French television began showing porn in the mid-1980s on Canal+, our first encrypted private channel. Canal+ had such a huge impact on us eighties kids. It was like the magical lair of then-pop culture, and a never-ending source of ecstasy for deviant young movie buffs like me.
Recent horror hits were programmed every Saturday night, and cult gems from the likes of Mario Bava, Ishirō Honda, Jean Rollin or Sergio Sollima were championed by the legendary Jean-Pierre Dionnet, who introduced each film with a passionate tone that seemed to put a spell on every doomed spectator who dared to watch his programs.
And, of course, there was the monthly porn that—before the rise of the Internet—was, along with live soccer matches, a guarantee of success for Canal+.
The first X-rated flicks to grace our TV screens were issued from the back catalogs of French producers like Marc Dorcel or Francis Mischkind, who created classics such as La Femme objet, Mes nuits avec Alice, Pénélope, Maud et Richard or Les bas de soie noire. I was too young to catch those films, but when I turned thirteen and the first signs of puberty and sex-frenzy started to erupt, Canal+ was broadcasting a new kind of adult film: the best, most crazy-stylized and most daring straight American porn of that time.
I was lucky that my parents possessed the quite expensive and much envied “decoder” machine, which allowed us to watch Canal+. When I recorded my first porn in secret with our VCR through an excruciating process, my heart was beating like crazy. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. The morning after completing my mission I hid the precious VHS tape in my backpack and arrived proudly at junior high, bragging to all my friends about my exploit.