“Public Sex, Private Lives”: The New Documentary That Will Challenge Everything You Know About Porn

“Who in their right minds would want to have sex in front of a camera? They must be damaged.”

This is how pornography actress Isis Love describes the common perception of the industry – that it’s a bunch of love-starved sex fiends who get off as a way of dealing with past traumas. The new documentary Public Sex, Private Lives is about to blow all of those preconceived judgments out the window and force us to take a good, hard look at this multi-billion dollar industry.

The film, directed by Simone Jude and produced by Simone Jude and Haley K. Jude, is an intimate look at the professional and private lives of porn performers Lorelei Lee, Princess Donna, and Isis Love. Capturing moments of joy and struggle, it follows the women as they navigate their lives as artists, daughters, and mothers who have made careers in the adult industry. Asked to defend their choices to their families, communities, and even the United States Government, these women share their unique motivations and shifting visions for the future.

‘Public Sex, Private Lives’ Feature Documentary Trailer from Simone Jude on Vimeo.

As Jude writes:

I became inspired to shoot a feature length documentary on the complicated identities of porn performers when I met Lorelei Lee, Princess Donna, and Isis Love in San Francisco in the mid-2000s. As I got to know them, I was struck by the fact that their intelligence, charisma, and passion for their jobs contradicted dominant narratives of porn performers. I also began to realize how powerfully their choice of career impacted the rest of their lives, whether they wanted it to or not. Intrigued by these tensions between public and private, between societal expectations and personal aspirations, I was called to document the three women’s stories on film.

I created Public Sex, Private Lives to explore the personal complications and interrelated stigma that comes with performing in pornography, while also revealing these women’s real lives, relationships and dreams for the future.

I hope this film sheds light on a rarely explored subculture, giving viewers behind-the-scenes access to a hotly debated profession. Pornography is a charged subject in public discourse, and this film brings an important (and yet often ignored) perspective into dialogue, that of the performers themselves. My aim is to raise questions, rather than answer them, complicating the things we think we know and want to believe about this controversial field of work.

The film premieres June 8 in San Francisco at the SF DocFest and is bound to stir up plenty of discussion on the sex industry and perceptions of female sexuality, in particular. It is a sensitive issue, to be sure – let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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