Lustery couple Yuli & Mateo have always been adventure-seekers, and the pandemic didn’t even slow them down. They first started filming porn right as it all kicked off, and turned the need for covid safety into a chance to shoot in novel settings, including Spanish beaches and while stuck in a two-hour traffic jam.
Theme song by LAS ODIO
Aria Vega [00:00:00] This podcast contains explicit content. Listeners 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. Lustery couple Yuli and Mateo have done their best to turn the pandemic into a private adventure. They originally come from Poland, and have traveled frequently to their other home in Valencia, Spain, for years. Normally they would fly, but since last year they've been making the journey over the road, traveling more than 2500 kilometers by car in each direction. It's just one of the ways that their love story sounds like a movie script.
Yuli [00:00:44] [Interview] We met for like six years ago. It was just passing by in the onesupermarket, but we both remember that day.
Mateo [00:00:54] It's amazing because it was six years ago, and then we didn't see each other for three years. It was like, just a flash, just a look in the supermarket. And we both remember this moment. It was amazing because we both remember — I remember that we [were crossing each other's paths] and looking like, "Oh man!" And after three years, I was a client at Yuli's mother's haircut studio.
Yuli [00:01:31] Hairdresser, yeah.
Aria Vega [00:01:32]
Yuli [00:01:33] So that's how. And me, I was working on the cruise ship before and I just finished my contract and I stayed in Poland for longer vacation, like a few months. So I started working, I started helping my mom at her hairdresser salon, and he was a client. So we met there.
Mateo [00:01:57] She wanted to go back to the ship, but it wouldn't work. *Laughs*
Aria Vega [00:02:01] Did you two...you recognized each other right away? Or did one of you recognize first, and then the other caught on? How did that happen?
Yuli [00:02:10] Both, immediately.
Aria Vega [00:02:13] Wow. And so at what point did you start to realize that you wanted a deeper relationship? What was the first clue that you wanted it to be more than physical?
Mateo [00:02:23] We didn't want it. We didn't want it at all!We said, when we arranged our first meeting, we said to each other, we don't want any relationship, just sex,just the pleasure of knowing our bodies and nothing else. And it didn't work at all, because after the first meeting, we cannot push ourselves out. With just all the time on the phone, all the time thinking about her. I was thinking all the time about Yuli, and my intention was not to go further than for the sex, not to make any relationship... Totally collapsed, totally collapsed from the first time from the first meeting.
Yuli [00:03:09] At the first meeting, we were talking with each other, like we know each other for years. That was so strange that — it was so normal that it was so strange for us, like, you know, "What's going on?"
Aria Vega [00:03:25] Mateo, what made you so adamant in your initial belief that you didn't want something so intimate?
Mateo [00:03:33] I was after 20 years in a relationship, so...
Aria Vega [00:03:41] Wow. Wait, the relationship was 20 years long?
Mateo [00:03:43] Yes, my previous relationship was 20 years long. Because it was when I was young, I stopped to meet another girl, and it was 14 years of marriage, 20 years of relationship. And after such a long relationship, I didn't want to go right in the next relationship. I wanted to be a little bit free, to check the environment, check everything. But it was strong, that I love it. It's OK not to be free at any moment of your life.
Yuli [00:04:23] I mean, single, because we are free.
Mateo [00:04:25] Single, yeah, because in our relationship, we know that we're both free. So this is like, I can be like a single in a relationship. So it's both, it's both good. It's like additional things, to be in love and feel like a single guy.
Yuli [00:04:42] For me, yeah, I had also some relationships, but they were not really good. So I was all the time finishing relationships, and all the time saying that it's not for me. I want to be single. I don't want to go inside another relationship and finish it again. So, yeah.
Mateo [00:05:05] And right now, it doesn't finish!
Aria Vega [00:05:08] It sounds like so much of what really works with you two is that you don't feel restricted by each other. You feel like you can still explore, be free and have all of those life experiences.
Mateo [00:05:23] We are working on it all the time. It's not an easy way to be in a relationship. You know, we have to deal with [asks Yuli to translate from Polish] jealousy. I have to deal with jealousy with all this stuff that are hard in a relationship. So it's not that it was right from the beginning. It was — we are working on it all the time, right now also, but it's connecting us very, very, very much.
Aria Vega [00:05:52] Mateo, you said in the video that your first experience with anal was on your first date with Yuli, and that's really stood out to me. It's that you bring out this adventurous side and each other!
Mateo [00:06:05] *Laughs* I don't know why, but you are great with looking for the amazing information! Yes. Yes. It was our first date. It was my first time with anal, and maybe that's why I fell in love.
Aria Vega [00:06:24] So that's the secret everyone. True love is an anal experience away. What is it about her that made you feel so adventurous?
Mateo [00:06:34] I need to translate.
Aria Vega [00:06:36] I can put it another way. So... Something I was going to ask later was about Yuli's tattoos, because the characters featured on your tattoos are what I think of as adventurous. They explore, they are not afraid of new experiences. They are thrill seekers. You've got Peter Pan and Alice from Alice in Wonderland and... Daring! That's another word. So these kinds of characters like are in love with all of those out-there experiences of life, and are seeking those experiences. So that's what I mean by adventurous. I appreciate being given the opportunity to define that, actually!
Yuli [00:07:27] I might have them also because I like to keep some kid inside me sometimes, and behaving like a kid. Yeah. And like, never grow up a little bit.
Mateo [00:07:40] That's something that describe our [unintelligible]. We don't want to grow up because we love that kid that is inside. They've given us some possibilities to feel free and to feel the power of life, to be happy. Not only job, not only everything that it's hard and adult-like behavior. So we are like kids, quite often. We like to challenge ourselves, and we like to do stupid things.
Aria Vega [00:08:17] How have you sort of adapted that spirit to pandemic life? Because I imagine that the pandemic has made it difficult to have those types of experiences the way that you otherwise would.
Yuli [00:08:31] Well, we are grateful a little bit, because we started porn because of the pandemic.
Aria Vega [00:08:40] Oh, really?
Yuli [00:09:48] We've grown so fast.
Mateo [00:09:50] Yeah, we grew so fast. It was like, "Wow!" We are so famous after, I don't know, six months, after three months. Everybody in Poland knows about us. So I wanted to tell my brother when we started to do it, I called him in Poland, but didn't have to tell him anything! "We already know everything!".
Mateo [00:10:15] Everybody watches porn. Not everyone is saying they watch porn, but everybody watches porn and we are the [asks Yuli to translate from Polish] example of it!
Aria Vega [00:10:31] [Voiceover] Yuli and Mateo are right. Porn is among the most widely consumed entertainment on Earth. Why shouldn't porn stars be household names just like the stars of Marvel movies, especially when you consider just how much labor gets invested into the craft?
Yuli [00:10:46] [Interview] And we had no idea that it's so much work. I mean, we were like 10, 12 hours in front of the computer every day. So we were like, "Whoa. It's not like everybody thinks!
[00:10:59] Yes, recording video, it's a small part. But after it, because we don't have nobody to help us connect to all the things, upload to the internet, make all the tags, make all the titles, translations... It's a full time job.
Aria Vega [00:11:20] Yeah, I really appreciate you adding that bit to it, because I think especially right now at the time we're recording this, in the middle of this roller coaster that we're on with OnlyFans... I think there is there's more public conversation than ever about how much work is being erased by these arbitrary decisions to allow and then disallow and allow again explicit content on the site. This is livelihood. This is a massive amount of time, energy resources, etc. invested into a career that can just be wiped out. And, you know, asking people to think about their own work in that context, I think, is helping to get the message through just how damaging and dangerous...
Mateo [00:12:06] For us, it's a little bit easier, because we are in this industry for a little bit more than one year. So we are still, yeah, we are still beginners, whereas those roller coaster is like, OK, it's probably like it's normal because we didn't know that the industry earlier. Sure, all the other creators that are making this job for five or six years now, this time I imagine that it's going to be really crazy because, you know, after....
Yuli [00:12:40] First, [it was] what happened in December with Pornhub, then now OnlyFans. We were like, why?
Aria Vega [00:12:47] [Voiceover] Yuli is referring to PornHub's recent purge of creator accounts after an exposé in the New York Times called The Children of Pornhub went viral late last year. In the article, journalist Nicholas Kristof used legitimate concerns about content moderation to conflate rape videos and child sexual assault material with actual porn created and enjoyed by consenting adults. Within days of the article's publication, Pornhub had purged its site of all unverified users, visa and MasterCard had suspended payments on the platform, and the media had claimed a big victory in the war on sex trafficking. But so much was missing from that picture, most notably, the voices of the sex workers for whom Pornhub had been a vital source of income. Imagine if banks decided to cut off most fashion designers from using their services just because of the existence of sweatshops. It would be devastatingly cruel, without even addressing the problem. The uneven reporting about pornography and the political movement underway to eradicate it plagues the media, and it endangers the livelihoods of sex workers every day. Still, Yuli and Mateo weren't deterred. They managed to cut their teeth as creators amidst all the chaos and quickly built a following.
Aria Vega [00:14:12] [Interview] I didn't realize that y'all were such were relative newcomers, you've clearly you've learned so quickly. Your camera angles are so sophisticated and playful and like I can see this directing eye.
Mateo [00:14:26] We just wanted the room to make videos that we also would like to see. So it was the most important for us, after we — we like to watch our videos sometimes. So we just, it was everything, not to have mess in the room, to have good lights. OK, I like close-ups like this, Yuli likes close-ups like this. So we were making just videos for us. If we like it, that would be great if everybody else like it. And it becomes that yes, the videos that we like to watch, it's everybody's — not everybody, but some people like also. It works.
Aria Vega [00:15:13] So you've been making porn since the pandemic began —
Mateo [00:15:17] In March 2020.
Aria Vega [00:15:19] Oh, so like as soon as the pandemic began. In that time, I know you've traveled a lot between Poland and Spain. Would you often film porn while you were traveling?
Mateo [00:15:31] At the beginning, yes *Laughs*
Aria Vega [00:15:33] At the beginning yes? *Laughs* In what kind of places would you shoot?
Yuli [00:15:38] Even last time when we were going by car, we were recording when we were stuck in the car, in traffic. So we were like, "OK, let's grab some videos!" Because we were like two hours there, in the car standing.
Mateo [00:16:00] This is adventure. Also we don't want to show every time the same scenes, every time the same things. That's why when we are traveling, it's easier for us to to find new places, to find new scenes and we have more subjects, more ideas, how to how to make videos.
Yuli [00:16:26] That was the problem of the beginning because we were at home like for three months. So we were like, okay, in the salon, maybe on the balcony, on the sofa, on the chair, in the office library, every bathroom, every shower...
Mateo [00:16:43] Every square of this apartment is on video.*Laughs*
Aria Vega [00:16:48] And so, that was the first three months, and then you finally were able to do a little bit of traveling. What was the first place that you filmed the scene once you were able to get out of the apartment? Do you remember?
Yuli [00:17:00] We rented one apartment outside Valencia, like 130 kilometers on the sea. So I guess it goes for five days and we made like five or six videos, because we were everywhere on the beach, in the apartment.
Mateo [00:17:19] Yeah, we have to say that at the beginning, we were a little bit crazy and that the first five six months, it was like, we made a lot of videos. But it's great, because we can we could put it to our profiles, and now our profiles our full and we don't have to do as much work with making videos right now because we have, I don't know, like 190 to 200 videos. I don't know.
Aria Vega [00:17:46] Wow, y'all are prolific! *Laughs*.
Yuli [00:17:52] Yeah but in one moment we were like, "OK, we are tired a little bit. We just want to have sex, we just want to make love without the camera.
Mateo [00:18:02] And go back to feeling ourselves more than making videos because, OK, we are amateurs. We like to do videos like spontaneous, and the most realistic. But it's always the cameras, so it's it's taking a little bit of this intimacy from us. So right now, we are making sex very often, like almost every day. So right now, it's 80 percent of our private sex and 20 percent on the video.
Aria Vega [00:18:42] That sounds like a good breakdown. Do you have any like dream settings for where you would love to film a video? Like, I've always kind of loved the idea of making a video like underneath a waterfall. I don't know where this image came from, but I was just like, before I die, I need to film porn underneath the waterfall. That just seems important to me. *Laughs* So I wonder if you had any locations that are important to you.
Mateo [00:19:09] You just gave us some very nice and interesting idea!
Aria Vega [00:19:12] Oh, you're welcome! *Laughs*
Mateo [00:19:15] But I think it's a great idea for me right now!
Aria Vega [00:19:19] It's all yours.
Yuli [00:19:23] Usually when we are traveling, we are just taking the camera and just thinking, "OK, so maybe let's go grab here or there." We are thinking about something, and we are doing it!
Mateo [00:19:37] I don't I don't know if I have any, any favorite thing that we didn't do earlier. But it's it's a really great idea with the waterfall.
Aria Vega [00:19:48] Listen, we would all love to see that, so please take that idea and run with it. I look forward to seeing it! *Laughs*But you know, it's interesting that I'm thinking about what you were saying, the camera sort of being a spectator in your sex life in a way that means that you don't want it there all the time. Even though it's this inanimate object, it is still like a presence that takes away from a certain degree of intimacy that you have together.
Mateo [00:20:20] We have some videos that we just make a play, make a record and forget about the camera.
Yuli [00:20:28] Really spontaneous, like, "OK, let's grab this, we're going to see if we release it or not.
Mateo [00:20:33] And then it becomes quite a quite popular videos, also. Then it's not really a problem because we like also slow and very intimate. And yeah, it's not like *claps hands rigorously*.
Aria Vega [00:20:57] But you know, that is porn too! Porn gets stereotyped like; the connotations that come with that word like make you think of that like hard core sort of scene right away. But like that slow, intimate stuff, that's porn too. That's sexy, too. It's like any other sort of creative output; there's something for every mood.
Yuli [00:21:22] When we made some videos like kind of romantic slow sex, it's — they are very popular.I feel like it's not so many, so people are looking for it.
[00:21:35] We have a lot of range of scenarios, so we have from there hardcore videos to the very, very soft porn, like erotic... Not even porn. So maybe that's why we have this popularity in our country, because we have a lot of range, a big range of videos. But I guess a lot of people have moods; sometimes you have to mood to do soft sex, and sometimes you want to be a slut.
Aria Vega [00:22:10] Exactly, like I'm thinking about like genres of music, right? Sometimes you want something classical, and sometimes you want, something really upbeat dancey, or like you want something really intense and a metal-y... it's all music! It's all making you respond emotionally, or in some way that you're looking for. And it's it's all there for you whenever you want it. I thought of something I wanted to ask about your home country. So Mateo, you were saying that when you told your brother initially that you were making videos with Yuli, that he already knew. Did you feel concerned about stigma being attached to that? Or is Polish culture more permissive about porn and sexual content? Did you feel nervous at first when you when you found that the word was out?
Mateo [00:23:09] We were not nervous, because we exactly know what we are doing, and we exactly know what we can expect from the Polish community, from the Polish people.
Yuli [00:23:21] Because we were talking about this, what we can expect, the worst thing.
Mateo [00:23:27] We prepared for the worst thing, for a lot of hate, for everything that is bad.
Yuli [00:23:32] And it's very sterile.
Mateo [00:23:34] Exactly. It's a Christian country, the church is making a lot of things in our in our country.
Yuli [00:23:46] There's no education about health and sexuality.
Aria Vega [00:23:49] Same here? That all sounds very familiar, unfortunately. So I get it.
Mateo [00:23:54] But we don't give a fuck, because because just like Yuli said, we were thinking about it all the time, not to do anything that will harm ourselves, not to do anything that we don't want to do. So first we were talking about, and after we make a decision, this decision was 100 percent for us. But we were amazed because we thought that it would be much worse. And we get really nice feedback from people who who watch porn, who look for porn.
Yuli [00:24:34] I mean, everybody are watching. But for people who are saying that they are watching and they don't have a problem with that [say they like it].
Mateo [00:24:43] They said that for the first time, there's a couple that shows their faces, that talk about sex. We don't have any problems to make interviews in Poland. We already have been in radio. We have been in mainstream websites.
Yuli [00:25:02] Even in a book!
Mateo [00:25:03] Yeah, we are part of a book that is written about porn. So we know what we are doing, we exactly know what we are doing, and we are talking about it loudly. So probably, we are the first couple in Poland that are making it in this way, like in a commercial commercial way.
Aria Vega [00:25:24] Wow, I love to hear that. So it sounds like you've really like kind of found a moment and broken through a taboo.
Yuli [00:25:34] We have a little bit of a voice, so we want to use it. We are speaking loud about to do analysis of blood, you know, for the diseases. To use condoms, and things like that.
Mateo [00:25:49] There's no sex education, because in Poland, there is not a lot of word about sex education. And right now, because we make porn and we are quite normal, people know us in Poland. And that's why, like Yuli said, we have now power to talk. Everybody wants to hear what we want to say. But we have a lot to do, a lot to say to spread the sex education, to spread the knowledge about sexuality of people. That's why we want to change it. We want to go out with the stereotypes, because sexuality is the main thing in people's lives.
Yuli [00:26:31] Like food and drink and water and sleep. *Laughs*
Aria Vega [00:26:37] Absolutely. Oh, that's so incredible! I'm really interested in the sex education— the way that you've been able to influence the conversation about sex education in particular, can go a really long way to shaping, youth. I'm thinking about how many of us grew up without knowledge about sex, and not just sex but relationships.
Mateo [00:27:00] I didn't know nothing about sex. I'm almost 40. And believe me, I am learning how to live. I am learning sexuality.
Yuli [00:27:09] We still have so many to discover. We just want to say also to the couples: talk between each other about sex, because people are not talking [about] what they like, what they don't like, and that they are just creating later frustration and everything in their relationship. So we try to tell them, to speak in the couple.
Aria Vega [00:27:41] Is that something that either or both of you would say was difficult in prior relationships? Would you say that you had trouble talking to previous partners about sex and about pleasure and how to get what you want?
Mateo [00:27:56] I didn't have a lot of previous partners. That's why I had my first conversation about sex in my life was with Yuli. And that's why we see that it's such a big problem. We are not talking about sex, sex is forbidden, sex is only for procreation and nothing else. And this is the foolish stereotype. Yeah, that's why we are breaking it with a big hammer.
Aria Vega [00:28:28] [Voicover] That's Lustery couple Yuli and Mateo. If you love porn clips full of beautiful body art and that play with perspectives, check out their work on Lustery.com, or on one of their other platforms. I've got the master link down in the show notes for you. Did anyone else out there first start producing porn since the pandemic began? It's a wild time to enter the industry, and I'd really love to hear what that was like for you. Hit me up at email@example.com, or you can find me on Twitter @vegadreamcast. If you're into the show, please leave us a five-star rating and the 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 Pappe. Lustery is the home of real life partners filming their sex lives behind closed doors. If you're 18 or older, you can find this at Lustery.com, and we're on Twitter and Instagram @lusterypov. Auf wiedersehen, lovers.