What an unfortunate title for an autobiography. Makes the book look like a how-to manual for the sexually inadequate. It’s hard to know what the marketing people were thinking, when they decided on that choice of words. You wouldn’t catch me walking up to a bookseller to pay for it. No, I got hold of this as an ebook.
My own interest in reading this volume comes from my fascination with understanding human sexuality – both the light and dark aspects. Society today has a very permissive attitude to pornography, except in religious circles. Although I am not remotely religious, I do tend to see porn as counter-productive to maintaining a healthy mind. In defence of this, I offer the increasingly fetishistic and downright abusive trends in pornography; essentially, woman is treated like a human ashtray. So it was highly interesting for me to get the inside story from one of the industry’s most popular stars, Jenna Jameson.
Jenna’s story confirmed my views. The porn industry is largely run by unethical and abusive men, who treat the actresses like whores (and call them the same). The word “whore” was a particular sore spot for Jenna; she would go berzerk if anyone called her that name. “Well,” I thought, “what do you expect when you’ve allowed your body to be abused by lots of men, for finanial gain?” Porn is basically prostitution with a camera running.
Insight into the industry was secondary to the main theme of the book, which is Jenna’s life story. In summary, it’s a catalogue of bad relationship choices, bad career choices, drug addiction, and hard living. I had some sympathy for Jenna’s teenage years when, in her naivety, she fell in with a bad crowd, and ended up getting raped. But no one forced her to make the many choices in life that led to her facing much suffering. Some of her sexual ethics are bizarre, to say the least. She’ll be talking about how much in love she is with a particular guy, and they move in together, and the next thing you know she’s falling in love with a woman, and having sex with her, while seemingly oblivious to this being infidelity – presumably because it’s not another man. On a side-note, gossip-mongers will lap up the sexual shennanigans that Jenna reveals between herself and various stars, including Bruce Willis, Nicholas Cage, Sylvester Stallone, Tommy Lee, Marilyn Manson. Later in the book she’s in a happy relationship with a guy, and no longer acting in porn, when an old boss compels her to fulfill an old contract and make one more movie. Instead of finding a way to get out of this, she goes ahead and makes the movie. Well, her boyfriend goes ballistic, naturally. I thought, “What did you expect, Jenna? You had sex with another man. This tends to be what happens when you cheat on your boyfriend.” The book ends on a happy note with her marriage to Jay Grdina. I was sceptical. While reading, I suspected this was not a happily-ever-after fairy tale ending, but just a peak on the rollercoaster of her life. And sure, enough, when I checked Wikipedia, the marriage finished in 2006.
It’s difficult to know what Jenna Jameson hoped to achieve in producing this book. It’s not really a damning critique of the industry, just the recollection of an unusual life – one that she doesn’t regret living. The problem is that such a book is counter-productive to her status as a porn star. First of all, the sort of men who objectify Jenna Jameson as a porn star are not the sort of men who would care about what she has to say. She’s just an ashtray to them. Those few who do decide to read her story will find that it steals the magic out of her larger-than-life projected image, by humanising her. So, who is this book for? I’m not sure, really. I could understand this sort of book if the author was trying to make a break from her past and create a new identity for herself, but that’s not the case. To her credit, Jenna Jameson, for whatever reason, chose to reveal a great deal of herself; it takes guts to be that vulnerable.
The book is co-written with Neil Strauss. As with most celebrity autobiographies, I suspect it is entirely ghostwritten by him, but hopefully the material is accurate. In regard to my particular aim of getting the inside dope on the porn instustry, the book was long-winded and far too detailed. For instance, I had no interest whatsoever in reading a catalogue of high school crushes from her old teenage diary. Still, if you can be bothered to wade through the fluff, the book makes an interesting psychological study of the porn industry, albeit from the perspective of one person.