I remember in my youth, trying to get a hang of what sex was all about and since I attended a catholic all-girls high school, Sex-Ed was limited to “all you need to know is you don’t f*ck until marriage. period.”, so we just recurred to the dearly beloved sex bibles of the time: printed magazines such a Cosmo, Glamour, and other juicier publications we could steal from older siblings. Once, I read something along the lines of “during sex, try to listen to your crush’s breathing and mimic it, until both of you are breathing at the same pace”. This action, was supposed to send some sort of chemical waves to the male brain (they truly enjoyed giving it a very scientific twist referring to us as male/females!) and convince him that you and only you are the perfect female for him. CRAZY stuff! Hopefully, these days are over.
Women talking about sex is more and more popular and encouraged. We finally get to hear and see what women really want in bed. In the mainstream media, shows like Sex and the City, Girls, Orange is the New Black, and the sort, have been openly duscussing what we like, want and dislike in bed. Which is interesting because, the normality of sex on TV opens yet another discussion: THE BODY. Which body parts are allowed in the media, which are considered “private”, which are offensive, and which are accepted. I find it interesting, for example, that on Instagram it is easy to see butts in all shapes, sizes and skin colors out there, but the minute a nipple dares to pop out of a top, some secret Instagram spy just reports your account and that picture is BANNED from the virtual world of Instagram forever! Makes sense, right?
Then there are women like Erika, who are are truly pushing the boundaries of sexuality in the media, questioning the why’s the why not’s and the how’s, ruling the conversation, taking it to a more realistic, artistic, intellectual and aesthetically interesting realm. Erika creates smart porn, in which those involved have conversations, fall in love, fantasize, sometimes cheat, other times play, sometimes are married and having fun together, sometimes are same-sex… In sum, it is just a good representation of real life.
Erika has been re-shaping the adult film industry, or shall I say, creating an alternative industry. She has challenged and reframed views that were traditionally male-centered, and has been widely acclaimed for her innovation in the field. Her creativity is unstoppable, lately coming up with a very, very sexy project. And have you ever heard about an indie adult film? Well, meet Erika!
How has the adult film industry changed since you entered it?
Wow. There’s been a lot of things happening it’s impossible to point out everything. On one hand we’ve seen how internet content has just exploded, which has led to porntubes and mainstream adult content coming in from all angles. And on the other hand, there have been a huge amount of very diverse directors making adult films from a different perspective, films that care about the female perspective, about cinematography, about storytelling or just making sure they make adult films in a non-sexist manner. We’ve seen things like the Feminist Porn Awards, which is a great testament to how many directors there are out there actively creating alternatives to the porn norm.
Where did you find the inspiration to be an Adult Film Director?
I strongly felt like women’s voices were not being heard in adult films. Well, they were being heard but mostly in the form of loud faked orgasms! Whenever I had come across explicit films, they were all about the man, the man’s desire and the man’s needs. I didn’t feel any aversion to explicitness or nudity, just the way it was presented as a thing for just men. Also, I’ve loved film all my life and knew I wanted to work with cinema. So I wanted to merge cinematography with explicit content in a way that would give a more accurate image of sex, that it would also show the needs, ideas and pleasure of women.
Tell us one challenge you encountered upon entering this industry?
The answer is in your question, in a way! Some people, like my mother, thought I was “entering the industry” and “the industry” has so many horrible associations for people.
It was hard for some to understand that I wanted to subvert and create an alternative to the mainstream porn industry rather than actually joining it. I didn’t want to take part in what the mainstream industry was doing, so to me it never felt like I joined “the industry”. I wanted to do the opposite of what they were doing, and carve out my own space, even though my films would contain sex as well.
So that was a challenge in the beginning. But now there’s a lot more understanding and more female directors as well. Most people now understand that you can be a woman who directs erotic films without being a deranged pervert. Not that I have anything against deranged perverts!
If it’s not top-secret(!), what is the next project we’ll be able to enjoy from Erika Lust?
I’m still making films for XConfessions but I’m also trying to focus as much as possible on a project based on my erotic novel La Cancion de Nora. Watch this space!
What would be the title of your autobiography?
Hmmm! Maybe “Lustin’ for a lay-in” or something – because I feel like I haven’t been able to have a lay-in in bed for years. And it sounds a bit dirty which is always a plus. Occupational hazard! Or wait, would “License to Lust” be too cheesy? And I want to wear sunglasses for the cover photo!
Tell us one of your proudest moments
Giving birth to my daughters, Lara and Liv have been two very proud moments. Nothing can beat that feeling of “holy shit, I just gave life”. But I want to say a moment from my work life too if I may: screening XConfessions at the Chicago International Film Festival last year. I just felt this shift, that people there really listened and realized that showing sex on film doesn’t have to mean vulgar or cheap – that eroticism is as worthy of artistic framing as any other aspects of our humanity. That was a big moment for me. That’s three proud moments, sorry!
Are you living your dream life?
Yes! When I was at university I never would have guessed that I would build a career directing erotic films in Barcelona. But I’m so happy I took the risk, left Sweden and followed my passion. My family is happy and healthy, my company is growing and I feel more sure of my artistic abilities than ever. So I’m in a very good place. I feel very grateful.
A song you love
Nenneh Cherry “Buffalo Stance.” Loved it since it came out!
A place where you find peace
Costa Brava. I go every year. It has the most beautiful beaches, the best views. The air feels different there and it’s just one of those places where you can get away from everything and reset your batteries.
A person who inspires you
Lena Dunham. When I have a spare moment to myself, there’s only thing I want to do: re-watch Girls again and again.