Book Review: Insatiable: Porn – a Love Story, by Asa Akira

Going into this review, I have to be honest. I am totally biased. I love Asa Akira.

I met her at AVN in 2010 (that’s a link to an interview I did for WHACK! Magazine in 2011; can’t find the 2010 interview). She was warm, friendly, and surprisingly normal. I only say “surprisingly” because she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen in person, and because her reputation for extremely hardcore sex preceded her. In short, if she’d been standoffish or haughty or reserved or really anything but a down-to-earth person who seemed like she enjoyed laughing… I wouldn’t have been surprised. But nope. Asa was sweet, open, and relaxed, even though I was nervous as I interviewed her. How can you not be nervous when you’re standing next to someone that gorgeous?

Anyway, fast-forward about three years, and voila! In the few times since then that we’ve hung out, Asa has continued to be nothing but awesome. She has moved out of gonzo porn and into a contract with Wicked Pictures, hosted the AVNs, won like every single award there is to win in the industry, and written a memoir: Insatiable: Porn – a Love Story. I got myself a copy and devoured it with glee. The book covers everything from her wild teenage years to faking a squirting scene to abortions to her obsession with pizza. It’s a delightful, but not exactly light, mash-up of memoir, original poetry (ie, the funniest haiku you’re likely to read), letters to family and invisible entities, and journal entries.

And I’m happy to report that it is just like Asa: straightforward, welcoming, and willing to laugh. Asa doesn’t flinch at telling her readers about her insecurities about her body, or the sometimes-gross realities of a porn career. But neither does she back down from asserting that porn is exactly where she wants to be, for as long as she can possibly do it.  “Porn has shaped me, is shaping me, into a woman I  had always hoped I would be,” she writes in the first chapter. “I’ve become more confident, more empowered, more sure of myself than I’ve ever been….There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

It’s a fascinating peek into a kind of life many of us have pondered, but extremely few of us will ever live, and while it could take the opportunity to preach the gospel of Why You Should Love Porn, it doesn’t. There’s no moralizing, no grandstanding, no soapboxing here. Just Asa telling her story like it is–fractured and confused and filthy and hilarious. She’s at once baring her soul and grinning about it all, as if she’s fully aware of how insane this situation is, and she hopes you’ll enjoy the ride as much as she does, and laugh about it.  I found myself bursting into snorting laughter on the subway more than a few times, getting annoyed looks from fellow commuters. I wished, in those moments, that I wasn’t reading a digital copy. I’d have loved to flash the book cover in their faces. “Please read this book,” I wanted to tell them. “You’ll learn what a ‘suitcase pimp’ is, and how it feels to shoot ‘the perfect scene,’ and how Mark Spiegler celebrates Thanksgiving! Seriously! Go buy it! Right now!

In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing I was reading it on my tablet.

Anyway. I’m always impressed when confronted by a memoir that doesn’t feel a need to moralize or over-explain itself. Something in the way I was raised or the way I’m wired makes me constantly search for a moral to the story, a Reason For This Thing I Made, a takeaway message. I feel a need to justify myself when I write. But instead of defending herself or moralizing, Asa fearlessly opens herself up even more than her porn career has already opened her. “The world has seen every fold of my most private body parts, and yet, I feel this book is my most exposing venture yet,” she notes, and then simply tells her story with honesty, humor, and aplomb.

It’s likewise refreshing to read an unapologetic memoir written by a woman whose fame comes, in part, from her prowess at things like double anal scenes and gangbangs. I say this even within the context of my experience as a sort-of part of the adult industry. The truth is that, while there are plenty of champions for women’s sexual empowerment in this world (sadly, not as many as I wish there were, but I digress…), there aren’t very many who are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Or where their other orifices are. But Asa isn’t shy. While she devotes pages to questioning how and why she came to have such a high sex drive, never does she disparage it. For her, part of  life is living with the fact that, presented with a blowbang scene in which she’s only agreed to have sex with three of the men… she may end up having sex with all of them. Not because she feels pressured to, or because she wants to sell more DVDs… but because she wants to. Here’s a woman telling us how porn sex, which is often touted as “not real” sex that doesn’t feel that good, turns her on so much she can’t get enough of it. Here’s a real, live, human female who unapologetically, publicly, visibly, and genuinely lusts. I won’t go so far as to say that this is revolutionary, but I will absolutely say it’s radical.

And yet, this isn’t a book that’s written to educate the masses or bring anyone around to any one point of view. It’s one woman’s story about her rise to the top of the arguably most-taboo industry in the world, and if you happen to learn along the way that porn stars are humans plagued by doubt and self-loathing, and blessed with a love for life and adventure, more’s the better.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A Randy Round-Up of Reads (& listens) - Lynsey G

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.