Pornography has been a staple of the cinema for a long time. At no time, however, was it so respectable as in the early 1970s in America. Hailed as "The Golden Age", pornography was shown in mainstream cinemas, reviewed by respected media, and the films were celebrated as a form of sexual expression. Movies were feature-length, they had a storyline, character development, cinematic values and of course lots of sex. This was a time when Hollywood directors were inspired by the adult filmmakers frank depiction of sexuality and even began to borrow from them, implementing their style in mainstream films. For that moment porn was part of sexual experimentation, curiosity and change.

Unfortunately, attitudes toward sex and "obscenity" onscreen started changing in the early '80s. The sexual libertinism that marked the previous decades gave way to conservatism and put an end to that golden era. Pornography found the VHS which spawned all kinds of easy access, low budget, low production and low-quality porn. The films changed, the cinemas changed and the rest is history. Wouldn't it be nice to go back to nights of high-quality cinematic films with beautiful and honest depictions of sexuality in cinemas?

Maybe you can recreate these times at home with my five favourite Golden Age porn films...

Behind the Green Door (1972)

This is one of the most stylish films from the Golden Age and played a part in influencing my own film style. Directed by the Mitchell brothers, they showed that sex could be artistic, respectable and appeal to women. They were delighted when women became the foundation of their audience (remind me again, who says women don't watch porn?!). The film was also said to be adapted from an anonymous short story, which is very similar to my own films on XConfessions which are all based on my followers' anonymous sexual confessions! The main character, Marilyn Chambers, is kidnapped and taken behind the green door where she finds her sexual freedom and becomes totally liberated by experiences that had previously only been part of her private and unattainable fantasies.

Deep Throat (1972)

This is probably the most well-known adult film from the 70s, said to have launched the Golden Age and made porn fashionable. It was one of the first porn films to feature a plot, character development and relatively high cinematic quality. It tells the story of Linda Lovelace, who visits a doctor after becoming frustrated when she cannot reach an orgasm. After discovering that her clitoris is located in her throat you can probably take a guess at how the rest of the film goes... Similar to Behind The Green Door, this film shows a female pursuit of pleasure and at the time it urged women to seek more and better sex for themselves. Linda Lovelace was the first female porn performer to gain mainstream fame and was seen as the face of sexual freedom.

The Devil in Miss Jones (1973)

This is a film with high production values and a strong, entertaining storyline. It starts off very bleak when Georgina Spelvin's character decides that suicide is the only way out of her lonely existence and slits her wrists in the bath. She lived a pure life so is destined for heaven, but because she committed suicide she cannot enter. She's left in a state of limbo and so she returns to Earth to earn her place in Hell by becoming the female embodiment of lust - this is where the fun starts! She enjoys various sexual encounters throughout the film before her time is up and she is faced with the eternity of hell. Well, if we're all going to hell anyway, we may as well go to hell for a good reason!

Boys in the Sand (1971)

Wakefield Poole's film was a culture-changing landmark in showing gay sex as something worth portraying in art and film. Artistically shot, it had universal watchability for both men and women and opened up the market for gay porn to heterosexual men and women. It was the first gay porn film to include credits, to be reviewed by Variety and to gain mainstream credibility. Poole was an outspoken, articulate artist and filmmaker who created beautiful, erotic and artistic movies to stimulate the mind as well as the body.

Debbie does Dallas (1978)

One of the most well-known porn films of the '70s, it follows the sexual exploits of cheerleader Debbie and her friends as they attempt to raise enough money to fund her trip to Dallas to try out for the Texas Cowboys. Made on a shoestring budget, this film has comedy, a great soundtrack and cinematography. One thing that seems to be missing from so much of porn nowadays is humour, I never understood this idea that we can't laugh during sex, that we always need to wear a serious seductive face. Debbie shows us how it's done!

The XConfessions Webseries is Erika Lust's first erotic web series. The six-part collection kicked off in April and is available for free by heading here. Check out the trailer below.