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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - It started when three brothers joked about making pornography for fans of the genre who happen to be offended by on-screen sex. Out of that joke came an idea for a website, and they called it "PG Porn."
In creating pornography that appeals to viewers who want their titillation toned down, brothers James, Sean and Brian Gunn are banking on web-surfers' growing acceptance of porn.
Sean starred in the television show "Gilmore Girls" and James wrote the screenplay for the 2002 movie "Scooby-Doo." Their latest production, a short spoof called "Nailing Your Wife," premiered on Wednesday at their site.
With pornography all over the Internet and the video store, the Gunn brothers rely on viewers' familiarity with all its conventions -- the goofy acting, the bad music, the lace-thin plots -- to create movies that look like the real thing but skirt nudity. Comedy substitutes for hard-core sex.
The actor in "Nailing Your Wife" is Nathan Fillion, who appeared in the ABC show "Desperate Housewives," and his castmate is porn star Aria Giovanni. PG Porn will feature similar pairings in the future.
"This is a place where the porn and the mainstream film industries meet and get to have some understanding of each other," said James Gunn, a writer, director and producer.
"We like to pretend that we're miles and miles away from pornography, but we're not," he said.
Pornography's size as an industry is often overstated, but Web-based porn generates at least $2 billion a year, said Frederick Lane, the author of "Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age."
"People are getting more blase about porn, I don't think there's any question about that," Lane said. "I think the Internet has played a huge role in that, it sort of lowers everybody's threshold."
PG Porn will also sell its content elsewhere under the direction of "Disaster Movie" producer Peter Safran.
The principals behind PG Porn take the name "PG" from the rating "Parental Guidance Suggested" given to movies largely free of objectionable content. But they do not expect viewers to watch their webisodes with their parents.
Instead, they said they expect men to visit the site in greater numbers than women -- at least initially -- and they assume most men see plenty of porn.
Their site features racy photos of porn stars Aria Giovanni, Belladonna and Sasha Gray. PG Porn's creators recruited them, asking porn fans about their favorite stars.
Bob Peters, president of New York-based Morality in Media, said PG Porn is not as bad as regular porn sites, but he worries viewers will move on to the real thing.
"In the real world of pornography, if you want to get your start in pornography you start in the gutter," he said. "So real people are abused in the production of pornography."
Editing by Mary Milliken and Miral Fahmy