Her trajectory into the porn industry seems less a result of her insatiable sexual appetite or lack of financial opportunity as it was her own pragmatic approach to combating patriarchy in one of its multi-billion dollar bastions.
“Having grown up in Sweden, one of the best countries in the world to grow a feminist conscience, I was well aware of the issues between feminism and pornography,” Erika says.
It was during her college years that she started to confront these issues. Her “Eureka moment,” as she called it, came when she read Berkeley professor Linda Williams’ Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible.” She says that reading the book taught her that pornography was “actually a discourse about sexuality, about masculinity and femininity, about the roles we play.”
In that vein, she realized that the people largely taking part in that discourse were chauvinistic, narrow-minded men “with little sexual intelligence.” As a result, the vision of female sexuality was largely missing from porn.
When she started, she said she received “ a very chilly reception from the male porn establishment” that claimed it was already making porn for everyone. Countering this, Erika believes that there is an audience of women out there that wants more imaginative, creative erotica filled with relatable characters and contexts.
“That's what I always want to achieve in any of the films that I shoot,” she says.
Today, Erika kicks it on set in her black Converses, making high-quality movies for Lust Films that range from horny housewife erotica to BDSM. Consensual domination, to her, has nothing to do with feminism.
“The sex can stay dirty, the values have to be clean,” she says.
Her latest project is XConfessions, a site where individuals can write out their sexual fantasies to her. Every month, she takes two of the entries and turns them into films.
A lithe, snow-white, Spanish redhead, Amarna Miller has performed in the first two volumes of XConfessions. Also starting in the industry behind the camera, Amarna moved from filming herself going solo to performing in girl–girl scenes to eventually being in scenes with men. She appreciates the beauty of Erika’s work, saying that “she is one of the very few persons in the porn industry who is capable to mix aesthetics, passional sex and cinematography in a single scene,” Amarna says.
However, she hedges at the use of “feminist porn.”
“I like to refer to her work as ‘ethical porn,’ … because what she does is present a real sexual experience between performers,” Amarna says. This experience, she says, doesn’t include fake orgasms, acrobatic sex positions, or gynecological shots, and is part of an atmosphere that makes her feel respected in every production.
“I truly enjoy the shoots and her team take care of me in every moment,” she says.
“My work is feminist because I pursue the goals of beauty, hedonism, and intelligence in porn from a female point of view,” Erika says.
It’s work that has gathered a lot of attention as of late and may help change porn as we know it.
Check out the gallery of stills from her set below.
Willie Burnley Jr is a junior Writing, Literature, and Publishing major. He's fascinated with politics, social justice, big ideas, people that look like big ideas, and anime.