When I was contacted by New Sensations about their “Romance” series, I was instantly interested. A porn series claiming to be grounded in romance? This is obviously not a common thing, and my curiosity was piqued simply by the outside the box approach.
When the package arrived it was immediately clear that New Sensations was serious about their female accessible collection. The box art on these films are carbon copies of what you would see from a modern romcom. It’s kinda awesome.
So, sight unseen, I’m sold. Spot on titles and marketing? Check. Innovative and intriguing premise? Check. Man, do I love porn that stretches its legs. And these factors made me feel as if this one was ready to take off running.
So how are they? To date, I have watched Lost and Found and Love is a Dangerous Game and they both succeed in very specific ways. Lost and Found is about a woman (Allie Haze) who loses her dog. Her male neighbor (Xander Corvus), clearly fancying her, finds the dog and proceeds to lie about its whereabouts so he can get closer to its owner. The expected romcom twists and turns follow, ending in forgiveness and sex. Kimberly Kane plays “the friend” side character. I just want to mention this as it will be relevant (at some point). Love is a Dangerous Game follows a children’s book author (Natasha Nice) as she attempts to transition to horror novels. The man to help her is famed Stephen King-esque writer Wes Mueller (Richie). This one starts out as a bizarre “is this dude crazy?” story that eventually morphs into a more straightforward romantic narrative. It’s decidedly less formulaic than Lost and Found. This one also features Kimberly Kane as “the sister” character.
So what do they get right? The acting in Lost and Found is quite good and the chemistry between the two leads is genuine. It’s simply fun to watch. Sure, it’s predictable, as it is a bare bones, romantic comedy, but the actors are having a good time and the dog is cute. Kimberly Kane has amazing timing. She steals every scene she’s in. Love is a Dangerous Game finds most of its strengths in the story. This one is peppered with dark humor. The plot is also tight, and there is little room for needless scenes and exposition. The leads in this one also give convincing performances, but the standout, once again, is Kimberly Kane. She has less screen time here, but she’s just as on point. I’m not sure if she’s given the best lines, or if she just knows how to deliver them, but she is consistently funny.
Here I am blabbing on and I have yet to mention the sex. How is it, you ask? It’s pretty vanilla. This is always my complaint with mainstream pornography, but in this case, I expected it. As you’ll read below, the goal of this series is to engage women, and act as sort of a gateway to porn. So if the sex wasn’t accessible, the films wouldn’t be achieving their goal. There are no above the neck money shots, so that’s different, and also a conscious choice. There are fewer scenes per film ( I believe Love has a total of four) and they typically fit into the plot. When we do get to the scenes, as well set up as they are, they follow that “lather, rinse, repeat” formula I’m always screaming about: exchange oral favors, rotate positions, ejaculate. There is kissing though. And I’ll admit, it is nice to see a pair of characters, like actual established characters, finally have sex. Love boasts a 90 minute run time and can easily be watched straight through. The series is very successful in regard to watchability.
I applaud New Sensations for trying to appeal to an untapped (and sometimes unwilling) market: women. Do I think previously hesitant ladies will be more open to pornography if it’s presented in this manner? I really don’t know. I’m not a fool. As a woman who writes about porn, I understand there is a stigma attached. If this kind of film is able to de-stigmatize the genre in the eyes of some women, then great. (I’m consciously avoiding starting a diatribe on the social acceptability of pornography as it will likely consume this post.)
More about the Romance series can be found here, but continue reading for a brief Q&A I conducted with PR maven, and writer of Love is a Dangerous Game, Jacky St. James.
Christine: What would you say is the main goal of the Romance Series?
Jacky St. James: The main goal of The Romance Series is to create an entertaining, high quality product that couples can enjoy together. We want women who might be a little skeptical about watching porn, or those with preconceived notions about it, to see that what we offer is something very tasteful, yet still sexual.
Christine: What are your feelings regarding the state of pornography?
Jacky St. James: Pornography is always going to be around, but it’s amazing just how seriously the business has been impacted by online piracy. Companies are having to shift focus, reevaluate their business models, and evolve to the changing world. There will always be a demand for adult films, but DVDs will no longer be a dependable source of revenue stream.
Christine: How important do you feel plot and story is in an adult film?
Jacky St. James: In films that are geared towards couples, it’s essential. Women comprise the larger demographic of people buying romance novels. That being said, it has been determined that many female pornographic consumers prefer having plot-driven porn, as opposed to the strict sex scenes you’ll find in more male-oriented porn. What the plot and story do within the scope of “couple’s porn” is to give people something to talk about or become invested in as a supplement to the sex. It’s like your favorite date night movie, without fading to black just as things get hot and heavy.
I do want to clarify though, not all female porn consumers prefer plot-driven porn to all-sex porn. Every individual is unique and it’s about finding what works for your own sexual needs.
Christine: The structure of these films is drastically different than most. It’s to be assumed that it requires more from the talent involved. How have the actors responded thus far?
Jacky St. James: A feature film requires a lot more from the talent. On an all-sex shoot, actors are usually there no more than 4-6 hours (at the most), depending on what is required of the scene. On a feature set, you’re looking at a 14-16 hour day if you’re in a leading role. Even supporting roles will be on set for about 10 hours or more. All of the actors we hire to work on our features are hard-working and know what is required of them. We’d never cast a feature actor that hated the long hours. With the amount of work that goes into making a quality feature, nobody has the time or patience for complainers. It’s a team effort with everyone working incredibly hard. We usually cast from a pool of talent who’ve proven themselves to be reliable, intelligent, talented, and hard working. I always consider those actors to be the absolute best in the business…they can be counted on and they help create a better final product.
Christine: This series certainly does it, but do you have a desire to further change-up the “porn formula.”
Jacky St. James: I’m always looking for ways to change up the “porn formula.” I have a ton of ideas but if I’m not backing the project financially, I’m not the decision maker. Changing up anything is a risk, but it’s one I’d be more willing to take with my money than someone else’s.