Nina Hartley: I’m Your Fan

Maybe I should have been listening to some electronica, Massive Attack, or whatever the house DJ was playing here at Gram Ponante Towers, Helipad, Adult Trade Publication Apology Outlet, Casino, Carpet Warehouse, and Catacombs, but it was a mix CD of Leonard Cohen on the stereo when the 2-disc “The Best of Nina Hartley” arrived from Adam & Eve.

Unlike Steve Guttenberg, who gets a check every time GLAAD or anyone else runs a special screening of “Can’t Stop the Music,” porn performers don’t receive residuals when their movies are aired in hotel rooms, downloaded, or recompiled for collections like this one, which features six hours of recent and vintage Nina Hartley performances in Adam & Eve movies.

So, despite the fact that she isn’t making a goddamn penny from this, I made my voice all deep and Buddhist like Leonard Cohen’s and called her up.

Gram: Performers in porn rarely have the luxury of picking their roles the way a musician can pick projects, but what would you say is the Nina Hartley through-line for the fans who first admired you in 1984 and still seek you out now?

Nina Hartley: What a great way to think about my career! The through line (besides any physical attributes they admire) is definitely my delight in being on camera and having all that sex. My fans know that I’m having a good time, doing things I like, and can therefore relax when they watch me. They know that I’ve not been coerced, or am on drugs, to do my job. They can let go of any guilt they might have at enjoying the “objectification” of a woman. As an added plus, men and women both can learn new sex tricks/techniques by watching what I do, thereby spicing up a monogamous relationship. They like that I’m smart, too, and they feel smarter watching me.

Gram: Can you recall a few instances of learning that you liked – or hated – something while in the process of doing it on camera?

Hartley: I learned that I liked being spanked during doggie style sex. I learned that I hated receiving bad cunnilingus (an all-too-frequent occurrence). Other than that I was pretty sure what I liked and hated before I got to porn, one of the many advantages of waiting until I was 25 before starting.

Gram: You recently said, vis a vis your expanding schedule of non-porn public appearances, that you’d “spent 25 years in the nipple ghetto.” What are some of the projects that are dear to you as Nina 2.0?

Hartley: I want to do more stand up, more public speaking, more teaching about sex. My career has been as much about my ideas as it has been about actually having the sex (which is to say 50/50), and my ideas have matured a bit. My main ideas have only been strengthened by their testing in the ring, but there have been some subtle changes over time. I’m also receiving an honorary doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sexuality, in San Francisco. The ceremony will be on September 11 in Las Vegas. This is very exciting.

I’m excited about my venture, SexWise. It’s sex education 3.0, for adults who want to have better sex more often. You can see some of what I’ve done at, where my shows are archived. We’re actively seeking funding for the next stage of development, so if you’re an angel investor, get in touch!

Gram: I only have this book of blank checks; will that be enough?

Hartley is most closely associated with Adam & Eve, where she starred in dozens of films, including the company’s best-selling series of “Nina Hartley’s Guide To…” videos, which remains the Gold Standard of hands-on couples’ films.

The Best of Nina Hartley” features performances with Bree Olson, Claire Adams, Mika Tan, Randy Spears, a man calling himself Running Horse, Shayla LaVeaux (pictured, top), and dozens of others.

  • Buy “The Best of Nina Hartley” here (after all, Adam & Eve needs to put food on the table too, and you have to give them a break since they’re uncomfortably close to South Carolina)

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: 25 years of Nina Hartley, Porn Star
See also: Nina Hartley, SexWise

About Gram the Man 4399 Articles
Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist


  1. Nina is one of my favorite people to watch and/or hear from. She’s dead-on about her appeal (not that I have those issues), and even after all these years, she’s still extremely fun to watch.

    About two weeks ago, I watched her and Ginger Lynn have the best woman-woman sex I’ve ever seen in my life (in a scene released a year ago), and it was just astounding. Her enthusiasm is infectious (I really wish I could have come up with a different word), and she’s just a pleasure.

  2. Gram, next time you’re up this way, we’ll hold a private screening with my copy of You Can’t Stop The Music and really lay the blocks to Guttenberg.

    Oh dear; none of that probably sounded all that good, did it

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