Porn Star Talks Sex to Students

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Nina Hartley, a well-known porn star and self-proclaimed feminist, told a crowd of 250 people this week that women who want better sex should take matters into their own hands.

"In our culture we are brainwashed to think 'bad penis, bad penis,'" she said in an on-campus speech Monday. "We say to men, 'I feel uncomfortable, what are you going to do about it?' I realized that I had to take responsibility for my own orgasm and get rid of my Cinderella complex that some guy somewhere was going to make me feel alive."

Hartley, a 12-year sex business veteran who has been in more than 550 pornographic movies, is a Berkeley native and registered nurse. At 21, she became a stripper and said she quickly fell in love with the sex business.

"I am always happy to hear about people who grew up on my movies," she said. "At least they are watching a woman who is having fun."

Although many women criticize her for her profession, Hartley said it has helped her gain understanding of sexual relationships.

"I'm a star, and I'm a known slut," she said. "And I have realized that what men want most is a willing, happy woman - most men are just waiting for us to say yes."

She emphasized the importance of knowing oneself before becoming sexually involved.

"It is very important that you all masturbate a lot," she said. "We know the men do, but women have been trained to ignore all sensation below the belly button. Women need to realize that if it makes you wet, it makes you wet."

Hartley described the romance novel as female pornography, and the porn movie as a male fantasy in a society full of misleading females.

"In the real world, men have to jump through a lot of hoops to get sex," she said. "Women's bodies are saying yes, but their words are saying no. In porn movies, women want it just as bad as men do. It is not 'how much money do you make, how big are your shoulders' but rather 'I'm horny, you're cute, we have time.'"

Answering questions from eager audience members on topics such as sex with the disabled, tips on getting into the sex business and her role in Boogie Nights, Hartley explained how women can enjoy pornographic movies.

"For guys out there who like to watch 'Anal Gang Bang Part III' with their friends, that might not be what you want to watch with your girlfriend," she advised.

Describing herself as "poly-amorous," she said the sex business has been a dream job that has enriched her personal life.

"Porn taught me how to say what I wanted," she said. "I liked the casual nature of the sex in pornography because it allowed me to be actively bisexual and curious about the body."

Hartley encouraged the audience to experiment sexually, but warned against confusing sex with love.

"It doesn't have to be love to have healthy, respectful sex," she said. "This is the time to experiment and try new things. If you are really horny and need a study break, then go ahead."

Heralding the benefits of her Hitachi vibrator, she encouraged males in the audience to befriend sex toys.

"Guys, don't be intimidated by sex toys," she said. "They are your buddy in a fox-hole. They keep going when you can't."

Along with a healthy dose of sex advice, Hartley denounced capitalism and advocated the decriminalization of prostitution.

"If all women who wanted to get rid of prostitution would just enjoy fellatio, that would get rid of 50 percent of prostitutes' business right there," she said.

She said she strongly believes in having safe and sober sex.

"I don't fuck drunk people; there is no sport in it," she said. "My own code of ethics is to treat a person respectfully."

Although Hartley spoke passionately about being comfortable with one's body, she admitted to undergoing plastic surgery.

"If I had not been a performer, I would not have gotten a boob job," she said. "In some positions they look really icky, and I see how fake they look on my chest."

She said she loves her job and has no regrets, but admitted she has had to make some difficult decisions because of her career.

"At one point in my life I thought I would one day have kids," she said. "But then I realized that between the ages of 13 and 18 they hate you anyway, and I didn't want my kid to come home one day crying 'Mommy, Johnny's mommy says you're a whore.'"

Hartley ended the talk on a note of female sexual empowerment.

"Pussy does rule," she said. "Know it, own it, but use your power for good, not evil."

The speech was sponsored by Take Back the Night, a UC Berkeley student group dedicated to raising awareness about rape and domestic violence.


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