Want to do something sexy and a little bit naughty this holiday season? Ever had an idea for a porn movie, but couldn’t fathom how to get it made? Then check out the latest brainchild of feminist porn director Erika Lust.
Lust is an award-winning, feminist director of indie erotica (and the author of a hilarious book on good porn). Based in Barcelona (and originally from Stockholm), she’s been making films since 2004. Her films —created for women and couples — are smart, sexy and sex positive. With XConfessions, she wants to bring other people’s fantasies to life. She calls it: “A project driven by you and directed by Lust.”
XConfessions is a site where the public anonymously pens their sexual fantasies. Every month, two entries are picked and then turned into erotic short films. For the first time in the history of adult cinema, explicit films with high production values, interesting stories and relatable performers are being crowdsourced. This December, Lust launched XConfessions Vol. 3.
I recently corresponded with Lust via email to find out more about sexism in porn, real female pleasure and the other “F” word. Here’s the interview:
Of all the sex confessions you’ve received, is there one that inspired you more than the others?
This changes all the time. But right now I would probably say that one of my latest releases Fraulien: Das Au-Pair is one that really inspired me. It’s so nostalgic. It captures the tension of young lust and the excitement of living in a new country. I also love that it´s an everyday fantasy.
I am also really inspired by the more unusual fantasies. I was instantly compelled to shoot my first religious fetish short, El Que No Ama No Conoce A Dios. My imagination ran wild thinking about the locations, the candles, the mystery and the religious symbolism of the ultimate sin. It was so kinky and naughty and incorporated lots of dominatrix elements which are always great to shoot! In essence, it’s what turns me on that inspires me the most to shoot them. Along with a lot of context, specific characters and something unique.
You wrote a wonderful post about the sexism in superhero comics. What about the sexism in porn? How do you deal with that in your own work?
This comes into play in every aspect of my work. It starts with my all-female team — from the producers to the costume and lighting designers. This is key in making sure every aspect of the film is always created with the female perspective in mind, giving us a voice at every point in the process of creating a film. This is never found on the set of a mainstream porn film.
Then it’s the confessions; they feature a variety of unique situations, stories, settings and fantasies opposed to the repetitive variety of mainstream porn. Creativity is at the core of what I choose — it has to stand out, be unique and capture the tension and atmosphere of the story whilst always being relatable. The more realistic the situation, the bigger the turn on.
Then there’s the performers. As difficult as it can be to find different body shapes in the porn industry, it’s something I take very seriously. I want to show as many different body types as possible — with different breasts, vaginas, hair, waists, faces and sizes! Everything that is realistic and not artificial, showing natural beauty as well as something unique. I also only work with people that share our values and who we get on with. They have to truly enjoy sex and what they do as this will affect how they come across on screen.
But finally and ultimately, it’s about embodying the female perspective on screen, showing REAL female pleasure — our kinks, our fantasies and above all our arousal. This is the main fighting power against sexism in porn as it’s showing a woman in control of herself, expressing herself sexually and not being shown as just an object of male desire.
If you had to describe your porn in three sentences or less – how would you describe it?
My porn is smart, imaginative and being crowdsourced from the minds of the public. It’s all about the female perspective with our pleasure as a focal point. And finally, my porn is creative, contemporary and realistic with beautiful settings, locals and performers all coming together to inspire the sexual fantasies of women, men and couples alike.
You recently gave a TED talk entitled “It’s Time for Porn to Change.” What are three things that you’d like to see change in porn?
First and foremost: I want more women in porn in the leadership roles, as directors, scriptwriters and producers. If we have a voice in the industry we have the power to create the porn we want to see.
Second: We need to accept porn as part of sexual education for our children. So we need to create good porn that gives various and realistic representations of sex, where women are respected and are free to express their sexuality.
And third: Men are no longer to be the only ones receiving pleasure. It’s time for women’s pleasure to be in focus so they can be seen as independent and expressive sexual beings.
Watch the TED talk:
How did you start making porn?
It all began when I created my first erotic film The Good Girl in 2004. It was part of my final year project whilst studying film direction in Barcelona. I wanted to create something that filled the female-led niche in the mainstream porn industry. I wanted to give women a voice. I wanted to give women porn they would want to watch. It had overwhelming success after I released it online for free. It gained thousands of downloads within just a few days and grabbed awards. It was incredible. But that’s when I knew I was doing something people wanted. It was my calling card, so I took the plunge and decided to create my own film company Lust Films.
How did your family and friends react when you told them of your decision to make porn?
My mother have the reaction I expected. She told me I was ruining my career by pursuing a future in porn. She asked, “What will the neighbors say?” But it was a career as an erotic indie filmmaker I wanted to pursue, not as a pornographer. Innovators don’t care about what others may think, we have to be decisive and pushy.
You describe your porn as “feminist” and in your book, Good Porn, you discuss what feminism means. Why do you think that people see the word “feminist” as bad? What do you want people to understand about what it means to be a feminist?
Feminism has become the shamed “F” word. People associate it with a particular negative stereotype: ugly, man-hating spinsters who grow their leg hair and arm hair and who will keep complaining until all men are under them.
It’s completely untrue. As a feminist, I want equality of the sexes. That means equal rights for men and women in the workplace, in the home and, most importantly for me, in the bedroom. We have every right to enjoy our sexuality as much as men, enjoy sex as much as them and enjoy porn as much as them.
Being a feminist also means embodying the female perspective in everything I do — whether that’s being a mother, a director, a friend or a lover. I want my children to grow up and not be exposed to bad mainstream porn as much as I don’t want them to eat bad, crappy fast food. There should be porn that educates on female and male sexuality as equal, with female pleasure being as much of an importance as the man’s.
It’s time for women to stop shaming other women for being feminist when we all share feminist views when we vote, go to work, go to school, etc. All of these things are now in our power because of feminists in the past. We must now realize that we still have places in society that need tackling head on. The porn industry is just one of them and embracing our sexuality and freedom of sexual expression is a huge part of becoming more liberated!
Do you have a sex confession that you’d like to share?
For last minute shopper types… Lust has you covered with the perfect kinky Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza gift. Check out the “One Year of Lust” Gift Box containing a naughty gift code giving you a year’s access to more than forty XConfessions.com short films, and wrapped in exclusive and gorgeous XConfessions wrapping paper! It includes access to all the 26 other shorts coming to 2015. Plus, there are several options to subscribe to the website digitally. And remember to confess — if your fantasy gets chosen you could win a free years subscription to the website!