I was in a relationship in high school with a girl from the time we were 14 until we were 16. During that time, we made a lot of sex tapes together. Sometimes I'd hold the camera, sometimes she would, sometimes it was on a tripod. We both enjoyed watching these videos together. We've remained friends, and she kept some of the tapes and I kept some, only for our private viewing.
We are in our late 20s now, and she recently asked if I could burn copies of our tapes onto DVDs on my computer. We were both minors when we made these tapes, and we were both willing, so am I breaking the law by making copies for her? Or by possessing copies of my underage self screwing my underage girlfriend?
Concerned About Movies
Before I call in the feds, an observation: Digital cameras, cell-phone cameras, webcams, and film-editing software have placed the means of porn production into the hands of sexually active young people everywhere. When I was a horny 14-year-old, a couple of horny 14-year-olds couldn't get much more hardcore than posing for some crappy Polaroids. Nowadays, a pair of 14-year-olds with a digital camera, a laptop, and a dream can make an epic bukakke/ATM/fem-dom/ws/ff digital video between lunch and lacrosse practice.
What's more, thanks to Paris Hilton, Colin Farrell, the ugly dude from Limp Bizkit, the even uglier Kid Rock, and the Christian rocker/eager cocksuckee from Creed, young people view making porn tapes as mildly kinky fun and/or a good career move. And why shouldn't they? On the kink-o-meter, a little homemade porn hardly registers, and a public figure hasn't been damaged by the discovery of a porn tape since Rob Lowe proved that a straight guy can get laid at a Democratic National Convention. So long as horny teenagers keep their tapes to themselves and avoid web predators, no harm done.
Unfortunately for all those horny 14-year-olds, the FBI doesn't think their homemade porn is harmless. "What it comes down to is this," said Laura Eimiller, spokesperson for the Los Angeles office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "The production of child porn—and a child is defined as any person under the age of 18—is illegal. The age of the individual filming it is irrelevant. Whether it was consensual is irrelevant. It is still child porn." And if the children in the porn made the porn? And if they weren't sharing it with anyone else? "If a complaint came to our attention about pornography that featured an individual who was a child at the time the pornography was created, it would certainly be investigated," says Eimiller.
While I had her on the phone, I asked Eimiller if she had any words of federal wisdom for horny 14-year-olds with the means and, in some instances, the desire to star in their own porn productions. But Eimiller had nothing to say to horny 14-year-olds, directing her comments to a higher authority. "Parents," says Eimiller, "when they're allowing children to have these types of media, should explain to them what the law is, and what's acceptable and what's not acceptable."
Getting back to you, CAM, what does Eimiller think you should do about your ex-girlfriend/unindicted co-conspirator's request for copies?
"Seek advice from an attorney," says Eimiller. "That's the best advice I could give him. He should definitely seek advice from an attorney before copying or providing these tapes to some other individual."
Being a full-service sex-advice columnist, CAM, I went looking for an attorney for you. And I found one. A Jewish one. On Passover. "Although possibly illegal to possess such tapes, I wouldn't think they would prosecute something like that," says Scott Frankel, a criminal-defense attorney in Chicago who has worked on child-porn cases and was kind enough to let me pull him away from the Passover table to discuss child pornography. "But if I were giving advice to someone in this situation, I would be very conservative. I would advise them to refrain from making or sending any copies, and keep these tapes to yourself."
I have written three times before! I really, really need to know about anal sex and hemorrhoids. I am very interested in trying anal sex, and I have a willing partner, but I am embarrassed! I have had babies, and it did a number on my ass. I have scar tissue from the surgery after the babies, and I need to know if it's going to be a huge turnoff. My doctor says that physically, I am okay to have anal sex, but I am self-conscious. Please advise!
Shy At Forty
Forgive me for not answering sooner, SAF, but please remember, folks, that I can't answer every question. And I'm afraid you're putting this question to the wrong person, SAF. Your hemorrhoids are only a turnoff if they turn off your willing partner. And the only way to find out if he's going to be turned off by them is to share your fears with him. Since he knows you're a fortysomething woman with children, SAF, I can't imagine he's expecting you to have the flawless body of a twentysomething porn starlet, nor do I imagine that he was planning on going in there wearing a miner's helmet. Odds are good he won't see your hemorrhoids. But if you're worried, ask him.
I'm a straight guy, a sophomore in college, and I have a problem with girls. I've dated girls with mohawks, college cheerleaders, a chubby chick, and bohemian types. I'm not really discriminant [sic] about what girls I date. But all these girls were sexually promiscuous. They wanted to have sex before we started dating officially. This is a problem, because I have always been attracted to respectable girls. But these girls are all either dating someone else, or have the wrong impression of me. Even though sluts seem to like me, I don't go for that. I'm a romantic guy, menstrual cycles don't bother me. I'm driven, I'm smart, I'm going to India as a volunteer this summer, and I'm handsome. I need some tips. College cheerleaders are nice, but I would much rather date a "good girl."
Tired Of Sluts
Let me see if I follow you, TOS. You want to date good girls, girls who don't, girls who are saving themselves for, ohidunno, one of those dime-a-dozen handsome, driven, romantic guys who volunteer in India and aren't bothered by menstrual cycles? A bright, educated college guy with discriminant [sic] tastes? But the good girls are either taken, or they have the wrong impression of you. So you've been forced to date—and fuck and fuck and fuck—a string of sex-crazed sluts. Some had mohawks, some had cheerleader outfits, some had unhealthy BMIs. But they all had a burning desire to rip your clothes off and sit on your dick. You poor thing, how you've suffered.
Sorry, TOS, but I'm not buying it. Someone who dates sluts exclusively—and I'm using slut in the sex-positive sense (hey, I married a slut!)—can't claim that he doesn't like sluts. Strike that. You can claim you don't like sluts, but no one has to believe you. Clearly the single good girls you've met aren't buying it. So it's not tips you lack, TOS, but the ability to be honest with yourself. Why do you date sluts? Perhaps you want to feel superior to the girls you condescend to date. Or maybe dating sluts allows you to avoid real intimacy. Or maybe, just maybe, deep down inside, in your heart of hearts, TOS, you're a big fat slut too.
Got problems? Oh, yes, you do. Write firstname.lastname@example.org. Illustration by Misako Takashima (misakorocks.com)
© Dan Savage