Suffering from depression at the end of an unhappy wedding, Morgana Muses observed a new rental on life by making body-positive, anti-ageist BDSM films

A turquoise-haired woman takes the stage at Berlins Porn Film Festival in stiletto boots and an evening clothes separate high up the thigh. The snigger from a pair in the audience is barely audible, but then, the woman is attuned to it. She stiffens for a second, and takes the microphone. You can giggle if you like, she mentions, but darling, I was a young, gorgeous creature once and youre going to be my age one day.

Applause.

At 52, Morgana Muses is a regular at adult celebrations, but with her body-positive, anti-ageist BDSM movies, shes not your regular adult starring. In Having My Cake , she devours sweet treats off the body of cross-dressing performance artist Bishop Black. In Its My Birthday And Ill Fly If I Crave To, shes trussed up into a scarlet web by Sydney rope artist Garth Knight. At the most extreme terminate, theres Breathtaking, in which she is choked by a female collaborator and submerged under bathwater.

While sadomasochism can seem like an aggressive concept, Muses insists the BDSM community revolves around care, trust and inclusivity, which were all elements that had been missing from her previous life. Each conference of play-act is a micro-moment of deep connection, Muses mentions. I simply fall into this magical space and disappear. Person asked me lately, have I seen my boundaries? I told no, Im still searching.

Her movies often have an off-kilter humour, so its not surprising to hear that Muses is the instigator of red carpet hijinks. At New Yorks CineKink, she persuaded pornographic actress Stoya and other stars to presume positions in a cheerleader stack or a porn pyramid, as she throws it for the assembled photographers.

Typical Australian twat, she snorts self-deprecatingly now.

Morgana
Before she was Morgana Muses, the porn performer was a conventional homemaker. Photograph: Morgana documentary squad

If the interest in Muses starts with a snigger, perhaps its because visualizing a middle-aged girl naked on screen is such an alien experience. The mainstream industry parodys women of a certain age, Muses mentions, complaining of the video labels such as Milf, Gilf and Granny on sites such as PornHub. And those Milfs are usually in their late 20 s. People watch my work as pioneering since they are dont crave their own sexuality to have an expiration date.

Despite her confidence on film, Muses admits to naivety and nerves. When we satisfy in a Melbourne food court, she is flanked protectively by the two women making a documentary, Morgana, about their own lives. One of them is Josie Hess, her spouse in production corporation Permission4pleasure. Isabel Peppard, who recently induced the acclaimed animation Butterflies, had been recruited to aim Its My Birthday, but rapidly visualized the value in the real-life story of a stifled housewife turned pornographer. I left our first meeting with a tingling sensation of fate, Peppard says.

Muses had been trapped in an unhappy matrimony, suffering depression and psychotic breakings after both her pregnancies, and dealing with has become a mom while having a mental illness that no one will recognise. Upon getting divorced, she realised culture expected her to discreetly fade to black.

During the filming of Morgana, the trio travelled to Muses former hometown of Albury, where, as Hess observes, the clouds had descended and there were crows on all the wires. Muses took them to a bleak stretching of road in which she would drive at crazy accelerates in the middle of the night, listening to Tom Joness Sometimes We Cry. To the two younger women, well-versed in horror movies, suburban living was existentially chilling.

Theres a creepy gothic thing going on where youre created for your role of Stepford Wives mother in a patriarchal civilization, almost on an assembly line, Peppard says. Being a model-maker, Peppard set to work representing this in the documentary by creating the faade of a dolls house in which to imprison her superstar, as well as miniature defines of suburbs, to be torched. Theres a big character trajectory: ego fatality and loss of identity; being cast out of their own communities and nearly stateless; then rising, phoenix-like. Theres almost a myth to it.

Muses life pivoted when she chose she would hire a male escort for a last hurrah before terminating it all. Lengthy research unearthed John, a 39 -year-old university graduate, articulate, with polished good looks. We talked for months, then I booked him for my 47 th birthday. Im not a picking-up-in-a-bar character person, she says. Its not in my nature. I need to to know people before I can allow myself to let go.

She booked a suite at Sydneys Shangri La, and planned an evening of fine dining must be accompanied by a performance of Richard III, starring Kevin Spacey. It was beautiful. And the sexuality was great, too dont get me wrong.

A friendship with John developed, and through their conversations, Muses started to consider her unrealised passions. She booked him for corporation at events such as the Xplore Festival( now called The Sydney Festival of Really Good Sex ), and sampled the workshops on offer. Having detected her people, she became further absorbed into the kink community, flying to Berlin to attend gatherings.

The next stair, she decided, was to make a cinema. But it was just for myself, a bit like getting your own personal sexy photos taken. After reading about a competition hosted by German feminist filmmaker Petra Joy, on the topic of female fantasy, Muses recruited John and his partner to help as a co-star and camera operator respectively. I fantasised about the things I wanted to do on my first date with him, she mentions, things that Id always been curious about.

Morgana
Morgana Muses: In the centre of the nighttime Ill have these twitchings of shame and self-doubt … The important thing is it no longer jails me. Photograph: Furnished: Morgana documentary squad

The result was Duty Bound, a short cinema about a 47 -year-old woman regaining her self-worth through sex. I belief , no ones going to see it, Muses laughs, but then the cinema won the Petra Joy accolade for first-time filmmakers, and Joy fostered Muses to keep going. A few collaborations with respected adult administrator Anna Brownfield followed, with barely time to consider the consequences. Yet the more Muses became immersed in kink, the more supported she felt.

Muses teenage children know about their mothers new job, but the family and older friends of Muses will not make an appearance in the documentary. Peppard says: For once, we wanted to grant the woman her view. But Muses acknowledges she still struggles with shame: There are times when I believe: fucking culture, Im going to do my thing. Then in the middle of the nighttime Ill have these twitches of dishonor and self-doubt. I think that continue me grounded. The important thing is it no longer incarcerates me.

Now that shes promoting a Kickstarter campaign to fund the post-production of Morgana( with producer Karina Astrup on board ), Muses is facing her dreads, pondering how people will react to what Peppard jokingly calls the Shirley Valentine for the new millennium. Peppard and Hess reassure her that people will engage with the theme of rebirth. A lot of women will see themselves in you, Peppard tells her. And humen, too, who fear that their day has come and gone.

The launch party for the Kickstarter campaign was certainly celebratory, with wrestlers garmented as mother-daughter tag teams: Little Edie and Big Edie from Grey Gardens taking on Carrie White and her religious fanatic mother Margaret from Brian de Palmas Carrie . Faces from the adult and burlesque communities turned up in supporting or took their turns on stage.

Despite the judgment her lifestyle will receive, Muses hopes the documentary may be a lifeline to men and women who seem deprived of intimacy. I read myself as an ordinary lady who has had extraordinary experiences.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ cinema/ 2017/ jul/ 27/ from-suburban-housewife-to-porn-star-at-5 2-the-emancipation-of-morgana