Traci Lords: The Controversial Star of The Grafenberg Spot
Traci Lords is one of the most infamous names in the history of adult entertainment. She rose to fame in the mid-1980s as a teenage sensation who appeared in dozens of pornographic films, including The Grafenberg Spot (1985), which was one of the first mainstream movies to explore female ejaculation. However, her career came to a screeching halt in 1986 when it was revealed that she was underage during most of her filmography, sparking a scandal that rocked the industry and led to the destruction of thousands of copies of her movies.
Traci Lords was born Nora Louise Kuzma on May 7, 1968 in Steubenville, Ohio. She had a troubled childhood marked by abuse, neglect, and poverty. She moved to California with her mother and her mother's boyfriend, Roger Hayes, when she was 12 years old. Hayes sexually exploited her and introduced her to nude modeling and pornography. He also helped her obtain a fake ID that showed her age as 22. She adopted the stage name Traci Lords after Hawaii Five-O star Jack Lord and a friend named Traci.
Lords quickly became a sensation in the adult industry, thanks to her stunning looks, rebellious attitude, and sexual prowess. She worked with some of the biggest names and studios in the business, such as Ginger Lynn, Ron Jeremy, John Holmes, Tom Byron, Vivid Entertainment, VCA Pictures, and Caballero Home Video. She also posed for Penthouse magazine in September 1984, the same issue that featured Vanessa Williams' nude photos.
One of her most notable movies was The Grafenberg Spot, directed by Artie Mitchell and released in 1985. The movie was inspired by the controversial research of German gynecologist Ernst Grafenberg, who claimed to have discovered a sensitive area inside the vagina that could produce intense orgasms and fluid expulsion when stimulated. The movie featured Lords as Tracy, a journalist who investigates the phenomenon of female ejaculation with the help of Dr. Jay (Harry Reems), a sex therapist. The movie was praised for its eroticism and humor, and was one of the first mainstream movies to depict squirting on screen.
However, Lords' meteoric rise came to an abrupt end in May 1986, when authorities raided her apartment and discovered that she was only 18 years old at the time. It turned out that she had been underage during most of her porn career, starting from when she was 15 years old. This meant that all of her movies were illegal and constituted child pornography. The FBI launched an investigation and ordered all distributors and retailers to destroy or surrender any copies of her films. Many of her co-stars and directors were shocked and outraged by the revelation, feeling betrayed and deceived by Lords. Some also faced legal troubles and lawsuits for their involvement with her.
Lords claimed that she was a victim of sexual abuse and exploitation by Hayes and others in the industry, and that she had used drugs and alcohol to cope with the trauma. She also said that she had quit porn in 1985 and was trying to start a legitimate career in mainstream entertainment. She cooperated with the authorities and testified against some of her former associates. She was never charged with any crimes herself, but she had to pay taxes on her estimated income from porn.
Lords managed to transition to mainstream films and television after the scandal. She made her debut in Roger Corman's sci-fi remake Not of This Earth (1988), followed by roles in John Waters' musical comedy Cry-Baby (1990), Marvel's superhero film Blade (1998), Kevin Smith's romantic comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), and many others. She also appeared in several TV shows such as Wiseguy (1988), Melrose Place (1995), Profiler (1996-1999), Gilmore Girls (2003), and Will & Grace (2005). She also pursued a career as a singer, releasing two albums: 1000 Fires (1995) and Traci Lords Presents: M2F2 (2016). She also wrote a memoir titled Traci Lords: Underneath It All (2003), which became a New York Times bestseller.