Perhaps I'm something of a prude. This may seem unlikely, given the occasional bursts of four-letter words (of whatever length) that appear in this space and my general tendency to go without clothing when I can get away with it, but I can be as much of a bluenose as the next guy, especially on the highly-dubious subject of sex tapes. To put it bluntly: I don't understand the appeal.

Let me rephrase that. I don't understand the appeal for the participants. The viewers, yes, easily: nobody knows exactly how much of the Internet is devoted to photography, still or moving, of sexual activity, but I suspect the volume is greater than that of dubious drug vendors, pirated films and LOLcats combined. (Yes, there is some overlap, though I'd just as soon not imagine some of the possible combinations.) And I'd be lying if I said I never looked at anything even slightly risqué.

But why would I want a camera on me while doing the nasty? Admittedly, it's been rather a long time since said nasty was actually done, owing to a most lamentable dearth of partners, but even at my advanced age, my memory is not so poor that I need video reminders of such things. The relative paucity of notches on the bedpost, in fact, means that I have fewer incidents to recall, which inevitably means that the memories I do have are that much better. (And actually, my current bed utterly lacks posts, but it's a metaphor, okay?)

I admit to a certain amount of curiosity as to people's motivations for doing these things. I suspect, though, it was his idea:

At first, when presented with the proposal, you giggle uncomfortably and say no. He then playfully whines, smiles and asks again. You giggle harder. Repeat scene. This goes on for a couple of minutes before he suddenly drops it. He appears to move on. So do you. In reality, however, he knows he has planted the seed. He waits. Sure enough, over the next couple of days, you find yourself thinking back to his proposal.

A few weeks later, you decide that you are, in fact, the vixen he wants you to be. You agree to make the tape. You pick a day, then fast. Perhaps you have a glass or two of wine before disrobing. Half an hour later, the tape is made. You proudly sit back and watch your masterpiece. God, you're hot.

If you were going to stay together until the end of time, I suppose that's okay. But odds are you're not, and sooner or later a third party is going to see that footage. And then a fourth. And then suddenly it's on a torrent somewhere.

As a matter of, um, research, I took a look at excerpts from two fairly famous videos: 1 Night in Paris, starring the effable Paris Hilton, and an unnamed short subject (so to speak) with Colin Farrell and Nicole Narain. (No, I'm not putting them up here. What, are you nuts?) Somewhere during the proceedings I appreciated the wisdom of Erica Jong, who once said of pornographic films generally: "After the first 10 minutes I want to go home and screw. After the first 20 minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live." Coming from a woman whose most famous heroine aspired to copulation at a level of utter ziplessness, this sounds like something other than an unabashed endorsement.

I did feel a certain sympathy for the two women involved in those video sub-extravaganzas: they just wanted to please, and look what they got for their trouble. And while I'm not prepared to issue blanket statements to this effect, I'm thinking that maybe there are two types of men who initiate this sort of things: show-biz assholes, and guys who think they'd like to be show-biz assholes. Perhaps one of the dozens of celebrity tapes might actually have been the idea of the woman involved, but somehow I tend to doubt it.

About the only thing I can conclude from all of this is that sex tapes will continue to be made, and their technical quality will probably go up a notch as better equipment filters down from the ranks of the professionals. (Better video equipment, I mean. Sheesh.)

The Vent

  16 November 2009

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 Copyright © 2009 by Charles G. Hill