Porn Moms: Inside The Lives Of 5 Mothers Who Work In The Adult Film Industry

Written by

Mary Beth Koeth

10:00 am
03/05/20

In the fall of 2017, photographer Mary Beth Koeth rented a car and drove from New York City to Edison, New Jersey for the Exxxotica Expo, an erotic arts convention. Her goal was to meet women who worked in the adult film industry and also had children. The last born in a big Catholic family, Koeth wanted to know how the world where she’d grown up—the suburbs of Dallas, Texas—differed from the worlds of these women. How do they balance motherhood with their work? wondered Koeth. How are they treated at gatherings like PTA meetings? For a while, she kept the idea to herself, scribbled in a pink notebook. “I was intimidated by this project because I didn’t know how I would find subjects, or if these women would be open to sharing their stories,” says Koeth, who created “Porn Moms,” a portrait series that reveals how women balance the role of motherhood with their work in the adult film industry.

At the Exxxotica Expo, she met an actress named Emily Mena who had a 3-year-old daughter and a son on the way. Koeth shared her vision of “Porn Moms” with Mena. “She loved the idea that someone wanted to tell her real story, rather than the narrative of fantasy,” says Koeth. Mena, like many of her colleagues, keeps her private life hidden at work. But what is the toll on these women and their families when society only sees them in one light?

Mena was the first woman Koeth interviewed for the series. Through Mena, and by attending other erotica expos, Koeth gradually found her subjects. To capture the women in their home environments, she traveled to different corners of the United States—Colorado Springs, Dallas, Phoenix, and Las Vegas—and listened to their stories. “Their lives are just as complicated as the rest of ours,” observes Koeth. “I’m grateful to these women for trusting me with a piece of their lives that, professionally, they prefer to keep secret.”

Click through to see Koeth’s intimate photographs, and learn more about the mothers and families that they depict.

Click any image to enter the slideshow

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