Sexpert Emily Kelly examines the amateur porn craze and offers tips for filming your own sex tape.
We spent the evening with nothing but a laptop and a drawer full of sex toys. It was date night. There were no candles lit, no rose petals sprinkled across the black satin bedsheets, just a pile of pornos from my personal collection and two horny teenagers shooting whiskey, as young lovers do on date night, or, at least, as my boyfriend and I did on date night.
Ever since I graduated from my teenybopper years of giggling at the sex tips in Cosmopolitan and peaking at the “Adult Romance” section in Barnes and Noble, the taboo surrounding pornography has puzzled me. Some of my girlfriends would blush at the thought of admitting that they have sifted through a porn website or two, let alone, masturbate. The root of the embarrassment exhibited by my girlfriends, and by many others, is our culture, which has conditioned us to be inherently shameful of sex and, consequently, chastise pornography. Paradoxically, western culture has unjustly afforded women two extremes: you’re either a bra-burning feminist or a porn-watching harlot.
It is unfair, however, to categorize porn, and its viewers, as inherently evil or destructive (or bra-burning harlots) simply because it involves naked bodies in a sexual context. Subscribing to this stigma unjustly criminalizes sex and endorses shame rather than acceptance, which can undercut a person’s acceptance of their own sexuality and fetishes.
In our virtual world of tweeting and texting, a modern trend has aroused couples: the amateur sex tape craze. Filming your own porno with your significant other can amplify the intimacy between you and your lover and allows each partner to explore their own sexual identities and fetishes. Stimulated by the hype surrounding the growing amateur porn industry, my partner and I agreed to film our own sex tape: after a full body wax, numerous awkward film takes, and plenty of editing, we produced our first sex tape together. To avoid performance anxiety, consider a few tips from a seasoned amateur porn star.
Sometimes, we masturbate so absentmindedly that we neglect to identify what truly turns us on: comb through your own personal collection of porn to get a sense of what kind of porn actually arouses you. Unless you are planning on leaking the sex tape to a broader viewing audience, it is best to cater your home video to your own, as well as your partner’s, personal tastes.
Personalization is the prime advantage of filming your own tape; props may prove a valuable asset in the finished product. Prior to filming, decide if any props will be required: for partner’s who enjoy S&M tapes, a trip to the local sex store may be in order to stock up on bondage toys. If a third party is needed for group sex, seek out a willing volunteer. If anime porn is your thing, consider commissioning an illustrator or graphic design artist.
An essential element of all tasteful filmography, lighting and camera angles should be considered prior to filming. Overhead lighting and a few desk lamps can be manipulated to overcome the pitfalls of recording in a 5×5 dorm room; the added light will highlight each partner’s sexy curves. Camera angles can also work to each partner’s advantage: I recommend using a tripod to avoid fumbling with a handheld camera, but if a tripod camera is not readily available, a laptop webcam can be substituted. Although easily accessible and user-friendly, the laptop camera produces a grainy picture, rendering a lower image quality of your home video.
Another camera option is the GoPro camera: though originally intended for filming extreme sports, the GoPro’s rugged design has been adopted by the amateur pornography industry. It’s compact size and unique head mounting component renders it an ideal piece of equipment for filming point-of-view pornography. Consider it an investment in your sex life.
The final element to consider when filming a sex tape is editing software. Editing the film creates a more polished look and allows partners the opportunity to clean up any unflattering scenes or clumsy movements that are best left in the bedroom than on a film strip.
Keep in mind that footage tends to outlive relationships: consider making a pact for joint destruction of the tape in the event of a breakup. The pact will serve as a failsafe and hamper the likelihood of the tape being leaked on the internet. I, unfortunately, was not proactive. The relationship with my amateur sex tape costar, and boyfriend at the time, eventually ended in a messy breakup. He got the porno, I got the Xbox. Seemed to be a fair trade at the time, but the question now crosses my mind if there is a sex tape or two floating around the Internet with my name in the credits.
There is a plethora of porn available on the Internet that appeals to a variety of fantasies and fetishes: I’ve come across vegan porn, hairy porn, and BDSM porn, but then there are the dark corners of the internet that feature nonconsensual, incestuous, statutory, or bestial pornography. It is because of these scenarios, where the porn industry has been abused and exploited to cater to a perverted audience, that pornography is stigmatized and charged with contributing to the male-centered objectification of women.
Criminalizing and censoring sex as a consequence of these obscene cases of pornography will only silence the victims, and cannot be permitted to undermine the advantages of consensual porn afforded to the public. Exposure to consensual sex in pornography permits a person to love sex without being slut-shamed, embrace their individual sexual orientation, and find out what personally turns them on. All of this can be done in the comforts of one’s own bedroom with nothing but a laptop and a vibrator.
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.
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