Kim Kardashian ruined the homemade sex tape. Now every girl who would have potentially been up for getting hot and heavy on camera is weighing the pros and cons: She knows that the likelihood a leaked sex tape will vault her into a multi-million dollar reality show empire is far smaller than the likelihood that she’ll lose her job, her friends, and her reputation.
But if you handle your approach well, shooting anything from some sexy half-nude photos with her up to full-on romp isn’t impossible—and it could jack up the excitement in the bedroom for both of you. “Not everyone wants to be a porn star,” says porn actress and director Dana Vespoli. “But everyone wants that confidence you get from looking sexy on camera.”
Here are some tips for making your foray into filmed sex a successful one.
1. Start talking.
Don’t be coy or surreptitious about this—ask her if she’s on-board. “Anytime you want to photograph somebody, you need to ask point-blank for their consent,” says sexologist Yvonne K. Fulbright, Ph.D. “But bringing it up out of the blue can be awkward.” Instead, try to tie the conversation to something relevant—for example, when she’s flipping through your Playboy, mention how sexy she’d look in the pages and gauge her reaction.
Before you whip out your cameras—and anything else—you should discuss all of the hard details, such as how the photos or video will be captured and what you’ll do with the evidence afterward. “This will make both of you feel more comfortable, and ultimately have more fun,” Fulbright says.
2. Put her in the mood.
Lucky you—she’s on board to get down in front of a camera. That doesn’t mean your work is done. “The camera isn’t foreplay. You still have to seduce her,” Vespoli says. “The more you can get her in the mood, the more comfortable she’ll be on camera.”
According to Vespoli, who directs primarily girl-on-girl scenes, novice actresses are often nervous and insecure on set. “To make her feel at ease, you’ll want to basically lavish attention on her: Tell her how sexy she is, tell her how much she turns you on, and be completely positive,” Vespoli says. “If she brings up her flaws, even jokingly, play dumb—don’t even mention them by name. If she says ‘love handles,’ say ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about. I can’t even see that.’”
3. Make it a fantasy.
If you’re laying on the charm and she’s still feeling insecure in front of the camera, you can try to make the whole thing into a role-playing fantasy. “There’s a huge difference in making your own sex tape versus taking on a role play of ‘let’s pretend we’re porn stars,’” Fulbright says. “One is about being yourself, while the other is about taking on the character/fantasy girl mentality—which is what real porn stars do, as they’re real people, too.” Plus, Fulbright notes, making it a fantasy will help her focus on a storyline rather than her insecurities.
To help her play pretend, Vespoli suggests offering to spring for professional hair and makeup, or a sexy new role-playing outfit. “You could even try a masquerade fantasy and have her wear an eye mask—that way she has a degree of anonymity on camera, as well,” Vespoli says.
4. Set the lights, camera, angles.
You don’t need studio-quality lighting or an HD video camera to shoot a good sex tape. In fact, bright lights and a professional camera can have a decidedly un-sexy effect, according to Vespoli. “I always say HD is the worst thing to happen to porn,” Vespoli says. “Nobody needs to see that much detail. If your setup is too professional-looking, she’ll feel like she’s on a set or a stage, and that’s not exactly the intimate, foreplay-sex-tape feel you’re going for.”
Here’s how to manage lighting, camera, and the right angles:
Lighting: According to Vespoli, natural light is the best light. But if you can’t get it on during the day, warm, yellow-ish incandescent lights even out the skin, hiding blemishes, dimpling, and cellulite. You only need one good light source—too many lights and she’ll get that on-stage feeling.
Camera: A phone camera will work just fine—and if she’s nervous about a potential sex tape scandal, it can be her camera. You don’t need any professional equipment, but you’ll probably want to pick up a phone tripod such as a GorillaPod.
Angles: The best angle to shoot from is actually from below, looking up. “This angle flattens the stomach, makes her butt look rounder, and makes her breasts look bouncier,” Vespoli says. “Top-down is only good if you’re shooting oral sex.”
5. Plan your positions.
Having sex on camera is a big step for an otherwise vanilla-sex kinda girl—this is no time to try new, acrobatic stunts in bed. However, there are some positions that just look better on camera. “Basically, any position that elongates the body and makes her look taller and slimmer is going to good,” says Vespoli. “If she can stretch or lean back, that’s even better.”
According to Vespoli, the best positions include cowgirl and reverse cowgirl, doggy style, and an open spoon—when you’re behind her while she faces the camera. Bad positions include the piledriver and anything too complicated, which will give her rolls in weird places. Note how the focus is on how she looks—not you. “Most porn focuses on the woman, because that’s the audience it’s catering to,” says Vespoli. “So it’s really all about her—not you.”
6. Calm her nerves.
The main reason she shies away from being on camera? She’s not 100 percent sure you’re not an asshole who will pass the tape around to your friends—or worse, post it online. Instead of asking her to simply trust you, put her in control of the final product: Shoot the whole thing on her camera phone and let her keep the evidence, Fulbright suggests. “You can also adjust the lighting or promise not to capture identifying evidence—such as a tattoo—if she doesn’t want parts of herself seen.”
Another way to factor in a fail-safe? Make sure you’re also on camera. “Don’t do POV shots or just take pictures of her—make sure you’re also visible, and recognizable, in the shot,” Vespoli says. “She’ll feel more comfortable knowing that anyone who sees the tape is also going to see you.”
7. Don’t kiss and tell.
Obviously, revenge porn is a terrible idea. But it may soon be an even worse idea, as lawmakers are rushing to introduce legislation that makes revenge porn—the non-consensual distribution of lewd content—a crime. “Breakups are rarely, if ever, feel-good events left on good terms,” says McAfee security expert Robert Siciliano. “But we don’t have to make them worse by potentially having our private moments open and being exposed for all to see.”
If you’re unsure about whether you, or your partner, will ever be inclined to break your promise, simply don’t put yourself in that position, Siciliano says. “Think twice—digital is forever. It will haunt you and follow you,” he says.