Peep Show – Interview with Erika Lust, Part Two
If you don’t already know Erika, it’s time to catch up. She’s an award winning adult film maker, an engaging author, and a strong believer that porn doesn’t have to be all pizza boys and money shots (even though it’s okay to throw those in here and there).
In Part One of our interview with Erika, she said that defining herself as a maker of porn for women is a political statement, just as being a woman in the porn industry is a political statement.Â She made it clear, however, that her movies aren’t just for women. Time to find out more:
King is a Fink: In mainstream cinema, films that, regardless of content or storytelling, tell “women’s stories” are often derogatorily referred to as “chick flicks”Â and dismissed by many men. Your films are made from a female perspective and focus on the female experience, and, yet, they are not exclusively enjoyed by women.Â Can you elaborate on how much of your audience is male, and what these men appreciate about your films?
Erika Lust: What sort of straight men watch my films or any other ‘porn for women’? Men who are man enough to cope with self-confident female sexuality and men who fancy women who know what they want and enjoy their sexuality.
I already mentioned my doubts about porn for men and erotic films for womenÂ. I simply don’t believe that straight men always want the ‘whore’ and straight women want the ‘knight’, even if mainstream cinema (traditional cinema as well as porn) seems to believe that. Maybe it took a woman to break the mold, because it’s easier for women to break with the tradition of the super-male mainstream porn fantasies. Perhaps a straight man couldn’t do this without having his masculinity questioned. I don’t know. But now that the stone is rolling (and it is), there’re a lot of men (audience members as well as filmmakers) keeping it rolling.
KFink: You have a very far reaching internet presence through your blog, website, etc.Â Do youÂ interact with your audience?Â If so, how and how often? And how important is it to engage with your audience?
Erika: I am using a variety of ways to interact with my audience.Â Social media gives the best opportunity to reach people interested in my work, to exchange ideas, get feedback, or simply gossip a little. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts that I use on a regular basis, as well as more or less active Flickr and YouTube accounts. I also receive e-mails, and I try to answer those as much as possible.
E-mails, comments, messages and so on, have increased recently, and it’s difficult to manage it alone. If I tried to, I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. But in general I think the interaction with the audience is very important to spread ideas, get feedback, and keep the discussion on porn for women going, which is so necessary.
KFink: In your book Good Porn you discuss how porn provides a way of talking about sex and gender. What are some issues you explore in your films that address attitudes about sex and gender?
Erika: I explored the role of power in sexual play in “Married with Children”. Most mainstream porn only shows women playing submissive roles in bdsm roleplay and, as a result, having no power. I showed that the submissive not only has power but actually has ALL the power, because they decide what can be done and when it has to stop.
In fuckyoucarlos.com I played with traditional ideas of the male gaze on women and men using women in porn. I turned it around and let the woman have the camera, creating a movie from the rarely seen female gaze.Â In this film I also show that men don’t always work like machines and that porn doesn’t have to depict them as constantly horny stallions or functioning sex-machines.
The female view (woman as viewer) is also the motif in “Handcuffs”, which shows a sequence with a gay male couple having sex, which is very unusual for a straight porn. Male-centered mainstream porn often depicts lesbian sex but almost never gay male sex. In the Love section of Life Love Lust I show an older women with a younger man. That is not only unusual for porn, but for pop culture in general.
In all of these films I explored different ideas about sex, gender, desire, and, of course, porn.
KFink: Do you have anything new in the works that we should watch for?
Erika: I have two books coming out soon: Erotic Bible to Europe, a guide for erotic places in Europe from kinky to chic, and Love Me Like You Hate Me, a book on dominance, submission, and, therefore, a variety of practices that may be considered taboo for many women, which I wrote with fetish artist Venus O’Hara. The Erotic Bible to Europe has its own interactive online community, giving people the opportunity to tell us about their favorite HOTspots, write reviews, and rate them. And there will be a new movie in 2011, but I will not tell more about it not to spoil the surprise.
Of course, Erika HAD to leave us a with a little tease. We can’t wait to see what her new movie’s about, and we wish we all the best on her new projects.
If you’d like to keep up with Erika, check out her projects, old and new, at www.erikalust.com, and follow her on Twitter: @ErikaLust.Ã‚Â And if you know of any sexy spots in Europe, be sure to share, review, and rate them on Erika’s “Erotic Bible to Europe” online map.
Hmm, who’s next on the Peep Show roster? Hey! It’s Joanna Angel!