It’s just human nature to want to film yourself having sex. From making a Xerox copy of one’s butt to stripping down and jacking off on Chatroulette, history has shown us time and again that when presented with a new form of technology, mankind won’t waste much time before figuring out how to expose themselves on it. From the dawn of filmmaking, people have probably been thinking, “Hey, what if I used this to film myself having sex?” and thanks to certain technological developments that have taken place in the century or so since, it’s never been easier to do exactly that.
As recently as the early part of this millenium, sex tapes remained largely the domain of celebrities who, it’s worth noting, were simultaneously shamed and ogled by the masses when their private content leaked (if they were women, anyway.) These days, however, any shmuck with an iPhone can film themselves having sex any time they want — but that doesn’t mean they should.
I’m not saying anyone who wants to shouldn’t record themselves having sex, (provided they are doing so with the explicit consent of any other participating parties) but if you’re going to do it, you should probably put in a little more effort than simply propping up your phone on your bedside table and going at it.
In order to help you make your amateur foray into porn look as non-amateur as possible, we checked in with the pros — the porn pros. Below, Woody All-In, Senior Video Editor at AdultTime.com, and adult performers Siri Dahl and Sarah Vandella share their tips for making DIY porn you’ll actually want to watch.
This should go without saying, but just as a reminder, you can never, ever record someone in a sexual situation without their explicit permission. All-In even prefaced our entire conversation with, “I’m assuming everyone involved in the filming process is willing to be there and fully consensual.” But you, as a person actually involved in that process, cannot simply assume that’s the case — you have to know because that consent has been freely given and made explicitly clear. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you’ve filmed with before; it doesn’t matter if it’s your wife of a billion years; it doesn’t matter if you know the person you’re filming definitely won’t mind and you want it to be a sexy surprise. You absolutely cannot film anyone without their knowledge and consent, ever.
Have a game plan
While it may seem sexy and spontaneous to simply hit record and see where the mood takes you, chances are you’ll be less than satisfied with how that spontaneity actually translates on camera. While there’s no need to write and choreograph a whole scene, (unless you want to, of course) you’re going to want to go in with at least a rough idea of what you’re doing.
“Definitely have a game plan,” says All-In, and make sure everyone is on board with it.
“Have a loose idea of what you want to film,” Vandella suggests, including what positions are in the rotation and what’s off limits. “Talk to your partners and make sure that everyone is aware of boundaries and limitations,” she suggests, adding that putting a safe word in place may also be a good idea.
And while you should have a plan, it’s also important to stay flexible. “Keep in mind that what you’re comfortable with could change halfway during filming, so make sure you have some back-up suggestions or ideas in case something doesn’t work for you,” says Vandella.
Finally, “Rehearse!” says All-In. Again, you don’t have to memorize lines or run through choreography, but it’s a good idea to figure out how you’re going to look and sound on camera — and how you want to look and sound on camera — before you film the feature presentation. “It’s easy to roll the camera and move in the space you will use, test out your screaming and moaning levels and check the footage to adjust accordingly.”
Know your positions
When the camera starts rolling, it may be tempting to embrace your inner porn star and try out some more complex positions, but it’s probably a better idea to stay within your comfort zone, especially as a newbie.
“I would stick with positions you know you can do comfortably, especially if you are new to having sex in front of a camera. It will help with the nervousness,” says Dahl. “Missionary with legs up is great, as well as any positions with the woman on top! Don’t forget to include oral and foreplay in your sex tape, too. It doesn’t all have to be about the penetration.”
Remember, the pros are pros for a reason. “Seasoned performers that you might have come across during your own research are very talented at their job, which is to make every position look comfortable while keeping it sexy,” says All-In. “In reality, a lot of positions you see in your average porno are acrobatic feats by themselves. Many neophytes will soon discover that the Reverse Cow-Girl position might be great for the camera, but is said by many performers to be uncomfortable and impersonal.”
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the positions you know and love. In fact, doing so will probably make for a much better experience, which will almost definitely yield much better results.
Lights, camera, angles
In most cases, you’re probably going to be both the star and the cameraman of your own sex tape, so once you figure out what you’re going to do in front of the camera, you’re going to need to know where to put it.
“Home made sex tapes are classically one of two things: either a static tripod capturing everything in a wide angle, or a handheld shot mimicking the point-of-view of one of the participants,” says All-In. “While both techniques have their advantages, I would recommend first timers set-up a tripod and try to forget about the camera. Once you’re comfortable just performing for the camera, go ahead and spice it up.”
You’ll also want to keep your most flattering angles in mind. “On the technical side: low camera angles are great for coverage, but are usually unflattering, while high angles can be very sexy but less hardcore,” says All-In. “A wide shot is safe, but can be boring, and poorly lit close-up shots can be less appealing.”
Speaking of poor lighting, a little equipment can go a long way.
“The most commonly seen issues in home-made sex tapes are probably the bad lighting, the tinny audio and the nausea-inducing shaky image. Fortunately, all of those can be fixed for a pretty inexpensive price,” says All-In. “A minimum of two light sources are necessary for a good shot: A key light, the main source of illumination, and a fill light, to fill the shadows created by the key light.” Fortunately, the sun counts as a key light, and LED ring lights and panels are readily available online and relatively inexpensive these days.
In addition to lighting, a better microphone than the one that comes with your iPhone might be a worthwhile investment. “A good microphone makes a world of difference in any audiovisual production and sex tapes are no different,” says All-In. “I would recommend shotgun microphones designed to capture directional audio that can be attached either on a tripod or boom pole, but also directly to the camera. If you plan on shooting POV, consider having the microphone off the camera to ensure better sound quality.”
Last but not least, you may want to give your phone a little more support than the bedside table can offer. “Many home-made sex tapes will be shot on smart phones, making the footage very shaky. Investing in a good gimbal system, or stabilizer, could be worth your while,” says All-In. “A ton of DIY filmmaking videos on how to create stabilization solutions for home videos are a google search away.”
Don’t let the pressure of “performing” distract you from having a good time. It’s just sex, so just do what you’d usually do.
“Talk to your partner(s) the way you normally would during sex. Just because you’re filming a sex tape doesn’t mean you have to transform into a sexy sex robot on camera,” says Dahl. “You should feel free to be 100 percent yourself in your sex tape. When I make my own sex tapes, I often leave the “bloopers” in, for example when I say something silly in the moment, or pick a fuzz off my boyfriend’s eyelid.”
It’s also important to remember that there’s no reason to exclude whatever toys or other products you’d normally use during sex from your sex tape. “Have all of your normal sexy-time supplies on hand before you start filming — lube, vibrator, condoms, nitrile gloves, whatever you would typically use during sex,” adds Dahl.
Remember, the whole point of making your own sex tape is that it’s not professional porn. It’s just you, your partner(s) and a camera, so don’t let the “performance” take you out of the moment. It’s supposed to be fun.
“My recommendation would be to do what feels the best, along with what enables you to feel your sexiest and most confident,” says Vandella. “Create a space that enables you again to feel the sexiest and most powerful in yourself.”
Have fun, be safe, and happy porn.