Sex tapes are awful.
On the first Monday in March 2016, a Florida jury began hearing testimony regarding Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker Media for its involvement in publicizing the former wrestler’s sex tape. In 2012, the website posted a clip of Hulk Hogan having intercourse with the wife of his ex-best friend, radio host Bubba the Love Sponge. The sex was consensual, the taping was not, and millions of online viewers consented to watching it.
The judge and jury will hear arguments for Gawker’s protection under the First Amendment and Hogan’s right to privacy. Whether what Gawker did was wrong, in the eyes of the law, will be up to the court. But as a society of marginally intelligent human beings, can we all agree to just stop watching each other fuck?
As a community of governed Americans, we face many obstacles in retaining any sliver of privacy we once held. Cameras and digital surfaces log our face and fingerprints constantly, the NSA is likely reading our sexts, and our smartphones are recording our most mundane conversations. It’s a brave, new world, and we’re all just data, baby! It’s futile to fight, and unless you’re truly, CIA level off-the-grid, then you’re on the books somewhere.
Video of truly normal “love making” should never see the light of day.
Will people continue to make sex tapes? Hell yes. Will clouds continue to be hacked? Definitely, especially when it comes to “celebrities.” It’s inevitable. And I completely understand the urge to watch a sex tape when it features a recognizable character in the public eye.
As a young immature teen, I sought out both the Paris Hilton and Tommy Lee-Pamela Anderson tapes. It was a brand-new era of access that ran parallel to my puberty. It was hard to fight. And I’ll also admit, embarrassingly, and out of a disgusting, uncontrollable curiosity, I watched the Fred Durst sex tape. I wanted to look into the abyss.
But I was wrong! While the rest of our lives are increasingly on the record, the grim details of adult intercourse are some of the only secrets we have left. We should cherish that specific privacy, and honor it. The specifics of sex can be objectively unattractive. The consenting part of consenting participation of two parties negates this ugliness, however, as you both agree to accept the oddities of fornication—the awkward undressing, the cartoonish grimaces and ecstatic facial contortions, the noises, the noises, the noises…
But when existing in the intimate communication of presence, face-to-face between two, or three, consenting adults, doing it is beautiful. It is ours. It is a rare and secret gem.
Throw that shit on an iPhone, however, and broadcast it to a million RSS feeds, and we gradually give away the few concealable prizes we own. (Those prizes being the intimate knowledge of someone else’s fuck faces and nut noises.) Video of truly normal “love making” should never see the light of day. The indignity of sock removal or the clunky dance of position alteration are not for visual consumption. In fact, documentation of such detail is the passing from pornography into obscenity. It bleeds the romantic ideal of copulation with the ugliness of the awful “real world.”
Is sex animalistic and grotesquely physical and often not beautiful? Yes, of course!
But it only should be a crass expression of beastly urges in the realm of privacy for those who are boning—unless those fuckers intend, of their own volition, to share these scenes with other likeminded adults, or maybe for the sake of Art.
Otherwise, let’s keep some secrets secret. Let the porn stars eroticize us with their sex charade. We don’t need to see our unsuspecting fellows writhing around in each other. We don’t need to know which muscles tighten when, um, other muscles…tighten. Save all those steamy, awkward realities for your own transcendental moments of pleasure. We don’t have many private moments left.