Would you dare indulge in a little show-and-tell or explore your exhibitionist side? Marie Claire examines the world of amateur porn and questions whether it’s more risky than risqué.
Text: Renyi Lim
Once upon a time, there was a couple – let’s call them Pam and Tom (and perhaps you’ve already guessed where this story is heading) – who decided to have a little fun in front of their home video camera during their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the video was subsequently stolen and posted online by an internet pornography company. The movie quickly reached the height of notoriety and generated a profit of over USD 80 million, of which the mortified couple only received a fraction when they took the company to court over invasion of privacy.
The 1998 incident involving Pamela Anderson and her then-husband Tommy Lee is arguably the most famous sex tape scandal to have emerged in the public sphere. You would have thought it would be a lesson to them and to other people not to risk recording any strictly adult action that they didn’t want viewed by anyone else, but no – Paris Hilton swiftly followed suit with 1 Night in Paris, as did Hollywood bad boy Colin Farrell, reality screen queen Kim Kardashian, and (gasp!) former US Senator John Edwards. Tut tut.
Of course, being celebrities, you could argue that everyone wants a piece of them, especially if it’s X-rated. As for us ordinary folk, need we be so paranoid about having something similar happen to us? And who does that kind of stuff for kicks, anyway?
Well, prepare to be surprised.
Clicks for Kicks
“One evening, I was exchanging flirty texts with this guy,” a girlfriend told me recently, “And he asked me to send him a dirty picture. I’m not an idiot – there’s no way I was going to send him anything with my face in it – but I messaged him an artfully-shot photograph of myself in my underwear. It was actually quite fun, especially when I received a picture back from him. It was also a little thrilling that only he and I would be able to tell that it was me in that photo.”
She isn’t the only one doing it – quite a few other women I know have at one point made reference to sending their significant others (or even fairly insignificant others) photographs of themselves in various states of undress. Some women are happy for anyone and everyone to take a look: numerous amateur pornography websites exist online, including I Shot Myself, “an erotic, web-based, self-portraiture project” where women can submit nude photographs of themselves for online display, while adult versions of YouTube allow you the opportunity to broadcast yourself if you want to try the full pornstar experience.
Amateur pornography has traditionally been framed within a narrative of controversy, scandal and sleaze, but times are changing. It’s no longer viewed in mainstream culture as something to be embarrassed of – in fact, people appear to be taking matters into their own hands and engaging in the production process with enthusiasm. Photo flirting is almost compulsory in the dating world, while celebrities to the girl next door are getting their kicks on camera. In short: everyone seems to be doing it.
The full article is available in our June 2011 issue, which is currently available at all good newsstands.