Most of us consider a hand job something we out-grew the minute we graduated to blowjobs and intercourse. One cougar porn star proves it’s time to rethink one of the safest forms of sex there is.

Nina Hartley: The Sex Fairy

The hand job gets no respect. It’s the Dodge Dart of sex acts, a series of motions that produces an orgasm without either party enjoying it all that much. [It seems like they might be doing it wrong. Just sayin’. -Ed.]

They can be painful, impersonal, the quickest of quickies. Men get hand jobs all the time, women (and men) dispense them, but no one brags about them. That’s why, when a female acquaintance who works in the porn industry boasted about knowing the actress who “gives the best hand jobs in the business,” I had to laugh. It may be the “best,” but it’s still a hand job. How good could it be?

Then she mentioned that the actress in question is Nina Hartley, a 56-year-old, award-winning porn veteran who’s pretty much done it all — and still does. She dominated notorious bad girl Belladonna; starred in her own how-to video, Nina Hartley’s Guide to Anal Sex; and thoroughly enjoys her open marriage. Porn star Lexington Steele has said that sex with Hartley was the best he’s ever had. If anyone could remove the stigma surrounding a hand-job, it would be Nina.

I take the bait and wonder what lies at the “heart” of Hartley’s secret.

“Nina knows what she is doing,” says my porn acquaintance. “She knows exactly how to pressure certain spots, where to rub, how hard, how soft — all of it. She gave my boyfriend a hand job, and it was incredible. I had never seen him spurt like that. I can put you in touch with her if you like.”

That’s how I find myself sitting across from THE Nina Hartley in a hotel room in downtown Los Angeles. She wears black leggings, black boots, red-framed glasses, and a button-down shirt. She’s the quintessential lusty lady next door that every young man ought to know. She takes in the room and asks, “Is it warm enough here? You’ll need to be comfortable with your pants off.”

I hop up to adjust the thermostat and can’t help but notice a small Dopp kit set down in front of Hartley. She’ll soon open it to reveal what she calls “my hand job kit.” Contained inside: black latex gloves, two kinds of lubricant (water-based and silicone-based), and a clutch of hand wipes.

Pants still on, I can’t help but wonder aloud why she bothered getting into elevating a form of sex that most people think of as, well, not quite sex.

“I’d like to change the dialogue of hand jobs,” Hartley replies. “A hand-job will hopefully result in an orgasm for the man. That automatically makes it sex. It allows me to enjoy sex without worrying about condoms, babies, diseases. It’s also a kindness to my partner. It allows me to be the sex fairy. I can give hand jobs all night and embody the whore with the heart of gold. I like to be sexually generous and pitch in. One night, with a group, I was fluffer, lube jockey, condom retriever, and cunt washer — and it was awesome. I’ll even hold your hat and coat if you need me to.”

Hartley adds, “People want sex to be spontaneous. I build a playground where you can be spontaneous, but no one is going to run out and get hit by a car.”

Hartley explains that hand jobs serve as the perfect introduction to a man and his penis: “Before getting my vulva involved, hand jobs allow me to see how my partner receives pleasure — how the energy exchange is — whether it’s a tango or a waltz. I’d much rather give a hand job than get bad dick. I know that if I’m in charge, it will be a good time for both parties. I’ve given hour-long hand jobs. I don’t think of it as a prelude to sex. It is the sex.”

And what makes a Nina Hartley hand job so good? She smiles and replies, “I’m the Vladimir Horowitz of dick.”

She’s not wrong.

[At this point we enter a rather graphic description of the author’s glee that seemed rather aside from the point of the sexuality education Nina Hartley hopes to provide. Suffice it to say that the technique involved holding some parts “like a taco” in order to set the stage, as it were. We now continue….]

“You coax an erection; you don’t force it,” she tells me. “Most women feel that just them being there is enough. But the penis has to know it’s wanted, not just required. Porn and popular culture have colluded to make you think the penis comes out of the pants and will fuck anything. But men require some emotional connection.” [Gasp!]

Nina says this while undertaking what she calls the “zipper pull”: While continuing the taco hold with one hand, she initiates a pressing-and-sliding motion with the other….

[More description better befitting Penthouse Letters than our more scientific analysis. … Then…]

Hartley’s hand job proves revelatory. It’s incredibly pleasurable and way sexier than I had previously thought possible. More than a happy ending, it’s a happy experience that makes me rethink what the act is all about. Rather than being throwaway sex, this is about connecting and having fun in a manner that full-on intercourse just isn’t. It’s like intentionally forgoing the super-serious main course for a couple of fun, umami-laced appetizers, knowing that you’ll be enjoying every bite. By applying focus, technique, and a good attitude, she takes the beleaguered hand job way beyond its consolation-prize status.

This experience has been enough to make me both forget the scene from House of Lies in which Doug’s penis gets manually jack-hammered and to consider enhancements that can elevate all forms of sex. After all, if Hartley can bedazzle a hand job so successfully, what can we do to notch-up full-on intercourse?

But truthfully, we’re already nearing the point of no return. Nina stretches out the completion a bit, and I’m left with chills running through my body.

I lie there for a moment, coming down from her digital tour de force, before feeling a little awkward and not sure of the appropriate cleanup protocol. Almost on cue, Hartley swoops in with hand wipes, then origamis the wipes and gloves into a neat, inside-out package that remains completely dry on the exterior.

“That was amazing,” I tell her. “I’m on another planet right now.”

“I’m a professional,” she replies. Then THE Nina Hartley gets dressed, hugs me good-bye, and heads out into the L.A. dusk. The sex fairy has left the building.

Being a remarkably intelligent person, Nina will often spout things that require at least mental footnotes to research later. We have no shame in saying that we had to look up “Vladimir Horowitz” to discover that he was a famous pianist (joke obviously intended in Ms. Hartley’s case, because she obviously enjoys playing with a pianist). Sadly, this famous person in an historically niche genre died years before almost anyone in this department was born. Our knowledge of deceased classical musicians was lacking. We admit. …

On a much brighter note (joke intended here too), you may also find Nina Hartley still pushing (and pulling) out good vibes these days as well. You actually may be surprised to learn that Nina Harley owns herself, once again proving that being “not young” can have distinct benefits. How many of us can claim we own the URL for our own name? … You can take this final fact to the bank too, given from someone else that owns their own name as a web address: The Gingers and the Jennas may have been more “famous” adult stars, taken in some sort of an overall, objective, societal, sort of way, but never has there been a “more popular” star than Nina Hartley. Anyone who has ever met Nina can tell you that. She has that exceptionally rare gift of speaking to you as if you are the only person in the world that matters to her at that exact moment. Somewhere in the Multiverse, Nina Hartley was probably President.

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