The erotic activities of a mother and daughter in Tampa, Fla., who have become an on-screen pornography duo, are pushing the boundaries of propriety and sparking a debate among some experts, even in an industry known for its taboos.
For the last year, Jessica, 56, and her 22-year-old daughter, Monica -- known as the Sexxxtons -- have been filming sex scenes with each other and non-related partners for their self-titled website. The duo, who like many in pornography do not use their last names, say that even though they will have sex with another person at the same time, they are not interacting with each other.
Their definition of sex may be strictly semantics to the average person, but it also may have legal merit, according to Randy Reep, a Florida-based criminal defense attorney who said that Florida law defines incest, in part, as penetration by one family member to another.
In addition, the right to make pornography is, for the most part, covered by the First Amendment, but the Sexxxtons still might face risks. "Being involved in pornography in the South carries certain risks," Reep told HuffPost. "It's not as liberal as in California."
But the letter of the law and the spirit of the law can be two different things, and experts such as psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman believes the Sexxxtons are guilty of "emotional incest."
"Even if they're not having sex with each other, it has to be titillating to one or both of them, so it crosses the line since sexual arousal comes into the mix."
Monica defends their work and says it was her idea to start the website. "I enjoy the sex and I enjoy being with my mom," she told The Huffington Post. "During the scenes, I think about how we're going to be filthy rich."
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The Sexxxtons: Mother And Daughter Porn Team
Donna Mae Depola, a child sex abuse activist, however, believes that the Sexxxtons' activities are potentially damaging even if they are consensual.
Depola's book "The Twelve Tins" documents her reaction to discovering films that her dad made while having sex with her between ages 5 and 12.
"This might be even worse than my situation," she told HuffPost. "I had no choice, but this mother is an adult and she is a mother and a mother is suppose to protect her daughter. Whether it was the daughter's idea or not, someday this mother will regret this decision and the daughter will have such resentment that her mother agreed to her daughter's request, that this appears to have long lasting damage."
Depola insisted she is not judging them.
"I have no right to do that," she said. "All I am saying is you can justify this behavior to anyone with half a brain. The mom has to stand up and face the truth: A mother does not have sex in the same bed that the daughter is in. Just plain and simple."
Even though the Sexxxtons claim this is just business, New York-based therapist Silvia M. Dutchevici also believes there could be lasting damage.
"Psychologically, there will be scars for both women," Dutchevici said. "One cannot perform sexual acts in front of one’s parent (or caretaker) without shame or guilt surfacing. Also, if there is a history of sexual abuse, these “scenes” will trigger some of the trauma."
Porn actress and Huffington Post blogger Amber Peach has done her share of kinky sex scenes, but the Sexxxtons' work is too much for her.
"I don't care if they don't touch each other or not, it's got to be hurting something mentally. Some things are secret and most [adult] industry people understand that I think. This really has just left me speechless," she told HuffPost by email. "I have a great relationship with my parents, and am very open with them, but shooting with them has and will never cross my mind."
Incest has been called the universal taboo, but there are some sex experts who don't believe the Sexxxtons are guilty of it -- or that it is potentially damaging.
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Veronica Monet, a certified sexologist and anger management specialist, believes the Sexxxtons have handled their situation about as well as it can be.
"At first blush, it sounds like an incestuous enterprise but upon closer examination, I have to admit that both Monica and Jessica appear to enjoy a congenial, egalitarian and respectful relationship," she told HuffPost. "I find their refusal to be shamed for their adult consensual choice, courageous and admirable. To their credit, they have maintained the sexual boundaries which would preclude this as being an overtly incestuous endeavor."
Cora Emens, a Netherlands-based sex coach, said that their Jessica and Monica's personal decisions are no one's business, but that a mother and daughter sex scene is better in some ways than the typical girl-girl interaction.
"I'd rather see a mother and daughter interact in a sex scene than two women who are strangers and fighting for the attention of the camera," she told HuffPost. "Whatever gets you off. Porn is all fantasy and let us all at least be free in our fantasy world. Whatever that world may be."
Although the Sexxxtons' story sparked controversy, research suggests that long-term porn success may not be in the cards, according to Nicole Prause, an assistant researcher at UCLA in the Department of Psychiatry who studies sexual arousal in response to porn.
"Research shows sexual acts between any parent and child leads most people to report feeling high levels of disgust, especially women, so the strong reaction to their films is unlikely to be seen as more acceptable over time," she said. "Some researchers have suggested that erotic images online are so sexually compelling because of the novelty they provide. Since these type of interactions are so rare, and even rarely portrayed, I would expect many people who use erotic images on the internet to find them sexually arousing."
For her part, Monica sees porn as an easy, fun way to make money, but she does have some fantasies she'd like to fulfill with her mom.
"We've never come across a father-son porn duo in real life," she told HuffPost. "We tried to film a scene that was like that, but the guy they cast as the 'Dad' looked too much like the 'Cockroach' guy from that movie, 'Men In Black'."