Maitland Ward talks sexuality, leaving acting for porn

No apologies is a Yahoo Life series in which women and men from all walks of life have the opportunity to share how they are living their best lives — strong and alive, without fear or regret — looking back at the past with a smile and embracing the future with excited anticipation.

At 45, Maitland Ward is unapologetic about “everything” in her life.

“I’m not apologizing for sex…but I think I’m just me in my truth and everything,” she tells Yahoo Life. “When I was young, I was so apologetic for so many years. I will never apologize again.”

The actress who started Bold and the Beautiful before joining his cast Boy meets world as Rachel in 1998, has since left Hollywood to pursue a career in pornography. That journey — which she chronicles in her upcoming book X-rated: How Porn Freed Me From Hollywoodreleased on September 6 — was one of taking back control of her sexuality.

“I was always seen, in my opinion, as the most provocative — people were fascinated by my long legs and the fact that I’m so tall and I have fiery red hair and, and it was like it was almost OK,” Ward says of the of her experiences on TV sets, noting that some of what she experienced would not be “acceptable” today. “People would come up and want to pat your ass or give you a little pinch or say ‘Oh look how hot you are. Look your tits.”

What was especially challenging, Ward shares, was that she was expected to be “a sexualized being” to other people, but she wasn’t expected to actually enjoy her sexuality. She was told to be virginal and pure, but also to appeal to male viewers.

“If I was on a show, like Boy meets world, I could be sexy. I could wear a sheet with little feathers on nude photos I had of my boyfriend — that’s fine,” she says, of a plot point from an episode of the ABC sitcom in which her character’s friends share a risqué photo of her . as a prank. “If I wore something like that or did something like that in real life, Disney and the producers and Hollywood would have condemned me. Especially the producer, Michael Jacobs — he was very adamant that I’m pure and a good girl.”

At the time, Ward says stars like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson were some of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols, but they were also known for their virginity.

“It was just very confusing. It got in the way of my sexual exploration and finding out who I was for a long time,” she shares.

Ward says she began exploring adult entertainment after marrying husband Terry Baxter in 2006. She became the number one adult creator on Patreon shortly after launching her account, and a year and a half later, she was involved in professional porn production. Baxter, she says, was “super-supportive” of her decision to embrace her sexuality.

“Our sex life is much better now,” she explains. “I mean, it’s always been good and, and intimate and, you know, like a marriage should be. But I think now that I’m really open with myself and I can try new things and I’m not holding anything back — I think it’s really sexy”.

As a porn performer, Ward shares that she feels less pressure about aging than she did when she was working in mainstream Hollywood.

“That was a scary prospect in the early 2000s, to think, ‘Oh my God, you’re done. You’re going to be done very soon.’ So it was kind of a struggle, but men could stay forever, as they were, and they did. And they still do,” he says.

“Hollywood is very hard to age, but I’ve felt less of that stigma in porn,” she says. Although she was once told that “no one wants to see you sexy unless you’re 25,” she found that wasn’t the case at all.

“It’s quite interesting that the public doesn’t feel that much,” he explains. “I had more fans come along as I was older and I was sexual… I was told no one would come and now I’ve had a lot of success with it. So that was bulls*** being fed. I think it’s just all part of this machine of his Hollywood — they want to keep you in a certain place at a certain time.”

Ward wants people to know that it’s okay to take control of their lives, no matter where they started.

“It’s scary to forge your own path, but it’s the only way to be happy. It doesn’t have to be porn. That’s my most outrageous side,” she says. “I didn’t just change overnight. It’s about conscious efforts and decisions over time to get to a place you want to be, embracing your truth. I want people to embrace their truth and just to live how they want to live and be who they want to be. People are drawn to that.”

– Video produced by Olivia Schneider and edited by Rasiel Guevara

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