How Feminism and Porn go together. A conversation with Erika Lust about Periods, Porn and Ruby Cup

How do feminism and porn fit together? Depending on how you see things, you might think they don’t. But then you’ll meet Erika Lust and she’ll turn your whole idea about porn upside down. She is, in fact, a feminist porn director. Her team consists of 90% women that work on her project, XConfessions – a platform where you can anonymously submit erotic fantasies and Erika might just make adult films out them.

Generally, mainstream porn very often neglects female pleasure, making it hard for women to identify with the consumed content in which they are regularly represented as pleasure objects only. But Erika and her team are the fervor of female empowerment, disrupting the porn industry from within and producing erotic cinema that focuses on everyone’s pleasure, which finally also includes women’s.

Ruby Cup meets Erika Lust & Periods meet Porn

Erika

A couple of months ago, XConfessions launched a period positive erotic film and after the plain realization that both Erika Lust and Ruby Cup are based in beautiful Barcelona, we had to meet her to talk about periods and porn. And I won’t lie, after that conversation we walked out of her office empowered as hell. Here we want to share this conversation with you.

Watch the video interview with Erika Lust here or read it down below.

PORN

T: What is feminist porn and why does the world need it?

E: Feminist porn is a complicated concept for a lot of people because it’s very misunderstood. Why? Because people have this idea that in the word ‘feminist’ there is somehow, something anti-men. That feminists hate men and they want to get rid of them and take the power. And when it comes to pornography, people have this idea that porn somehow is anti-female. That pornography is bad for women, that it is hurting women in a lot of ways. And the truth is that a lot of the mainstream pornography that is out there today, is hurtful for a lot of women. Because it’s not really about showing the pleasure of sex, it’s a lot about punish-fucking women, and that’s really sad and really really hurtful. And that’s one of the reasons why

I believe that feminist porn is absolutely necessary. Because it can really help us change the way we look upon sex. I think that it can make us understand that men and women, are equal human beings and that they can have a really good time together having sex, and that it is really about the pleasure for both of them.

But then, it gets complicated. Because people get very nervous when they hear: feminist pornography. They’re like: “woa, what is this: maybe it’s like only women?” I hear a lot of people saying that to me, and I’m like: “no, that would be lesbian porn, right? That is only women”. And then they go: “ok, so it’s not only women then what is it? Is it like, ugly women, with hair under their arms…?”, that’s the first thing they think about. And then you start to talk about equality and they are starting to understand that “maybe it’s not so dangerous as it sounds”. And then, when we keep on talking I try to explain the main concept:

feminist pornography is about believing that people are people, that we are all human beings; that pleasure should be shared, that female pleasure is essential, the same way as male pleasure is.

feminist porn erika lust indie film

©ErikaLust

I think that it is very important to show that women are more than just some kind of pleasure objects, that we are there as people, you know, made out of bone, blood, flesh and that we have our own fantasies and erotic ideas and adventure and we like sex, we like to have sex.

I think there is a lot of people out there feeling like sex is something you do to women, but it’s not really something that they want, and it’s a super strange idea. And then they think that all men of course just want to have sex all the time, that they are some kind of penetrative sex machines, just going and going for sex. And that’s also such a ridiculous idea about men because that’s not at all how most men actually are.

But it’s what we see a lot of times in mainstream pornography. So, we are starting to believe in those stereotypes of men and women and how they interact, and that’s actually, one of the things where I think that it is so crucial for us to see a different perspective, a different take on sexuality and on pornography. And I think that

the only way that that [creating a different perspective on pornography] is possible is by having women involved in the process of making it, of actually doing it, of imagining it, of -you know- feeling it, and saying:  “Hey, this is what I want to see, this is what I would like pornography to be for me”.

So, that’s one of the reasons why I have a lot of women in my filming crew, we are actually today around -depends a little on the shooting- 90% of women in my film crew, that’s a lot of women, it’s a power pussy team and yeah, I really feel like all of those women are helping me to create a new vision.

When it comes to feminist pornography it is important the female pleasure of course, the female perspective, the crew behind the camera and then I think that another thing that is very important is that the whole production process is really taking care of everybody working on set behind and in front of the camera.

erikalust_filming_30-min©ErikaLust

It has also a lot to do with what is called today “ethical porn” or the whole concept of caring about the process of your actors. Giving them all the information before they are coming to the shoot. Because one of the things that is happening today a lot in mainstream pornography is that a lot of production companies, they just call people (actors) they tell them: “come a shoot on Tuesday at 10 o’clock.” But the actors don’t know anything about what is actually going to happen, and I think that that is a huge problem. They need to have all the information beforehand so they can think about what the situation will be, what are they going to do, what are their rules, what would they like to be involved in, with whom are they going to shoot, how much are they going to be paid, how long will the working day be, etc.

So that’s the whole ethical porn package: to take care of the process.

T: One third of women are porn viewers, why is it still a taboo that women watch porn? Why do women feel ashamed of it?

E: Well I guess it is changing somehow, because if you go back to ten years ago, I think it was a lot more difficult for women to acknowledge that they were actually watching porn. Today I feel like more and more people are starting to share at least with their best girlfriends kind of, starting to tell them that maybe they have found something different and that they like it.

But I think that the thing with pornography and women is that most women have looked at mainstream pornography and they didn’t like it so they think that it is something that is not really interesting for them, they think that it is a genre made for men, done by men and that they don’t really have a role.

T: What do you think about porn as sex education? Traditionally and potentially.

E: Well, I think that we all have to realize that:

porn today is sex education. Whether we like it or not: it is just the way it is.

And that’s because we have all this access to technology: we have iPhone, iPads, computers and all other. And it is very very easy to find porn. Because if you are a young kid and in school suddenly some start talking about porn, what do you want? You want to check it out because you don’t know exactly what it is. And if you talk to adults many times they avoid the question. They don’t even want to talk about it because they get all reddish and they don’t want to acknowledge that it exists really. So, what do you do? Well, you go to your computer and you type porn in Google and what does Google do? It shows it to you! The first thing it does: directly into porn hub, you porn or red tube or whatever. And most of

those first images of explicit sex that you will watch as a very young person will be quite nasty. And I think that that is sad because it isn’t really the first vision of the sexuality that you would like a younger generation to find.

Especially when they are not really prepared for it, because they have not had that chat with adult people about what kind of content it is. I think that

that is one of the reasons why we need to change our idea about hiding around porn and start confronting it. And I think what we need is to create an alternative, we need to create better porn with better values!

YES! And apart from doing ethical porn, she has started another project approaching exactly this dilemma called  thePornConversation.org. It’s a platform that offers parents tools to guide, prepare and teach children and teenagers about porn, which they would most likely otherwise stumble upon unprepared.

porn conversation education

©ThePornConversation.org

PERIODS

T: What is your view on period sex?

E: Sometimes it’s nice, sometimes you don’t want it- that’s my spontaneous view. You may have days where you’re like “no, I don’t feel like it at all”, and then you may have days where you actually feel like having sex, even if you are on your period. I feel like we should not have any shame about it because periods are something people have. We have it every month, every 28th day -or even every 25th day, as I have it- it comes and goes and comes.

We’re going to have to deal with it, so I think that the easiest way is just to relax around it and go with what you feel. But you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it, you should not have to hide because you are on your period.

I know a lot of young girls that when they are on their periods, instead of going on the date they wanted, they just stay at home and say they have a fever or whatever and that’s just sad. And then my feeling from men is that they don’t mind as much as women think they will mind.

period sex menstruation vampires

©XConfessions

T: Given that females menstruate around one fourth of their sexually active life, why is it that periods are so underrepresented in porn?

E: When it comes to pornography, there are a few different reasons why it is not shown so much. One of the reasons is because a lot of porn is built on the financial structure that someone will buy that film online. And behind that financial structure are credit card processor companies that have to accept the product to want to process the payment and most of this companies are not willing to process that kind of payments. That is one of the “business reasons” why we don’t see more of it. But I think it is also, obviously, because

most porn that is created today is made by men and they are not really interested in it, it is not really part of their life, so they haven’t really thought about it too much and then it is probably also because we are not used to seeing it and then many people feel ashamed about it and they just haven’t really thought about making it.

T: What is there to be done to change this?

E: Well, it’s like when it comes to images that we produce, whether it is fashion images or movies, television, photography or pornography, all those images shape the view people have of real life. I think that only this last year when it comes to period sex and period situations and imagery, we have seen a progress, really. So, I think that now we are in a moment where people are starting to think about this.

T: How are periods treated in the porn industry? – Logistically speaking, do you keep track of you actresses?

E: If I keep track of my actresses? No, they keep track of themselves. Obviously, everybody takes care of their own personal schedules. But it depends; normally it is not shown in explicit movies. What most actresses do when they are on their periods is to use a sponge (also known as Menstrual Sponge or Levant sponge). That is quite used amongst porn actresses actually. Then, there are of course other actresses that are on the pill. And for example, if they have a shooting planned when their period is going to come they probably push it up a few days. I guess those are the most used methods. The funny thing with the period sex is that it actually has a nickname: it is called crime sex, because there’s like blood on the sheets it looks like a crime was made.

T: XConfessions has recently launched a movie featuring period sex. Why is it categorized under taboo and fetish, and not let’s say under ‘period sex’? – Why isn’t there a period sex category in XConfessions?

E: There is no such category because there is only one movie, actually. And I think it’s under taboo probably because a lot of people have this taboo around it, and the fetish category is probably because of the vampire more than the period.

BTW. After the interview Erika added a “menstruation” category to XConfessions. Check out her statement about it here.

T: Do you think that having it under this category could somehow perpetuate its taboo status?

E: I think the way of changing taboos is confronting them, is looking at them showing those kinds of situations. But it is also, when it comes to decide the categorization of all the films, it is something that is open and sometimes one puts a wrong tag on it and we have to change it again. Actually, is not myself who is doing it so I can’t really tell you why it’s that way, I will have to go there and look for it and see if it is correct, I’m correcting those tags everyday with movies I see suddenly ended up in a category that was not the one that it was supposed to be in.

Erika

©XConfessions

T: So, you said that “Can vampires smell my period?” is the first XConfessions movie about period sex. Do you receive many period sex confessions?

E: Not many, we have a few on the side, but it is not something that we receive a lot of.

T: Do you see XConfessions launching more period sex movies?

E: I haven’t really thought about it. For me, it’s not something that I feel we shouldn’t do, but then again there are so many things I want to do, it’s not in the planning of the next movies you know. But we could, I mean if people want it we can totally do more!

T: We were thinking that maybe you can use a Ruby Cup (?)

E: Yeah, what should we do with it? Should we drink the blood?

T: You know they are awesome for foreplay during your period because you don’t really have to touch blood if you don’t want to and then you can take it out and, you know it’s really practical!

E: I think that we should ask your followers to send in some confessions using their cup and we can make a movie out of it!

You heard what Erika said! Submit your Ruby Cup related Confessions and make the world be a bit more period sex positive 💌

Ruby Cup Meets Erika Lust To talk about feminist porn and period sex

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