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Legendary Amputee Porn Star on Her Life in '70s Fetish Film

Oct 13 2015 2:00 PM
Legendary Amputee Porn Star on Her Life in '70s Fetish Film

Film still via 'Long Jeanne Silver'

Former porno actress Long Jeanne Silver tells us how she hitchhiked cross-country to escape Arizona and ended up one of the biggest adult icons of the decade.

Earlier this year, the Legends of Erotica Hall of Fame inducted 70s cult porn star Long Jeanne Silver, introducing her to a new generation who watches porn on their computers instead of Times Square movie theatres. Silver is an amputee, and in her recently rereleased porno Long Jeanne Silver, she uses her leg (or "stump", as she calls it) to fuck people.

From men to women, Silver has used her stump to plow any and every hole. She appeared in porn at the start of the sexualization of pop culture first heralded by Deep Throat. Today, shock value is dead. Female pop stars grind their allegedly silicone asses on background dancers, but in the 1970s, female celebrities like Karen Carpenter seemed pure and suburban. It didn't take much to titillate the masses, but the mainstream barely went there. If you wanted to see women really exploring the edge of sexuality, you had to visit a grimy porn theatre.

In the last 40 years, porn has gotten weirder. Everyone collectively freaked the fuck out over Two Girls, One Cup in 2007, but that was only a glimpse into the wide world of niche porn. Jeanne Silver was essentially patient zero for kink, starting with her first film, 1977's Water Power, directed by Shaun Costello. In the film, she receives an enema while a guy watches and violently jerks off. Although this may sound gruesome, Silver never viewed fetish porn as exploitative.

"I was treated well," Silver tells me. "I made my own decisions; it was my body and my survival technique. I wasn't forced into doing anything. I was approached with the idea, and all I would have had to say was, 'No, I'm not doing that.' I was young but I was independent and supporting myself."

The medical term for Silver's congenital defect is fibular hemimelia. Basically, she was born without a fibula, one of the major bones in your lower legs. She got around with the help of a heavy metal brace until the age of three when doctors performed a Syme amputation, which removed part of the foot but saved the heel, which now serves as the bottom of her stump. Since then, she's worn a prosthetic leg.

I caught up with Silver to talk about her journey from amputee to porn star to soccer mom. This interview has been condensed and edited.

Broadly: What was it like growing up as an amputee?
Jeanne Silver: My mother insisted I never got special treatment. I did all the normal things: Learned how to ride a bicycle, swim, roller skate. I was raised to not think of it as a disadvantage at all—I never looked at it like that—[but] when I was a teenager all hell broke loose. I started rebelling, I fell into a different crowd and took it beyond the normal kid rebellion stuff to the next level, because I tended to gravitate towards the older crowd. Nowadays you look back and think maybe they were just fucking pedophiles. My parents were very strict so I'd sneak out the bedroom window to go to parties. One time they took my prosthetic away from me at night, and I was like, "Fuck you." I grabbed my crutches, went out the window and to the party legless. I didn't care. Eventually my parents got fed up and called the police to take me to juvie. At 14, I became a ward of the Arizona State Department of Corrections.

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How were you treated in juvenile detention?
It was tough being a person with a disability in juvie. I was definitely the odd man out, but I had a mean kick. In fact, one time I kicked somebody during a fight and messed them up pretty bad so they threw me into a cell and over a loudspeaker told me, "Take off your leg, put it by the door, stand back from your leg." I was like, "No! You can't take my leg! It's a violation of my civil rights! You can't take a part of my body!" They came in, and seven of them held me down to try and take off my leg. At that point, I had muscle control in my stump so I could tense it a certain way, and these grown ass men were trying to take it off like, "What the fuck?"

Once you were 18 and released from the state's care, how did you end up in New York?
I hitchhiked cross-country with nothing but the clothes on my back—[just] a Superman T-shirt—and ended up in Madison Square Garden. By the end of that first evening, I was selling shirts at an Elton John concert. I was resourceful, if anything. I couchsurfed around for a month or two until one night a pimp tried to recruit me. I knew all about pimps from the girls back in juvie, so I ran away from him. It was raining out, and I was stranded on the curb crying. I didn't know what to do. It was there that I met [porn star] Kim Pope's husband, and they took me in to live with them in their loft for a little while. He introduced me to the editor of Cheri magazine and they asked me to do a nude centerfold.

Did you go directly from posing for Cheri to making porn?
No. After the magazine came out, I was flown to San Francisco and did a live show where I'd basically sit on stage, take my leg off, and talk about the nasty things I could do with my stump. Then back in New York, I was doing burlesque and working in peep show booths before I started doing any films. At the peep shows, a lot of the guys would pick my booth because I looked young. [During shows] you talk to them, find out what turns them on. I'd wear leg warmers to cover my prosthetic, and there'd be a guy sitting there drooling, playing with himself. It was gross—you had this one guy who would come in with a mop and he would clean up between customers.

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Was your leg involved in your sex life before porn?
No. Never even thought of it. It was more like, "Hey you know what that looks like? We could try this." So, we did.

How did you get out of the business?
I made films until I was 26 or 27. I stopped because I was beginning to age—it was going from film to video, and rates were changing. It just wasn't the same, and I was ready for something different, so I quit and started bartending. I dealt drugs for awhile. When I was 29, I got pregnant and that sealed it. This wasn't going to be my life. At seven months pregnant, I left New York, moved around a bit, and eventually settled down back in Arizona, where I'm from and dedicated the next 21 years to just being a soccer mom.

Long Jeanne Silver as a child.

How does your daughter feel about your past?
My daughter didn't find out until she was 20 or 21. She researched "one legged stripper" on the internet, and then calls me up and goes, "Hey Mom, you ever hear of Long Jeanne Silver?" I hung up the phone on her. When I called her back, she said, "Well it's pretty cool, you've got a Wikipedia page!" In my day, we didn't think about the internet or how far things would follow you, but I'm glad it's out in the open.

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Did you have no idea how popular Long Jeanne Silver was until recently?
Right! After getting inducted into the Legends of Erotica Hall of Fame, I started getting invited to conventions, and we rereleased Long Jeanne Silver. I was shocked at how many fans would approach me. People with disabilities who would say, "You changed my perspective on being disabled and that it's OK to feel sexy." I recently did an expo called Cinema Wasteland and there was a young man who was also an amputee. He asked to have a picture, stump to stump, and I actually did it. I'm one of the people who made him feel comfortable about it.

Long Jeanne Silver with a copy of 'Amputee Love' magazine.

Do you feel you're in a position to advocate for people with disabilities?
There's not enough discussion about sexuality and disability. It's usually just about masturbation. Here, you can please yourself but what about sex with another partner? Or people with two disabilities? I dated another amputee briefly—when somebody touches you with their stump, it's not a natural feeling. People have to be really comfortable with it. My kid's dad, when we started going out, he didn't want me to take my leg off at all. All the education out there is like, "Here's how to get yourself off, because you're disabled and not attractive."

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People are still uptight about the disability thing. Having an amputation is a hard pill to swallow, particularly later in life. I grew up with it so I don't see myself as being different. I get up, I throw my leg on, and I go—I even puked in my leg once. It was next to the bed. The next morning I forgot, put my leg, and was like, "Ew!" I've even taken my leg off and thrown it at people—I joke about it a lot. I'd like to let people with disabilities know that they can have fun with their lives: Don't be afraid to experiment. Stop putting it in the closet.

Long Jeanne Silver today. Photo courtesy of Long Jeanne Silver

Would you ever consider doing porn again?
There's a niche for me still, for bizarre kinks, but it's never going to be the same. We were the originals. My era is over. I still get disability groupies, or devotees as they're called, from the online groups trying to Skype with me and asking me to rub my stump for them. Maybe when I'm really hard up for money, I'll think about it.

Grab a copy of Long Jeanne Silver at vinegarsyndome.com.

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