Meet The Woman Making Sext Fantasy Videos
By Alison Stevenson
Though the term “sexting” is a fairly new addition to our lexicon, in many ways there’s nothing particularly new about the act of sexting. For centuries, we’ve found ways to express erotic desire. In the past, we wrote letters or spoke on the phone. Today, we’ve simply found a medium for that expression that’s easier, quicker, and more graphic (insert unsolicited dick pic here).
I’ll admit that I’m not the best at sexting, though I am proud to say that I repeatedly give it the good old college try. For a long time — and you may understand this — a lot of it felt rather awkward for me, and I often found myself wondering: Am I doing this right? Is there such a thing as doing this right? Should I just send him a picture of my breasts and move on with my life?
Over the past few months, though, I gained a lot of sexting confidence thanks to my discovery of the ingenious Send Me Your Sexts. The video art project, created by filmmaker Eileen Yaghoobian, is predicated on a simple yet brilliant idea: turning people’s real sext conversations into short stylized videos.
These videos are often surreal, nonsensical in the most appropriate way. My personal favorite is “Ted & Holly” (mostly because of the pizza).
Watching these videos put sexting into perspective for me. I got to see for the first time what other people were saying to one another, and it inspired me to stop feeling so self-conscious. To move past my goddamn inhibitions.
Thanks to Send Me Your Sexts, I now understand that sexting is not a necessary evil one must trudge through. It’s something exciting and special we get to do with our partners, and it is often beneficial in helping a budding romance grow.
To learn more about the project and its purpose, I spoke with Eileen about her work — and how it’s changing our attitudes about sexting itself.
How did the inspiration for Send Me Your Sexts come about?
The inspiration is a mix of my documentary filmmaking, my theater background, and the concept of reenactments in documentary, a la The Act of Killing. My personal fascination with sexting got me talking and sharing, and then the conversations led to, ‘It would be funny to see this come to life!’
I don’t think there are enough websites out there that are sexy, but not necessarily porn. I also don’t think that something funny is unsexy, or that sexy is unfunny. You can be funny and sexy, running on both those lines at the same time. Sexts are the perfect blend of that.
Sexts are also current, contemporary, and filled with creativity, tension, real drama, and humor. Most importantly, they are authentic and raw.
What is the creative process like upon receiving these sexts? How do you figure out what the scene should be, the characters, etc.?
I think about the actors who would be good for the characters and ask them to read for me. We discover the scene in rehearsal, and the actors are very much part of bringing the scene to life.
I think a lot of things are hot. Having sex on the hood of a car is hot to me. Pepperoni pizza, pussy, and pinballs are hot. Grunting and playing tennis is hot. So those are the choices I make when I make these videos. Whatever turns me on and off becomes part of the story, but it’s important that the fantasy fits the text. It’s important that we stay true to the sexter’s intent in the text.
How much do you know about the people turning in these texts? Do they provide any supplemental information about the scenario, or whether or not they’re in a relationship or anything like that?
No, not at all. We get all our information about character and location from the texts. Part of the excitement for senders is not knowing what the scene will be. We get some clues about location or story in the back and forth between them, but we create the scene purely based on the texts, and that makes the videos work better.
You think it’s better that way?
Yes. Less is more! It gives us the freedom to create a world around the sexter’s fantasy that is based on our interpretation of the sexy text exchange, and in that way I hope I’m serving the fantasy.
What do you personally think of sexting? Pro, against, in-between?
Mostly pro. What I love about sexting is that you have to be really creative. You’re free when you’re sexting your desires in a way that you might not be if you were in the same space [with the person you’re sexting].
You mean, it’s easier to express fantasies? You can be less shy or less hesitant?
Yes — sexts represents the best sex of your mind. Sexting is the ultimate confessional, because sexual fantasies are pleasurable, visceral, dangerous, fun, raw, and authentic. They represent risqué thoughts you wouldn’t dare say aloud, or would only say when you’re drunk. The only reason to regret sexting is if you get caught, because shaming culture breeds guilt — that feeling you get from a morally abject thought that is hardly ever acted upon, but which compels people to sext all the time.
What constitutes, in your mind, a sext? Does it always have to be sexually explicit, or can it be more subtle and flirtatious than that?
Sexting can happen during all phases of a relationship. It could happen during a pick-up, a break-up, during an intense part of a relationship, or when someone’s missing someone. It just depends on the characters. Some people love dirty talk and are good at it, while some love to be a tease and suck at talking. The tech part of sexting gives people the freedom to be the dirty-talking selves they never thought they could be in real life — and that’s the part that interests me.
Is sexting improving the way couples communicate, or do you think it’s making things worse?
Both. Technology is both hyper-visible and invisible. Our engagement with sexual messages and images lives within the ambiguity between fantasy and reality. Really, it’s not the act of sexting that is bad. It’s who you choose to sext and what they do with it.
That is a very good point.
Sexts don’t create sexual dynamics; they reveal them. If people didn’t care about the sharing part, then shaming culture would go away.
Is that culture of shame eroding, you think?
I definitely think the perception about sexting is changing. All this press and news about sexting being good is exciting.