An A-to-Z Porn Glossary Inspired by Asa Akira's New Memoir, Insatiable

An A-to-Z Porn Glossary Inspired by Asa Akira's New Memoir, Insatiable
Photo: Van Styles

Porn star Asa Akira's new memoir, Insatiable, which is out this month from Grove Press, proves Akira can write more than just X-rated haikus, many of which saturate her popular Twitter feed. Haikus also appear throughout the book, but that's only the beginning: It not only covers her teenage obsessions with shoplifting, sex and drugs, but also delves into the stranger aspects of professional sex work, from playing dominatrix in a dungeon to role-playing for the camera.

The book is so rich, in fact, that we thought it would be helpful to create our own Insatiable glossary to use as an study guide before diving into Akira's explicit text. From A to Z, we compiled more than 50 terms used in the book that reveal as much about Akira as they do about the porn industry. Most are NSFW, and Akira gives even the most household items on this list an entirely new meaning. Forget all the stuff you thought you knew about porn - truth is, you'll never look at Baby Wipes, Q-Tips and Ziploc bags the same way again. 

A-lister: According to Akira, there are only about 15 A-list male porn stars in the business. A-listers are the guys who have paid their dues and proven themselves to be compelling, reliable performers. And they must excel at gonzo. (What's gonzo, you ask? Scroll down to the "G" entries.) A prime example of an A-lister? James Deen

Accutane: Prescribed for bad acne, it's one of the most dangerous drugs Akira has ever taken as an adult -  which says a lot coming from someone who ingested nearly every drug available to her by the time she was 14. She went on Accutane after realizing her acne was hindering her ability to score porn gigs, and had to sign a waiver saying that she won't get pregnant -  which she had previously done twice -  because Accutane's side effects were so damaging. 

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Akira: Her chosen stripper name, back when she was a dancer at the Hustler Club in New York City. (For more on Hustler, scroll down to "H.") The perks of having a stage name? "Your real name stays safe, untouched, un-Google-able. It makes it easy to compartmentalize that era of your life." 

AVN: The biggest award show in the porn business, according to Akira. She hosted the show in 2013, the same year she was named Female Performer of the Year, and has won twice for Best Anal Sex Scene - which effectively validates her claim to an award-winning asshole. 

BBW: An acronym that's used in porn to market big, beautiful women. "Basically a fat girl," writes Akira. She says her first time shooting a BBW scene was "amazing. There was so much to grab, I got so into it." 

Baby Wipes: In porn, baby wipes are used for quickly cleaning just about everything from dirty feet to dusty furniture to... well, you get the picture. "What the baby wipe industry doesn't know is that mothers of newborns are not the ones keeping them in business," Akira writes. "It's sluts. It's whores. It's porn stars." 

Blowbang Guys: The taxonomy of male porn actors starts with the A-listers and ends with the "blowbang guys" - the B-and-C listers who make up about half the talent pool. Known as the "mopes" of the porn industry, according to Akira, these are the guys who receive oral sex during a multi-person "blowbang" scene. "The 'creep' factor is abundantly in play here," says Akira, describing the stereotype of a typical blowbang actor: a chain-smoker who drifts in and out of jail, takes the bus to work, and uses pre-paid phone cards. 

Central Booking: The Manhattan jail where Akira spent the night during the first and only time she was arrested for shoplifiting, at age 18. It was here that she met a sex worker for the first time - a black prostitute who had a big impact on Akira's life by opening her eyes to the sex industry. She never asked her name. 

Champagne Room: A very elite room of the Hustler Club, the New York City gentleman's club where Akira used to work. She had a regular customer who would take her to the Champagne Room, a private suite where she was paid to perform everything from sex acts to therapist duties, or just plain hang out. It's the place "where money is made," she says. 

Chikan: The Japanese word for "sex offender." Signs plastered all over Japanese train stations read: "Beware of chikans," accompanied by an illustration of a girl slapping a man's hand. "Japan is strange like that," Akira writes, and she would know - she lived there for a half-dozen years as a pre-teen. When she was 11 years old, a man on a train grabbed her vagina and looked her in the eyes. It wasn't the only time she's been assaulted in public: at JFK airport a couple of years ago, a fan grabbed her breast and ran away, an incident that she later describes as a complete nightmare. "Am I being punished for all those rape jokes I made on Twitter?" she jokes in the book, making light of what was actually one of her most traumatic experiences. 

Chlamydia: Akira contracted this STD during her second month of shooting porn. "It's like catching a cold, really!" she says in a mock-letter to her mother during an early chapter of the book. "It's curable. You just take a few pills and it goes away." 

C-light: A special light used for filming close-up shots of penetration in porn movies, the C-light is rumored to stand for "cunt-light." But in all the years Akira's been in porn, no one has been able to confirm it to her for sure. 

Civilian: Much like soldiers use the term to differentiate those outside the military, porn stars have adopted the term to denote anyone outside the industry. For example, dating a civilian presents its own set of challenges for a porn star: like how to explain that they have sex with multiple partners for a living, and occasionally might contract an STD. 

Crack: "Those drugs were for losers. We were above it," Akira writes of crack cocaine. But that was before she caved one day and accepted a hit from a crack pipe belonging to one of her clients, a submissive in her dominatrix dungeon. She compares the feeling of smoking crack for the first time to the moment of discovering true happiness. The feeling is an illusion, of course -  she says no amount of crack ever feels as good as that first high. 

Cream pie: A porn term for "when a guy cums inside the girl's vagina," Akira says. Or to put it even more literally, as she Tweeted recently, "We're all just the product of a vaginal creampie."

D.P.: On a Hollywood movie set, D.P. might stand for director of photography. But on a San Fernando Valley porn set, D.P. can only mean one thing: double penetration. Or as Akira puts it: "one dick in the butt, one in the pussy." Enough said.  

On the next page.... E is for enema bag. 
 

An A-to-Z Porn Glossary Inspired by Asa Akira's New Memoir, Insatiable
Photo: Van Styles

Enema bag: Anal sex can be messy - which is why Akira always plans for an anal scene a day in advance by filling up an enema bag with water, feeding it into her ass through a tube, and letting it out. Why would anyone undergo such an invasive process? For starters, she gets paid almost $1,000 extra for a scene involving anal as opposed to just vaginal. Besides, you can't earn the glory of an award-winning asshole without first succumbing to the enema bag.

F.A.O. Schwartz: The massive New York City toy store is the first place Akira shoplifted from. At the age of 12, she snatched Hello Kitty merch and snuck it into her bag while hustling down the escalator, the one spot where there were no cameras, her friends discovered. After her first theft at F.A.O. Schwartz, she continued her shoplifting rampage for six years -  until the hobby landed her in jail at 18. 

Feature porn: The opposite of "gonzo" porn, feature porn involves a plot rather than just straight-up sex. It's considered somewhat more marketable to women and couples, and the sex is much softer than in gonzo porn, generally filmed from a tripod, a safe distance away from the action. 

Feature guys: If A-listers are male talent at the top of their game, then feature guys are just below the A-listers. They're the actors of porn, who are recognized for their good looks and acting skills - not necessarily  their sexual performance.

Fleshlight: Billed as the top-selling male sex toy in the world, the Fleshlight is a brand of fleshy masturbatory toys modeled to resemble female genitalia. Akira is one of only a handful of porn stars whose custom-made brand of Fleshlight is molded after her actual vulva. "My texture is the Dragon," Akira quips. "Because I'm Asian." (For more on racial stereotyping, see "Oriental Babysitters 13" on the next page.) 

See also: 10 Porn Stars Who Make Smart Sexy 

Goldstar Modeling: The first agency that Akira signed with, before becoming a Spiegler Girl (more on that later). Most female porn performers have agents, whereas not all male performers do (see: blowbang guys), Akira explains. According to her, there are six major agencies in the industry, and generally a female performer must be signed with one of those six agencies in order to be successful. 

Gonzo porn: The opposite of feature porn, gonzo porn lacks any trace of a narrative, which means that scenes are shot without dialogue, characters or motivations and the handheld cameras get up close and personal with the performers. Because there's not much prepping involved for a gonzo-style shoot, there's also a fast turnaround - it generally only takes about eight hours to complete the scene. "Gonzo sex is what I'm really good at, you know," writes Akira. "The acting stuff, I need some practice with." 

Hello Kitty tattoo: Akira is pretty impressed that she made it out of high school without getting one of these. "That's exactly the kind of idiot I was," she writes, pausing to wonder if she might still be the same idiot who once shoplifted Hello Kitty gear from F.A.O. Schwartz.

Hustler Club: Home of the notorious Champagne Room, the Hustler Club is "different from the average titty bar across middle America," Akira writes. Instead, it's marketed as a high-end gentleman's lounge, complete with high ceilings, three stages, and a rooftop cigar lounge overlooking the Hudson River. 

Insatiable: The title of Akira's memoir is taken from her porn trilogy of the same name. Over the past three years, she's shot her first anal and D.P. scenes (with now-husband Toni Ribas) in this series, her first gangbang and double anal scenes, and an eleven-person "blow-bang."  Her Insatiable efforts have not gone unnoticed: she's received about 20 awards, including AVN awards for Best Anal Sex Scene, Best Double Penetration Sex Scene and Best Three-Way Sex Scene.

Job: Porn can be a dirty job (see: Baby Wipes), but Akira says there's nothing else she'd rather be doing.  

Korean spa: Akira's secret getaway, where she likes to sneak off and relax after shooting anal sex scenes. "No one from porn knows about it, and on its worst day it's filled with Korean and Russian housewives who keep to themselves," she says. 

Latex: While Akira never dispenses her views on mandatory condom laws, she does mention latex quite a bit: the latex gloves that she wore as a dominatrix, the latex swim cap that she wears in the pool to protect her already-fried "porn hair," and of course, latex condoms - which she recalls forgetting to pack during a rare gig as a hooker (a novice move).

On the next page.... M is for Mistress. 
 

Akira at the AVN awards show in 2013
Akira at the AVN awards show in 2013
Photo: Nate "Igor" Smith
Mistress: A title that Akira couldn't get used to, even after her year dominating clients like Ronnie the Tooth Guy and Eli the Trust Fund Kid at the Nutcracker Suite, one of New York's most notorious dungeons. Of course, it's an industry with high-turnover: none of the other mistresses Akira worked with stayed more than two years on the job - even if they, like Akira, found it liberating at first. 

Natural light: The best porn locations are the ones with lots of windows and plenty of natural lighting. "That way, the penetration is always well lit and looks beautiful," says Akira, who ocasionally recognizes the homes where she's filmed porn as the same ones featured in music videos and reality T.V. shows.

New York: The city where Akira was born and raised, aside from spending six years of her childhood attending international schools in Tokyo. 

Oriental Babysitters 13: Anal Edition: Starring in this movie was not what she had in mind when she got into porn, she admits. While she acknowledges rampant Asian stereotyping in the porn industry (which might be why her Fleshlight is named "The Dragon"), she's also learned to embrace racial typecasting: It guarantees her steady work, since there's always a shortage of Asian women in the industry. 

Oxy: Short for OxyContin, it's the opiate-based painkiller that Akira developed an addiction to (she calls it a "habit") during her time as a mistress. Yes, the mistress tasked with inflicting pain on others was killing her own pain the whole time. "It's a versatile little pill, in the sense that depending on how much you can take, it can be like five different drugs," she says. "Take a little, and you're a perfectly functioning human being. Take a lot," she cautions, "and you're all, I think my eyes are open. Are my eyes open?" 

P.A. "The P.A. has possibly the worst job on set. Which is to do all the crap no one else wants to do," writes Akira. As in mainstream film production, the P.A. on a porn set is still an acronym for "production assistant." But the P.A. on a porn set faces more hands-on challenges: "Stand by with the Baby Wipes, clean the cum off the furniture, examine my asshole," according to Akira. Again with the Baby Wipes. 

Q-Tip: "Q-Tip in my ear/ If my pussy were to break / You would be enough" reads one of the naughty haikus sprinkled throughout the chapters of Insatiable

Queen: Akira is known as the Queen of Anal. Which might be a fair title based on her purported "award-winning asshole." 

See also: 10 Innovative Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Sasha Grey

Ribas, Tony: The Spanish porn actor and director whom Akira has been married to since 2012. She requested him for a porn scene three years ago and it ended up being her first anal and double-penetration scene. The rest, as they say, is porn history. 

Role playing: The first time she ever hooked (there were three times total), Akira was asked to role play in a Japanese-style schoolgirl uniform. "In that moment, I realized that people are actually into these tired, old, cliched porn scenarios," she says of the student/teacher trope. Who says you can't have an epiphany while hooking? 

shesgonnasquirt.com: a porn website that Akira was booked to shoot a scene for, despite the fact that she couldn't actually perform the website's namesake stunt. Thanks to a disposable douche filled with water and emptied into her vagina when the cameras cut (undoubtedly the job of a brave P.A.), the visual effect was seamless. Don't believe everything you see in porn. 

Show Wore: Akira deemed herself the "show whore" on a Florida talk radio show called Bubba the Love Sponge, on which she made guest appearances before becoming a porn star. Show whore no more: she's now the co-host, along with artist David Choe, of the bi-weekly podcast, DVDASA.

Softcore production: During a "soft core production," the type of adult movie you might see available for purchase in a hotel room late at night, the cast consists mostly of mainstream actors who happen to be comfortable showing nudity. That means no actual penetration takes place; the sex is all simulated. Both male and female actors wear paper-thin, flesh-colored G-strings so that their genitals never even touch. 

Special K: Also known as the hallucinatory sedative ketamine, Special K is Akira's all-time favorite drug. As a teenager, she'd "buy a liq[uid] each day after school, cook it up at night and snort the powder in the morning before leaving the house to make the subway ride to school enjoyable." Luckily, she found other activities to help make life more enjoyable: At 22, she got sober.

Spiegler girls: The 25 porn actresses who are represented by agent Mark Spiegler. "We are the most hardcore girls in the industry. Ask anyone," writes Akira. Most porn agencies represent 100 to 150 performers each, but Spiegler never exceeds 25 clients. His current roster includes Jessie AndrewsVeruca JamesSkin Diamond and Bonnie Rotten

Spiegler, Mark: How would Akira describe her current agent? "By no means conventionally handsome, short, fat and balding." Still, the raspy-voiced Jewish man with a collection of t-shirts boasting slogans like "sluts welcome" is her best friend and her favorite man in the world. Sorry, Tony Ribas.

Sub: Shorthand for "submissive" in the field of dungeon-based sex work, a sub is a client for life if you want them to be, says Akira. The catch? "You can't let them see you in any type of position but strong, or they'll find someone else to worship." 

STD test: In her book, Akira mentions having blood drawn for her monthly STD test, which is required by law for all porn performers. But the days of monthly tests are long gone: in response to the industry's STD scares last year, performers are now required to go under the needle every two weeks. Akira's thoughts on the matter are best presented through haiku: "Needle in my arm / it's a small price to pay to / fuck eighteen-year-olds."

On the next page.... T is for Twitter. 
 

Akira, center, at the AVN award show in 2013
Akira, center, at the AVN award show in 2013
Photo: Nate "Igor" Smith

Twitter: Akira's favorite place to post haikus ("Sometimes it's so hard / just to dic-tate a sentence / without fucking puns"), boast brags ("If procrasturbating were an Olympic sport, I'd be a fucking gold medalist") and pose serious questions ("If quinoa was the new acai, and kale is the new quinoa, what's the new kale going to be?") to her nearly 475,000 followers. 

UNIS: An acronym for United Nations International School, the elite Manhattan academy that Akira was granted a scholarship to after returning to New York from Tokyo. (Her grandfather served as a diplomat for 45 years.) 

Urethra: "Urethras are like assholes," says Akira. "The more times it's been penetrated, the less time it takes to open up." She's referring to inserting a metal rod inside a man's urethra and electrocuting him, something she did as part of her dominatrix job at the Nutcracker Suite in New York City. 

Virginity: Most folks only lose it once, but Akira says she lost hers thrice: officially during the summer between eighth and ninth grade, then again a year later when she led her virgin partner to believe she, too, was a virgin; and finally, when she lied to a high school senior and told him she was still a virgin - just for the hell of it. Third time was a charm: "It was the first time I can truly say I fucked," she says. 

Voyeur Media: The first company Akira ever shot porn for. She filmed a total of five movies with Voyeur, including one called "Make Me Creamy." For more info, see "creampie." Or, this tweet

Vegas: A porn set is like Vegas, Akira writes: "What happens there, stays there." Well, except for the STDs. 

West Village: There were years of her childhood where Akira lived in expensive doorman buildings in the West Village and SoHo, but she says there were also years where her family lived above a Brooklyn bodega near the G train. After growing up rich at times and poor at others, she says her views on money have always been confused. 

Xanax: Back when she was still popping pills, liquids, powders and anything else she could swallow, Akira's drug of choice was Special K. But Xanax was the painkiller that really got her through the excruciating pain of her second abortion, at age 21.

Young: Akira discovered drugs at a young age, dropping ecstasy for the first time at 13. By 14, she had tried every drug available to her, save heroin and crack. "Starting drugs at such a young age, I think, was a blessing in my case," she says. She's maintained her sobriety for six years.

Ziploc bag: How do porn stars pack for a shoot? Akira stuffs every pair of her lingerie into its own Ziploc bag, so she doesn't lose a rogue bra or panty along the way. She keeps the Ziploc bags of bikinis and lingerie in a suitcase, which stays permanently in the trunk of her car, along with a separate duffel bag filled with shoes. 


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