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Porn is born 

Here's something you probably didn't need confirmed by Paris Hilton: amateur porn is hot.

Hilton's homemade sex tape (which, in case you've been living off the grid, was accidentally-on-purpose posted on the internet in 2004 and later became an hour-long DVD release) took home three Adult Video News Awards, one for best-selling title of the year.

Hilton, unwittingly—as one assumes all her endeavours come about, no?—launched the next generation of porn into the internet mainstream. Around the same time as her grainy ass started making the rounds, internet video sites dedicated to mimicking real-life sexual rendezvous sprouted up, the delicately titled Bang Bus being the most recognizable.

Now, in 2008, amateur encounters by the toss-load have popped up on sites such as YouPorn.com and PornoTube.com.

These easy-upload free-to-view sites, which sell premium content, are cutting into the traditional porn biz.

In the November 2007 issue of Condé Nast Portfolio, Steve Hirsch, founder of Vivid Entertainment Group, the world's largest producer of adult videos, told writer Claire Hoffman that Vivid's DVD sales had been falling—down almost 50 percent since 2004.

Hoffman wrote, "While sales of internet-based adult entertainment grew 14 percent last year to $2.8 billion, that figure would be substantially higher if there wasn't so much free competition, especially from the user-generated adult sites."

It's official: Amateur porn is taking over for its studio-produced girlfriend.

Oh baby. Yeah. Give it to me.

The world needs do-it-yourself porn. And that's because there are different kinds of sex—not just gay, straight and lesbian, not just S&M, anal and strap-on. There are people who love nothing more than rubbing up against men dressed in large moose suits. There are folks who work themselves into an erotic frenzy sitting on whipped cream-topped angel-food cakes. There are those who get off on posting video links of their Handy-Cam jerk-off sessions.

Mainstream porn can't capture the spirit of that kind of sex. That's partly because the world will never see Jenna Jameson nuzzle up against a sheep farmer wearing a tutu. It's also because when top-40 porn has the guts (ambition?) to try to look amateur, like Bang Bus aims to, it fails. The Brazilian-waxes and manicures belie the purported pornographic proletarianism. It's like Avril Lavigne trying to be punk: She just comes off as a repellent little advertisement for black eyeliner.

But DIY porn doesn't merely titillate. It gives people sexual communities. It helps people understand that pretty much no matter the proclivity, there are others out there. This follows the model of independent

music—not everyone gets off on top-40 schlock. With DIY porn, no one needs to rub themselves raw trying to make a connection that isn't there.

But difficulties that trouble the independent music and other industries penetrate the porn industry doubly.

There's the usual: According to The Associated Press, adult industry actors trying to unionize in 2004 cited 20-hour days, unpaid overtime and inadequate health care.

And there are porn-specific labour difficulties: One is verifying the age of actors, which is all but utterly undoable in the wild west of DIY porn (and perhaps the number one reason to steer clear of most of it).

Then there are the stickier-than-the-norm distribution issues: For a regular actor, a worst-case distribution scenario is when some filmed work appears somewhere the actor didn't know it would—and the actor doesn't get paid for that leg of the distribution. For example, a toothpaste commercial for the North American market ends up being a download hit in Japan. The company's making money off the Japanese popularity, but the actor taking part in the original commercial likely makes nothing.

The situation is a whole different foil pack of Astroglide if a porn actor thinks an indie company will only release her video on DVD in Atlantic Canada but then it springs up on PornoTube. It's a similar, if emotionally unequalled horror, if it's a case of a lousy ex-boyfriend posting something on YouPorn that was supposed to be kept in the closet.

So what's the solution when mainstream porn doesn't hit the mark and indie porn has problems all of its own?

The answer, unlikely as it seems, is to follow Paris Hilton's lead. Set up the camera and make your own. If you do, perhaps The Coast can take the lead of Seattle weekly paper The Stranger, which, in October, hosted its freakishly popular third annual amateur porn contest, Hump.

Now that would float my boat, yessiree.

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