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Senior Sex Is the Last Frontier of Porn

The latest film in director Erika Lust's XConfessions series features John and Annie, a real life couple in their seventies who want to show people that there's no age limit on good sex.

by Jake Hall
Mar 12 2019, 1:28pm

Image courtesy of Erika Lust Films

We all know how most mainstream porn goes: guy meets girl, guy thrusts inside girl as girl moans excessively with no foreplay, guy pulls out for the cum shot. Erika Lust challenges this formula. Her renowned XConfessions series is adapted entirely from anonymous confessions, and as a result it tends to challenge long-established taboos, putting female pleasure front and centre. New release Soulsex is no exception. Not only does it showcase an intimate, spiritual alternative to straight-up fucking, its star performers are Annie and John, a real life couple in their seventies.

"The first time we made love, he said, 'I do it differently,'" recalls Annie on-camera. John elaborates on this, explaining to VICE that he was experiencing sexual anxiety at the time due to social conditioning. "I had massive misguided beliefs about my responsibilities with regards to sex," he says, describing a constant nagging feeling that something was missing sexually. Over the years he was prescribed testosterone gel and then Viagra, but it was only when a German psychiatrist introduced him to a new approach – which he and Annie have since dubbed "soulsex" – that the pieces fell into place.

Naturally, Erika was intrigued by their letter extolling the virtues of "soulsex". Gone was the focus on erections and cum shots, replaced instead by commitment to sexual pleasure, liberation and clear communication. Sometimes there’s an orgasm, but not always – it’s beside the point. "It's the most blissful sexual connection I’ve ever had," gushes Annie. "We commit to using our bodies to extend love, and we make a point of engaging sexually every day as part of our wellness routine."

To find out more, we reached out to Erika, John and Annie over email to talk senior sex myths, 20-year-old MILFs and the potential benefits of radically rethinking our approaches to sex.

VICE: Erika, what attracted you to Annie and John’s story?
Erika: I'd been wanting to make a film that showed the beauty of senior sex for a while, so when Annie and John emailed to say they wanted to show the world their own way of having sex I jumped at the chance. Society has convinced us that older people are irrelevant, and senior bodies are largely missing from the adult industry. This is an industry where female performers can play MILFs at 20 years old. These scenes don’t set out to break down ageism so much as to exploit it, so watching Annie and John have sex was beautiful. It felt like we were witnessing something very intimate and special.

Annie and John XConfessions
John and Annie on the set of XConfessions

Were you both nervous about having sex on camera, or did it all feel natural?
Annie and John: We were definitely nervous, especially when we arrived and saw the number of people involved in the shoot! But we were so impressed with Erika and her colleagues; they were super sensitive to us, so we were grateful. It was never our intention to make "porn", though – we have no opinion on porn, really, but we wanted to make an instructional movie to share our experiences with other people who had decided there must be a better way.

That better way is "soulsex". What does that term mean to you?
Annie and John: It's not set in stone, but we chose that term because we wanted to reflect our magical new experience of attempting to connect with the non-physical aspect of ourselves, and how we use our physical bodies to achieve that. "Soulsex" is the acknowledgement that each part of the couple is responsible for their own experience, and that their focus isn’t on pleasing their partner – but simply on keeping their own awareness of the inner experience. There’s a focus on freedom, and we encourage people to share their desires and fantasies with their partners.

But we like to emphasise that mastery takes time and patience, and there are no rules. We’re programmed to believe that men need an erection, that both the man and the woman should come and that the couple need to be "in the mood". We discard those beliefs. The result is more peaceful, more satisfying and more otherworldly.

Soulsex poster XConfessions

Erika, how does this concept tie into the wider themes of the XConfessions series?
Erika: The idea is to show alternative representations of sex in a saturated, repetitive adult industry, and to prioritise female pleasure. "Soulsex" fits perfectly into the project because it shows a way to have sex that we’re not used to seeing. The sex scene in this film is completely different to videos you'll find on free tube sites; John and Annie spent more time touching, cuddling and gazing at each other than performers usually would, and they were vocal throughout about what they were enjoying. The film also fights preconceived notions about sex. It shows that sex isn’t a race towards an orgasm, and that a man can orgasm with a penis that isn’t fully erect.

Do you think porn is too orgasm-centric?
Erika: Absolutely. In a lot of mainstream porn the cum shot is the goal which marks the film’s end, and that shows that they’re made by men – male pleasure is front and centre. If we can shift focus towards showing that the whole sex act can be pleasurable for everyone taking part, then we can show truer, healthier representations of sex. Of course, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with a cum shot, but it’s become a tube site token that signals the priority of male desire.

Annie and John, let’s talk about myths – what are the most common around senior sex?
Annie and John: For us, they are: that sexual activity naturally has to diminish as couples age; that it’s natural for older men to lose the ability to get satisfactory erections; that women lose the ability to self-lubricate as they get older; that older couples don’t need sexual connection; and finally, that it’s not natural for older couples to explore each other’s bodies and engage in oral sex.

You met on the dating app Spiritual Singles. Do you think there’s a societal assumption that dating apps only cater to young people?
Annie and John: We’re seeing an increase in interest from the more senior members of society on dating sites. We think there’s a massive awakening that in many areas of our lives – including our sex lives – we’ve been negatively programmed around our rights to be free, innocent and to experience joy. This really is a time of waking up to the truth of who we are, and seniors everywhere are taking the risk to move on from long, unsatisfactory marriages and sex lives. No more adherence to those old religious vows of "for better, for worse, 'til death do us part".

XConfessions Senior Sex
Annie and Erika on the set of XConfessions

Erika, why do you think senior sex is stigmatised? And do you think that stigma is changing?
Erika: Society has told us for a long time that senior sex is disgusting. People think that older bodies can’t be sexy or desirable because advertising, television and film have told us only young bodies are attractive. We rarely see representation of older people in general because they’re "past their prime", but I do think it’s starting to change slightly. There are shows like Transparent and Grace & Frankie which are depicting the sex lives of older generations, and in turn they’re shifting our views on senior sex.

Finally, what do you want people to take from this film?
Erika: I want to normalise senior sex. It is my aim to show that older bodies are beautiful, that seniors still have sexual desires and that there is a different way to have sex.

Thanks, all.

@jake2103

All images courtesy of Erika Lust Films.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

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