Back on the train this afternoon, my suitcase is full of beautiful things that I have won or bought or been gifted this weekend. My notebook is full of scribbles and ideas and a huge to-do list. My brain is completely full of possible blog posts and hopes for pitches. I am bringing so much home with me from this incredible weekend.
Here are ten things I wanted to discuss in more detail. I have really challenged myself to be specific – the first draft of this post read more like an absolutely filthy Christmas carol:
“Four dildos buzzing,
Three books for research,
Two sexy t-shirts,
And a silk bag with samples of luuuuuube!”
But no, that song is for another time. I have narrowed down the items which have made this weekend special for me. I have so many examples I could have picked, and written this post several times over, each just as exciting and meaningful but this is the list that comes to me while I’m on my train and unable to lay out and admire all the beautiful things in my suitcase to remind me of what I’ve gained.
Ten – A Black Knotted Collar from Kink Craft
Part of a Saturday afternoon session, I spent an hour with Andrew and Pixie learning how to make a gorgeous collar. Andrew and Pixie were really patient and explained the process of making the collar in clear steps. After a full-on morning taking in loads of information I needed to unwind a little. The session was soothing and just what I needed. I was very proud of the finished product and it looks very nice around my neck if I do say so myself.
Nine – A Conversation About Squirting
Sunday lunch was spent in the company of Kayla, Leonora and Coffee and Kink – my newly-found sisters in sass. We had a great discussion about sex, knowing your body and female ejaculation. It was one of the many conversations I has this weekend which made me appreciate how important it is to actually meet people who work in this industry and share your sex-positivity.
Eight – A Copy of The Eroticon Anthology
I met Victoria Blisse who was an absolute heroine and attended the book stall all weekend. I wandered over clutching a cup of green tea and asked to set it down on her beautiful bookstall so I could pick up all the books I wanted to own. I scored a copy of How To Have Sex by Meg-John Barker and Justin Hancock and a printed copy of The Eroticon Anthology. I contributed a little personal essay to the book and it is such a thrill to see my name in print.
Seven – The Gift of Multitasking
I treated myself to a Ruby Glow – a sex toy for the seated lady. Tabitha Rayne, who created the Ruby Glow is an erotica writer and explained how she would be torn between keeping writing and taking a break for a lovely wank. Frustrated by the lack of toys which could help her to both at the same time she decided to create her own! The Ruby Glow is designed for sitting on and riding, so means your hands can be free to keep writing. I love this idea so much and can’t wait to sit on my new purchase.
Six – The Possibility Of Writing For Others
I attended some really helpful sessions on pitching and have made many lists of possible editors and companies who might be open to my writing something for them. All that I need to do is believe in myself, make the strongest pitch possible and hope for the best. And keep writing of course.
Five – An Inspirational Mug
Girl on the Net‘s mug which tells me “No one does what you do quite like you” was a lovely gift in our Eroticon goody bags. It shall sit on my desk as a tiny porcelain cheerleader for my individuality, talent and the possibility that I can write about the things I want to write about because nobody else can do it like I can. Cue the theme from the James Bond movie Nobody Does It Better…
Four – Practical Tips
Innocent Lover Boy delivered a fantastic session on How To Maintain A Healthy Blog on Sunday which discussed possible obstacles to writing. We identified the things that could be excuses and we shared how best to overcome them. It was great to speak with other people and hear similarities in their experiences, but also the great diversity of solutions that we can draw on to get past the blank page. Really helpful to take away some tangible best practices advice to apply to my work.
Three – A Community To Write With
We’ve created this meme because I wanted to stay connected to the people I have met, to champion their writing and receive support and feedback in return. Meeting the human beings behind the Twitter feed has been very significant and I want to devour so many blogs and books because I have met the people behind them who are trying their best and exploring fascinating subjects and sharing their words with the world.
Two – A Statement Necklace
Along with the delicious Ruby Glow, I received a free golden bullet vibrator necklace from Tabitha called the Ro-Val by Rocks Off. I’m the sort of girl who plans her outfits in advance and my Saturday outfit really could have done with a statement necklace, something chunky on a long chain or cord. Alas there wasn’t anything suitable for such a prestigious and sexy event. But now, I have the perfect statement necklace for future ensembles!
One – A Fire Lit Under My Arse
In my meet and greet blog post I wrote that one of the things I wanted to get out of Eroticon 2017 was “a fire lit under my arse”. Molly kindly picked up on this in one of her pre-Eroticon tweets. I wanted to be inspired and feel energised about writing, to gain lots of ideas for new pieces and to understand more about the sex writing industry.
I am so happy to say that the fire is lit and it is burning bright. I’m on such a high after this weekend and I want to write all the things, all at once. So now I’m taking steps to write down every idea, every impulse and keep the embers glowing as much as I can. Sometimes there is kindling which comes from others. I hope to give them something in return – maybe a call to action to write up their ten favourite things from Eroticon?
This weekend has been one of the most valuable experiences for my writing and I can’t wait to purchase my ticket for next year. A huge thank you to all the speakers, the amazing delegates and to Molly’s Daily Kiss, DomSigns and Girl On The Net for their fantastic organisation.
Happy Eroticon everybody!
Today Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain is published.
I contributed a couple of passages to this book and attended the fundraising party last year to read these out loud.
I backed the crowdfunding campaign and received my advance copy which I have loved browsing through. To read a collection of experiences and observations from bisexuals in the UK is really important. Within the book there is an amazing range of perspectives and I recommend this to anyone interested in learning about bisexuality or exploring their own sexuality.
Check out an early review from The Book Bag for more details.
It was great to be part of this project and to meet Katy Harrad, the editor, who has worked incredibly hard to bring this representation of British bisexuality to print. I also met some of the contributors, the chapter editors and Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux, who own publishing company Thortree Press.
Their collection of published work is fabulous and I’ve had the pleasure of unexpectedly reading Frankin’s own book, The Game Changer.
The inclusion of her work at last years Raindance Film festival in London and such high demand for her work in Berlin that a second screening was organised signalled a positive step in how we not only consume pornography but how we acknowledge it as a healthy, commonplace sexual expression.
Last month Erika, and her company Lust Films suffered a set back in this development.
YouTube have removed a safe for work edit of Erika’s film Do You Find My Feet Suckable? and a subsequent response video by Erika from their website on the grounds that the nudity and sexual content is in violation of their guidelines.
Erika’s response video is full of nudity and sexual content – all taken from music videos and sexually explicit films still showing on YouTube. There were too many bums for me to process on a Thursday morning. Too many silicone breasts stuffed into tight tops to feel comfortable before coffee.
Do You Find My Feet Suckable? has no nudity whatsoever. There is some male torso action and a couple of lovely long legs but thats it. That is it.
The premise of the film is a male fantasy of approaching a woman in a library for her to ask him the eponymous question and then invite him to worship her feet when he answers in the affirmative.
The erotic film, which I have seen the SFW version and a cinematic cut (at Raindance) and loved both, uses subtle sexual tension and a strong, relatable narrative. It has been adjusted to remove the explicit content but the overall effect remains the same. It is incredibly sexy, sex positive and beautifully made.
Show your support for this unreasonable censorship of filmmaking by sharing as much as you can, publicly or privately with friends.
Follow Erika on Twitter @ErikaLust
Erotic filmmaker Erika Lust is showing a director’s cut of XConfessions tonight in Berlin.
The event is hosted by the Berlin Film Society. The XConfessions series is inspired by online confessions posted by visitors to her website. This is the first time an event addressing explicit erotic films that explore the narrative of sex as cinematic creations has been held by the society.
I was able to see XConfessions at London’s Raindance Film Festival in September. Watching a director’s cut of pornography in a public cinema space felt exciting and strange – we are so used to keeping our sex lives locked away in our bedrooms, confined to a computer (or smart phone) screen.
Sharing this moment with strangers felt new and dangerous. An act of sexual expression which had nothing to do with any of us getting naked. A declaration that we watch pornography – it was significant that on the night I went, the majority of the audience were female.
Despite a lot of questions I still get for being a woman interested in writing about pornography, it just shows women do watch porn!
Lust’s work looked incredible on the big screen – a testament to her artistic filmmaking as well as her bold approach to depicting female sexual agency and pleasure.
Due to high demand for the screening, which has now sold out, the Berlin Film Society is hosting an encore screening of XConfessions on Friday 12th February (Babylon Kino, 9:45pm). If you are in Berlin, go and experience this for yourself. Details here.
If you’re not in Berlin go to xconfessions.com to see the full online versions of Lust’s work, featuring incredible performers and created by a nearly all female production team.
For more information on Erika Lust’s work in feminist pornography check out my recently published article in the International Business Times.
Last month I wrote an article for The International Business Times featuring erotic filmmakers Erika Lust and Vex Ashley.
The article was published at a time when Bollywood actress and former porn star Sunny Leone was praised in social media for her grace under the pressure of a sex-shaming interviewer. A positive moment for women in the porn industry but highlights how far we have yet to go.
A year ago we assembled at Old Palace Yard in Westminster to protest against the changes in the law banning certain sexual acts
The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 which bans sex involving using bondage and/or gags, fisting, facesitting, urination, female ejaculation and spanking or caning beyond moderation was brought into effect on 1st December 2014 – without any public consultation.
On 12th December 2014 we gathered together to show our frustrations, to meet other like minded people and to whip up a media frenzy to raise awareness of the suppression of sexual and creative freedoms within independent pornography. I covered the event in my blog last year.
In the following months I interviewed Courtney Trouble and Jiz Lee for a small series of posts on the changes in legislation called Criminal Behaviours and wrote a guest blog on consent for a Girl on the Net. It formed a huge part of my writing in the past year, and when I got the email from Charlotte Rose announcing a second protest I cleared my Saturday afternoon and dug out my warmest jumper for more activism in the cold.
Exactly one year on, we gathered back together in the same place to show our solidarity and defiance against the threat to our sexual freedom.
Charlotte Rose, organiser of both Porn Protest 2014 and 2015, is keen to raise as much public awareness as possible on the changing laws.
“If we stop fighting, the next generation will have nothing left to protect,” she explains.
“The excuse of ‘protect the children’ is the only reasoning that the government claim, yet all children that want further information about sex are being denied this education in school.”
The Internet provides a resource to learn about anything you could think of, but when it becomes the only method to learn about sex this warps our understanding of a fundamental human impulse. Both young people and adults stand to suffer if we remain silent about sex and let erotic entertainment perpetuate misconceptions about sexual expression.
Charlotte Rose adds “the attack on consensual activities is growing. If we don’t do something now we will be put into sexual oppression and no government has the right to take your personal liberties away!”
There were speeches from key players in the fight against the legislation at the protest, such as Jerry Barnett from Sex and Censorship, Jane Fae of Backlash and obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman. We also heard from representatives from the NHS, a plethora of sex workers and a women’s sexuality group which had not existed this time last year. It was inspiring and galvanising to witness speeches from these men and women.
Pandora Blake, who was present at last year’s protest, is an erotic artist, producing, directing and performing in films featuring spanking – illegal since December 2014. She has been a visible public advocate of sexual expression since, had sent a message from her holiday to be read out at the protest.
Pandora’s website, Dreams of Spanking, was shut down in August 2015. We spoke before the protest about her experiences in the past year.
“When the regulations came in I wasn’t sure how they would play out in practice. Sometimes vaguely worded or ill-thought out laws are brought in, but not actively enforced. However, the enforcement was far swifter, and more heavy handed, than I expected.”
During the several months of investigation, with the support from Backlash and Myles Jackman, Pandora fougaht the actions every step of the way. The final decision was given in August and the website was taken offline. Pandora remembers being informed of the investigation swiftly after appearing on a panel on pornography for BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour.
“It seems likely that my public criticism of the new regulations brought me to ATVOD’s attention,” she concludes.
“Many of my fellow pornographers who distribute similar work depicting spanking that leaves lasting marks have not yet been contacted, so it’s hard not to see it as political censorship.”
This targeting reflects a growing concern that it isn’t about the content, but how we publicly express our rights to sexual freedom. Pornography is only the first step on a much more sinister journey to suppress freedom of speech. Encouraging people to speak out against restrictions on UK pornography is problematic in that barely anybody will admit they consume any kind of erotic media.
It is important to keep having these conversations, with as many people you feel comfortable with, to make as many people as possible aware of how online expression is being affected. We cannot leave it to porn producers and sex workers to fight for our rights as consumers of online media. This has the potential to affect everybody, and you know you will miss it if (/when) it goes.