Would You Enter An Amateur Porn Festival?

I’ve been a longtime listener and reader of Dan Savage, agreeing and disagreeing with his sexual and romantic stances in equal measure. For the last five or so years, he’s hosted an amateur porn festival in Seattle called Hump. I actually first heard about it in the 2009 Mark Duplass mumblecore film Hump Day, which is about two male best friends who want to enter the festival by creating a gay porno. (Spoiler alert: They don’t get it on. Life alert: I kind of wished they had.)

Recently, Savage has been promoting Hump again on his Savage Love podcast. It got me thinking about if I’d ever enter a festival like that. One appealing aspect for the shy and skittish is that Hump films are not released online — or at all. They’re not saved in any permanent way, except for being shown at the festival. One of the taglines is: “Be a porn star for a weekend, not for the rest of your life.”

I’ve had some interesting (journalistic and otherwise) interactions with porn stars in the past. When I interviewed James Deen for my blog more than a year ago, we talked about the decision to have sex on tape, for other’s consumption and judgement.

I ask James about the old porn warning; what if you don’t always want to do porn? What if one day you want to run for President? …James says that’s not the way his life’s going; if he wanted to run for President, he would be planning on running for President. Plus, he says, it’s actually more common for people to get into porn, do it for a little while and then decide it was fun but not for them, than it is to become a staple of the industry. There are always a million reasons not to do something, and I strangely admire his certainty.

“I don’t really know what people think and if I did, if people are like, ‘Oh, what an a-hole’ or ‘Oh, I totally expected that from him’ or ‘Oh, I’m so happy for him. I’m gonna call him and be his friend now when I wasn’t before,’ I mean, is it really gonna change anything at the end of the day?” he says. Later, he adds: “I don’t think anyone should be restricted from what they want to do.”

A little while before that, a male friend and I were talking on a stoop in Brooklyn and he mentioned that he and his girlfriend enjoyed filming themselves having sex for their private collections.

Me: “And then what? You watch it later?”

Him: “Sure, yeah.”

Me: “Together? You watch yourselves? You get off on yourselves?”

Him: “Oh yeah.”

Me: “You narcissists!”

Okay, clearly I was joking. If you’re with someone you think is super hot and you want to see what you look like together, good for you. That’s pretty reasonable. In fact, if you’ve got a tape like that, would you mind handing it over to me? Jk jk.

In my own sex life, I don’t think I’d be into seeing myself (I can live not knowing what that looks like), but I could understand wanting a solo video of my sexy beloved for those lonely nights on the road. Also, there’s gotta be a reason people put mirrors on their ceilings, right? Okay, so people want to watch themselves. Duh.

But all that’s a large leap from entering an amateur porn festival, no matter how closed circuit.

Part of me thinks it’d be liberating. There’s none of the usual anxiety about it leaking on the internet and scarring your future grandchildren. There’s no body negativity. There’s an indulgence of exhibitionism in a loving, noncommittal environment. You’d get to walk around with sexy swagger for just a weekend. It’s a fantasy. It’s an ego boost. It seems fun, with little risk. You get to be creative, you get to be in a sex positive environment and you get to win money (prizes are from 1,000 to 5,000 dollars).

But also man, that takes confidence and balls. Or not balls, if you’re entering with a lesbian sex submission. (Also, hee “entering” and “submission.”) I’m so intrigued by and jealous of people that would enter Hump with no reservations. How would it even feel to see yourself like that on the big screen? Would you feel empowered or violated? I have a lot of mixed feelings.

Anyway, this festival seems cool and I’d like to attend it. But if you’re down to actually get down, the deadline for submissions is October 5. Would you enter an amateur porn festival? Even one as safe as Hump? TC Mark

image – ftelkov

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