Curious, Hanson took Taschen to Lucky Chang, a popular New York City Asian transsexual restaurant, but initially turned down his job offer. It took eight years for Taschen to convince Hanson that hardcore material could be transformed into art when elegantly packaged.
In her new “sexy book editor” post, the Hanson touch proved golden again. Working with authors such as Roy Stuart, Eric Stanton, Bill Ward, Tom Finland, and Helmut Newton, her efforts for Taschen began raking in big profits. Several Hanson titles are currently burning up American bookstore shelves.
Clerks fret about dwindling copies of The Big Book of Breasts, The Big Penis Book, Eric Kroll—Fetish Girls, The Big Book of Legs, The Big Butt Book and America Swings. Taschen has since expanded its commercial reach to include retail stores in Paris, Cologne, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles.
"King and Queen of Swingstock," Duxbury, MN, July 2007: From America Swings by Naomi Harris (Taschen)
Hanson theorizes that on average, males really do have higher sex drives than females because they have more testosterone, the hormone responsible for arousal in both sexes. “Men have a greater capacity for odd, non-procreative sexual fixations, like fetishes and transvestism than women,” she says.
In her experience, Hanson reports that how we relate to the erotic on an emotional and intellectual level really does fall along gender lines. “Women are genuinely aroused by the trappings of wealth and success as much or more than appearance,” she says, “while few men will accept a woman who doesn’t meet up their appearance [criteria]. Men generally respect nude models and porn actresses far more than women believe, and are fully capable of falling in love with them through repeated bouts of masturbating to their images, since sex and love are far more intimately tangled in the male mind than in the female.”
The old adage goes that men are visual and women are cerebral when it comes to sexual stimuli, but recent studies show that women viewing more porn than ever before. Rather than viewing this dichotomy as a contradiction, Hanson sees it more in terms of supply feeding demand. “Though the numbers of women who are wired to be visually responsive to sexual materials are lower than for men, there are still quite a few who respond visually in the same or near same way as men. With porn just a safe discrete mouse click away, these women now have the opportunity to explore and find just what they like.”
Unknown, from the Dian Hanson collection, The Big Butt Book (Taschen)
Through her work, Hanson has also had a front row seat for the evolution modern adult media, which she sums up with the term, “The pornification of America.” The current generation, she notes, was raised with porn as an accepted part of life. “Porn has taken a position above ground, where it is now a casual reference in art, literature, and daily commerce,” she says, but frets that this ubiquity has its drawbacks. “The biggest danger I see [with online smut] is that it’s putting many of my friends out of business, and devaluing what used to a precious and scarce commodity. There’s something to be said for having to work for your porn.”
Ultimately, though, sex is everywhere. Efforts to censor porn and deem sex as legally obscene have failed. “Porn has lost much of its stigma,” Hanson concludes, “so more people are piling in, wanting careers, cutting the slices of the pie even thinner—but porn cannot be stopped. It’s way too late.”
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