History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes


Feature: Porn Chic of the 1970s

The History of Sex in Cinema
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

Porn Chic of the 1970s:

These are a few films in the 1970s that attempted to capture the newly-found mainstream hard-core porn business, particularly after the remarkable success of Deep Throat (1972).

Boys in the Sand (1971)

Writer/director Wakefield Poole's film was a landmark in cinematic history - it was the first - and maybe only - gay hard-core feature film to have had any mainstream success - and it preceded Deep Throat (1972) by almost a year. It was one of the milestone examples of the era's "porno chic" in its heralding of gay male sexuality. [The film's title was a take-off on director William Friedkin's gay-themed film The Boys in the Band (1970).]

Reportedly, it was the first triple-X film of any orientation to bill its director and actors, and to date, the only adult film ever reviewed in The New York Times. Unlike the prevailing stereotypes of gays, this film portrayed the lead male character as well-adjusted, athletic, and toned.

The low-budget film (made for $8,000) was composed of three segments, all set on secluded Fire Island, in the life of a blonde gay man named Donovan (Casey Donovan) at a beachside resort. Sex scenes were filmed at the beach, at the pool, and indoors. It was replete with many instances of gay oral sex, gay intercourse, and use of sex toys.

Behind the Green Door (1972)

The Mitchell Brothers' (Artie and Jim) X-rated film was the first hard-core pornographic movie widely released in the United States (just before Deep Throat (1972)), and very popular with mixed-sex audiences. It was made on a budget of $60,000, and earned over $1 million in theatrical releases, and $25 million from its video release.

It starred young Marilyn Chambers, the "99.44% pure Ivory Snow girl" on the detergent box, as abducted young woman Gloria Saunders. After being kidnapped, she was given a relaxing body massage by a female:

The sensation that you've been feeling through the rest of your body traveled, and now enveloped you entirely. Your breasts will begin to feel warm and your nipples tingle with anticipation. Feel the nipples grow erect. And the pleasure that you feel from them will go to your very depths and consume you.

Then, she was taken to a mysterious, underground sex show club called the Green Door, led in by six black-garbed priestesses. Her arms and legs were held spread out, and she was caressed, laid down and readied for sex with oral stimulation.

Gloria Saunders (Marilyn Chambers) Prepped by Six Priestesses

There in a live sex act on stage for the wealthy masked patrons' entertainment (who were engaged in wild self-gratification) in the audience, she had an inter-racial sex scene (scandalous for the time) with an African Stud (Johnnie Keyes), who pleasured her with cunnilingus before having intercourse.

This was followed by a trapeze swing act with four sexual acrobats who were serviced by Gloria, from behind and in front, and to each side. She took the multiple partners at the same time (with her hands, her mouth, and her vagina). And then there was a lengthy orgy sequence with many participating.

As the film was concluding, it featured a highly-unusual, seven minute special-effects sequence - a very artsy, spectacular, psychedelic, rainbow-colored, slow-motion, optically printed and solarized montage of male sexual climax on Gloria's face (almost in clinical detail) by one of the well-endowed trapeze artists.

Gloria's Massage

Gloria with Stud

Masked Audience Members

The Trapeze Act

The Orgy Sequence

The Psychedelic Climax

Deep Throat (1972)

This cheaply-made, raw, hard-core porn flick (a gross sex comedy, actually) by Gerard Damiano became the most profitable film of its kind of all-time, grossing over $600 million, although it was ruled obscene and banned in New York City. It brought adult movies into the popular culture.

It soon became a 'porno-chic' film and cultural phenomenon (the first cross-over porn film that became a hit). This profoundly-influential and ground-breaking film lured thousands of middle-class audiences into adult theatres for the first time as a date movie. Its tagline was enticing:


After its initial period of release (at a time of sexual revolution), it became a cultural phenomenon and it was fashionable to talk about the film (and its educationally feminist theme of female sexual gratification) or make references to it (such as Watergate's 'Deep Throat' whistleblower).

The thin, simplistic plot filmed like a stag flick in only six days, was about a young woman Linda Lovelace (as Herself) who couldn't experience an orgasm until her doctor, Dr. Young (Harry Reems) examined her and discovered her strange anatomical defect:

Doctor: "Oh, that's amazing...It's truly amazing. Miss Lovelace, you don't have one."
Linda: "You cluck. I'm a woman. I'm not supposed to have one."
Doctor: "No, I don't mean one of those. I mean, well you, you don't have a clitoris. There's no clitoris here."
Linda: "Are you sure?"
Doctor: "Of course I'm sure. Here, take a look."
Linda: "Well, I'll be damned."
Doctor: "Hmm, no wonder you hear no bells. You have no tinkler."
Linda: "That's, that's not funny."
Doctor: "Oh, now, now, Miss Lovelace, please. Try to, try to compose yourself, really. Tell me something. When you get laid, that is, when you have sexual intercourse, uh, what excites you the most?"

He learned that during the performance of fellatio, she was the most stimulated, because her clitoris was deep down in the bottom of her throat.

There were a number of follow-up films to Deep Throat (1972):

  1. Director Joseph Sarno's low-budget, R-rated sequel Deep Throat Part II (1974), was a blatant cash grab attempt. The US version was entirely bowdlerized and sex-free, while the Italian DVD release version exhibited the film's original soft-core sex scenes. It again featured Linda Lovelace (in her second feature film) as Nurse Lovelace who worked for a goofy sex doctor named Dr. Jayson (Harry Reems). She was drafted by the American government (CIA) to help spy on the Soviets. Her objective was to become romantically involved with one of the patients -- nerdy computer programmer Dilbert Lamb (Levi Richards), who suffered from incestuous neuroses regarding his lascivious gray-haired Aunt Juliet (Tina Russell). She and others (the KGB) attempted to destroy Dilbert's creation named "Oscar" - a sentient computer database that was threatening individual rights of confidentiality and privacy.

  2. An NC-17-rated (later R) documentary about the porn revolution of the 1970s spurred by the 1972 landmark film was director Fenton Bailey's Inside Deep Throat (2005). It examined the film's production history and impact on American culture, including interviews with both the director and male star Harry Reems.

  3. Another dramatic production, titled Lovelace (2013), portrayed the dual perspectives that adult star and sexual freedom icon Linda Lovelace (played by 27 year old Amanda Seyfried) (later known as Linda Marchiano) brought to the film. Depending on the time period of her life, she either embraced the porn film - or rallied against it and became an activist leader in the anti-pornography movement.

Miss Linda Lovelace

The Devil in Miss Jones (1973)

After Deep Throat (1972), writer/director Gerard Damiano's next film was one of the most successful porn films of all-time.

The erotic X-rated masterpiece starred Georgina Spelvin as Justine Jones, a lonely, virginal and repressed spinster in her early 30s, who had committed suicide (her sole sin) by slitting her wrists with a razor-blade in her bathtub.

Unqualified to enter Heaven, she decided to enjoy sexual sins on Earth to justify her damnation. She bargained with the Devil to live her life over on Earth, consumed by Lust. She promised:

"I would live a life filled, engulfed, consumed by lust."

She was given the opportunity to 'earn' her place in Hell by becoming the embodiment of Lust when she returned to Earth. An immortal known only as The Teacher (Harry Reems) used his supernatural abilities to erase all of Justine's sexual inhibitions.

The film contained many graphic sexual acts and erotic encounters, including straight sex, lesbian, anal, group sex (threesome), masturbation (in the bathtub with a small water hose), a slithering snake, use of an anal butt-plug, the insertion of grapes into one's vagina, and more.

After becoming sex-addicted, she found herself imprisoned for eternity with an impotent and uninterested man.

Justine Jones
(Georgina Spelvin)

Score (1974)

Pioneering porn director Radley Metzger's witty, well-acted sexploitation comedy film (similar in part to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) was adapted from the off-Broadway stage play that ran for less than a month in late 1971. It was filmed in 1972, but not released in the US until 1974.

Released in two versions, the longer hard-core version was 91 minutes, while the soft-core version was only 84 minutes. The film was one of the first feature-length porn films about bisexual swinging, with the tagline: "...Experience the Possibilities."

According to the narrator's voice-over, the action was set in a seaside villa in a fictional European village: "In the village of Leisure, in the land of Play, deep within the erogenous zone." Part of the sex included taking drugs and dressing up in costumes: a sailor outfit, a negligee, a nun's habit, and a cowboy costume.

The sex farce told about a liberated and hedonistic married couple who enjoyed the swinger lifestyle:

  • Jack (Gerald Grant), a fashion photographer
  • Elvira (Claire Wilbur), predatory

The couple convinced other inexperienced newlyweds to join them for an evening of experimentation with bi-sexuality and group sex:

  • Betsy (Lynn Lowry), naive
  • Eddie (Calvin Culver), Betsy's uptight husband

The pairings of the couples also included same-sex action (cross-cutting between upstairs with the females Elvira/Betsy and downstairs with the males Jack/Eddie), with their wager about who would be the first to seduce a same-sex member.

The Foursome

(Lynn Lowry)

(Claire Wilbur)

The Autobiography of a Flea (1976)

This pornographic film was a groundbreaking, landmark film from the Mitchell Brothers Film Group - it was noted as being the first major X-rated porn film directed by a female, Sharon McNight.

It was a costume drama loosely adapted from the 19th century erotic novel published in London, and set at the turn of the century - a Fanny Hill-style, Victorian period comedy of love and lust.

The film was uniquely told from the perspective of a flea (the Narrator, Warren Pierce) in the private place (pubic hair) of a beautiful young 14 year-old woman named Belle (Jean Jennings).

She was controlled by her uncle, seduced by the local and lustful Roman Catholic priest Father Ambrose (Paul Thomas), and introduced to a world of sexual depravity.

(Jean Jennings)

The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1977)

Radley Metzger's (pseudonymed as Henry Paris) film was a hard-core pornographic version of the George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion story, and has been widely acknowledged as one of the best porn films ever made. With high production values, an elaborate plot, and a big budget, it was filmed in various international locations.

It was also the first widely-released porn film to explicitly display a taboo sexual practice known as pegging (female-to-male strap-on intercourse) during a menage a trois scene.

Constance Money/Susan Jensen starred as the title character Dolores 'Misty' Beethoven. She was a crass prostitute who was discovered in a seedy Paris theatre giving an old man (in a Napolen costume) a handjob, by conceited sexologist author Dr. Seymour Love (Jamie Gillis).

Dr. Love bet his wealthy patron Geraldine Rich (Jacqueline Beudant) that he could help advance her into being the hottest girl in town (the next revered Golden Rod Girl, the top honor of Europe's sex-society), by tutoring her (a la Svengali Professor Henry Higgins) to become sexually-accomplished. He would show her off at the annual ball hosted by vain, Hugh Hefner-like porn magnate-publisher of Golden Rod Magazine, Lawrence Layman (Ras Kean) and his randy wife Barbara (Gloria Leonard).

The action shifted from Paris to Love's penthouse apartment in New York (and then back to Europe to Geraldine's lavish estate filled with butlers and maids), where 'Misty' had been propositioned and challenged to the training in the ways of pleasure. Misty endured a variety of strict but sexy practice regimens, with films, demos, and interactions with the servants, while Dr. Love looked on critically.

Along the way, one of Misty's feats was to seduce an obviously gay art dealer (Casey Donovan) in an opera house bathroom (to the tune of the William Tell Overture). She was recognized as accomplished by seducing an impotent man, pleasuring three male servants simultaneously, and by being vetted at Layman's annual ball. There during threeway sex, she seduced Lawrence (making love to Barbara) with female-on-male strap-on sex from behind.

Misty's (Constance Money) Menage a Trois Threeway Scene

By film's end, an in-control Misty had reversed the arrangement she had previously experienced with Dr. Love - with whom she had fallen in love. After she returned to him (he had morosely waited for her return), she was now in charge of his sex school. Dr. Love was seated below her, subserviently wearing bondage gear in the film's final image.

'Misty' Beethoven
(Constance Money)

Candy Stripers (1978)

Director Bob Chinn's adult comedy used the setting of a hospital and its naughty candy-striping volunteers to tell its porn-related story. Its tagline was: "Guaranteed to Make Your Temperature Rise."

There were many sequels to follow, in 1985, 1986, 1990, and 1999. The film's notorious 'fisting' scenes were excised from all the original prints.

It told about three sex-eager candy stripers in the workplace:

  • Pam (Amber Hunt)
  • Sharon (Nancy Hoffman)
  • Cindy (Cris Cassidy/Montana)

On her last day of work, the very horny Sharon was caught providing sex to one of the doctors, Dr. Bishop (Richard Pacheco) in a janitor's closet.

She ultimately also pleasured her own overbearing and 'prudish' boss Sarge (Sharon Thorpe) at her illegal, late-night going-away sex-orgy party.

Debbie Does Dallas (1978)

One of the most successful and best-known of the 70's era of porn was this film, from director Jim Clark. The best-selling film, reportedly one of the top 5 highest-grossing porn films of all-time, was released as one of the earliest VHS videotapes.

It was also noted for its numerous shower scenes and the climactic scene with 'girl-next-door' Debbie in her cheerleading outfit having sex with her employer. It was notorious for being denounced and sued by the real Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders (Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Inc. vs. Pussycat Cinema, Ltd., and Michael Zaffarano (the film's financier), settled in late 1979) - which produced great publicity for the film. As its major marketing strategy, the marquee advertised that the film's star was an "Ex Dallas Cowgirl Cheerleader."

The film's plot was about wholesome blonde MHS student Debbie Benton (Bambi Woods, a made-up name) who had won a spot on pro football's Texas Cowgirls cheerleading squad. A number of her cheerleader girlfriends met in the shower and locker room, where Debbie offered ways to acquire jobs and help her raise the funds in only two weeks.

  • Rikki O'Neal (Sherri Tart), car-wash girl
  • Annie (Jenny Cole), car-wash girl
  • Lisa (Georgette Sanders), brunette
  • Roberta (Misty Winter, aka Christie Ford), red-haired
  • Tammy (Arcadia Lake), brunette
  • Pat (Kasey Rodgers), red-haired
  • Donna (Merril Townsend, aka Merle Michaels), blonde

Eventually, they decided the most advantageous method was to call themselves Team Services and charge for sexual activities. Debbie told her friends: "Listen girls, there's money to be had, and fast money. And you don't have to do anything more than what we do with our boyfriends. And they certainly have fun, don't they? And we're all still virgins, aren't we?" Rikki and Annie, after washing a car in sopping wet T-shirts, decided to strip down for Mr. Bradly (David Pierce) for more lucrative earnings. In another subplot, Mrs. Hardwick (Robin Byrd), wife of her husband (Eric Edwards) who owned a candle shop, caught Roberta using a candle as a dildo to pleasure herself, thereafter followed by a seductive threesome with her husband.

Debbie's sexual association with her own lecherous sports store boss, Mr. Greenfeld (credited as Richard Balla, actually Robert Kerman) proved very profitable also. After hours in the store and dressed in her cheerleader's outfit (a costume that mimicked the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders team, the cause of the lawsuit), Debbie laid back and mentioned to him: "My, Mr. Greenfeld, how big you are?" He replied: "I always dreamed of being a quarterback, and making love to the captain of the cheerleaders." He untied her blouse, revealing her breasts that he touched and kissed - for a fee. He progressively helped to raise the needed money, and then he offered to pay all of their expenses if she scored a sexual "touchdown" with him. In the film's conclusion after a bigger payout for the cheerleaders' trip, he chased her around in a football uniform before they had sex together in a variety of poses.

Debbie (Bambi Woods)

(Bambi Woods)

(Georgette Sanders)

(l to r) Rikki (Sherri Tart)
and Annie (Jenny Cole)

Roommates (1981)

Director Chuck Vincent's film, similar to an X-rated Sex and the City many years previous to the popular cable-TV show, was one of the last major attempts to create a pornographic cross-over mainstream film for viewing couples in the neighborhood theatre. Originally X-rated, it was re-cut and released in mainstream theatres across the country with an R-rating, and was billed as "the perfect film for couples."

The remarkable, cross-over hard-core film told a story about three career-oriented women, all haunted by abusive relationships, who shared rooms in a high-rise apartment in NYC. Each of them became engaged in various degrading or challenging couplings with men, while attempting to be supportive of each other:

  • Joan Hamilton (Veronica Hart), an aspiring small-town actress, was engaged in an illicit affair with predatory married drama coach Ted Wilkie (Phillip Smith), and also attracted to gay fellow actor co-star Eddie Shriner (Jerry Butler)
  • Sherry Collins (Kelly Nichols), an LA model with a cocaine habit, was gang-raped, reverted to her old ways, and became intimately involved with perverted and sadistic manager Joel (Jamie Gillis) who nearly murdered her
  • Billie Donnell (Samantha Fox), a dark-haired ex-prostitute (her ex-madam Marlene was portrayed by porn actress Gloria Leonard) who was a production assistant for TV commercials, was still being pimped by crude Marv Lester (Bobby Astyr), was in love with Jim (Jack Wrangler) (who was secretly planning to marry someone else), and turned tricks with Dick (Ron Jeremy)

The film ended with two of the roommates leaving Billie, forced to seek two other tenants. Joan had left to begin touring in summer stock, and Sherry returned to LA to live with her mother.

Billie (Samantha Fox)

Joan (Veronica Hart)

Sherry (Kelly Nichols)

Sex in Cinematic History
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