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Smut Today: The Conclusion Of The Irv O. Neil Interview

We’ve addressed the past and now, in the final installment of the interview series, we discuss the present with smut writer Irv O. Neil.

Irv O. Neil Reading "The Men On My Couch"

Having been involved in the adult industry for so many decades, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen? What’s been lost? What’s been an improvement?

Irv: The biggest change is obviously the Internet and digital media, which has brought porn truly into its own. In some ways, this is a Golden Age for individual entrepreneurs and creators of erotica. Now you have niche markets, especially in video clips, which appeal precisely to what the fans want, especially with point-of-view type of movies. This is good.

On the downside, there is a lot of crap that you have to wade through to find quality. And with the Internet, writing has sadly lost its cachet in porn. It used to be a big deal — or at least big enough to satisfy one’s ego — to be a writer/editor for magazines, going to screenings, reviewing porn films, giving the publicists your review quotes, doing interviews with the stars, commissioning shoots, putting stars and starlets on the covers, going to the conventions and awards, writing short stories, and doing the occasional mainstream articles for porn mags. Now it’s done by a zillion people and fans and bloggers for fun and for free online (or for minimal rates) and so it’s harder making a decent living at writing in the adult business.

It’s harder making a living at any kind of writing, period, for that matter.

The Internet has made the porn world incredibly vast. I used to know all the actors and actresses; if not personally, I knew who they were and what they were in. I was known informally among my colleagues as a “go-to” source about who was who, and what they were in. Now there are so many names, all blending together, it’s harder to keep tabs on who is who except for the outstanding personalities who really shine. Then again, maybe that’s always been the case? The true stars always stand out, though.

Nowadays I write for European websites, and some of the performers there whom I like include Czech models like Katarina or Shione Cooper, or Hungarian pornstars like Nesty. I also like contemporary Japanese porn with superstars like Aoi Sola, who is a mainstream crossover celebrity in Japan like Jenna Jameson is here.

Game Magazine

As both a collector and a writer, I wonder if you’ve saved your body of work? If so, how much physical space does it take up?

Irv: I have held onto my work, manuscripts, etc. A lot of magazines, and most of it is in storage. It’s not easily accessible — you know how things tend to pile up in storage — but when I do get to look through it, I enjoy seeing the workings of my mind, libido, and craft over the years as reflected in my smut “oeuvre”!

I’m putting together a “deluxe” combo edition of my top-selling ebooks Learning to Be Cruel and Learning to Be Cruel Part 2, with a special cover illustration, and “bonus” features including a short essay about characterization in erotica, and a reprint of a femdom story I wrote thirty years ago.

When I found this old story recently at a flea market, in a mag I edited in 1982, I was pleased to see that I wrote pretty well thirty years ago; but was amused at how my “thematic concerns” (hmm) and fascination with femdom have remained almost obsessively consistent.

In fact, the first femdom story I got published was in 1976 or ’77, about a mayor sexually dominated by a woman. But that’s getting off the subject of this interview, so I better stop now.

I don’t want you to stop! In fact, it reminds me of something a friend said when I told her about my interviewing you. She said, “He’s still in porn after all these years?!”

I was a bit surprised; after all, no one makes those sorts of comments regarding Stephen King sticking to his genre. I know you’ve shared that past article about “what you do at a porn magazine,” but tell us about longevity in the adult industry as a writer, how you’ve managed to remain writing all these years.

Irv O. Neil as Lester Bloom in the October 1982 issue of "Game"

Irv: That’s a good comparison, how nobody says they’re surprised Stephen King sticks to his genre, or John Grisham, or Elmore Leonard. That’s for a couple of reasons: one, because people are more judgmental about erotica and think it’s either easy or sleazy, and that anybody who would do it for such a long period of time is either lazy, creepy, or less talented. And two, because King, Grisham, and Leonard make so much money from their writing, people would think they were crazy if they switched genres.

As far as my longevity as a porn writer: being very professional, and very adaptable, I was able to go with the flow and do the different things that were required to maintain my position as a busy member of the porno publishing scene. When Q&A interviews became the most wanted thing, I did those. I could write erotic letters from the male or female point of view. I could write good screenplays and create real characters for the porn stars to play. I could skillfully buy and edit photo sets. I could direct and help style shoots, and pick cover shots. And as far as writing fiction, I like to tell stories and I could write about anything required. As long editors were around who knew my work and had the budgets for their magazines, I had plenty of stuff to do. But having magazines to edit myself as well was an important financial base, and it would have been harder to just write for magazines freelance. I might have had to go into a different field to survive financially in New York.

To sum up, working in porn has been a way for me to have the writing/editing career I always wanted. I joke that I am a “man of, hmm, erotic letters,” (it sounds kinda pretentious) but that is accurate. Writer of fiction, non-fiction, essays, reviews, interviews; magazine editor for almost three decades; screenwriter of around 25 produced movies; director of photo shoots; even an occasional model in photo shoots in mags like Leg Show or Leg Action! I even did backstage photography of feature-dancing porn stars for a short time in the early 1990s. My focus has always been doing good work, and having fun doing it.

Irv as a mad doctor with a foot fetish in a 1998 Leg Action pictorial with Maya Moore; photos © Warren Tang

I’d like to sincerely thank Irv for all the time he spent with me talking about his career in the Golden Age of porn. I know he has loads more to say, so be sure to keep up with him at his website and at Twitter.

Posted in Authors, Beefcake, Collecting, Magazines.

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2 Responses

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  1. Irv O. Neil says

    You did a beautiful job putting all my thoughts together, SPS! It was a pleasure, thanks for having me on your site.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. “Kinky Science: In His Ques To Make The Perfect Woman, He Created The Ultimate Dominatrix!” linked to this post on July 21, 2013

    […] Smut author Irv O. Neil as a mad doctor with a foot fetish in a 1998 Leg Action pictorial with Maya Moore; photos © Warren Tang. Get the whole story here. […]



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