October 28, 2020
Candida Royalle (1950-2015) was an American actor, director and producer. She became the first prominent female director of adult films, after a career as a performer. Her works included Afrodite Superstar, Caribbean Heat, Sensual Escape, Femme, Urban Heat, Eyes of Desire, Three Daughters, A Taste of Ambrosia, Stud Hunters and One Size Fits All. Her films were made for women and for couples, and they did not demean women. (For example, she refused to allow ejaculations in women’s faces). Writing, acting and production values were excellent. Femme Productions, her company, included the Guest Director Series, through which other women were able to direct erotic films. Royalle created a line of sex toys named Natural Contours, one of which was the first vibrator that rejected the standard penis shape. As well, she wrote the book How to Tell A Naked Man What to Do and spoke frequently at universities and conferences. Royalle belonged to the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists and was a founding board member of Feminists for Free Expression. Her honors included the X-Rated Critics Organization Hall of Fame Award, a Free Speech Coalition Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing and a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
Candida Royalle was a remarkable pioneer in erotic films. Her female sensibility added a new dimension to this genre.
“Humans have been curious to look at erotic art and explicit sexual art since they etched and carved images into caves on walls, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. What I did feel is that these movies were being sold on the backs of women, and there was nothing about women’s sexuality. Women had no voice in the movies, and it was time for that to stop”.