Delfine Dahlia Just Wants To Watch

Category: POV Podcast

Author: Aria Vega

Delfine Dahlia is a writer, erotic performer, and Lustery contributor. You can connect with her on Twitter

Podcast Transcript:

Aria Vega [00:00:00] This podcast contains explicit content. Listener's discretion is advised.

Aria Vega [00:00:06] POV by Lustery explores culture, politics and creativity in the sex industry, one point of view at a time. I'm your host, Aria Vega.

Aria Vega [00:00:17] [Voiceover] Delfine Dahlia is one of Lustery's key contributors as both a writer and a performer. With the help of her partner, Juan, she's submitted seven videos to the site and she's also written numerous articles for POV, including one called Sex, Lies, and Series. In it, Delfine describes how sanitized portrayals of sex in movies and TV shows left her ill equipped for sex in the real world. It makes sense that Delfine is such a keen observer of sex on screen, given how she describes herself in her POV author profile as a voyeur/exhibitionist.

Delfine Dahlia [Interview] I will say I discovered that I was a voyeur before I discovered I was an exhibitionist, because I remember very early on that I really had... I always was curious about sex really early on maybe from 12, 13 [years old] I had a strong will to learn everything about sex. It was really fascinating to me. I hadn't had sex yet, but my neighbors would have sex and I would try to look out the window because they were in front of me. So I knew I liked to look at people having sex, for sure. But then I would say that when I moved to Berlin that realized that I had a big exhibitionist side.

Aria Vega [00:01:35] How old were you when you moved to Berlin?

Delfine Dahlia It was five years ago, I was 24. And of course, because there's a lot of sex clubs. In Berlin it's very easy to get into that lifestyle, you know, to be more free sexually and everything. And you know, the first one I went to a wasn't a sex club. It was just Berghai that I went to and then I saw everybody so free, everybody was mainly in underwear. You don't really wear normal clothes to go out there. And then I was dressed to go, and then I just when I saw everyone so comfortable, I removed my clothes and I was like, "Wow, actually, I really like to let people look at me when I'm naked!" But it's thanks to Berlin that realized that that I was an exhibitionist.

Aria Vega [00:02:24] So what is so powerful to you about that erotic gaze, whether you are the gazer or being gazed upon?

Delfine Dahlia For me, it's just — I would say it's about acceptance because I used to be.... Actually, when I was younger, I was actually not so comfortable in my body. Sexually, I wasn't so comfortable. So I think for me, when I realized that I like to be watched, it was like a big boost of confidence as well because I was comfortable in my body enough that people could look at me.

Aria Vega [00:02:57] What types of insecurities did you have to unlearn?

Delfine Dahlia

Aria Vega [00:04:25] So those insecurities were less about your body's appearance and more about how you were meant to interact.

Delfine Dahlia Yeah, exactly, because I've always been quite comfortable in my body, but it was just more like, yeah, I don't feel comfortable with people touching me even, even to kiss people, I didn't feel comfortable. It was too intimate for me. You didn't know what to do, so I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. I didn't trust myself enough, basically.

Aria Vega [00:04:56] [Voiceover] When Delfine was growing up in France, much of what she saw on TV was imported from England or the United States. Up to 70 percent of it, she estimates. I was really surprised to hear that, given France's rich cinematic history. It's a shame, too, because American films are uniquely inept at portraying sex. Delfine and I were each thrilled to chat with someone who agreed.

Aria Vega [00:05:20] [Interview] I can't speak so much for British movies, but for American movies, I know for sure that every sex scene was the same in every movie. Everybody makes eye contact starts ripping off clothes, immediate penetration...

Delfine Dahlia ...And everybody under the sheets always. It's a bit impossible! I mean, I find it a bit hard, you know? *Laughter* Yes, it's always somehow under the sheets and sheets of perfectly on top of them, you know?

Aria Vega [00:05:48] Mm-hmm, and it's just this perfect, dainty, rhythmic thrusting, always the simultaneous orgasm. Yes. Did you understand that that was as heavily fictionalized as it is? Or did you look at that and say, OK, this is what I expect sex will be like once I'm having it?

Delfine Dahlia Well, that's exactly how I thought it would be in real. That's the problem, because I thought it was again, most of those sex scenes you see, there's no talk about consent or anything, then directly they're under the sheets, and the guy is always on top, he thrusts like three times, and then when he comes, the girl comes. So I was like, "Well, it should be like that." Because for me, the only experience I had with sex at that point was masturbation. At that point point, I didn't even think I was coming, because I only masturbate with clitoral stimulation and I was coming, but I think it was coming because I thought, you can only come when you've been treated like in the movie. I thought, Oh, when I'm [being penetrated], that's when I'll have, like, the real orgasm.

Aria Vega [00:06:51] I think you touched on probably the biggest lie about sex that you find in the movies, which is that if you have a vagina and you're fucking someone with a penis, that that penis is what's going to make you come. Where, you know, grow up, come to find out the vast majority of people with vulvas need external stimulation in order to orgasm. It's hard for me to even picture a sex scene where you see a cis man and a cis woman and she reaches down like while she's being penetrated, which is like a really simple thing to show. It doesn't even have to be explicit. It can just be implied. And you don't even see that because women's pleasure is really taboo. Sex is taboo, but pleasure is extra taboo, and women's pleasure is [super taboo].

Delfine Dahlia Extra extra taboo! Yeah, I think I remember just one scene where you see some kind of clitoral stimulation is in Love, by by Gaspar Noé. That's really my favorite movie because at the beginning of this scene, she's jerking him off and he's fingering her.

Aria Vega [00:07:55] [Voiceover] I want to quickly interject about this movie, because it's fascinating. Love, by the Argentine-French filmmaker Gaspar Noé is an arthouse erotic drama released in 2015. The film opens with the famously unstimulated sex scene in which, yes, the actors do perform manual sex on each other. I actually heard about this before I saw the film, and yet I was still shocked. Love was asking me to question the notion that there's some sort of line between so-called cinema and porn, and it's not the only recent French film that's done so. 2013's Blue Is The Warmest Color also featured copious graphic sex between its two leads. In that case, the sex was simulated, but to be honest, it's pretty hard to tell. At a time when lots of porn is looking more cinematized and movies are more willing to show naturalistic sex, where is that line? This arbitrary border between art and porn has become a battleground on social media, which we talk about a lot on this show. Platforms with far too much power like Instagram, frequently censor sex workers, erotic artists and others. Some of those creators, like Delfine get exhausted and give up.

Delfine Dahlia [Interview] I got one account blocked, but I managed to restore it. But then I don't even post. That's the problem with Instagram. I don't even post on it anymore because every time I post something now, it gets automatically deleted. So I think it's like some kind of algorithm that sees and even if I I blur the nipples and everything, I post it and then maybe a minute afterwards it's deleted. So I think I haven't posted anything for months because every time I post something I'm really proud of, like a picture I'm going to take or something, and I really want to make like a beautiful account. But it's not worth it, to be honest. The trouble is quite discouraging. You know?

Aria Vega [00:09:46] Yeah. And unfortunately, that's kind of the point. They know that even if you're not necessarily breaking their terms of service that they don't want you there, they don't want you on the platform. It's kind of like the landlord who, like, can't evict you, but is just going to decide not to fix a leak, and not deal with the mold and then just hope that you get fed up and leave.

Delfine Dahlia Yeah, yeah. And this was happening with most people, they just leave because anytime they post something it's deleted, or they can't even interact with people, they're shadow banned. So what's the point?

Aria Vega [00:10:17] [Voiceover] It really breaks my heart to hear this, especially when social media was such an essential part of helping Delfine unlearn those early toxic messages about sex to begin with.

Delfine Dahlia So when I was.... So again, when I started my sexual life, I thought just once I get treated, somehow I'm going to come and that's going to be sex, basically. I didn't really think about foreplay because, again, foreplay something you don't really see on TV. It's always straight to the action. So the first time I had sex, there was not really any foreplay. No guy ever really touched my clit. I mean, yeah, touching the pussy, but not really knowing what they were doing. And then it was immediately the penetration, and then it lasted for like maybe five, ten minutes. And then it was like, "Why don't I feel anything?" literally I didn't feel anything at all, like nothing. And then when the guy came, then I was like, Oh, I should pretend I came because otherwise, when I'm going to come? So I was faking it every time, like I was always kind of like trying to fake it a bit before the guy came. And then I was doing my little fake orgasm drama, and then I guess the guy was happy, and..

Aria Vega [00:11:42] So you were kind of mirroring your mirroring the sex that you had seen?

Delfine Dahlia Exactly. Yeah, I was completely mirroring because I thought that's how it was done. And again, in movies, you don't see a lot about communication and communicating what you like, what you don't like. So I didn't even think I could tell a partner what I liked, I didn't even think about it. I just thought, Oh, when you have sex, both of us, we are supposed to know what we're doing, and we don't talk about it, really. Because in movies, you never really see a conversation about this.But then it started to change. So for one year or two, I was having sex with different people. So nothing that's really lasted. And it was the same, always the same. So penetration, I faked it, and then I was always confused. I was like, That's weird, because when I masturbate it feels good, but then somehow when I have sex it's completely different. And I don't feel... I don't feel so good. The only reason I wanted to have sex, to be honest, was just in the beginning, when we were kissing and because I felt sexy if I wore nice underwear. But as soon as the penetration started, for me, it was like I didn't get any pleasure at all from that, like nothing. But then it changed when I had my first long relationship, with the partner, I'm still with now. So now it's been seven years, we are together. Eight, maybe eight years. With him I started to... Because again, I think you need a relationship that lasts longer to be more comfortable to say what you like and everything. So because the first two years of my sexual awakening, I only had, short-term partners, but I didn't feel comfortable to tell them anything. But I would say it took us, me and my partner, maybe like a good year that we had sex in the way it's made in the movie, let's say. And I was always faking it. And he was was always asking me like, Oh, did you come? And I'd be like, Yes. But then I think around the same time, I started to be more interested in sex, articles about sex, I was reading more stuff. And that's when I was kind of like reading stuff about the clit, about more communication and everything. So I was like, I'm going to try to communicate more with my partner. And at that moment, we were a year already together, so it's more comfortable. so then I told my partner, no actually, when we had to introduced sex I didn't come. And for me, I would prefer to have like more foreplay, and I also taught him how to stimulate me, basically on my clit. And then it was like a big gamechanger because then finally, I was warmed up enough to have penetrative sex. And then I enjoyed it for the first time. I came with someone who was with my partner, and it was a big gamechanger job. Basically, it's just learning to communicate what I like, and just forgetting all the the clichés I had in my head. It was so stuck in my head, all these clichés about sex. It took like five years in total to unlearn.

Aria Vega [00:15:05] [Voiceover] Not long after meeting her partner, Juan, Delfine moved to Berlin and ignited her latent passion for voyeurism and exhibitionism. Then she heard about Lustery.

Delfine Dahlia Porn was too unrealistic for me, and when I discovered Lustery, for me, it's more like a documentary, you know. I just watched it as like... I just wanted to learn how people have sex. And because it's a real couple and you realize people have a different way to do stuff. And then there was like, actually, there's a lot of ways to do things. So for me, it was a big help. I wish I had had access to Lustery when I was 16. It would have saved me years of trouble.

Aria Vega [00:15:46] Would you say that that was the beginning of you realizing like that the way that people were having sex in the real world was very different from the way that sex had been shown to you?

Delfine Dahlia Yeah, completely. Because again, porn is not quite the same in movies. It's even worse. But Lustery was like, wow, like because it was so like so refreshing to see like so many people having different kind of sex. I was completely blown away with like, wow, like, that's amazing! And that's why then I wanted to do a photoshoot and videos with my partners after that. But that came a while after, like maybe two years after I discovered Lustery.

Aria Vega [00:16:28] What made you interested in it starting to create your own erotic images to begin with?

Delfine Dahlia I really started with Lustery. I mean, I always liked to take nudes, but again it was just for me. But with the Lustery, it was the first time I actually saw myself having sex and it was the first video we shot. We were really shy. Of course, we were extremely shy because we never had sex on camera and was really intimidating. It was like someone was watching us for a bit, which I like most. And then it was a bit intimidating. It was the first time, but to see myself having sex, it was like, wow, like another big... I would say was another big moment in my sexual awakening. It was like, I want to have sex. Yeah, it was like a big, big moment for me. And then that's when I started to shoot my own content, my own videos. So I also did some solo videos, and so to see myself masturbating was really like a big eye-opening moment. And after that, that's when I started to do videos, I totally blossomed in terms of my sexuality.

Aria Vega [00:17:39] This is so interesting, because now I'm thinking about what you were saying earlier about being a voyeur and being an exhibitionist and watching yourself...When you were watching yourself perform on tape, you are both you are an exhibitionist and a voyeur at once.

Delfine Dahlia Exactly. There's both dynamic, the perfect combo.

Aria Vega [00:18:06] [Voiceover] Delfine and I are both in our late 20s, and we found ourselves marveling at how much the cultural conversation about sex has shifted just since we were kids.

Delfine Dahlia You remember, all the sex advice I got was when I bought Cosmopolitan and Glamour magazine. And the only thing was like "how to please guy in the bedroom." Now, at least, there's more nuance, there's more awareness of gender and fluidity, so I think that people have access to to to better information.

Aria Vega [00:18:37] Yes. And I love that, you know, they're talking about this new emphasis on pleasure, because as a kid who did have access to some sex education through my public school, it was always about, this is how babies get made. This is how you avoid pregnancy. This is how you avoid STIs. But nothing about relationships. Nothing about consent. Nothing about pleasure.

Delfine Dahlia Yeah, I remember my only sex education class. I only had one throughout my whole like high school and everything, and it just taught us how to put a condom. Eeverybody was laughing and pretty uncomfortable. But the only sex education we have is like, If you have sex you're going to be pregnant, and you're going to get STDs. That's the only thing we learned, basically, that sex is a bit like a dangerous thing, and it should be about pleasuring, about discovering yourself. Sex is so much more than like pregnancy, and STDs, you know?

Aria Vega [00:19:45] [In the U.S.] Abstinence only is a is still the go-to mode of sex education for wide swaths of the country, particularly, you know, in the Bible Belt in the South. There's enough years of data at this point to show that abstinence-only education is directly associated with higher rates of unplanned pregnancies and STIs and all of these things. So we know we have the data that shows us, Hey, we can prevent these things by simply giving people better information. But in addition to education, this new information age that we're in has also allowed us better avenues for sexual expression and creativity. And I love being a part of an internet community that has so many sex working writers in it because I find that to be a really interesting, creative intersection. Do you find that those disciplines ever influence each other?

Delfine Dahlia Completely, yeah. I think it's too early for me to be complementary because I really love performing. I feel really free, and I feel really in my element when I perform. But also I need that other side that I'm also behind the scenes, behind the camera. I need both. Yeah, I feel really full, let's say, when I have that performing side, which is more about the moment. I would say it's more spontaneous, it feels more free. And then when they write, when I also work behind the camera, then I can....It's more about putting my ideas, my thoughts in action and also to maybe to make people change their opinion about about stuff. So it's for me to two different worlds, but I need both of them to be really happy.

Aria Vega [00:21:52] Like the left brain and the right brain.

Delfine Dahlia Exactly. Yeah.

Aria Vega [00:21:57] That's Delfine Dahlia, a sex writer, erotic performer and Lustery contributor. You can find her on Twitter @DahliaDelfine. Is there a sex scene from a movie or a TV show that got burned into your brain for better or worse? I'd love to feature your answers in a future episode. Send an email or a voice memo to askaria@lustery.com, or you can find me on Twitter @vegadreamcast. If you're into the show, please leave us a five star rating and a review. POV is brought to you by Lustery, and this episode was hosted by me, Aria Vega. It was edited and produced by Kathryn Fischer and Adrienne Teicher, and our showrunner is Paulita Pappel. Lustery, is the home of real-life partners filming their sex lives behind closed doors. If you're 18 or older, you can find us at lustery.com, and we're on Twitter and Instagram @lusterypov. Speak soon, lovers!