British Humor in Anna Span’s New Porn

British Anna Span (1972) represents another direction within today’s new porn by women. With her company Easy on the Eye Productions, Anna is the first to measure up to Candida Royalle’s Femme Productions in terms of sheer volume. Since 2003, Anna has released 20 DVDs, each containing five episodes, most part of her “Anna Span’s Diary series (“Genuine Female Point of View “ From Britain’s First Female Producer.) Candida has in comparison released 18 DVDs, most feature length films.

Anna has a Bachelor’s in Film and Video from Central St. Martin’s School of Art, a reputable art and design school in the center of London. Her thesis from St. Martin’s, Towards a New Pornography, discusses how a female perspective in porn could change it. Here Anna makes it clear that she considers pornography an underdeveloped and under-investigated area in film.

Anna’s porn reflects a new generation’s more relaxed attitude to both sex and porn. While Candida shows a concern for sexual hang-ups and how to overcome these, including insecurities about the use of porn, the attitude to sex and porn in Anna’s porn is relaxed and playful. Psychological complexes or guilty feelings don’t trouble the characters in Anna’s porn. Shame about sex is only referred to as something comical, by for instance the patient Mark in “Supply Nurse on A & O Department (2004) when he stutters “but I’m a Christian! to the female nurse’s suggestion he masturbates to get his hard-on down, an erection she (purposefully) caused by “mistreating him with viagra. Women and men in Anna’s porn pretty much have an uncomplicated relationship to sex, even casual sex. Even Mark gleefully surrenders to some sex with the nurse\’who turns out not to be a nurse but a lusty lady in borrowed uniform\’under the pretext of handling his erection.

While Candida’s films portray a range of sexual encounters, from the most tender to the more passionate, all the sex in Anna’s porn is quite steamy. And whereas Candida avoids lingering on close-ups of genitalia and usually steers clear of the money shot, there are plenty of both in Anna’s porn. Anna also shows anal penetration, which is only alluded to in the Femme Productions films.

Candida is concerned that sex scenes between girls may seem gratuitous; an ingredient added to please a male audience. Anna is not so worried about that. In her world sex between girls is a natural part of everyday life and not just between lesbian and bisexual women. Sex between girls is something that easily can take place between girlfriends and colleagues, say if they’ve had a little bit too much to drink.

Group sex is also common in Anna’s porn, but in contrast to the group sex in mainstream porn, there is often a majority of men for the women to savor and be double penetrated by in Anna’s group sex scenes. The female initiative and control are in any case key characteristics of all the group sex episodes, whether the women are in the majority or not. “ The DVD Be My Toy Boy (2009) focuses primarily on MILF: sex between mature women and young men. MILF\’short for “mothers I’d like to fuck\’was popularized by the horny high school boys in American Pie (1999), but for the mothers on this DVD it would be more accurate to speak about “the young men we moms would like to fuck.

Like Candida, Anna is committed to portraying women of various age groups and with various body types. But Anna is less focused on the artistic than Candida, and more concerned to convey a sense of realism. While Candida for instance is really good at illustrating mounting desire and pleasure through an interplay of the musical soundtrack and the characters’ devotion, Anna is particularly good at capturing women’s actual orgasms; the hectic flushing spreading around the neck as they approach, the shivering quivers over face and body when they come.

Anna also relies more on humor as a tool in her porn, both as a means to capture chemistry between characters as they teasingly flirt and fool around, but also in the form of a more outrageous Benny Hill sort of humor. The episode “Sperm Sample on A & O Department relies on both kinds of humor. In typical Anna style it also shows a lot of steamy sex, with the woman in charge.

In the opening scene we see a female doctor busy in her lab, with glass bottles, jars, and funnels on the shelves, cylinders and more equipment on her workbench. A janitor enters the room; he’s there to mop the floor. They are both attractive; she with dark hair in a pony tale, white coat, and high heels (!); he in blue coat, blond ruffled hair, a boyish look in his face. She’s studying something in a microscope, taking notes. He looks at her, curiously, while mopping.

“So what’s that you’re doing there?

“Oh, just some research.

“So what’s it you’re researching?

“Stem cells.

“What are they, then?

She gives him an exasperated look: “Stem cells.

He stops to mop, a smile lurking on his lips;

“ do you know that I’m going to be a doctor?

Oh yes?

You don’t believe me?

Eh, as a matter of fact, I don’t; you wouldn’t be here mopping floors then, now would you.

But you gotta start somewhere.

Yes, that’s why I began by studying medicine.

“I’m taking a different road.

“Obviously.

He goes on with a series of teasingly naïve questions; she retorts, somewhat exasperated, but not unfazed by the playful tone. He pauses to give her a break, leans up against a bench, unbuttons his coat. She looks in his direction. At the lump in his pants. Slides her glasses down her nose:

“I’m not being funny, but have you had that checked out?

“What, what’s wrong with it?

“Well, it looks rather inflamed. I think you may have elephantitis of the penis.

“No, you don’t think so.

“Uhum.

“Where should I go and get it checked out then?

“Obviously: your doctor.

“You’re a doctor.

“Oh, so you’re trying to say you want me to check it out for you.

“Well you noticed it.

She sighs, faking annoyance.

Ok, get it out so I can take a look at it.

Huh? There’s clearly nothing wrong with it.

Oh, get it out so I can take a look at it, she snaps impatiently;  “

come here, but not too close.

He unzips his pants and gets it out.

See, it’s clearly too big, you can’t even get it out of your pants, she snaps flippantly. “ Yes, this is a clear example of elephantitis of the penis. Do you ever have any trouble getting this into your girlfriend?

Well, yes, when you mention it.

Hm, well, I’ll have to take a closer look at it; come here, take off your pants.

She puts a towel on an examination table, has him lie down. Studies his penis closely.

 When you’re aroused, does it get bigger then? she asks straight-faced.

Yes, as a matter of fact, it does.

I will have to see just how big it can get “

She begins to jerk his cock “

And if it can fit in my mouth.

In this manner the playful and eventually quite bustling breathless sex continues as she proceeds to deep throat him too and then decides to see if she can fit his penis in her vagina, and anus, from the front and behind, and so on and on. She gets sweaty and flushed from all the work, he too. She comes before him as he’s taking her anally while she’s fingering herself. At the end she requests a sperm sample. She puts on gloves, finds a sterile reagent bottle; holds it up to the head of his penis and has him masturbate until he comes. It’s a hilarious scenario, and of course sperm ends up spraying all over the place than into the narrow bottle. Yet, straight-faced still, even as streaks of sperm are running down her face, she comments dryly as she seals the bottle: that will be it, now it must be studied in the lab, he may leave.

(This post is an excerpt from my book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters, forthcoming fall 2012.)

Quizzical Mama

Quizzical mama, aka Anne G. Sabo, PhD, is a former academic turned public educator, author, speaker, freelance writer, and mama- and sex blogger. Her book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters (Zer0 Books, October 2012) has been called “a goldmine for all sex-positive women and men,” and a “candid, well-informed personal story of how a good girl became involved in porn." She writes mores about progressive porn and sex-positivity in her New porn by women blog and at her resource site Love, Sex, and Family, and she muses about life and parenting in her Quizzical mama blog. She lives in Northfield, Minnesota, a small college town just south of the Twin Cities, with her spouse and their preschooler daughter. You can follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @quizzicalmama.

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