Queasy viewing of a weird pastime

There are many genres of documentary and one is the Channel 4 film about people who do strange and disturbing things in their spare time. Last month, viewers learned all about amateur porn makers in Newcastle and Brighton. And now Breastfeeding My Boyfriend (Channel 4, 10pm) introduces us to the “ANR” community.

What’s ANR, you wonder? Well, whatever you do, don’t confuse it with “ASMR” – which refers to videos in which people whisper and pretend to comb your hair. It’s weird. But rest assured ANR is far weirder.

The letters are an abbreviation of “adult nursing relationship” – or breastfeeding for adults. We are introduced to Lana and Shawn in Mercia, Spain who make a mint posting their breastfeeding videos online. So as to illustrate what a typical day involves, Shawn settles in next to Lana and off they go. The slurping sounds that ensue will stay with you long after the end credits.

And we meet Tip and Button in Virginia (the one in the US not Cavan it is useful to point out). Over footage of the couple cavorting at the beach, the narrator explains they were surprised to discover there was no such thing as an online ANR community. So they started their own.

A video of Button breastfeeding Tip clocked up 300,000 views and they were inundated with messages from the “ANR-curious”.

“It was really, really exciting to see we were not alone in having this relationship,” smiles Button. “Typically, Tip will breastfeed three to five times a day,” adds the narrator.

Adult nursing can be a real cash-cow too. In Dorset we meet “Milky Mummy”, an incognito “content producer” of lactating porn for the Only Fans website. Even within pornography this is regarded as taboo. Which may be why Milky Mummy is making such a mint from it (though she draws the line at breast-feeding her boyfriend).

Their stories are told in a style that might be describe as “arch Channel 4”. The narrator’s voice has an ever present “fnar fnar” quality while the perky soundtrack screams, “golly, it’s all a bit naughty, isn’t it?”

What’s lacking is a genuine attempt at psychoanalysis. Why would grown men and women wish to participate in such an activity? Does it have something to do with their childhoods? Or, for that matter, their adulthoods?

The film isn’t interested in exploring these questions and the revelation that Tip never knew his biological mother is glossed over when it surely merits further scrutiny.

Ultimately, all Breastfeeding My Boyfriend wants to do is gawp at these individuals and their unusual pastime. And if gawping is your thing, the documentary certainly delivers.

More sensitive viewers may have found it queasy watching. Afterwards, I felt in need of a restorative cup of coffee. For once, I skipped the milk.

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