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The MILFs and GILFs Who Start Making Porn After 40

At age 47, divorced, lonely and suicidal, Morgana Muses had become invisible — to herself and to those around her. “Once I was married and had children,” the Australian mother of two told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this year, “I was expected to just dwindle in the background and not be able to explore my desires. … I was unable to find any connection in my rural community. I was considering ending my life.”

But before doing so, she decided she deserved one last chance at pleasure. “I hired an escort, whose touch and intimacy changed my world,” she says. “I decided to live and see him again, and eventually, I decided I wanted to make a keepsake of my new sexual identity.”

That keepsake was a porn film about the experience; it resonated enough with the outside world that it won the Petra Joy Award for first-time erotic filmmakers and screened at the Berlin Porn Film Festival. In the five years since, Muses has gone from sexually frustrated, depressed older woman to indie porn star. She’s even the subject of a new feature-length documentary, Morgana. “People want to see a future for themselves sexually, and I sort of represent that for them,” the now 52-year-old says.

In a world where women over 40 rarely see themselves represented in film or on TV, just existing can be a challenge. Existing sexually can be even more difficult. But even given those circumstances, pornography is an unusual place to turn for sexual solace. After all, Angie Rowntree, the founder of Sssh.com, one of the oldest porn websites for women, says, “For the most part, the porn industry treats older performers like novelty acts. They’re presented as though their sexuality and their desires are something abnormal or unusual, as though older people aren’t supposed to want to have sex.”

The demand for porn featuring older women, however, is high. “MILF” was recently named the second most popular category on Pornhub for the entire decade of the site’s existence. Over the last five years, there’s also been a rise in “stepmom” porn — basically a repackaging of the MILF genre for millennials, which usually pairs older women with younger scene partners. And, for those who tastes run older still, there’s even “granny” and “GILF” porn being made by a few companies, like Granny Flixxx.

The female stars of these scenes/films typically fall into three main categories:

  • Any woman with large breasts who’s in her mid-20s or early 30s and who appears more mature than their late teen, early 20s scene partners a la Cherie DeVille.
  • Longtime porn starlets who keep making porn as the decades roll by — their age be damned — a la Nina Hartley, Julia Ann and Ginger Lynn.
  • A growing number of women who have made the leap into porn at an advanced age (a la Muses, who rightly points out: “There’s no expiration date on our sexual pleasure”).

They include Erica Lauren, a tall, bubbly, fit blonde with a penchant for stilettos, who started making porn at 49. Like Morgana, she’d just gotten a divorce, then lost her job. She says, “I saw an ad for an agency, and they had an open call kind of thing.” She’d always thought that porn was just for young people, but she gave it a try anyway. “I thought, This may be just a total laugh when I show I up, but who knows?” she recalls. But the exact opposite happened: She was booked for a job the next day. Thirteen years later, at 62, she’s still making porn — and loving it. “All of my experiences have been amazingly positive. Everyone’s been so upbeat, and I’ve always been treated very well,” she says.

Vicky Vette, who calls herself a “big-boobed Norwegian MILF,” has a similar origin story. “[At age 38], I felt very penned in,” she says. “I lived and worked in a small religious town that I absolutely hated.” She and her husband would go to sex parties for fun, but the occasional release wasn’t enough for the self-proclaimed “raging swinger.” “[One day], on a whim, I was flipping through a copy of Hustler, and said, ‘Hey, honey, do you think I should enter this Beaver Hunt contest?’” A few photos and one birthday later, she’d begun receiving offers to shoot porn professionally. “I finally found a place I belong! All those wasted years! Data entry, accounts payable, accounts receivable, office manager, controller, general manager. This is where I should’ve been all along!” Now, at 52, in control of her own online porn company, for which she also performs, she says, “It was the right decision for me. I’m never leaving!”

In 2008, when “superhero geek,” cosplayer and Liverpool native Tanya Tate was 29, she watched a porn film with a friend. “I thought, I could do that,” she says. “I researched the market and sent off some pictures [to a few different production companies].” Soon, she was making porn in London. Still barely in her thirties, at first she wondered why she was being called a MILF in marketing materials, since she didn’t have any children. But the term actually helped her career, she says: “I felt I had a real place in the market. So for me, it was easy to embrace that MILF title.” Today, having performed for the biggest companies in mainstream porn (like Brazzers and Digital Playground), she’s 38, living in L.A., running her own adult PR firm and directing films (in which she frequently stars). (Incidentally, she’s finally about to be a real-life MILF, too — her first child is due in December.)

“You have less competition doing these things because most people think of it as a young person’s game,” says Lauren. She works primarily in MILF, GILF and “family” movies — in which she plays a grandmother or mother who’s hooking up with a stepson, stepdaughter or even step-granddaughter. “There’s not a lot of people in this age group, so I do kind of fit into a niche.”

“There’s work for everyone,” agrees Vette, who works exclusively for her own network of websites these days. “And if you can’t find work, be creative and make your own.” That’s at least what she’s done, having created her own company for which she shoots everything from standard boy/girl blowjob scenes to hardcore anal kink. “I do what I want, when I want, how I want, with who I want and however many times I want!” she brags.

Some of this, of course, are the benefits of age — namely, self-confidence and business savvy. “Sometimes I hear of situations where girls believe they have to do everything that’s asked of them by directors and agents, even when they know they won’t enjoy doing it,” says Tate. “Older women are generally more assertive compared to young girls due to our life experiences. So they’re less likely to get into difficult situations.”

“I, for example, came into the industry with a lot of life experiences,” she continues. “I wasn’t distracted by elements that may have been detrimental, and I was able to treat my career as a business and remain grounded.”

“All the MILFs I know are just together,” adds Jacky St. James, an award-winning adult filmmaker who regularly casts older performers for the “family films” she writes and directs. “They’re driven career women. They’re in incredible shape, too. They’re at the gym all the time. Nor have I ever had a MILF complain to me about fucking on a counter, or being uncomfortable. They’re troopers!”

Countertop or no countertop, if there’s one thing Muses would like people to take away from her work, it’s to “not make the same mistake I did, by living for others’ expectations. You can do it, for decades, but it won’t make you happy. You won’t grow to like it. You will just get sadder and sadder until you can’t take it anymore. I hope that by putting my struggle on screen, I can help even just a few people avoid that mistake, and hopefully encourage others to find themselves sexually.”