XAVIERA HOLLANDER: Confessions of a Happy Hooker
(Xaviera, then and now)
A true sexual pioneer, Xaviera Hollander is destined to be known for the rest of her life as "The Happy Hooker". That was, of course, the title of Xaviera's hugely bestselling (20 million copies) 1971 book. Just as revolutionary as her pride and joy with her career choice was Hollander's unapologetic attitudes about sex, which may still be considered rogue even today. Hollander believed in sexual equality for women as well as the unashamed pursuit of sexual pleasure for all. Robert Dunlap's exhilarating new documentary, "The Happy Hooker: Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary", explores Ms. Hollander's wild life, from childhood to this very day. Raised in Dutch Indonesia and The Netherlands, Hollander became aware of her sexual awakenings at a young age (Her story about how her mother discovered her diary, complete with her budding erotic reflections, is priceless.). In the film, Hollander recalls having her first lesbian encounter at age 17, and often having a girlfriend "on the side" even when she started dating men. Xaviera moved to New York City in 1964, and he rest is history. In case you were too young to remember, there was a sexual revolution going on at the time. The film makes it a point to enlighten the audience as to how the invention of The Pill, the burgeoning gay rights juggernaut, and women's lib movement contributed to this new freedom. Propelled by both a huge sexual appetite as well as a quest for a "good man", Xaviera in New York City was like a little girl in a candy store. She knew what the men wanted, and soon put her talents to good use-- becoming a call girl and then a madam. Later, she found a lucrative second career as a writer with "The Happy Hooker" book as well as an advice column for "Penthouse" magazine: a gig which lasted 35 years. Nineteen other books would eventually follow. Hollander even had an acting role in the quasi-autobiographical 1975 movie "My Pleasure is My Business", although other actresses would play Xaviera in the three movies based on her book. It wasn't all pretty. After getting busted, Xaviera was deported back to her native Holland. It's worth noting that her legal troubles only only helped make the book's profits grow even larger.
Throughout this vivid documentary, Hollander's fun personality and positive energy come through in a big way. In addition to lots of vintage footage and photos (including an interview with Larry King, as well as endless pics and video clips of an often naked Xaviera back in her sexual heyday), the doc features many interviews with noted sexologists such as Candida Royalle and Annie Sprinkle. Sprinkle praises Xaviera for introducing the concept of "Whore Pride". Now 66 and happily married to a handsome younger guy, Ms. Hollander is busier than ever. She's got a new book named "The Happy Hooker's Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex: 69 Orgasmic Ways to Pleasure a Woman", and there's even talk about a "Happy Hooker" musical. She's also a patron of the arts-- mostly the erotic arts-- and she owns a bed and breakfast in Amsterdam.
On Monday, November 16th, "The Happy Hooker: Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary" was screened at New York City's GLBT Center, with a special appearance by Xaviera Hollander herself. Wearing a T-shirt that said, "Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians", the sex star posed for pictures with fans, autographed copies of her books, and fielded Q+A with the audience. That audience included her husband, sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, and Veronica Vera, Founder of Miss Vera's Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls. Both Queen and Vera were featured in the movie. Out of the many funny and provocative things that Xaviera Hollander said that night both in the movie and afterward , the one which everyone likely went home with was when Ms. Hollander declared herself as "tri-sexual": meaning, she'll try anything once. Now, that's my kind of woman!
For more info on Xaviera's documentary and book, visit www.XavieraHollander.com