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Candida Royalle, president of Femme Productions, is a frequent TV and radio guest and sought-after expert on relationships, sexuality, and women’s self-empowerment. She is the author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do: Sex Advice From a Woman Who Knows. Royalle was a popular adult film star during the“golden age”of porn, between the years of 1975 and 1980. With that firsthand experience, Royalle felt she could effect change within the adult film industry, providing a woman’s voice to a previously male-dominated genre. Royalle pioneered the genre of erotic movies by and for women and couples. Widely used by counselors and sexologists, her work has received international accolades for its sex-positive and egalitarian approach to sexuality and eroticism. In 1995 Royalle, along with Groet Design, a Dutch industrial design company, created the Natural Contours line of stylish and discreet intimate massagers. Royalle has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, the American Psychiatric Association’s national conference, and the World Congress on Sexology, as well as numerous universities including Princeton, Columbia, Wellesley College , and New York University. Royalle is a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and a founding board member of Feminists for Free Expression (FFE). For more, see S itting down to an interview, inevitably the first thing I’m asked is how I got into porn. I often get the sense that what they’d really like to ask me is, “What’s a nice girl like you . . . ?” The image of hardened street urchins scraping together enough money to cop some drugs lingers on, despite the flashy celebrity of porn star Jenna Jameson . Our society still can’t conceive that a relatively sane young woman would choose to go into sex work for any reason other than desperation . It goes against all cultural standards of acceptability for women. It is also important to marginalize female sex workers, lest our tender young “What’s a Nice Girl Like You . . . ” Candida Royalle daughters imagine a career in what is still considered terribly taboo. One hundred years ago women were declared diseased nymphomaniacs if they wanted more sex than their husbands; today, even though women are granted the right to sexual fulfillment, the double standard is alive and well, and women are still controlled through fear of the dreaded “slut” label. Becoming a sex worker crosses the line into forbidden territory : How dare we use our bodies and our sexuality to earn a living or merely express ourselves? Who gave us the right to absolute control over our bodies and our sexuality? I wasn’t always a sexual free spirit. Though I experienced sensual feelings when I approached puberty, and ballet practice with my cute neighbor Sandy turned into delicious explorations of each other’s bodies —nongenital but very exciting—I remained a virgin until I got serious with my first boyfriend at the age of eighteen, and didn’t have my first orgasm until I was nineteen (courtesy of the liberating information about clitorises and orgasms in the very first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves ). But this was the early 1970s, and the sexual revolution was in full bloom, as was I. I was also active in the women’s lib movement, as it was called then, and contrary to later misrepresentations, the women’s movement at that time embraced sexual freedom and promoted a woman’s right to a healthy, fulfilling sex life. Many contradictions emerged during that period of the women’s movement. Though a healthy sex life for women was eagerly embraced, some believed that choosing a man for that great sex life was akin to sleeping with the enemy. I began to feel that that anger and finger pointing was replacing the wonderful feelings of purpose and camaraderie that I had experienced with my feminist sisters. At the same time, I was losing interest in my college studies, and my native New York was feeling grimy and unwelcoming. So I threw a few things into a backpack and left for the sunny freewheeling lifestyle of San Francisco. It was there that my foray into the world of commercial sex began. I cast off my Sisterhood is Powerful t-shirts, and began hangin’ out with the freaks, hippies, and drag queens of San Francisco. Boundless creativity and unlimited self-expression flourished in this magical town that gave birth to the peace and love movement. Vintage thrift shop clothes from the...


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