The Venus Interview
Jesus Still Loves You, Linda Lovelace
by Yvonne Postelle
The American people are a funny kind of people. They just dont seem to enjoy sex. Theyve got so many hang-ups. Like, I used to know people who had to see their psychiatrist every day of their lives. That psychiatrist trip can be so bad, a real brainwashing. Screw your psychiatrist. Talk to a friend. Discuss your hang-ups with a friend.
Why do you think that is? I ask.
Its just puritanical American society thats so ancient and so old they dont realize people are progressing. We dont still walk around with candles; we have electric light bulbs. It really gets you aggravated.
You dont act or speak the way I expected from your movie and your book, I tell her.
Its really weird how people come up with preconceptions about me. What do they expect me to be? They think because Im in X-rated movies I should be a bleached blonde with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other, with silicone out to here . . . Some sort of ogre?
Do you see your success in porno films as an entree into Hollywood films the way the nude calendars were a beginning for Marilyn Monroe?
Ive had every major studio asking me to do films, but I dont want to stop doing X-rated films. I dont want to be like anybody else; when they get a start in so-called pornographic movies and then go to legitimate films, they say, Wow, Ill never do that again; I was forced into it. Im not going to be like them at all, though I might one day get into a heavy, dramatic role and the next day do an X-rated film. I want to stay in comedy but related to sex one way or another. I see myself, old and gray, a sixty-five-year-old lady being the star of an X-rated film.
If the censors permit it, I say and laugh but Linda does not laugh. She makes a face.
Obscenity laws, they take away peoples rights. What is ridiculous is that they close Deep Throat, an X-rated film, and then turn around and show a war film in its place. In my opinion its all political. It took the judge in New York six weeks of looking at the film to decide it was obscene. If it was really obscene, he would have decided the first time he saw it. Its not right that one individual should decide for the country what everybody is gonna see. No one is pulling anyone off the streets by their arms. I think even X-rated films should be on TV. All they should have to do it put an X on the screen. A lot of times it would be better than what they watch now on TV. All the crazy ideas you can get from TV! All the killings and murders! One study showed that an average American kid, by the time he's 12, has seen 1800 murders on TV and not one act of natural love. Thats crazy! I mean, it takes sex to make life. What could be more natural?
Should censors stop looking so hard at the porno industry and take a serious look at violence in films since violence, as you point out, is far more prevalent and reaches more people and reaches them at a younger age?
Well, I dont believe in censorship. The problem is in the society. Our society loves violence and is ashamed of human sex, and they just have to impose their hang-ups on everybody.
So youre against institutions interfering with individual decisions? How about a womans right to abortion, to decide for herself whether she will continue any given pregnancy or terminate it?
I think abortions definitely should exist. For so many reasons. If you want to have a child, thats beautiful, but why should a woman go through stretching out her body and doing all those things if she doesnt want to have a child? I dont think there would be so many child care centers needed if abortion had been okay in the beginning and if they started educating people. The main reason women get pregnant is lack of education. Its just a whole big cycle, and they really havent changed it for years and years. But I think its going to change. I think the 70s have definitely marked the beginning.
Do you think the feminist movement has contributed to those changes?
I really, to be honest with you, havent gotten into the womens movement at all. Ive always been liberated, always done the things I want to do when I want to do them. I dont worry about this one or that one or anybody else. Like, some womens libbers are against me because Im being exploited. Others are for me; they say Im part of the movement because Im the first woman in an X-rated film to openly seek pleasure and gratification when thats always been the role of the man.
Thats the way it started in Deep Throat, I say. Do you remember when the doctor first discovered the clitoris in your throat, they used cartoon symbols to express your orgasm? Near the end of the film that cartoon is repeated; its supposed to be a visual representation of what you describe earlier as bells ringing, dams bursting and rockets exploding. Only the second time the movie cuts not to your face but to the mans face, and theres a complete shift in emphasis. It becomes his orgasm the audience is watching, not yours.
That was just poor editing. They probably overlooked it, Linda says.
Yes, but dont you think they overlooked it because the crew is conditioned to think of sexual orgasms in terms of male gratification? I persist.
I see what you mean . . .
Does your openness about your own sexuality threaten many of the men you meet?
Oh, yeah. Lots of them. You get these men in groups; theyll talk big. Boy, if I had Linda Lovelace here, Id do this or that! A couple of times weve set it up so theyve been alone with me. As soon as were alone, they start talking about everything in the world but sex.
So were back to the hang-ups about sex, the split between the bodys needs and the minds tyranny. Where do grown people get these ideas? Is it the church or the conditioning people get as children? I ask.
A lot of it is how were raised. People ask me if I had a child would I allow my child to go see Deep Throat and I say, Of course. I would raise my children to know what a naked body is, to know what sex organs are and what to do with them and what happens with the body . . . to keep their body in clean, beautiful condition and know everything there is to know about sex thoroughly. I just believe children should be raised like that.
Quite obviously your life wasnt like that. You come from Catholic parents and attended Catholic schools. How did you get from a traditional Catholic position of thinking sex is sinful unless it creates progeny to becoming a missionary of sex for the fun of it?
One day I looked at all the people I had been with. Everybody was so uptight and always had a frown on their face. Try it sometime. Think of all the people that you see that have grumps on their face. They were steaming mad, always gonna take care of this one or that one . . . Its just remarkable. Well, these were the people telling me how bad sex was, how terrible it was, how disgusting and repulsive. Then I started hanging around with people who were totally opposite. Theyd say, If it makes you happy, do it. If it makes you feel good, do it. Actually, Chuck was the first person with that outlook. Instead of saying, You cant do that! he'd say, Hey, thats a great idea. Lets try it. Now all my friends are happy people. Theyve got the sexual fulfillment they need to keep them happy. Any psychiatrist will tell you, if you dont reach an orgasm or have some kind of sex life you become a very neurotic person. You become very tense, very uptight. Its relaxing to have sex and it's a release. Its nice.
I get lettersabout a hundred a daya lot of them from reverends and psychologists. They say that Deep Throat definitely has redeeming social value. The psychologists say that they recommend it to their patients. Dr. Neil Solomon writes for Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. He is a super-straight man, but he recommends the movie because hes into mental health for people; hes not after the money . . . All the psychologists who say its badof course theyre going to say its bad. If no one had any hang-ups and inhibitions, theyd be out of a job! Theyre into the money end of it.
The two worst letters Ive gotten . . .. one was from a religious woman who sent me a book about the four spiritual laws with a note that just said, Jesus still loves you, Linda Lovelace. The second was from a woman who said she didnt agree with all my views on sex but she agreed with my views on violence.
What are most of your letters like?
Women will write and thank me or ask questions like, Im having trouble doing this or that, how do I do it? Men will write and say My wife is a lot freer now, gets into things more, likes things better. Couples say, Ever since we saw your movie weve been able to communicate better. We discuss things more openly. We do more things; we're more creative in bed.
That sort of letter sounds reinforcing, but how about negative pressures? In your book you say your parents dont know you did Deep Throat. Do you really believe that? And if they know, how do think they feel?
They just wont admit it. Like I talk to my mother every week on the phone, and it is just never mentioned. Ill come out in a film with a major actor and theyll say, Thats my daughter, Linda Lovelace, the star, but theyll never say, She also did Deep Throat. They totally erase it from their minds. But she did ask me for an autographed copy of the book.
So theres some kind of parental pride there?
Well, she's making an effort.
When did you begin shaving your pubic hair?
I was actually, the first time I did it, about 15. I always felt the hair was dirty and had an odor. I let it grow back and it started itching. When I was about 18 I started shaving again and have been ever since. I find it a lot cleaner if anythinghair does hold an odor. I like it better when a chick doesnt have hair.
Do men you know shave their body hair, too?
No. On men I like hair on the bodyhair on the chest, for instance, is sexy. Another thing I like is a moustache on a man.
Is there any special mental or personality characteristic you especially like in a man?
I like someone who believes the way I do. For example, love isnt something you fall into in a couple of days. I think it takes years of being with someone before you can really love him. To me, love is a total emotional and mental thing. Its everythingnot just feeling, not just friendship, not just understanding. And theres different grades of love. Like I might find someone . . .
Her voice trails off. When she speaks again, I have to lean forward to hear her.
You never know. You can talk about love for a long time.
When you get to feeling down, how do you get yourself up again?
I never feel down, she says, then thinks for a moment and grins. I play with my vibrators. Have about 20 orgasms. Then you cant help but have a big grin on your face. But I can remember the last time I was down. I like being busy. I like doing something all the time. Someone once told me, If your job becomes work, get another job, and that's true.
Is part of the reason you like your job that it gives you a chance tohow shall I say it?seducate, teach Mr. and Ms. Mid-America how to get in touch with their sexual selves and stop being so uptight and self-conscious?
Its hard for me to relate to middle-class America. They believe that you have sex with somebody and then you love them, then youve gotta get married with them. Look at the divorce rate in this country. Everyone gets married to have sex, but they call it love! Its really bad. People get too much guilt in their heads. I think the main guilt is, Do I love him? If I love him its cool, but I also kinda like that guy over there, and if I dont love him how can I have sex with him? People start psyching themselves out, freaking out! The first thing a child sees when he comes into the world is a womans breast. Hes told as he gets older that he cant look at it, that its disgusting and repulsive, that hell get warts on his fingers. What is that? Its incredible.
Whats your attitude towards marriage?
I dont believe in marriage with a piece of paper under any circumstances. If Im with somebody, Im gonna be with them. Its a trust that you have. Its just understood.
In your book you refer to Chuck Traynor as the man who made me a woman and, of course, hes listed as manager of Linda Lovelace Enterprises. Do you see a parallel between your relationship with Chuck and Twiggys relationship with her manager?
I dont know about that. You say Twiggy and I say, 'Huh? All I know is she was a model.
Her boyfriend, I explain, picked her clothes and told her where to go and when to go. Is that the role Chuck plays?
He does, like, most things for me. Hes my manager and friend. Weve been friends for four years. Weve just always been together. Some chicks hang around with another chick thats really a good friend, and Ive got a dude thats really a good friend. In a way theres a love, but its not the kind of love that everybody tosses around like a piece of paper. Like, he has his own life; he goes out with other girls and he has his friends, and I go out with other guys and I have my own friends, yet were friends together and our friends are friends together. Its just a really nice situation.