SAN FRANCISCO—On June 26, Candida Royalle and two other members of Club 90, the first-ever adult industry support group, will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS) in San Francisco.
Along with directors/actresses Jane Hamilton (aka Veronica Hart) and Veronica Vera, Royalle will receive her degree from Dr. Ted McIlvenna at the Institute. Gloria Leonard, who died in January, 2014, will receive her degree posthumously.
Club 90, named after Annie Sprinkle’s Manhattan apartment where the idea of a porn star support group was hatched, was created in 1983 in order to provide friendship and support as each of these women prepared to leave their X-rated acting careers behind. Each of these former adult movie stars went on to become innovators in diverse fields of human sexuality.
Candida Royalle created Femme Productions in 1984 and became known for “pioneering erotic cinema from a woman’s perspective,” encouraging other women to follow her lead. Royalle has had an exclusive production/distribution relationship with Adam & Eve since 1996. After a long and distinguished career in adult movies, working on both sides of the camera, Jane Hamilton now uses her expertise to educate women in the U.S. and China on issues of pleasure, aging and self-esteem. Veronica Vera founded the world's first cross-dressing academy, Miss Vera's Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls, enriching the lives of trans people across the gender spectrum. Gloria Leonard debated some of the toughest anti-porn activists and toured college campuses as a self-described “stand up constitutionalist,” enlightening students on the First Amendment. She was the first president of the Free Speech Coalition. All four women, plus Annie Sprinkle, comprise Club 90, which continues to meet to this day. They credit the resulting deep and lasting friendship of their Club 90 sisters with helping to “manifest their individual dreams and successes.”
Annie Sprinkle was the first porn star to be awarded a Ph.D., which she earned from IASHS in 2002. Dr. Sprinkle will host the investiture and awards ceremony. The soon-to-be graduates will each deliver a two-and-a-half hour lecture/presentation on her life’s work at the Institute during its special “Days of The Divas” (June 24-26) as part of the curriculum. Most events are invited guests only; however, the afternoon of Thursday, June 26, will feature a “Days of the Divas Display—An Open House Meet & Greet & Show & Tell” that will display Club 90 archival materials and ephemera to which the public is cordially invited.
Founded in 1976 by Rev. Dr. Ted McIlvenna, the IASHS was the first to award advanced degrees in the newly emergent field of sexology that grew out of the sexual revolution. Wardell Pomeroy, a colleague of Alfred Kinsey, was appointed the school’s first dean. (Chris O’Donnell portrayed him in the movie Kinsey.)
“These Divas personify what has always been a primary goal of the Institute, which is to spread the truth of human sexual experience in all its complexities," Dr. McIlvenna, explained. "To acknowledge the Divas’ visionary work renews our shared commitment to that goal and helps assure our continued success.”
To reach Candida Royalle for interviews and photos, or to be put in touch with the other Club 90 members, email here.
For more information about the Institute or the event, contact Ted McIllvenna at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, 415-928-1133 Ext. 23.
Pictured, l-r: Annie Sprinkle, Candida Royalle, Jane Hamilton, Veronica Vera, Gloria Leonard, then and now.