Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn

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9781592405220: Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn
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How does a girl go from being a shy, awkward bookworm to the biggest porn star in the world? In Sinner Takes All, Tera Patrick reveals all, including: her career as an international model; losing her virginity at fourteen to a thirtysomething photographer; learning oral sex techniques backstage at a Guns N' Roses concert; having an orgy with a team of firefighters; her unglamorous job in a nursing home; her first forays into the adult movie business; and how, with her husband's help, she launched her own multimillion-dollar empire.

Along the way, she dishes on the emotional side of being Tera Patrick, writing candidly about her battles with depression and anxiety. She also discusses finding true love and building a healthy marriage, achievements that many consider to be impossible in the world of porn. Featuring hundreds of photos, plus diary pages and scintillating sidebars, Sinner Takes All takes the tell-all to raunchy new heights.

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About the Author:

Recently inducted into the Adult Video News Hall of Fame, Tera Patrick has over one hundred film credits to her name and has graced the cover of every major men's adult magazine. Married to heavy metal rocker and her occasional costar Evan Seinfeld, she divides her time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna is an entertainment journalist and the author of Cherry Bomb and Eyewitness Nirvana.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prologue

I woke up in the psych ward at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan strapped to my bed, confused, disoriented, scared, and thinking, “How did I get here? What have I done?” What went down in the previous hours started coming back to me piecemeal, but to this day the night remains one big, blurred, fucked-up nightmare. My brain filled in the missing parts of the night with hallucinations; I have visions of being bundled into a straightjacket and taken away in an ambulance. But according to people who were there, it didn’t happen that way. That was all in my warped mind. What actually happened might be even worse. The man who loved me and who I loved the most had to duct tape my hands behind my back to stop me from further hurting myself and him. He had to have me committed to a mental ward of a hospital to save my life.

As I scratched and clawed my way through Evan’s Brooklyn loft just hours earlier, the only thought in my mind was to end this. I wanted to end my misery and I wanted to end my life. I couldn’t handle any of it anymore. But Evan stayed strong because he knew I was worth saving. Evan took my punches, dodged the heavy objects I hurled at him, suffered through my relentless scratching, and he did the one thing he knew to do: stop the madness and get me help.

I don’t remember the ride in his Suburban over to the hospital. I don’t remember Dr. Lugo talking Evan through what to do. I don’t remember entering the hospital or being checked into the psychiatric ward. I don’t remember being strapped to a gurney and the cops questioning Evan about the night’s events. I just remember waking up the next morning in lockdown in the place where they keep the most dangerous mental patients. Was I mental? I didn’t believe it. My emotions had taken over my thought process, and I was reduced to questioning everything around me and not being able to make sense of any of it.

The psych ward frightened me. I was just a porn chick going through a rough time trying to get out of my contract. Why was I in a room behind locked doors that doctors had to be buzzed in and out of? Why was I in a room with four beds with a variety of women whom I did not relate to, who were not like me? The girl in the bed next to me was a black girl younger than me who had tried to kill herself. She was obsessed with shrimp parmesan and her sister would bring it to her daily, and every day she’d offer me some and each time I’d say no. To this day, the sight of shrimp parmesan sends chills up my spine. I wasn’t there to make friends. At first, I wanted nothing to do with the place or anyone in it.

In the bed next to her was a Middle Eastern girl with black curly hair and a flashlight she’d shine around the room after the lights went out. She didn’t talk much, but she did mumble her prayers a lot. I would pretend not to hear her. She scared me. I overheard the nurses say that she had delusions about becoming a suicide bomber and that’s why she was in the ward. The bed at the end was host to a revolving array of patients whom I don’t really remember.

The reality of the night before started coming back to me, and bits and pieces were told to me. I realized that I’d had a major meltdown. A psychotic break. A suicide attempt. I was inconsolable. I was out of my mind. There was no talking me off the ledge this time, as Evan had done before.

I was in St. Vincent’s psych ward for fourteen long days, and it was not what you could call time well spent. I just lay there in my hospital bed like a statue. I wanted nothing but out. But I did everything you shouldn’t do if you want to be released from the psych ward. In full denial for the first few days, I acted out in every way imaginable. I figured if they think I’m crazy, I might as well play the part. I talked to myself out loud. I refused medication. I wouldn’t eat anything. I picked fights with other patients. I took it all out on Evan, calling him daily and cursing him out for the entire ward to hear.

I pulled the diva act and tried to own that pay phone. My cell phone had been confiscated, so the pay phone was my only connection to the outside world. So, when anyone else tried to use the phone, I unleashed a shit-storm of anger, screaming, “I’m on the fucking phone! You wait your fucking turn! I’m on the phone! I’ll be done when I’m done! I’ll fucking kill you!”

Making death threats in the psych ward is not exactly the way to prove that you’re not crazy and get released. One day, I even tried to escape. When those buzz-in, locked doors opened, I made a run for it, forcing the orderly to wrestle me to the ground.

When I realized there was no way out unless I played by the rules, I threw the rules in their face. They had been asking me to shower for days and I refused. I was defiant and angry and anti- authority. After days of nagging me to shower, I finally said, “Fuck it. You want me to shower? OK, I’ll shower.” So I stripped off all of my clothes, walked out of my room into the hallway completely naked, and looked at the first nurse who came my way and said, “OK. You want me to shower? Here I am. Where’s the fucking shower?”

As much as this experience was the lowest point of my life, I’m grateful for it. Sometimes you need to go off the rails of the crazy train to get on the right track of your life. And that’s exactly what I did.


Featured Excerpt in the Penguin iPhone App

Chapter 1
Idol Worship

How bad do you want what you want? I wanted to be famous and adored so bad it nearly killed me. Well, in all honestly, I nearly killed me.

But before we get to that, let me start at the beginning... In 1986 I was ten years old and my mother had already left us. It was just me, Linda Ann Hopkins, and my dad, David Hopkins, a carefree hippie of English, Dutch, and Irish descent. I was born in Great Falls, Montana, but was living with my dad in Fresno. On a rare father-daughter day out, he took me to a thrift store in town to do some shopping. We were on a budget. As we made our way though the tiny, cramped shop, I saw her hanging on the dusty wall behind some cracked vases and rusty candelabras. It was a beautiful black-and-white photograph of Marilyn Monroe from the Korean USO tour she did in 1954. She was beaming as she posed for hundreds of handsome men in uniform, who in turn were ogling her in all her blond-haired, blue-eyed glory.

Something lit up inside me when I saw that photograph. I thought, "Someday, men are going to look at me that way." I couldn't stop staring at this photo, thinking how much I wanted to be that girl. The girl everyone adores. The girl whom fame made so happy (little did I know what a sad wreck she really was). All I knew about Marilyn at the time was how much I wanted to exude the power that she did. I wanted to be famous like that. I just didn't know what for yet. I never thought it would be for porn.

Around the same time the Marilyn Monroe photo was burned into my brain, I stumbled across another piece of inspiration. I was home alone one day after school. Dad was still at work. I was usually a good girl; I learned manners and respect for others very early on from both of my parents. Although I had never looked through my father's things, on this one day my curiosity got the best of me. I had seen my dad hide a stack of Playboy magazines once and was anxious to take a peek inside. I wanted to know what a woman's body looked like. I was just a young girl—an awkward one at that— and I wanted to compare myself to a full-grown woman. It was a natural fascination. The curiosity to see a naked woman left me searching through my dad's teak, tapestry-covered dresser, one of his finds from Thailand when he was there during the Vietnam War. I opened the drawer and there was a Playboy with supermodel Paulina Porizkova on the cover. The supermodel and actress was holding back her long, beachy, golden brown hair with a lean, elegant arm and gazing at the camera with her ice blue eyes emanating a fierce self-confidence.

I thought Paulina was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I couldn't stop staring at her photos in Playboy. I was even more impressed when I learned she'd married Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of the rock band the Cars. She was a rock wife and a beautiful supermodel, and I just idolized her for that. I wanted what she had. It was that Paulina cover that made me want to be in Playboy. From the moment I saw this cover in the summer of 1987, I had a simple quest: be a Playboy model, be married to a rock star, and be rich, famous, and adored.


Looking up to stars like Marilyn and Paulina was my escape.

My parents separated when I was ten. I didn't have my mom or dad to talk to, because they fought a lot and were so wrapped up in themselves. So instead I escaped into a fantasy world of supermodels, celebrity, pin-up girls, Playboy Playmates, and rock stars as I flipped through the pages of my dad's issues of Playboy, Rolling Stone, LIFE, and whatever music or teen magazine I could get my hands on. I thought about what these gorgeous celebrities would be like in person, what it would be like to live their lives and to be as cool and happy as they seemed to be in the pictures. I would daydream about these models, rock stars, and actresses instead of doing my schoolwork. My grades suffered and I got a lot of notes from the teacher that read "Linda doesn't apply herself enough." Fair enough. I would also rummage through my father's cassette tapes—he was a rocker—and lust after Jim Morrison. To this day, if I could go back in time and fuck a famous rock star it, would be Jim Morrison. I idolized the Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd—the older bands that my dad was into.

I wouldn't know until years later, after some therapy, that what I was doing was filling the void left by parents who weren't there for me. Some kids in tough situations cope with absent parents by overeating, others with being sexually inappropriate (more on this later), others with drugs and alcohol or getting into trouble at school. For me, at age ten, I disappeared into daydreaming about what it would be like to live the lives of those models, rock stars, and celebrities I read about in magazines or saw on television.

I was a big dreamer; it's all I had at the time. Well, that and my younger sister, Debra, but once my parents split, my sister chose to live with my mother full-time and I chose to live with my father. But Dad wasn't around much. He did the best he could, but he was working all the time and never home. I was home alone a lot and up until about age twelve, I was a very introverted, insecure, and lonely young girl.

I was not popular with the boys, but that was OK because I wasn't into boys then. My sister, the cheerleader and volleyball player, was the popular one in school. I was the dorky jock— running cross-country, reading, and hiking were my loves. I got high marks in physical education, but low to below-average marks in other classes at Fresno's Lincoln Elementary School. My teachers were right—I just didn't apply myself. I'd rather hole up in my bedroom or the library and read a Nancy Drew novel instead of doing my math homework.

On My Bookshelf as a Kid:

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Sleuths!, by Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon

Days with Frog and Toad, by Arnold Lobel

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Forever, by Judy Blume

Sweet Valley High #1: Double Love, by Francine Pascal

Ramona Quimby, Age 8, by Beverly Cleary

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry


On My Bookshelf Today:

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers: A Study of the Chilling Criminal Phenomenon, from the "Angels of Death" to the "Zodiac" Killer, by Michael Newton

Marilyn: A Biography, by Norman Mailer

The Sexual Life of Catherine M., by Catherine Millet

The Secret Language of Relationships: Your Complete Personology Guide to Any Relationship with Anyone, by Gary Gold Schneider and Joost Elffers

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism, by Philip Miller and Molly Devon

A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, by Chronicle Books


Some of my favorite books were considered inappropriate reading for a young girl my age. I would read any book on serial killers that I could get my hands on. I was fascinated with the psychology of murderers. I spent a lot of time during recess in the library reading about John Wayne Gacy and Charles Manson. I was fascinated with Gacy because he would dress up as a clown, and I was really terrified of clowns, so I wanted to know more. I wasn't into the gory details; I was into the "why" of it all. I wanted to know what motivated them. When I would read that their moms were prostitutes or that their parents beat them or that they came from broken homes or were sexually abused, I would look around me and look at the other kids and think, "Are they going to be serial killers?"

Am I going to be a serial killer? I'm from a broken home and, as you will soon read, my mother abused me. I would think, "Can this happen to me?" I was captivated by the thought. I was convinced, and I still am today, that anyone can be a serial killer. I think I could kill somebody if I had to. Well, I did almost kill myself, but we'll get to that later.

Some of my friends knew I was fascinated by murder. They'd say, "There's Linda talking about Helter Skelter again." But I didn't mind. It made me feel smarter. I might have only gotten C's and some D's in school, but if they tested me on serial killers, I would've been a straight-A student.

I was also an awkward-looking child and stood out from the rest of my classmates. I was a lot, I mean a lot, taller and thinner than most of the boys and girls at Lincoln. I was naturally thin and extremely fit because I ran cross-country. "Gangly" would be the best word to describe it, but my classmates had other nicknames for me: Spider and Olive Oyl. Oddly, they never made fun of my unibrow or the crooked part in my hair. (Mom wasn't there to straighten it for me, and Dad wasn't exactly putting bows and ribbons in my hair.)

"Oooh, here comes Linda, the spider," boys and girls would taunt every day after school during cross-country practice out on the track. "Look at Linda, the spider. She's got spider arms. She has spider legs. She's a Spiderwoman!"

The thing was, I did kind of look like a spider. I was tall and thin, and my limbs stuck out of the awful mustard-and-red uniforms they made us wear for gym class. The knee socks barely touched my knees, despite me constantly pulling them up as high as they would go.

I don't remember who started the teasing, but everyone certainly joined in, especially Tiffany and Kelly Parisi, twin sisters and head cheerleader...

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