Questions of desire and pleasure are everywhere around us, and they are most exciting when we explore them with openness and imagination. In our interview series, we put a few playful questions to creatives who we believe are interrogating these questions in the boldest ways—whether through writing, film, art, or other mediums.
Jiz Lee (they/them) is an artist, author, and adult film industry advocate. Jiz has acted for over a decade in hundreds of projects world-wide, has received multiple industry awards and nominations, and has appeared in guest mainstream roles including the Emmy award-winning television series Transparent.
Jiz is also a member of the editorial board for
Porn Studies and co-editor of the Porn Studies Journal special issue on "Porn and Labour", a contributing editor to Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (2nd edition), contributor to Global Internet Society Watch: Sexual Rights and the Internet, and the creator and editor of Coming Out Like a Porn Star. When not writing or performing, Jiz works behind the scenes with Pink & White Productions, and fundraises for causes around sex workers, trans, and sexual health and competes in triathlons.
My love language is:
Quality time! Best spent on epic hikes, long bike rides, or warm nights over cool drinks. Massages and deep physical touch comes a close second.
Pure pleasure for me is:
A long hot soak in a tub.
I feel good when I’m wearing:
Nothing at all if it’s warm. When it’s cold, naked inside a fuzzy onesie.
I feel most connected to myself when:
I’m in nature, feeling the wind or rain on my face and sweat on my lips. I crave being outdoors, especially when I need a mental refresh.
My most niche kink is:
Coming while a firm pressure is held against my forehead and genitals at the same time. In my mind, I imagine a completed energy circuit. I don’t know what you’d call it… a kinetic kink? I also engage my core and tense my muscles, pushing with my legs and glutes for a full-body orgasm from head to toe.
One thing I’ve learned about desire is:
It’s complex! Sometimes longing is better than the real deal. Desires and fantasies can be complicated to explore, or observe. I try not to judge, even my own. I’m amazed that desires can be really common, or be as unique as the individuals who have them. Isn’t sexuality fascinating?
I’ve always wanted to:
See the Earth from space. I wonder if I’ll have the chance someday. Personally though, I worry that humans are not ready for space. (Queue up Gil Scott-Heron’s Whitey on the Moon.) We have yet to exist within our current land and peoples in a healthy, sustainable way. Unless we can evolve, we’ll only end up colonizing and disrupting whatever future resources and lifeforms that come our way. (I do agree with science fiction author Octavia E. Butler’s Earthseed, that our destiny is in the stars, and as a fan of science fiction hold a great curiosity for new worlds.)
My best date was:
A 70 mile birthday bike ride over rolling hills, passing through coastal views, forests, and farmland, with an overnight stop for barbecue oysters at a country inn.
My most memorable one-night stand was:
Almost a week long! Back in college I went out dancing and ended up having an extended out of town stay with a fun new friend. This was before we all had cell phones, so I accidentally made my campus friends worry when I didn’t show up for class that week. Oops! I learned a valuable lesson about safety and check ins, but admit to having a really good time off the grid.
On my nightstand you’ll always find:
A stack of books that I’m either reading or hope to encourage myself to read, and a vibrator. (Love the new Magic Wand Mini!) Plus a bin of condoms for cleanliness.
I always gather inspiration from:
Taking a walk or going on a run. I get a lot of good ideas while in the zone, in my head.
My ideal/fantasy relationship is:
I’m living it! I’ve been monogamish-ly partnered with my best friend for 12 years. (I usually don’t post about our relationship because I realized after being out in the public eye that I actually like to keep many things private. This might be the most I’ve personally shared!) When you’ve found someone you can be yourself with, who you trust, and who you care about, treasure that relationship with all the world.
I’m currently watching / reading / listening to:
Watching The Last of Us, reading A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and listening to…well, I love the Bay Area, but lately I’ve been feeling a little homesick so I’ve been revisiting my Hawai`i playlist: artists like Cecilio & Kapono, Willie K., Sean Na'auao, Anuhea, Kolohe Kai, and J Boog for nostalgic jams and uplifting vibes.
A book that changed everything for me is:
A General Theory of Love; psychiatry professors on the science of human emotions and biological psychiatry. It taught me how our brains form patterns that subconsciously impacts our relationships and behaviors. We may think we don’t have much control over who we fall in love with, or other outcomes in our lives. However, simple exercises can expand our mind in ways that open our consciousness and impact life choices. I recommend it to anyone who feels helpless or is trying to break out of a toxic relationship pattern. Along the same vein is The Erotic Mind, which is where I first learned about the concept of limerence. (You know, that magical feeling of falling in love.) Being cognizant of ‘your brain on lust’ can be a mood-killer, but also helpful to recognize how we respond to intense emotions and desires, which I think can ultimately lead to increased satisfaction and happiness.
You can usually find me:
Working online for Pink & White Productions. I spend too much time online, but it fills me with such joy. Pink & White (shout out to director Shine Louise Houston) runs the queer porn project CrashPadSeries.com, the streaming platform PinkLabel.TV, and the San Francisco PornFilmFestival in the fall. My job as marketing director is to connect our work to people who might appreciate it. Looking for adult media that depicts bodies and desires not often included or respected in commercial porn? Interested in original storylines that challenge convention? Or sex ed guides that can inspire a lifetime of safer, satisfying sex? Or curious about historical films and documentaries on sexuality? Please, ditch the tube sites and look us up! (Yes, like most entertainment, it costs money. Unlike what judgmental people might think about sex work and porn, what we do is work and has value. Our industry is one that’s worthy of respect—and informed, ethical patronage. Porn can provide pleasure, validation, and safe exploration. Your pleasure is worth it. I know mine is!)
Recently I’ve discovered:
The importance of a daily skin care regimen. I’ve always washed my face and used moisturizer, and in my twenties I finally started using sunscreen, but this year I went to a dermatologist and was given prescription retinol. Game-changer!
I love sharing:
People’s gender affirming surgery fundraisers. I got top surgery on April 27, 2022 and it was the best medical decision I have ever made. The euphoria is real! I feel very fortunate to have been in the position to cover the cost, but I recognize this is not the case for the vast majority of trans and nonbinary people, especially the most marginalized of us. For at least one year, leading up to the anniversary of my own surgery, I intend to support and uplift the trans community, especially during a time when gender affirming health care is under attack, through contributing to medically affirming fundraisers and sharing them via Instagram stories. (See "G.A.S.—Gender Affirming Surgery" for links, please donate and share—every amount and audience helps, no matter how small!)
I currently can’t get enough of:
Black hoodies. I have over two dozen that I can’t part with and recently bought another. (A “Gender Affirming Healthcare Saves Lives” black hooded sweatshirt by @MegEmikoArt on Instagram!)
The work of art that changed everything for me is:
I’m a huge fan of the choreographer Pina Bausch. I was a dance major in college and saw Cafe Müller, which I thought was devastatingly beautiful and emotional. Her work was physical, highly theatrical, and she often flooded the stage (literally, in Vollmond) bringing tangible environments into the proscenium with great effect. You can find her work archived on YouTube or even better, in the dance film Pina.
The best advice I’ve ever received is:
"Go slower." A friend gave me this tip when I started running, and it was exactly what I needed to approach a safe and sustainable training strategy. (Don’t push yourself too hard or too fast. Don’t overdo it. Take all the time you need that is necessary, and account for delays. Don’t rush. Etc…) You can apply it to sex, to learning something new, to anything really. “Go slower” applies to so many things in life!
The last thing I loved was:
My first book of the year was Severance by Ling Ma. It caught my eye because I’m a fan of the TV show by the same name. Turns out, it’s completely unrelated to the show but absolutely wonderful.
I’m most looking forward to: This summer! I’m excited about filming new scenes as production assistant for CrashPadSeries.com It’s the best job ever. Shine will be working on new short film projects for Pink & White Productions. I’m also excited about going camping and swimming a relay race in Lake Tahoe.
I’m most turned on by:
People putting themselves out in the world! It takes courage to fail and try again. Sometimes what we’re able to do feels too small, but I believe even a small thing can inspire and make a difference. Art, writing, a song, a slogan on a sweatshirt, a porno, whatever it is, put it out in the world. You are beautiful, you’re sexy, you’re enough to belong, and you’re perfect. So go for it! I am turned on to life by others who share. I love learning and being inspired by beautiful, radical, kind, and thought-provoking projects.