How A 50-Year-Old Divorcée Became A Feminist Porn Icon

Photographed by Garth Knight.
At the age of 47, two years out of a sexless marriage that ended in divorce, Morgana Muse wanted to end her own life. But before she went through with it, she decided to treat herself to one more evening of intimacy with a paid escort. That decision started a domino effect, and three years later, Morgana is an icon in the world of feminist porn. Inspired by her journey, a group of filmmakers decided to bring the adult film star's story to life in a documentary, titled Morgana. The producers are currently crowdfunding their post-production work through Kickstarter.
It's understandable why this team wants to spread Morgana's story. The now 50-year-old mother is living proof that, despite ageist tropes, there isn't an age limit to sexual self-discovery. "My films depict my sexual exploration and my curiosities," Morgana says. Below, I chat with the adult film star about how she got her start, the stigmas that surround women of a certain age, and what, exactly, her daughters think of their mother the porn star.
Can you tell me how you got started in porn?
"I didn't deliberately choose this path in life. At the age of 45, I asked [my then-husband] for a divorce. But two years after my divorce, with my 47th birthday coming up, I found myself in a depression. [I was] lonely and alone, and I wanted to kill myself. At that point, I'd been celibate for 12 years, but the one thing I wanted to do [before I killed myself] was experience sex and intimacy one last time. And since I didn't have the confidence to go out and meet someone in the usual practice, I decided to hire an escort. I planned this beautiful day. I booked a suite at a five-star hotel, I made beautiful dinner reservations, and I booked theatre tickets for the two of us. The whole experience was so wonderful that I decided I wanted to experience more. I wanted to see my escort again.
"On one of our dates — if that's what you'd call them — I mentioned to him that I'd read about this competition for first-time erotic film makers, and that I'd had this idea to do a film about our first date. I entered the competition, and actually wound up wining first prize, which was unexpected. People started to approach me to continue filmmaking, and I realized that I enjoyed the process of making porn. I find it very cathartic, liberating, and empowering. I love to tell stories, so the whole idea of filmmaking appealed to me."
Had you been at all interested in pornography and exploring your sexuality in your life before filmmaking?
"It was not something I ever contemplated! If I hadn't read about the competition, I wouldn't be where I am now. I wanted to make that first film so that I could watch myself being a sexual being. It was to remind myself that I am a woman, and I do have needs. I wanted that film to be almost like when people send each other nude photographs. I wanted that reminder that I am a sexual being."

" I chose not to be shamed by society's expectation that I should just fade into the background after my divorce."

Morgana Muse
It's like when you hear of men and women who want professional nude photographs or paintings commissioned of themselves.
"The boudoir photos!"
Yes exactly! So this was like your version of a boudoir photo in a way.
"That's a good way of saying it. [Laughs] But this turned into a career!"
How did you feel when you saw the positive reaction from that first film?
"At first, I was a bit worried, because I didn't know what the reception would be like. But it has been absolutely positive. I've yet to experience anything negative. That positive reaction gave me the courage and the strength to continue in this path."
What do your daughters think of your career?
"I didn't want to go publicly pursuing this path until my daughters and my ex-husband knew what I was doing. I never wanted to create an issue between us. I love telling this story. I sat my eldest daughter — who was 16 at the time — down to tell her what I was doing. And I was so nervous. But she only had two questions for me. She asked, 'Can you make money?' To which I said yes. Then she asked, 'Are you happy?' And when I told her yes, she just said, 'Okay. Just please don't tell me too many details!' [Laughs]
"I can understand that reaction. I remember at that age being embarrassed to think that my parents were sexual beings, so I related. I wasn't upset with her for saying that. I thought it was rather cute."
I think that brings up a good point, though! There's such a stigma against older women as sexual beings. It seems that once a woman hits a certain age, or becomes a mother, she is no longer allowed to be sexual. People will criticize her age, or call her a bad mother, just because she wants to indulge her sexual side.
"I definitely experienced that after my divorce. The community that I was involved in when I was married all but shunned me after my marriage ended. They figured I should just gracefully disappear. But there is no expiration date on sexuality or our explorations of sex. I chose not to be shamed by society's expectation that I should just fade into the background. I refused to do that.
"I also didn't have the opportunity to explore my sexuality at a younger age, because I had a very strict upbringing. I consider what I'm doing now a belated teenage rebellion that I can control by being well-informed."
I love that!
"I'm doing everything in reverse!"
So how many of these films have you made?
"I think about 10 at this point."

I'd like to be proof that there is no expiration date on our sexuality.

Morgana Muse
Do you have a favorite?
"I must admit that my favorite is Having My Cake. It's shot in Paris, and it depicts me at various tourist locations — like Versailles and the top of the Eiffel Tower. And at each place you see me eating a cake. That's the setup. And then, in the second half of the story, I met up with my gorgeous male lover, and the sex scene involves a lot of cake."
That's so decadent and sexy.
"Yeah, there's a bit of food play. It's basically me having my cake and eating it, too!"
Have you learned things about yourself and your sexuality through this experience that you probably wouldn't have realized otherwise?
"I was always curious about the BDSM and kink communities. I always thought I had an attraction to women, too, but I never pursued it. So I think in getting the divorce, and giving myself permission to seek pleasure, I've discovered that I am into quite a lot of things that I never realized I was curious about."
What has your experience in the BDSM and kink communities been like?
"It's like a family. I'm encouraged to just continue what I'm doing, which is pretty awesome. I find the whole experience quite nurturing. The play and the community [gives me] quite a spiritual type of feeling, as well. It's as close to spiritual as I've ever felt."
What do you hope the documentary will accomplish?
"I hope it will show people that it's never too late. It's never too late to learn, to experience new pleasures, and to explore your sexuality. I'd like to be proof that there is no expiration date on our sexuality. We should be able to enjoy and continue our explorations until we see fit to stop."
You can contribute to the Kickstarter to help fun the documentary Morgana until August 10.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series