Erika Lust’s X Confessions: Finally some porn I want to watch

I’m well up for porn.

Though having an extremely vivid imagination means I can frolic with John Boyega and the cast of Magic Mike unimpeded by firewalls, and while the joy of a solo orgasm occasionally suffices without so much as a nipple crossing my mind, pornography still has a place in my life.

When I first discovered the internet, the thrill was in the simple fact something so scandalous was at my 13-year-old fingertips. Despite being an incredibly lustful teenager with zero qualms about double clicking my pubescent mouse (so to speak..) when it came to actually watching porn, the excitement centred mainly on the fact it was forbidden. The yelps of unconvincing ecstasy, the slapping, screaming and relentless boners were disturbing – but kind of worth wincing through – for the sinful rush inspired by all that awfulness.

“My greatest concern when the duvet looks itchy is ethics.”

Fast forward ten years and I’d begun perusing RedTube for genuine gratification. I’d carefully curated my porn experience to exclude the phallus entirely, so straight to ‘Lesbian’ I’d click, without fail. In sapphic paradise the vibe was chilled; facial expressions seemed less pained,  there were fewer howls and very little thumping. But I had new grievances. Footage was shaky, the bedding didn’t match, and worst of all: I was unconvinced anyone was having a nice time.

My greatest concern when the duvet looks itchy or I spot the fluffer’s knee is ethics. Not cause I’m a nice person or anything, it’s just that wondering if actors are safe, fairly-paid, in control, free from addiction, respected or enjoying themselves at all can play havoc with a girl’s wide-on.

Almost of equal importance to me are aesthetics. When you’re in the throes of ‘womansplaining’ yourself senseless, the sight of a dodgy French manicure (or just some upsetting cushions) can cause your clit boner to wilt like the awkward vase of flowers shuffling off the nightstand with every bash of the headboard. (Please say that’s not just me?)

Anyway! I established some new criteria for acceptable porn: All I asked for was a lovely close-up of a ball-bag, against a backdrop of tasteful furnishings, where nobody’s sex noises rang with melancholy.

erika lust wikicommons
Feminist porn director Erika Lust

I searched, and found Erika Lust: a film graduate, mother-of-two and self-described provocateur, who makes erotic movies inspired by the sexy confessions of every day sluts like you and me, crucially focused on female pleasure. Unable to justify paying for porn, I contented myself for several years with exploring her social media, delighting in her mastery of Spanish (with Swedish accent for maximum babe points) but avoiding eye-contact with the PayPal button.

“It was a sign from Anna Nicole Smith.”

Then on Friday night, a pal mentioned her housemate’s potential foray into porn and Erika’s name came up again. It was a sign from Anna Nicole: I was ready to shell out my precious door-lahs, escape the misery of Jill-ing off with a guilty darkness in my heart and have something useful to write for you too.

First things first: It is not cheap. I paid 21 euros for a month’s access to Erika’s website: X Confessions. If you sacrifice Netflix and Spotify, you might feel better cash-wise.

But is it actually worth it?

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Tinder Taxi is the latest film on www.xconfessions.com

“This is very much not Patrick Stuart doing a Shakespearean monologue.”

The first film I choose is Tinder Taxi. A ten-out-of-ten-would-grope-with-consent HOTTIE is browsing Tinder wearing glitter and fur in the back of a cab. She daydreams each suitor onto the seat next to her, and rejects them one by one based on bad manners, false-advertising and a sunglasses habit. I cackled out loud.

Eventually she decides to seduce the (placid, respectful and perfectly symmetrical) taxi driver via the rear-view mirror and one thing leads to a-raunchy-nother.

 

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Swipe right

Some of the acting is clumsy, but sis, this is porn, not one of Patrick Stuart’s Shakespearean monologues (although they turn me on too.)

My highlights were the way the girl held her gold necklace in her mouth, the sublime waves of cellulite on her bottom, the tiny kiss Taxi Guy plants on her back while he’s thrusting like there’s no tomorrow and the sheer volume of lingus (both varieties.) The soundtrack is mainly a woman whispering ‘suck me’ which helps a lot.

Film number one ticked all my pornography boxes. There’s even a sweaty Titanic reference at the end, which is comical if anything, but hopefully you’ll have come by then.

Next I went for Jealousy Shock Therapy which spoke to me, since my group-sex fantasies and low self-esteem mean I’m theoretically up for foursomes in but in practice, I’d be batting hands away from my boyfriend’s junk left, right and centre.

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Miro and Lucy in Jealousy Shock Therapy

I was ready to love this one: it’s all very Wes Anderson to begin with, as an upright couple talk to their therapist in neutral knitwear to a chirpy soundtrack of classical violins. She recommends J.S.T. as a means of ‘treating’ Miro’s reluctance to share.

“It was the first time I’d seen a man be submissive in heterosexual porn.”

Unfortunately poor Miro’s acting is as stiff as his key area. Handcuffed to the wrought iron bedhead, he can’t act jealous of the leather clad lesbians for love nor lube. His wide, rolling eyeballs are about as convincing as me gasping in a Gravesend pantomime in 2004. Don’t get me started on how much his sex-groans sound like a warthog. Hakuna Matata and all that, but I didn’t care for it.

I guess the reality is, the buzz-killing issue of Not Really Fancying the Porn Stars can’t be avoided just by throwing money at the problem. Expensive sex can be just as exasperating to watch as free sex. This is what we’ve learned.

What I did appreciate was: the women were in control. Once freed from his chains, Miro (serving you American-Apparel-Maths-Teacher-with-Nipple-Rings) sucks off his girlfriend’s strap-on and gets fully bummed. It was the first time I’d seen a man be vulnerable and submissive in heterosexual porn, so I guess that’s something?

Women are empowered in this film, but inexcusably dreadful sex-screams have ruined my day.

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Miro, Lucy and the therapist work through some jealousy issues

Thirdly and lastly, I watched Tips and Tricks for Sucking Dicks. This was my favourite X Confession so far.

It starts with T4 style vox-pops, where a pair of charismatic London girls quiz (hilarious) passers by on their BJ knowledge. In their pink labcoats (one accessorised to perfection with an ‘I Love Cock’ badge) they talk a couple through their tips for a successful mouthful of D.

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‘Tips and tricks for suckin’ dick’

I very much appreciated the woman’s dreamy blonde mane and fabulous hairy underarms, though her partner’s dirty talk was cringey at times. It was more of a cheeky tribute to the sacred art of fellatio than hardcore porn, but the crowning glory was the emphasis on communication, trust and genuine enthusiasm for the task. I’m passionately hoping they’ll do a follow-up guide to kneeling at the girlie altar too.

“The crowning glory was the emphasis on communication, trust and genuine enthusiasm for the task.”

To sum up: Plenty of my friends devote little time to porn. Others know the mainstream industry’s crap but are not offended; they get in, get off and get out.

Erika Lust re-writes the script on the whole thing, putting women centre-stage and bringing joy to everyone else in the process.

There are films about same-sex …sex. There are dark, gothy themes and cheesy classics too; every kink imaginable seems to be explored somewhere. There doesn’t seem to be overwhelming diversity, which is a shame, but some non-binary performers feature, and the range of races and ages isn’t totally predictable.

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www.xconfessions.com has around 125 films to choose from

Sorry to be shallow, but my legit highlight of X Confessions is how pleasing everything looks. Decent lighting, quality camerawork, actors with light and hope in their eyes: my thirst for filth that felt fancy has been entirely quenched. And what that prettiness truly represents is a new kind of porn where standards are high. Women are valued. Actors have rights and a voice, just like any other job.

“The prettiness represents a new kind of porn where standards are high.”

As the hash tag goes: Sex work is work. It can sometimes feel like the ‘power’ women have in jobs like stripping, escorting and porn is a mere dilution of the power of men (a watered-down cup of jizz, if you will.) A woman in the mainstream industry can use her sex appeal to get paid, but if the man shelling out decides not to slide a tenner down her thong, her power vanishes.

Women in Erika Lust’s films take ownership of their pleasure. They’re given a safe space to explore sexuality with none of the pursed lips, risk or judgmental eyebrows. Viewers’ own confessions are made into films, giving light to new, exciting and current fantasies, letting tired old porn clichés quietly die. Actors cash in on these X-rated desire in the coolest possible way.

Thanks for reading. I have SO MUCH more to say on this topic.. But I’ve just noticed a video called Horngry, so I guess I’ll catch you in like 20 minutes?

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