5 user 4 critic

The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality & Relationships (2008)

Examines the unprecedented role that commercial pornography occupies in American popular culture. The film explores what happens when images of sexual degradation are used for arousal.







Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Tennie ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Gregory Mitchell ...
Himself - College Student
Stephanie Cleveland ...
Herself - Writer
Gabrielle Shaw ...
Herself - College Student
Eli Schemel ...
Himself - College Student
Gail Dines ...
Herself - Wheelock College
Damone Richardson ...
Himself - Media Industry Consultant
Ariel Levy ...
Herself - Female Chauvinist Pigs
Brandon Iron ...
Himself - Brandon Iron Productions
Robert Jensen ...
Himself - University of Texas at Austin
Herself - Porn Performer
Sarah Katherine Lewis ...
Herself - Author & Former Porn Performer
Himself - Black Mirror Productions
Ernest Greene ...
Himself - Editor, Taboo Magazine
Richard Wolff ...
Himself - University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Once relegated to the margins of society, pornography has emerged as one of the most visible and profitable sectors of the cultural industries, assuming an unprecedented role in the mainstream of our popular culture at the same time that its content has become more extreme and harsh, more overtly sexist and racist. This eye-opening and disturbing film tackles the complexity behind this seeming paradox, placing the voices of critics, producers, and performers alongside the observations of men and women as they candidly discuss the role pornography has played in shaping their sexual imaginations and relationships. Honest and non-judgmental, The Price of Pleasure moves beyond the liberal versus conservative debates so common in the culture to paint a myth-busting and nuanced portrait of how pleasure and pain, commerce and power, liberty and responsibility have become intertwined in the most intimate area of our lives. An ideal tool for initiating classroom discussion about this ... Written by The Media Education Foundation

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Adult


Unrated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

31 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El precio del placer - Pornografía, sexualidad y relaciones  »

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director, Women's and Gender Studies, University of Dayton: An intense, powerful documentary that will open up painful but necessary discussions.
See more »


Features Missionary Positions (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Biased for sure - a complicated topic
20 February 2012 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

What I liked in the film was clear evidence of the obvious, built-in misogyny which exists in pornographic expectations, from filmmakers and performers (erotically charged & unconscious self-loathing) to the consumers (expecting images matching the fantasy of unbridled, orgiastic, available flesh - "they look like they love it!").

What I didn't like was the simplistic idea that the practice of porn creation is the cause of societal ills, not an effect. I believe that porn is an expression of an existing condition. We are a sexually dysfunctional world with often pathological expectations of women. For sexual addicts, porn provides a toxic promise of a permanent state of arousal. For the dangerously antisocial, it can provide dark inspiration, certainly. But for the rest of mankind it represents what's already there - fantasy prostitution, visualized. What drives people to engage in commercial sexuality, either in service or as a client is no different than it is for those engaged in porn.

It's not just about money; it's also about the personal history of those who need a heightened sexual expression and are willing to risk their mainstream dignity to achieve it. What would be more interesting to explore is how the price of commercial sexuality is often not merely one's very brief youth, but also one's emotional health and lifelong financial well-being.

I wish the film were more circumspect about the personal histories which drive or lure individuals into this field.

4 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page