< SWITCH ME >

It's a known fact that most of us grew up in a world where sex was a taboo, and where porn was the only sneak-peak available to that wonderful world of sex that we all thought was real. But then you grow older, and realise that although it's entertaining, porn doesn't exactly tell you the truth, does it? Is there something wrong? Is there something missing?

But what?

Jennifer Lyon Bell thought the same thing as we did, and decided to become an erotic film director to change the offer available. She honestly wanted to change the world, and her first step was to identify the missing piece on the porn industry:
true emotions!

Now E&M knows there is an alternative to mainstream porn. And we went all the way to the Netherlands to interview the award winning and world alternative erotic film celebrity Jennifer Lyon Bell to give you this exclusive interview. Please, enjoy!

E&M: How does an American end up in Amsterdam, directing porn movies?

Jennifer Lyon Bell (JLB): Amsterdam is the most beautiful city in the world and I really wanted to live here. I was about to move here and I realised that it would be a great way to make a job change and to do what I really always wanted to do: direct erotic films! I immediately enrolled in a masters program in film and television theory in the University of Amsterdam, and I was honest with them about my intention:  and they took me seriously! I made a blueprint for myself of how I think erotic film works and then I used that to start making them.

jennifer_erotic_films
Jennifer Lyon Bell, explicit erotic film director, posing next to the canals of Amsterdam.

E&M:When did you first want to become an erotic film director?

(JLB):Even before college I had seen some porn movies and I thought they were arousing but I was surprisingly disappointed by how unsexy they were to me compared to the fun things that my friends and me were doing in our private lives. Most of us were even still virgins back then but we were having a lot of fun! I didn't feel like that type of fun was being translated into the screen by porn movies. I had it in the back of my mind that I would really love to see something more sparky and engaging. In high school as well people came to me with private sex questions because I was known to be a relaxed and open person when it came to talking about sexuality. It just struck me that sex was really important to a lot of people, and that it was a major force in their lives! There wasn't much sex education and the fact was that a lot of people were feeling confused or lonely…

E&M:And then what happened?

(JLB):I went to college and discovered sex positive feminism and realised there was an explanation for why, particularly with my women friends, sex had this unacknowledged and healing power in their lives. It was so important that something positive had to be done with that energy! Learning more about sex positive feminism and realising that was what I had been all along helped me crystallise my interest in someday making erotic and pornographic films that would be more true to the sexuality that I'm familiar with, and more in a language that women could understand.

'It just struck me that sex was really important to a lot of people, and that it was a major force in their lives!'

E&M:How do you describe your films?

(JLB):What I do is pretty unusual. I make explicit erotic films that try to show sexuality in a more emotional and realistic way, and for me that means I really like the idea of watching people have sex, but only if I care about them and if they are not strangers to me. Throughout the film, either fiction or documentary, I'll introduce you to those people so that you care about what they're going through and understand why they are interested in having sex with each other. That makes sex much more sexy and much more believable…

E&M:Are there other things that make your films different from other porn films?

(JLB):Well, I'm looking for male and female performers who have a lot of charisma and have specifically a lot of connection between each other, as well as a spontaneous way of expressing their sexuality. It can be obviously very fulfilling working with people who are used to the porn industry and know what to expect, but because porn has become so cliché many times I have enjoyed working with performers who have no set expectations for how to express themselves sexually. So far I mostly worked with amateurs - regular people who want to explore their sexuality.

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