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Jenna Book: Goldmine for Aspiring Performers

Porn Valley- In the sex trade, sellers work hard to make buyers believe they will get their money’s worth. That’s sure true of Jenna Jameson’s extra-large memoir and improbable self-help book, ”How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” Jameson, who is today’s top name in what is known as adult entertainment, takes readers on a round-the-world bender that begins in a tattoo parlor in Las Vegas, where as a 17-year-old biker chick she decides to become a stripper, and culminates at the pinnacle of dirty-movie success, the Hot D’Or awards in Cannes, where at 21 she is anointed Best New American Starlet. ”My career seemed unstoppable,” she writes of her triumph. ”Every month, a new movie of mine hit the stands.”

(Today’s pornography is rarely projected onto theater screens; it is sold in stores as videotape or DVD, as well as over the Internet. Jameson boasts that she is now ”the most downloaded person online.”) Thespian talent notwithstanding, an adult movie performer’s greatest asset is stamina; and by that measure Jenna Jameson the author deserves accolades. She is tireless. The book, written with Neil Strauss, a former music writer for The New York Times, tells how she overcame a wicked addiction to smoking meth — but the drug’s attendant logorrhea apparently remains untreated. This is a woman with mountains of things to say about the many interesting thoughts she has.

On porn itself: ”It’s one of the few jobs for women where you can get to a certain level, look around and feel so powerful, not just in the work environment but as a sexual being.” On the human race: ”Generally speaking, people are not very original.” On the work ethic: ”In myths about everyone from Hercules to the Buddha, rewards do not come without a struggle. There are labors to be undertaken, tests to be passed, hardships to overcome.”

Jenna Jameson’s Herculean life includes not only battles with drug addiction, drinking and eating disorders, but also emotional tugs-of-war with an estranged father, a grueling succession of dysfunctional relationships with men and women, and strep throat contracted from a co-star.

”It’s not easy to have sex with strangers in front of other people,” she announces, and yet, no surprise, the book is packed with exhaustive accounts of filmed sex scenes with guys and gals who range from ”soft, pasty . . . porous, greasy” to an actor/director/boyfriend whose on-camera work delivers such satisfaction that she deems their videotaped sex ”by porn standards . . . the sign of a healthy relationship.” A performance she describes in detail as ”one of the most explosive scenes I had ever filmed” is done with a male co-star so energetic that she declares, ”Trying to maintain eye contact with him was like trying to read Dostoyevsky on a roller-coaster.”

The Russian literature reference might seem odd in a book about a craft where grunts and squeals are more important than words; but Jenna Jameson aims high. Her story is divided not into mere chapters, but into Books with Roman numerals, each preceded by an epigraph from a Shakespeare sonnet. Book IV, which recounts her breakthrough as a video star, begins, ”As an imperfect actor on the stage, / Who with his fear is put beside his part.” Thirteen pages later, writing of a red-hot scene she does for a video called ”Silk Stockings,” the actress proclaims: ”Every part of my body — my hands, my mouth, my legs — began pumping in a different but perfect rhythm. I suddenly understood where the phrase sexual dynamo came from.” Dare we suggest that Jameson is ”o’ercharged with burthen of her own love’s might”?

”How to Make Love Like a Porn Star” doesn’t offer much useful information for those who prefer having sex in private; but for aspiring performers, it’s a gold mine. Remarkably, Jameson debunks the myth of the casting couch: ”You don’t have to have sex with anyone in order to get a job having sex with people.” And she offers tips like ”Girls who scream and flop all over the place into new positions don’t get many jobs.” To men who want to be in movies, the author suggests, ”Practice your orgasm face,” and to women, ”Pick a name that’s original and not cheesy.” Jenna (nee Massoli) chose Jameson because ”it was the name of a whiskey, and whiskey was rock ‘n’ roll.”

Beyond affirmation and advice, Jameson’s book is brimful of data that range from trivial to irrelevant. Celebrity gossip? Dig this: Marilyn Manson, the rock bad boy, likes to cuddle; Nicolas Cage smells like ”the distilled sweat of homeless people”; and Howard Stern, a fellow ReganBooks author, ”really did love his wife.”

The inflated volume includes a life’s worth of diary entries in scrawling typeface that resembles handwriting, panel cartoons illustrating the pitfalls of selling sex for a living, an interlude enumerating the Ten Commandments of oral sex, interminable transcribed interviews with her family of origin, a clause-by-clause adult-film contract, a list of favorite songs (”You Give Love a Bad Name” is at the top), 32 favorite names (she likes Bunny best, followed by Nikki, Viper and Cherri) and all of her measurements, including the length of each finger in 1985 and again in 1989. If you could overdose on autobiography, this book would be lethal.

 

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