Tips from couples who have filmed it - and loved it.
What do Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, Gena Lee Nolin, and R Kelly have in common? (No, it’s not that they’re natural blondes.) The answer, of course, is that they’ve all made embarrassing—and, in one case, incriminating—sex tapes that weren’t intended for public consumption, and then sat by relatively helplessly as the tapes were sold to and watched by millions of strangers.
The idea of a family member, coworker, or online porn distributor with good lawyers getting his or her hands on your sex video is a mood-killing, mortifying thought. Yet filming sex can heighten intimacy between you and your partner while providing a two-pronged sexual thrill: the exhibitionism of being on camera, and the voyeurism of watching yourselves later.
To fully enjoy the thrill, therefore, simply erase the video after you’ve watched it — you can always make another.
Then, relax. “You’re not a porn star, or a pornographer,” says Dr. Laura Berman, an Oprah favorite and director of Chicago’s Berman Center, which is dedicated to women’s sexual health. “No matter how many porn movies you’ve seen, you’re not going to tape yours in a way that’s going to turn out how you imagine it. You should expect a lot of giggles.”
David and Caroline* had never talked or even thought about filming themselves having sex—until David brought home a digital video camera for a work project. “I asked him how much memory it had, and he said only about ten minutes,” says Caroline, a 28-year-old consultant in Miami. “I joked that it would never be enough time for us, but it didn’t stay a joke for long.”
They filmed themselves, then watched it in bed. “We did more laughing than anything else,” David, a 30-year-old public relations executive, admits. “But it still made us want to repeat our exploits off-camera.” Take note: Within hours of making the video, they erased it.
Even fully clothed, many people react like cornered baboons when someone tries to take a simple snapshot, so the idea of being filmed while naked, vulnerable, and sticking their ass God-knows-where is essentially unthinkable. But, ironically, the phobia may provide the cure: If you can screw up the courage to watch even a few seconds of yourself on camera—cellulite, silly faces, unfortunate noises, and all—you may see yourself in a whole new light.
“Women, especially, are typically much easier on other women than they are on themselves,” says Berman. “So they can use the video to take a step outside themselves and look on as though it was another person. They might find that she’s quite attractive.”
Kim, 27, a modern dancer in New York, also found freedom.
“I realized that being overwhelmed is like the opposite of being handcuffed, which limits what I can do and gives my boyfriend power over me,” she says. “When we film, he’s freeing me from being what he expects me to be—or what I think he expects me to be. I can be another person playing a character, and do things I normally wouldn’t do without feeling inhibited.”
For flattering lighting, use Japanese paper lanterns or candles. “Positions where the woman is stretched out look best,” adds famed porn star Gina Lynn of ginalynn.com. “But really, if it’s just for you, there’s no reason to worry about how you look. Just have fun with it.” Oh, and did we mention you should erase the tape?
A lightweight, small camera is ideal. (Samsung’s SC-X105L comes with a hands-free lipstick cam you can fasten to your head, arm, or other appendage.) Any camera will have a zoom function, but to avoid dizzying, too-quick zooms and blurriness, try simply holding it nearer and farther.
Alternatively, you could set up the camera on a tripod, but that may take some of the fun out of it.
“Part of what makes it so exciting is getting frustrated with having the camera in the way, so that you finally throw it aside,” says Robert, a 37-year-old art dealer from Los Angeles.
While having sex with his girlfriend, Anya, on a vacation two years ago, he grabbed his digital point-and-shoot, which also could record 20 seconds of video. He shot just her face, without sound, and they enjoyed watching it so much that they bought a video camera. “It’s incredibly hot and fun to watch later and step back and wonder what she was thinking or feeling.”
So if taping sex makes it even more memorable, who needs a visual record lying around the house? Allow the otherwise eloquent Voyeur to hammer home the point by coining an asinine, yet incisive, phrase: After you embrace, erase.
Ky Henderson is a writer in New York City.
*Names in this story have been changed.
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