Even if you try to keep an open mind, where do you draw the line on porn? Emily Southwood never considered herself a prude — that is, until her fiancé got a job making adult films. In this excerpt from her memoir, Prude: Lessons I Learned When My Fiancé Filmed Porn, Southwood wrestles with her own reaction.
I'm popping a roast chicken in the oven when I hear my fiancé, Robbie, and our roommate, Matt, coming home from work. I poke my head around the corner. As usual, the entryway is quickly cluttered with two sets of shoes and several black bags of film gear.
"Hey Emiloo," Matt calls, and Robbie walks over to give me a kiss.
"Hello, boys," I say.
"What are you making, my love?" Robbie asks. I crack the oven to show him, and he grins. The three of us open Coronas and sit in the living room. I take a sip of mine and then set it down on the coffee table, realizing that this might not be the best moment for a cold one. I meant to get this dang destiny-altering pregnancy test over with before they returned. I better not be knocked up. But you can have an occasional beer when you're pregnant, right? The French don't give up wine, and they still pop out snooty intellectuals willy-nilly. I'm one-fifth French Canadian. Well, then. I resolve to drink half.
"So, give me the details," I say. "What did you boys have the pleasure of filming today?"
"It was a Naughty America teacher-student scene with a porn star named Rylie Spence," Robbie says. "I guess she was big in the '90s?" He looks inquisitively toward Matt, who shrugs. "Anyway, she was bitching that she gets mostly MILF scenes now that she's older."
"How old is she?" I ask. Although I brought this topic up and do want to know the details, I can already feel myself becoming rigid. I take a slug of my beer. Maybe I'll drink three-quarters.
"Around 30?" Robbie says.
"About that," Matt concurs. "But she looks older."
"Yeah, she does. She looks kind of haggard."
"So she's my age?"
"You're only 28."
"Twenty-nine in a month, that's around 30."
"OK, yeah, I guess. But she's probably lived pretty hard."
"Have you forgotten that I'd bartended for four years when you met me, dear? It's not exactly like I avoided nightlife." Robbie, wisely, doesn't bite, and I tell myself to shut my trap. Nobody is making this age comparison but me, but I also feel defensive for Rylie. It sucks to have someone say you've "lived hard" without even knowing you. I guess that's the thing about being a porn star — you're going to be judged on various accounts.
"She produces and directs now, too," Robbie says, changing the topic. "Pretty hard-core stuff. Apparently she's trying to prove that woman directors can be just as raunchy, since female-directed stuff is known for being softer."
"Raunchy how?" I ask.
"Like fisting, choking, airtight scenes, that sort of thing."
"What's 'airtight'?" I inquire earnestly. Robbie darts a glance at Matt, who quickly looks down at his iPhone, avoiding eye contact.
"Well, it's," Robbie starts.
Keep reading for the dirty details.