It held adult film awards ceremonies for 10 years during the Golden Age of Porn. The first awards ceremony was held July 14, 1977 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles while religious protesters picketed outside, as they would several years thereafter. "These feverish protesters are such a familiar part of the ritual, they really should be listed in the program," sex news magazine Cheri stated after the 1983 awards.
By February 1992 the tables were turned – association members "picketed the Public Forum on Pornography sponsored by religious groups who hope to institute morality codes back into all movies made."
Retroactive awards of merit were also given to five movies considered best from 1955 to 1975: Tonight for Sure, Not Tonight, Henry!Trader Hornee and Sometime Sweet Susan. Deep Throat was also honored as one of the top-grossing of all movies, including mainstream films, of 1972. Board chairman Friedman said the AFAA was "much too busy fighting legal battles" in the early days to hold awards ceremonies, so these special awards were intended to make up for not having presented them in the past.
By the third awards ceremony in 1980, although the concept was seen as positive, adult entertainment magazine Genesis reported they were "beginning to generate as much controversy as the regular Academy Awards, or more." While it seemed "politicking" gave the Best Film award to Legend of Lady Blue over heavy favorites Sex World and Take Off, the "most glaring lack of any validity" was shown by giving the best actor award to Aldo Ray. "The Erotica Awards are supposed to be presented to sex-film performers who both 'act' well and 'perform' well. In Sweet Savage, not only did Aldo Ray not 'act' particularly well—his part was simply gratuitous...he never even performed at all. The fact is he never even took his clothes off, nor did he show up to receive his award." Aside from that, Sweet Savage was released "well into 1979" and the films nominated were supposed to have been released in 1978, leaving the impression the AFAA gave him the award to "capitalize on his name and to obtain more media coverage."Adam Film World Guide, however, reported the following year's awards, which were presented in July 1981, "covered films released from mid-1980 to the middle of '81", which could have meant Sweet Savage was eligible for awards in 1979 if the same time frame was considered. Meanwhile, Adam Film World noted Ray's award "was not surprising considering that one of the announced functions of the aFAA and its annual awards is to upgrade the image of the adult film industry in the public eye."
Originally the Erotica Awards were determined by vote of the "association's membership of more than 700 producers, distributors and theater operators." However, in later years the AFAA ceremony was increasingly accused of bias, with a "belief among some that the West Coast producers were controlling what films received the awards" after Amanda By Night was passed over for best film at the 1981 awards. Starting with the awards presented in 1982, the AFAA decided to appoint an independent jury of three persons not associated with the adult film industry to make the final choices from the five finalists in each category. Jurors subsequently included an assortment of men and women such as a sexologist, author Robert Rimmer and journalists such as Brendan Gill of The New Yorker and other publications including Daily Variety, Playboy, USA Today and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
With the advent of pornography on video, in early 1986 the AFAA renamed itself Adult Film and Video Association of America (AFVAA) and added a new award category, best adult video. The 10th annual awards, held at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel in Los Angeles on June 29, 1986, were the last.
The association changed its name again in 1987 to the Adult Video Association (AVA). No awards were given for 1987. Instead, in mid-1988 they were replaced by an annual Night of the Stars dinner-dance and legal fundraiser, the fifth of which it held in June 1992 with more than 500 people in attendance, the association's biggest show ever.Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented at the Night of the Stars, however, film awards were discontinued.
The AFAA had a credo that "recognized the responsibilities of adult filmmakers to the general public": 1. That films of adult subject matter will be produced for and exhibited to adult audiences and that persons not of legal age will not be admitted. 2. That the definition of an "adult" is that designation set by the constituted authorities of the community but in no event any persons under the age of 18 years. 3. That we will produce and exhibit only films that are in conformity with the Free Speech Provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America. 4. That we will respect the privacy of the general public in our advertising and public displays. 5. That we in no manner will condone, produce or exhibit child pornography in any form.
The AFAA awards were called the Erotic Film Awards and the trophy, known as the Erotica Award, was a golden statuette "in the form of a shapely nude holding high a rampant spear in an obvious attitude of erotic excitement." Winners are shown below in the year the awards were presented:
Sex World, Take Off,Bad Penny, Candy Stripers, China Cat, Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Roots, Dirty Lilly, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Fiona on Fire, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Hot Skin, Little Girls Blue, Little Orphan Dusty, Pretty Peaches, Skin Flicks, Sweet Savage, The Health Spa, The Other Side of Julie
Flesh and Laces, Part I and II – Hollywood International; Little Girls Lost – Ted Roter; Naughty Girls Need Love Too – Essex; Reel People – Richard Frazzini; Suzie Superstar – Cal Vista International; That's Outrageous – P.R.P. Inc.
Arlene Manhattan – Aphrodesia's Diary; Jessie St. James – Between Lovers; Georgina Spelvin – The Devil in Miss Jones Part II; Veronica Hart – Little Girls Lost; Shauna Grant – nominated twice, for Suzie Superstar and Virginia
Vanessa del Rio – Aphrodesia's Diary; Georgina Spelvin – Between Lovers; Samantha Fox – The Devil in Miss Jones Part II; Shauna Grant – Flesh and Laces, Part I and II; Anna Ventura – That's Outrageous
Beau Buchanan, Bob Chinn, Jim Clark, Gerard Damiano, Norm de Plume, Alex deRenzy, Claire Dia, A. Fabritzi, Ja Jaacovi, Gail Palmer, Ann Perry, Anthony Spinelli, Ken Schwartz, Mark Ubell, Johanna Williams
Gerard Damiano – Never So Deep; Cecil Howard – Foxtrot; Henri Pachard – Mascara; Ann Rhine – Undercovers
Henri Pachard – The Devil in Miss Jones Part II
Troy Benny – Flesh and Laces, Part I and II; Ted Roter – Little Girls Lost; Anthony Spinelli – Reel People; Cecil Howard – Scoundrels; F. J. Lincoln – That's Outrageous; Vinnie Rossi – Too Much Too Soon; John Seeman – Virginia
Aphrodesia's Diary – Serge Lincoln; Flesh and Laces, Part I and II – Hollywood International; Hot Dreams – Warren Evans; Reel People – Richard Frazzini; Sexcapades – David Stone; Suzie Superstar – Cal Vista International
Firestorm – Cecil Howard (the "red scene" group grope with Victoria Jackson, George Payne, Sharon Kane and Michael Bruce)
Body Girls – Caribbean Films; Good Girl/Bad Girl; Stud Hunters – Suze Randall; Trinity Brown – Cal Vista International
"Six Tits In A Row" from Chorus Call; "It Hurts" from Candy Stripers; "Lonely Without You" from Deep Roots; "Long After I'm Gone" from Disco Lady; "Candy" from Erotic Adventures of Candy; "The Ranchand" from Girls of Pussycat Ranch; "Skin" from Hot Skin; "Little Blue Box" from Little Blue Box; "Sex World" from Sex World
"This Time We Might Make It" from The Ecstasy Girls – Ronni Romanovitch
"Leonard's Theme" from All About Gloria Leonard; "One Page of Love" from Two Sisters; "Small Town Girls" from Small Town Girls
Title song from Vista Valley PTA – Ben Dorsett
"Glory Bound" from Rhinestone Cowgirls – Randy Rivera
"Saran Lakes" from Outlaw Ladies; "Nothing To Lose" from Nothing To Hide; "8 To 4" theme from 8 To 4; "Neon Nights" theme from Neon Nights; "Beautiful Forever" from Centerfold Fever
"Foxtrot" from Foxtrot and "With You" from Roommates5
"Undercover Man" from Undercovers; "Dirty Talk" from Talk Dirty To Me II; "Never Love a Single Man" from The Mistress
"If I Love You Tonight" from Suzie Superstar
"Sexy Faces" from Flesh and Laces, Part I and II; "It's Just The Devil In Miss Jones" from The Devil in Miss Jones Part II; "Little Girls Lost" from Little Girls Lost; "That First Love" from In Love; "A Woman In Love" from Between Lovers; "The Young Like It Hot" from The Young Like It Hot; "Outrageous" from That's Outrageous
"Body Girls Theme" from Body Girls; "Girls Just Want To" from Girls Just Want To...; "Letting Go" from Lady Dynamite; "L'amour" from L'amour
"Electrify Me" from New Wave Hookers – Dark Brothers
"Country Boy" from Too Good To Be True; "Roll Me Over" from The Grafenberg Spot; "Reggae Theme Song" from Raw Talent; "The Ribald Tales of Canterbury" from Hyapatia Lee's The Ribald Tales of Canterbury – Lexi Hunter
Candy Stripers, China Cat, Chorus Call, Debbie Does Dallas, Dirty Lilly, Deep Roots, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Health Spa, Legend of Lady Blue, Little Blue Box, Little Orphan Dusty, Sensual Encounter, Skin Flicks
Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Roots, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Here Comes the Bride, Legend of Lady Blue, Little Blue Box, Little Orphan Dusty, Sensual Encounter, Sweet Dreams of Mona Q, The Health Spa, The Other Side of Julie
Aphrodesia's Diary – Sampson Advertising; Bodies In Heat – Chet Collom; Scoundrels – Cecil Howard; Suzie Superstar – Jim Houston and Associates; Walnut Advertising was also nominated for Little Girls Lost and Reel People
Girls on Fire – Walnut Advertising and Murray Perlstein
New Wave Hookers – Cynthia Patterson; Pleasures of Innocence – Walnut Advertising; Marianne Burton was nominated twice, for Passion Pit and Sex Crimes 2084
After the Erotic Film Awards were discontinued, the association resumed presenting Lifetime Achievement Awards at its annual Night of the Stars fundraising event, starting in mid-1988. When the association merged into the Free Speech Coalition in late 1992, the new coalition took over the tradition.
^1Adam Film World recorded the winner of this category in 1979 as having been a tie between Roger Caine and John Seeman.Cinema-X magazine recorded Roger Caine as the sole winner.
^2 This award was called "Best Foreign Language Film" at the 1977 and 1981 awards shows. It was not awarded after 1981.</ref>
^3 IMDb states this movie, while advertised as the first X-rated movie made in Russia, was actually made in the U.S.
^4Adam Film World reported both Seven Into Snowy as winner of "Best Musical Score" and also Get Your Nose Out Of My Pantyhose won "Best Original Musical Score", a different award, in 1978. However, the AFAA's seventh and eighth annual programs, which list previous years' winners, make no mention of Get Your Nose Out of My Pantyhose or any separate "Original" score award. As well, IMDb states "Get Your Nose Out of My Pantyhose" is not a movie, but a song from a movie called Breaker Beauties, so Adam Film World's report of an "Original" score award may be erroneous.
^5 The official 8th Annual AFAA Erotic Film Awards program lists both songs as having won the award, however Jim Holliday's Only the Best book only mentions "With You" from Roommates as winning.Cheri magazine's coverage of the awards doesn't mention the category at all.
^6 This award was called "Best Production Values" at the 1979 and 1980 awards shows.
^7Adam Film World' and Cinema Blue coverage of the first Erotica Awards both listed Not Tonight, Henry! as having won "Best Adult Film 1961-65" and Tonight For Sure as having won "Best Adult Film 1955-60". However, Not Tonight, Henry! premiered Dec. 30, 1960 in Los Angeles, while Tonight For Sure premiered in L.A., Oct. 25, 1962, so it's likely an error by the AFAA resulted in each film being given the award for the other's time period. Nominee Sinderella and the Golden Bra was listed in the correct time period. Jim Holliday's book, Only the Best, lists the movies as having won in the correct time periods, however.