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Porn Valley Goes Blogging

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On the long list of things the world needs now, more sex talk on the internet is probably a no-show. Still, as porn becomes ever more inescapable, a growing line of aficionados and insiders have stepped forward with detailed behind-the-scenes accounts of the industry -- capped by the recent documentary Inside Deep Throat, a look at one of the most notorious porn flicks of all time.

Porn stars, porn gossip scribes and porn production workers are turning to blogs to expose what it's really like to live and work in the San Fernando Valley-based sex industry.

"There's this image that being a male porn star is glamorous, that you get to have sex with all the women you ever wanted," said Luc Parry, a 32-year-old law school dropout from Boston who has been chronicling his recent career turn as a male porn star on Diary of a Porn Star.

As Parry (a stage name) writes on his blog, the reality can be different. From female co-stars who give him the cold shoulder and fall asleep on-set, to Herculean struggles to maintain an erection for hours at a time while being denied lunch, Parry's portrayal of the porn star life is anything but glamorous. "Still want to do porn?" he asks in one post.

While Parry seems bent on myth-busting, others hope to help convert porn from a seamy sideshow into a healthy and normal part of the movie business.

Gram Ponante is the nom de porn of a thirty-five-year-old Harvard grad who stumbled on "Porn Valley" while working as a freelance writer. Intrigued by the industry after a visit to a set while on assignment, he got a job as the managing editor of the website for the industry's trade magazine, Adult Video News. He left the publication six months later, and began Porn Valley Observed, a blog that recounts porn industry gossip, porn star karaoke nights, and his visits to X-rated shoots.

"Since I'm beholden to no man, I can write whatever I want," he said.

The blog went live in January; in April, it garnered over half a million unique visitors, according to Ponante, who said his audience has now expanded into the mainstream: "I've found a lot of people from outside of the Valley, from over the hill, have started reading the blog."

Long-time adult actress Nina Hartley uses the online journal of her personal website to get closer to her fans. Her approach is more explicit, graphically detailing her erotic escapades in the porn industry as an adult film star, as well as recounting her sexually swinging lifestyle outside the workplace.

As a "recovering technophobe," she finds her diary enables her to show her readers who she really is. "They're happy to find out that I live the life I portray in the movies," she said.

"It's not just a post for me or something that I do to make money." Rather, Hartley said her mission is to inspire others to realize they can have whatever sexual lifestyle they want. Although, she said, "Some of the guys wank to it, I'm sure."

But in the end, she said, porn blogging, too, shall pass. "What we're going to see happen is a small explosion of porn blogs ... and I think a couple of people will get book deals, and it will become popular and trendy, and some interesting personalities that weren't discovered before will emerge, and then, I think, the culture will move on."

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