Imagine Running a Porn Ring from Your Suburban Home

Not Your Ordinary Housewife: Book Review

That’s the theme of this book Not Your Ordinary Housewife by Nikki Stern. In the 1980s, Nikki found herself in Amsterdam and in love. She was a glass-blower and artist, living in a communal lesbian squat, dressing in leather, safety pins and fishnets. She meets Paul, a younger, Dutch punk cartoonist and they soon marry and engage in an amorous sexual connection, dragging two single mattresses onto the floor of their squat to make love all day and night.

Amsterdam and the punk art scene

Paul struggles to find work and does not want to hold down a regular job. He also has homosexual fantasies, and dreams of sharing Nikki with other men. They both come from liberal, arty backgrounds, Nikki’s father a person of note on the art scene and Nikki’s mother a ballerina. Paul enters into several dodgy business deals to earn money. One of these projects involves him posing for some homosexual porn. Nikki isn’t thrilled with this idea, but she allows him to do it as they need the money. They now have a baby in the way. The shoot is a success and after a while Nikki, too, starts modelling for racy photographs, sometimes in shots having sex with Paul.

Sexy to the masses but sexless in their marriage

Their photos look racy, but in real life the couple’s sex life is suffering. Nikki has a lower sex drive than Paul, and his fetishes get stranger and stranger, leaving Nikki disgusted. She focuses on their daughter Shoshanna and tries to make the best of things, furnishing their home in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.

Porn laws of the late 80s and early 90s

This book is interesting as it also details some of the early legislation relating to pornography in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s. It used to be much harder to get your hands on the stuff and rules were constantly being changed and altered so proprietors had to shell out more cash. Nikki and Paul invent a service called “Watch and Wank” where they allow men to watch Nikki as they masturbate, for an arranged fee. Nikki rationalises that there is no sex involved.

Juxtaposition of young family and porn videos

It’s a slippery slope downwards for these two. Resentment between them grows as they make more and more money from horny letters, dirty photographs, rude stories and hot X rated phone calls. By today’s standards, it really is quite tame and the amount that they suffer seems out of proportion to their ‘crimes’. Really, you can see how Nikki is driven by Paul, and in a way by laziness. They are both smart, educated and determined, and the reader can’t but help think that had they put their minds to better uses, they could have been successful at anything.

The fun club flyers

They start a mailing club called the Fun Club. Being the 1980s, so much of their business revolved around duplicating photographs, printed documents (like horny letters and stories) and duplicating VHS tapes. This sort of activity was legal in some states of Australia but not in others, so the lengths they have to go to get around the law is extraordinary, but all legal in the end.

The first mobile phone

old phone

They embrace technology and even buy one of the first mobile (cell) phones. It was the size and shape of a large house brick and had to be carried over the shoulder. Nikki uses it to book clients on the go for the Watch and Wank sessions. She tells a great story where she has the phone at her local suburban supermarket, slung into the trolley. She uses it to the amusement and astonishment of the other shoppers who all assume her to be a rich lady organising a tennis match, rather than a prostitute booking a sex client.

Wine enemas

Throughout this, her husband Paul’s behaviour becomes stranger and stranger. He continues to cross dress and see men on the side. He uses bizarre sex apparatus such as wine enemas, to stimulate him and knock him out. His behaviour becomes more and more strange, throughout the subsequent births of his next two children. He is however, a great father, and Nikki stays with him for over a decade for the sake of her children.

How depravity can ruin a marriage

It’s a sad story actually, although the reader does not really feel sorry for the couple at the centre of this story. You can really see how the bad choices they make to build their empire in a world where sex is king affect their marriage and make it unworkable. The building up of resentment and the increasingly sexless marriage make for great reading and provides a warning to others who might think to  dip their toe into the world of sex, porn and depravity.

Some reviews:

“Nikki Stern is highly educated, a librarian and a mother of three. One would never expect that Nikki was, at one time, a porn star. In her autobiography, Not Your Ordinary Housewife, how the man I loved led me into a world I had never imagined Nikki takes us from Amsterdam, where she met and married her former husband, to a life running a porn empire in Australia.”

“The fascinating and extraordinary true story of how a young woman from a privileged background found herself drawn into the dark world of petty prostitution and pornography by the troubled man she loved. Now, she has relived her past to bring us a powerful memoir that is raw with honesty.”

“In this extraordinary memoir, Nikki vividly recounts her intriguing past with emotional honesty and great insight, making it an unflinching and absorbing account of the incredible life of the Horny Housewife.”

“Both interesting and challenging to read. I’m not used to reading something that has this kind of explicit sexual material in it and it was mostly presented in a very matter of fact way rather than sensual or evocative (although it started that way).”

Not Your Ordinary Housewife, how the man I loved led me into a world I had never imagined. Nikki Stern Goodreads Page.

6 Comments

  • This sounds like an interesting book! I am going to have to look into it. I’ve def hit rock bottom before so I know what it’s like to be willing to do absolutely anything for money. It makes me curious as to how her life ultimately turned out and if/when she left her husband.

    • alycevayle says:

      It’s a great book and well worth the read. This couple sort of ‘drifted’ into porn, after living an artsy, alternative lifestyle. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it! Thanks for the reblog too!

  • Reblogged this on muffins&mocha and commented:
    I love true stories. This looks like a good one about a couple who is willing to do almost anything for money.

  • I may check into this book/story as well. I’ve recently (HAD IT) hit the wall with my (very recent) x, who simply couldn’t lay pornography down. It ruined us. (My last post is about it, in fact.) I can’t imagine what this woman lived through. Whether by choice, or seduction, she still lived a life of horror. Bravo to her for turning it around.

    • alycevayle says:

      Porn addiction is a real thing. This book is an interesting read because it discusses the porn indutry of the 80s and 90s – it was a very different world. I had a partner who was addicted to porn, and they usually cannot maintain a proper sex life or relationship. It’s very sad. I hope things improve in your camp.

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