Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sex, oversharing, and videotape

Ashley: Prudence's chat has a question about a 16 year old making sex tapes.
Lulu: I saw that.
Q. Sister's Underage Sex Tapes: My little sister Rebecca recently confessed to me that she and her boyfriend Tyler have been filming themselves having sex. She says it excites her, because she's always felt pressure to be a good girl. Our parents aren't rigidly conservative by any means, but I know they'd object to Rebecca making sex tapes, not least of all because she's 16 and Tyler is 19. I'm not sure what to do, because I am worried my parents will lose their heads if I tell them. But, as I pointed out, Rebecca is underage, and it won't end well for Tyler if the authorities are alerted. As an older sister, what's my duty?

A: I hope most teenagers don't think that the alternative to being a good girl is being Paris Hilton. Your sister confessed to you for a reason, and it's good that you were apparently so flummoxed by what she said that you didn't offer much of a reaction one way or another. I think 16-year-olds should hang onto their virginity. I'm sure there's a study somewhere saying that keeping horniness in check correlates with higher trigonometry scores. But now that you know your sister is sexually active, the first thing you should do is to make sure she is using birth control and that's she's seen a gynecologist. Tell Rebecca you'd like to enlist your mother in this, and that you will not mention anything about her cinematic ventures. As for the tapes, I feel kind of sorry for today's youth, whose formal sex education consists of lectures on lethal illness and the potential for being prosecuted. But I agree that underage sex tapes are a bad idea, both legally and morally. Tell your sister you're really glad she came to you, you've been thinking about she told you, and it sounds as if she feels she's gotten in over her head. Explain it's not too late for her to change her mind about her extracurriculars. No, she can't get her virginity back, but she can decide that concentrating on getting through high school, instead of exploring her sexuality, is a better focus. Be calm and nonjudgmental. Then when the conversation progresses, you can suggest she get all copies of the tapes and destroy them.
Lulu: Prudence's advice to tell her to stop having sex at all seems... ineffective. Like a good way to get tuned out altogether.

Ashley: She clarifies later and focuses more on the sex tapes.
Q. Sex Tapes: Remind your little sister that it's incredibly easy for those tapes to wind up on the Internet, and all it would take is a few minutes for the boyfriend to post them on porn sites. If she doesn't think he'd do that, think again, because clearly plenty of boyfriends and ex-boyfriends have done it. They might consider looking online to make sure he hasn't already.

A: So true. That's why it's important for the girl to get possession of the tapes. But it would be best not to terrify the younger sister, just to explain this could happen given the technology.

Q. Re: Sister's Tape: I doubt the little sister's escapades are on actual tapes—it's probably digitally recorded on a cellphone or computer. The little sister needs to make sure her boyfriend deletes these videos. Even if he is a good guy who won't disseminate the videos online, his gear could be hacked or stolen!

A: Right, good point. She needs to make sure all existing evidence in all media is deleted. If the boyfriend won't cooperate, then a parental discussion about the consequences of disseminating sexual images of a minor might be highly instructive.
Lulu: Yeah, but by that time, I'm not listening. I'm sixteen, and I'm bragging about my sex tapes: what do you say??

Ashley: I don't think I care?

Lulu: Ha.

Ashley: I think what I'd actually say is to make sure her face isn't identifiable.

Lulu: That's good advice; while I'm sure it's a small percentage, you do hear stories about people getting in legal trouble when the subjects are under 18, even if they themselves took the video.

Ashley: Right. That's what I'm concerned with. She needs plausible deniability.

Lulu: Right, and that would solve the problem they bring up of what if someone posts the videos online, be it the boyfriend or the computer thief scenario.

Ashley: Right. The bf should be on board with this, because it gives him plausible deniability too.

Lulu: Right, he could get in more trouble.

Ashley: Although before the sister gets too self-righteous, she should check laws in her state. The three year age gap could be fine. It is in MA, for instance. Not sure about the stance on videotapes, but the actual sex is fine.

Lulu: Either way, some reasonable precautions with camera angles should make the videos much safer without diminishing the thrill of recording your awesome sex technique.

Ashley: Right! Or edit it in post.

Lulu: Or wear a mask. Like in Pulp Fiction. Or V for Vendetta. I haven't seen either of those films, but I assume the masks were for sex tape purposes.

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