I Pay for My Porn: Erika Lust’s Revolution in the Adult Entertainment Industry

Hello everyone, happy March and happy Women’s History Month!

To kick-start this important celebration, I would like to talk about a filmmaker I’ve been following for a few years now, who I think is doing something really special–though I do not consume her products directly.

I’m talking about Erika Lust.

Who is Erika Lust?

Image credits: Erika Lust / sheknows

Describing herself as an “Indie Adult Filmmaker,” Erika Lust–born Hallqvist–is the founder of three porn websites–XConfessions, Lust Cinema and Else Cinema–and the nonprofit project The Porn Conversation, which provides resources on comprehensive sex education and porn literacy. She also has her own blog, called Lust Zine, where she further expands on these topics.

Born in Stockholm and currently based in Barcelona, Erika studied Political Sciences at Lund University before picking the career that is commonly known as a porn director. However, the open she produces is not the kind you would expect.

Her films are extremely pretty, and by that, I mean that she actually has a vision for her art, and it shows: it’s obvious that part of the budget is spent on filmography, which–correct me if I’m wrong–is not something that mainstream porn, the one you’d find on PornHub or YouPorn, is usually characterized by.

Credits: @erikalust / Instagram

Erika herself admitted that aesthetics are key to her work: she wants to create porn that is not only arousing but also beautiful to watch. (Of course, the term “beautiful” remains subjective.)

Erika is also extremely active on all her social media platforms not only to promote her movies but also to discuss sexual health, self-pleasure, issues related to sexuality in general, and so on.

Ethical, Feminist Porn

Erika has always been extremely open about her artistic practice, particularly stressing the ethical element of her work. But what does “ethic porn” mean to her?

As Erika said in her interview with YouTuber Leeza Mangaldas, this term should mainly concern how performers are treated, both in the casting and shooting phase. Most of the people working with her have in fact mentioned how they felt their well-being was taken into consideration on set.

Credits: @xconfessions / Instagram

A few years, she gave a Ted Talk in Vienna, sharing her own experience with porn, which inspired the creation of her business and the pursuit of her mission to sensitize the mainstream public about sex topics.

Since then, she has caught the attention of various content creators. The duo known on YouTube as Come Curious visited Erika on one of her sets and even participated in a short film on how to give a blowjob–as narrators though, not performers.

I’m just picking some videos that I watched here, but just type “erika lust” in the YouTube search bar and you will find many more interviews.

The Porn Dilemma

Credits: @thepconversation /Instagram

As someone who does not consume any type of pornography, I command Erika for treating an industry that, to me, has nothing to do with art, as an art form. You can tell she actually puts the work behind every single feature, cares for representation of different bodies/sexualities/abilities and so on, and, most importantly, considers herself an ethical, feminist porn producer.

To me, these three terms–ethical, feminist and porn–have always had opposite meanings, as you cannot claim to be a feminist while representing women in the most degrading way possible.

(Before I go on, I would like to specify that I am against pornography as an industry and that I am no one to judge the people that work in it–which are two very different things.)

Credits: @erikalust / Instagram

In a way, Erika is doing for the adult entertainment industry what ethical farms are doing for animal cruelty: trying their best to initiate an ethical revolution in an industry that, no matter how normalized it is in our society, is inherently unethical. And I think that is a noble cause to fight for.

And how do we make porn more ethical? Simple: by paying for it. Otherwise, you cannot be sure of the circumstances in which a certain scene or video is shot, and whether that might involve human trafficking, as it has happened many, many times in this industry.

Thank God Billie Eilish initiated the conversation on how toxic porn might be for mental health, especially in young teenagers. Hopefully, this issue will be talked about more often from now on.

To finish today’s blog, I would like to quote a comment I once saw on a YouTube video that invited a group of 100 people to share their hot takes:

“Pornography is a massive problem in today’s society but people are too addicted to it that they can’t admit it.”


Read more:

The New York Times – ‘There’s Not Just One Type of Porn’: Erika Lust’s Alternative Vision

Rolling Stone – Meet Erika Lust, the Swedish Pornographer Making Consent Sexy

Daily Mail – Mother who makes feminist erotic films says she started making adult movies because she ‘struggled’ to watch mainstream pornography where women behaved as ‘vehicles’ for male pleasure

Sleek Magazine – Erika Lust: ‘I’m taking the ugliness out of porn’

sheknows – An interview with Erika Lust, erotic filmmaker and mother

Dazed – Erika Lust’s new app is making it easier to talk about kinks and fantasies

Paper Magazine – Erika Lust Makes Porn Worth Watching


Cover image credits: Erika Lust / Dazed Magazine

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