Nina Hartley has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in her storied career. As a writer, performer, activist, and educator, her influence in the classroom and workshops is bar none. I've had the pleasure of attending her presentations and have invited her into my college human sexuality courses to share her wisdom with students on topics such as sexual health, the pornography industry and porn literacy, feminism and sexuality, and sexual communication and negotiation. Her energetic nature, humor, and relatable style is perfectly suited to captivate a classroom filled with students thirsting for accurate sexual education information and life skills preparation.
-Hernando Chaves M.F.T., D.H.S.
Doctor of Human Sexuality, Pepperdine University and Orange Coast College Professor
She is a published author. A registered nurse that graduated magna cum laude from San Francisco State University. She also has an honorary doctorate degree from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.
A sex educator, she tours the country speaking at colleges to students about how to enjoy sex safely. She has released a series of entertaining and instructional videos on nearly all forms of human sexuality over 30 volumes long.
She is a liberal. She is the ultimate feminist.
She is Nina Hartley.
David Brinkley once said that a successful person is one that can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at them. How true in the case of Nina Hartley.
Whatever your opinion of her or her chosen field, Nina Hartley is a pioneer for female and sexual empowerment. Long before Traci Lords and Jenna Jameson were selling books in mass, long before Sasha Grey was making headlines working with Oscar winners, Nina Hartley was a “crossover” star when the term didn’t exist. Despite her protests about the source of her fame, would Kim Kardashian be the celebrity she is now if it weren’t for Nina’s sexual pioneering?
She unflinchingly stood her ground against Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue and their legions of fans who berated and condemned her. Second Wave feminists of the 80s, the very women she was fighting for, ostracized her. of the 80s, the very women she was fighting for, ostracized her. It wasn’t easy or cool or edgy or trendy. It was downright dangerous. But she met, and continues to meet, every obstacle, personal and professional, head on.
Her message, then and now, is simple.
"Sex isn't something men do to you", she proclaims. "It isn't something men get out of you. Sex is something you dive into with gusto and like it every bit as much as he does."
Nina still lives by her words. Her fans -- and her fan base is global -- have watched her age from 25 to 59, and she remains one of the top performers in her industry, one where crash and burn is the norm. She is in better shape and has more enthusiasm than women half her age. And she does it all with a sense of humor that is wickedly brilliant. She doesn’t take herself too seriously...
"But I do take sex seriously. Despite that what I do for a living is absurd”, she says.
Maybe. But what she stands for isn’t.
At her very core, Nina Hartley has the courage to live the way so many of us wish we could -- truly free. That commitment to being free and living authentically and defending, not just her own right, but the right of everyone to do the same is what makes her a preeminent symbol of female empowerment.
By simply living her life her way, she encourages women to own their bodies and to be unapologetically comfortable in their sexuality, no matter what it is and no matter what their age.
“Boomers are aging,and Boomer women are not giving up our sex lives”, she has said. “We are not our mothers, many of whom, by the time they were the age we are now, were relieved to give up on a sex life that may never have been fulfilling.”
You don’t have to like what she does, and she’s fighting for your right not to.
That also makes her a humanitarian. With a great ass.