Anita from docuseries Mums Make Porn is the sex-positive black mum we all need

image via Channel 4 / Mums Make Porn

Porn is everywhere and has always existed in some form or another. But would you watch a porn film that your mum wrote and directed?

In a country as awkward and prudish as Britain, a frank conversation about sex, pornography, sex education and sex work is not necessarily the norm. But no longer relegated to the top shelf, out of the eye-line of the innocent, porn now pops up in uninvited adverts and Twitter and Instagram follows.

Mum Makes Porn (Channel 4) tests a new formula – can five mums, brainstorming whilst drinking pinot grigio, come up with something both sexy and representative; that prioritises female pleasure and consent?

Anita, a mother of four black boys living in London, took part to start a positive conversation about porn and sex.

“I want to take the shame away from sex so we can have that conversation. All parents have had sex! My name’s Anita, I’m a parent, and I’ve had sex! At least four times! Let’s take away the shame,” she tells me over the phone, emphatically.

Whilst the other mums initially struggle with the thought of sex outside of a heterosexual couple in a romantic setting featuring as part of their film, Anita is much more open-minded from the start. One mum physically throws up at the sight of cum on the set. Anita encourages them to make space for different tastes, types of sex and the need for different body types and ethnicities to be represented.

“I had watched porn before, the others had only seen one or two. I enjoyed watching it with and without [my] husband before the show. I knew it’s not all just penetration. I think if the mums had seen that they would have known there are things out there to learn from and enjoy.”

“My name’s Anita, I’m a parent, and I’ve had sex! At least four times! Let’s take away the shame”

Anita, Mums Make Porn

Like all creative industries, diversity behind the scenes leads to more representative content. In the programme, Anita flies the flag for black people and different body types.

“We all had very different voices and that’s what makes the show good. We learnt from each other through the process [of making the film], she says.” But as most people of colour can attest and empathise – representation was not at the forefront of the other mums minds.

She adds: “Initially, diversity was not important to the other mums but they came on board with my ideas. The more time we spent together the more open-minded they became. I had to be a bit pushy! But not beyond the point that where they weren’t comfortable.” She goes on to emphasise the importance of inclusivity so everyone can see themselves in the films.

“If I don’t feel included, then we’re excluding a lot of other people out there. As a young black woman that had different body shape and hair texture from mainstream media, I wanted to be represented myself. But it’s also and always for my sons to see themselves, and the so many differences of what you can be. We want our children to be accepting of a range of people.”

How people, particularly from underrepresented groups, are depicted in porn has consequences. A recent YouGov poll found that of the 66% of Britons who have ever watched pornography, around one in ten men and women think it is “very similar” or “fairly similar” to real life sex. A survey by NSPCC and Middlesex University found 53% of boys and 39% of girls aged 11 to 16 years old saw porn as a realistic depiction of sex. Yet the most popular porn on offer perpetuates racial stereotypes, depicts aggressive behaviour against women and centres male pleasure.

image via Channel 4 / Mums Make Porn
left to right: Emma, Anita, Sarah-Louise and Sarah

Whilst the use of racial slurs by say, our politicians, results in a bashing by black Twitter and tepid apology, porn seems to still have free reign with racism. Few other spaces would allow categories like “hood bitch”, “Asian Slut”, “Oriental” and “thug love” to exist for fear of outrage. The way black men are portrayed is one of the reasons Anita signed up for the show.

“This is a big thing for me. I realised how serious it was, and my voice was, in this process. The stereotype of black porn stars is a violent one. And for young black people watching, they might think that’s how they should behaviour.”

The stereotype of a well-endowed black man; hyper-sexualised and “destroying” a white woman, is commonplace in porn. Add that to the fact that one-third of white Britons surveyed in 2018 had no ethnic minority friends and the poisonous potential of this narrative is obvious. Media portrayals, news stories, music videos and porn may be the only images they have of people different from themselves. Anita emphasised how damaging this could be.

“If a white person had not met a black man before, this is all they’ve seen. It goes back to slavery days stereotypes – negative stereotypes that the black man is violent, Anita says. “I have four black sons and I was upset about what I saw. I cried to my husband. It’s so important to play a role in trying to change that narrative. My sons, they are black males and they are loving people, not dangerous characters.”

She adds that some of these presumptions are not true for everyone. “Not every black man has a big dick! I have one son who does, and I’ve had that conversation with him. I told him he has to be careful and mindful with people to make sure he wouldn’t hurt them. I know he’d be upset if he found out he accidentally hurt someone.”

“Not every black man has big dick! I have one son who does, and I’ve told him he has to be careful and mindful with people to make sure he wouldn’t hurt them”

Antia, Mums Make Porn

The urgent need for porn to centre female pleasure and consent is a passion shared by all of the mums in the show. Although some of the mums have preconceptions about sex work and porn, the show is never anti-sex, anti-porn or unnecessarily moralising. When the mums meet feminist porn director Erika Lust, they seize the opportunity to learn from someone that is doing porn differently.  

Anita believes more female directors would increase the diversity of porn on offer, particularly porn with women in mind. “Erika Lust was mindblowing. We had a long talk on lack of diversity and who’s represented – that women’s perspective and role in sexual relationships is overlooked in porn. Her work shows women in a different way – she tries to be as diverse as possible. She hires lots of different directors to tell their story, as hers is limited to her vision and experience.”


Anita took the experience with such ease, we joke that she should start her own production company. If she did – what kind of porn would she make? What would she do differently?

“We need more porn that shows more of what actually happens. There are so many things that go on behind it – we only see the 10 minutes of sex in the films. But behind the scenes actors are discussing consent, taking sexual health tests, signing contracts and building relationships. We need more that shows the work going on in the lead-up.”

Mainstream, heterosexual porn tends to rush into the main event, with the main event being penetration. But in real life that’s not what is (hopefully) happening. Anita agreed that more realism would be helpful as we know some people are mimicking what they see – but the full story is not shown on screen. She gives the example of anal sex, which needs some prep.

“You don’t just put in in, you need to have a conversation! Discuss it first, use lube, gloves, maybe start with a finger first! But there needs to be a conversation. Only the mainstream standard is being shown at the moment. We need more alternatives.

“I have a 25-year-old son – and if I can’t teach my son to be a good lover, then I’m not doing my job. That’s my job in life – to teach them to be great men – and that includes being great lovers!”

“Porn is not necessarily a dirty word. But I hope people are more vigilant with their children. There’s a big difference between children and young people”

Anita, Mums Make Porn

As she says this, I wish every parent felt the same. I would certainly have cum more times in the past eight years.

But until Anita becomes the next big thing in feminist porn, what would she like us to take away from the show?

“Porn is not necessarily a dirty word. But I hope people are more vigilant with their children. There’s a big difference between children and young people. They are accessing porn with no understanding and no one to talk to about what they’re seeing.

“Porn can be misconstrued when we see it at its worst – but porn, by definition, is postcards, it’s magazines, it’s film. There is a way to make a positive contribution. Young people have always accessed it. And it can be a tool we can learn from – if the right porn is available.”

Would I watch porn made by a random group of mums? If Anita’s on the team, I’d give it a go.

Mums Make Porn (Channel 4) is available on 4oD now

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