As an occasional viewer of HBO’s “Real Sex” series, I never turn it off without thinking, “Where the hell do they find these people?” Alex answers that question, and others, with a deftly drawn reminiscence of his time as a freelancer for Libido magazine.
The editors of Libido had Jack Horner’s dilemma (not the one with the plum on his thumb, the one in “Boogie Nights”): How do you keep ’em in the seats after they’ve gotten what they came for? According to Alex, are still trying to solve it — when we visited his apartment in Chicago last month, he showed us one of their more recent endeavors, a three-story porn tape. The plot synopses on the back reveal characters who are not hot ‘n’ horny sluts, but women’s studies professors, although the story lines end the same way they do in more mainstream dirty movies.
Alex thinks his parents will disapprove of this entry, and probably they will, but if they’re reading this one? The tape was unopened.
alex said on November 7, 2003 at 2:05 pm
In all fairness to Libido, it started out as a high-minded�and wickedly funny�champion of intellectual and artistic freedom. Over time, the realities of the marketplace set in, however, and it became clear that sex�originally just an incidental part of the equation�was what people were really after.
In Cincinnati, during the blowup over Mapplethorpe, a conservative activist took his pre-school-age child to a Border’s, handed the child a copy of Libido and stood by as he made the kid purchase it at the checkout. Then his group tried to sue Border’s, but it was such a transparent ploy that the case was thrown out.
The magazine’s mission evolved, over time, to provide more tasteful, less threatening erotica to people who found mainstream porn a turn-off. This was not an intellectual audience, but rather a more prudish one.
The magazine ceased hard copy publication and went online. In the current economic downturn, the publishers pulled the plug entirely. However, yes, they’re making movies, again with a view toward normalizing sex rather than making it sleazy and distasteful.
alex said on November 7, 2003 at 2:06 pm
Oops! that should have been , not . I need my coffee.