having orgasms the half-dozen or so times she appeared to during the scene. She looks around to see if anybody is within earshot. Costar James Deen is in the shower. She cups her hand next to her lips and mouths: No.
 Shooter

Shooter

Due to the hardcore nature of the porn business and the toll it takes upon all its workers, the porn industry functions as a meat grinder for the human condition, and men are its offal. They may score bragging rights as professional cocksmen, but the reality is these are the working stiffs of a business that has virtually no interest in the men it employs and all the interest in the world in the women with whom its movies are forever preoccupied.
 Le Sex Shoppe

Le Sex Shoppe

Several years ago, I took photographs of the fronts of sex shops in Los Angeles. Now, these brick-and-mortar stores are dying, replaced by the Wild, Wild West of the Internet, where, when it comes to XXX, anything goes.
 AVN Awards

AVN Awards

In 2013, everything has changed. The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo is split into a series of rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The booths are smaller. The enterprise has shrunk. The most high-profile production company — Vivid Video — doesn’t even have a booth and is doing business in a private suite. Fans clog the aisles: a man with a seeing-eye dog, a little person, several men in wheelchairs. The stars: accessible. The competition is a delegation of a dozen chattering cam girls who’ll do anything online for tips.
 Porn convention

Porn convention

Porn star Jenna Jameson’s unattainability, her Barbie-on-a-pedestal unknowability, has been replaced by an independent contractor who works from home and is paying off her college debt with your virtual tips by having virtual sex with you. She's a bombshell or the girl next door, the naughty teacher or the punk rocker, the MILF or whatever it is that your wife isn't, that you don't have, that you can't get, that brought you right here, right now, rather than watching some stale free clip on an X-rated tube site that stole their content from an adult movie producer who is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy in a Chatsworth, California, office park, thanks to you.
 Porn stars and flowers

Porn stars and flowers

In porn, the real subject is not human sexuality but humanity itself. The movies produced by this industry are videotaped vivisections, studies in which homo sapiens lie upon the operating table, the director is the doctor, the camera is the scalpel, and the only question worth asking is, How far will we go if we are pushed to our limits?