Chatting up Shine Louise Houston
The woman behind some of our favorite adult films made for lesbians by lesbians, talks male bodies, the industry and why we’re so damn hot.
Its been five years since we caught up with Shine Louise Houston. Back then, she had just released her first adult film: Crash Pad. Since then, Crash Pad has become a series, she’s won awards, and she’s started a new project. For those lucky enough to head to San Francisco for the International Erotic Film Festival, you can join her for a chat at the event Pink & White Delight, where she’ll take the audience on a journey through some of her favorite selections and speak about the complexities of queer sexual desire.
Hey Shine. Its been too long. Catch us up to speed.
Well, I started working at Good Vibrations and I’ve come full circle because now I’m being distributed through Good Vibrations. That’s been a long trajectory. We’ve got four features under our belt and two websites. Last time I talked to Curve I had just made one movie so now we’ve done many more. Our latest movie is our first movie where we had almost a real budget; it won Movie of the Year at the Feminist Porn Awards, and all the volumes from the Crash Pad Series have also won numerous awards. We just submitted our latest website which is heavenlyspire.com. It’s my website that focuses on masculine appreciation.
Masculine appreciation isn’t something we hear too much about. Tell us more about heavenlyspire.com.
That’s a new thing that I’m working on right now, which is kind of a site for male-bodied, male-identified folks. There were a lot of people who applied to the Crash Pad series and I really want to work with them, but the arena that we’ve created through the Crash Pad series and what Crash Pad is known for wouldn’t work so I decided to start up a project where I could let myself be a little more creative and appreciate male bodies, which is something I don’t always get to do. It is really fun and it’s new for me and hopefully it’s a new way of looking at male bodies that hasn’t been done.
Have you gotten any backlash from the lesbian community for focusing on male bodies, even though it is through a queer eye?
I’ve gotten some people who don’t particularly like the identity of queer and they say you don’t speak for us, you’re corrupting the lesbian culture, and all that kinds of stuff. I tell those people, I’m one voice. This is my perspective. I am speaking out and representing the community and yes, I am one voice and these are my politics. Really, it’s about the concept of queer and queer sexuality and working outside the norms of the binary, even that binary within the gay community...whether you’re straight or you’re gay. These concepts of where you put yourself in the box and where you put yourself on the binary is in fact your choice that it’s not a linear progression. Sexuality is for anybody, and your object of desire or your particular object of desire aren’t limited to a certain set of people or a certain type of people with a particular body type. For some people I think they really get it and for some people it’s like, ehhhhh. That’s just not for them and what I do isn’t for them. That’s when I’m like, there needs to be more voices. I believe in my politics and some people might not believe in my politics. If you don’t like it, do what I did. I didn’t like what was going on in the porn industry in terms of representation of gay, lesbian, queer, and trans folks so I made my own stuff.
Is it easier than ever to make queer porn?
Yeah. The pioneers like Annie Sprinkle and Joani Blank really cracked the ground for people like me and helped to create an atmosphere we have now. It’s totally like, hey, if you’re really interested in doing porn, people will talk to you about it. On the flipside there’s still such a stigma about being in porn and doing porn. I was building the site and researching web developers and I said, ‘We’re an adult site.’ They said, ‘Oh! We can’t work for you.’ I always forget that I live in a small bubble. Within the community there’s a lot of support but there still is a lot of work to be done on a societal level about people changing attitudes about the sex industry. There are a lot of people who are very supportive about making porn and there are still a lot of people who think porn is the worst thing in the world.
What does your work do for the queer community?
It creates empowerment by saying yes we are beautiful, we’re an art form, we’re not all gym bunnies, and that’s OK. [Laughs] We’re not all super high femme and all this kind of stuff. It’s like, hey, let’s normalize this. These are queer bodies. And hey, we can be just as hot as the models in Penthouse. It’s empowering when you can see yourself reflected in an image. If it’s powerful and sexy you might think, wow, I really always wanted to identify with that but I can’t because my body doesn’t look like X. But maybe that person is brown, they’re heavy, they’re butch, and thought that was totally hot and know that they can be totally hot. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies and we shouldn’t be ashamed of our sexualities. Put it out there—it’s hot!