Who Took the Sex Out of Sex Tapes?
By Laura Ferreiro Posted Dec 29th 2009 04:30PM
Does anyone remember the days when sex tapes actually had, you know, sex in them? These days, it seems that anyone with a modicum of name recognition can film themselves kissing someone in their underwear and before you know it, it becomes hyped across the internet as a "sex tape."
Case in point, Carmen Electra's recent "sex tape," which contains no actual sex (just some smooching and Carmen dancing around in skimpy underwear), and the McSteamy/Gayheart "threesome sex tape", which features 'Grey's Anatomy' star Eric Dane, his wife Rebecca Gayheart and former Miss Teen USA Kari Ann Peniche passing around a video camera half naked in a hot tub, but contains neither a threesome nor sex.
Whatever happened to the good old days when sex tapes had, ahem, actual sex in them? PopEater polled some experts in the field to get their take on the matter. Dan Miller, Executive Editor of adult website AVN.com, says that the words "sex tape" are being "thrown around very loosely now. Sex tapes have become such a big part of pop culture in this tabloid-crazed culture," he says. "It's false advertising and a marketing ploy. Very few of them are even tapes -- they're coming out on DVD!" he laughs.
Emily McCombs, Associate Editor of Asylum.com, goes a step further, saying that these so-called "sex tapes" are "giving porn a bad name. Sure guys can be mindless consumers of T&A," she says, "but that doesn't mean they can't tell the difference between a legitimate sex tape and what is essentially a publicity stunt to get horny bloggers talking about Carmen Electra."
As Quentin Boyer, Public Relations Director for adult film company Pink Visual, points out, "Calling them 'sex tapes' is a necessary component of effective hype, and part of what it takes to generate the desired public interest and online buzz. Sure, it would be far more accurate to refer to them as 'celebrity make-out movies' or 'celebrity fondling films,' but then they would sell roughly zero copies."
So who's responsible for branding and hyping up these alleged "sex tapes"? "The hype can come from all kinds of places, whether it's word-of-mouth, the media or the Internet," says Brian Gross, President of BSG PR, which handles publicity for several adult clients. "Eventually, the hype hits the necessary pipelines and reaches the masses."
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"There's of course the media, the prevalence of the web, and there are so many different news outlets that capitalize on celebrity news," adds Miller. "With all the cable and reality shows out there, everyone has their 15 minutes of fame and they have some name recognition so there could be a potential market for seeing them naked."
So what's the appeal of these so-called "celebrity sex tapes"? "Anytime a celebrity has sexual activity or discussions brought to the public, it's a natural story," says Gross. "The public loves celebrities, and the public loves sexuality, whether they would admit it publicly or not."
Boyer believes that the craze kicked off with the Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee sex tape in the late '90s, which did in fact contain sex in it. "The Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee tape set the benchmark for celeb sex tapes," he says. "That thing was the subject of millions of search queries, and it flew off the shelves when it was offered in stores. Ever since that tape, there's been an attempt to recreate that level of buzz through over-exposure of celebrity naughty bits."
Miller agrees. "The golden age of sex tapes was Pamela and Tommy Lee," he says. "After they did theirs in the late '90s it got a new life years later when Vivid distributed it (on DVD). It was certainly a jumping off point for others to follow."
McCombs believes that our fascination with these so-called "sex tapes" boils down to name recognition. "Basically, if Carmen Electra made a 'sex tape' with Gary Busey and the kid who played Chunk in 'The Goonies,' we might be interested in watching," she says. "Otherwise we'll just keep watching the Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee tape, which is exactly what a sex tape should be -- completely X rated."
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