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SexHerald Adult Reviews
© The Adult Entertainment and News Authority
Volume 7   -   Issue 1
Aftermath of a Sexual Maelstrom: Harry Reems Today
By SexHerald Staff

Herb Streicher, a Jewish kid growing up in the suburbs of the 50s, emerges as the porn legend Harry Reems, who gets swept up by the sexual/social revolution of the 60s and 70s and becomes a symbol of the time. It almost sounds like an adult Cinderella story with a happily ever after. Though the story does end happily, the journey that is Harry Reems' life could not be further from a fairy tale. But, to a man who claims he would relive every inch of life if given the chance only proves he's made of stuff that only myths are made of.

SexHerald was fortunate enough to catch up with Harry Reems and give us an in-depth look behind the documentary Inside Deep Throat and was so good enough to recapitulate the finer and not-so-finer parts of his history with Deep Throat .


SexHerald: The purpose of After Hours is to interview adult professionals and put them in a personable light. We've interviewed names like Annie Sprinkle; Louis Sirkin, the First Amendment rights lawyer; Tim Connelly, publisher of AVN ; and, Stephanie Swift.

Reems: I have to tell you: I don't follow anything related to the adult film industry or to pornography or to the public sex life of any kind. It's just not my lifestyle. I don't deny it; I certainly don't have an opinion about it or against it. It's not what consumes my life today. The only reason I participated in the documentary Inside Deep Throat was one-fold. I don't know what you know about my past but I became a very low-bottom alcoholic. Two-and-a-half gallons of vodka everyday, which is why my voice is the way it is today. In 1989, I got clean and sober through the 12-step program. And I learned how to live a new life in that program. I converted to Christianity from Judaism. I was baptized. I became a member of the Methodist congregation and I eventually became a trustee in that church. While AA meetings and going to church don't take up too much of my time, I'm happily married. I applied for a real estate license. And in three years, I was the top ERA agent in the state of Utah . I was getting nominated as salesman of the year in parts of Utah . So, my lifestyle today is different. I'm a happily married guy. I do a lot of – not as much as I used to – but a lot of contributing time and money to worthy causes: the homeless, Habitat for Humanity, Women's Cancer and we just sent a whole bunch of money down to Katrina. It's a different life for me, and it's a life I never thought I would have. In fact, my life today is better than anything I'd ever have.

I've never really felt comfortable in life; I've always felt like an outsider. It's like being in a room with a thousand people and not feeling a part of society and very much uncomfortable in my own skin. And I learned this through 12 Steps which I continue to work on a regular basis. So, the adult film industry, the Adult Video Network, the adult films themselves, I haven't seen a porno film in probably 25-30 years.

SH: This isn't about the adult industry but freedom of choice. What we are about is sex, but not from the standpoint of pornography or non-pornography, but just from the standpoint that “life is sexually transmitted.”

Reems: Not at 58 years old, it isn't! [ All laughs ]

SH: Let's start out with the film, the history and the times. I want to travel back a little bit. As a viewer and an observer of a “snippet” of your life, I noticed in Inside Deep Throat a sense of betrayal on your part by your co-star, Linda Lovelace and the director, Gerard Damiano. You were sort of made into the scapegoat.

Reems: You know, I had no resentment towards them. Certainly, Linda Lovelace was not forced at gunpoint to do anything. In fact, once the women's movement was done with her, she went right back to taking off her clothes doing nude films or magazines or whatever. Had I been given the option to be a witness to the prosecution of Gerard Damiano, I'd take him in. I didn't want to go through all that. I hold no resentment towards them. They were offered immunity. I wouldn't wish what happened to me on anyone. Why it happened to me is still a guessing game.

I was in Memphis the other day. Very interesting thing in Memphis . Thirty years ago, I was prosecuted for being part of a conspiracy to transport interstate obscene materials. And I stayed at a wonderful little hotel in Memphis called The Peabody where the ducks come out of the elevators and everybody wears white gloves – one of the old grand hotels of the South. And in my room, the movie selections, you had five or six new releases, like Sahara and whatever else is new. But, when you went to the adult fare, there were probably 40 selections, including Deep Throat , “the original version.”

Just to give you a better idea of my perspective of my role in that industry; certainly, I was a pioneer. Deep Throat was the first film to not have any pretenses or social hidden values. In fact, it spoofed the “white coaters.” And that's what its job was. Gerard and I chatted about this. ‘Sure you want to do this?' And he said, ‘Yeah, I want to do this. It's power.' And so that's what made Deep Throat uniquely different than anything else that popped up. Its marketing and advertising scheme was that “you won't learn a damn thing but you'll have some fun and get excited, too.” So, it really was a slap in the face of the existing statutes and it caused a lot of furor.

I certainly was a part of the sexual revolution of the 60 s. I was a hippie, lived in the East Village going way back. So, when these folks came along, I was living here. The fellow said, ‘I know somewhere where you can pick up a 100 bucks.' And that was work and that was back in the days of stag films. So, I was definitely a pioneer in this sexual sex film industry but not a voice. I never had a platform, never stood on a soapbox, I never said, ‘Free sex! Free sex! Free sex, everybody should do it!'

SH: I don't know if you were a volitional voice…

Reems: No, I was not. I was a symbol. I was part of the infancy of it all but not a voice. If I had a voice, it was a voice of self-survival. It wasn't a voice of sexual freedom – ANY sexual freedom. You know, being in those movies is a lifestyle. And, it was not uncommon if 10 actors were on a movie set. When the movie was over, they'd all go to someone's apartment and continue to party; I never did. I'd go home and read a book or go to the theater and act on stage, if that was what I was doing at the time. So, I was not an outsider by any means. I was a Jewish kid growing up in the 50s. So, my first objective in doing these movies was to please women. And it was the women who hired the men. I became the favorite of many, which is why I had so much power back then. But, never an advocate, never an active voice for sexual freedom. There were others who were doing that. And, Hugh Hefner is far more articulate than I am.

SH: Thirty-odd years later and here you are: a spiritual man.

Reems: I am more spiritual than I am religious. My wife constantly grows spiritually. She reads every book, from the Dalai Lama to the course of miracles, whatever it is, she's reading and I love her for it.

SH: She's expanding and I take it you haven't the strength to undergo the things you have without spirituality. So, going back, what do you think about what happened to you: the prosecution, the trials? And what do you think about all the silliness that people make out of sex? That this movie was made about sex and the people involved in it?

Reems: The movie's about showing how pornography was part of a sexual change in America . At the same time, there was a social revolution going on in the late 60s early 70s. The adult film industry was in portion a part of that social revolution, no question about it. That's why I say I was a participant and not a voice. And because of popularity with the women, I became a figurehead, no pun intended. The fact that I was used as a pawn in that trial – and today I can look at it objectively – I would have made the same decision. I don't think anyone seriously thought I would get convicted.

SH: It's silliness. They wouldn't have done that to you if you were eating or brushing your teeth. What do you make of all this?

Reems: I just like sexuality. If I look at my sexual life from early age until now, I was an innocent. I grew up in the 50s. You did not have sex. If you got to first base or second base with your three-year girlfriend, you were in heaven. And it wasn't until I first started to do these films that I really developed a sexual sense of myself. With the exception of love, it taught me just about everything I know about the physical act of sex and make me feel comfortable about it, make me feel not guilty whatsoever for having sex with a complete stranger and indeed in front of the cast. And that would not have happen if it weren't for adult films. And my sexual life today is a lot less demonstrative, a lot less active than what I used to be by a long shot. But, I can look back and say I've worked through some of the worst inhibitions, some of the worst fears that were instilled in me in life. I have no shame, no guilt. And I've learned to have no animosity.

SH: What do you think would have happened to you if you had served your five-year conviction?

Reems: I'm sure there would have been a tremendous amount of fear. I might or might not have been killed in prison. I was going to be sentenced to a federal penitentiary; it's not a tennis court thing. I have no doubt because of my public sexual life the inmates would have used me a little more actively. I don't think about that. I can't think about what would have happened if I became a doctor. What would have happened if I became a lawyer? I can only go by what happened and what would have happened.

SH: Tell me a little bit about what gives you joy. Any hobbies?

Reems:I love golfing. I golf incessantly. I collect some things, too. I have an extensive collection of premium rings from Buster Brown to Buck Jones to Lone Ranger to Davy Crockett. I collect a lot of baseball cards and Brooklyn Dodger memorabilia. And I have the economic freedom to do so. I own a home that's worth more than a million dollars and it's almost cleared. I make a very healthy income. Probably the best joys in life I have today is sponsoring people in AA.

SH: You also mentioned Habitat for Humanity.

Reems: I was the director of land acquisition for Habitat for Humanity.

SH: And breast cancer…?

Reems: We just sent money to Red Cross for Katrina, some to Red Cross for the people and some to the Humane Society. We love animals. I contribute in my community today and I do it with love and I do it, hopefully, with a generous streak of helping people. The greatest joys I have in life today are my wife, my pets, my freedom – thank goodness - any ability to be in service to others.

SH: If you had to replay this life, would you do it?

Reems: I would do it in a heartbeat. To be the person that I am today, I would do it in a heartbeat.

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