Adult filmmaker Erika Lust can recall exactly how she felt the first time she watched porn: She was conflicted, to say the least.
"Part of me was like, 'Yeah, it's somewhat of a turn-on,'" she told Refinery29. "But another side of me thought, What the hell is this sexist bullshit?" Or as she put it in her 2014 Tedx Talk, "Arousal tasted sweet," but "objectification tasted bitter."
These feelings led Lust to enter the adult film industry as a director. Her goal was to create porn that showed "all the intimacy, beauty, and joy of sex," but not at the expense of the female stars. With most mainstream porn, Lust explained, it can be hard to tell if the people in the film "truly enjoyed themselves" — particularly the women.
Lust has directed over 10 films so far — you can see them here — and she shows no sign of slowing down as she prepares her first feature film. As her own career grows, she hopes to see more women take on behind-the-scenes roles in porn, citing Vex Ashley and female-led initiative New Level of Pornography as some of the more exciting sources of progressive adult cinema.
Lust shared a selection of stills from her film series, XConfessions, which was inspired by the sexual fantasies of her fans. The series reflects just how much Lust values her audience's pleasure: "Sometimes, I get to do a tender story; and other times, it's super kinky, or funny, or scary — it can be anything. I'm not limited to a narrow idea of sexuality. It's that wide, beautiful universe of sensuality and pleasure — that's the point."
If you happen to be in Berlin, you can catch a screening of XConfessions and hear Lust give a talk at the Berlin Film Society on February 10. Everyone else can click through to see the aforementioned stills and get a glimpse into the wonderful world of female-directed porn.