Browsing posts from the category Industry spotlight


A closer look at Erika Lust’s films

Five Hot Stories for Her, Life Love Lust, Cabaret Desire, XConfessions

We love the work of erotic filmmaker Erika Lust. Her movies are sensual, beautifully shot, and expertly directed. But a lot of customers aren’t quite sure which Erika Lust film they should purchase. The truth is, they’re all great, but there are definitely a few differences between them — primarily when it comes to length, scene pairings, and vignette plotlines.

So here’s a more in-depth look at four of Lust’s movies featuring partnered scenes: Five Hot Stories for HerLife Love LustCabaret Desire, and X Confessions. We’ve taken screenshots of each scene as well, so there is nudity. (If you’re looking for solo masturbation scenes, check out Lust’s wonderful Barcelona Sex Project.)

Jump to:

Five Hot Stories for Her

Five Hot Stories for Her was Erika Lust’s debut film. It’s 1 hour, 52 minutes long and can be played dubbed in English, Spanish, German, and French. The actual language used in the film flucuates between English and Spanish. As you’d expect from the title, the film consists of five unrelated vignettes, each with a different storyline.

"Something About Nadia"In the first scene, “Something About Nadia,” multiple female voiceovers talk about how they were drawn to a tattooed, dark-haired, mysterious woman named Nadia. One particular woman masturbates on a chair while fantasizing about Nadia — then manages to snag a date with her. The women have dinner in an apartment, make out on top of the kitchen island, then move to a luxurious bedroom to have sex.

""Scene two is called “,” which translates to “Fuck you, Carlos.” It’s a revenge-driven vignette that begins with Carlos cheating on his wife. But most of the scene consists of his wife’s response, which is to have a party while Carlos is out of town and go to bed with two new men. There’s a bit of a twist at the end that makes the revenge even more sweet.

"Married with Children"The third scene, “Married with Children,” features a couple whose home life seems a bit void of passion. But they don’t want to lose the spark, so they plan a BDSM-laden rendezvous in a hotel room. The husband wears a mask and dominates his wife with paddles, a collar, a leash, and a ball gag. It’s not a rough scene, but it is more kinky than the others on the disc.

"The Good Girl"Scene four is called “The Good Girl,” and was Erika Lust’s first foray into filmmaking. It’s a great spin on the pizza boy porn trope. It begins with the main character, Alex, listening to her friend ramble on about her recent sexual exploits. Deciding to break out of her usual shell, Alex seduces the pizza delivery guy. They have joyful, adventurous sex in many different positions.

"Breakup Sex"The final scene is a short one entitled “Breakup Sex.” It’s a pretty simple scene in which two gay men, clearly on the verge of breaking up, fight with each other so intensely that it leads to making out, which leads to sex on the couch in what appears to be their shared apartment. This scene is in black and white.

Life Love Lust

Lust’s film Life Love Lust is significantly shorter than Five Hot Stories for Her, with a runtime of 34 minutes. It does, however, include several extras, such as two short fetish films called “Handcuffs” and “Love Me Like You Hate Me.” There are also trailers, a making of for “Handcuffs,” and a short video profile of Erika Lust.

Unlike Five Hot Stories for Her, Life Love Lust doesn’t have much dialogue at all, and when it does, it’s in Spanish without dubbing or subtitles. Like Five Hot Stories for HerLife Love Lust features distinct and unrelated vignettes. Three, in this case.

"Life"The first scene, “Life,” features a couple working in a restaurant together… and what they do after hours as a private birthday celebration between the two of them. Let’s just say it involves hot and heavy sex on a couch. The artistic camera shots through the drink glasses on the bar are especially great in this scene.

"Love"Scene two, “Love,” is aptly named — it centers on a love affair between a younger man and older woman. There’s an array of cute and romantic footage of them enjoying themselves together — having drinks, kissing in a tub, having a pillow fight — which segues into them having sex on white sheets in a sunny room. The lighting in this scene is absolutely fantastic!

"Lust"In the last scene, “Lust,” a woman visits a female erotic masseuse and relaxes into a massage in a darkened room filled with candles. This scene is very very sensual — most of it is spent with the masseuse rubbing her naked body across her client’s oiled skin — and there isn’t much of what most would consider “sex.” But it’s clear that both women are really enjoying themselves.

Cabaret Desire

Cabaret Desire is a bit different from the other films in that it has an overarching plotline. Don’t let that fool you, though — each scene is still told as a story, so they all include different performers and scenarios. At 1 hour and 14 minutes, Cabaret Desire also comes with the short films “Handcuffs” and “Room 33,” as well as a making of segment, and finally, a feature about The Poetry Brothel (a project that inspired and participated in the film).

Cabaret Desire is in English, but includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, and Swedish.

This film focuses on a bohemian erotic reading gathering, where attendees can pay for privately-told stories. As such, each scene begins with someone paying for a story, and the storyteller beginning to speak. The voiceover continues into the scene until the sex kicks in.

"The Two Alexes"The first scene, aptly-named “The Two Alexes,” focuses on a blonde woman who meets two people at a bar — both named Alex — and launches a love affair with each of them. She loves that they share the same name but not the same gender. Her sex scenes with each Alex are juxtaposed almost interchangeably (the apartment backdrop doesn’t change), creating an intriguing visual trick.

"My Mother"“My Mother” is the second scene in Cabaret Desire, a story told by a man whose mother was an art thief. The storyteller explains that his mother sometimes spoke of her “best work” but never elaborated. His mother is shown in a black, full-body suit sneaking into a house to have her way with the male inhabitant. She removes his restraints in time, but never reveals her identity. The meaning of her “best work” is explained at the end.

"In Wonderland"The third scene, “In Wonderland,” is about a woman celebrating her 30th birthday. Her friends have lined up an elaborate birthday gift for her — sex with a handsome guy in a heavenly, whimsical setting. Again, Erika Lust’s penchant for setting the scene pays off — there are even grapes and champagne on a table nearby!

"Wet Sheets"“Wet Sheets,” the final scene in Cabaret Desire, follows a man and a woman separately as they travel to meet up for drinks after a year apart. Intercut with the present day storyline are shots of their whirlwind three-day love affair that took place one year ago, which both remember fondly. It’s a really nostalgic, sweet, and sexy memory.

X Confessions

Released in 2014, X Confessions is Erika Lust’s most recent movie. With a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, X Confessions contains 10 different scenes, each one based on an anonymous sex confession submitted to Erika’s website. None of the scenes are interconnected, and there’s no overarching storyline. Scenes vary in length, between 3 minutes at the shortest to 15 at the longest. Like Life Love Lust, the scenes in X Confessions are in Spanish, but there is very little dialogue. Extra features are pretty sparse — just a trailer and a bit of information about Erika.

The first scene is called “Let’s Make a Porno,” and follows a real-life couple as Erika helps them make their fantasy into a reality. It shows the couple arriving on set, talking to Erika a bit, then filming the scene. Throughout the scene, the point of view switches from showing the crew as they film to showing the finished product, complete with music. After the couple have sex, they pose for some still photos.

The second scene, “Hold Me So Tight It Hurts,” features some beautiful rope bondage. This is a solo masturbation scene, with a woman alone save for the hands that tie her up at the beginning. The framing of her body is lovely and the music is especially fitting in this scene — it builds and builds anticipation all the way to her climax.

“I Ama Verry Badx Secvretary” is next. In it, a man seduces a woman who is typing at a desk. She tries to keep typing, but quickly cannot resist. Erika Lust’s eye for unique angles really shines here, with a particularly artistic shot through the computer desk as the woman goes down on the man. Then they have sex, with her dress hiked up over her hips the entire time.

Scene number four is called “My First Time Eating Oysters… and Pussy.” It features two women in a black room, kissing and having sex. The scene is interspersed with close-up shots of women eating oysters and pouring champagne. The music is soft and sensual with a hint of anticipation as the women bring each other to orgasm — and one of them squirts.

The fifth scene is entitled “Sit Down, Shut-Up, and Watch.” It begins with a woman blindfolding a man and whispering in his ear, then leading him into a room where he is then made to watch her have sex with another man. At the end, she sits atop a luxurious couch and masturbates in front of both men.

“I Pegged My Boyfriend” is exactly what it sounds like: a pegging scene! A man goes down on a woman while blindfolded, then she penetrates him. The woman wears beautiful BS Atelier products from Spain — both a harness and a dildo. The man, meanwhile, continues wearing his nice business suit — from the waist up, at least.

Scene seven is called “Sadistic Trainer.” At the gym, a relentless trainer is barking at a group of people. The trainees are not happy with this treatment and quickly plot their revenge, tying up the trainer with jump ropes and forcing him to watch as they have an orgy in front of him. This scene features many performers who have been in Erika Lust’s movies before.

And now for a fun interlude! “A Blowjob is Always a Great Last-Minute Gift Idea!” is a quick, 3-minute long blip of a man reading a book in a park… while fellating a candy penis. Why not?

“Obsessed” is the second to last scene in X Confessions. Based on a confession in which a man admits that he is still not over his old love, it features a couple having sex while a projector splashes moving images on the wall. The music is dramatic and nostalgic, with dark and mysterious lighting.

The final scene is called “I Fucking Love IKEA.” A man is outside building something out of an IKEA catalog while a woman lounges on a chair nearby. Quickly, their thoughts drift to sex, and their reading materials morph accordingly, becoming amusingly pornographic. They have sex on top of a table, some boxes, and pillows. The natural lighting is beautiful in this scene — complete with lens flare.


There are some things that all of Erika Lust’s films have in common: they’re all gorgeously shot and edited, with excellent music; they are fairly explicit but not raunchy, and her set design and scenarios are both realistic and aesthetically appealing. Lust’s artistic eye is apparent throughout her films, although the production values are a bit higher in the films following her debut, Five Hot Stories For Her.

Since the films are all comparable in terms of asethetic, we suggest choosing the film with scenarios and performers that appeal to you. Or, if you can’t decide, pick up more than one!


Industry Spotlight: Madison Young

Madison Young, photo by Pat MazzeraMadison Young always had a mission. Growing up in conservative Loveland, Ohio, she immersed herself in theater, painting, and dance. Drawn to the honesty and playfulness of the arts, she was also similarly interested in sex — a subject that was very hush-hush throughout her upbringing.

Young was always kinky; even when she was first discovering her sexuality, she fantasized about bondage, power play, and exhibitionism. With partners, she was able to explore and grow her love for BDSM, dabbling in flogging, caning, puppy play, fisting, and submission. In doing so, Young broke away from the shame and silence that had previously surrounded the topic of sex, and it was then that she knew what she wanted to do with her life: create spaces for others to see the beauty and pleasure potential of their bodies.

Young’s interest in sex, kink, and art truly converged when she moved to San Francisco in 2000. She wanted to open a non-profit feminist art gallery, so she began performing in BDSM porn to fund it (she estimates that it took about 20 scenes to gather enough money to sign the lease). On porn sets, the intensity of the bondage elements was new to her, yet also exhilarating and life-changing:

I just fell in love with the rope. I fell in love with the taste of the whip. I really enjoy pushing my body to the extreme. I think one of the things that made it such an easy fit for me is that I was very much also into Tantra and I was also very much aware of sexual energy. Tantra is very closely related to BDSM. It really is an energy and power exchange between you and your Dominant. They are giving you this energy and once they are putting this energy into you, you just need to know how to release it, how to breathe through it. You need to learn how to squirm around in your body and let it turn into all these beautiful colors and sensations. Some people see the work that I do and think it is very extreme. They wonder if I am in pain. They wonder how I can be smiling at the same time. I really don’t feel it as pain. I feel it as warmth and colors and different sensations.

Meanwhile, Young’s art gallery, Femina Potens, flourished. Her dream of opening a community space for queer artists had become a reality.

For the first five years of her adult career, Young was almost exclusively a bondage, fetish, and BDSM model. She eventually branched out into queer and mainstream work, and in 2005, she founded Madison Young Productions and began directing her own films. In her work as a director, she focuses on fostering a comfortable and supportive environment for her performers, opening the lines of communication to create an empowering experience. As a performer, she immerses herself fully in her scenes, pushing her body to its limits, and breaking down stereotypes — as a queer feminist who loves rough sex.

Young’s directorial work includes the movies Femmetastic!Queer Manor, Lucky: A Woman’s POVFluid: Women Redefining Sexuality, and many more. Her films have been screened at film festivals throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. Several have won Feminist Porn Awards and been nominated for AVN Awards. In 2009, she was named Indie Porn Pioneer at the Feminist Porn Awards. As a performer, she has starred in countless films, including  Champion and Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage.

Young’s main website is Madison Bound, where members can access exclusive video and photo content. Her Feminist Porn Network also includes A Woman’s POV and Femifist.

In March of 2011, Young gave birth to her daughter, Emma, which sparked an interest in the intersection of sexuality and motherhood. Naturally, Young began creating art on the subject, such as a quilt of sewn together burp cloths and “porn star panties.” At one exhibit, Young served breast milkshakes to guests. She also began the The Sexy Mamas Social Club in San Francisco, where parents in the sex industry gather to share their experiences.

Now, Femina Potens has been around for over a decade, and in that time has hosted over 500 art events. The organization recently expanded its programming to Los Angeles, New York City, and Austin, and secured a board of directors including Violet Blue and Margaret Cho.

Young currently lives in Berkeley, California and travels the country giving workshops and lectures on sex, feminism, porn, and kink. Her essay “Submissive: A Manifesto” appears in The Ultimate Guide to Kink. Her memoir, Daddy, will be available in the fall.

Madison Young can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and on her websites, The Sexpert Next Door and Madison Bound. Check out some of her work in our shop, and don’t miss her upcoming February workshop with us: DIY Porn with Madison Young!


Industry Spotlight: Shine Louise Houston

Shine Louise Houston

Shine Louise Houston grew up in Southern California, where the beaches were all the rage. As a boogie-boarding tomboy, her earliest career aspirations included veterinarian, archaeologist, and designer — but her first venture as an entrepreneur involved completing other kids’ science homework for $2 a packet.

Houston graduated from San Francisco Arts Institute with a Bachelors in Fine Art Film, and later got a job at Good Vibrations. It was there that she encountered some of her first porn movies. Like other feminist pornographers, Houston saw a void in the porn landscape. She was dismayed by the lack of representation of queer identities — both in front of and behind the camera.

After five years at Good Vibrations, Houston left in order to found Pink & White Productions in 2005. Her first film was The Crash Pad, a movie about a secretive San Francisco apartment where queer folks can go to have spectacular sex. Her subsequent films, Superfreak, The Wild Search, and Champion, have all won numerous accolades. Meanwhile, the success of The Crash Pad sparked the website Crash Pad Series, which updates regularly and provides the content for the Crash Pad Series DVDs.

Here’s a short scene from The Crash Pad:

Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and visual artists from the Craftsman era, Houston’s work is cinematic, sultry, and realistic, with an unmistakable aesthetic feel to it. Her performers have all different types of bodies, sexualities, and gender identities and presentations, and people of color are always represented. Houston has high ethical standards, so her sets are comfortable, safe, and supportive, and she gives very little direction to her performers — preferring the scenes to unfold organically. She hopes queer folks can see themselves in her films:

[My movies create] empowerment by saying yes we are beautiful, we’re an art form, we’re not all gym bunnies, and that’s OK. We’re not all super high femme and all this kind of stuff. It’s like, hey, let’s normalize this. These are queer bodies. And hey, we can be just as hot as the models in Penthouse. It’s empowering when you can see yourself reflected in an image. If it’s powerful and sexy you might think, wow, I really always wanted to identify with that but I can’t because my body doesn’t look like X. But maybe that person is brown, they’re heavy, they’re butch, and thought that was totally hot and know that they can be totally hot. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies and we shouldn’t be ashamed of our sexualities.

In 2010, Houston was honored with The Visionary award at the Feminist Porn Awards, where she was described as being “responsible for the explosion and popularity of queer porn into the mainstream.” Even at the mainstream AVN awards, has been nominated for “Best Alternative Website” and Champion nominated for “Best Video Feature.” Trying to count the number of other nominations and awards Houston’s work has received will cause you to run out of fingers and toes!

In 2011, Houston released perhaps her most personally challenging project to date: Heavenly Spire, an exploration of masculine sexuality that features cis and trans* male-identified performers. For Houston, creating the site has allowed her to explore her own fascination with masculinity. For viewers, it is a different way of looking at masculinity, and with a quite artistic flair — scenes are shot in Super 8 style, with high contrast and manipulation of light.

Last month, Houston launched, a video-on-demand site that includes the work of progressive, independent adult filmmakers and studios such as Annie Sprinkle, Courtney Trouble, Carlos Batts, Jennifer Lyon Bell, T-Wood Pictures, and Handbasket Productions. Keeping in step with Houston’s ethical business practices, filmmakers on PinkLabel receive fair-trade commission for the digital distribution of their work.

Recently, Houston was interviewed on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud radio show, where they discussed the Crash Pad empire, what it means to be an ethical pornographer, the inspiration behind Heavenly Spire, and why PinkLabel is an important site for budding porn filmmakers.

Catch Shine Louise Houston on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube. Her projects are on Twitter as well: @PinkWhite@CrashPadSeries@HeavenlySpire@PinkLabelVOD.


Industry Spotlight: Buck Angel

Before he was a groundbreaking trans filmmaker, motivational speaker, educator, and advocate, Buck Angel was a little girl in Southern California. He grew up roughhousing with boys and fantasizing about being John Wayne. But when puberty reminded him of his biological sex, he became tormented.

As a young woman, Angel worked as a high-fashion model, but his unhappiness with his body led him to substance abuse, depression, and homelessness. It was only when he got sober and started seeing a therapist that his life began to turn around. It took him some time to find a therapist who understood him, but when he did, he began taking testosterone and later underwent breast removal surgery. He finally felt like himself.

Buck Angel first began working in the porn industry as a fetish filmmaker and website developer for the MTF market. But in doing so, he saw a rare opportunity to fill a niche. He noticed there were no sites dedicated to FTM performers. He realized he could break new ground, and that’s exactly what he did.

And so, Angel’s career in the adult industry has been peppered with firsts. He began calling himself “the man with the pussy,” and with the debut of his website in 2003, he became the first FTM adult film producer and first FTM porn star to run a membership-based website. In 2005, he also became the first FTM performer to be featured in an all-male porn film produced by an exclusively gay porn company (Cirque Noir from Titan).

It was not easy at first; he faced a lot of resistance from judgmental people. But his wife and friends convinced him to persevere, and in doing so, he began to truly believe in himself and his work. He explains:

when I started doing my pornography, I started to empower myself. By putting myself out there in the world, exposing myself completely — physically and in a way mentally — I had to take it as an empowerment thing or I was going to get beaten up. People were writing the most horrendous e-mails you can’t even imagine . . . Pure hate. People couldn’t handle who I was or what I was doing. So, I either had to quit or deal with it and I decided to deal with it. That is when I knew I loved myself. That is empowerment.

Under the umbrella of his company, Buck Angel Entertainment, Angel has directed and produced many porn films, such as V for VaginaThe Buck Stops Here, and Buckback Mountain. His work has garnered him several awards — in fact, he was the first trans man to win Transsexual Performer of the Year at the AVN Awards (in 2007). In 2008, he was presented with the Boundary Breaker of the Year award at the Feminist Porn Awards.

In March of this year, Angel was appointed to the board of directors of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, an activist organization that works to advance sexual rights and freedom. He has also done a good bit of motivational speaking at colleges, film festivals, and other events, breaking down societal constructs and encouraging self-acceptance and empowerment.

Angel’s latest endeavor is a docu-porn series called Sexing the Transman XXX, which earned him a 2012 Feminist Porn Award for Most Tantalizing Trans Film. The second installment of that series has just come out, and he has also launched a trans men live web cam site.

He has an active YouTube account where he has posted tons of PSAs, an “It Gets Better” video, and clips from various TV appearances. He currently lives in Mexico with his wife, Elayne Angel, a world-renowed body piercer, and their several rescue dogs.

You can follow Buck Angel on his websiteFacebookTwitterTumblr, and YouTube. He’s everywhere!


Jimmyjane and sophisticated sex toy design

Jimmyjane is one of the most recognizable names in luxury sex toys, and that certainly didn’t happen by accident. In a great article from The Atlantic, the author peels back the curtain on the Jimmyjane enterprise, using it as a springboard to muse about the influence that thoughtful sex toy technology and design can have on the way people view the role of sex toys in their lives.

The founder of Jimmyjane, Ethan Imboden, holds an electrical engineering degree and a master’s in industrial design. For a while, he designed consumer products such as cell phones and electric toothbrushes. But when a potential client asked him about designing a sex toy, Imboden took a fateful trip to the Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo. It was ten years ago, and most sex toys were not exactly glamorous. He found himself bombarded with

. . . a gaudy display of “severed anatomy, goofy animals, and penis-pump flashing-lights kind of stuff,” Imboden recalled.

. . . Imboden was inspired. “As soon as I saw past the fact that in front of me happened to be two penises fused together at the base, I realized that I was looking at the only category of consumer product that had yet to be touched by design,” Imboden said. “It’s as if the only food that had been available was in the candy aisle, like Dum Dums and Twizzlers, where it’s really just about a marketing concept and a quick rush and very little emphasis on nourishment and real enjoyment. The category had been isolated by the taboo that surrounded it. I figured, I can transcend that.”

So Imboden worked his way into the scene, sparking conversations about sex toys at dinner parties, pitching his idea to investors, asking his mother’s opinion on his sex toy descriptions (“Ethan, you handled the anus beautifully,” she replied), sneaking a 24-carat gold-plated vibrator into the hands of Snoop Dogg, and convincing Sharper Image to put the Form 6 on its shelves.

Jimmyjane is an innovator. They were the first to use white packaging, despite resistance from retailers who thought customers would be put off by it. They were the first to invent candles with a melting point that matched body temperature. And they are changing the way people see sex toys, along with other luxury brands like LELO and Je Joue.

The article also includes an interlude on the history of the vibrator, and some interesting quotes from people in the biz about sex toys becoming more mainstream. It’s a fantastic read, so go check it out!


Industry Spotlight: Tristan Taormino

In college, Tristan Taormino thought she wanted to be a lawyer. During her time at Wesleyan University, she participated in LGBT activism, lived in a special interest house called Womanist House, and wrote her thesis on lesbian sexual identity, but it took thirteen law school application rejections and an astute advisor to really clue her in. “I don’t think you want to go to law school,” her advisor told her. “I think you want to write about sex. And I think you’re really good at it.”

So after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies in 1993, Taormino landed a gig with Cleis Press, editing the Best Lesbian Erotica series, one of the first anthologies to focus on lesbian sex. Her relationship with Cleis Press spurred her to write her first book, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, in 1997. While conducting anal sex workshops in support of the book, participants started asking her when a companion movie was going to be made.

Taormino could not resist. She had never taken a film class or picked up a camera, but she believed in bringing (hot) anal sex education to the masses, so she rounded up some friends, borrowed some equipment, and shot her first porn film.

From there, things just snowballed. Now, Taormino, a self-described workaholic, divides her time between being an author, columnist, sex educator, speaker, and feminist pornographer. When she’s not immersed in one of her projects, she loves to dote on her dogs and sample new and interesting desserts (especially if they involve chocolate).

Taormino owns her own production company, Smart Ass Productions, and has produced dozens of films. Her Chemistry series follows a reality TV format by inviting a handful of porn stars to a house for 36 hours and allowing the sex to happen organically. Chemistry Vol. 1 earned her an AVN Award for Best Gonzo Movie, a category that had never before been awarded to a female director.

She also continues to pump out installments of her Expert Guide film series, tackling anal sex, cunnilingus, fellatio, the G-spot, positionsthreesomes, male anal pleasure, female orgasms, and most recently, pegging. This series has earned her the Smutty Schoolteacher of the Year award at the Feminist Porn Awards — three times!

In 2009, she broke new ground by releasing Rough Sex, the first in a documentary/vignette hybrid film series in which female performers indulge in their taboo rough sex fantasies.

Taormino’s filmmaking philosophy has always been feminist. She casts performers who want to work with each other, does not negotiate with their set rates, and works tirelessly to address performers’ needs (she is known for bringing their favorite lubes, sex toys, food, and beverages to set). She wants her performers to be seen as three-dimensional people and to participate in their own representation, so her movies often include interviews.

Taormino’s films are characterized by a combination of close-up and further away shots, unabashed inclusion of sex toys, and an attention to the intricacies of sexuality often missing from mainstream porn. She says,

I feel like lots of porn represents male sexuality as hard, aggressive, and robot-like, and female sexuality as merely a vehicle/receptacle for men’s pleasure. To me, a lot of porn does a disservice to men and women, and I want my porn to be different. The first thing is that in my movies, you can see the men . . . Visually, in the majority of porn, men are literally CUT OUT of the frame, and they are reduced to an erection only. We never see the rest of their bodies, let alone their faces while they are fucking. I love to see an expression wash over someone’s face as they experience pleasure . . . One of the complaints I hear a lot from female performers is that they are not given time to reach orgasm, because when things start to heat up for them, the director calls for them to change what they are doing. I let performers pace themselves and never tell them to stop what they are doing, and I find that it leads to more real female orgasms, which are still lacking in a lot of porn.

In addition to shooting films, Taormino has managed to pen seven books, including Opening Up — a book that many refer to as the bible of non-monogamy — as well as The Big Book of Sex Toys, The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation, and The Anal Sex Position Guide. She continues to edit collections as well, such as The Ultimate Guide to Kink and Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica.

Her other achievements include designing her own butt plugs (the Tristan and Tristan 2 from Vixen Creations), participating in an unsimulated orgy scene for John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 film Shortbus, and answering every sex question under the sun in columns for The Village Voice and Taboo Magazine.

Taormino can often be found touring the country (and even the globe), giving talks and conducting workshops at colleges, conferences, community events, and retail shops. Her latest endeavor is a brand new radio show called Sex Out Loud. She is also co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, a collection of essays on feminist porn, which will be published in 2013.

Tristan Taormino can also be found on her website, FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr. Plus, don’t miss her workshop on open relationships and class on the G-spot presented by us in Portland in April 2016!


Industry Spotlight: Erika Lust

Erika Lust is an erotic screenplay writer, film director, producer, and all-around entrepreneur. She loves the beach, Absolut vodka, and her favorite porn movie is Behind the Green Door. Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1977, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science at Lund University, with a specialization in feminism and human rights.

During her time at college, Lust produced a few short films and studied the writings of Linda Williams. She was fascinated by Williams’ way of analyzing and critiquing porn. Although Lust had seen her share of porn over the years, it had never impressed her.

The first time I ever saw a porno film, I had the same reaction that I reckon most women have and it was most definitely not love at first sight. Obviously I was aroused by some of the images but there was so much in it that bothered me. I didn’t identify with any of it: nothing of my lifestyle, my values or even my sexuality was represented in any way. There was no sign of the women enjoying themselves, and it was as if they were there simply to please the men. The sexual situations just seemed ridiculous and were all based on sexist male fantasies . . .

And anyway, for my generation, that grew up watching MTV, the audiovisual quality of adult film is totally unacceptable: tacky sets, horrible styling and make-up, non-music, crap acting and even worse dubbing, amateur photography… in general a product left wanting on many levels.

For years, Lust had been on the hunt for porn that would appeal to her — porn that was modern, urban, and realistic, with high production values. But everything she saw, even the porn that was marketed as “for women,” was disappointing. She eventually came to the conclusion that if she wanted to see her style of porn, she was going to have to produce it herself.

In 2000, after graduating from Lund, Lust moved to Barcelona and started doing odd jobs at production houses — making coffee and picking up actors at the airport. She also took some film directing classes. In 2004, after honing her vision for adult entertainment, she founded Lust Films, an independent adult film production company and erotic book publisher.

Lust’s first porn project was a scene that poked fun at the pizza delivery boy trope, entitled “The Good Girl.” Her first feature film, Five Hot Stories For Her, included a scene in which the male gaze was swapped out for the female gaze. Next came Barcelona Sex Project, a documentary-style portrayal of various Barcelona residents and their intimate moments of self-pleasure. And Lust’s latest films, Life Love Lust and Cabaret Desire, are her most stylish and hot pieces to date.

In Erika Lust’s films, everything is meticulously chosen and crafted, from the casting to the clothes, music, script, and photography. Her work is both atmospheric and explicit, and she casts actors who look modern and natural. Lust is inspired by Sofia Coppola, and it shows — her films, much like The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation — are lush and dreamy, with aesthetic beauty and emotional resonance. All of her films have won a host of awards, such as Movie of the Year at the Feminist Porn Awards and Best Narrative Feature at CineKink.

Lust has also taken her sex-positive, feminist perspective and compiled a porn manifesto called Good Porn: A Woman’s Guide. Lust contends that in order for women to be in charge of how porn represents them, they must take the reins within adult entertainment. She believes in the value of porn as a discourse, as a way of looking at and discussing sex.

I see porn as a tool for excitement, education and pleasure. It’s not only an entertainment product, but also a powerful way to influence future generations’ vision of human sexuality. That’s why I think women have to take part in the political discourse of porn: if we don’t participate, porn will not be an expression of human sexuality, but an expression of male sexuality.

Read all about (and see screenshots from) three of Erika Lust’s films in our blog post here.

Erika Lust can be found on her blogFacebookTwitter, and Vimeo.


Steve Jobs and the lesbian erotic revolution

It was 1984 when On Our Backs, the first ever women-run erotica magazine — and geared toward a lesbian audience, to boot — debuted. The magazine was groundbreaking in many ways, and it played a major role in the development of sex-positive feminism.

What does this have to do with Steve Jobs? Well, as Susie Bright recounts on her blog, the magazine was originally composed via typesetting. Then one day, publisher Debi Sundahl hauled a big box into the living room and, in one fell swoop, thrust On Our Backs into the digital world. Sundahl was convinced that the computer was about to change everything about publishing — and she was right.

Within a year, our “entertainment for the adventurous lesbian” magazine took PageMaker 1.0 software, tossed out the typesetter, and published On Our Backs completely on Mac software.

We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were the first magazine to do so. We printed our 13,000 copies, and sent them all over the country.

Our On Our Backs Winter 1986 edition was what the first magazine — on any subject, anywhere — looked like, built on a 1984 Apple machine with Pagemaker.

The kerning is atrocious. You could only choose from Helvetica or Palatino fonts. I remember crying about that, too. But we could afford it; it was the only thing we could afford. And considering our content, which no one else in the printing industry would touch, that was saying something.

. . . I am very sad today about Steve Job’s passing. I know many of us are thinking about how his life touched ours, through good times and bad. For authors, artists, and publishing outlaws of every description, the Mac revolution was the puzzle piece we had pressed for, longed for, and finally achieved.

Susie Bright’s blog post is a lovely ode to the far-reaching influence of Steve Jobs. And you have to read her account of bewilderment, trepidation and intrigue as she assembled that first computer; it’s a reminder of just how foreign computers seemed not that long ago.

Take a peek at the On Our Backs Winter 1986 edition as well — it’s a piece of history all in itself.


The history of sex toys

Have you ever wondered how sex toys came to be? Well, the story involves dubious medical conditions, goat eyelids, hilarious magazine ads, dragon tongues, and a cast of characters that ranges from a former police officer to a ventriloquist. Intrigued? Read on…

A long time ago — 1000 A.D.

Nobody knows quite when the dildo was invented. It likely dates all the way back to the Upper Paleolithic period. Phallic objects from this period are sometimes labeled by archaeologists as “batons,” but they might very well have been used for sexual stimulation. One particular 20-centimeter siltstone phallus, estimated to be about 28,000 years old, was discovered in a cave in Germany.

Dildos can also be found in Greek vase art from the 6th century B.C., in depictions of both group sex and solitary female masturbation. Around this time, an early version of the dildo called the “olisbos” was invented in the Greek port of Miletus. Olisbos were sold by traders around the Mediterranean.

Olive oil may have been one of the first lubricants. It was promoted for contraception starting in about 350 B.C.

Ben wa balls were invented around 500 A.D. These little balls — some solid, some hollow with “clappers” inside that created a ringing sound — were inserted into the vagina. They were originally meant to provide pleasure to a man during intercourse, but their ability to improve the pelvic floor muscles was eventually discovered.

1000 — 1800

Cock rings first appeared around 1200 in China. They were made from the eyelids of goats… with the eyelashes still intact. These cock rings were flexible and had to be tied around a man’s erection. Why the eyelashes? Well, they were thought to amplify the pleasure of sex.

Around 1400, the word “dildo” was coined — perhaps from the Latin dilatare, “to open wide,” or maybe from the Italian diletto, “to delight.” Dildos in this period were made of wood, stone, leather, tar, and other firm materials, and required a copious amount of lubrication (again, olive oil) for pleasurable use.

By 1600 or so, cock rings had evolved quite a bit. They were now stiff ivory rings that Chinese men used to maintain their erections. The rings were ornately carved, usually with depictions of dragons. Over time, the dragon design became more and more intricate, until finally the dragon’s tongue extended beyond the ring, creating a nub that stimulated a woman’s clitoris during intercourse.

A primitive version of the vibrator popped up in 1734; it was powered by a hand crank.


Not much is known about the history of the butt plug, but during the Victorian era, one European doctor suggested that his patients insert a wooden egg anally. It was believed that pressure against the prostate gland would guide semen back to the bladder, thereby preventing “wasteful ejaculation.”

1869 was a landmark year in the history of sex toys. For centuries, doctors had been treating women for a plethora of illnesses (most notably hysteria, which had symptoms very similar to those of sexual arousal) with what they politely called “pelvic massage.” The point was to induce “hysterical paroxysm” — yes, orgasm — in the patient.

Hysteria was a recurring condition, of course, and doctors grew tired of the time-consuming treatment, complaining of fatigued wrists and hands. In an effort to aid them, an American physician named George Taylor, M.D. invented a hulking, steam-powered device called the Manipulator. The engine of the machine was so monstrous that it was hidden in another room, while the apparatus was threaded through a hole in the wall.

Thankfully, the Manipulator was usurped by the first electromechanical vibrator, invented in 1882 by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville. This vibrator was battery-powered and came with several attachments with which to vary the sensation. Granville did not approve of his device being used on women; he insisted it was for massaging men’s skeletal muscles. But it was too late; the vibrator was off to a running start.

1900 — 1952

As electricity entered homes around the U.S., the plug-in home vibrator experienced a surge in popularity. In fact, vibrators were the fifth domestic appliance to be electrified, right behind the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle, and toaster, and about a decade prior to the vacuum cleaner.

Consumer magazines such as Home Needlework Journal and Woman’s Home Companion featured advertisements for vibrators, touting them as wonderful health and relaxation tools that could cure headaches, wrinkles, and nerve pain. Yet there was an element of playfulness to some of the copy — for example, “all the pleasures of youth… will throb within you.”

Sadly, all of that cheerfulness came crashing down in the 1930s. The vibrator had become more and more prevalent in pornographic films, and manufacturers could no longer pretend that their products were innocent “massagers.” Vibrator advertisements vanished.

In 1952, the American Medical Association concluded that hysteria was not a true ailment. This was the final turning point — the vibrator could no longer hide behind its medical use.

1960 — 1990

In 1966, a middle-aged ventriloquist named Ted Marche pioneered the manufacture and distribution of rubber dildos and other sex toys. By 1976, Marche Manufacturing had sold nearly five million toys — and paved the way for countless others.

The Hitachi Magic Wand, made by Japanese manufacturing firm Hitachi, first appeared on the North American market in the 1970s. The Magic Wand’s stated purpose is to massage sore muscles and nerves, but its use in porn eventually made it famous among sex toy users. To this day, few sex toys are as well-known and well-loved as the Hitachi (although it underwent a name change and now has competition).

In 1980, KY jelly finally went over the counter as a sexual lubricant. Since its inception in 1927, it had been used by physicians during pelvic exams. This opened the flood gates, and a huge variety of lube is available today, including special flavored and stimulating gels.


Things really began speeding up in the ’90s. Vixen Creations, San Francisco-based manufacturer of 100% silicone sex toys, was founded in 1992. German company Fun Factory, known today as the company that makes cute, brightly-colored toys, came along in 1996. Tantus joined the party in 1998.

The rabbit vibrator, a type of dual-action toy named after the shape of its clitoral stimulator, experienced an explosion in popularity in 1998 when it starred in HBO’s multi-award winning TV show, Sex and the City. Even recent interest in this type of toy can be attributed to the single episode in which Charlotte becomes obsessed with her rabbit.

1998 was also the year the Fleshlight male masturbation sleeve was patented (hilariously, the patent calls it a “device for discreet semen collection”). A former police officer named Steve Shubin came up with the idea when his wife had a high-risk pregnancy and the couple was advised not to have intercourse. Shubin hired models, took casts of their genitalia, then re-created them in a flesh-like material. He disguised each realistic sleeve in a faux flashlight case, and the name “Fleshlight” was born. The Fleshlight is now the best-selling male toy of all time.

2000s — today

Business is booming! Luxury Swedish sex toy company LELO was founded in 2003, and they were the first to create a rechargeable vibrating cock ring, as well as a USB-rechargeable clitoral vibe. Jimmyjane, another manufacturer of high-end toys, was founded in 2004. Stainless steel sex toy manufacturer njoy and wooden sex toy company NobEssence followed in 2005. In 2006, a former Apple employee partnered with her husband to create the world’s first music-driven vibrators.

In 2008, the public was introduced to the first sex toy that remembers what its user likes, the now-discontinued Je Joue SaSi, causing awe among consumers at how advanced sex toys have become.

Now, the market for luxury sex toys is fierce, and innovative toys (such as the Sqweel, Cobra Libre, and Stronic Eins) are being released often. The traditional rabbit vibrator has evolved and been re-imagined. Many vibrators are rechargeable, waterproof, and powerful, all at the same time. And dildos now come in a vast variety of materials, although they always have — but supple pure silicone is definitely an improvement over tar.

Where are sex toys headed next? Some predict advanced phone apps, virtual sex, and biometric controls that respond to moods, body heat, and even brainwaves. Others simply imagine an increase in hygienic materials and eco-friendly options. What would you like to see?


Welcome to She Bop’s blog!

She Bop is a women-owned sex toy boutique specializing in body safe products and education. Our mission is to promote healthy and safe sexuality by offering quality products and educational workshops in a fun and comfortable environment. She Bop welcomes people of all genders and sexual orientations.

We tweet!

Follow She Bop on Twitter