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Looking Back At The Golden Age Of Porn: Irv O. Neil Interview, Part 3

The interview series with author Irv O. Neil continues (after what some referred to as a “buzz kill detour” discussion of feminism); now we get into what it was like to live and work in the Golden Age Of Porn…

What made you answer that ad in the Village Voice? What made you want to write adult stuff professionally? Was it thought of as “easy work”, was it so plentiful you thought it was the way into getting published, or was it your fetish interests? (And, if you dare, was writing for “S&M week” based on personal experiences or fantasies?)

A Dashing Irv O. Neil

Irv: I found the idea of writing porn to be titillating, yes, after all I was just 22 years old and horny a lot; but more importantly it was a way to make money by writing.

I’d always liked men’s magazines and read the fiction in them since my teens — the excellent fiction in Playboy as much as the work of James Joyce inspired me to want to be a writer. So I found porn was something I could do to get my “foot in the door” on my way to learning some skills to write more mainstream things.

There was plenty of porn to write, as well as the straight articles which made me feel I was moving in a mainstream direction too. For example, I wrote and made decent money writing well-researched sex history articles about topics like cultural attitudes towards breasts and prostitutes, and I did a long, complicated interview with a legendary table tennis champion that would not have been out of place in Esquire, at least in terms of its ambition if not its prose style.

After all these years in porn, my feeling is that I’ve been able to express some of my mainstream ambitions through my porn stories, particularly the femdom stories which touch on all sorts of psychological issues that interest me.

Writing for S&M week when I started out was just a coincidence of timing, as the book The Screaming Virgins was about women dominated by sadistic men as dictated by the bizarre illustrations around which I was assigned to write the book — situations which were 180 degrees opposite my fantasies! But my work has always been influenced by my own desires and experiences, and reflects some of my interests, most prominently femdom, strippers, and hookers. I like writing femdom not just because it turns me on, but because BDSM interactions have built-in drama and conflict that are interesting to explore. It’s a good topic for fiction.

On the other hand, I also like to write the “college girl” types of vanilla sex stories and am quite good at that; but I have to write those under various anonymous pseudonyms since they’re supposed to be by younger people and “confessional” types of pieces. They’re actually some of the best stuff I write now: light-hearted, humorous, sensual, and optimistic.

Femdom Ebook "Learning To Be Cruel, Part 2"

My femdom stuff is often darker because it deals with stuff that both arouses and perplexes me. Readers can check out my column Notes Of A Rebel Subbie regularly or in the archives at DommeDose.com to see what I mean about the complex nature of my fascination with femdom. Other good examples of my writing are the ebooks Learning to be Cruel Parts 1 and 2, and the feature films I wrote for Vivid like The Masseuse 2 and 3.

What was it like to pen that first work? What was it like to work with Star?

Irv: I was excited to write a book and know I was going to make money at it. I wanted very much to support myself as a writer. I put a lot into it. I constructed a story with a lot of plot, two temporary secretaries hired unwittingly to work in a mansion of bondage-and-discipline in Liberty, NY. [Liberty is a town in the Catskills where I went on vacation with my family around 1960. Also, it was irony at work! There was no liberty in that mansion, but bondage; mark of the literature student (me) slyly–or snottily– alluding to his education.]

It took two weeks typing on my Olivetti Lettera 70 manual portable (I’m pretty sure that was the typewriter model). I still sit and write on the same simple, straight-backed desk chair I wrote that book on.

Working for Star was fine — though I actually worked for a packager who put together eight books a week for Star. The editor was cool, a good writer himself, and his managing editor was a lively, free-spirited, very likable and sexy girl with a great sense of humor.

Writing, especially freelance, is a rather isolated gig; but was there a group you hung out with, other writers, producers of smut?

Irv: I hung out a little with the editor, nice guy, but maybe more with with the managing editor as a platonic friend. I remember she told me once that when she was on the street, coming home from a bar, she had to pee, and so she took down her pants, squatted, and took a leak in a dark doorway of a building. That really impressed me as a very bohemian and “free-spirited” thing to do. (This was 1974, remember. Women were not quite as bold back then, in general; at least in my experience.) I don’t remember why we never hooked up in a sexual way… Maybe she had a boyfriend. I can’t recall now. She had a Germanic name like Ingrid, but she was American.

I also became friendly with some guys in the residential hotel where I lived, writers themselves, and introduced them to the editors and they did porn writing for the mags too. We hung out a lot in late 70s, but drifted apart in the early 80s. They moved away from NY and I haven’t seen them in thirty years. I started meeting other people via the mags in the 80s, some of whom I’m still friends with today, although most don’t work in porn anymore and have gone on to other things.

Is there any specific work, company, or project you involved in that made you feel like you’d hit the Big Time?

Back Issues Of "Leg Show" (Irv O. Neil wrote for Leg Show in the 1990s)

Irv: When I became a magazine editor in 1982, when I was thirty, I felt pretty excited, and would work sometimes until midnight putting mags together — absorbing work, interesting, exciting. I have always loved magazines and even had my own in high school with a friend, a mimeographed thing. Anyway, editing the men’s mags was always fun and that’s what kept me interested and enthused, even though I had dreams of being a more “mainstream” writer initially.

When I started writing screenplays for well-produced porn films with the top XXX stars, that felt like an accomplishment. I was also happy when I wrote an R-rated “erotic thriller” for Playboy cable around 1996 or 1997 called Other Men’s Wives. The film holds up pretty well after sixteen or so years, so that’s something to be proud of. One of the women involved in the Tiger Woods scandal of a few years ago, Holly Joy Sampson, played the femme fatale in Other Men’s Wives and she can be quite a good actress.

Who were you most star-struck by?

Irv: The first big porn star I interviewed was Veronica Hart around 1982. Very sexy, intelligent gal. This is primarily the 80s I’m talking about now: Vanessa Del Rio seemed the most like a movie star, with real presence. A very nice lady, too, although I only got to know her a little more in the late 90s when I interviewed her three times for a mag called Hot Salsa, as well as Leg Show and Juggs.

In the 80s met lots of the stars: Samantha Fox, Kelly Nichols, Susie Nero, Lisa De Leeuw, Joanna Storm, Cara Lott, Rene Summers, Kay Parker, Juliet Anderson, Christy Canyon, Buffy Davis, Nina Hartley, Ona Zee, Stephanie Rage, Veronica Vera, April West, Amber Lynn, and the guys of course — Jamie Gillis, Paul Thomas, Joey Silvera, Bobby Astyr, John Leslie, Ron Jeremy, Jerry Butler, George Payne, among others.

As an editor in the 80s, I commissioned interesting pictorials with the likes of Ginger Lynn and many others. I really liked Keisha, who came on the scene in the early 80s, and whom I met in L.A. on a trip to the X-Rated Critics Organization Awards. She was just starting out and drop-dead sexy and natural. At some point I said to her, “I want to write a movie for you,” and I did in 1988, Boom-Boom Valdez, directed by the late Henri Pachard (Ron Sullivan). Although my name was left off the credits in the sloppy way things are occasionally done in porn, the movie has my signature all over it in little plot devices and dialogue. I tend to romanticize strippers and that’s what I do in the Valdez script. This movie is readily available on DVD or online. (In contrast, the movie I wrote in 2003 called Sweetie Baby is the dark opposite of this vision of strippers, with nasty dancers and disturbed cocktail waitresses. My concept of the world has grown more noirish with age, I guess you might say.) Back to the 80s, though…

Taija Rae "Driller" Poster

I also especially liked the porn star Taija Rae — probably my favorite from the era. Taija Rae was a very sexy girl, smart, funny, pretty, natural looking, with a great voice. The template of the kind of woman I most like. I directed one of her early pictorials for a magazine I edited called For Adults Only and I was practically bumping into the walls, I found her so attractive. But I didn’t screw around with the porn stars, not wanting to mix business with pleasure. Some people can do that, but I couldn’t. Sometimes I regretted my inability to let loose more.

So it wasn’t all one big sex orgy for you then. Was it for anyone? We hear stories… Or maybe we just fantasize…

Irv: Some other people may or may not have played around, but I can’t speak for them. I just chose not to mix business and pleasure. I did have a girlfriend for awhile who worked as a writer with the mags, though, but that wasn’t the same as getting involved with porn stars, who possibly could have been taking risks with their health in those early, uncertain, and especially frightening days of the AIDS crisis in the mid 1980s. Nobody knew if it was going to spread to the heterosexual populace. It was a very anxious time. So I didn’t mix business with pleasure because I didn’t want to endanger my health, or endanger my livelihood by seeming like a sleaze who came onto the models.

There’s still one more part in this Irv O. Neil interview series — so stay tuned!

Posted in Authors, BDSM, Beefcake, Films, Sex History.

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4 Responses

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  1. Irv O. Neil says

    Looks good, SPS…and thanks for including my LEARNING TO BE CRUEL PART 2 cover. It’s one of my most best new femdom stories, novella-length really…about a lot of the pervy things a domme can do to a sub in a major bookstore!

Continuing the Discussion

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    […] third part of the Silent Porn Star interview about my life as a smut scribe has just been published here, and it’s stirred up even more memories seeing it […]

  2. Looking Back At The Golden Age Of Porn | Let's ... linked to this post on June 10, 2013

    […] The first big porn star I interviewed was Veronica Hart around 1982. Very sexy, intelligent gal. This is primarily the 80s I’m talking about now: Vanessa Del Rio seemed the most like a movie star, with real presence. A very nice lady, too, although I only got to know her a little more in the late 90s when I interviewed her three times for a mag called Hot Salsa, as well as Leg Show and Juggs. In the 80s met lots of the stars: Samantha Fox, Kelly Nichols, Susie Nero, Lisa De Leeuw, Joanna Storm, Cara Lott, Rene Summers, Kay Parker, Juliet Anderson, Christy Canyon, Buffy Davis, Nina Hartley, Ona Zee, Stephanie Rage, Veronica Vera, April West, Amber Lynn, and the guys of course — Jamie Gillis, Paul Thomas, Joey Silvera, Bobby Astyr, John Leslie, Ron Jeremy, Jerry Butler, George Payne…  […]

  3. Looking Back At The Golden Age Of Porn | Sex~Kitten.net linked to this post on June 10, 2013

    […] on http://www.silent-porn-star.com /* This entry was posted in Letter From The Editor, Vintage Inspiration and tagged Golden […]



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