Erika Lust is a feminist porn director, screenwriter and producer.
The 38-year-old’s latest project has just seen a theatrical version of her latest project, XConfessions, screened at Raindance Film Festival.
She turned the public’s raciest anonymous sex confesssions into films for the project.
The Swedish mum-of-two found her calling after her 2004 short film The Good Girl was downloaded two million times within two weeks.
caught up with Erika to find out what really goes on in the life of a feminist porn director…
How did you get into this line of work?
I didn’t like what I saw in mainstream porn but I loved films and cinematography.
So, I decided to make erotica that I liked, with creative and cinematographic aesthetics using the skills I had learned from studying film production in Barcelona and working in a number of production companies.
Describe an average day
It’s very much like any day of a working mother, so I have a routine very much like anyone else.
Our shootings are like any indie film shooting, the only thing that is different is that we film real sex.
In general, sex scenes take around an hour of the shooting day plus an hour of preparation.
A shooting day is around 12 hours long, so I spend most of the day directing ‘regular’ fiction scenes.
I also go to festivals and events. It’s exciting but also a lot of work.
What do your parents think about your job?
At first they were worried about what kind of reputation it would give me.
But once they realised it was the role of a filmmaker I wanted to pursue – to make beautiful erotic films – and not a pornographer, they were incredibly supportive of me.
How have your partners reacted to your work?
My partner of 15 years, Pablo, is actually the CEO of my company, Lust Films.
So I think you could say he is very supportive and into what I do.
How is feminist porn any different from mainstream porn?
Feminist porn is women-relevant porn.
It shows individuals, men and women, as independent equals with their own desires and pleasures, able to explore them freely, enjoying and exploring their sexuality, all encased in a cinematically intelligent and beautiful film.
What do women want from their porn?
They want the same as men. They like it just as kinky, dirty, or romantic.
They want to see real pleasure.
They just prefer that their characters are relatable and put within a context that is realistic.
Enjoying themselves and the individuals they are with is the way they like to engage in sex.
It’s not that age-old belief of white linen sheets and rose petals.
Erika Lust’s 10 tips for pleasing a woman in bed
1. Cunnilingus, cunnilingus, cunnilingus – I always ask performers to involve as much foreplay as possible. In real life it can go on for hours, even days.
2. Pay her lots of attention – Appreciate her, make her feel wanted.
3. Talk to her – I know it’s hard (pun very much intended) for Brits to talk about sex, but try to not be so embarrassed about it! The more you communicate what you like the better sex you will have.
4. Dick pics – It’s not just about your dick. Showing your erect penis without any build-up is not as exciting as you think it is.
5. Listen – She has her own unique ideas, kinks and desires. Just because someone else liked something doesn’t mean she will. Be interested, find out.
6. Choreplay – Don’t let her do all the housework by herself while you watch TV. That’s a guaranteed vagina-repellent. Doing the dishes is the new buying flowers.
7. Experiment – don’t be afraid of the unknown. Try new things and test your boundaries with her.
8. Lube – It can make things a lot more fun and slippery, so it’s great to invest in a good one.
9. Toys – Most women have one and can make things more fun when used by both of you.
10. Erotica – A film, book or art – Watch or read it together, show each other your favourites, get inspired and open your desires.
Do your actors have to be feminists?
No, but they have to believe in our ethos and values. I won’t work with someone who doesn’t.
We look for natural individuals with a unique quality who like their job and love sex and are confident in their sexuality.
Not the porn stereotype.
What’s your audition process like?
We find most of our performers through Twitter or recommendations from past or regular performers.
Then we have an interview with them to find out about their reason for wanting to work with us, what they like and dislike sexually.
We find out if they like the film we are going to shoot and if there is anyone in particular they might like to work with.
It’s quite a natural and relaxed process, just to find out about the person behind the performer.
Do you cast a particular type?
No, we look for as diverse as possible.
With XConfessions we try to represent as many different types of people and bodies as we can.
The only thing I want is those who are natural and relatable, like their job, love sex and are confident in their sexuality, as this comes across on screen when filming.
What would you say to people who say that porn is inherently sexist?
Porn is only sexist when it’s made with sexist values – men who believe women should be sex objects paid for sex.
This is unfortunately the norm that we have been fed because of mainstream porn.
But if you make erotica with equality in the values, where women and men’s desires and pleasures are taken into equal consideration with connecting performers, you create beautiful erotic films that are not sexist but sexually liberating for all.
They create a positive discourse on sexuality and can inspire others to embrace their own desires.
What are the most common misconceptions about your work?
That I’m a regular porn mogul.
I am very proud and professional in my work.
I am passionate about directing films that are creating a new wave of indie erotic films.
Do you ever get bored of sex?
Not at all! With people’s testimonies on XConfessions every day there is never a time when I’m not discovering a new and exciting way to do my job.
Can you tell me some tricks of the trade?
We don’t have many as the performers are allowed to do what feels comfortable and natural. We want the most realistic portrayal of sex possible.
If the male doesn’t end with ejaculation it’s okay.
We aren’t looking for the money shot like in mainstream porn.
We are looking for the passion, the desire, the grabbing, biting, facial expressions.
That’s what makes sex most exciting and we want to catch that all on film.
Have you ever had a relationship with a porn star?
What’s your opinion of free porn?
Most free porn is bad porn. But if you sign up to XConfessions with a free account you can watch two films for free so you can get a taste of what makes my work different.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The most common feedback I get is that people like that they can relate to the people, context and sex in my films.
They see themselves, their friends, a person on the street.
It’s as real as it can be. And they find it much more of a turn on for that exact reason.
What did you used to do before this?
I used to study Political Sciences at the University of Lund in Sweden before I moved to Barcelona to pursue film making.
What work goes on behind the scenes that the average viewer would never imagine?
A lot of creative craft. The set design, art direction, script writing, character profiling, lighting, location management.
I work with a team that is almost entirely women in all different sectors of production and a huge amount of creative work goes into each part.
Has anything really funny ever happened on set?
On the last shooting we sent the production manager’s mum off to customs to collect a mermaid tail we had sent all the way from America for short film Ibiza Splash Crush.
21 things you never knew about orgasms
As you can see we are a hard-working team with very supportive parents!
What inspired you to create XConfessions.com?
I realised how creative the minds of the people around me were.
People have so many different ways they want to have sex, so why not bring them to life in sexually intelligent films that everyone can relate to and find exciting and erotic?
What do men always get wrong about female fantasies?
That we always want romance, white sheets and rose petals to get us going.
Yes, maybe sometimes for some people.
But there are so many other ways we want to have sex.
We want it in as many ways as men.
Kinky, dirty, soft, rough, in groups, with another man, another woman, in a field, at a sex party.
The imagination of women is endless and they can be very descriptive too.
Never underestimate the power of a woman’s mind.
Oh – and never forget lots of cunnilingus.