Linda Lovelace and Her “Ordeal”


By Liz Everly

“The worse type of bondage is psychological.”   Detective C.T. Sluder,  Writer’s Police Academy Session on Human Trafficking

images-1You know how you’re reading a book and then something in real life pops up that relates to it or deepens your understanding of it? This happened to me when I attended the Writer’s Police Academy a few weeks back. I was reading “Ordeal” by Linda Lovelace and Mike McGrady. And I had almost given up on it because I was thinking: seriously, can anybody be this stupid? Shame on me. I am a compassionate person, but her story just seemed like overkill. But it wasn’t.

images-3

Linda Lovelace and Chuck Traynor, her abusive husband.

The story of “Ordeal” is the story of how Linda Lovelace of “Deep Throat” fame was forced into prostitution and porn films. It’s a hard story to read—I was just so frustrated with this naïve person who at the age of twenty went to live with a man she barely knew. She had been abused by her mother for years, which left her wide open to men who like to prey on women. She trusted him because he was nice to her. Then, after he gained her trust, he began to force her to perform sex with other men for money. He beat her. He held a gun to her head. But more than all of this, he continually berated her and told her she wasn’t pretty, she wasn’t good in bed, and often pointed out other inadequacies. She believed him.

The couple of times she tried to escape ended in more violence. Apparently, this went on for years.

I found this really frustrating and hard to believe by the middle of the book. I kept thinking how much more could she take? Why could not she escape?

Than I took this class and learned about human trafficking and how real psychological bondage can be. Then I understood that with was the same exact thing Lovelace was dealing with. I had been thinking “Okay, this woman is really young and scared. But really?” Yes, really. And I also understand that everybody would not react in the same way.I think that some women would have fought more—but may have ended up dead.

In fact, one of the times she did manage to escape, she wrote about how she felt like she was coming out of a fog, like parts of her had been missing for years. Apt description.images-4

I was hoping for more insight into the porn industry—much of what she wrote was the cliché porn industry stuff, which I suppose proves that some cliché’s are there for a reason. Her “husband” Chuck Traynor was in charge of her money (millions), had all of the control, and many of the other men in the business availed themselves to her anytime they wanted. Maddening, heh?

Toward the end of her life, after escaping Traynor and his ilk, she did find love and I suppose that makes it more of a happy ending than what you might expect.

The book made me wonder how much of this coercion goes on today with young women in the porn industry. We like to think it doesn’t. We read about new regulations on the industry and new kinds of porn companies. But I wonder.

I recommend this book—but go in with your eyes open—it will make you think, cringe, cry, and very angry.

In other news, I will be on this panel on this coming Sunday—so if you are in Virginia, please stop by. FestivalTickingClockSepia

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9 Comments

  • Author Charmaine Gordon
    September 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Liz, thanks for this post. I recall waiting in line with my husband and other close secure couples years ago to see Deep Throat. A huge deal then and none of us knew the story behind the woman or the industry. And we didn’t care. Smug in our suburban lives, we talked about how in the world could she do ‘that’. More worldly now, I have compassion for what women and men do to stay alive. There are better ways as we know. Again, thanks for the eye opener.

    • LizEverly
      September 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. There are better ways, indeed.

  • LizEverly
    September 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Linda Lovelace and her “Ordeal”

  • Madeline Iva
    September 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I read Jenna James’ HOW TO MAKE LOVE LIKE A PORN STAR. Jenna, unlike Lovelace, seems so in control of her choices, her career, etc — except when you look a little deeper (just a very little). Then all the same-ish standard props are in place:

    -bad father figure
    -raped in her first sexual experience by an older man
    -gang raped
    -random photographers, etc being off the wall crude, rude, and insulting–and this had got to take it’s toll on someone over time.
    -abusive controlling boyfriend who took advantage of her and warped her career
    -hard time having healthy boundaries about what she would and wouldn’t do on film or off.

    At a certain point it’s clear Jenna becomes a rather defensive woman with great anger issues towards men. Porn connects to prostitution–but also to stripping. Jenna bounced back and forth between porn and stripping–but would take out her anger on the men, trying to stab them with her stilettos when she was on stage. I felt so much compassion and pity for this intelligent woman who found herself struggling with similar issues over and over again.

    In the same way that not all sex is porn sex, I like to think that women who write erotic romance aren’t writing porn. It’s not the same form, or format, or people in the erotic romance industry. Some people think the lines are blurred, and that the differences don’t matter–but when I read about these exploited women I DO think the differences matter, and I really want to make sure that what I’m writing and the industry that I’m involved with is a woman-friendly industry. Ugh. Nuff said.

    • LizEverly
      September 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I hear you, Madeline. And I completely agree.

  • cpmandara
    September 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    It’s crazy to think that this kind of thing goes on beyond closed doors, and open ones for that matter… and it’s not just one woman but hundreds of women all over the world… abused in used in psychological torment.

    No-one should have to suffer at the hands of these people and be exploited in such ways. It makes me mad. Whilst I write non-consensual material – it is purely in the lands of fantasy – and that is exactly where it should stay.

    Great post.

    • LizEverly
      September 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting. Lands of fantasy–I so agree.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    September 18, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Great post, Liz. Interesting to read about the book, but even more interesting was your honesty in revealing how your initial skepticism transformed into understanding and compassion once you’d attended the seminar and learn about psychological bondage.

    And I think Christina’s right, too. Non-consensual as a *fantasy* is entirely different than truly non-consensual sex. In the fantasy you get to control what happens, how, when where, for long how, etc. And you also get to say when it stop. Not so when it’s truly against your will. Then it’s called rape.

    • Stephanie Piscatelli
      September 23, 2013 at 6:56 am

      I couldn’t disagree more strongly. Non-consensual sex would not, could not exist without first the fantasy of non-consensual sex. No responsible woman would want to promulgate such thoughts.

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