Nina Hartley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nina Hartley
Nina Hartley AEE 2013.jpg
Hartley at the AVN Awards, 2013
Marie Louise Hartman[1]

(1959-03-11) March 11, 1959 (age 63)[2]
Other namesNina Hartman, Nina Hartwell
Ira Levine
(m. 2003)
RelativesMarge Frantz (aunt)
Joseph Gelders (grandfather)
Emma Gelders Sterne (great aunt)

Marie Louise Hartman (born March 11, 1959), known professionally as Nina Hartley,[1][4] is an American pornographic film actress and director,[1][5] activist,[3][6] sex educator,[7][8][1] nurse,[9] and public speaker,[1] described by CNBC as "a legend in the adult world".[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Hartley was born in Berkeley, California[3] to a Lutheran father, Louis Hartman, and a Jewish mother, Blanche Hartman (née Gelders),[11][time needed] whose family was from Alabama.[12] Her maternal grandfather, Joseph Gelders, was a University of Alabama physics professor who was a Communist Party USA (CPUSA) party member in the 1930s.[13][page needed] Hartley's parents were members of the CPUSA[11][time needed] who converted to Buddhism when she was young.[14] Her father was blacklisted in 1957 for his communist beliefs.[8]

Hartley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area,[9][15] and as a teenager self-identified as a feminist.[3] After graduating from Berkeley High School in 1977, she attended San Francisco State University's undergraduate nursing school and graduated magna cum laude in 1985.[9][16] She was a registered nurse[17][14] until her license expired in 1986.[18]

Adult film career[edit]

Hartley has said she saw the 1976 erotic film The Autobiography of a Flea by Sharon McNight, alone at a theater in San Francisco and chose her life's work: making porn.[19][11][time needed] In 1982, during her sophomore year of nursing school, she started working as a stripper at the Sutter Street Theatre, and later the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre.[20][15] She began working in pornography in 1984,[17][21] which she saw as a way to make a career of having sex.[3] Her pornographic film debut was in Educating Nina, where she was cast and directed by fellow performer Juliet Anderson.[20][22][23] In 1994, she began her line of instructional videos that are marketed under the Nina Hartley's Guide brand.[24] Hartley has been described by news outlets as "one of the best-known actresses in the industry"[22] and "a legend in the adult world".[10] As of 2017 she had appeared in more than one thousand adult films.[25]

Explaining how Marie Louise Hartman became Nina Hartley, she stated in an interview that she chose the name "Nina" because it was easy for Japanese tourists to say during the time she was a dancer in San Francisco; "Hartley" was chosen as it was close to her own real last name as possible and because she "wanted a name that sounded like that of a real person."[15] She stated that when she got into the adult business, she was blessed with two popular fetish items: "big, baby-blue eyes and that round butt with a high, small waist", with her buttocks becoming her trademark.[26]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, she starred in several of the Debbie Does film series spin-offs such as Debbie Duz Dishes (1986) and Debbie Does Wall Street (1991).[27] In 1992, she directed her first movie, Nina Hartley's Book of Love.[5] For many years, she also toured the United States and Canada as a stripper and made personal appearances at adult shops.[27][24]

Hartley played the part of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 pornographic parody film Who's Nailin' Paylin?,[8] with Lisa Ann in the role of Sarah Palin.[28] In 2010, she said, "Now I work with women who are younger than my breast implants."[21] As of 2015 Hartley was still actively making adult films.[20]

Mainstream media appearances[edit]

Hartley acted in the 1996 Canadian film Bubbles Galore[29] and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[10] In the 1997 film Boogie Nights, she played William H. Macy's character's serially unfaithful wife, who is murdered by him.[9][24] She later remarked, "The only movie I ever died in for having sex was a mainstream movie."[9]

Hartley has appeared in several documentary films: she was interviewed in The Naked Feminist (2003)[30][31] was featured in After Porn Ends (2012), and appears in Sticky: A (Self) Love Story (2016),[32] in which she discusses masturbation with regards to education, the forced resignation of Joycelyn Elders, and her opinions on the blackballing of comedian Paul Reubens after his arrest for masturbating in a public theater.[citation needed]


Las Vegas Weekly calls Hartley "a guiding force for a generation of feminist porn stars".[3] She began engaging in feminist activism in the 1980s[33] and has made frequent appearances at academic conferences, workshops, and in the media to promote sex positivity,[34] along with lectures at several universities.[24][35] As a feminist working in the pornography industry, she has said, "Pleasure is very, very powerful, very, very potent. You're no longer at the mercy of men when you understand that",[36] and "Sex isn't something men do to you. It isn't something men get out of you. Sex is something you dive into with gusto and like it every bit as much as he does."[37]

Hartley is a long-time board member of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation,[35][38] and has been involved in socialist activism.[39] Politically, Hartley describes herself as a democratic socialist, saying, "There are some things the federal government is essential for and some things best left to local government."[8]

Hartley has long been affiliated with the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), a labor union for pornographic film actors.[8] Before the rise to stardom of Jenna Jameson, Hartley had often been called on when television news programs and talk shows required an articulate, leading adult film actress to support the adult film industry's right to exist.[citation needed] Hartley and fellow pornographic actress Ona Zee have also spoken out against illegal drug use in the industry.[citation needed] Hartley was interviewed by Eric Schlosser for his book Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market in which she was critical of anti-pornography legislation.[13]: 179 


In 2006, Hartley co-authored Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex with her husband Ira Levine. The book includes sections on sex toys, swinging, threesomes, dominance and submission, and erotic spanking.[9] Library Journal called the book a "well-written guide" that is "strong on both safe sex and a permissive approach", saying Hartley "handles the material frankly, accurately, and with sensitivity".[9]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Hartley, Nina (1994). "Confessions of a Feminist Porno Star". In Jaggar, Alison M. (ed.). Living With Contradictions: Controversies In Feminist Social Ethics. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. pp. 176–178. ISBN 978-0-8133-1775-5.
  • Hartley, Nina (1997). "In the Flesh: A Porn Star's Journey". In Nagle, Jill (ed.). Whores and other feminists. New York: Routledge. pp. 57–65. ISBN 978-0-4159-1822-0.
  • Hartley, Nina; Levine, I. S. (2006). Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex. New York: Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-58333-263-4.
  • Hartley, Nina (2013). "Porn: An Effective Vehicle for Sexual Role Modeling and Education". In Taormino, Tristan; et al. (eds.). The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure. New York: The Feminist Press. pp. 228–236. ISBN 978-1-5586-1818-3.

Personal life[edit]

Hartley is a self-described bisexual, swinger, and exhibitionist.[21][40] From 1981 to 2000, she was involved in a relationship with a man (a former Students for a Democratic Society leader) and a woman.[13]: 179  She married her male partner in 1986; their divorce was finalized in 2003.[20] The same year, Hartley married Ira Levine, a director of porn films under the name Ernest Greene.[41] They are openly polyamorous.[42]


AVN Awards[edit]

Hartley has received eight Adult Video News Awards, including:[1]

Category Video/Film
1987 Best Actress Debbie Duz Dishes[43]
1987 Best Couples Sex Scene Amanda By Night II[43]
1989 Best Supporting Actress Portrait of an Affair[44]
1989 Best Couples Sex Scene Sensual Escape[44]
1991 Best Supporting Actress The Last X-Rated Movie[45]
2005 Best Specialty Tape – BDSM Nina Hartley's Private Sessions 13[46]
2005 Best Specialty Tape Spanking for Nina Hartley's Guide To Spanking[46]
2009 Best Non-Sex Performance Not Bewitched XXX[47] AVN Hall of Fame[48]

XRCO Awards[edit]

Hartley has won a number of XRCO Awards:

XRCO Awards
Year Category Video/Film
1986 Best Couple Sex Scene Ball Busters[49]
1987 Best Couple Sex Scene Peeping Tom[49]
1987 Torrid Triad Scene Every Woman Has A Fantasy 2[49]
1989 Female Performer Of The Year[49]
1990 Best Supporting Actress My Bare Lady[49]
1990 Best Girl-Girl Scene Sorority Pink[49]
1995 Hall of Fame[50]

Other awards and nominations[edit]

Misc. Awards
Year Organization Category
1988 Free Speech Coalition Lifetime Achievement Award Actress[51]
1990 FOXE Female Fan Favorite[52]
1991 FOXE Female Fan Favorite[52]
1992 FOXE Female Fan Favorite[52]
1996 Hot d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award[53]
2006 Ninfa Public Lifetime Career Award[54]
2013 XBIZ Award nomination MILF Performer of the Year and Best Non-Sex Acting Performance (The Truth About O)[55]
2014 Exxxotica Fan Choice Awards Fanny Lifetime Achievement Award[56]
2019 XBIZ Award Best Non-Sex Acting Performance (Future Darkly: Artifamily)[57]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Friedman, Gabe (June 15, 2015). "7 Jews Who Made It Big In Porn". The Forward. Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
  2. ^ "About Nina!". Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Olson, Ingrid (2019). "Letters to Nina Hartley: Pornography, Parrhesia, and Sexual Confessions". In Waugh, Thomas; Arroyo, Brandon (eds.). I Confess!: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age. McGill–Queen's University Press. pp. 136–137. doi:10.2307/j.ctvr7fc4q.11. ISBN 978-0-2280-0064-8. S2CID 213066346.
  4. ^ Niemietz, Brian (November 5, 2018). "Lecture by porn star Nina Hartley gets mixed reaction from midwestern university". Daily News. New York. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b White, Tracie (June 7, 1992). "X-rated feminism". Santa Cruz Sentinel. pp. D1, B2. Retrieved May 24, 2019 – via
  6. ^ Nagle, Jill, ed. (1997). Whores and other feminists. New York: Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-4159-1822-0.
  7. ^ Roach, Catherine M. (2007). Stripping, Sex, and Popular Culture. Oxford, UK: Berg. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-85785-094-2.
  8. ^ a b c d e Hitt, Tarpley (January 28, 2019). "The Hillary Clinton of Porn is a Hardcore Socialist". The Daily Beast.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Calvert, Clay; Richards, Robert (2006). "Porn in Their Words: Female Leaders in the Adult Entertainment Industry Address Free Speech, Censorship, Feminism, Culture and the Mainstreaming of Adult Content". Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law. 9 (2): 265–266. ISSN 1942-6771.
  10. ^ a b c Morris, Chris (January 18, 2012). "10 Porn Stars Who Went Mainstream". CNBC. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c "Legendary pornstar Nina Hartley". TYT's The Conversation (video). January 11, 2013 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Shaffer, Ryan (September–October 2010). "Atheism ethics & pornography: The Humanist interview with Nina Hartley". The Humanist. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011 – via
  13. ^ a b c Schlosser, Eric (2004). Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-547-52675-1.
  14. ^ a b Nolen, Stephanie (April 24, 1999). "The thinking woman's porn star speaks out". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. C1. ISSN 0319-0714.
  15. ^ a b c Ranz, Sheldon (Spring 1989). "Interview: Nina Hartley". Shmate: A Magazine of Progressive Jewish Thought. No. 22. pp. 15–29. OCLC 917517251.
  16. ^ Salinger, Lawrence M. (1998). Deviant Behavior 98/99. Annual Editions. McGraw-Hill Higher Education. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-697-39132-2.
  17. ^ a b McNeil, Donald G. Jr. (November 6, 2012). "Pornography and AIDS: A History". The New York Times. p. D1. ISSN 0362-4331.
  18. ^ "Ask Nina Hartley Anything". August 27, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  19. ^ "Carli Bei's One On One, Nina Hartley In the Schmooze, the Nintendo Holiday Preview Event, and MORE on Today's show!". Naked News (video). November 22, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d Wischhover, Cheryl (May 19, 2015). "Why I'm Still Doing Porn in My Late 50s". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c Comella, Lynn (October 6, 2010). "Nina Hartley's adult film career has been long, distinguished and trailblazing—and it's far from over". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  22. ^ a b Fagan, Kevin (January 31, 2010). "Adult film star Juliet 'Aunt Peg' Anderson dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  23. ^ Nutt, Shannon T.; Ramsey, Jenn. "Nina Hartley". Adult Video News. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  24. ^ a b c d Robbins, Jefferson (May 15, 1998). "Bigger than a Porn Star?/X Marks Just One Spot for Finding Nina Hartley". State Journal-Register. Springfield, Ill. p. 1. Retrieved March 27, 2018 – via
  25. ^ Miranda, Carolina A. (July 6, 2017). "The last (porn) picture shows: Once dotted with dozens of adult cinemas, L.A. now has only two". Los Angeles Times.
  26. ^ Sullivan, David (March 11, 2009). "Happy Birthday, Nina Hartley". Adult Video News. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  27. ^ a b O'Connell, Loraine (December 17, 1992). "Porn Queen Gives Fans What They Want To See: An Eyeful". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 15, 2017.[dead link]
  28. ^ "Hustler Video Does It Again With Palin Parody". Hustler World. October 8, 2008. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  29. ^ McGregor, Glen (May 30, 1999). "Porn star bubbling over with laughs amid funding feud". Calgary Herald. Retrieved March 26, 2019 – via
  30. ^ "the naked feminist: Louisa Achille – United States". International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  31. ^ "The Naked Feminist: 2003". The Screen Guide. Screen Australia. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  32. ^ Allen, Samantha (January 22, 2016). "'Sticky' Documentary Dispels Myths About Self-Love". The Daily Beast.
  33. ^ Thompson, Chris (April 27, 2005). "Take Back The Night, Part II". East Bay Express. Oakland, Calif. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  34. ^ Alilunas, Peter (2016). Smutty Little Movies: The Creation and Regulation of Adult Video. University of California Press. n. 134, p. 259. ISBN 978-0-520-29171-3.
  35. ^ a b Farris, Kyle (November 3, 2018). "'It's OK to like porn': Porn star Nina Hartley lectures UW-La Crosse students on sex, adult entertainment". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  36. ^ Rosewarne, Lauren (2009). Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. n. 46, p. 100. ISBN 978-0-313-36032-9.
  37. ^ Kaplan, Melissa (September 26, 2015). "How These Women Are Changing Porn". ATTN. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  38. ^ "About Nina Hartley". Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  39. ^ McLemee, Scott (February 6, 1997). "Sect Appeal". Salon. Archived from the original on February 2, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  40. ^ Mourra, Sarah (November 22, 2000). "Porn Star Talks Sex to Students". The Daily Californian. ISSN 1050-2300. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008.
  41. ^ "Nina Hartley: Information & Biography". Archived from the original on August 11, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  42. ^ Glass, Jeremy (May 20, 2016). "Married Porn Star Nina Hartley on Making Polyamory Work". Thrillist. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  43. ^ a b "1987 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  44. ^ a b "1989 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  45. ^ "1991 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  46. ^ a b "2005 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  47. ^ Sullivan, David (January 11, 2009). "2009 AVN Award-Winners Announced". Adult Video News. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  48. ^ "25th Annual AVN Awards Show". Archived from the original on October 20, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  49. ^ a b c d e f "Nina Hartley Awards". AIWARDS. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  50. ^ "XRCO Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  51. ^ "11th Annual 'Night of the Stars'". Free Speech Coalition. Archived from the original on 24 February 1999. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  52. ^ a b c "Adult Video Awards". Archived from the original on June 24, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  53. ^ "Oscar Wild?". The Des Moines Register. May 17, 1996. Retrieved April 17, 2019 – via
  54. ^ "The FICEB Ninfa, Tacón de Aguja and HeatGay Awards". June 9, 2007. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  55. ^ "2013 Nominees". XBIZ. January 2013. Archived from the original on December 25, 2012.
  56. ^ Warren, Peter (April 13, 2014). "2nd Annual Fannys Presented". Adult Video News. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  57. ^ "2019 Winners". XBIZ Awards. Retrieved March 1, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barbano, Nicolas (1999). Verdens 25 hotteste pornostjerner. Copenhagen: Rosinante. ISBN 87-7357-961-0. Features a chapter on Hartley
  • Greenfield-Sanders, Timothy (2004). XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits. New York: Bulfinch Press. ISBN 0-8212-7754-5. Features an essay and introduction by Hartley
  • Marvin, Louis (1987). The New Goddesses. Malibu, Calif.: AF Press. ISBN 0-912442-99-9. Features a chapter on Hartley
  • McCumber, David (2000). X-Rated: The Mitchell Brothers : A True Story of Sex, Money, and Death. New York: Pinnacle Books. pp. 139–149. ISBN 978-0-7860-1113-1.
  • Morpheous; Hartley, Nina (2012). How to Be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime. San Francisco, Calif.: Green Candy Press. ISBN 978-1-9311-6094-0.
  • "Viva Nina!". Women and Revolution: Journal of the Women's Commission of the Spartacist League (PDF). Winter 1993 – Spring 1994. p. 13 – via
  • Warner, Brad (2010). Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between. Novato, Calif.: New World Library. ISBN 978-1-57731-910-8. Features an interview with Hartley

External links[edit]