‘I’m Making Porn I’d Be Proud For My Kids To Watch’

Anita is one of four mums taking part in Channel 4's 'Mums Make Porn' documentary, she tells Grazia about the experience and why she became so worried about mainstream porn, she started making her own...

mums make porn

by Georgia Aspinall |

‘The actors were so great,’ says Anita, 43, recalling the moment she watched two people have sex while being filmed for the first time, ‘I felt like a real mum after the sex scene like "oh we're so proud of you!"’

Anita, a modelling agent from north west London, is one of four mums who took part in Channel 4’s ‘Mum’s Make Porn’ series, the final episode of which aired on Wednesday this week. She’s proud of her creation, although she wishes it pushed boundaries a bit further, in most part because it’s a pornography she would be happy for her own children to watch.

‘Mainstream porn doesn't reflect everybody out there, and it doesn't give a realistic depiction of what sex is,’ she says, ‘and unfortunately young people are watching it for sex education. I would worry for my boys that they thought that's what real sex and relationships were, and that’s’ what they would go and do with their partners when the time comes.’

With four boys, aged between 6 and 24, Anita - who acted as director on the film - feels a responsibility to be open about sex with her children, noting that they will discuss it at the dinner table with the hopes to eradicate the shame that can build around sex as kids mature. For her, starting a conversation is integral, even if it means her kids being exposed to hardcore porn that many parents hope they will never see, with the age-restriction pornography ban beginning this week.

mums make porn anita
Anita ©Channel 4

‘I would never want my young children to see porn, I think it could be horrifying for them but I don’t think there’s anything I wouldn't want my older children to see,’ she tells me, ‘it's an opportunity for them to have a discussion and say "ok this is not cool". I hope my young people learn from experience, even if they're not great ones if they learnt something for them it could spur them to react so that change is made.’

It’s a rarity for parents to be so open to discourse around hardcore porn with their kids, with 40% of parents avoiding talking about puberty, sex and relationships with their children according to a 2014 study by Lil-Lets. But the result of neglecting the conversation has raised a generation of children whose main source of sex education is porn- the impact of which is hugely damaging.

According to Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism, rape is occurring daily in British schools, with porn teaching boys that it is normal for girls to cry during sex. ‘I go into schools and talk to children around that age [of 14] all that time who think that crying is part of foreplay because they have seen so much online porn that normalises violence and treating women in a way that is incredibly misogynistic and dehumanising,’ she told the Edinburgh International Book Festival last August.

Knowing the power porn can have on educating young people is exactly why Anita got involved in making her own, hoping to create something that can actually act as a tool for young people to understand real life sex. Something that would show diversity, experimentation, and equal pleasure.

‘I don't think mainstream porn attempts to teach our young people anything, but I think that’s part of the problem. Young people are using it as a tool to educate themselves but it isn’t created for them to learn from,’ she says, ‘For me, having all sons I wanted [our porn] to be something that could help to educate them to be aware of women.

‘With mainstream porn, all it shows is a lot of submission and violence towards women,’ she continued, ‘and actually we wanted to make sure there was female empowerment where we can say “yes, we enjoy sex but it is through our terms, we decide what is wrong and right for us”’

Of course, in an industry that is dominated by hardcore narratives, finding experienced actors that understood the vision proved a challenge. ‘Casting was quite difficult in the UK,’ she said, ‘If you're used to doing the kind of stuff that's full of fantasy, and we're saying “let’s have something real” there just like “err?”, but we were so lucky we managed to get some great people involved, people that were very conscious and aware and had chosen to be part of the industry to help change the narrative.’

Changing the narrative is, of course, not easy. But it’s something more people are attempting to do, whether it’s actors in front of the camera or the teams behind it. Erika Lust, one of the most popular porn directors in Europe, has been on this mission for years. For her, creating porn that can educate people about real sex is no new feat. While she would never make porn intended for those under 18 to watch, that hasn't stopped parents from confessing that they have bought her subscriptions for their older teens.

‘We are stuck there in a paradox where I am not allowed to recommend sites with explicit sex content to people under 18 because it's not legal or correct, but then we all know they’re watching it so what do we do?’ Erika says, ‘I feel so stuck in that conversation because obviously, you want to say “go to these sites instead, here you can see something more realistic that respects people and has an ethical production behind it” but I can't do that.’

Of course, it’s a parent’s individual wish how they wish to educate their child about sex, and it’s something both Anita and Erika affirm when discussing the subject. Yet, Anita hopes that parents ‘look and see what’s out there’ online before approaching the subject, because it’s exactly what spurred her to make her own. And in fact, the entire experience has even made her consider her own future in porn.

‘I have been thinking and talking about it,’ she says, ‘I think there is room for more women, more mothers, more women of colour, lots of different people to get involved in the porn industry to help change and shape the narrative moving forward.

‘Would I personally direct a porn film again? I don't know, it’s hard work,’ she continues, ‘I think I could support and encourage some other directors, I think that would be my role moving forward.’

Given that thousands flocked online to watch her and the other mum’s creation after the finale episode aired – causing the largest age verification software test since the porn restrictions began – it sure seems like she has good career prospects in it.

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