- Emma Louise Alvarez
“Maybe We’re All Whores to Misogyny” - Interview with an Aroused Artist
© Illustration by INJECTION - Mia Hatch
Lina / Lee is an adult arthouse performer and considers herself an erotic intellectual - she is a muse to others.
Lina is a director of and actor in arthouse adult films. She comments on how in schools, within sex education, there are no discussions about pleasure, where the focus on the logistics and functionality of the reproductive system provide an unrealistic way of how sex is represented.
Within adult films, Lina is fascinated with the physiology of the male and the female form and discusses how she does not ‘favour’ one gender over the other due to being bisexual.
“Every single body shape, form, culture, ethnicity and gender should be celebrated and not discriminated against - I’m purely focusing on making my films as a baseline for inclusivity.”
What’s your favourite thing about creating arthouse films and being a performer within your films?
I love exploring different unconventional concepts.
It’s basically built on the fundamentals of my sexual fantasies as a 22-year-old woman. I feel like right now in the pandemic I should be allowed to explore different things. It is a time where you shouldn’t apologize for the way you’re behaving - as long as you’re not offending anyone else.
I really enjoy - and this might be an unconventional phrase - I enjoy meeting a beautiful hybrid of species. Because there’s been so many people I’ve worked with that goes beyond ‘fucking.’ There is an intellectual conversation that takes place where you really get to know somebody through the way that you communicate through your body and the way you physically interact with them. That’s the amazing thing in my adult arthouse films: there’s so much freedom being exercised and it’s in such a safe space.
How do you feel about your content being used in an environment of sexual stimulation?
I’ve got absolutely no problem if I’m being viewed as an object of sexual desire - I allow myself to be objectified because I’m consenting to it.
The problem is when some people confuse my content of arthouse adult films with the content on porn. That’s when I start to get a little bit offended because making a comment like that just shows that there’s no real sense of appreciation for art.
© Image owned by Lina/Lee, and re-shared with permission.
Can you tell me more about the demand and demographic of adult arthouse films? How does the audience differ from mainstream porn?
It’s a very niche market.
Mainstream porn just caters to specific points of pleasure, where adult art house films should be able to allow people to have conversations about pleasure.
Porn has been associated with something so gratuitous and disgusting and it’s only had that connotation because of the way it has been exploited in the media.
Arthouse adult films focus even on the architecture or the setting of the scene. You don’t have to introduce text and dialogue - it’s an art of subtlety. That’s something that porn really struggles with. It has to be ’in your face.’ This is where camera techniques are also really different.
Within my adult films, I like there to be a creative distance between the viewer and the camera so the viewer can better appreciate the physicality of the male and female form and the whole sense of the emotional and physical interaction.
If I had to change anything about my films, I would include dialogue about consent, preferences and just to check whether everyone is still enjoying sex. That’s what porn is missing. Consent should be at the core of communication because that is so important.
Can ethical porn exist?
Mainstream pornhub is not ethical. Nobody understands how much the actors have to go through, and there’s no code of ethics or focus on someone’s well being. What I feel with my films is that it’s helped me so much with my mental health; it’s helped me so much with my well being; and it’s created this ethical performance and really good series of relationships where you learn to understand different people’s points of pleasure and points of climax, and that is not something you get in mainstream porn.
You don’t need the stupid narratives of the “naughty girl and step brother,” or other ridiculous storylines - there should be a focus on the physiological purposes of the male and the female - there is enough narrative to draw from real life.
For my films, I base it on my own sexual fantasies and stuff that happened in my life; I then pick people who I think I would generate a really good connection with and people who would trust me and I would trust them.
It creates a space for physical appreciation and cultivates a practice of being ethical.
© Image owned by Lina/Lee, and re-shared with permission.
How do you initiate conversations around barriers, safety & hygiene?
As an adult performer, you are required to have STI testing as frequently as possible. To go into a film or performance where you don’t know whether you're clean or not is putting yourself and the people you are interacting with at risk. I get tested 3-4 times per month, depending on how many films I do.
In terms of barriers, you just have a normal conversation at the very beginning, and you just say “I’m fine with this, but not ok with this” and I have been very privileged to not have met anybody that pushes my boundaries.
In terms of the narrative of the performance, it is basically an exercise of spontaneity and freedom: we just play with each other and there’s no pressure. For example, when I was filming on wednesday and I was with two guys, I was in a lot of pain at some point, so we just stopped for 5-10-15 minutes and we just had a talk and I think that is what is so important. For me, it’s not about getting the cum shot, or getting the final close-up of the girl plastered with cum on her face, it’s about creating that metaphor of climax. It is about generating that sense of physical appreciation. I think that is just a turn on that has to be invigorated and reinstated every time.
Why do you think there’s such negative connotations to having conversations around sexual health, safety & pleasure?
I think it depends on the cultural foreground.
It depends on whether sex is discussed from a pleasure point, or if it’s only considered as a functionality. I think there are institutions that frown at the openness of conversations and discovery because they think it’s taboo, or sleazy, or even destructive to society.
I’ve got this saying, “maybe we’re all whores to misogyny” because we feel we have to be compartmentalized and conform to these institutions. And it’s paradoxical, because people in society get off on watching porn, but when you say you are an adult performer or sex worker there’s such a negative connotation around it.
“Maybe we’re all whores to misogyny,” can you further explain this?
That was directly reflected onto the guidelines of Instagram. I was feeling a little bit agitated when I saw the restrictions to nudity - for example guys were posting images that I would not be able to post a female equivalent of. Women can’t show their tits on Instagram, where I think that censorship teaches a wrong lesson.
We all have breasts - we all have a chest - both males and females do. So why is one gender allowed to post with their nipples but another isn’t?
To what extent is pleasure important to an individual’s mental health or in understanding human behaviour?
Pleasure is important because you’re really finding yourself within yourself. It’s a way to release any constricted emotions. For me, it has been an act of sexual and mental health. It is an act of just looking after your wellbeing.
If you just take 10 or 15 minutes out of the day and take the time to treat your body with such love and care, it’s retraining your body how to function within self-love and self-care. Masturbation and self-pleasures can be involved within this as well. Pleasure has to be built within a safe and controlled environment, and there’s so many ways to achieve it.
I think it’s really important to educate girls on female pleasure, and not just the functionality of the clitoris. There’s so much more to it than just being able to label sexual organs. This needs to be brought more into sexual education and curriculums in schools.
Is the climax the “end-all” goal of sex?
No! No. My goodness me no.
I speak very openly about this, but whenever I have sex with somebody and they ask me whether I had an orgasm, and I didn’t, I would say “no, but I really enjoyed your company and that feeling is a mental turn on.”
They would feel really bad because they’ve been educated by porn that in order for a girl to reach her ‘happy ending’ she has to cum and orgasm.
Like don’t get me wrong - having an orgasm is one of the best ways to relieve stress and mental anxiety, especially during this pandemic, but, for me, it really isn’t the end goal. The end goal should be where you’re collapsed on top of one another and you’re reunited physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, and you’re just feeling safe in that space.
That is one of the most important things in my films is that my actors feel safe with me and that I feel safe with them.
To me, sex is a spiritual journey of discovery and evolution.