Pin it

Erika Lust is an independent adult filmmaker who’s made her name filming sex, not porn. Originally from Sweden, after studying political science, feminism and sexuality in college, Erika began to decide on the type of feminist she wanted to be. For Erika, deciding she was indeed sex positive was one thing. But unlike many women, unhappy with their representation in pornography, Erika went a step further.

I met Erika in a Soho hotel bar after her latest film premiered at London’s Raindance festival, bottle of white on the table between us, I knew I was inside the most interesting room in London.

“Sometimes they don’t even put all the cock in, they just put in a little little piece of it. Why?”

Erika’s leans in, grinning, as if she’s about to spill the most exciting of secrets.

“Because they want it to look bigger!” Her eyes widen and we shriek with laughter. “I have to take the porn out of them.”

Then she suddenly asks me, “When you use a vibrator how do you use it? Of course you close your legs, right? And it’s the same with sex, you pull someone very close to you if you want pleasure. In real sex you really can’t see a whole lot. So I have to stop some bad porn habits and tell them just have sex like there’s no camera. Don’t give a shit about the camera.”

unnamed-7

Her first film “The Good Girl,” a twist on the classic pizza-boy-porno, was shot and released in 2004 as part of Erika’s final project for a filmmaking course she was taking in Barcelona. The film was later released online and she began to build her empire.

“Pornography has been focusing exclusively on the anatomy of sex breasts, butts, cocks, bigger cocks, vaginas, blowjobs, deep throats and the mandatory final cum shot. That’s really not the sexiest part.”

That’s how Erika welcomed the room at this year’s Raindance film festival in London.

“But our greatest sex organ, is the brain,” she says.

Erika isn’t the only one more interested in telling stories about sex not porn. In 2013 after making a string of successful adult films, all with a more female focus, in a bid to even the score against the mostly misogynistic silicone world of mainstream porn, Erika found herself with a lot of stories to tell. A lot of other people’s stories to tell.

“People were sending me scripts and all these ideas that were coming at me were very different from porn. From what we know as porn. I felt like wow these are stories that must be told.”

Instead of embarking on just another movie Erika began the project XConfessions. The worlds first attempt to crowd source the plot lines for independent adult cinema. Subscribers to Erika’s website, XConfessions.com, have been sending in their sexual fantasies in the form of confessions for the past two years. To date Erika and the Lust team have received over 500 confessions, so far turning 60 of them into short independent adult movies.

But what happens when a woman from Sweden starts making an alternative to mainstream porn?

“Some people say why don’t I go back to Sweden and milk the cows,” Erika says. “I’m probably a very frustrated woman who never gets fucked.”

I laugh but what Erika says next which stops me from laughing.

“And some people call me Feminazi.”

Erika’s still smiling, shrugging off the label.

“It’s a horrible word. But that’s people who believe feminists are a group of extremist women who want to kill men and take the power.”

But many within the porn industry have felt threatened by this new kind of adult content, which isn’t adhering to traditional pornography formulas. Some feel that what they’re making is already good enough. Women love their films, so why do we need filmmakers like Erika? Why does sex need to be a feminist issue?

“The problem with porn is not that it’s porn,” Erika says. “It’s not that it’s explicit sex, I think that bit is great about it. But the bad part is that most of it has very sexist ideas and a very sexiest vision of the world that we are just so used to seeing it’s like we don’t react.”

Think about what you’ve learned from porn: The dominant man with his big cock. The young promiscuous girl. Bending over backwards begging to be greeted in the end with that all important cum shot which says, “well done, you did your job.” Porn isn’t just teaching us, it’s idealising what sex should look like. And really most of it is bleached blonde bullshit.

“When I hear young women telling me they don’t think of themselves as feminists I feel very sad,” Erika says. “I feel it’s so selfish of them, saying that, when there are so many women fighting for our rights. And sex and how we see sex and women — really it’s no different.”

But there’s another problem. Erika shakes her head.

“Today pornography is our sex education. So now we need a plan. We can’t censor all the internet, but we need to help young people to think critically.”

Erika wants her films to be set apart as good representations of sex, of relationships and the human form in all its variations of beauty.

“Mum doesn’t she look silly,” Erika’s oldest daughter once told her, commenting on a billboard showing a scantily clad woman trying to be sexy. “Who would want to wear a red fishnet over-body? This is so stupid!”

Erika’s impression of her eight-year-old daughter makes me giggle. An eight-year-old feminist.

I ask Erika does she think mainstream porn will hold its place much longer?

“No, I don’t think they have many more years of thinking like that, I think there is going to come a time when we are just bored of it, because people realise it just isn’t real.”

As well as continuing to turn real fantasies into real sex, Erika is next taking XConfessions to the big screen of the Chicago International Film Festival on October 21st. But Erika has even bigger plans for the big screen.

“I wrote an erotic novel, ‘La Canción de Nora’ [‘Nora’s Song’], which I’m developing into a feature film. But I had some people read it and they said ‘it was good, but it was not as much sex as I thought there would be’.”

Erika laughs and shakes her head.

“This book was more an exercise in developing a character and storytelling, then the sex comes through. I see myself as a filmmaker first. I make film, that’s what I’m doing. I don’t see myself as a pornographer. It doesn’t feel like that’s me. I am a filmmaker. I am interested in sex.”

Leaving Erika and walking back through Soho’s red lights, I notice the leather and latex on the fishnet mannequins in the shop windows.

nerveWNbutton