Yes, Erika Lust has won awards for her erotic films; but perhaps it’s more important that she makes films that you want to watch. And now, she employs the same eye she uses behind the camera to find and curate other aesthetically pleasing adult films at her site Lust Cinema. We are thrilled to have her visit us here at Sex Kitten!
Hi Erika, tell us a little bit about yourself ~ including, of course, why you started Lust Cinema.
I’m Erika Lust, age 37, born in Stockholm and living in Barcelona. I graduated from the university of Lund with a degree in Political Science (and a focus in feminism), then moved to Barcelona to learn Spanish. Early on, I found a job working for a big production house – getting coffee, picking actors up from the airport, etc – which inspired me to take classes in film directing. While studying feminism in college, I had learned from author Linda Williams that porn could be empowering to women’s sexuality, and yet I’d never seen any porn that appealed to me. Fake bodies, fake orgasms, bad lighting, bad dialog … where was I (and the sex I enjoyed) being represented in this genre??
So naturally, the first film I wanted to make was an explicit one – The Good Girl – which flipped the ‘pizza guy’ stereotype into something more feminist. After it was downloaded over 1 million times, I was inspired to start my own production company, Lust Films, in 2005 and have made 4 feature films and one ongoing erotic series since then.
In 2010, after really establishing myself in the independent and feminist porn communities, I decided to found Lust Cinema – where all the best erotica, from filmmakers with my values, could be discovered in one place. The catalog now has hundreds of films ranging from modern to vintage, tutorials to art, romance to kink, features to amateur compilations. But all these movies have one thing in common: bringing a fresh perspective to the adult industry thanks to including women’s pleasure, passion, intimacy, love and lust!
What filmmakers, studios, performers, have you been influenced by? Not just the one’s you admire, but who and what has made you feel the old, “Ick! Someone has to do better than that — I can do better than that!”
In general, I can say that I admire many of my contemporary indie porn filmmakers: Candida Royalle for pioneering the idea that women wanted x films and had a powerful voice as creators. Jennifer Lyon Bell and Murielle Scherre for showing intimacy rarely captured in explicit film. Tristan Taormino for her commitment to sex education. Ovidie for her smart comedies about sexual taboos. Anna Span for championing the female sexual point-of-view. Jacky St. James for infusing her films with modern stories and cinematography. Pierre Roshan for infusing all his video guides with unprecedented eroticism. These are just a few of the talented filmmakers that come to mind, out of many who are creating the new generation of good porn today.
In terms of negatives, I have very little interest in mainstream works or production houses. I want to create something original and completely erotic, and I just don’t find athletic, violent, pleasureless sex (Nacho Vidal or Rocco Siffredi are examples I often use) inspiring in any way.
There are a lot of adult filmmakers who say they are for women; what do you think makes Lust Cinema so different?
I think what makes Lust Cinema different is the same thing that makes my own films different… I don’t try to represent all women, I don’t try to define a genre, I just pick the films that speak to me. This isn’t something that can be marketed like “porn for women”, it is actually extremely personal. Because don’t all women like different things?
All I can do is follow my vision, and it just happens that there are many others who value the same things that I do. In this way, my cinema is very different from the ‘women friendly’ category in porn tube sites. What does that even mean? Soft lighting and more cunnilingus? Were any of the films even made BY women? Unlike other films and sites, my work and Lust Cinema is not just a product to invent, label and sell – it’s a new way of seeing erotica and sex. And that is something that stays with you … even after you (and your partner) orgasm.
List 5 characteristics that you think are most necessary for erotic films for women.
In my opinion …
1) Women’s pleasure. This has a million different looks and outlets, but most people know the difference between someone who is enjoying themselves, and someone who is bored and just putting on a show by screaming.
2) Cinematography. Even before I studied filmmaking, things like bad lighting, weird angles, gray colors, grainy picture, horrible costumes, awful sets and weird items in the background used to distract me to the point where I wouldn’t be interested in the sex at all. Really high-quality adult movies can be made (and have been!) with an iPhone … so there is just no excuse now.
3) Originality. This means NO MORE stereotypes, NO MORE formulas. I don’t want to see any more teachers & schoolgirls, pimps & whores, executives & casting couches. I am bored with the formula blowjob-sex-anal (cunnilingus if you’re are lucky) with dirty talk and rough behavior and facials as the norm. Let’s try something new, okay?
4) Sensuality. Kissing would be nice, some build up, foreplay. Close up shots of erogenous zones (not just genitals): like sucking an earlobe, gripping a buttock, brushing the spine, kissing the neck. I’m a holistic creature and sex isn’t just about the genitals to me.
5) Relatability. Who are these women I see in mainstream films? Because they don’t look like me or anyone I know. And the men? They are not the men I swoon over in the street, and definitely not the ones I would date. And what are they doing? She is wearing heels to bed and screaming her head off as he (well we can only see him from the waist down) thrusts like an Olympic athlete and calls her names. This is not the way I have sex and this isn’t my fantasy either. Show me guys and girls who look like my neighbors and baristas making out and fumbling with buttons. Show me the passion and vitality that happens in our private lives and sex, but never in the porno we watch.
The success of 50 Shades of Grey has ignited the old discussions about women and submission, rape fantasies and feminism, and the like. I’m pretty sure you’ll find it as ridiculous and offensive as I do, but what are your thoughts on female fantasies that involve BDSM or rough sex? Have you any comments or insight from your site members?
Like you, I think the idea that what a woman does to get off dictates or contradicts her identity as a feminist is ridiculous.
Based solely on xconfessions.com submissions, I would have to agree that it BDSM fantasies are pretty widespread among women. I wouldn’t say by any means it is the most prevalent on the site, and not one shared by men and women equally (female submission/male domination that is). It is a taboo topic, only recently made a little more mainstream, and taboo is always going to fuel fantasies.
I see the apparent rise similar to the explosion of vibrator popularity after Sex in the City … it’s not that vibrators didn’t exist or women didn’t use them before, just that people weren’t as keen to talk about it. In this way, though I really am not a fan of either Sex in the City or 50 Shades, it’s great when pop culture stimulates honest and open conversation about women’s sexuality because that can only further attitudes of embracing it.
As a former escort, I consider adult film-making and performing to be forms of sex work. I know there are (partially legal) reasons for some to wish to create distinctions, but do you consider yourself a sex worker? Have you any thoughts on the rights of sex workers?
I think I consider myself more of a filmmaker than a sex worker, though performers more often identify that way. Either way, I certainly work within the sex industry. My own liberal personal belief is that sex work should be recognized as legitimate work (not simply the decriminalization of an exploited person) and given a legal framework to protect their health, livelihood and finances.
Many female filmmakers and fine porn producers have left the marketplace, leaving many to say women aren’t interested in porn. What do you say to them?
I think for as many who have left, there is an even greater amount joining the industry. This is thanks in part to the internet, which allows many women to realize their unique visions even though they may not have had the opportunity (or desire) to be backed by a large production company.
In addition, there is actually a huge rise in women as consumers of porn – or at least more women reporting their consumption. All in all, it is definitely part of a growing sector of the industry – one that will change the old, stereotyped face of porn for the better!
We sure hope so!
Should you, dear reader, need any more incentive to visit Lust Cinema, check out this trailer for Erika Lust’s Five Hot Stories for Her: