New Book Celebrates Candida Royalle, Porn For Women Pioneer

Historian Jane Kamensky has just published a biography of porn legend Candida Royalle entitled, “Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution: A History From Below” which seems kind of odd coming from a leading scholar of the American Revolution who just left Harvard to become president of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. But then again, perhaps the sexual revolution has a lot in common with that18th-century political struggle, both of which divided Americans against each other more than we might think or remember.

Candida Royalle was a multi-talented porn star, producer, director, sex educator, and sex-positive feminist. She was also a big fan of SCREW and a longtime friend of late SCREW founder Al Goldstein who “never gave her a bad review”. As a producer and director, she pioneered “couples porn”.

Born in New York City in 1950, Candida (real name: Candice Marion Vadala) was a late starter in the porn industry. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, performing in the avant-garde theater group The Cockettes and then a stint as Divine’s daughter in the play The Heartbreak of Psoriasis, began her pornographic career in 1975, at the age of 25. (That’s actually quite “old” for the time.)

Candida takes on two cocks

From 1975 to 1980, Candida starred in over 50 films including “Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls” with John Holmes, “Sunny“, “Pony Girls“, “The Ultimate Pleasure“, “Hot Lunch“, Cecil Howard’s “October Silk” and more. Her complete filmography can be found at ScrewVideo.com, including more than 80 titles available on DVD and for immediate download and streaming.

In 1980, Candida got married and grew uncomfortable being sexual with other men, so she retired from performing. Increasingly, her strong feminist views were finding her at odds with the male-dominated porn industry and male-focused films; that it paid virtually no attention to the female perspective nor made any effort to appeal to female viewers.

Candida and SCREW Founder Al Goldstein, 1981

So, in early 1984, Candida founded Femme Productions together with Hollywood actress Lauren Niemi (“This Is Us”, et al). Their goal was to create erotica based on female desire, as well as pornographic films aimed at helping couples therapy. Films like “Revelations“, “Urban Heat“, and “Rites of Passion” were aimed more at women and couples than at the standard pornographic audience of men and have been praised by counselors and therapists for depicting healthy and realistic sexual activity.

“I wanted to make films that made people feel good about their sexuality and about who they are as sexual beings. I wanted to make films that say we all have a right to pleasure, and that women, especially, have a right to our own pleasure.”

Candida Royalle, 2000

Through the 80s and 90s, Candida also wrote regular columns for SCREW, High Society, and Cheri. In 2004, she authored, How To Tell a Naked Man What to Do in which she shares her personal and professional expertise to help women realize their own sexual needs and fantasies — and bring confidence and creativity into their bedrooms. She called it, “a blueprint for directing your own sex life”.



Sadly, Candida passed away in 2015, at the age of 64, from ovarian cancer. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character “Candy” in the HBO Series The Deuce was loosely based on- and inspired by Candida Royalle.

Read the awesome review of Jane Kamensky’s “Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution: A History From Below” in The New York Times. The book is now available in-print, audio, and digital formats at Amazon.com. Be sure to leave comments if you give it a read!

—SM

CANDIDA ROYALLE

FEMME PRODUCTIONS

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