Getting Inside Deep Throat

dinner and a pair of movies?

Helen: Mind if I smoke, while you’re eating?
Man: No, not at all.

Deep Throat (1972)

finding Deep Throat

It’s said that Deep Throat made pornography what it is today.  That it changed the nature of pornographic sex, from art to money.

I can’t say if that’s true from personal knowledge.  The movie was ever so slightly before my time.

When Deep Throat was originally released, I was 9 years old.  I was a precocious lad.  But, not quite that precocious …

I do remember hearing Deep Throat jokes and innuendos on late night television.  I asked my Dad to explain them.  He didn’t.

Dad was usually pretty straightforward with me.  Not this time.

It only made me work harder to find out what the movie was about.

I found out …

Linda: Suppose your balls were in your ear?
Dr. Young: [pause] Well, then I could hear myself coming!

Deep Throat (1972)

Linda: It makes me feel tingly all over and then nothing… There should be bells ringing, dams busting, bombs going off.
Helen: Do you wanna get off or do you wanna wreck a city?

Deep Throat (1972)

renting Deep Throat

I did get to finally see Deep Throat when I was 22.

It was available from a back room – not much more than a walk-in closet really – at the local gas station/video rental store.  Believe it or not, that was the “classy” option to rent pornography in Rock Island, Illinois, back in 1985.

One Friday night, a friend from my school days rented some movies from the infamous “back room”.

I bought the beer.

Perhaps it was the other way around.  That part is a little bit fuzzy.  Beer will do that to you.

That night, and over the next few weekends, we planned to tour the “Golden Age of Porn”.

That era, from 1969 to 1984, hadn’t been given any particular moniker as of 1985.  But, my friend was a serious porn connoisseur.

My school buddy intended to introduce me to all the films he considered to be the “classics”.

In case you were wondering, for the first night he picked out four films: The Devil in Miss JonesInsatiable, Behind the Green Door, and Deep Throat.

It was a long night …

Wilbur Wang: [on the telephone with Dr. Young] You gotta help me. I’m in love with Linda. We want to get married… thank you. There’s only one problem – she needs a nine-inch cock.

Deep Throat (1972)

It led to the porno business. Linda Lovelace and Deep Throat turned it into an industry. And like it or hate it, that’s what she’s going to be remembered for, forever.

John Waters

watching Deep Throat

In the event that you aren’t familiar with the movie, the concept is simple.  Linda Lovelace’s clitoris is not located in the normal position.

Instead, her clit is found to be nine inches deep in her throat.

What I remember most about the movie was the cheesy attempts at comedy.  All the bad puns.  The horrid use of cliches.

I watched it again last night, just to refresh my memory.  Time hasn’t been especially kind to this sort of skin flick.  It looks, sounds, and feels dated.  But, it was still rather enjoyable.

The attempts at comedy seem even more dated in 2017 than they felt in 1985.  I guess that should come as no great surprise.

Still, it’s nice to see porn acted in a camp style.  Certainly, not every adult film should be a comedy.  But, that doesn’t mean comedy can’t be fit into an erotic film.

I should also note my belief that the comedic elements are what likely allowed Deep Throat to have such wide appeal.

Laughing at the cheesy jokes served to relieve the uncomfortable sexual tension that can happen when groups watch strong sexual content.

I also think that being a comedy greatly helped Deep Throat become a media sensation.

Comedians (like Johnny Carson) and TV shows (like Sanford and Son) probably felt comfortable poking fun at the movie because Deep Throat was itself a form of comedy.

At least, that’s my theory.

Linda’s special skill

Overall, the sex scenes are not too bad.  Some are fun, some are erotic, some are silly.

It’s not especially well acted.  What porn is?

The sex seems authentic.  For the most part, everyone seems to enjoy themselves.

And yes, I have to say it …

Linda Lovelace is a real sword swallower.

Quite obviously, the movie was built around, not to mention named after, her special skill.  The entire plot is built on finding ways to show that skill off.

She can take a long dick all the way down into her throat as well as anyone.  Very impressive.  In a different time, she might have worked in a circus as a sword swallower.

When people talk about the movie, they talk about Linda. 

Harry Reems plays Dr. Young with a camp style that makes him the second star of the movie.  It had to be great fun to play that role.

Perhaps I should say that Harry’s cock is the movie’s second star.

While he actually appeared in some mainstream movies, his prolific porn career certainly seems to be as much about his equipment as his acting.

The movie became ‘pornographic chic’ in New York before it was busted. Mike Nichols told Truman Capote he shouldn’t miss it, and then the word just sort of got around: This is the first stag film to see with a date.

Roger Ebert

I defended Harry Reems because Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty did. That’s that basis of all my decisions, what those guys do, both then and now.

Dick Cavett

Inside Deep Throat

My first observation is that the use of Dennis Hopper as narrator for this documentary is a plus.  I’m a fan.

But, I wonder if perhaps they were paying him by the word.  It seems his interspersed comments are pretty sparse.

Looking back at that decade, the news clips etc., it does bring back memories.

Nixon was ugly, not just physically.

The feline with the mustache named Hitler was, however, quite cute. And, Harry Reems is still an awesome porn name.

Watching a simple adult movie cause such controversy is a little unsettling.

Seeing the FBI get involved is more than just unsettling.

I’m (obviously) a free speech advocate, so seeing the government charge everyone on down to projectionists with some kind of crime is anything but a hoot.

The government in my bedroom is bad enough, but seeing the mob get involved is scarier still. One theater owner refused to pay his cut, his movie house burnt down.  Or, so the story goes.

Creepiest of all is Larry Parrish, a former federal prosecutor from Memphis.  His obvious zeal to impose his extreme Christian morality on everyone is very disturbing.

Belay that …

feminists and Lovelace

Creepiest of all is Linda Lovelace on stage, with feminists clinging to her.  Claiming to have been a hostage throughout the whole thing.

It’s rather difficult to accept her assertion that, “Everyone that watches Deep Throat is watching me being raped.”

I’m not sure what to make of that.

Individuals involved with the making of Deep Throat insist that Linda was a very willing performer.

Yet, more than her share of bruises are evident in watching the film.

To my eyes, that might be a good metaphor for the entire Deep Throat, aka “porn chic”, era.

Law enforcement and prosecutors were, no doubt, abusive to an entire industry.  It’s possible that stars like Linda were themselves abused.

Then there’s the mob, and their influence in the making and distributing the film.

Deep Throat was a very special film that had a unique influence on society.  It seems like it ushered in a magical time for porn, when anything was possible.

Unless you look in the shadows, that is.  Perhaps the picture isn’t so pretty there …

At one point, Deep Throat was banned in 23 states.

Inside Deep Throat (2005)

In the beginning, Gerard Damiano was a hairdresser. Listening to his clients talk about sex, which in his salon was apparently all they talked about, he realized that pornography had crossover appeal. All you had to do was advertise a movie in such a way that couples would come, instead of only the raincoat brigade. With a budget of $25,000 and an actress named Linda Lovelace, he made “Deep Throat” (1972), which inspired a national censorship battle, did indeed attract couples and grossed $600 million, making it the most profitable movie of all time.

Roger Ebert

Deep Throat bullet points

  • 2002 Hollywood released 467 films. 11,303 adult films were released that year.
  • The obscenity laws used to prosecute Deep Throat’s makers remain unchanged when the documentary was made.
  • It was one of the first hardcore sex films to be shown in mainstream movie theaters.
  • Deep Throat was chosen as one of 100 landmark films of all time in the new “Radio Times Guide to Films 2007”.  The list was selected by the magazine’s film reviewers and staff. Radio Times’ editor Andrew Collins justified the selection by saying their list is not about cinematic quality, but more about the influence a film had on society. “Deep Throat is not necessarily recommended for everyone.  It’s a quite badly made film, but to deny its influence would be pure snobbery,” Collins said.
  • Deep Throat is a landmark pornographic film that launched the brief “porno chic” movement in the `70s.  During this time it became fashionable for couples to attend porn films like Behind The Green Door, Debbie Does Dallas and The Devil In Miss Jones.
  • Celebrities like Johnny Carson, Jack Nicholson, and Barbara Waters admitted to attending adult films during the porno chic era.
  • Filmed in only 6 days, with a total budget of $22,000.
  • As of 2002, it was reported to have grossed $600 million.

Deep Throat forged the sexual revolution, for good or bad.

Larry Flynt

THE END and deep throat to you all!

God and the Chicken Sandwich

when BB King sings about eating chicken, he's not thinking Chick-Fil-A

A version of this post was published at SpiritualBDSM.com on August 6, 2012.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the controversy surrounding Chick-Fil-A‘s?

The company’s primary owners have been giving large contribution to groups working to prevent gay marriage …

Obviously, to my mind, that’s a detestable activity.

Love is love.

Enough said, I hope.

In a case of “turnabout being fair play”, Chick-fil-A is now being inundated with homoerotic Yelp reviews.

The men’s room at this one is single occupancy and has a good lock on the door, FYI. Very discreet.

Carlos R

Chick-Fil-A review by

It’s so very nice to see an issue turned around so beautifully and subversively … 

(Not to mention that the reviews at the bottom of this screenshot are an absolute hoot to read!)

Chick-fil-A says it’s corporate mission is:

To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.

Wow.

To glorify God through the making of chicken sandwiches?

I guess there’s some logic to that if you are a Lutheran …

The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.

Martin Luther

I’m ok with the belief that making good shoes is a tribute to the almighty.  Heck, I’m even ok with someone believing that crafting a superior chicken sandwich is also a tribute to God.

Me?  I’d argue that good craftsmanship is a credit to the craftsman, not to a higher power.  But, it’s not an argument I’d waste much time espousing.  Life’s too short to debate that sort of issue.

Go ahead and say your sandwich is somehow a credit to God, I don’t really care.  If it tastes good I’ll eat it.

At least I used to eat Chick-fil-A.  Sadly, the company’s intolerant stance towards homosexuality has left a bad taste in my mouth.  Not even the waffle fries taste good anymore …

Yes, I used to like Chick-fil-A.  But I love my LGBT friends more!

This post was originally published on August 22, 2012 – at SpiritualBDSM.com.  It was originally posted under a different title  – when BB King sings about eating chicken, he’s not thinking Chick-Fil-A.  The post has been extensively edited for style and content before re-posting on MichaelSamadhi.com. 

Reviewing The Price of Pleasure

this "documentary" comes with an agenda

sex on netflix?

Note: A partial draft of this post has been kicking around for some time unpublished, ever since this documentary was first produced.  While The Price of Pleasure is no longer available on Netflix, a quick Google search found a copy for viewing within moments.  I watched The Price of Pleasure again yesterday, and used that viewing to confirm my previous thoughts on the film.

Not long ago, I began surveying “sex” on Netflix.

Not exactly an inspired avocation, I will admit.  But, I cut the “cable cord” and have been using Netflix as the sole paid provider of television here at the Chateau Samadhi.

And, I have to tell you. there aren’t a great number of movies on Netflix that are significantly sexual in content.  Amazon Prime, while still limited, offers significantly more in terms of erotic content, albeit of admittedly low quality.

The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships

The strongest sexual content on Netflix has been in an old Radley Metzger film, The Lickerish Quartet.  I was already familiar with another of Metzger’s films, The Image, which seems to be as serious a treatment of BDSM as I’ve ever seen in film.

Since Netflix isn’t streaming much in terms adult content in movies, I thought perhaps it might be different when we move to non-fiction?

Yes, Netflix can provide a great selection for individuals who enjoy documentaries.  But, here again, there are only a small handful of documentaries available directly dealing with sex and sexuality.  The selection available, now that Netflix sees itself as a producer of entertainment rather than a distributor, is rather limited.

This explains, at least in part, why I’m reviewing a documentary I didn’t enjoy and wouldn’t recommend.

During the “porn war” in the 1980s and early 1990s, the radical feminists focused on the harm that pornography has perpetuated on women through its producers and consumers. Although some of the interviewees did experience or witness such horrendous sexual violence done to women that was connected to pornography, I think for the majority of men and women the effects of pornography were less overt and dramatic but still no less profound on their sexual imaginations and relationships. That is why the focus of the film is on sexuality and relationships. But when I explored deeper and deeper into the issues, what concerned me the most was beyond how pornography affects, but what it revealed about the world we live in, and the mechanisms that shape and maintain it.

Chyng Sun

Co-Director and Co-Producer, The Price of Pleasure

fisting day vs. the Price of Pleasure

Life is full of ironies.  That certainly wasn’t lost on me the first time I watched The Price of Pleasure.

I was watching a documentary complaining that portrayals of women in porn are far too strongly violent and degrading.

At the same time, adult movie workers Jiz Lee and Courtney Trouble were celebrating Fisting Day. Their “holiday” was created, at least in part, to protest restrictive policies by production companies who prohibit safe and consensual activities (like fisting) in their films.

The Price of Pleasure by Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun bills itself as:

A nuanced and complex portrait of how pleasure and pain, commerce and power, and liberty and responsibility are intertwined in the most intimate aspects of human relationships.

Unfortunately, to my eyes, it seems neither nuanced nor complex.

no pleasure – too much at any price

It seems as though a single sex-negative viewpoint has been chosen by the filmmakers.  They are certainly entitled to their viewpoint.  I really am trying to give The Price of Pleasure it’s due.

With that in mind, here’s the synopsis from the film’s promotional website:

The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships
Directed and Produced by Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun
Co-Writer and Associate Producer: Robert Wosnitzer

Once relegated to the margins of society, pornography has become one of the most visible and profitable sectors of the cultural industries in the United States. It is estimated that the pornography industry’s annual revenue has reached $13 billion. At the same time, the content of pornography has become more aggressive, more overtly sexist and racist.

The film features the voices of consumers, critics, and pornography producers and performers. It is particularly revealing when male pornographers openly discuss their views about women and how men should relate to them, and when male and female porn users candidly discuss the role pornography has played in shaping their sexual imaginations and relationships. The film paints both a nuanced and complex portrait of how pleasure and pain, commerce and power, and liberty and responsibility are intertwined in the most intimate aspects of human relations.

At the same time, the film examines the unprecedented role that commercial pornography now occupies in U.S. popular culture. Going beyond the debate of liberal versus conservative so common in the culture, The Price of Pleasure provides a holistic understanding of pornography as it debunks common myths about the genre.

The film features interviews with scholars of mass media (Gail Dines and Robert Jensen), economics (Richard Wolff), and psychology (Dr. Ana Bridges); writers on pornography and popular culture (Ariel Levy and Pamela Paul); producers and performers from the pornography industry (John Stagliano, Joanna Angel and Ernest Greene); and a former stripper/porn performer-turned-author (Sarah Katherine Lewis).

Like I said before, the producers claim to be nuanced and complex is more than a little bit overblown.  Sex positivity is entirely overlooked.  It never seems to be considered that adult entertainment could be just that, entertainment.

No, it seems that by the standards of Sun and Picker, pornography must be inherently harmful.

the Price of Pleasure is not Michael’s way

My first, and biggest, bone to pick with the Price of Pleasure is that there are no interviews with adult film stars like Nina Hartley.

There are no examples (like Nina) of anyone who has spent their life in the porn industry and are positive about the experience.  A few neutral reactions towards the adult industry are allowed into the film, but positive examples are very obviously excluded.

Sex positivity of any manner is in very short supply.  Customers are described as being disgusting.  Anyone desiring adult entertainment is painted as some sort of deviant.  Most any possible negative complaint against the adult industry seems to be in play, especially that pornography is ruining men.  To my ears, that complaint is as old as the first erotic cave painting.

The movie seems to be, more than anything else, an indictment of the entire adult film industry.  Adult entertainment today is too violent, too exploitative, too misogynistic, too much of anything but soft-focus and softcore.

When we discuss pornography in my classes, we always begin with what seem to be the wrong conversations -the actress’s choices, no harm, no foul, being pro-porn is being pro-sex, men not being rapists and still liking it -always defensive and dishonest. I’ve been waiting for a film that was neither sanctimoniously scolding nor callously celebratory. And finally, there is The Price of Pleasure -a film to help us really see what we have been looking at, and to enable us, finally, to talk about how pornography informs our actual lives. It’s powerful.

Dr. Michael Kimmel

Professor of Sociology, SUNY-Stony Brook

price of propaganda

This is far from being any sort of balanced documentary.

The script of the movie reads like propaganda. The Price of Pleasure’s promotional literature does too.

To my eyes, it looks like propaganda.  (What does propaganda look like you ask? Propaganda is like pornography, I know what it looks like when I see it.)

For fuck’s sake, to my ears, The Price of Pleasure even sounds like propaganda.

The movie’s narrator reads his script like it’s a political polemic, and he’s a true believer.  The subtext is simple – Pornography is bad.  He seems a bit annoyed that everyone doesn’t already know this, and that he has had to take the time to read the narration.

Yes, the whole thing has the reek of propaganda.  (One again, I know the smell of propaganda when I sniff it, ok?)

The Price of Pleasure is really nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to fire an opening salvo in a new porn war.  Disgusted that a previous generation of radical feminists failed in the ’80’s and early ’90’s, this movie is back to try a different line of attack.

By their way of thinking, it’s not enough that a woman’s husband not watch pornography himself, his friends can not watch it as well.  After all, they might infect his attitudes with stories of facials and back-door action.

This stuff is now being taught in our schools.  With some sort of twisted logic, this puritanical line of thinking is being taught as modern, liberal, theory.  Instead, it really harkens back to an imagined Victorian past, where sex was only for procreation (hopefully infrequently) and women never enjoyed it, and thought of France when happened.

That agenda’s not going to fly here.  Not in my house, you won’t!

The porn wars are over, you lost.  Didn’t you get the memo?  Society rejected your radical anti-porn agenda.  A host of personal heroes of mine, Patrick Califia-Rice is just the first that comes to mind, fought and won that war.  Trust me that if the porn wars need to be fought anew, we will fight (and win) yet again.

And also trust me that if your documentary propaganda was distributed on DVD, my review copy would be outside in the garbage.  Nestled there along with some rotted fruit, spoiled meat, and dog feces.  Right. Where. It. Belongs.

The anti-pornography movement espouses a traditional view of woman’s sexuality, including the belief that woman do not enjoy pornography, casual sex, genital sex, or sex outside the context of romantic relationship …This Victorian image … is one of the feminine stereotypes the woman’s movement should be working against.

Pat Califia

Public Sex

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