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Supermodel spanked by Santa

I was feeling the need for a bit of light relief when my boyfriend sent me this, from US Magazine:

Kendall Jenner is featured in a new behind-the-scenes video for Love magazine’s annual Advent calendar, and it sure is naughty.

In the video directed by Doug Inglish and styled by Anthony Unwin, the budding supermodel, 19, wears a lace Philipp Plein bra, thigh-high tights, stilettos, a pleated plaid skirt, and a festive Santa hat. Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” plays in the background while Jenner slowly strips off her skirt and unabashedly shakes her hips and booty for the camera.

Kris Jenner’s oldest child with Bruce Jenner is accompanied later by a shirtless Santa, who is significantly more covered up than the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star. At one point she’s even bent over his knee with her hands on the ground as he playfully spanks her.

I’m not sure where “thigh high tights” came from – don’t US magazine know what stockings are? – but the outfit will likely appeal to spanking fans. Admittedly there’s less than a second of spanking in the video, and we don’t see the actual smack land, but the magazine is kind enough to enclose a screengrab:

I thought “spanked by Santa” was only a fantasy for us perverts. Apparently it’s more popular than I realised!

International outcry against UK online porn regulations

For a while I continued to update my previous round-up with new links about ATVOD’s new online porn regulations, but they are coming too thick and fast. This is round-up number two, and I want to open with two quotes from Australian feminist porn director Ms Naughty’s article in the Daily Life, which made me cry:

Australian feminist porn performer Zahra Stardust is writing her PhD dissertation on the legal regulation of pornography. She says “Those of us who are making queer, feminist, and kinky porn are doing so as an act of civil disobedience, because we know from lived experience that the cost of censorship in our communities is too high. These laws actively produce a heterosexist, misogynist sexuality as ‘normal’, whilst pathologising and closeting practices that actually life-affirming, consensual and meaningful. Fisting (an activity which is non-phallic) and ejaculation (which leaves visible evidence of pleasure) operate for many of us as pleasures of reclamation and resistance in a world that devalues and denies our sexualities.”

A plethora of incredulous articles and blog posts have appeared in the wake of the new laws, questioning the basis for sexual censorship of this sort. Petitions have been organized and a rally is scheduled for the Houses of Parliament next week. The willingness to stand up for alternative sexual representation reveals a shift in attitudes; people aren’t ashamed of their porn anymore. The kinksters and the female ejaculators are mad as hell, and they’re standing up for their right to pleasure – and pain.

The problem with banning female ejaculation in pornMs Naughty, Daily Life.

I am hugely encouraged by the outcry in response to these changes this week, both from the UK and worldwide. As a fetishist and a pornographer I’m used to being an edge case, and I generally assume that my ideas are as unusual as my work. But for once, it feels like public opinion might be on my side. Which is good, because I, along with a growing number of other UK fetish producers, intend to refuse to comply with the new guidelines, and to take this to the highest level in our fight to get the regulations changed.

Not only has the Daily Mirror poll come out at 90% in favour of not banning consensual BDSM porn, but PornHub have run an analysis of British porn viewing stats which backs up my impression that we are a kinky bunch: the UK consistently searches for porn in the newly restricted categories of porn more than the rest of the world.

The ongoing media coverage makes it pretty clear that I’m not the only one who thinks these regulations need to be challenged.

News

UK bans BDSM practices & female ejaculation in pornRuby May on Vimeo.

Magazines

  • The U.K. Crackdown on Porn – And Why It Hurts Independent Producers – Filmmaker Magazine. “These majority-female, BDSM porn producers being targeted are the niche market – the mom-and-pop shops to the big corporate, male-run production companies that cater to the much larger, straight guy audience for porn.”
  • Under the UK’s New VOD Regulations, BDSM is SOL – YNot. “The vagueness of the “TV-like” standard doesn’t bother ATVOD one bit, however. From ATVOD’s perspective, it allows them great freedom to expand their authority according to shifting and evolving definitions of their own devising.”
  • Has the UK really banned squirting? What is and isn’t legal in online pornography – Recombu. “‘Guidelines do change over time,’ Jackman said, ‘but the fact they have not changed post-Peacock is worrying. Given the result of that particular case there is clearly room for a challenge to the law.’”
  • It’s about censorship, not sexism – Jerry Barnett, Sex and Censorship. Can’t it be both? I agree that the threat to civil liberties and digital rights is the truly worrying one, but I don’t think any of the people (including me) using the egregiously sexist highlights of the regulations as an attention-getter are actually denying that.
  • Ten Questions for the BBFC about R-18 porn rules – Strange Things Are Happening. I liked this bit, responding to BBFC senior examiner Murray Perkin’s claim that “‘We may not classify any material which may be subject to prosecution.’ “Well, I’m sorry – but prosecution doesn’t mean conviction. Surely they should only be outlawing material that has consistently been found guilty in court, not images and acts that the CPS and police simply don’t approve of. Given how few obscenity cases (a) take place and (b) are defended in front of juries, this cosy arrangement between official bodies, none of whom have to back up their claims with actual facts, seems incredibly dodgy – especially when the only case in recent years to actually be defended ended with a very fast acquittal. And let’s not forget, until the end of the 1990s, the CPS and police still maintained that vanilla hardcore sex was legally obscene, again flying in the face of actual jury decisions.”
  • Why the UK is banning porn studios from depicting a bunch of sex acts – Vox. “The restrictions on obscene content and extreme pornography aren’t new at all. What’s changed is the application of the R18 standard to online porn.” Some good clarifications here as well as excellent quotes from Jiz Lee and Stoya.
  • Carry on censor – Jane Fae, Eye For Film. “The BBFC continues to cover its hypocrisy over censorship with the figleaf of an obligation to conform to the law.”
  • UK Porn Stars Give Their Thoughts On The New Porn Laws – Buzzfeed. In-depth interviews with Lexi Lowe, Paul Taylor, Jerry Barnett and Itziar Bilbao Urrutia.
  • #ThingsNowBannedInUKPorn: Internet reacts to government censorship of UK pornography – Destrier. A fantastic collection of Twitter snark.
  • In Defence Of Face-Sitting. What The Porn Ban Means For You – Nichi Hodgson, Ask Men. “Please. I’ve endured packed train rides that were more oxygen-starved. And we’re talking about consenting adults, here. As pro-domme Nikki Whiplash who sells face-sitting clips online puts it, ‘The idea that seeing a clip of one of my little models supposedly controlling the breathing of one of my big strong boys in a clearly acted fantasy scenario could then go off, copy the act and somehow smother themselves to death as a result is pretty patronising. It would take two of these presumed idiots getting together to result in any kind of face-sitting accident.’”

Blogs

Academic

  • The regulation of pornography on video-on-demand in the United Kingdom, Julian Petley, Journal of Porn Studies. Free to view. From the synopsis: “By EU standards, the approach adopted has been a strict one, raising questions about whether the UK authorities have gone beyond the requirements of the Directive, and thus whether their policies need underpinning by new legislation at the national level. This in turn poses further questions about the desirability of such legislation, its compatibility with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the advisability of driving abroad the providers of ‘adult’ on-demand services, and the practicability of attempting to regulate transnational media traffic in an increasingly online world where standards of acceptability vary widely from one country to another.”

The official petition on the Govt website is now online and has nearly 2500 signatures already – if you’re a UK resident and haven’t signed it yet, go and sign it NOW.

If you aren’t in the UK and want to make a stink about this, join my campaign to inundate ATVOD with complaints using their own complaints form (intended for complaints about inappropriate programming, not about ATVOD, which just makes it funnier).

If you can, join us at the protest next Friday – and spread the word.

How to make an ATVOD complaint

ATVOD complaint formLook, I found a thing: it’s the official online ATVOD complaint form!

Ready, internet? It’s spamming time!

*cracks knuckles*

Here’s how you use the form to make a complaint about the new regulations controlling UK porn production:

  • Open the Complaint Form and choose “make new complaint”
  • 2. Are you complaining about material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder? Choose “Yes”
  • 3. Which particular service was it? Choose “Other” and type “The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014″
  • For date, use Monday 1 December 2014
  • For “programme name”, use “Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014″ (time viewed – any eg 00:00, although it let me leave it blank)
  • For “time of viewing”, use Monday 1 December 2014
  • Write your complaint
  • Enter your email address (address and phone number are optional, which I didn’t realise until after I’d submitted mine)

Got that? Go go go! Let’s inundate them!

Here’s my complaint – feel free to nick it and rewrite it if you like.

The new Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 that came into force on December 1st, restricting UK production of online pornography, are sexist and contravene EU equalities legislation concerning the equal treatment of men and women. Furthermore they are unworkable in practice, will create a trade barrier and cripple small UK businesses, contravene freedom of expression and create unnecessary, harmful censorship.

Facesitting which restricts the airways is no more dangerous than deep-throat fellatio which restricts the airways. It is nonsensical and sexist that the former should be restricted, but the latter permitted.

Many women ejaculate at the moment of climax, and it is a natural, healthy part of female sexuality which anyone who has experienced it will know has nothing to do with urination. Female ejaculate on a person is no more harmful or obscene than male ejaculate on a person. Consuming female ejaculate is no more harmful or obscene than consuming male ejaculate. It is nonsensical and sexist that the former should be restricted, but the latter permitted, and likewise it sends a damaging message to young men and women that female sexual pleasure is somehow more “disgusting” or “unnatural” than male sexual pleasure.

As feminists we are trying to educate our young people about healthy, safe sex practice to reduce incidents of unwanted pregnancy, STIs, rape and sexual assault, as well as reducing shame and stigma surrounding young people’s – particularly young women’s – sexuality. These restrictions are a huge, regressive set back that will actively harm female sexual development in our young women who are no longer able to see equal depictions of male and female sexual pleasure in UK adult entertainment.

Fisting, bondage, facesitting, trampling and many other acts banned by the BBFC are perfectly legal to do consensually. It is ludicrous that these acts should be illegal for UK producers to depict in UK porn. If obscenity legislation is meant to prevent imitation, and the acts would be legal if imitated, then the legislation is pointless and overly restrictive.

Fisting and female ejaculation are important parts of LGBT sexual practice, and these regulations discriminate against women and members of the LGBT communities.

Furthermore, it is revolting that acts of female sexual dominance such as facesitting should be banned, where acts of male sexual dominance such as irrumatio are explicitly permitted.

These regulations impose a regressive conformity, stifle creativity and free expression, and discriminate against queer, feminist and fetish porn – which is usually much more ethically produced, and much more positive in its message, than the “gangbang” style of mainstream male gaze porn which depicts male sexual pleasure, orgasm and dominance at the expense of female agency and pleasure.

These restrictions will cripple small independent UK businesses producing niche pornographic content, while favouring large companies producing mainstream content. They will also benefit foreign companies producing content which is now illegal to produce in the UK, but still legal for UK customers to purchase and view online.

Speaking as a feminist, as a woman, as a member of the LGBT community, and as an adult who enjoys consensual sexual activity and who wants to see my authentic sexuality depicted in porn without shame, I think these restrictions are hugely damaging. They should be repealed.

Make your complaint here »

Hyperkinks: ATVOD anti-porn law edition

Art by Judi Thomas ArtSince my post yesterday about the new anti-porn law, there’s been a hell of a lot of online media coverage. Please read, share, and help however you can. Let’s keep the conversation going.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 – link to the actual legislation, which you should read if you are unsure exactly what sort of content has been banned.

News

Comment

Snark

British fetish porn producers

  • How the new legislation affects Strand Productions by Sarah Bright. “We have over the past few years moved more and more of our Business away from the UK and whilst in Spain in October we made the final and actually heart-breaking move to take up our Spanish residency.”
  • The cold, dead hand of the censor by Hywel Phillips (Elegance Studios). “We will not be pre-emptively stopping production. We vehemently object to the suggestion that the censor has the first damn idea about how to signal consent in BDSM scenes, and believe that they should seek the advice of those in the BDSM community instead of presuming that we know nothing.”
  • New legislation – a post by my business partner Nimue Allen who, like me, is strongly affected by these new restrictions. “I’m angry that it’s possible to return from a week of filming consensual, legal sex acts, in a way that allows performers to express their fantasies, to find that suddenly those acts are illegal to film.”

What you can do

  • Write to your MP. You can cite this EU equality legislation if you like.
  • Sign this Change.org petition and this 38 Degrees petition, although the Government are only obliged to take any notice of official petitions. We submitted an official one this morning, I’ll let you know when it’s been approved. Meanwhile you might as well sign the others anyway, it costs nothing and will only take a minute.
  • Donate to Backlash UK, the sexual liberties lobby group who are campaigning against this legislation. Backlash maintain a legal defence fund to help those targeted by this sort of legislation. I’ve just set up a monthly £20 donation. These are the people who will help us if we get targeted. Give them your money.
  • Come to this protest outside Parliament at midday on Friday 12 December. I’ll be there.

Online porn: the canary in the coalmine

Today in the UK, the law changed regarding the sort of content that can be sold online as “video on demand”, to bring online regulations in line with the existing guidelines for the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification). Video on Demand (VoD) services are regulated by the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD), which restricts the types of sexual content that UK VoD distributors can provide. In other words, online porn sales are now subject to the same restrictions as DVD sales, and it is no longer legal to sell online anything which could not be classified by the BBFC as R-18. Myles Jackman has posted an in-depth article describing exactly what is restricted as of December 1.

This is a huge blow for freedom of expression. The internet was until now the last resort of adult film-makers who wished to produce a broader range of content than that admitted by the BBFC.

Under the new legislation, UK distributors are no longer allowed to sell content depicting bondage and gags, fisting, public sex, age play, facesitting, urination, female ejaculation, and spanking and caning beyond that deemed “transient and trifling”.

I’ve known this was coming for a while, but seeing it today reported in Vice and on the Backlash UK website, the reality is starting to sink home. In one fell swoop, I and most other independent fetish porn producers in the UK have been criminalised. Many spanking producers are already making changes to their sites – including taking free trailers down, moving their base of operations outside the UK, or even taking their site offline entirely. Vice reports, “sites either closed down or made to come into compliance last year include Belted by Beauty, Mistress Whiplash, Pleasuring Herself and Young Dommes”, although another femdom site, The Urban Chick Supremacy Cell, has fought off the censors and successfully challenged ATVOD’s authority with the help of Myles Jackman.

It’s interesting that for the most part, femdom sites have been the ones targeted. The restrictions on facesitting and squirting disproportionately censor female sexual expression, female pleasure and female dominance:

It’s worth noting that facefucking – an activity which, when shown in porn, often involves a man putting his penis in a woman’s mouth hard and fast (so basically, exactly how it sounds) – a staple of mainstream heterosexual (and often deeply misogynistic) porn isn’t on the list. It’s fine to be there on DVDs, and it’s fine online. Meanwhile, facesitting –which usually involves a woman sitting on a man’s face – is banned. So, a representation of female dominance is banned, while a representation of male dominance is perfectly legal. (Stavvers)

As Stavvers points out, facefucking is permitted, but facesitting is not; likewise consuming male ejaculate is permitted, but consuming female ejaculate is not. The new legislation props up patriarchal models of male sexual dominance and criminalises femdom and feminist producers whose work provides alternative models of sexual interaction.

Similarly, the restriction against fisting – an important part of authentic queer sexuality – will disproportionately affect producers of queer, lesbian and gay porn. This is undeniably a blow against women and queers, with a transparently sexist emphasis on restricting acts of female sexual power.

The EU AVMS directive states that content that “might seriously impair minors” should be restricted in order to protect those under 18. However, when considering the research of 20 European States(3), Ofcom found that: “No country found conclusive evidence that sexually explicit material harms minors. As a result, the regulations have been introduced under the aegis of “child protection”, without any evidence that the regulation will contribute to child welfare. It will, however, have an adverse impact on the sexual choices of consenting adults and on the British media industry. (Backlash UK)

With these restrictions, distributing images of acts which are legal to consensually practice – such as piss play, bondage and fisting – becomes illegal. It’s fine to do it, but not to sell images of it. Obscenity legislation is meant to prevent the publication of images which might corrupt those watching – in other words, stop people from being tempted to try something that is deemed “extreme”. But quite aside from whether porn does in fact corrupt (and the evidence shows that it doesn’t), if trying it would not actually be illegal, why do the images matter?

As for spanking – well, any image that shows bruising, welts, or marks beyond a slight redness are now restricted. So that’s Dreams of Spanking, my fairtrade, feminist spanking site, well and truly implicated.

I’ve had people sending me this information for the last few weeks, asking what I intend to do, and my answer has been the same every time. If you think that this legislation is going to send me running and hiding, you are mistaken. I have no intention of helping the bigots by self-censoring, and I’m certainly not going to pre-emptively shut up shop.

This is a ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities and small business owners. It predominantly targets the cottage industries of women, couples, queers and fetishists – people who are making enough to cover their costs or perhaps a little more, people who are making their own porn because the mainstream genres don’t cater to our needs.

We are self-employed performers, artists, producers, directors. We buy our camera equipment ourselves and edit our content ourselves. We create safe spaces for fellow kinksters to discover they are not alone. We propagate much-needed information about consensual kink practice, showing examples of safe play, negotiation, and healthy kinky relationships. Our films are homegrown, niche, playful, political and sexy, documenting our authentic sexualities where they are not catered to by the mainstream. We work alone or with our partners and like-minded kinky friends. We dare to be different, and to reach out to others who are like us. For this we are criminalised.

The internet is a lifeline to people whose sexuality does not fit that prescribed as “normal” by the legislators. Whatever our sexuality, none of us can help what turns us on. Queer and fetishist sexualities are no longer defined as psychiatric disorders by the medical establishment – we can legally pursue fetish activities with consenting adult partners, and in the UK there is a whole subculture of clubs, munches and play parties to help us do so.

Judging by the number of kinky events listed on Fetlife per week, the UK is one of the kinkiest countries on the planet – certainly in comparison to the number of people living here. We may be a minority, but there’s strength in numbers. Together we can fight this.

This legislation is wrong-headed, sexist, unworkable – and it strikes a huge blow to equality and sexual freedom. We must fight it. If we tuck our tails between our legs and start scrambling around to take fetish content offline, we are doing the censors’ work for them. We need to work together to make it functionally impossible for this legislation to be enforced.

Pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die. If this assault on liberty is allowed to go unchallenged, other freedoms will fall as a consequence.

This declaration of State censorship will affect millions of consenting adults who choose to view British pornography; impose an unnecessary trade barrier, which has already caused independent UK producers to shut down; result in a significant loss of revenue to The Treasury; is practically unworkable as it can be circumvented by proxy servers; and has implications for all forms of freedom of expression on the internet. (Obscenity Lawyer)

So what can you do? Well, you can tell your journalist friends about it and get them to write articles about how stupid and harmful this is. You can talk to your mates about it, post about it on social media, and raise the chances that the next time this comes to trial, the jury will think this legislation is a load of rubbish. You can donate to Backlash UK and join the Open Rights Group (of which I am a member), both of whom are campaigning on this issue. You can write to your MP. And you can support your local independent queer and fetish porn producers by buying their porn while you still can.

(Images from Nimue’s World and Femme Fatale Films.)

Spanking in London – TimeOut

If you’re in London, you might have spotted this last week…

Spanking in TimeOut London

TimeOut magazine contacted me for an interview about spanking in London as part of their history of London in 10 sex objects, one of which is the Coco de Mer spanking ruler. I was happy to give them some quotes (and impressed by the way they cut my ten minutes of rambling down to a concise few lines, without mangling the meaning).

At the same time, the magazine has released an A to Z of sex in London, which is surprisingly wide-ranging and up to date, including plenty of kinky events and resources, the East London Stripper Collective, and our favourite kinky sex blogger Girl on the Net (who is listed under W for Web, or Wanking). Every time I travel to other cities it confirms my impression that London is one of the most sexually diverse, kinky places on the planet, and it’s good to see London’s amazing sex culture honoured in a mainstream magazine. Nice one!

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Sinful Sunday – wizard school spanking

Wizard school spanking

The Potions master was furious. “You’re not allowed to use magic until you graduate,” he told Ron. “I can’t have some whippersnapper running around the school with a bigger beard than I’ve got!”

Sinful Sunday

Ethical porn: realness, feminism, labour rights and violence

So, you might have seen: I was featured in the Guardian. I’m really pleased with the article (kind of a relief, because if I hadn’t I’d have had to lump it), but then I wouldn’t have given Zoe Williams an interview if I didn’t trust and respect her as a journalist.

I think the piece is intelligent and balanced, and I’m not just saying that because she says nice things about my work. (She also says the acting is like a school play, which made me chuckle.) She’s not preaching to the converted (unlike, say, this blog), but she doesn’t set out to persuade the anti-porn camp either. Instead the article is aimed at the sort of educated well-meaning lefty who reads the Guardian and doesn’t really watch porn. With her trademark self-deprecating wit, Zoe positions herself in that category before describing how she became convinced that porn was not, in fact, a monolith of misogynistic degradation – and that a lot of it is not only ethical, but watchable.

It’s so good to see it in a mainstream paper – particularly one that has given lots of column space to anti-sex feminists in the past.

I wrote this post the day after, which gives you the backstory to the interview, and a few links fleshing out some of the issues touched upon in the article. With respect to Zoe, who did a superb job, I want to add a few more comments.

Muesli

What Blake does could never be generated by a computer. The film she’s making – a futuristic dystopia in which men have been abolished – sounds a bit muesli on paper; but the landscape of bondage, fetish and futurism is incredibly unmuesli.

I’m intrigued by this language of “muesli”. It’s the same language that characterises feminist porn or ethical porn as “vegan”, “sandal-wearing”, “long-haired”. I understand it’s a dry-humoured nod to the stereotype – I think the stereotype is one which is used to dismiss and trivialise activism in a variety of contexts. I find the conflation of these categories fascinating. Feminist = idealistic = earnest = worthy = muesli. Does that mean it’s unappetising?

(And a futuristic dystopia in which men has been abolished would critique the abolition of men – right?)

But the weirdest thing is that I haven’t made a film like that, and never intended to. (It’s a cute idea, though.) Maybe I was talking about The Clone’s Training as an example of how I strive for originality and creativity in my films? It hadn’t been produced in December 2013 when I gave the interview, but it was already in my script bank.

Realness

It is incredibly confronting to watch, in the sense that you do feel as though you’re watching an actual sexual moment between one person and another. [...] You can say what you like about mainstream porn, but you cannot say that it looks real. [...] Confusingly, you can see real human beings in Blake’s films.

This is partly a comment on the body diversity of my casting, the way I don’t only shoot people with glamour-model looks, but hire based on enthusiasm, acting ability and charisma instead. (And nice bums, of course, which thankfully are found on a wide range of different bodies.)

But it’s interesting to see “realness” held up as a virtue of “ethical porn” – especially when my site specifically sets out to produce fantasy fiction.

Some of the scenes are true to life, showing how I play for real, with no character acting – and showing live negotiation, real reactions, explicit consent and so on. But the clue’s in the name: for the most part, Dreams of Spanking expresses my fantasies. Imagined narratives, roleplays, that sort of thing. Stuff that doesn’t happen in real life. Stuff I wouldn’t want to happen in real life.

On Dreams of Spanking I explore themes of non-consent through fiction – and the fictional narrative is very much contrasted with the real experience of the real humans on set. In the story someone might be being treated horribly and there might be no happy ending. In reality, everyone was consulted on what they wanted to do, we took regular breaks during filming, everyone was fed and paid and felt safe and went home happy. (I generally cast myself as the spankee in my edgiest non-consent fantasies, because that simplifies my ethical responsibilities considerably. And also because it’s hot.) Making explicit this relationship between fictional non-consent and real consent could, in fact, be said to be the entire point of the whole endeavour. So it’s interesting to see “realness” picked out as the thing that makes my porn better than mainstream porn.

Porn is fantasy, as well as being a recording of a real interaction between two people – and fantasy porn can be produced ethically too.

Feminist vs ethical

Feminism is not a prerequisite when it comes to making ethical porn, Blake says. “Feminist porn is explicitly focused on women’s desires and sexuality. So, for example, the belt-whipping scene where I got the life thrashed out of me, that I would say is feminist, because it’s about my journey and my sexuality. Whereas I think it’s possible to produce male-gaze porn in an ethical and fair trade way. That means complete respect for performers, for their boundaries and consent. If someone says no, you don’t ask again, you don’t ask last minute in the middle of a scene. You don’t trick them into doing stuff. You pay them. It’s not only all of those principles, but also communicating that to your audience.”

This quote has been misunderstood, so I want to clarify it.

For me “ethical porn” is a question primarily of labour rights – how workers are treated. How much power do they have to negotiate what they do, and who with? When and how are they paid? Is the working environment safe, clean and comfortable? Are boundaries respected? Is consent given freely, and is it informed consent? Is anyone sexually harassed, threatened, deceived or made to feel uncomfortable? Are the pre-agreed hours kept to? Are men and women paid the same pay for the same job? This is about worker’s rights, the stuff that mobilises labour unions. Porn performers don’t have a union, which is why I think we need a social contract; a campaign for studios to be transparent about their production ethics, and a social movement that puts pressure on producers who exploit their workers. When I attempted to define fairtrade porn two years ago, this is what I was talking about.

These concerns transcend gender politics. The issue of labour rights is separate from whether porn is feminist. Ethical production is the basics; feminism adds an additional set of standards which are, I think, optional. Porn can be ethically produced in the sense of treating its workers well, and still be sexist. Or here’s another example – male/male gay porn. A lot of it doesn’t try to be feminist, in fact feminism has nothing to do with it, but that doesn’t make it unethical unless the workers are exploited.

Ethical production is something I’m prepared to campaign about. I think the whole porn industry should be ethical. But although I identify as a feminist, and spend a lot of time and effort thinking about how to make porn in a more feminist way, I have no desire to evangelise.

I wasn’t saying I’m not a feminist and I don’t consider my porn to be feminist. (I’m not sure where that reading came from.) I was saying that although feminist and ethical overlap, they aren’t synonymous.

For me, feminist porn is a personal integrity thing. Maybe you don’t call yourself a feminist – that’s fine. If you do, and you make porn, and your porn is sexist, then okay, I’ll probably give you side-eye. But I can’t be arsed to try and convert other porn producers to feminism. I don’t really give a crap whether you’re trying to be feminist – as long as you treat your workers with respect.

Does that make sense?

Equal pay for male and female performers

(Quoting Noelle Nica) “…on the practical, economic side, men make much less per scene than women do because they’re viewed as less important. That’s another little detail that would have feminists up in arms if the situation were reversed. Yet nobody rallies to get equal pay for male performers.”

This made me grin, because guess what I’ve spent the last three years campaigning for? That’s right: equal pay for male performers! Here are some links if you don’t believe me.

Just in case there was any doubt remaining: I pay fixed rates for certain jobs, which are the same regardless of the gender of the person I’m hiring. I pay both male and female bottoms £300-£350/day depending on the length of the shoot, because that’s at the higher end of the standard day rate paid by other spanking sites I’ve worked for, and my shoots tend to be full days. Tops get the same as crew (£150-£200, again depending on shoot length and intensity.) Switches get something between the two. I usually negotiate lower day rates for multiple day shoots, which is fairly standard practice.

The pay discrepancy between tops and bottoms is because I think professional sub work should earn a higher rate than other forms of BDSM work, for a few reasons: partly the level of personal risk involved, partly because bottoming is uniquely physically demanding (healing welts and bruises has a physical energy cost beyond the duration of the shoot, and it can take a few days to fully recover from the adrenaline/seratonin spike), but mostly because if you’re welted or bruised you can’t do most other forms of erotic labour until you’ve healed, and so I think anything that leaves marks should pay more to account for the loss of earnings. But the discrepancy is between different jobs, not different genders. I pay everyone the same wage for the same work.

The age of the Crash Pad

Pandora Blake has just bought a membership to crashpadseries.com, “which is a queer radical feminist site that’s been running for 14 years.

Just a correction here: Shine Louise Houston launched her production company PinkWhite in 2005 with her film The Crash Pad. The website came in 2007. My bad – I got the dates wrong. Shine’s achievement is impressive enough without being overstated.

There was feminist porn being produced 14 years ago, though – Candida Royalle kicked things off with Femme in 1985, Purve published photos of men on a membership site for women in 1998, and Anna Span aired her first porn film on TV in 1999. Ms Naughty has a really well-researched history of porn for women which I highly recommend.

One last thing.

Violent fantasy and moral responsibility

There is a chasm here, between people who think that all violence in sex is the result of a patriarchal culture and will lead to violence in real life, and should be stamped out; and people who think that all fantasy is legitimate, and almost all of it can be legitimately met by porn.

AJ, Blake’s assistant, says: “When people chase after paedophilic fantasies, it’s very hard to satisfy them in a way that isn’t damaging someone. But it’s perfectly possible to seek out rape fantasies in a way that isn’t.”

Julie Bindel, feminist and activist, is scathing about this. “Put it this way, if I had a fantasy about having a black woman on her hands and knees scrubbing my kitchen floor and saying, ‘Yes madam, no madam’, yes, I would quash it.”

AJ is talking about consensual roleplay, in case it wasn’t clear, and Bindel’s quote is disingenuous to say the least. I’ve gone on long enough, so I’ll try to keep this brief. Fantasy is fantasy. Fantasy exists in your head. If it stays in your head and the only person who ever knows about it is you, you have no responsibility to anyone else. You can fantasise about whatever the hell you want. The only moral boundaries are your own.

As it happens, yes, if I was excited by that fantasy, as a white woman, I would not nurture it. I have, in fact, had fantasies which I was morally uncomfortable with, and I have refused them. (“Quash” isn’t the right word. If you try to suppress a sexual impulse, you strengthen it. Guilt, shame and anxiety can all be powerful arousal amplifiers. But you can turn away.) I have, mid-wank, become uncomfortable with the images rising up in my hindbrain, and I have refused those images and consciously summoned others. Or if that hasn’t worked, I’ve stopped entirely.

But the point is that I would never tell anyone else where their own comfort zone should be; what images, in their own private theatre of the mind, they should nurture, and what they should refuse. It’s private. It’s up to you.

Porn is not private. Porn is a public actualisation of something private, and different rules apply. That’s where the whole methodology of Dreams of Spanking comes into play, that differentiation between fantasy and reality I mentioned earlier. I think that as an ethical, sex-positive feminist pornographer, I do have a moral responsibility not to seem to condone sexist, racist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, slut-shaming, patriarchal ideas. If those themes play a part in a nuanced fictional narrative, I take the time to establish what is fantasy and what is reality. It’s complex. You can’t reduce it to a simple soundbite. This is where the whole idea of “consensual non-consent” comes in (and oh, it’s lovely to be able to use that phrase here, even though I can’t on Dreams of Spanking – thanks for the censorship, CCBill!)

And yes, there are certain themes I won’t use. Race play, as it happens, is one of them. I’m not even sure if this is a feminist porn issue – to me it seems to be an issue of cultural appropriation. I am white, and therefore I do not appropriate Black history for fun or profit. A producer of colour like Mollena Williams has more right than I or Julie Bindel do to explore racial themes in the sexual fantasies we make public.

Valery North has sensible things to say about this:

While I don’t think the Shadow Self is the sole explanation of dark sexual fantasies, I think there is a lot of evidence that for some people anyway, it is a powerful way of engaging with and rehabilitating the shadow self and sexual fantasies and desires are influenced by the negated or rejected elements of our own psyches.

I’m reluctant to try to engage too much with the racial politics of Bindel’s remark (one might be tempted to suggest it’s not her place, as a White middle-class woman, to use that as her particular example, either). Suffice to say, I’ve read some Black women who are into BDSM and it seems from their views that it is possible to produce that porn in an ethical/fair trade way, too.

The Bindel quote wasn’t about porn. Porn is fantasy-made-reality, the actualisation of fantasy. If the fantasy differs from the reality, ethical producers have a responsibility to show both, and to make the distinction clear. This, in a nutshell, is exactly what the Dreams of Spanking project is all about.

Porn is media, it’s entertainment, and it contributes to cultural trends. I wouldn’t tell a racist joke if I was a TV scriptwriter or a stand-up comic, and I won’t make racist porn, either.

But when fantasy is just fantasy, when it exists purely within the privacy of your own imagination – well, that’s your business, and it’s a matter for you and your own conscience. Unless you choose to make them public, far be it from me – or Bindel – to tell you what your fantasies should look like.

Love Our Lurkers IX

Social interaction makes the world go round. Today (and tomorrow) are Love our Lurkers day – the ninth one to date. I missed a couple. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a bit sporadic at keeping this blog updated since I launched Dreams of Spanking in 2011. Keeping a membership site updated with a new film and image gallery every week creates a fairly hectic schedule. But when I wasn’t doing it so much, I really felt the absence of personal blogging.

This blog has been a consistent part of most of my adult life. I wrote the first post in August 2006, after my first spanking video shoot with English Spankers. But it was never just a professional blog – as well as my spanking porn work, I immediately started writing about my private kinky relationships and play – and in October 2006 I wrote my first post about the proposed extreme porn legislation. Kink, porn and politics have been the focus of this blog since the start. And eight years later, I’m still writing. Are you still reading?

This year – since hiring AJ and Girl on the Net to help out with the week-to-week running of Dreams of Spanking – I’ve been making a real effort to blog here more frequently. And I’m not doing badly; I’ve written 55 posts this year already, compared with only 32 in 2013. But we don’t have the conversations we used to. I miss our chats! I know I went quiet for a while, but I’m here now.

To be honest, I’ll keep on writing either way. Blogging is in my soul – I can’t help it, no matter how creatively fulfilled I am elsewhere. I need this outlet, and I write for myself first and foremost. But it’s so much more fun and interesting if you talk back.

Are you out there? This is your chance to say hello. Maybe we used to talk regularly. Maybe you’ve never left a comment. You don’t have to say anything exciting – just let me know you’re there.

Hi.

Pandora Blake nude at Dreams of Spanking

Hyperkinks: ‘strange’ fantasies, ethical porn, and sex work

Kink

 

Porn

 

Politics (Sex work edition!)

  • I love that he makes the connection between survival sex work and the reduction of the welfare state – and above all that he urges people to listen to sex workers themselves. Bravo. I was also shocked to see how few MPs were present at the debate.
  • Vice has a surprisingly sound article by Frankie Mullen on sex work, the “Swedish model” and decriminalisation. Mullen explains that we need full decriminalsation because, “At present, we’re stuck with a situation in which certain aspects of prostitution remain illegal and, as such, sex workers’ lives and bodies are subject to policing and ​enforced “rehabilitation”. Crimes are going unreported because women don’t trust the police, and abusers have the system on their side.” The whole thing is worth a read.
  • Niki Adams in the Guardian: Listen to sex workers – we can explain what decriminalisation would mean. “Without taking sex workers’ experience into account there can be no protection, only repression.”
  • Finally, in non-sex-work news, London is to see the world’s first wheelchair-accessible, gender-neutral, LGBT-friendly dance studio. With their emphasis on body positivity, accessibility, inclusivity and providing a safe space for people of all genders, sexualities and bodies to enjoy movement, Irreverent Dance are doing powerful, important work. Their showcase on Sunday night was a great night out – and their Kickstarter is open for another 24 hours if this strikes a chord and you want to lend your support.
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