Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley (born Marie Louise Hartman;[3][4] March 11, 1959) is an American pornographic actress, pornographic film director, sex educator, sex-positive feminist, and author.

Nina Hartley
Hartley attending the 2013 AVN Awards show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, January 2013
Marie Louise Hartman

(1959-03-11) March 11, 1959
Berkeley, California, United States
Other namesNina Hartman, Nina Hartwell
Notable work
1,028 films as actress, 18 films as director (per IAFD)[1]
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[2]
(m. 1986; div. 2003)

Ernest Greene
(m. 2003)

Early life

Marie Louise Hartman was born in Berkeley, California, to a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother (both deceased)[5][6] whose family was from Alabama.[7] She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.[8] She is the youngest of four children, with an older sister and two older brothers.[2] Her parents were communists[5] who converted to Buddhism when she was young.[9] Her father was blacklisted in 1957.[10] After graduating from Berkeley High School in 1977, she attended San Francisco State University's undergraduate nursing school and graduated magna cum laude in 1985. She was a registered nurse per the California Board of Registered Nursing until her license expired in 1986.[11]

Adult film career

Hartley saw The Autobiography of a Flea (the first adult film directed by a woman, Sharon McNight)[12] alone, at a theater in San Francisco and chose her life work: making porn.[13][14][10]

In 1982, during her sophomore year of nursing school, she started working as a stripper at the Sutter Cinema and later the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre.[15][8] She made her foray into the world of pornographic movies during her junior year in 1984. Her debut performance was in the film Educating Nina, making her a protégée of Juliet Anderson.[16][17]

Explaining how Marie Louise Hartman became Nina Hartley, she stated in an interview that she chose the name "Nina" because it was easy for Japanese tourists to say during the time she was a dancer in San Francisco; "Hartley" was chosen as it was close to her own real last name and because she "wanted a name that sounded like that of a real person".[8] She stated that when she got into the adult business, she was blessed with two popular fetish items: "big, baby-blue eyes and that round butt with a high, small waist", with her buttocks becoming her trademark.[18]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, she starred in several of the Debbie Does film series spin-offs such as Debbie Duz Dishes (1986) and Debbie Does Wall Street (1991).[19]

In 1992, she directed her first movie Nina Hartley's Book of Love.[20]

For many years, she also toured the United States and Canada as a stripper and made personal appearances at adult shops.[19][21]

Sex-positive activism

A long-time board member of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation,[22] Hartley considers herself a liberal and an outspoken sex-positive feminist,[23] although for a time she was a socialist activist.[24] Addressing other women, she said, "Sex isn't something men do to you. 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."

Hartley has been an advocate for the adult film industry's right to exist. Before the rise to stardom of Jenna Jameson, she had often been called on when television news programs and talk shows required an articulate, leading adult film actress to support the pro side. The two came under hard scrutiny from the mostly female audience, but they refused to back down and were outspoken in their support of the industry. Ona Zee and she spoke out strongly against illegal drugs in the industry.

She has lectured at several universities such as Harvard, Berkeley, Dartmouth and the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.[21][22]

She was interviewed by Eric Schlosser for his book "Reefer Madness, Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market" in which she was critical of the hypocrisy of anti-pornography legislation and actions.[25]

Mainstream work

Hartley had a role in the 1997 film Boogie Nights, playing William H. Macy's character's serially unfaithful wife,[21] and she appeared in the 1996 Canadian film Bubbles Galore.[26] Hartley also appeared in the late rapper Tupac Shakur's music video for his 1996 single, "How Do U Want It?"

Nina Hartley appears in the Amazon Award-winning 2016 documentary Sticky: A (Self) Love Story, in which she discusses her sex-positive views on self-love, with regards to education, the forced resignation of Joycelyn Elders, and her opinions on the blackballing of comedian Paul Reubens after his arrest for masturbating in a public theater.[27][28] Nina Hartley attended a Las Vegas premiere of the documentary at the Erotic Heritage Museum on May 26, 2016, in which she sat on a Q&A panel with the writer/producer/director Nicholas Tana, and adult film actress Ginger Lynn.[29][30]

Later career

In 2006, she published her first book, Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex.[31] She later co-authored the book series How to be Kinkier beginning in 2012.[32]

In 2010, she quipped, "Now I work with women who are younger than my breast implants."[33]

Hartley played the part of Hillary Clinton in the film Who's Nailin' Paylin? This was a pornographic parody of then Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, with Lisa Ann in the role of Palin.[34][35]

Hartley was also featured in the 2012 documentary After Porn Ends, which is about life after being a porn actor.

As of 2019, Hartley remained active in the industry.[36] Appearing primarily in "mature"-themed pornography, in 1994, she began her line of instructional videos which are marketed under the Nina Hartley's Guide brand[21] covering subjects ranging from basic sexual intercourse and foreplay, to anal sex and bondage.[1]

Personal life

Hartley is openly bisexual in her private life.[37] From 1981–2000, Hartley was involved in a relationship with a man and a woman. She married her male partner in 1986; their divorce was finalized in 2003.[15]

In 2003, the year her divorce was finalized, she married Ira Levine, professional name Ernest Greene, a director of porn films.[38]


AVN Awards

Hartley has won numerous awards throughout her career, from various critic and fan organizations. The following is a list of her Adult Video News Awards:

  • 1987 Best Actress – Video for Debbie Duz Dishes[39]
  • 1987 Best Couples Sex Scene Film for Amanda By Night II[39]
  • 1989 Best Supporting Actress – Film for Portrait of an Affair[40]
  • 1989 Best Couples Sex Scene – Video for Sensual Escape[40]
  • 1991 Best Supporting Actress – Video for The Last X-Rated Movie[41]
  • 2005 Best Specialty Tape – BDSM for Nina Hartley's Private Sessions 13[42]
  • 2005 Best Specialty Tape – Spanking for Nina Hartley's Guide To Spanking[42]
  • 2009 Best Non-Sex Performance for Not Bewitched XXX[43]
  • AVN Hall of Fame[44]

XRCO Awards

Hartley has won a number of XRCO Awards:

  • 1986 Best Couple Sex Scene for Ball Busters[45]
  • 1987 Best Couple Sex Scene for Peeping Tom[45]
  • 1987 Torrid Triad Scene for Every Woman Has A Fantasy 2[45]
  • 1989 Female Performer Of The Year[45]
  • 1990 Best Supporting Actress for My Bare Lady[45]
  • 1990 Best Girl-Girl Scene for Sorority Pink[45]
  • 1995 Hall of Fame[46]

Other awards and nominations


  • Nicolas Barbano: Verdens 25 hotteste pornostjerner (Rosinante, Denmark 1999) ISBN 87-7357-961-0; features a chapter on her.
  • Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Nina Hartley: XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits (Bulfinch, USA 2004) ISBN 0-8212-7754-5. (Features essay and introduction by Nina.)
  • Nina Hartley: Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex (Avery, USA 2006) ISBN 1-58333-263-4
  • Louis Marvin: The New Goddesses (AF Press, USA 1987): ISBN 0-912442-99-9 (features a chapter on her)
  • David McCumber: X-Raxploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between (2010, New World Library, ISBN 978-1-57731-910-8) features an interview with Hartley
  • Morpheous: How to Be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime (2012, Green Candy Press, ISBN 1931160945). Introduction written by Hartley.


  1. Nina Hartley at the Internet Adult Film Database
  2. Christina (May 8, 2008). "Interview with Nina Hartley". AIPdaily. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  3. "14 arrested in reported live Vegas sex show". San Jose Mercury News. January 11, 1993. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  4. Niemietz, Brian. "Lecture by porn star Nina Hartley gets mixed reaction from midwestern university". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  5. TYT Interviews: "Legendary Pornstar Nina Hartley" January 11, 2013, Retrieved April 13, 2014
  6. "Marie L Hartman, Born 03/11/1959 in California". Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  7. "Atheism ethics & pornography: The Humanist interview with Nina Hartley". Humanist. 2010. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011.
  8. "Ask Nina Hartley Anything: Sex, Politics and Sexual Politics. Plus Porn!=2015-08-27". Reddit. Summer 2015.
  9. Stephanie Nolen (April 24, 1999). "The thinking woman's porn star speaks out". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 25, 1999. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  10. "Legendary pornstar Nina Hartley". The Young Turks. January 11, 2013.
  11. "over 18?". Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  12. Lust, Erika (May 25, 2010). Good Porn: A Woman's Guide. Da Capo Press. ISBN 9781580053518 via Google Books.
  13. "Carli Bei's One On One, Nina Hartley In the Schmooze, the Nintendo Holiday Preview Event, and MORE on Today's show! - Naked News".
  14. "Au Naturelle Whitney Talks O'Naturel Paris & More On Our Weekend Programs - Naked News".
  15. Wischhover, Cheryl (May 19, 2015). "Why I'm Still Doing Porn in My Late 50s". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  16. "AVN Nina Hartley". AVN. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  17. Fagan, Kevin (January 31, 2010). "Adult film star Juliet 'Aunt Peg' Anderson dies". SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  18. David Sullivan (March 11, 2009). "Happy Birthday, Nina Hartley". AVN. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  19. O'Connell, Loraine (December 17, 1992). "Porn Queen Gives Fans What They Want To See: An Eyeful". orlandosentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  20. White, Tracie (June 7, 1992). "X-rated feminism". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  21. Robbins, Jefferson (May 15, 1998). "Bigger than a Porn Star?/X Marks Just One Spot for Finding Nina Hartley". State Journal-Register. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  22. Farris, Kyle (November 3, 2018). "'It's OK to like porn': Porn star Nina Hartley lectures UW-La Crosse students on sex, adult entertainment". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  23. "About Nina Hartley". Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  24. McLemee, Scott. (February 6, 1997). "Sect Appeal",
  25. Schlosser, Eric (April 1, 2004). Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. HMH. ISBN 9780547526751.
  26. McGregor, Glen (May 30, 1999). "Porn star bubbling over with laughs amid funding feud". Calgary Herald. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  27. Allen, Samantha (January 22, 2016). "'Sticky' Documentary Dispels Myths About Self-Love". The Daily Beast via
  28. "Sticky: A Self Love Story". February 1, 2016 via Amazon.
  29. "Sticky: A (Self) Love Story – May 25th 7PM @ Erotic Heritage Museum – Erotic Heritage Museum Las Vegas".
  30. Allen, Samantha (January 22, 2016). "'Sticky' Documentary Dispels Myths About Self-Love". The Daily Beast via
  31. Hartley, Nina (2006). Amazon: Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex. ISBN 978-1583332634.
  32. Morpheous; Hartley, Nina (July 11, 2012). How to Be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime. Green Candy Press via Amazon.
  33. Lynn Comella (October 6, 2010). "Las Vegas Weekly: Nina Hartley's adult film career has been long, distinguished and trailblazingand it's far from over". Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  34. "Hustler Video Does It Again With Palin Parody". Hustler World. October 8, 2008. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  35. "Nailin' Palin". Masturbation Invasion. October 6, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  36. D'Ammassa, Algernon (June 15, 2018). "My dinner with a porn star". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  37. Mourra, Sarah (November 22, 2000). "Porn Star Talks Sex to Students". The Daily Californian. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
  38. "Nina Hartley: Information & Biography". Archived from the original on August 11, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  39. "1987 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  40. "1989 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  41. "1991 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  42. "2005 AVN Award winners and categories". Adult Video News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  43. David Sullivan (January 11, 2009). "2009 AVN Award-Winners Announced". Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  44. "25th Annual AVN Awards Show". Archived from the original on October 20, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  45. "Nina Hartley Awards". AIWARDS. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  46. "XRCO Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  47. "11th Annual "Night of the Stars"". Free Speech Coalition. Archived from the original on 24 February 1999. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  48. "Adult Video Awards". Archived from the original on June 24, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  49. "Oscar Wild?". The Des Moines Register. May 17, 1996. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  50. "The FICEB Ninfa, Tacón de Aguja and HeatGay Awards". June 9, 2007. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  51. XBIZ Nominees 2013 Archived December 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, XBIZ, January 2013
  52. Peter Warren (April 13, 2014). "2nd Annual Fannys Presented". AVN. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  53. XBIZ Award Winners, XBIZ, January, 2019
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