Do you remember when you first heard about reality star Kim Kardashian? Maybe you became familiar by watching one of her TV shows, or maybe you know her as the woman who bore hip-hop artist Kanye West his first child. Many (most?) of us were introduced to her when her sex tape with R&B singer Ray J was made public. Kardashian was virtually unknown at the time, at least to the general public. But with the “leak” of that sex tape, she exploded onto the scene and is now the highest grossing reality TV star, with earnings reaching $6 million.

To be clear, this is not usually how things turn out when sex tapes leak. Most people suffer immense embarrassment, and while celebrities often recover pretty smoothly, the average person’s life can be ruined by such a breach of confidentiality. As such, people are nervous about making recordings of a sexual nature.

I happen to think making a sex tape can be a really exciting way to spice up your sex life. If you’re a visually stimulated person, watching from third-party perspective really changes the game; you’re seeing yourselves in a brand new light. While it might be a bit embarrassing at first, you’ll eventually warm up to the visual and fully enjoy watching yourself get it in. You can also see your partner’s reactions to certain things that you might not have been able to see (given the positions you were in), which can help you improve future performances.

The act of being a director of sorts can change your usual dynamic and place one of you in charge in different ways than what you’re used to. Finally you can explore your exhibitionist side and put on a show for the camera, imagining there’s an audience behind it catching you two in a sexy peep show.

The possibilities are many. If you’re interested in exploring, here are a few tips to make a great sex tape and protect the intimacy of it.

Lights, Camera, Action

Setting the scene is probably the most important part of making a quality sex tape. We’re no longer relying on bulky handheld cameras, bright burning lights, and intrusive microphones to capture videos. Setting intimate lighting might make the mood more romantic, but it might make for a poor quality video. Make sure you have enough light to actually see what is going on during the replay. You also want to make sure that whatever recording device you use is set up so it can capture the sounds. Some of the sexiest parts of the act involve hearing the moans and grunting, so you don’t want to miss out on capturing them.

You should then decide if you want to do a point-of-view (POV) video or a standard widescreen video. The benefits of a POV video include being able to get up close and personal with detailed shots focusing on one partner’s behavior. One of you might be more comfortable on film than the other. It also helps the person filming relive the experience when watching it later, because it’s shot from that person’s perspective.

The downside of POV is, it can be difficult to focus on filming and enjoying the act, and there’s often a lot of shaky footage when it’s a wrap. For POV, you can use a camera phone, an iPad Mini or other small tablet, or you can use a small handheld camera with recording capabilities. Make sure the microphone records well and the lighting and volume levels are adjusted.

If you choose to do a widescreen, be sure to set it up so it covers a wide enough area to catch everything you two are doing. If you’re in a bedroom, I recommend setting the camera up at an angle in the corner of the room or at the corner edge of the bed. A tripod comes in handy in this case, and you can position the camera, check for accurate coverage, and have flexibility to move around a bit.

Another option is using a laptop/tablet or two, set up at different angles in the room. You can hit record on each one at the same time and record the same session from at least two different angles. With a bit of creativity, you can use any simple video editing program and have a high quality amateur tape.

Yet another option, for those brave and open enough, is to have someone else film it for you. Hey, some of you are more “open” than others, and would have no problem trusting close friends to film you getting your back blown out. If you have that trustworthy confidant, and want to kick up the spice a notch, invite him/her to film you. He or she can move around the room and catch even more angles, making it even kinkier by directing you both during the act.

Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Making the tape can be a fun and exciting bonding experience, but you can’t forget to protect the bond. Is this someone you trust with your most intimate secrets? Is this someone you trust won’t leak it to seek revenge if you split? Will this person try to use it against you in court or professionally? Consider these and other questions before even making such a video. If you feel secure, but want extra protection in case someone else uses your camera or computers/phones, I recommend uploading the video to a private account online and then deleting the original files. That way, you both have access to watching it whenever you want without worrying about a coworker, friend, or heaven forbid, your child finding it.

If you keep the file, please encrypt it. There are a few options like TrueCrypt or IntiMate, an app to encrypt videos made on smartphones. If you’re tech-savvy, you can encrypt it yourself and make sure only to the two of you know the password. I also recommend you both agree to get rid of all evidence of the videos if you do split, just to be safe.

Sex tapes don’t have to be as scary as they might seem. Just pay special attention to with whom you make the take, what kind of content you have on it (please, nothing illegal or incriminating), and what steps you take to protect yourself in the end. Spice it up a bit and take a chance. A picture is worth 1,000 words, and video is worth countless memories.

Feminista Jones is a sex-positive Black feminist, social worker and blogger from New York City. She writes about gender, race, politics, mental health and sexuality at Follow her on Twitter at @FeministaJones.