In Ghana On morality, laxity and a growing sex tape culture

A sex tape is not a direct sign of moral decadence; how people go to all lengths to watch these sex tapes and even share them when they ‘leak’ is.

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Sex tapes are not signs of immorality, watching is play

Sex tapes are not signs of immorality, watching is

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At one time – maybe in the lifetime of some of my readers – entertainment featuring sexual immorality was considered scandalous. Even in Hollywood at the time, filmmakers adhered to the “Hays Code” and everywhere, televisions consulted their “ethics committee” to ensure that the programs could be seen by the whole family.

Sexuality – when the topic was discussed – was represented as being shared privately between husband and wife.

play Sexual Immorality in Africa (MG.co.za)

 

However, nowadays, sexual perversion in movies and TV has become commonplace and recurrent. Many studies show that pornography is the most available content on the Internet. And even with that, the most sought after type of pornography happens to be in the amateur category (I will explain in detail further on).

In media, as in everyday life, infidelity is a now laughing matter and sexual promiscuity has become an acceptable norm. The fact that certain sexual practices are inherently immoral – although some find them pleasant in the short term – is an outdated ideology.

And as Africa has caught on to this new era of sexual laxity, country like South Africa have tried to rein this in by passing laws that could particularly criminalize ‘consensual’ teenage sex. Teenage sex here referring to consensual sex between ages of 12 and 16, a matter previously left to parents not legal strictures. The law, which is included in the Sexual Offenses Act, is very discriminatory against women. You can read a very brilliant dissection of it Mail & Guardian Africa here http://mg.co.za/article/2013-05-28-criminalising-consensual-teenage-sex.

Should married couples consider sex as something shameful? Is celibacy the ideal standard for true Christians? Is it a “sin” for two consenting adults to share physical intimacy? Are objective moral values still applied today? Who is qualified to define attitudes and immoral behavior? In our time, are there reasons to follow what the Bible teaches? If applicable, what happens to those who ignore Bible standards?

As sexuality has perverted our modern culture, there has been an upsurge in sexual immorality. And hitchhiking along with sexual immorality is the golden era of sex tapes.

Sex tape – a word that terrifies and excites many.

Broken down, the word simply means an erotic video made by amateurs. Amateurs in this case is used referring to non-professional porn actors/actress and even adult movie actors and actresses who self-record themselves. These are usually intended for private viewing and make major headlines when they involve celebrities.

play Itz Tiffany

 

To be clear, a sex tape these days does not necessarily need to involve actual intercourse. One of the most viral and inflamed in Ghana was that of musician, Itz Tiffany, in which she was not having sex with anybody. It was just a naked woman who wanted to curse her faltering boyfriend/fiancé.

Sex tapes for fame?

Yes, we’ve seen it in the Western world. Some American stars have one (or more) to their credit, talk of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson to name a few. Sexual scandals are selling the tabloids in Britain and this trend seems to have successfully been exported to Africa. I am personally yet to see any true celebrity being birthed out of a sexual scandal, but following the issue of the famous “UCC Sex Tape” and how she handled it, I might very soon see my first.

play Kim & Ray J Sex Tape

 

To be fair, most people who have earned media limelight elsewhere did not necessarily ‘leak’ these videos themselves.  However, it is important to note that Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian literally became famous through these maneuvers, which has caused many to question the theory of stolen.

In Ghana, it seems to be a far more different story. Sex tapes are not usually recorded as part of a very bizarre publicity stunt (this is me blindly believing everything victims of leaked tapes say). Sex tapes in Ghana are mostly a result of what can only be termed as “revenge porn”. Revenge porn is the sexually explicit portrayal of one or more people without their consent via any medium.

A sex tape made public by a woman’s ex-boyfriend violates her privacy. Ethically it appears to be black and white, but most people do not see it this way. And most of the people who don’t see it this way are men. The most asked question on social media after the latest leak supposedly from KNUST was “Why did she allow herself to be recorded in the first place?” A very chauvinistic reaction, as expected from an environment where masculinity means superiority. Though this question is flawed, it does raise the very pertinent issue of “WHY?”

Why make a sex tape in the first place?

Making a video recording of sex is hard to represent as a moral failure. Most people will say, “I did it because I was horny and felt like it”. And this is true; most people however tend to forget that sex tapes are made for the consumption of the creators and not as a public item like pornography.

However in a manner of speaking, a leaked sex tape is like and unlike pornography TV and also like reality. Like pornography, a sex tape is made up of visuals which are otherwise frowned up in other media genres. And just like in reality TV, a sex tape publicizes the uncensored lives of real people; it offers a heightened sense of access to the real, a view of life we don’t see in mainstream entertainment.

A leaked sex tape thus seems to come across as something forbidden, a private passion; an allusion to the famous apple of Eden; something so commonplace, yet so highly craved.

It is for this same reason that amateur porn is one of the most sought after types of pornography.

The case of viral sex tapes

play Students gather at KNUST to allegedly watch a screened sex tape ( KuulPeeps.com)
 

Pornography is largely shaped by a heterosexual male audience, however I think this notion is being complicated by research such as a 2007 Nielson ratings report that found roughly one third of pornography site visits were by women, and female friendly porn is one of the fastest growing markets.

Sex tapes, like most pornography, are aimed at straight men (though not exclusively). The male sex tape consumer — and despite gender proscription, men are consumers — is a voyeur taking sexual pleasure in looking. This consumption promotes an aroused connoisseurship of bodies, simultaneous with contempt for female agency or intellect. It is these men who go seeking and actively sharing sex tapes. It is these same men who will shame women who are recorded in sex tapes and ‘high five’ the men who record it. It is these men who will sing praises of these men (occassionally some women have sang praises of the sizes of penis in these sex tapes on my Twitter timeline). And after all the shaming and name-calling, these same men would then talk about how ‘they’d smash that’ or even write letters to women who record these leaked tapes on how to record them.

The rise of sex tapes in Ghana represents one kind of broadening of our cultural audience. It also stands as an example of the mainstreaming of a highly sexualized media culture at the meeting point of pornography and reality television. Some of the biggest sex tapes in Ghana have starred women who were quintessentially “famous for being famous.”

It’s beautiful that Africa consists of mainly conservative societies because this has kept our heterogeneous beauty intact.

Maybe sex tapes are here to stay. Maybe they are not. But the question we should all ask ourselves before asking “Why record a sex tape” when someone’s leaks is “Have I recorded myself with/without my partner in any sexual act?”

The presence of a recorded sex tape is not a direct sign of moral decadence; how people go to all lengths to watch these sex tapes and even share them when they ‘leak’ is.

Always remember that a sex tape is just meant for consumption of the creator and whoever it was directed at, when it gets leaked and is put in public domain, it is almost equal to peeking in on your neighbors when they are having sex or anything of related sorts.

PS: Why are websites that promote/share sex tapes still active in Ghana? Don’t we have a law against this? Can we have some Hulk Hogan VS Gawker situation to act as deterrence?


This was originally published at SenaQuashie.com. All views expressed are those of the author

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