Wales

Porn: Why Flintshire mum made her own adult film

Sarah Sadler, 40, of Flintshire took part in making a porn documentary Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption Sarah Sadler wanted to create a porn film that showed intimacy and proper consent

Sarah Sadler, 40, was perfectly content being a photographer and mum-of-two. That is until a chance opportunity came along to make a porn film. Here, Sarah from Flintshire, north Wales, explains why she jumped at it.

I have to admit, making a porn film was never on my bucket list.

Historically, I had no interest in it and never watched it.

Yet I have two daughters, age 16 and 12, and through the media, was gradually learning how much younger people are being exposed to hard-core porn.

Research commissioned by the NSPCC in 2016 shows that 53% of 11 to 16-years-olds have seen explicit material online.

More worryingly, a 2010 book, Pornland by Gail Dines, asserts that 88% of porn videos contain violence against women.

Personally, I never spoke about sex to my daughters.

I viewed it as an embarrassing, awkward topic best ignored.

But once I realised that they and other children were primarily learning about sex through pornography sites, I was disgusted and scared.

I was also aware that sexting among their peers was becoming a big problem.

Where was the counterpoint and other narrative?

How could we stem the tide?

Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption Sarah (right) and her colleagues had to script and direct a porn film

I saw an advert to take part in making an 'ethical porn film' last September and applied, getting picked alongside four other mums.

We were a mixed bunch; one of the mums enjoyed porn with her husband, another was a Christian who disliked it intensely.

In the process, we learnt more than I could have ever imagined about porn.

We learnt how easy it is to get hold off, and that pornography adverts can pop up alongside Google searches, regardless of whether the person has been searching for porn or not.

Most shocking though, was the porn we were exposed to for our research.

The vast majority was incredibly violent and included rape scenes.

If it wasn't violent, the man would typically be extremely dominant - a "toxic masculinity" - with the woman gratefully receiving whatever was given.

What does this teach today's teenagers?

That boys have to be in charge and masculine, and the girls submissive?

There was no consideration of consent, or emotional connection, or joy beyond crude pleasure.

Image copyright Erika Lust Films
Image caption Female-focused erotic film maker Erika Lust helped the women produce and direct their porn film

When I was younger, we learnt about sex through novels, books or "dirty magazines", which are much less graphic than today's images.

But today's porn is staged and choreographed; it doesn't represent the reality of sex, where you laugh, get cramp or accidentally squash your partner.

Porn shows no intimacy between couples and is largely shot to appeal to men.

Sadly, it is also becoming increasingly extreme just in order to be able to compete in the market.

We cannot ignore the effect of this on today's teenagers.

I have heard stories of teenagers feeling they have to perform threesomes or sex acts as this is what their partners expect from them after watching porn.

Body image is also a problem, with people thinking their bodies or genitals aren't normal or that all pubic hair must be removed.

Image copyright Erika Lust Films
Image caption The mums' porn film depicted all body shapes and types

After learning all this, we five mums were given the enormous challenge of writing, producing, directing and casting a porn film, something definitely out of our comfort zones.

Although only 12 minutes' long, we had a clear vision of what we wanted to show.

This included kissing, cuddling, constant consent and communication, mutual pleasure, foreplay, different body types and pubic hair, plus of course, lots of sex, practised in a safe way.

We showed women with desires who were not submissive and men who acted appropriately.

It might not be to everyone's taste, especially not those who work in the porn industry, but at least it is a more realistic representation for most people.

Now, following the whole experience, I talk openly to my girls about sex in an age-appropriate way.

I talk about consent and boundaries, about being comfortable.

I feel much safer knowing my girls are more informed and I feel it is imperative other parents follow suit.

Thankfully, pornography is now becoming high on the political agenda, as new laws are considered on age verification and how sex is accessed online.

I have no idea if our own film will be a flop or not, but either way I believe my girls support me, and am very proud I have played a part in getting the conversation started.

Mums Make Porn, a three-part documentary, is now airing on Channel 4.

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