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MARIE CLAIRE: How Do You Tell Your Daughters That You Direct Adult Films?

I’m a guest writer in the May 2012 issue of Marie Claire Spain, talking about my vision of a new kind of adult cinema. I hope that you like the article, see below for the English translation or follow this link to open a PDF document (in Spanish).
When people around me learn of my profession, they immediately start in with the morbid questions. And even if they’re liberal people, they all ask the same thing: how did you tell your parents and how are you going to explain it to your daughters? I realize that I have a controversial profession: I’ve written books about sex and feminism, and I also produce and direct indie adult movies.

The feminine voice is marginal in the discourse of porn, which has been expressed in masculine (and often chauvinist) terms for more than four decades. But in these last few years, other young directors and I have successfully demonstrated that another kind of adult film is possible: one where the woman is the protagonist and her pleasure has importance, where the roles that represent us aren’t those of the prostitute, Lolita, nurse, babysitter, nymphomaniac … where, finally, the men that are portrayed aren’t only the stereotype of the fucking machine, where the styling and the locations make sense, where there are stories about feelings and passion, where the sex (although explicit) is human and beautiful, and not gynecological or athletic.


We are successfully producing adult films that are a pleasing experience in both aesthetics and ethics, so far beyond traditional porn, which is often offensive, violent and displeasing. I truly believe that if I were a man, I wouldn’t receive the constant moral questioning I referred to initially: about what my parents think and how I’m going to tell my girls, but we already know that being a woman, even today, has it’s ups and downs … I think that I was even judging myself at first, and because of it I had to resist telling my parents, who live in Stockholm, while I was safely away in Barcelona. But they had Internet and my mother, who I’d believed incapable of using Google at 70 years old, searched for ‘Erika Lust’ and forced it to come out. But both she and my father surprised me with a very positive reaction, and showed me that they understood there was a very important, very radical difference between my work and traditional porn. They would certainly have been more comfortable if I’d been a lawyer, professor or architect – at least it would have been easier to talk about their daughter’s work with their friends.


And regarding my daughters, I have to admit that I haven’t thought about it at all, since the oldest is four and the youngest is one. But I feel that when the moment arrives there won’t be a problem: since my work is honest, innovative and has a cause. Not only for the content and message of the movies I make, but also because the sex-positive feminism with which I identify, and which defends the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component to women’s rights. And I think porn that is intelligent, respectful of women, contemporary and thoughtful actually contributes to women’s full sexual liberation. Society is always trying to control and oversee our sexuality, as it does with everything else. Sometimes it’s the state, many times it’s the church, sometimes the more radical feminists, the conservatives and the male chauvinists … all have their motives for controlling us.


Their objective is to limit our sexuality to family and reproduction, with the intention that sex should never seem fun, and should it, we become dangerous and unworthy of respect in their eyes. Many times pornography is accused of being the lowest product of society, and of transmitting the worst values; but we shouldn’t forget about television, cinema, advertising, fashion … all of which quite often transmit negative messages about a woman’s body and breed confusion about gender and sexuality. Fathers, mothers, teachers, aunts, friends, grandmothers … all of these in fact transmit values about sex and gender to children. We must all (including those in porn) think about what we say and how we say it, until the end of their childhood or early adolescence. I want my daughters to learn that sex is life and pleasure, not just the risk of disease and unwanted pregnancy. I will tell them that I am a writer and director of films, and that my movies talk about love, about men and women who desire each other, about passion and sex. And of course I have to tell them what sex is, but this isn’t just me, it’s all of the fathers and mothers in the world!


And if we learn to explain what sex is to our children tactfully, in a natural and intelligent manner, we avoid that first explanation being from Ron Jeremy or Rocco Sifreddi. Or in the case of my friend, from Google, when her eight-year-old son and an older friend searched the web for “bitch”. When my girls are adolescents and a boyfriend shows them a porno, I want my daughters to be able to decide what they like and what they don’t: to be critical, to laugh if necessary, and ideally, to show the boys a different kind of film, one that they prefer instead.


(Translated with the help of Katie Pratt )

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