Erika Lust


Indie Adult Movie Director Erika Lust x LustCinema

At Missgrey we think it is very important to address some of the issues in the world of sex – because as fun as it can be it also has its bad sides. In some of our PLUS articles we want to join the debate by reaching out to people who are close to the issues. One of the biggest and most heated debates is “does women watch porn?”. In Denmark and many other parts of the world it is almost seen as a taboo that women watch porn – but as all of us at Missgrey (and many of our readers) know, this is not the case. Porn is a wonderful world! A world that has so much to offer and which contributes to our personal lives more than we let on. The portrayals and judgement we see in adult movies has shaped how many of us view porn and sex. Why do we lie about watching it? Why are we, especially women, so embarrassed about something as natural as porn? Because honestly, of course it is not only men who watch it, and it should not only be men who get to enjoy it and be the center of porn and pleasure. So let’s dive into the interview with Erika Lust.

What is your background?

I studied Political Science and Gender at the university in Sweden, my home country, at the time where I got in contact with pornography for the first time. Watching that, I felt like something was wrong: women’s role was too much about only pleasing the man’s pleasure. I knew that female sexuality was way more than that. Right after moving to Barcelona back in 2000, I’ve been working in a well-known advertising company making quick steps forward – from runner to producer. I felt like the film set was my environment and soon I started feeling the need to do my own thing.

How did you get started making adult movies? What was your motivation?

I told myself I wanted to shoot an explicit movie and capture the whole feeling of sex – the passion and the pleasure of everyone involved – with a captivating story and cinematic images. I wanted to show the importance of female pleasure while depicting respectful sex relationships, where consent is a priority. In 2004 I made this short film called ‘The Good Girl’ – a humorous take on the classic pizza delivery boy porn trope. I then posted it online for free. I wasn’t really expecting anything but in a few months it was downloaded over 2 million times! I was receiving emails from people all over the world telling me that they loved the film and asking for the next one. I realized that I wasn’t the only one craving an alternative to mainstream porn. And that’s how Erika Lust was born!

What is LustCinema?

After five years turning sex stories and secret desires and fantasies confessed by the public into short films for XConfessions, I decided last year to make the leap across the Atlantic and bring my style of adult cinema to the L.A scene by investing money in U.S. productions and giving work to more female filmmakers and performers, and so I created LustCinema – my studio for lovers of sex and cinema! There are several established female filmmakers and creators in the U.S. who are craving a space for creativity, artistry and innovation outside the industry standards. LustCinema offers plot-driven original series and feature films by a diverse pool of female directors for those who seek relatable storylines with realistic situations of sex, cinematic quality, sex positivity and attention to detail in the production process.

What do you think is the biggest problem in the adult movie industry?

We are used to adult movies made by men in which most of the time sex is something that is done to women, instead of having them actively participating in it. The porn industry still has the highest positions of power mainly dominated by men. We need to show the female gaze on sex in order to reclaim women’s sexuality and pleasure and to get this we need women behind the camera as directors, producers, scriptwriters having a strong voice in the industry. We need to show diversity, to represent different body shapes, ethnicities, gender and sexual identities so that more people can see themselves in those films, be inspired, and learn something. I think the industry must take its responsibility in the face of all the young people out there who end up taking it as their main source of sexual education. Consent should be shown clearly, and simulations of coercion, pedophilia or abuse should not be presented as the norm.

How is it to be a female director in this industry? What is the biggest challenge?

Being a female director and producer in the industry has been challenging from the very beginning. My male counterparts used to tell me I was wasting my time as there was no market for women, following the sad belief that women are not interested in buying anything that has to do with sex. You pay women for sex but you don’t do films for them. This first made me angry but also led me to keep on pushing even harder. Nowadays I see a general need to make things with better work conditions and values gradually making its way through the industry, even though there’s still a lot to do in terms of ensuring always fair and safe working conditions for all.

What is most important to you when making these ethical correct movies?

I’m pledged to treat everyone involved in my films with respect, being attentive to their needs, requests and emotions and, most of all, compensating them fairly and providing a safe and trusted working environment with good working conditions. I have someone from my production team on set to make sure the performers are being taken care of – you don’t have this figure in mainstream pornography. We ensure healthy food and water on set provided by a local catering service, and good accommodations and flights paid if necessary… For all of these reasons adult content needs to be behind a paywall. By paying for the porn you watch you are contributing to the performers’ livelihoods and to the ability of everyone involved – directors, crew, post-production – to do their job properly.

Do you know if it is mostly men or women that watches your movies?

Generally, my audience is about 60% men, 40% women (that’s 10-30% more female viewers than most of the tube sites) and the average age range is 25-45. Data from The Store by Erika Lust also shows how the gender split of First Time Buyers has changed over the past 5 years with more women buying each year until 2019, where we now have more women buyers than men in the store.

Which feedback do you get from women regarding your movies?

Women are enthusiastic about my films because they promote gender equality, intimacy, affirmative consent and sexual freedom and exploration. As per what I’ve been reading through comments on social media and on my blog they like my films because they can identify in my stories and characters. They are happy to choose a type of adult film where sex is not only about gynecological shots, decapitated male performers and uninspiring storylines with which mainstream adult porn has been fed us through all these years. Sex is also about seduction, passion, context. Some of them particularly like the fact that I inject comedy into some of the films since this aspect contributes to making them more real and authentic.

Do you feel as if sex and watching porn is taboo among women? And why do you think this is the case?

For years women were told that we wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – be turned on by porn. Hopefully, from what I’m seeing there has been a general social progression and a cultural shift that has positively transformed the relationship between women and sex in the last years. Many women globally are empowering themselves more and more and claiming their right to pleasure. People are increasingly becoming aware that we are independent sexual beings and as such, we can be aroused by the representation of sex on screen just as much as men. Porn is gradually becoming less of a taboo in society and women are able today to speak more openly about their own desires than in the past. However we still have a long way to go since the majority of porn out there still revolves mainly around male pleasure. Women need to feel represented to be able to speak out about the porn they like to watch.

Do you have any comments about the body positivity debate? Do you think your movies are helping in this debate?

Through my films I aim to smash the stigma that is attached to the female body by representing women who have no shame of being openly sexual, “too suggestive” or “indecent”. I’ve been always actively participating in the body positivity debate through my social channels, especially following the biased banning Instagram has been campaigning against profiles offering educational and empowering content about sex, pleasure and body positivity. Hundreds of predominantly female and queer artists, educators and sex workers as well as companies working around sex and sexuality have been and still are victims of this sexual content censorship. My Instagram account was deleted in the past too, and I keep on being shadowbanned on the platform. It’s important to preserve online spaces from censorship to keep up with the online conversation on sex and sexuality. When female nipples are censored but male nipples are not, women are taught that they must be ashamed of their bodies and police them to ensure they don’t arouse men.

We really hope you have enjoyed reading this interview as much as we have. At Missgrey we have the uttermost respect for Erika Lust and everything she represents!

This is why we HAVE to recommend visiting LustCinema where you can find these amazing movies and series made for women and by women. Especially the new series PRIMARY.

The first of 6 episodes has been released on April 3rd, while episodes 2 and 3 will be out on April 10th and 17th” into this: “The first 2 episodes are already live. Wait for the third one coming out this Friday, April 17th. As described by Erika herself; Each episode of ‘Primary’ shows the beauty of contemporary non-monogamous relationships through genuine storylines and incredibly arousing sex scenes!

Read more about the new series (and must watch) in our second article on Missgrey.

Erika Lust is an acclaimed adult filmmaker who creates sex-positive, indie adult cinema that portrays sexually intelligent narratives, relatable characters, and realistic hot sex. In 2015, Erika gave her essential TEDx talk It’s Time for Porn to Change. Her story was also featured in the first episode of Netflix’s documentary series Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On (“Women on Top”), directed by Rashida Jones.

LustCinema offers plot-driven original series and feature films by female directors for those who seek relatable storylines with realistic situations of sex, cinematic quality and sex positivity. In addition to licensing innovative content from adult filmmakers who show and capture the whole feeling of sex – the passion and the pleasure. If you are looking for pornography where everyone’s pleasure is equally important, LustCinema is your place. You put the screen and we add the lust.

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