Interview With Paulita Pappel. Pornographer. Performer. Filmmaker. Film curator @pffberlin. Feminist. Founder of lustery.com.
You recently participated in a movie by Erika Lust about feminine ejaculation. How important is it for you to work with feminine ejaculation in alternative/feminine pornography? As a porno that breaks the pornographic “chauvinism”, what can we learn from this film on feminine ejaculation?
I decided to direct a film celebrating female ejaculation with the intention of exploring the so-called porn clichés and turn them around on the axis of gender. It is a standard in normative heterosexual scripts that the climax of the sexual action is set on the cumshot of a penis, I took a similar narrative but placed the climax on the ejaculation of a vulva. I think we can use film to create new scripts that can be inspiring and can expand our horizons and possibilities when having sex. Female Ejaculation is also an example of the sexism in the medical discourse, as it is still discussed what it really is. I wanted to honour it as a symbol of female* pleasure.
You speak about post-pornography and you are a curator. You have a feminist connection from the get-go. What can we learn about post-pornography and your work as a curator? How can they make pornography more positive?
I believe diversity is crucial in all formats of artistic expression. This is especially urgent in pornography in a sex-negative society, where there is a lack of sexual education. Post-pornography explores different gender and sexual representation, and so it offers a more inclusive perspective. As a curator, I know that there exist many different genres of porn, the problem is the accessibility of diverse porn to a wider audience.
You said in an article that you used to see pornography and prostitution as tools for the patriarchy to oppress women. As a worker in post-pornography, and as a porno actress, how do you see porn? How has your opinion changed, having worked on German porn and on Erika Lust’s feminist porn?
My views on porn were influenced by a sexist and sex-negative society, that does not see sex and sexuality as the free and self-determined choice of individuals. The cliché that all pornography is denigrating to women is rooted in the sexist assumption that the sexuality of women is passive and that women are always the victims of sex. This is just not true. Furthermore, sexist and racist standards in the porn industry are the symptom of a sexist and racist society, not the cause. Working in as a sex worker and as a curator has widened my perspective and I know now that porn is manifold, and can be a tool of sexual liberation. I see porn as a political act.
You’re a sexually curious woman and pornography has allowed you to be more in sync with your sexuality. In which way was this step crucial for you and what you did you learn from it? You said once you thought it was wrong to be connected with pornography. How did you break that barrier and came to work in pornography?
It was a very long process that is still ongoing to deconstruct my own internalized prejudices and liberate myself of fear and shame. The work in porn has taught me better communication skills and has brought me closer to my own needs and desires. I started working in porn in a queer feminist, DIY context, which was a great way in and I’m thankful for having had that privilege. Respecting and listening to sex workers is key to understand and break down barriers, everyone should inform and educate themselves before judging on the topic.
Lustery is a page you created and it is where you promote a more real pornography, where you steer clear from the fake pornography that is degrading to women. What importance does it have to women that follow it and for those who still don’t know your work?
I would not say that Lustery is a more real pornography. All pornography is real, there are different genres just like in film. Lustery is a documentary pornography, meaning it documents a sexual dialogue between real people instead of staging a performance with fictive characters. All of these genres are legit pornography, there’s no bad and good, just different. The documentary character of Lustery does not reproduce sexist imagery as it does not follow imposed normative sexual scripts. There are no rules in what should happen sexually, so there are for example no fake orgasms and we encourage always the women to take control of the recording, thus promoting a female perspective.
Is having an alternative space to make and receive realist porn movies important to you and to those who work with you?
Pornography is stigmatized, marginalized and discriminated in society. So are most of the people that work in the industry, especially women* identified people. I think it is very important to act in solidarity with all sex workers and create safe and ethical working spaces. This is very important to me and I learn every day more about how to achieve it. Small porn producers have more difficulties in distributing their work, so I also believe it is very important to support each other in creating visibility for all different genres of pornography.
Thanks for your time, and all the best wishes for your work.
Project Let’s Talk About Sexuality
Interview: Pedro Marques
Translation and Correction and: Joana Borges Correia