Love & Sex

I Did It for Science: Sex Tape

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State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction that can be verified by the results of the experiment.

In recent years, the homemade sex video has reached its apex of cultural influence. The Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee video (a.k.a. the Citizen Kane of home sex tapes) is now one of the highest-grossing explicit movies of all time. A celebrity sex tape is released approximately every month. The proliferation of amateur porn offers a refreshing antidote to silicone-enhanced studio product. Girls Gone Wild is a kajillion-dollar industry.
    While the appeal these videos hold for curious viewers is obvious, what is the appeal of making sex videos? Does the camera serve as an erotic stimulus, fulfilling both voyeuristic and exhibitionistic fantasies? Or does sex become more about performing for the lens than for one’s partner? And what about the finished product? Would my own home sex video be worthy of multiple masturbatory viewings? Or, like the deadly video in The Ring, would it leave me traumatized beyond repair?

Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).

– RCA DSP3 full-size VHS camcorder (found in a garbage can in Queens)
– Tripod (borrowed from my friend, James)
– Condoms
– Videotape
– Well-hung leading man

In this portion of your report, you must describe, step-by-step, what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.

    “The problem with making a sex tape," forewarned my friend Kat, "is that someone, somewhere, will see it — whether you like it or not."
    “Yes, but I have nothing to lose," I argued. "I live in a sixth-floor walkup with a hole in the ceiling. I don’t have a bank account or a working fridge. A sex tape can only help. Look at Paris

Hilton. Now she’s the Guess? girl and has a hit TV show."
    “But she started out famous,” Kat noted.
    “Well, maybe it can work in reverse," I said. "Also, it’s not like I’m going to forget to label the tape.”
    I have no idea why so many people — especially celebrities — don’t label their sex tapes. If I tape an episode of The Golden Girls, I’m going to label it, so I’m sure as hell going to label a tape of me bent over and taking it in my love-hole. Of course, I’m not going to label it “Me Fucking.” Better to go with something more banal, like “Kevin Costner’s Waterworld.”
    This precaution aside, Kat is right. Sex tapes always get out. Even if you have been married to a person for fifty years, and you think that person would never sell your tape to Rick Salomon for a million dollars, you are wrong. The simple act of being filmed in such a compromising position means there is a small chance someone other than you or your partner will see it.
   But as many great humans have pointed out, great achievements involve great risk.
   I asked some friends if they had ever taped themselves doing it, and if so, what the results were. “Nobody needs to see their own ohgod face,” theorized my friend, Lucky Dave. “That’s the property of the person who gives it to you.”
    “I was mostly self-conscious about looking good on camera," said my friend Tom. "And the subsequent viewing was much better than the actual production. A few days after Patti broke up with me and moved out, I figured I would bust out the tape and soothe my broken heart. It was thirty minutes of white noise. She’d erased the whole thing. She wouldn’t even leave me that.”
    None of my friends could claim a truly happy experience. Nonetheless, I was determined to forge onward. Before I even picked up a camera, I would conduct stringent research. I decided that I had to see every home sex video ever made.
    My editor at Nerve obliged, burning me a compilation CD. “We didn’t include the Fred Durst one. It stays with you,” she shivered, a pallor crossing her face, “in a really bad way.”
    That night, I settled in to watch the Paris Hilton, Pam and Tommy and Jenna Lewis tapes all in one sitting. Several hours of mind- and vagina-numbing footage later, my competitive spirit was ignited. “I can do better than this,” I thought. While Tommy Lee and Pamela are jackable, I couldn’t tolerate Tommy’s trite banter and his need to begin every sentence with the word “fuck.” (As in, “Fuck, I love you so much,” and “Fuck, you are so gorgeous.”) Sure, there’s no way I’ll ever look like Pamela Anderson naked, and I don’t have access to fancy locations like penis-steered boats or lavish hotel rooms, but in the dialogue and creativity departments, I am way ahead of the game.
    I called my longtime lover, collaborator and potential leading man, Nick Zedd, an artist best known for making strange underground films. Perhaps it would be considered cheating to make a home sex video with a director who has been making movies for twenty years, but it’s also cheating to wear perfectly applied makeup and to cast a former Abercrombie & Fitch model as your co-star, which is exactly what Jenna Lewis did on her tape.
    “Would you make a home sex video with me so I can write a story about it?” I asked Nick.
    “Okay," he said. "But no one can ever see it.”
    “Of course no one will ever see it. I’ll label it.”
   That seemed to be all the assurance Nick needed.
   “Listen, I don’t want it to be boring,” I said. “Maybe it should have a plot. Or do you think then it becomes too much like amateur porn?”
    “What’s the difference?”
    “I think amateur porn is made to be seen. And home sex videos are made only for the people who make them.”
    “Still, we could have a plot," Nick said. "I could play a man who lost his original penis due to leprosy, but just had a penis transplant and wants to try it out."
    “I don’t want viewers to be bored, but I also don’t want them to be revolted. Plus, I think that plot is too convoluted.”
    “Maybe we could incorporate the giant plastic frog in your kitchen,” Nick suggested.
    “Yeah! You can play a lab scientist who turns the frog into a woman who turns out to be a nymphomaniac, played by me. It’s perfect!”
    Nick agreed to acquire a videocamera and meet me the following Thursday, boner in hand. I hung up and set to work storyboarding, using the Kama Sutra as a guide.
    At roughly one p.m. Thursday, Nick arrived, carrying a tripod, a bag of dirty magazines and a camera. He plunked the case down on the kitchen floor and pulled out a camera the likes of which I hadn’t seen since roughly 1980.
    “It’s the size of a mini-fridge!” I gasped. “Is it a Beta? Where did it come from?”
    “Victor found it in a garbage can in Queens.”
    “Are you sure it works?”
    Nick assured me it worked as he hauled the behemoth piece of camcorder history into my bedroom. He turned the RCA DP3’s monitor toward us. “That’s so we can watch what we’re doing.”
    Taking a deep breath, I squeezed into my orange fringed bathing suit. We placed my plastic bullfrog in the middle of my bed and recorded it as I narrated. “Late at night at the lab,” I began, “and Professor Zedd is doing an experiment on a frog. What will happen?” This was the only dialogue I bothered to write for the whole video. I figured the rest would write itself.
    We shut the video camera off, and I lay down in the frog’s place. I looked at myself in the monitor, then opened my bedroom curtains just a bit until the lighting was flattering. Earlier I had noted that Pam and Tommy were smart to use natural light, the kindest of all lights — much better than the Robocop night vision employed by Rick Salomon on One Night in Paris.
    I made a come-hither gesture to Nick. He hit the record button and joined me for a smooch. “Our collective pastiness will probably blind viewers,” I noted, slowly peeling off Nick’s lab coat and unbuttoning his shirt.
    “That camera is so loud,” he groaned.
    Indeed, the RCA DP3 sounded like a garbage disposal eating a box of nails — not the most erotic soundtrack in the world. I tried putting on music, but it just didn’t fit. Some people make love to music, but Nick and I have always fucked to complete and total silence. It would have been dishonest to pretend otherwise.
    With technical details resolved, we engaged in a heated round of tonsil hockey. As our clothes came off, we both turned toward the monitor repeatedly to see ourselves. I noticed Nick fixing his hair. It was sort of like talking to someone while you’re wearing mirrored shades and you realize they’ve been staring at their own reflection the whole time.
    Once we were thoroughly warmed up, I produced a condom and draped it over Nick’s penis, setting a good example should any promiscuous teens ever see our video. At this point, we were both so aroused that the camera’s significance began to pale.

"I feel like I’m seeing the face of God," I said, unable to tear my eyes away from the orifice that apparently belonged to me.

    I lay on my side, faced the camera and closed my eyes while Nick gently slid inside me. Working my fingers between my legs, my moaning grew loud enough to drown out the noisy camera. I must’ve been extremely turned on, because I came faster than a sixteen-year-old boy with a stack of Juggs. Then I came two more times! (This is not unusual. In fact, this started happening pretty much the day I turned thirty.) Once I caught my breath, Nick rolled on top of me and came moments later. We lay breathless, stretched out before the all-seeing monitor.
    “I suppose I should hit pause,” I sighed, not wanting to waste one minute of tape on the resolution phase.
    Once we had fully collected ourselves, it was time for my masturbation scene. Nick hoisted the ninety-pound camera from its tripod and directed the lens at my vulva as I busied myself with volume thirty-four of Adam magazine.
    “This camera has some special effects,” Nick noted, pressing a mysterious, unmarked button. “I think this one is some sort of mirror effect.” He moved the camera in closer. “Wow — this is amazing! You’ve got to see this!”
    He flipped the monitor over, and I marveled at the image. The mirror effect had multiplied my one humble vagina into two connected vaginas.
    “That’s awesome!” I exclaimed, inserting three fingers, which were thereupon doubled. Suddenly it looked as though fingers were growing out of me. “It’s like a Georgia O’Keefe,” I gasped. “It’s the coolest thing ever.”
    “I feel like I’m seeing the face of God,” I stated simply, unable to tear my eyes away from the glowing multi-layered, finger-sprouting orifice that apparently belonged to me. “I don’t know if I can come again. It’s almost like it’s not even me masturbating. It’s some cubist version of me. Wait, I should put some lipstick on. Can you pause it?”
    Nick paused the camera as I applied pink lipstick and searched for my vibrator. Vibrator in hand, I returned to my mark and recommenced the action. I closed my eyes, blocked out the kaleidoscopic image on the monitor and came again, rolling my head back unselfconsciously as I did.
    “Why don’t you hold the camera and get a crazy POV shot while I blow you?” I suggested. “But be careful. That camera’s really heavy. It might not be easy.”
    Sure enough, while I did my best to solicit a money shot, Nick’s arm grew weak. He placed the camera next to the bed.
    As I fellated Nick, I couldn’t help but look into the monitor. My black eyeliner was smudged, and my tangled black hair was matted to my sweaty forehead. I looked like a cross between a malnourished, C-list porn star suckin’ dick for a fix and Alice Cooper after a live concert. For a good ninety percent of the scene, I was doing what every female porn star does: looking directly into the camera. How is it that I looked like a glowing, many-armed goddess only moments ago? “I’m really not getting enough sleep,” I thought.
    After an extended session of sucking and jacking, Nick delivered an impressive money shot that landed somewhere between my lips and my left cheekbone, creating an extremely flattering dewy effect on my skin. Money shots aren’t a typical part of our sexual repertoire, and I imagine if the camera hadn’t been on us that Nick would have preferred to bend my legs over my earlobes and fuck me, but this was entertainment.
    We turned the DP3 off and lay in total silence for at least two minutes before clamoring to view the tape’s contents.

Quantify the effects of the experiment.

    When Nick popped the tape into my VCR, my heart sank. The image was scrambled. Of course — there had to be a reason someone would throw out such an amazing camera. The RCA DP3 had eaten our tape, and we’d have to start the whole experiment over from scratch! The face of God I’d seen in my multiple vaginas was lost forever, a cruel trick of technology!
    “Maybe we should try syncing it up to Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon,'” I suggested.
    “Try the tracking button,” Nick suggested.
    With bated breath, I held down the tracking button. Slowly the picture became visible.
    While I’ve seen myself nude in photographs, I have never seen myself having sex, not even in a mirror. I don’t even like the sound of my own voice on my answering machine’s outgoing message, so I fully expected to be horrified and disgusted by the sight of my naked flesh bouncing up and down. But in the natural light, I almost looked like a person who exercises. I wasn’t mortified, but I thought I looked small and asexual. In the long shots it was almost impossible to decipher whether Nick was fucking a man or a woman. My first, second and third orgasms appeared very ladylike and unreal.
    “My orgasms seemed fake,” I noted.
    “They weren’t?” Nick asked, surprised.
    “I’m totally not in this scene at all,” I sighed, watching as Nick rolled on top of me and took me from behind. “But your ass looks great. I wonder if this would turn anyone on. Are you turned on?”
    “No, are you?”
    We perked up during the distorted, split-beaver masturbation scene. It was even better the second time around. My orgasm looked more authentic, maybe because it was in close-up. I do believe that my orgasmic expression displayed onscreen was the real one, the one that I make when the camera’s not on. After all, if I’d been thinking about what I looked like, I probably wouldn’t have come at all, since the entire point of having an orgasm is not to think.

Summarize your findings. Don’t forget to attempt to identify possible variables that could result in different findings for others trying to recreate your test results.

    Upon ejecting the tape, Nick produced a Sharpie and labeled it “The Face of God.” Neither of us was wet, hard or otherwise turned on. If the goal was to make a red-hot, amateur porno, we failed. The video is far too gentle, playful and dreamlike to induce a raging boner. However, we may have accidentally made art, which was a highly unexpected result.
    Aside from that, I learned that if I don’t lift my chin off the pillow while making my ohgod face, it looks as though I have several chins. I also discovered that I was far more turned on while making the video than watching it, meaning I’m more of an exhibitionist than a voyeur. Not exactly front-page news.
    The entire experiment was affected by the main variable, which was my choice of leading man. Nick proved to be a worthy partner, keen on experimenting with the camera and even keener on capturing my satisfaction. A more nervous or self-conscious partner could have resulted in a half-hour’s worth of footage of me consoling him, and a partner bent on making a sizzling finished product would have ruined the fun I had making it. If you’re interested in trying this experiment at home, cast a co-star who satisfies you, because the last thing you want to have to do is act, and you certainly don’t want to immortalize bad sex. Also, choose someone who wants the tape to get out even less than you do.
    After the initial viewing, Nick went home and I watched the tape a few more times for research purposes until I noticed the tape was growing more scrambled with each viewing. While other people joke about destroying their sex tapes after making them, it seemed ours would self-destruct if viewed again. I didn’t show the sex tape to anyone else, even for a reaction. I didn’t want to weird out my friends or, even worse, bore them. Showing your home sex video is sort of like showing your friends pictures of your summer vacation — they probably don’t want to see it.
    I’ve often complained that porn is a genre in dire need of improvement. But just how to improve it is the question. Through a total accident involving an abandoned camera from an earlier decade (which may or may not have been left in a trash can by a deity or alien), Nick and I may have stumbled upon the answer: special effects. Why are they only for sweeping epics, fantasy films and action movies? It’s the twenty-first century, and it’s time we started to see twenty-first century porn: multiple vaginas on Cyclops-headed women blowing men with two penises, and jizz shots that make Spiderman’s battle with Dr. Octopus seem blasé.

I Did It for Science appears monthly.

©2005 Rev. Jen Miller and