Inside Deep Throat



Grossing over $600 million on a $25,000 budget, Deep Throat was a phenomena like no other before it. The backlash and liberation that seemed to have surrounded it at the time is incredible, more so when you see how accessible porn is today and the steps that have been taken over the decades to get to this stage. While writing this review, I could easily have opened up YouPorn and start watching, in another Google Chrome page, your everyday girl choking on a saliva covered dick, all for free. Deep Throat, whether people like it or not, is partially responsible for what the porn industry is today and even coined the name the film goes by.

Collective interviews from the cast and crew of Deep Throat, along with a range of people including actors, authors, doctors and lawyers, Inside Deep Throat is the Dennis Hooper-narrated HBO documentary that chronicles the impact of the Linda Lovelace starring film, from the creation of the contraceptive pill, to the aftermath of Deep Throat's release.

Cited as a rebellion rather than for the money, pornography in the 60s was an underground operation. No porn stars, even smaller budgets than now, and anti-campaigns on the go from the government - there really wasn't a break for the medium.


Taking unknown Linda Boreman, changing her name to Lovelace, and centering the film around her ability to give great head that hadn't been seen before on film (and was a surprise to the director), Deep Throat changed the porn world almost overnight. No longer was it a secret that had to be kept under wraps, the American mainstream were in on it. Men and women, young and old, were heading off to cinemas, even when it was banned and guerrilla style screenings were going on, resulting in a political outcry. A year after being released and people were still intrigued. Think of ticket inflation prices now and imagine how many people actually went to see it in the 70s.

Inside Deep Throat was a great introduction to an industry that has never been explained in a well-done documentary format (that I've seen at least). Unlike porn films today which have become part of the norm, Deep Throat was not only a sexual revolution that spawned a desire to see films that depicted real unsimulated sex, it challenged government views on sexuality and censorship. Even now, because a lot of the things we are subjected to have an over heightened sexual orientation about them, political interference on the level of Deep Throat just won't happen anytime soon. For the internet generation, art doesn't shock as much anymore. We've all seen it. 


One of the things that worked in Deep Throat's favour, I think, is the actual story. It's so outlandishly ludicrous in a way I can understand why people would be attracted to seeing something with the following premise:

A woman played by Linda Lovelace can't seem to get any sexual stimulation when she engages in penetrative sex. She feels "all tingly" but wants more than the tingles i.e The Big Bang.

Thinking that there is something wrong with her, she books herself an appointment to see a doctor, played by Harry Reems (love the name), who discovers that her clitoris is located at the back of her throat and not her vagina. Oh, if only. There is only one way for her to be stimulated engaging in a sexual act, and I think we all know what that is...

I was kind of shocked to find out, at least in the way that Inside Deep Throat explained, the act of giving head wasn't really a thing in porn. I couldn't even name you a porn film where I haven't seen someone, male or female, going mental with their mouth on a cock. In the 'real' world, too, oral sex - though it happened - wasn't at all common, no one knew what it was about or how to perform it. Deep Throat rocked the boat of dick-sucking, proving that this was just as worthy a sexual stimulate as penetrative sex and that is something 100% commendable. Sex shouldn't be about getting that penis into whatever non-mouth hole you prefer, it's more than that, and Deep Throat set the world alight on this discovery.


Thanks to the sexual revolution in the 1960s and the introduction of the contraceptive pill, I would have thought there would have been a lot more open mindedness when exploring this part of life. As  Deep Throat racked up the cash and more people (celebrities and the like) trekked to whatever multiplex was showing the film, the government, along with overtly-religious groups and feminists, weren't so pleased.

Becoming so outraged by the content of the film, the government locked down on states who were allowed to show it. Most of the 52 states in America had the film banned. Absurd, really. It went as far as having a trial against the film. People, both men and women, weren't allowed to watch whatever the fuck they wanted to watch?  Why should the government stop someone from seeing something they, willingly, have an interest in viewing? They have no right. All of us should have freedom of speech when it comes to watch we watch, read, and listen to - those things help us form opinions, and taking that away from people proves how little power we have in the world. There will always be a hierarchy and censorship is the way of cracking down on  society, keeping everyone in check. It's one of the many reasons why I am not a fan of film, music, or gaming ratings.

Outside of the banning issue, the government went further with their anti-Deep Throat campaign. Harry Reems, the male lead of Deep Throat, was convicted for five years, all for starring in the film. Outrageous is the word that springs to mind. How can someone, who has done nothing wrong, be put in prison? It goes against any kind of morals that had been put in place for who faces that kind of punishment. The government were contradicting themselves and getting away with it. Reems managed to dodge the sentence by the skin of his teeth thanks to the resignation of President Richard Nixon when the Watergate incident blew up in his face, but it wasn't a happy road to recovery for him. They didn't teach you this shit in History, I can tell you that.


Not long after the Reems case, feminists became the biggest censors and Lovelace rallied with them. She became an key advocate for the anti-porn movement, shunning the industry that she came from.

Before mentioning anything else, I have to confess to not having seen Deep Throat. Based on the clips shown of it, the film is a lot like a porn parody before porn parodies even existed; right up my alley. I can't judge on the content of the film being anti-feminist, but over the years, Linda Lovelace claimed that every time someone watches the film, they're watching her be raped and that's not something to joke about.

Lovelace turned to the anti-porn movement after she was heavily involved in an abusive relationship with her then-husband, who also introduced her to the director of Deep Throat. When she tried to distance herself from her mainstream celebrity status after very few unsuccessful films, it didn't happen. She got fired from jobs because of her name, and, when she died in 2002, she didn't have a penny to spare. Her story, I found, was rather tragic - a woman catapulted to fame completely out of the blue, who turns against the industry from where she came from at her own choice, but, no matter how hard she tries, can't get away from it; people just won't let her forget it.

The way in which Lovelace was treated then can be seen in celebrities of the now. Take Sasha Grey for instance. She was at the top of her game as a porn actress and had even managed to seep into the mainstream. Interviews she had undertaken expressed her interest to do work outside of porn and being a massive film fan, acting in non-pornographic films was something she was very keen on doing. Since headlining The Girlfriend Experience, Steven Soderbergh's 2009 film - which I thought was great -, Grey has done much work outside of porn, but her previous job role isn't behind her yet. 

Last year, Grey participated in a Guest Reading Program that saw her visiting an elementary school and reading for the children there. Parents can be big overly protective shits sometimes, and this was one of those occasions. When attending the program, Grey used her real name, Marina Hantiz, sending some parents into a fit about how a retired porn actress had read to their kids when they found out her alias. What someone has done in a past job shouldn't be of any concern to anyone really, and Grey expressed that if she had known the feelings toward her taking part in the Guest Reading Program, she wouldn't have done it. 1 point to Sasha Grey, 0 to the Overprotective Parents Brigade. 


Despite the obvious leaps and bounds porn has taken since Deep Throat, there are still parts of the industry that people are not comfortable with like the Sasha Grey incident. It's something I have hopes people will be able to to get over and be able to differentiate between what is a job, and what is real life. A porn actors world isn't just porn, it's their job. They have a life outside of it, too. 

Inside Deep Throat brought back positive and negative feelings I've had with the industry as long as I've known it has existed. What happened to Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems is horrific, and both clearly suffered some sort of mental breakdown from the aftermath of the film. No one should be put through that, and truly, it is disappointing that people would have pointed the blame at those two actors, pinning them down as the route cause for so many problems in American society. All they did was star in a film, they didn't kill anyone. 

While the impact on Lovelace and Reems was tragic to say the least, Inside Deep Throat did leave me with a slightly different view on porn.  Sure, I still have a love/hate relationship with it as a sometimes-watcher, and there are questionable things about how the industry runs, but without Deep Throat, the workings of society would probably be a lot different in regards to the way that sex sells and how liberated we would be now. Dick sucking wouldn't be a thing, either, and that'd be a shame.

11 comments

  1. Really interesting article, I had no idea about Deep Throat. I suppose socially it's easy to get why they were sued, times were different... stupider. It's kind of like that with everything - we knew (or know, depending on the country you live in) the legalisation of gay marriage was just a matter of time but until then homosexuals were being arrested, beaten up.

    Though in both cases the Law is the easiest thing to change, porn is legal, gay marriage is legal, but the social prejudice is still there. Only time will change the way society looks at them - cliché, but true. It's a much slower process, but I think we're going in the right direction, it's evident.

    Anyway, great post.

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    1. I agree that things are going in the right direction. I look forward to the day when censorship will be off the table, except to protect children, and we focus -- instead -- on trying to promote open communication and healthy attitudes toward relationships, intimacy, and sexuality. I can hope, right?

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    2. I agree with both of you, here.

      It seems like such a massive leap when it comes to the law changing things such as same-sex marriages, porn, etc. but it is really society that has to step up to the game and follow those changes through because, well, there will always be ignorant people out there who can't accept particular things.

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    3. Agreed. And people's basic rights -- such as being allowed to marry whomever they choose -- should never be determined by popular opinion. If that were the way it worked, many schools in the Southern U.S. would still be racially segregated. Yet conservative politicians keep yelling about the Will of the People in reference to gay marriage. What bullshit. I'm in a heterosexual marriage, and nobody got to vote about that or tell me what I could or couldn't do.

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  2. Fascinating review and discussion. And when it comes to opposition to pornography, feminists and religious conservatives make -- if you'll pardon the expression -- unlikely bedfellows, don't they?

    There is a lot in your article I didn't know, though I do remember hearing about the link between Watergate and "Deep Throat." I didn't even know the premise of this movie. What an interesting anatomical quirk (as you said, "if only!" :-))

    It's odd, some 40 years later, to think how upset people were about both the introduction of porn (which is now almost difficult to dodge if you have an internet connection) and the open secret that people engage in oral sex.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie!

      I was quite surprised to hear about the Watergate incident and Deep Throat being connected slightly. Would have been interesting to have actually learnt about that in History lessons.

      The way the world has changed over 40 years is crazy. I mean, I've only been on this planet for 19 years, but even then the leaps and bounds that have been made have been both good and bad.

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    2. I think I learned about "Deep Throat" and the investigation of Watergate while studying political science in college. it was definitely not in my U.S. history curriculum in high school. *LOL* It *should* be though. Teens deserve to know how the world really works.

      I just turned 46, and yes, the times they are a changin' :) I remember blogging about being 14 and thinking that a glimpse of a guy's naked butt on a movie screen was the crowning event of my whole year. *LOL!*

      My teens know so much more, and are exposed to so much more, than we were. My brother hid stolen Playboys under his bed. My kids could get porn whenever they wanted to -- our computers all have unfiltered internet access. But I'm almost certain they don't. Their attitudes toward sexuality, if anything, are even more responsible than mine were. In my opinion, no one was ever harmed by open and honest communication and (past a reasonable age, of course) by being trusted to make choices about how to express their own sexuality.

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    3. Have nothing else to say apart from, Stephanie, you are awesome.

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  3. Cherokee what a a great article you've written.

    I (relatively) recently read the biographies of Ron Jeremy and Diablo Cody and knew about quite a lot of the hypocricy surrounding adult entertainment in America. The Ron Jeremy thing is really quite sad, as he's good in every mainstream movie I've seen him in. As for Diablo Cody, she doesn't seem to have been tarnished with the same brush as Sasha Grey despite admitting to having done things for money that would seemingly offend the same people - overprotective parents for example.

    I particularly enjoyed your final line btw, Dick sucking wouldn't be a thing, either, and that'd be a shame.

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    1. I've wanted to check out Diablo Cody's biography for a while, and haven't heard about Ron Jeremy's one as of yet. But I'll keep a note of both of them, and when the next pay cheque comes in, books galore!

      Totally agree with you about the protective parents thing. Parents, especially in this net generation, really need to be open and honest speaking to their kids about things and not to wrap them up in a blanket for their young lives, thinking they're never going to discover that these things exist themselves.

      As always Toby, thank you for the kind words! Also glad you liked the last line. Had to put that in there, haha.

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