Porn Star Christy Canyon’s Vivid Memories

For the adult film actress, the Valley was a small town

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Cut to: The San Fernando Valley, mid-’80s. Porn scenes had actual plots and dialogue. The handful of adult stars, like Peter North and Valley native Christy Canyon, were more like members of an X-rated acting troupe, and a condom law wasn’t a divisive issue that pushed production out of L.A. Now retired from the business (she performed in more than 100 movies) and the host of a show on SiriusXM’s Vivid Radio, Christy Canyon, 48, reflects on the “Boogie Nights” boom and how it ushered in the world of YouPorn.

The first thing I shot wasn’t even as glamorous as a video—it was called a loop. It was for Caballero’s Swedish erotica line. It was like, “You’re going to meet Ron Jeremy. He’s your boyfriend. You’re going to have sex in bed with another couple.” It was really quite innocent.

I started at a time when the talent pool was so small, you pretty much knew who you were having sex with. There were eight guys. There were maybe a dozen companies shooting. Everything was smaller back then—except for my boobs; they were still big. The business is so enormous now, and so many girls want to get into it. We were kind of innocent and geeky in the ’80s. We were so unpolished. We were these rebellious little girls who found a way to make a couple hundred dollars a day and have great sex. It wasn’t, “We’re going to be the next Jenna Jameson.”

I didn’t even know what porn was until I was 17 and I was at an older guy’s house with my stepsister. He showed us Hal Freeman’s California Valley Girls. I was floored—I’m sure I was a little stoned, too—that people were having sex on camera. I’ve been on the radio going on nine years, and these girls come in, and they’re adorable, and they’re willing to do anything. It’s a different vibe out there now. You show up, you get donkey punched or someone opens up your eye and jizzes in it, and you’re done for the day. It’s a lot harder sex. And if that’s your thing, great. I’m glad I was in my era, when it was loving and adorable and we were friends with everybody.

With the condom law at a standstill, you don’t hear about a lot of people shooting. I think a lot of companies are doing it illegally or they’re going to Vegas to shoot. With all the girls in the business, they’re starving. They can’t get enough work. We had 29 out of 30 days a month that we were working in the ’80s.

The ’80s for porn really kicked the doors open. With video, they could put out more product at a cheaper price. When cell phone cameras could be used, it diluted the beauty of it a million times more. Just like now, with Web-camming and porn sites just stealing content. It’s so kicked open now, there’s no bringing it back.

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