How has working in the sex industry affected you and your relationships with friends, family, lovers, etc. ?
This is not a simple answer. I always say the amazing thing about being in the adult industry for a woman is that while literally millions of people who rent and buy adult movies ogle the women who perform in them, they continue to judge and often condemn those same women. It’s part of being shamed in to feeling uncomfortable about our sexuality and our sexual curiosity. It’s a lot easier to blame the bad girl on screen for those naughty feelings we’re not supposed to be having!
I have coped well with having been both in front of and behind the camera due very much to my introspective nature and the time I spent working with a brilliant therapist to make sure I was OK with my controversial choices in life. It’s inevitable for a woman in our culture not to have some ambivilance about committing one of the biggest taboos for a woman, performing sexually for others to view. And judging by some of the earlier media response I received when I first started out, the only thing worse than a pornographer was a “female pornographer”! So a woman must be willing to confront her own choices and the fact that there are people who will always condemn her if she wants to do something like this without emotionally “paying” for it in the end. I once did an article on whether female porn stars can succeed at relationships, and it divided pretty much half and half between those who had good enough self-esteem to choose loving men who were confident enough to accept their woman’s career and love them for who they are inside; and those whose fractured sense of themselves led them to cruel men who did eventually throw it in their faces and “punish” them at some point. And then there were the men who fell in love with the “whore” and then tried to turn her in to the “Madonna.” My friend, Dr. Marcia Pally, professor and founder of Feminists for Free Expression (FFEUSA.com) called this phenomena “doing battle with Mary Magdalene.”
I have always run in circles made up of artists, musicians, writers, basically people who were individualistic types, who thought for themselves. I have had very loving men who were open minded, hip, and saw me and loved me for who I am. I’ve never dated men who were looking to date Candida Royalle, I’ve reserved my affections for men who see the woman I am inside, and at the same time are comfortable and respectful of the Royalle personae I have created. And as for my friends, they are hip and sophisticated and have always gotten a kick out of what I do.
My parents, now deceased, were shocked when they first learned of my clandestine life as a porn star but ultimately declared their love for me, and respected what I created in terms of my production company and the business woman I became. My father, a successful jazz musician, always taught me to think for myself and not follow the herd.
I have lost many of my traditional Italo-American relatives on my father’s side. But that happened even before I entered the adult biz. They began to be puzzled by me as soon as I displayed signs of being a political free thinker heading in to the alternative lifestyle back in the late ’60’s into the early ’70’s. And after returning from California 10 years later, having been in porn movies and experimented with drugs as we did then, I think there was just too much between us, a gulf that could never again be crossed. It was sad to lose them from my life, but my Irish relatives on my mother’s side accepted and even took delight in what and who I became.
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