Pornology by Ayn Carrillo-Gailey

Leslie Joseph

Carrillo-Gailey establishes early in the book that she is a Harvard graduate, a professional, and by all assessments, a "good girl."


Publisher: Running Press
ISBN: 0762427744
Author: Ayn Carrillo-Gailey
Price: $13.95
Length: 240
Formats: Paperback
US publication date: 2007-04
"The annual U.S. porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of all major league football, baseball, and basketball franchises."

-- Family Safe Media

Ayn Carrillo-Gailey would like the world, and women in particular, to know a few things about porn. For instance, according to Talk of the Nation, National Public Radio, the fastest growing segment of the porn-buying audience is women. One in three visitors to all adult websites is a woman, as reported by the Internet Filter Review. These are just a few of the many facts that the author discovered on her journey to conquer "pornophobia", an affliction diagnosed by one of her former boyfriends when she categorized porn as anti-feminist and misogynistic. Not one to back down from a challenge, as evidenced by the tales of previous adventures she shares with readers, Carrillo-Gailey set out on a mission to explore the world of porn and report back to her friends, a group who call themselves the Naughty Knitters in reference to gatherings involving knitting for charity, drinking, and hashing out the issues of their varied lives. Along her journey, more and more people expressed a similar interest. Carrillo-Gailey decided to extend her audience and share the facts she had gathered. The result is Pornology.

Pornology is subtitled A Good Girl's Guide to Porn, The Misadventures of the world's first anthropornologist, and A Hilarious Exploration of Men, Relationships, and Sex. The author's first response to being dubbed pornophobic was to do what she would in any perplexing situation. She made a list, a "porn to-do list." The book focuses on the author's journey to complete this list which includes visiting a strip club, watching porn, reading erotica, visiting a sex store, meeting a porn star, consulting a sex expert, and much more. Along the way, there are relationships, dates, crises with friends, and much self-discovery, albeit in the sometimes comical and unorthodox vehicle of pornography.

One of the strengths of Pornology is that its information is easily accessible. Carrillo-Gailey references real people, places, and events. Readers can sit down at a computer and have a wealth of information on any of the workshops, products, or personalities that the author encounters on her journey. A complementary website,, offers information on the porn journey as well as advice columns and other treats. Other interesting resources are Dr. Susan Block, sex expert, and Debbie, the madam of the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel in Nevada. Carrillo-Gailey attends a blowjob workshop, a live sex-show, and initiates a vibrator-testing focus group among her friends.

Carrillo-Gailey establishes early in the book that she is a Harvard graduate, a professional, and by all assessments, a "good girl." Pornology is meant to be a reassuring guide for other women who see themselves in similar terms. Many instances in the book demonstrate the mindset from which the author was operating. In an early experience buying erotica at a bookstore, Carrillo-Gailey purchases several large and expensive academic books in order to distract from the erotica novels. She loses her cool when the clerk sees the titles and immediately surmises that she is being seen as "a kinky horny nymphomaniac chicken slut." Her perspective may strike some readers as slightly sheltered or naïve at times, but she shows an admirable amount of determination and sense of adventure when exploring new sexual concepts in her life and research.

This is not a guide in the strict sense of the word. Readers looking for hard and fast (pun intended) information on porn and sex will be left unsatisfied. What Pornology does excel at is making porn and sexual exploration into a discussion without taboos. Carrillo-Gailey works to dispel both the ideas of being "pornophobic" or sex-crazed. She discovers after completing her 12-step porn to-do list that the journey was more about getting to know herself than becoming the world's next "sexxxpert". She ended her journey with a new boyfriend, a more open-mind, and confidence in her urges and chosen pleasures. Pornology encourages readers to eliminate shame about desires, open dialogues about sex, and of course, make and conquer their own porn to-do lists.


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