Saying ‘Boy, Bye’ To Phallocentric Porn

Feminist adult filmmaker Erika Lust thinks it’s imperative that women tell their own story of sex.

 "Eat With... Me" still frame. Photo credits: XConfessions; Erika Lust.

"Eat With... Me" still frame. Photo credits: XConfessions; Erika Lust.

“I had a crush on him from the moment I first saw him on television,” the anonymous Foodie1 writes in her short work of erotic fiction “Eat With ... Me.” “I just couldn’t get enough of his arms, steadily chopping or softly kneading. I was jealous of the way he held a knife. I wanted to become the bread dough under his hands.”

Now imagine: A camera zooms in on a dimly lit dining room somewhere in Barcelona, where a woman in a red dress sits at an elaborately set table illuminated by candlelight. The chef, a bearded man in an apron, greets her in Spanish and proceeds to serve up a bounty of gourmet dishes ― roasted chicken, oysters and decadent puffs of an unidentified cream. She eats, slowly and luxuriously, using her hands when a fork won’t do. The chef assists, feeding her eagerly, letting his hand linger in her mouth. And then, to make a short story shorter, they have sex ― hungrily and playfully, like how you might make love to a gifted cook who had just tenderly prepared you a delectable, multi-course meal. 

Foodie1’s fantasy was brought to life thanks to XConfessions, a crowdsourced erotic project founded by the Barcelona-based feminist adult filmmaker known as Erika Lust. Foodie1 was one of many internet users from around the world to submit a sexual fantasy scenario to the website. All of the submissions are published on XConfessions’ website, and every month, Lust selects two written confessions from the bunch to make into cinematic shorts. The resulting films are more “adult cinema” than “adult entertainment,” skimping neither on artistic integrity nor sex appeal.

Lust is determined to overhaul the landscape of adult film. She created XConfessions, she told The Huffington Post, to build a space for “real films with real sex” that offer viewers porn that’s original, artistic and hot without trite and tacky tropes like cheesy music, bad sofas and laughable moans.

Since starting the project in 2013, Lust has ushered the most private of pipe dreams onto the most public of platforms ― the internet. She oversees the entire selection and film production process, with the help of a 90-percent-female staff.

Born in 1977 as Erika Hallqvist, Lust grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, a city fabled to be what she described as a “feminist utopia.” Though sex wasn’t a topic discussed at home, Lust had an overwhelmingly productive sex education program at school where, separated by gender, students’ unbridled curiosity was met with openness and maturity.

“I learned everything at school,” she recalled. “Age-appropriate sex education at school tackled everything from petting to consent, respect and emotions. I was taught that sex can be more than physical; it can involve emotions and connection.”

To this day, that sex-positive sentiment inspires much of Lust’s vision ― the idea that sex is also a visceral exploration of bodily sensations. 

Lust has a hazy memory of buying her first dirty mag at a supermarket as a teenager seeking beer. Her first significant encounter with erotic content was seeing Jean-Jacques Annaud’s coming-of-age film “L’amant,” an adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ autobiography.

“It was really a revelation,” Lust recalled. “The protagonist becomes an adult through sex and an unconventional love story, and this is completely shown from her point of view. This girl is intelligent and adventurous, and she is not ashamed of her blossoming sexuality.”

It wasn’t just the complexity of the protagonist that intrigued Lust, but also the way cinematic artistry enhanced the sense of passion. This realization would go on to influence her own films, both those created through XConfessions and those not. Whether the parties include vampires, vikings, cheerleaders or aliens from alternate dimensions, Lust depicts their lovemaking with a careful eye for aesthetics.

Read the full Huffington Post article