Filming sex between you and your partner can feel good, but Dr Petra Boynton, the Telegraph's sex and relationships agony aunt, says both of you must feel in control. The minute you stop enjoying it, stop filming.
The thrill of being filmed during sex can add more sensory pleasures to the closeness you’re already experiencing, says Dr Petra Boynton.
But, as Paul Joannides points out, sometimes the things we enjoy off camera don’t feel the same when filmed – nor look how we imagined them. Acknowledging this while continuing to film works for some people, others prefer to stop filming if the reality of filming doesn’t live up to their fantasy.
A more vanilla version of exhibitionism, filming yourself having sex is a very common sexual fetish. Even if you never share the video with anyone else, just knowing that you’re being filmed can be a turn-on.
Or vice versa. Can you identify if there is a particular aspect of the filming process that bothers you? If it’s watching back, you could simply film but not view it. Perhaps you like to watch it but not with your partner present, or not while you’re also having sex. If you don’t like filming can you spot where there is a problem? For example you might find the filming experience too intense and would rather create other erotic entertainment with your partner. Such as describing your fantasies on camera, over the phone or in a letter.
In some ways filming each other can capture moments of desire and excitement. However, some people report the awareness of filming prevents them getting into sex or emotionally connecting with their partner. Some people report cuddles, closeness, loving words or gentle touch may be swapped for more graphic scenes. You may want to prioritise these over more explicit scenarios.
Alternatively you may feel close while making very graphic or complex films, but are finding your partner is unsure about this. Closeness can be experienced in different ways, but again discussing together what you want to try and respecting those choices could be helpful.
While you may assume being filmed puts you at the centre of the action some people report the focus of their partner is on filming rather than them. Requests to act out particular scenes can seem more about performance than pleasure. You taking charge of filming could change this, as might being specific with your partner about ways to help each other feel present during filming.
People can worry about being identified if the films they make become publicly available. It’s not an unreasonable worry since being identified could impact on your work or reputation. Mia More suggests if you want to film but are worried about being recognised, dressing up in a costume, a wig or mask could help (as might not filming your face). She recommends filming in disguise to avoid any problems if your film is shared without your consent. Although if you cannot be certain of your partner respecting your privacy it’s a sign that filming isn’t appropriate and wider trust issues need addressing (more on this later).
How often you film is down to whether you’re both enjoying it. Problems can arise if one partner feels every time you now have sex it has to be filmed, especially if the novelty has worn off for the other party. Suggesting it remains an occasional treat may work as an alternative, although it is more of a concern if a partner feels the only way they can become excited is through filming.
Seeing yourself enjoying sex can be informative and exciting. But it may also be a stark reminder of body parts you’re less than confident about. Rather than feeling empowered by the process it might make you feel less comfortable and more exposed. If this is the case and you’re distressed by how you feel, counselling may be useful.
Some people are unsure if filming sex is legal. While generally it isn’t illegal to film yourselves, nor to share this (if both of you consent), certain acts (particularly those of consensual sexual violence and BDSM) can be classified as ‘extreme porn’. If you are unsure, it may be better not to film yourself. Just because you’ve consented doesn’t mean you cannot be prosecuted.
Many people create films and only enjoy them with each other. Or if they share images they both actively consent to this. Problems arise if one person shares films with friends or other parties, or uploads images without their partner’s knowledge and/or consent. In the aftermath of relationship breakdown a vengeful ex partner could use films you’ve made to harass or abuse you. Either to try and keep you with them or to punish you for leaving. Clearly these cases are for the police to deal with, although people may feel so embarrassed about having films made public (or afraid their contents could get them into further trouble) that they stay silent.
If you are experiencing communication problems about your wants and needs in an otherwise positive relationship, counselling may help you both share more openly what you both want. However, if your partner is making you do certain things on camera that you dislike, you may consider either ending the relationship or getting support from a domestic abuse organisation. Even if you previously enjoyed filming, if it is something you no longer like your partner has no right to insist you continue with it.
If you feel you’d like to continue filming but want to manage what you create you may agree to formalise what you film. For example creating a signed agreement that you’ll not share any films, agreeing on keeping the films for your personal use only, deleting the films after you’ve watched them, or you owning and safeguarding the films.
Having thought through the above you may decide filming just isn’t for you. Or that you feel able to approach it again with confidence. It may be there are other relationship issues you need to attend to. Or that you wish to discuss with your partner the reservations you have about filming with a view to having a break from it.
As you know, filming can feel good, but it isn’t for everyone – even if you previously did enjoy it. Ultimately it’s your decision whether to film again or not.