2013 was not the best year for the domestic adult film industry. On top of grappling with the triple scourges of piracy, mandatory condom laws, and waning DVD sales, the porn biz also had to deal with costly moratoriums on shooting after four performers tested positive for HIV. Yet outside the United States, the business of selling sex is booming.

According to an article in the Japan Times, the burgeoning Japanese AV (adult video) industry is giving the U.S. porn biz a run for its money, producing at least twice as many films as the United States does per year. Consumers in Japan are also apparently more willing to blow more of their cash on adult DVDs and other products, with the average consumer spending nearly $157 per year on content in 2011. For the sake of comparison, in the U.S. revenue per capita for that year was a meager $47 per year, in part because the advent of tube sites have made it easier for consumers to access porn for free (one website estimates that only 80 to 90 percent of U.S. consumers have actually paid for porn).

Japanese adult performer Mumin, who has shot more than 2,000 titles in his decade-long career, says part of the reason why there’s more demand for Japanese porn is because Japanese AV filmmakers put more emphasis on the amateur subgenre, as opposed to the slick production value associated with American adult films (Japanese AV films also tend to portray a wider range of kinks and fetishes than mainstream U.S. adult films do, as indicated by the enormous popularity of niches like tentacle porn).

“We tend to go with more day-to-day storylines featuring regular guys, unlike on American-made DVDs,” says Mumin, who says he shoots an average of six adult films per week (while some top-earning U.S. adult performers used to shoot as frequently, this is no longer the case more often than not, as there are generally fewer available shoots) . “There are few, if any, steroid-fueled actors in Japan’s AV industry. Our dramas are far more realistic.”

Unlike the adult film industry in the San Fernando Valley, the Japanese porn biz is subject to stringent censorship laws—female and male genitalia are required to be pixelated, for instance (urabon, or hardcore Japanese porn that does not censor genitalia, is technically illegal, but extremely easy to find on the Internet.)

In other respects, however, the Japanese AV industry is relatively similar to that of the United States: as is the case in the San Fernando Valley, Japanese female adult performers make more money than males, and the average performer stays in the industry for about as long as American performers do (six months, according to the low end of one estimate). In fact, the primary distinction between the Japanese and American porn industries seems to be simply that the Japanese AV industry has figured out how to get consumers to pony up for their content, while many U.S. adult production companies, unfortunately, have not.

H/T Xbiz | Photo: Flickr, Wayan Vota