We Tried It | XConfessions by Erika Lust

It’s funny, as someone who writes about love and sex, I’ve discovered there’s a big descrepancy between what people think I do and what I actually do on a daily basis. Spoiler alert: my average day probably isn’t anywhere as sexy as you think it is. Think less lying around in lingerie, musing about modern romance and more wearing real pants & getting shit done. However, yesterday was an anomaly. I spent the afternoon doing what I think people probably assume I do, which is watch hours of porn at my desk.

When people ask me for “good” porn suggestions I never know what to say because frankly, I don’t watch very much. It’s not because I have a problem with it (unlike Governor Gary Herbert, I don’t think porn is a “health hazard” as long as it’s made by consenting adults), I just find that the majority of mainstream porn doesn’t do it for me. Most of the porn I’ve seen seems really fake and mechanical. There’s way too many close ups of isolated body parts and not enough kissing and/or authentic passion. It’s just a bunch of parts going inside other parts.

Add to that the fact the majority of male performers aren’t people I’d necessarily be attracted to in real life, and well, I’m not exactly turned on. I mean, what does a girl have to do to see some regular, attractive people who are into each other boning on camera?!

Enter Erika Lust, the renowned, award winning erotic filmmaker known for creating unique female-led, sexually intelligent, cinematic adult films. Her latest project XConfessions is a crowdsourced website where fans post their fantasies and Erika chooses two to turn into short cinematic erotic films each month.

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After listening to Erika’s TEDxVienna talk “It’s Time for Porn to Change” and checking out the gorgeous imagery on XConfessions, I could tell even before pressing play that this would be the kind of erotic content that I’d probably enjoy. Erika and her team kindly gave me a free month to enjoy the videos on XConfessions & I’m now ready to report back on my findings.

Let’s start by talking about the cover art. Notice something different? If you’ve ever perused adult videos, you’ll notice that these covers look completely different. They’re sexy without being raunchy; well designed and even a bit retro chic in some cases. Aesthetically speaking, the artwork for Smut on Speed (below) seems very Skinny Dip-esque, don’t you think?!

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They’re pretty right? I also got a kick out of the quirky titles like Hello Pool-Boy, I Fucking Love Ikea and A Feminist Man (who hasn’t fantasized about that?!)

Erika’s motto is:

“I believe that sex is greater than porn, don’t you?”

And as she explains, “XConfessions strives to offer an alternative to the repetitive formula in adult film, creating a new wave of imaginative, artistic and explicit erotic film driven by sex-positive narratives. Unlike many other adult sites, at XConfessions you won’t find the same story or setting twice. Every short film is a story on its own, displaying a huge variety of situations, characters, fetishes and ways of having sex.  It’s adult cinema like you’ve never seen it before.

After watching more porn in the last twelve hours than I did last year, I can say that Erika nailed it (pun intended.)

The films you’ll find on XConfessions are actually good. They’re beautifully shot, well made and decently acted. Some of the films like My Moaning Neighbour (which features the adorable, handsome Mickey Mod) are actually humorous and giggle worthy. Whereas some of the other films like the sexy Pachisi play more like gorgeous, erotic music videos with good soundtracks. There’s enough of a storyline to keep you interested but not so much that it distracts from the purpose at hand, which is to show really hot sex.

For example, if you have ever fantasized about hooking up with your airbnb host (and enjoy boozy brunches) you’ll enjoy I Wish I was a Lesbian – a film about a woman who goes to stay with a lesbian couple. The threesome share what looks like a really delicious meal before going to town on each other. (The brunch looks really, really good. Like, almost as good as the sex. So, really you’re getting the best of both worlds here.)

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What I liked best about XConfessions is that the performers seemed to actually be having fun with each other on screen. There’s an element of playfulness and spontaneity that I think is lacking in a lot of adult films. Also, the people in the films look like people I’d actually know or want to fuck in real life – which is huge.

As someone who tends to date outside of her own race more often than not, I also appreciated the diverse cast. There’s black men with white women, black women with white men and all kinds of variations in between. But, unlike mainstream porn, it’s not fetishized. Instead, it’s just presented as, “hey, here’s some sexy couples having sex with each other.” It’s modern, it’s inclusive and I like it.

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Overall, I was really impressed with XConfessions. Not all of the videos are going to spark your fancy but there’s enough diversity that everyone is sure to find something they’re into. If you’re looking for an alternative to mainstream porn to watch either alone or with a partner, I definitely think Erika Lust is a great place to start.

If you’d like to experience XConfessions.com for yourself, Erika Lust would like to offer one of you a month’s free subscription!

To enter, all you need to do is sign up for my newsletter & leave a comment letting me know you’ve done so. 

FYI, if you’re not already subscribed to my newsletter, it’s a lot of fun! Once or twice a month I’ll send you a  message with updates on my book, special events & exclusive discount codes.

Get extra points overtime you tweet:

Hey @simone_paget! I want to #win a month of #XConfessions from @ErikaLust – http://wp.me/p1Yilp-2op

I’ll choose a winner Thursday August 18th.

Good luck!

Why I Stopped Drinking & Started Buying Art Instead

I have a complicated relationship with alcohol. While I really enjoy a good craft cocktail or glass of wine every now and then, there’s been times when alcohol wreaked havoc on my life – namely my early 20’s when I used booze to self-medicate; drinking myself into oblivion on a regular basis. It wasn’t that I couldn’t stop drinking – I didn’t want to. I liked the feeling of being out of control. However, after a lot of soul searching, growth and (let’s be real) therapy, I’m much better at setting healthy boundaries.

Although I can have one or two drinks and stop – the urge to just keep drinking is still there (& probably always will be) and it’s unnerving. Last year I slipped back into my old habits for a month and frankly, it scared me. So, combine that with the fact that booze makes me feel terrible in the morning (hangovers when you’re 30+ are no joke); it’s just easier to avoid drinking.

Lately I’m like the opposite of a Drake song: I’ve been working hard, wearing more clothes and going out less. 

The upside of not going for drinks and/or buying wine on a regular basis is that it’s freed up some money to put towards other pursuits – like building up a small art collection. I’m not yet at the place yet where I can buy a lot of original art works (unless they’re made by family members) but I have been investing in prints of pieces I really love.

My taste is art is pretty eclectic, but I’ve noticed that I tend to be drawn to pieces that are bright, modern, pop-art influenced and/or California-esque. I love images of influential women, men, palm trees and pools. Always lots of pools (I blame my grandparents.) Anything quirky and colourful is also fair game.

Here’s some of the artists I’m really into lately.

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M. Tony Peralta of The Peralta Project  is a New York born artist that “mixes New York City Latino grit with hip-hop culture to create designs that resonate with people from all walks of life.” The result is art that’s bright, pop-y and irreverant. I just purchased this Frida Con Rolos print and am eyeing up his take on another icon: Selena. He also makes pins & a host of other clothing + accessories!

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Kii Arens is an American contemporary graphic designer, pop-artist best known for his concert prints. He’s created visuals for everyone from Diana Ross to Radiohead. I discovered his work on Instagram and fell in love with his Sade & Lauryn Hill prints (two of my all time favourites.) I visited his LA LA LAND gallery when I was in LA and was able to pick up both for my collection.

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Scott Listfield is another artist I love. I discovered his astronaut paintings on Pinterest and have been obsessed ever since. His work is full of pop culture references that beautifully illustrate the feeling of being alive in this time and place – connected yet disconnected. Also, I discovered that he has a painting named Simone (!!!) and used to carry around a small plastic dinosaur (a la Joe the Intern) whenever he’d travel – so, basically I have a major artist-soul-crush on him. I recently added the pieces above to my collection.

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I also really enjoy the work of LA-based illustrator Chris Turnham. His work focuses on everyday scenes around Los Angeles that aren’t typically illustrated – like the 6th street viaduct. All of his illustrations have an authentic dusty, smoggy quality. I have his Two Palms (above) but I’m dying to get my hands on his Yuca’s Taco stand print. As someone who recently spent 12 days in LA eating almost nothing but tacos, it feels very…essential. 

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 1.04.25 PMMy current big ticket dream purchase? This oversized print by photographer Max Wanger, appropriately titled “The Dip.” Someday it will be mine. Oh yes, someday it will be mine.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to shift my focus to making some art myself. Ever since I saw Judy Ragagli’s work in Palm Springs, I’ve been toying with the idea of turning some of Joe the Intern’s photographs into full sized art pieces.  So, I was happy when the team at BestCanvas.ca got in touch with me. BestCanvas.ca takes your favourite photos and turns them into canvas prints. Whether it’s photos of your wedding, vacation, pets or (in my case) a very muscly GI Joe, BestCanvas.ca transforms your favourite memories into ready to hang art for your home.

When I told Joe about my plans to immortalize his image on canvas, he responded with his own set of demands. (“My one request is that you prominently display my image in a place of leisure – preferably over the bed.”) Joe and I don’t always agree about everything.

While I won’t be hanging Joe’s anywhere in my bedroom (I’m really trying not to alienate future suitors), I do think there’s potential to make some great wall art.

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(photo credit)

What do you guys think?!

This post was brought to you by BestCanvas.ca. All views are my own because that’s how I roll. Thanks for supporting posts that support Skinny Dip. 

It’s Friday & I’m on the Internet

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Does anyone else feel like July flew by in a blink of an eye? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Over the past few weeks I’ve spent far too much time in my office, finished a major work project (more on that soon!) and purchased my first bicycle since childhood – a dreamy purple retro cruiser aptly named P. Rogers Nelson. I’ve also been hanging out on the internet pretty much everywhere but here.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve been up to –

  • WNPR – If you know me on social media, I’m obsessed with all things podcast & NPR related. So, I was super thrilled to be a guest on the Colin McEnroe show where I got to discuss the Cinderella myth (“Cinderella Doesn’t Want to Marry the Prince”) and my thoughts on Cinderfellas (which I wrote about recently for The Toronto Sun.)
  • Sex and the Single Parent podcast – I had so much fun doing this podcast! The hosts Precious and Mel are awesome & we had a great chat where I opened up about my big breakup, the difference between dating in Toronto vs. dating on the west coast & lots of other stuff.
  • Wedding Chicks –  Curious about my thoughts on proposals? I was featured on the Wedding Chicks talking about love, proposals and authenticity.
  • eHarmony blog – I spoke with eHarmony writer Sue Nador about why “playing hard to get” is a bunch of BS & the difference between availability & healthy boundaries.
  • Zoosk – I was interviewed by Zoosk’s DateMix blog about my tips for dating multiple people at the same time (hint: don’t take all your dates to the same wine bar.)
  • Toronto Relationships podcast – I LOVED speaking to Casey Bradfield, the author & host of Toronto Relationships about dating, sex and blogging.
  • Ryerson School of Journalism Off Leash podcast – In case you missed it and you’re dying to hear more of my wacky Canadian accent (half kidding here), make sure you check out my guest spot on the  Off Leash podcast where I talk about sex journalism, dating and ethics.

I’ll be back soon with more stories, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy these links!

 

OVO Toys Summer Loving Review & Giveaway

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lthough I’ve been slowly easing my way out of doing a lot of sex toy reviews, I still get tons of emails from people who are looking for advice on how to add sex toys into their sex life & what kind(s) to buy. When it comes to introducing sex toys to your relationship, IContinue reading

Favorite Things: July Edition

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Image source: pensando la bronca oes anyone else feel like they’re suffering from a permanent heavy heart this summer?  Between Orlando, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile & Dallas (+ other things), it feels like the world needs a giant get well soon card (heck, say what you will – I’m still reeling from the passing ofContinue reading

When Your Life Becomes an Alanis Morissette Song

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(photo credit) few months ago, I was wandering around Value Village, late on a Tuesday night looking for records (as one does when you’re single and childless at 35.) I was digging through the crates of dusty LPs in hope that maybe, just, maybe I might find a copy of Prince’s Purple Rain. I had aContinue reading

The Single Ladies Guide To Decor Books

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This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post. I’ve always thought that one of the best parts about being single is having free reign over how I decorate my space. Whether it’s creating the perfect office/bedroom or making the executive decision to hang that vintage Janet Jackson poster that I bought in LA  front and center inContinue reading