A Recent History of Porn Stars Who Wrote Memoirs

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With the release of Neü Sex by Sasha Grey, we decided to do a roundup of porn stars and directors who have written memoirs. This seems to be a popular genre for obvious reasons, though the quality of the writing varies. Most are, predictably, really bad, either because the scenes are described through hackneyed, awful phrasing, or because what was advertised as a “tell-all” doesn’t really tell us much of anything in the end. There’s the “now I hate porn and was exploited” memoir, the “insider view of the industry” memoir, and the how-to guide for aspiring porn stars. Click through to peruse our roundup of some of the most interesting titles from the past twenty years.

The Reluctant Pornographer by Bruce LaBruce (1997)

Bruce LaBruce (AKA Michael La Venus) hails from the 51st state and has directed weirdo pornographic films like Hustler White, The Raspberry Reich, and a mildly mainstream zombie flick, Otto; or Up With Dead People. In his memoir, LaBruce details the frustrations of shooting porn, and in an interview at the time, said, “I choose to work in pornography because it is one of the few remaining places where homosexuals can express themselves freely and radically without fear or censure.”

Underneath it All by Traci Lords (2003)

Lords first posed in Penthouse at the tender age of sixteen, and appeared in over 100 adult films by the time she was legal. Since she was a minor, much of her early work has been destroyed, though copies still remain on our nefarious friend the Internet. In our minds, however, Lords real claim to fame was her appearance as Wanda Woodward in the John Waters’ classic, Cry-Baby. As Ramona Ricketts says to her: “Oh Wanda, you sure is pretty in them tight clothes, all painted up like trash!”

Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star by Rich Merritt (2005)

Merritt, a commanding officer in the US Marine Corps, starred in eight adult films prior to his enrollment in the armed services. He discusses his apprehensions about the interview he did with Jennifer Egan, then a young reporter for the New York Times, as well as his porn past being outed by the Advocate two weeks after the Times article went to press.

Ordeal by Linda Lovelace (2006)

Lovelace, née Linda Boreman, begins her memoir by stating, “If I had my way, the name Linda Lovelace would have vanished at the same time and neither you nor I would ever hear of it again.” There are car wrecks, golden showers, accusations of rape, and a whole lot of shame on the page. In the book and in real life, her first husband and director (Chuck Traynor) appears to be a truly awful person, proving that there are some really sleazy guys involved in, you know, porn.

The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz by Ron Jeremy (2007)

Ron Jeremy is a hairy, hairy man. He is also apparently very good at his job, which is to sex up ladies on film. In an interview with Sheila Roberts at Collider, Jeremy says, “When I was young and better looking, I didn’t get as much work. But then I got a little older and fatter, and it’s like hey, the audience could relate. Hey, if he gets lucky, there’s hope for all of us.”

My Life in Porn: The Bobby Blake Story by…Bobby Blake (2008)

Bobby Blake, né Edgar Gaines, began his career in porn with the gay thug classic, Ebony Knights. He retired about a decade ago and is now working as a Christian minister, though he is unapologetic about his past life as an unforgiving top. He writes, “I focused my mind on my career like a laser focuses light through a diamond.” Get the money and run, BB!

The Devil Made Me Do It by Georgina Spelvin (2008)

Georgina Spelvin officially retired in 1982, but will forever live on in her role as Justine Jones, a suicidal spinster who earns her place in the fiery depths of Hell through a series of lusty encounters in The Devil in Miss Jones. In her memoir, she writes about the Golden Age of Porn without apologies. As she says in the book, “Yes, I got my mug shot. Fifteen times. Every cop in the shop wanted his own autographed copy.”

We Did Porn by Zak Smith (2009)

Image courtesy of Dean MacKay’s Flickr page

Zak Smith, AKA Zak Sabbath, received his MFA in painting at Yale in 2001, then began his itinerant career as a porn star five years later in the film Barbed Wire Kiss. Last March, he started a Dungeons and Dragons-themed video series called I Hit It With My Axe, which features Kimberly Kane and occasionally Sasha Grey, among other alt punk porn stars. See his mixed media work, 100 Girls and 100 Octopuses (Ed note: octopodes?) here.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star by Jenna Jameson (2010)

If you haven’t heard of anyone on this list so far, we’re assuming you still recognize the name Jenna Jameson — even suburban moms know who she is, what she does, and perhaps even how many “breast enhancements” she has had. In 1996, the pint-size porn star was named XRCO’s Best New Starlet, the F.O.X.E. Video Vixen, and the AVN Best New Starlet, and was also named Penthouse‘s “Pet of the Year” eight years later, in 2004. In her memoir (which is subtitled, “A Cautionary Tale”) Jameson details the dark side to porn while also dishing on celebrity encounters and getting all family values on us.

Sinner Takes All by Tera Patrick (2011)

Tera Patrick has been in Playboy, Penthouse, and the like, then took the reins and became the publisher of the gentlemen’s porno mag Genesis a few years later. She even launched her own production company, aptly titled “Teravision.” She also plays a “sexy slasher murderess” in a recent Indonesian horror film: Rintihan Kuntilanak Perawan AKA Moans of A Virgin Ghost — which has to be one of the best horror titles we’ve heard in years.

Who will pen a porn memoir next? Joanna Angel, the “alt porn” star who runs BurningAngel.com and worked with photographer Brenda Staudenmaier on the book (appropriately-named, ahem) Burning Angel, is definitely a contender, no?