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September 21, 2016

Adult Businesses in Philadelphia Form 'Philly Sex Coalition'

PHILADELPHIA—Longtime adult industry members know that AVN Media Network, known then simply as "Adult Video News," was born in Philadelphia—but we were hardly the only adult business in town even in that bygone era of 1983. There were plenty of adult clubs, and while adult video stores were few and far between, many mainstream video outlets had "adult sections." But times have changed, and what with the rise of the internet and free online sexy content, much of it pirated or home-produced, adult businesses, usually immune from economic downturns ... are downturning. But a new organization intends to do something about that. C.J. Asher is a real estate investor, accountant and publisher of the online magazine Unveiled, which reviews adult clubs and promotes various events around the city—and he's also the idea guy behind the Philly Sex Coalition, which has drawn together what the Philly.com website described as "like-minded sex capitalists" including strip club owners, adult retailers (video and toy), swing club operators, tattoo parlor owners and several others, including Philly-based HotMovies.com and Exxxotica parent Three Expo Events. (We're guessing TLA Entertainment, which has several stores in the area, won't be far behind.) The problem the group intends to tackle is the flow of money—more than $250 million a year, by Asher's estimate—that locals would spend on porn, clubs and anything else adult-related but which somehow finds its way out of the region, much to the businesspeople's and their estimated 10,000 employees' dismay. While action plans for the new organization are still being formed—there's an invitation-only meeting planned for later this week at the Sugar House Casino restaurant—at least one of the areas the group intends to tackle is adverse legislation coming from both the city and the state capital in Harrisburg. "A lot of these industries are under a lot of scrutiny and public condemnation," Asher told Philly.com. "They are unfairly targeted with legislation." Asher specifically referenced Pennsylvania House Bill 262 which, while ostensibly directed a fighting sex trafficking, also contains a provision forcing dancers to register with the state and to keep at least six feet between themselves and their fans—"Which has nothing to do with fighting sex trafficking!" Asher exclaimed. Asher's no stranger to porn politics, having interviewed the Moonlite Bunny Ranch's Dennis Hof as well as Penthouse owner Kelly Holland for Unveiled, and he's also been involved in sexual politics in general, having helped organize a fundraiser for a local March Against Rape Culture. Though still in its infancy, the Philly Sex Coalition stands a chance of making a real difference in the profitability and availability of adult entertainment in the area, so we're guessing it's an organization to watch.

 
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