Tristan Taormino has taken more than a few people aback with her invariably sunny disposition. Instead of the take-no-prisoners feminist some expect, they find her brimming with charm, humor and high-fizz energy (fellow feminist Susie Bright calls her “a force of nature”).
Her people-friendly nature has endeared her to fans, disarmed television interviewers and enabled her to draw non-porny performances from the many porn actors she has directed in movies from Vivid and Adam & Eve.
So I sent a proposal to several big adult companies asking them to fund an educational anal sex movie geared toward women that was also a hot porno. The people I made this pitch to responded as if I were speaking a foreign language, and they all ignored me or turned me down.
Originally a writer, she published her first How-To book, “The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women,” in 1998. She wrote it, she says, “because it was a book I wanted to have on my own bookshelf, a resource I wish I had. I loved anal sex, and I knew I couldn’t be the only woman out there who did. But, at the time, there was only one book on the topic … most sex-ed books barely mentioned it, and there just wasn’t a lot of information out there, especially from a woman’s point of view. So, I decided to do it myself.”
When she began teaching anal sex workshops at sex-positive, pleasure-product outlets around the country, people kept lobbying for a video version of the book.
“So I sent a proposal to several big adult companies asking them to fund an educational anal sex movie geared toward women that was also a hot porno. The people I made this pitch to responded as if I were speaking a foreign language, and they all ignored me or turned me down. Months later, John Stagliano called me,” and the movie version was released in 1999 by Evil Angel.
Also in 1999 she began writing a column on sex and porn for the Village Voice, which continued until 2008. She returned to explicit filmmaking in 2006 with a Vivid Entertainment deal, and her first release, the reality-porn “Chemistry,” was an immediate hit. While under contract to Vivid she directed 22 movies (including three volumes of “Rough Sex”), won more than a dozen awards and helped advance the genre of instructional porn with her “Expert Guide” line.
“The Expert Guide to Female Ejaculation,” released in October 2012, was her last Vivid project. “My contract was up, and we mutually decided not to renew it.”
She says she has no regrets. “Steven Hirsch was tremendously generous: the amount of creative freedom and control he gave me was unprecedented, and I will be forever grateful to him for believing in me, supporting my feminist vision.”
She recently shot two sex-ed films for Adam & Eve: “Tristan Taormino’s Guide to Kinky Sex for Couples,” coming out in June, and “Tristan Taormino’s Guide to Bondage for Couples,” to be released in July.
She is currently “developing a new project that’s in the early stages. It’s something that hasn’t been done before in the adult industry. I know that sounds bold and nearly impossible, but it’s true. My plan is to raise the funds and distribute it myself.”
And anyone who knows Tristan would not bet against her.