Sex

How a Fairly Vanilla Sex Scene Became a PornHub Sensation

"Tension" starts with a wholesome couple fighting over a milk carton. For some reason, it's been viewed over 60 million times. We spoke to the creative minds behind it to learn more.

Sophie Saint Thomas

Sophie Saint Thomas

Screenshot via Nubile Films

Aside from "Kim Kardashian Superstar" and "Backdoor Teen Mom," one of the most popular videos on PornHub is a film titled "Tension" by Nubile Films, starring Bruce Venture and Holly Michaels. Simply titled "Fucking Hot" on Pornhub, it has accrued over 60 million views since it was first uploaded.

The straight sex scene features actual mouth-to-mouth kissing, a bowl of cereal, and raw and passionate sex between the two stars. After an adorable tussle in the kitchen over a carton of milk, the all-American couple chases each other upstairs as a Hans Zimmer ripoff soundtrack plays. Then they proceed to fuck. It's indeed fucking hot fucking; however, it's fucking hot fucking you can have yourself with minimal props or planning. He's on top; she's on top; they fuck like spoons; she sucks him off; he eats her out; a round of applause for mutual oral sex.

Read more: The Oral History of MMMBop

Holly Michaels is difficult to get in touch with, and did not respond to multiple requests for comment. We spoke with her costar and then-"porn husband" Bruce Venture as well as Ryan, who requested to have his last name withheld, the producer of the film, about the genesis of the most popular videos on PornHub.

The Power of a Porn Spouse
Ryan: I was there that day and put that whole scene together. It was absolutely an amazing scene. It was about two-and-a-half years ago that we shot that [in Arizona]. Holly lives here in Phoenix so we had her come out here, and Bruce is a very interesting character, if you will.

Bruce Venture: I've probably worked with Holly like ten or 15 times. It's funny because we worked together so often that I used to call her my porn wife. For the longest time she was like the number one person I would work with the most often.

Ryan: I [had] just met Holly, she was literally one of the first porn girls that I met, really nice. That day my whole goal, my whole logic behind everything, was to make it as comfortable as possible for Bruce and Holly. They knew each other, so out of the gates it was easy, because they were like, as he said, [work] husband and wife.

Bruce: Yeah, it was cool; we were shooting in Arizona. It's a really fun crew, I got along with everyone out there, there wasn't really much of a work vibe. It was the easiest thing to work on.

Ryan: It was pretty laid-back on set. They got there at eight in the morning. Holly got in her makeup, Bruce hung out. We usually let the guys sleep until we need them unless he needs prep time (which is funny, because it is what it is—just a guy in a room jerking off with seven people there, and we're all just like 'What's up, dude!"), but it came out really good because there was none of that. It was just Bruce and Holly like, "Let's go, we're ready to do this, we're excited."

Bruce: We just showed up, Holly and I knew what we were doing, they gave us some lights and it was done.

It Was Literally Fucking Hot
Ryan: It was obscenely hot because it was dead of summer. As we started shooting, we realized that the air conditioning in the house was a two-unit set up, so when one would kick off the other would kick on, and so it completely hosed our audio. When we did the room tone, they didn't turn the air on yet because it was early in the morning. I was like, "Guys, I'm going to kill you!"

So it started to get really, really hot. It was the middle of summer in Arizona. We were taking breaks and opening the door [to let in fresh air], which felt amazing. The scene came out great regardless. They are a couple, they are in the kitchen, they grab the cereal and that's the moment that starts it all. We started the scene and brought them into the bedroom. Nubile Films is [about] passion. We want to show that connection, we want to show what creates that fire.

Bruce: It was one of the first times [Holly and I] got to freestyle our own scene. That was totally freestyle. There were no cuts. They just shut on a couple cameras and we just went straight through it in one take.

Ryan: It took like an hour and a half to shoot the entire scene from start to finish. We were all like, "Alright, somebody get Bruce a towel and Holly a towel and a fan, and we're all just going to chill out because it was literally that hot." I liked the fact that it seemed raw and it seemed real. I mean, it was literally physically hot and appealing, so it has this whole hot steamy vibe to it.

Bruce: We shot that whole thing in probably such a short amount of time. It's ridiculous; it took almost nothing.

Big Dicks Are Utilitarian
Ryan: If memory serves correctly, a lot of the positioning was very closed off. When I say "closed off," you'll notice that in a porn scene the guys will have their hands behind their back or they're doing something weird with their positioning. It's honestly so the camera can see what's going on.

It's funny too, because there's the big dick stereotype in porn. A lot of time the reason that they have [big dicks] is because the camera needs to see it. What I'm getting at is, even if you just show a little bit of that explicitness, but really just let the actors go with more natural positioning of letting them do it how they actually do it, it's just two people in their element. It's not too overdone, it seemed real—it seemed how you would have sex with your girlfriend. I did not know it was as popular as it is.

Bruce: It's as much as a surprise to me as anyone else. If you look at it, it's pretty simple and straightforward. It's just sex.

You can watch the video here.