What do Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson and Kim Kardashian all have in common? If you don’t know, you’ve been living under a rock.
All three femme fatales have made a home sex video that has launched them to mega-stardom.
And they aren’t the only ones flaunting their sexual antics these days:
—- Despite allegedly receiving death threats, Britney Spears’ ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib is reportedly planning on selling a sex tape of him and Brit.
— The Hills' star Lauren Conrad is said to have a sex video floating around.
— Even Sex and the City’s innocent character Charlotte, a.k.a. actress Kristin Davis, recently found herself in a real-life sex scandal involving compromising photos.
Regardless of who it is, fans, voyeurs, and hopeless gossips can’t get enough.
Sixty million celebrity magazines are sold weekly, and 90 percent of their consumers are female. Yet both women and men eat up bootleg and legitimate commercial tapes of celebrity sex. Hilton’s tryst with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon sold around 600,000 copies alone. To say there’s a market is an understatement.
Why are we so fascinated? Why have celebrity sex tapes become such a sexual obsession?
Celebrities do it better.
Or at least they — and many of us — would like to think so. The grass is always greener on the other side and the Joneses these days go by the last names of Lohan, Durst, and Doll. Those with rock star status must have rock star sex, right? They have everything else that we’re supposed to want — money, fame and fortune. Flashier, slimmer, sexier ... we’ve been made to think that celebs are just like us, only “better.” For many, they are who we aspire to be. Many are, naturally, curious to see what we can learn from their approach to loving.
Celebrities are our “friends.”
Thanks to the Internet, celebrities are more “accessible” than ever. They're a part of our daily lives, whether or not it's by choice. We’ve connected with the rich and famous in ways never before imagined, and this is especially true with the rise of reality shows. We feel like we “know” our celebrities. We’re familiar with their quirky characteristics, their latest nip’n’tuck surgeries, their heartbreaks and successes....What they do in the boudoir is simply an extension of knowing them so intimately.
Celebrities aren’t porn stars.
Unlike plotless porn videos, celeb sex offers us two things we thrive on when it comes to a sexual rendezvous: a context and emotion. In knowing who they’ve hooked up with, married, had kids with, fantasized about... these sex tapes are the soft (or hardcore) porn version of “Friends.” Better yet, we don’t feel nearly as dirty watching these videos because they’re not having sex for money or for your viewing pleasure. These tapes involve more than two sweaty, naked bodies writhing and sliding all over each other. Unlike most porn, there’s a mental element — an energetic exchange — to their sex, and that draws us in.
Celebrities are the “in crowd.”
When it comes to exploiting the sex lives of celebrities, society knows no shame. We revert back to high school in talking about these Hollywood prom kings and queens. They are the ultimate “it” crowd, and our fascination with their social status alone will always fuel our passion for their passionate moments. Plus, it’s a lot safer to gossip about famous people than your colleagues. We can spend hours spreading rumors and giving our take on the rich and famous because it’s not doing anyone we know any harm. Instead of bashing the co-worker who got that promotion over you thanks to nepotism, you don’t have to risk your reputation, professionalism or job by trash-talking A-list celebrities who are doing their own B-rated business.
Celebrity gossip makes us happy.
According to research out of the University of Ghent in Belgium, our brain cells light up in positive ways when we tune into tabloids. Gossip is an instant stimulator of endorphins. When the dirt gets dished, we’re happy campers. A smokin’ celeb’s hot sex life makes us feel good, providing escape from our own stressful, hectic lives. Hollywood also bonds us in this pleasure rush.
Celebrities normalize us.
If Tommy Lee or Jimi Hendrix has done something that many would label “kinky,” then we are no longer perverts. The proof is in the film. Celebs take the taboo and they make it pleasurable.
Celebrities make us feel good about our own lives.
Celebrity sex tapes put “be careful what you wish for” into perspective. Many of us are guilty of our own sex home video pursuits. But how many of us have to worry about ours going global, even with the Internet? Through thick and thin, good economic times and bad, you can always count on some celebrity’s ex being crueler than yours — and making you feel that you don’t have it all that bad.
Celebrities aren’t perfect.
Despite having access to the best camera equipment, sets, directors, etc., celeb sex tapes look a lot like our own efforts. With poor lighting, unsteady cameras, body jiggles, and often unflattering wide-angle shots, we see it all. Nothing makes it onto the cutting room floor. We see the good, bad, and the ugly. And it all happens in "real time."
At the end of the day, perhaps what we get out of the celebrity sex tape is the amusement that comes with finding our inner sex voyeur. Even those who are anti-erotica have trouble escaping the natural curiosity that comes along with someone you know — even if from afar — going above and beyond acceptable levels of public displays of affection. With the celebrity sex tape, we unconsciously bond over the unsaid fact that we’re all voyeurs. And we’re all getting a kick out of something we’re supposedly not intended to see.
In the Know Sex News . . .
— More Kids Under the Age of 13 Are Sexually Active. According to the CDC's 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 7.1 percent of students reported having had sex before the age of 13. This is up from 6.2 percent in 2005.
— Abstinence Campaign Underway. The Abstinence Education Association is hoping to have 1 million parents on its side. With major e-mail blasts planned, the campaign will be urging abstinence-only sex education in schools, despite a lack of research supporting that such a strategy is, indeed, effective.
Dr. Yvonne Kristín Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."