Why do you produce porn?
I wanted to make films that are both explicit and artistic. Most importantly, my mission is to visualize female fantasies and show a more accurate reflection of female sexual desires and pleasures than the mainstream porn filmmakers do.
What are your views on mainstream porn?
Mainstream porn leaves me cold. It is always the same positions and the same outcome. The passion is often faked, and it tends to be about male ejaculation rather than female orgasms or shared pleasure. I don’t like cheap gonzo porn, often filmed in a day and roughly edited on someone’s laptop. If I don’t find a film aesthetically pleasing, it will never turn me on.
How did you become involved with the adult business?
I worked for almost a decade in TV producing entertaining and informative programs on sex. It was a pleasure telling these stories from a woman’s point of view. I then launched an erotic photography business in 2004 to shoot intimate portraits that are far removed from all the stale clichés of glamour photography.
Many women and couples asked me what porn films I could recommend. Because there were hardly any I could think of, I decided to make my own. From working in TV I had all my own video gear. I shot my first film “Sexual Sushi” with friends of mine in my apartment over two exciting weekends.
Who is your target audience?
My target audiences are women, men, and couples who know what they want and are erotic connoisseurs. They want innovative and luxurious erotica, not assembly-line porn.
What makes your content different from other porn?
Most porn is made by men for men. My films are based on my own and other women’s fantasies, which tend to be very different from straight male fantasies. If I shoot a threesome, I show two guys going down on a woman rather than two girls giving the guy head. If I show solo masturbation, a hot guy does it, rather than a girl with a toy. I focus on female pleasure and men as sex objects. I am part of a revolution of showing sex from a female perspective and creating a pin-up culture for women—because women are voyeurs, too.
I spend a lot of time and money on my shoots and post-production as I enjoy blurring the boundaries between art and porn.
My performers are amateurs rather than professional porn stars, so the chemistry and intimacy you see on film is real. I like to shoot with women and men who are individuals and have bodies of various shapes and sizes and have not been surgically enhanced.
Why do you show masturbating and bisexual men?
It is incredibly liberating and exciting to sit back and watch an attractive guy play with himself. This is something that mainstream porn done by straight men would never feature. Male bisexuality is also a huge taboo in mainstream porn. The assumption is that every women is by default ‘bi’ and all men are ultra-straight ‘real men’. This limits men’s variety of sexual experiences and robs the female audience of a really important viewing pleasure.
Is there anything you don’t show?
I don’t show forced fellatio, extreme anal sex, or cum shots in a woman’s face, as they can be perceived as degrading towards women.
How do you find your performers?
I find my performers through word of mouth, a casting questionnaire on my website, flyers in female-friendly sex shops, and by chatting to potential talent at parties. I have never used a porn star agency. I meet all performers many times before a shoot to build trust. I have no casting couch and do not ask potential performers to strip and masturbate for me during a casting.
It is important that the performers are sexually-liberated and enjoy living out their fantasy on film. Their input is invited, as it is very much up to them what happens sexually. It’s a very intimate way to work and can be quite daunting.
In what way can your porn help women with the exploration of their sexuality?
By visualizing not only my own fantasies, but also those of the female performers and some of my girlfriends, we are challenging many stereotypes about female sexuality. My films are also empowering women to make their fantasies come true instead of being ashamed of them. Female viewers appreciate that they can identify with my female performers. I show women of various ages, body types, and sexual preferences rather than featuring surgically-enhanced Barbie clones.
What is your stance on porn and feminism?
In the 1980s, I was a student, doing a degree at film studies. The anti-porn movement kicked off, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, instead of just jumping on the bandwagon. So I rented around 50 porn films so I could analyse their content and make up my own mind. All of the films I saw were misogynist and violent (with words or actions) towards women. The films left me with a bad taste. I was angry to see women being humiliated and hurt (one film featured the ripping of a woman’s nipple with barb wire) and decided I was against this kind of porn. At the time it was important for me to say “No” and draw a boundary.
But with time I began to wonder: Why should we leave the production of erotic and pornographic images solely in male hands? Why should women not create and enjoy films that express their sexual desires and inspire and arouse them? This limits us and excludes us from expressing our fantasies on film and exploring our sexuality. I now enjoy saying “Yes.” I create alternatives porn films that focus on what women want. My mission is to become a mentor for budding female filmmakers because it is important that more and more of us get behind the camera to make our visions of sexuality seen and heard.
Is there an international community of female erotic filmmakers?
Yes, there is a worldwide network of female porn directors. It is growing all the time. I have met and interviewed many of the key players for my compilation “Her Porn” and for my documentary “The Joy of Porn”. I feel part of a massive wave of female erotic creativity that is gaining in momentum and strength. We are connected and are supporting each other. I am very honored to have become good friends with true pioneers like Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle, and Maria Beatty, as well as being connected to many emerging European directors such as Emilie Jouvet, Maria Llopis, and many more… Together we are unstoppable. Porn for women is here to stay!
How do men respond to your work?
All the men who have spoken to me after film festivals and seminars or who have written to me have said that they love my films. Many men are bored with the repetitiveness of mainstream porn and the distorted portrayals of female and male sexuality. Luckily some men want to understand what really turns women on. By watching my films, they might discover some new things!
How big is the market for this type of couples-friendly and women-friendly porn?
Women are over 50% of humankind. More and more women want to liberate themselves sexually and experiment. The market is massive and always has been underestimated, and the sky is the limit! Porn has been firmly in male hands. Women are starved for tailor-made erotica and porn that shows men as objects of desire. We have a long way to go until the market is saturated.
I believe that the first revolution of the adult industry happened with toys. Toys used to be cheap, inefficient and toxic oversized ‘cucumbers’, made in China. Now many high-end toys are not just beautiful but also give female pleasure. The revolution that is happening right now is the next logical step: the creation of erotic visuals by women and for women.
Why did you organise the “Petra Joy Awards”?
Only 6% of Hollywood directors are female. This percentage is even smaller when it comes to the porn industry. What this means is that most films show us life from a male perspective. I would like to adjust the balance, and I want to empower women to get behind the camera and show us what is erotic to them.
With my award I encourage newcomers and look into the future so that the genre will continue to thrive – even when the pioneers have moved on. I support the winning filmmakers by awarding substantial prize money and publishing their films on my “Her Porn” compilation. I wish I had this kind of backing when I started out. I am now in a position to help other women to get their films seen and their message heard and I cherish this role as a mentor. I hope that one day 50% of all films, including porn, will be directed by women.
More details on the awards at: www.joyawards.com