Book Review: Insatiable: Porn – A Love Story – Asa Akira


Posted September 30, 2014 in Print

Insatiable: Porn – A Love Story

Asa Akira

[Grove Press]

 

Joining a shelf of victim narratives (Linda Lovelace’s Ordeal) and cautionary tales (Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Pornstar), Asa Akira’s breezy porn memoir redresses the balance. Insatiable is a sex book that isn’t sexy. Self-lacerating chapters describe concealing cystic acne for the camera alongside the STD tests, diets and never-ending enemas integral to having your body invaded for a living. Which isn’t to gloss over the long, sticky accounts of gangbangs and champagne rooms. But it’s telling that the only full-blown sex scene takes place between Akira and her husband. Knowingly written with the legacy of the pornstar-as-victim in mind, this final S&M scene inverts the belief that porn use necessarily breeds violence and abuse of women.
It’s never quite clear who this book is for. Akira is a perfect fit for sex-positive Tumblr feminists, yet the self-professed ‘queen of anal’ plays it coy around her politics. Where Insatiable succeeds is as a portrait of internet-enabled sexuality. For Akira, sex is the proverbial tree that falls in a forest: if it’s not recorded, it didn’t happen. She relies on mediation for fulfilment, dreaming of eyes fixed on laptops glowing in the dark and resolving to ‘masturbate loudly’ so that neighbours can hear. The next best thing to porn is memory: of one encounter, Akira writes ‘I couldn’t wait for it to be over, so I could reminisce every second of it’.

 

Words: Róisín Kiberd

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