I believe that at last post, I kinda left y’all hanging about my main influences in sex-positive activism…including one particularly special woman who especially molded my brain (and a few other parts of my anatomy). Since I’m now free to tie up the loose ends, I will proceed to finish the job I started and explain how this woman became my main “sheroine”:
I hereby present to you Nina Hartley — porn legend, sex philosopher, progressive, and all around kick-ass, fine-ass sex goddess.
[That pic of Nina chillin’ it in Colorado Springs circa 2002 is courtesy of Alex the Acolyte, one of the mods over at Nina’s excellent forum. Hey….it was the work-safest Nina photo that I could find on my hard-drive that was suitable for this blog…if you want to see her in her….errrrr, more natural environment, feel free to join her site at nina.com.]
The first time I ever saw or even heard of the name “Nina Hartley” was when waaaaaaaay back in the late 80s when the Playboy Channel (now Playboy TV) was first running softcore porn movies on their cable service. Back then, before the censors came along, Playboy was part of the offered cable package, and you could easily catch a few hardcore movies late at night (albeit modified and edited from their original form to eliminate any explicit penetration or “money shots” in order to appease the censors and the FCC).
Well, as a young man with both plenty of time and a working libido, and little access to sex flicks before then, I took to the sexy images of sexy women doing sexy things like a fish to water; I can still remember even to this day some of the many episodes of “Sexcetra” (the original featuring Shannon Tweed, that is), as well as some of the unedited softcore erotica they used to feature right along with Hef’s usual fare of Playmate features and Playboy mansion parties. But it was the sex videos that really attracted me, since it was one of the first times that I actually saw people having sex (even if it was more simulated than real.
It was one of those videos — Sensual Escape, one of the series of “women’s erotica” produced by former porn actress-cum-producer Candida Royalle, where I first discovered one particular blonde porn starlet who really seemed to stand out from the rest….mostly because she seemed to actually get into the sex. Not that the other actresses seemed to be faking and sleepwalking through their scenes any, but this particular actress really seemed to be totally into the part….and totally loving what she did on screen. (Well….that, and probably the most well-rounded and ripest booty I’ve ever seen on a White woman; the phase “fine ass” gives new meaning to the word “understatement” when it comes to Nina……and it still does, too, BTW.)
Once I managed to pick up my jaw from the floor (and my hand out of my pants…heh), I immediately began to look for more films featuring Nina, and the more I saw, the more I lusted. She really did seem to be into it for the right reasons, and she certainly acted like she really enjoyed sex for its own pleasure.
That was only the beginning….then I discovered a print interview that Nina did for a then obscure porn fanzine called Adam Film World (now under the tutilage of Larry Flynt’s Hustler empire, but back then more of a “feminist” sex zine), in which she revealed her intellectual and social vision of sexuality and sexual expression. It was her profoundly progressive social and political vision, as well as her open and honest and openminded views about sex and men (and especially interracial sex with Black men) which basically blew the rest of me away.
But the final nail in the coffin that hooked me to Nina for life came around 1989; when I read up an old “Beat the Devil” column in the Left/liberal news weekly The Nation by Alexander Cockburn (now co-publisher of CounterPunch). That column was mostly about AC bitching about how leftie publishing wasn’t supporting more independent media….and then Cockburn began to promote a small (and now deceased) “journal of progressive Jewish thought” titled Shmate which he thought quite highly of. What he wrote next follows (my paraphrasing, since the article was originally 17 years ago):
[…] The latest [Spring 1989] issue….includes a fascinating interview with sex actress Nina Hartley (Red diaper baby, over 450 jizz-filled wankfests, socialist feminist)….. […]
A porn actress who also is a feminist??? And a socialist?!?!?
Being a feminist supporter and a socialist myself, that really perked my interest. Of course, I had by then already read plenty about Nina’s sex-positive activism and her support for the erotic medium….but her being a pronounced and fully outed Leftist???
Unfortunately, despite many attempts, my attempts to locate that article initially were a failure (back then), but my respect and lust for her couldn’t get any stronger.
Yeah, right….sure it couldn’t.
Being the inquisitive sort and the library/Internet rat that I was becoming, I started literally turning over book after book searching for anything even remotely related to Nina Hartley….but it wasn’t until much later, around 1992 or such, that I finally got to actually communicate with her directly through her website. There I found more than a few of her greatest essays that she had written to various feminist and sex radical anthologies, where she amplified on her basic sex philosophy and her role as a pro-sex/pro-pleasure activist….as well as her battles with the more conservative and sex-negative strains of feminism. (A few of them were digitalized by me and are now posted over at the Red Garter Club site; I am working on actually creating a collage of all of her essays and columns for release soon.)
Fast forward to around 2002, when Nina finally got the urge to form a forum at her website to better communicate with her multitude of fans and followers. Naturally, I joined up….and have not been disappointed with the results.
Having been a contributor and a member of that forum for the past 4 years has simply reenforced my worship of Nina as the living representation of the sex goddess Aphrodite on this earth; she has been so generous and so giving of her wisdom and intellegence and her passion……and I even got to get that interview too. (Actually it was Sheldon Ranz, who did the original interview for Shmate back then, who sent me his original copies of the interview; Sheldon is as much a porn historian and a contributor as he is a leftist Jewish activist.)
A lot has happened to Nina since that day I first discovered her: She has modified her political views somewhat (from early Red Diaper babe/Che Guevera socialist to strong principled liberal/social democrat); she is now discovering her more dominant/submissive side; she left her former triad relationship for a more convential (yet probably more kinky) marriage with Ernest Greene (nee’ Ira Levine), who has a political and sex radical activist heritage of his own right; and she is for the most part through with making commercially based porn, generally sticking to her Sex Guides series of “How To” videos and her upcoming book that is scheduled for release early next year. Yet, even at her more advanced age, she still has the ability to stop traffic and take over a scene by sheer strength of her will and her sexual power……and there are countless young actresses in the field of erotic entertainment and sex radical activism who owe the world to her for bringing progressive principles and intellegence to the medium of sexual expression.
And, in case you wanted to ask….the ass is still as fine as ever. As is the rest of her.
The proof is in the scoreboard:
Keep bringing it, Goddess.