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June 26, 2007

Should You Videotape Yourself Having Sex?

Absolutely. In fact, it just might save your relationship, argues Michael Alvear.

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Video stills courtesy of Talkback Thames.

Photo Credit: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

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It's about 7 p.m., and I'm engrossed in a video of Katy and Mark, a married 20-something couple, having sex.

I don't like what I see.

Katy energetically climbs on top of Mark and works her way toward orgasm while Mark might as well be lying in a coffin. Katy grabs Mark's shoulders; his hands remain virtually motionless at his sides. Her moans grow more insistent; whatever noise he might be making isn't even loud enough for the microphone to pick up.

No, I'm not watching porn (though if it were porn, it would be disastrous). Mark and Katy, who have been together since they were teenagers, are one of the dozens of couples who come to me seeking help with their love lives. Mark claims he wants "rampant" sex with his wife. But from what I see, he needs to look up the word.

I help couples like Mark and Katy by watching videos of them having sex (and interacting outside of the bedroom), then analyzing what I see. These aren't Paris Hilton-style tapes; they're videos that force couples to take an uncensored look at how they treat each other. The nuances in body language they reveal — a lack of eye contact here, a perfunctory hug there — hint at much deeper issues in the relationship.

For every couple I've seen on tape, the camera illuminates the contradiction between what they think they do and what they actually do. While Mark insisted he wanted his sex life to sizzle, you wouldn't know it. Even his position — flat on his back — reflected his passiveness. When we noted this on the footage, Mark was floored.

For many, the thought of a camera in the bedroom is at best adventurous, at worst perverted. But for those who wonder, What kind of person would agree to have their sex life videotaped and analyzed?, I say, "Well, what would the cameras reveal if they were filming you?"


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