"They don't build porn stars anymore. Everyone with a camera can be in porn, and most of them are. There are no $100,000+ features made, and they don't build up porn stars. The day of free porn is here, all over the internet, A production company can't invest into a star anymore or a feature movie anymore."Not so much a porn trope, although it's certainly there. Alice and Bob, deciding to spice up their relationship, film themselves having sex. Or take pictures of each other naked. At some point, hilarity generally will ensue. This, however, can also occur in drama — and be a motive for murder. Often done because the person needs the money, and if not actually the basis for murder, at the very least used for blackmail. This is Truth in Television, and the most infamous cases are when famous people do it.
— Jeff Stryker
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Anime & Manga
- By accident the ADs of Chou-Hayaoki TV end up taping one of the main characters of The Weatherman Is My Lover during the Hot Springs Episode.
- The Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt episode "Sex and the Daten City" sees Panty at risk of losing her newfound celebrity lifestyle when she screens her "debut film" (a sex tape) at a swanky premiere for another movie she and Stocking are in, which leaks to the public, leading to the Anarchy sisters traveling the world to destroy every last copy of the porn. They succeed, but Stocking keeps the last copy and uploads it online to get even with Panty for cutting her from their film entirely.
- In Dykes to Watch Out For, Ginger dates a video artist who enjoys making these particular kinds of videos of their encounters. Naturally, Ginger's housemates Sparrow and Lois discover one of the tapes and give her a good ribbing about it.
Films — Live-Action
- This is the basis of Road Trip; main character has to travel across the United States because he accidentally send a VHS to his girlfriend which has him having sex with someone else.
- Backfires spectacularly in Trainspotting, to the point where it leads directly to the death of one of the main characters.
- In Ruthless People, the sex tape is filmed by a pair of blackmailers trying to get someone arrested for murder. Thinking (by the screaming) that it was actually a murder, they take the tape straight to the chief of police. Unfortunately, it was him on the tape, and, accidentally blackmailed, he obeys their commands. Gets really bad when the cleverer of the two blackmailers takes the tape into a video shop to check it.
- Clark Griswald (in National Lampoon's European Vacation) tests his new videocamera by taping Mrs. Griswald in the shower. After swearing he's going to erase the tape later, she sings a "naughty" version of "Hey, Big Spender." Later, in Italy, Clark hands the camera to a stranger to videotape the family while standing in the Trevi Fountain and the stranger runs off with it. Something like a day passes and they see a screengrab from the "shower scene" on a billboard for a new "erotic movie". (She is not happy.)
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They're trying to make a professional porn, but are working with a shoestring budget and have quite a bit of unexpected emotional baggage to deal with.
- In "An Evening With Kevin Smith", he talks about borrowing and watching a sex tape made by and starring Jason Mewes. Yes. In an interview on Attack of the Show, Smith actually said that this is his favorite kind of porn ever since he discovered "revenge porn" on the internet.
- In Bad Boys II, Marcus and Mike play the tape of a suspect's camera at an electronics shop. After useful info, it cuts to home-recorded sex. And while trying to shut it off, they accidentally make all the TVs of the store play it. (The following "broadcast" is even worse/funnier).
- In Machete, April and her mother June film these, although it's unclear how far they go. They mistake Machete for a new gardener and invite him to join them. It's unclear how far he goes, but he definitely kidnaps them and puts the video in a place where the evil father, Booth, can find it, to taunt him.
- In Bruce Almighty, Grace has wrangled Bruce into putting together a scrapbook, and he finds pictures from the vacation they took together, where she "looks kinda perky. Must have been cold.". Cue Grace trying to wrestle them out of Bruce's hand.
- Brazilian movie Cilada.com has the protagonist suffering this twice: first, it lasts less than a minute, and his girlfriend puts up online to retaliate on a public betrayal. Then in the ending, after he's humiliated in all ways possible but the relationship is put back together, she decides to record another video... and another problem happens.
- In War, Inc., Yonica's fiance was planning to make one of their honeymoon and then sell the resulting DVDs. Yonica was unaware of this and got really upset when she found out.
- This plays a key role in Flatliners, where the sins of one of the characters is recording these without the women's knowledge or consent.
- In the remake of Friday the 13th (2009), Bree lures Trent into the bedroom of the cabin they're staying at, strips both of them down, rides on top of him in a perfect cowgirl position, and video tapes him for much of their intercourse... all the way Jason begins his killing spree, and at one point, Jenna (Trent's girlfriend) bangs on the door to warn them, but Trent assumes she and the others are just messing with them.
- Subverted in the Paranormal Activity series:
- In the first film, Micah wants to make a sex tape with Katie, but she won't allow it. She doesn't mind him recording the aftermath.
- In Paranormal Activity 3, Dennis and Julie try to make one, but are interrupted by tremors from an earthquake. The tape ends up being important, as falling dust from the ceiling reveals the outline of the demon.
- Part of the plot of Ian McEwan's novel Amsterdam revolves around scandalous photographs of a character crossdressing in the company of someone else's wife, and the potential for blackmail. When the photographs are revealed by the crossdresser's rival, nobody is very shocked or offended by them, and people are more inclined to praise him for acting out his fantasies. However, the character's chances of becoming Prime Minister are still ruined, so the rival succeeds nonetheless.
"But let me just say: The camera? Nice!" *two thumbs up*
- Joey and his date walks in on a set that Chandler and Monica had obviously put together for this purpose - she leaves horrified. This was while Joey was the only one who knew of their relationship. He berates Chandler for making it more and more difficult to keep their secret, and storms out in a huff. Then he sticks his head back in the door to deliver his parting shot:
Hey! What’s up? OH MY GOD! What am I doing?!!
- In another episode a tape Ross and Rachel made (by accident: Ross was trying to practice flirting) is discovered. Rachel managed to get pregnant from this exact encounter, and the two are arguing about which of them made the first move. The video contains the seduction, so the friends end up watching its clothed portion to put the matter to rest. As the episode's closing gag, Ross and Rachel watch the non-clothed portion in private... only to turn it off in horror when they see how bad they look during the act.
- In "The One with the Prom Video", Monica discovers that the end of said video is a Home Porn Movie, featuring her parents.
- It seems everybody in Friends made one. In yet another episode, somebody finds a videotape with Monica's ex Richard and another girl they assume to be Monica (They couldn't see her face clearly). Monica finds out and, on viewing the tape it turns out it wasn't her. To which Monica shouts, "That bastard taped over me!"
- Phoebe didn't make one, but apparently she had a career in porn... which was actually her twin, Ursula.
- In an episode of Mad About You, Paul and Jamie accidentally send their "home movie" back to the video store instead of the actual rental tape. The same thing happened in a 1999 Volkswagen commercial, with people in the video store watching on the in-store monitor.
- In an episode of Desperate Housewives, Lynette's kids start to watch a videotape belonging to a neighboring couple, which Lynette frantically stops when she sees what kind of movie it is. The neighbors are embarrassed it got out of their house... because their more recent movies have higher standards of production.
- Subverted in an episode of The Drew Carey Show, in which there's a video tape that appears to be a Home Porn Movie made by Drew Carey and his girlfriend. At the end of the episode, the contents of the tape are revealed: while their initial intention was in fact to record a sex act, his girlfriend via the camera notices how much weight she'd put on since she began dating Drew. What the video actually contains is their break-up.
- In Rules of Engagement, Adam and Jennifer tape themselves only to be disgusted by how they look on camera. Adam becomes obsessed and starts watching the tape over and over, trying to analyse flaws with his technique until Jennifer tapes over it with her yoga workout.
- In The Office (USA), Michael invites a few co-workers over for dinner and takes them into the bedroom on the house tour. He apparently neglected to remove the video camera pointed at the bed.
- Brothers and Sisters. Said clip ends up getting shown at a birthday party.
- Mosley (about Sir Oswald Mosley). The mistress of the title character takes a photograph of Mosley naked at the beach. When Mosely dumps her after she becomes pregnant she gives the photo to his political opponents, endangering his political career.
- Patrick in Coupling has a tape of every single woman he's ever slept with - which it turns out includes all the female characters. They're all kept in a cupboard, which is of course stacked floor-to-ceiling. Susan is infuriated when she finds out that not only did Patrick accidentally tape over her, but that neither he nor her current boyfriend Steve were able to realize it wasn't her in the video until she pointed it out.
Steve: It's a very similar bottom...
Jeff: Similar breasts...
Susan: Look at her face, boys!
- Jane, on the other hand, finds the tape of herself with Patrick and helpfully tapes over it with constructive criticism of Patrick's performance.
- Dennis on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia makes home porn videos. Without the women's knowledge. And they all focus on him.
- On Smallville Emil Hamilton and Tess Mercer of all people make one while Kissing Under the Influence. They are not happy when it's found the next day.
- Variant in Sex and the City- Carrie is friends with a man who makes a long term "art project" of sleeping with models and filming it without their knowledge. When Samantha is hepped to this, and said friend shows interest in her, she assumes he thinks he's a model. When they finally do have sex, she asks where the camera is and even though he explains he only does it for models, he agrees to give Samantha the same treatment.
- When untrue rumors get out about Samantha's boyfriend Smith being gay, they make one of these and deliberately leak it on the internet—to preserve her reputation rather than his.
- Bobby and Jules in Cougar Town have one. Jules is particularly proud of how great she looked at nineteen.
- Jenna in 30 Rock regards this as an important step in her relationship with Paul. This makes sense given that her personality is "Hollywood Attention Whore taken Up to Eleven."
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Barney has an outright camera fetish. He records nearly all of his sexual encounters, and has cameras running in his apartment twenty-four seven, just in case. At one point, he has a nightmare Imagine Spot about being able to have sex with a group of gorgeous strippers but not being allowed to tape it.
- Barney spends one later episode hunting down a homemade sex tape that Marshall and Lily made. It's at first stated to not even exist, although it's eventually revealed that it is, in fact, real.
- Married... with Children had a Banned Episode (not shown until over ten years after it was made) where on Marcy's advice Al and Peggy go to a motel to spice up their love life, only to find out the motel recording guests having sex. Realizing they could sue over this gets them in the mood.
- On Glee, Puck and Lauren want to make a sex tape to make Lauren famous, but their teacher advises them not to since they're under-age and it would be child pornography. Plus, she can say from experience that it never works out how you intend it to.
- Brittany purposely leaks her and Santana's sex tape to prove to Santana that she's nor truly willing to do anything for fame. Santana is not impressed.
- Inverted on World's Dumbest... during one of the many times John Enos and Loni Love play lovers. In such segment, Loni asks John if he, "Wants to watch our movie", to which he excited says, "Fuck yeah! That camera angle makes my junk look huge!" Loni reveals she meant their wedding movies. After watching home movies of their wedding (basically just wedding clips with their faces superimposed over the brides and grooms), Loni then asks, "So, now you wanna watch that other movie?" John smiles sheepishly, before pulling out a camcorder, saying, "Fuck that... let's make one instead!" Both Loni and John take off in excitement.
- On ER, Doug and Carol make one of these shortly after reconciling. Amazingly, in an aversion of what often happens in this scenario, it does not end up being viewed by anyone else who shouldn't see it.
- Implied in The George Lopez Show when George puts on a tape for Angie's birthday and she worriedly asks if it's "from our trip to the lake, because the kid's can't see that!"
- King of the Hill has Hank and Peggy walk into Boomhauer's bedroom to see a videocamera pointed at the bed and hooked up to the tv. They assume it's for home videos and pretend to be news casters on the bed with it.
- Subverted in The Simpsons- Bart finds a tape marked "Homer and Marge Get Dirty", and plays it for Lisa hoping to traumatize her. It turns out its just footage of the two carving pumpkins.
- Not quite home, but on Sealab2021, when Stormy asked the ASHDTV to show him porno bloopers, it showed him one featuring Debbie and, based on context clues, Hesh. Debbie was more offended that the guys didn't think her breasts were real.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko Heffer and Filbert find a video made by the Bigheads called "Toads In Love".
- The Adventure Time "The Pit" has several parts where it's shown Jake has made a sex-tape for his girlfriend, Rainicorn.
Anime & Manga
- GE - Good Ending has one of the protagonist's friends involved in one. Not played for laughs as it was filmed without her consent.
- A chapter of the Lupin III manga has Lupin discovering his faked Jekyll & Hyde condition while viewing one of these. This was replaced when the episode received an anime adaptation in "Crude Reproduction, Perfect Frame".
- "The Porn Stars" in Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted 2005. They started out making the movie as a labor of love and to make money. By the time they're finished, they've realized how artificial their relationship has become.
- A very dark version appears in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth takes a hidden camera to her guardian's house, knowing he's going to molest her and planning to use the tape as blackmail. However, instead he knocks her unconscious, ties her up and brutally rapes her. She of course still has the tape and uses this for blackmail... after knocking him out on the next visit and tattooing "I am a rapist pig" on his stomach.
- As early as 1938, the Sir Henry Merrivale crime novel The Judas Window by Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) had a plot point in which a female character was blackmailed using sexual photos of her taken with her consent by an ex-boyfriend.
- Julie was blackmailed with one of these on The O.C..
- Soap being an Affectionate Parody of Soap Operas, naturally featured one of these.
- Speaking of which, this is a standard Soap Opera trope—many adulterous couples find that their liaison has been taped, either (a) by one of the lovers, with the intent of blackmailing the other, (b) deliberately done by a third party, again with the intent of blackmailing one or both, or (c) inadvertently. When it's inevitably discovered, the finder of course, uses it to blackmail one or both
- An especially cruel version on All My Children, when Gloria taped her tryst with her lover Craig and threatened to show it to his wife Dixie unless he gave her money. When her boyfriend discovered this, he was so enraged at her infidelity—adding insult to injury, Dixie was his sister—that he raped her and threatened her with revealing the tape should she dare to press charges (this took place at a time when a rape victim's sexual history could be used to discredit her story).
- A savvier version from the same show when Arlene blackmailed her son-in-law Alec into an affair and taped their trysts as an insurance policy, warning him that if he killed her, the police would find the tape and know his motive. Sure enough, he tried, assuming she was bluffing. . .and it was found.
- A rare funny version from this genre on General Hospital. When Emily Quartermaine made a documentary for the annual nurses ball, she left her camera in the conference room, unaware that it was still on. A nurse and her boyfriend sneaked into the room for a quickie. When the documentary was played at the ball. . .
- Kings had a story where the princess is blackmailed with the photographic variety.
- Done in an episode of Criminal Minds. When a woman finds in her husband's cell phone nude pictures of their daughter, he explains that this is some sexting done by the daughter (presumably to her boyfriend) and that she sent those to her father in law by mistake. He's lying by the way.
- Sort of happens in Lost, when Jack catches Sawyer and Kate cuddling post-coitus on a security camera. If he'd been through a few minutes sooner, he would have gotten a real eyeful...
- Veronica Mars had a hidden camera sex tape filmed without her or her boyfriends knowledge in his dorm room. It is then leaked to the internet. It causes major problems, and causes her ex-boyfriend Logan to beat her current boyfriend Piz senseless as Logan assumes he made it on purpose.
- The video shows up in the follow-up film, although the footage is different (for rating reasons).
- Shows up several times on Midsomer Murders usually as blackmail material followed by murder.
- The L Word: On one occasion, Jenny and Niki tape themselves having sex.
- In a third-season episode of Defiance, Berlin has sex with Tommy while recording the whole thing on a camera (the same camera she uses for her propaganda videos). Tommy is a bit worried, but Berlin points out that there's no risk, since the Internet hasn't been around in decades. When Tommy claims that Berlin's boss (the town mayor) could see it, she brushes him off, explaining that Pottinger only cares out his own looks, not Berlin's naked ass (she is glad that Tommy cares about the latter, though).
- Lisa of Venus Envy was publicly outed as a lesbian and had her reputation destroyed when she was involved in something like this.
- In Misfile, when nude photos of a girl start circulating around the school, it is treated as a very serious problem, and the legal implications (that under-18 sex is extremely illegal) are brought up, though we are informed that the girl in question is 18.