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Calligraphy, cross-dressing and correction

Posted at 22:07 on 1 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

Here's a treat to kick off November. This "fragment" by Casey Morgan, Georgie/George may be a tantalisingly short story, but it has everything. Country houses, public schoolboys, simmering bisexual tension, private tutors, unruly young aristocrats, calligraphy lessons, girls dressed as boys...

She cant write?

Not that one can decipher.

Delahays face assumed the expression of a professional who knew his work: In short, she is intelligent but undisciplined.

Quite.

Delahays gaze drifted to the fire. It does sound a desperate case, he said. Unfortunately, I am a tutor of boys.

One thing I love about this story is that although it has all the tension of an unequal power dynamic, the relationship - and therefore the punishment - is made explicitly consensual. It's hard to get that right, particularly when the story isn't about an adult erotic relationship.

It's a spanking story, so of course it also contains some corporal punishment. But I loved the restraint with which it was described. The hottest images of all are evoked rather than shown in the ending, which arrives far too soon, but some of the turns of phrase along the way push my buttons as unerringly as if it had been written for me.

Sorry!

Pardon?

I said sorry! she bellowed, wriggling uselessly.

Perhaps Ill be able to hear you once you demonstrate proficiency with our first lesson, he said, concentrating now on the tops of her thighs. She struggledwith his arm and with her pride. It carried on painfully, until she lost to the former and defeated the latter.

Sorry, sir!

Click here to read the full story. And thankyou Casey for such a deliciously hot read!

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Tags: Fantasies, Short stories

2 comments

Spanked in Uniform - the Blog

Posted at 18:40 on 2 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

My storyline in Spanked in Uniform's very own St Catherine's Private School for Girls was based on a true story from my first year at university. I wasn't really acting on my kink then, or I'd probably have asked a play partner to punish me for it at the time. There were quite a few unfortunate student incidents in my manic, drunken, unstable first year which slipped similarly under the net, but that's okay - it's nice to have a stock of true stories I can raid for films, and these days I have no doubt I can find someone happy to belatedly deal with past misdemeanours.

In real life, it happened like this. I had a personal blog which was public on the internet. I was 18, and hadn't yet heard of things like online privacy, but in many ways that blog was my lifeline. I wrote about mental health stuff and relationship stuff and a lot about my university, including character studies of all my most interesting lecturers.

Which would have been fine, if I hadn't stupidly used their real names. Cue me being summoned to the faculty office one morning, completely ignorant that I'd done anything wrong, and being informed by one of the lecturers that they'd found my blog by googling their own name, and weren't at all impressed by the tone of my remarks. Added to that, I'd managed to out one of my favourite tutors, who was gay, but who hadn't actually said so publically online - until I went and put my foot in it, that is. Oops.

I was hugely embarrassed, very apologetic, and immediately went off and locked the whole blog to prevent future instances of stupidity. I felt a bit better when I realised that a handful of other students had been called into the office for very similar chats, but the humiliation still stayed with me for months.



The St Catherine's version of this incident is similar but not identical. Schoolgirl Pandora has a personal blog online which she thinks no-one at her school knows about. One day, after her classmate Leia-Ann was publically punished and her bare bottom displayed in assembly, Pandora writes about how embarrassing it was for everyone to watch, and how the Headmaster is an old pervert. During a lesson the next day she's called to the Head's office. He's annoyed, but not overly angry - more concerned for her safety in writing about personal subjects on the internet. He gives her a sound over the knee spanking for her carelessness and the personal insult, and instructs her to remove all references to the school from her blog, or else she'll have to delete it entirely.



Off she trots to her dorm, where she sulkily removes all the offensive material from her blog. She neglects, however, to take down a post in which she posted photos of her and her friends out on the town one night, in which they are all scantily clad and somewhat the worse for a drink or three. Back to the Head's office she goes! Her argument: but they weren't at school, so why does he care? His argument: the photos bring the school into disrepute, and make young Pandora and her friends vulnerable to online predators. Even worse, they shouldn't have been out drinking in any case!



Needless to say, she has to bend over for a painful dose of the wooden ruler - and thoroughly deserved, in my opinion. After a sound whacking she's sent to the corner to reflect on her behaviour.

I learned my lesson about online privacy some time ago. Hopefully, my schoolgirl counterpart has learned hers, too :)



Check out the video and more stills at Spanked in Uniform.

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Tags: Photos, school uniform, Spanked in Uniform

9 comments

The law and policy of sex work: I

Posted at 14:45 on 3 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

The mainstream debate about sex work legislation seems to have hotted up lately, and strangely, what I've seen hasn't made me as frustrated and angry as it usually does. I'm not saying that the legislature will do anything sensible in Britain any time soon, but I've seen some encouraging signs that the decriminalisation argument is gradually growing wings.

Firstly, I was startled by these tube adverts the other week, from the Economist:



"Typical," I thought. "Why are these 'controversial' issues always framed in such a way that it affirms right-wing ideals? It claims to be provoking debate but in the meantime, there are big ads everywhere saying prostitution is a crime, not a business - surely that's got to have an effect on people."

It wasn't until I went back through the same station on my way home that I noticed the advert next to it for the first time:



So much for leaping to conclusions! That's nowhere near as bad as I feared - both arguments laid out in a reasonably balanced way. I mean, it's simplistic and they aren't the arguments I'd necessarily have chosen, but as a debate it's certainly presented more neutrally than I at first assumed.

For reference, here are my answers to the points on the "crime, not a business" ad:



1. It exploits vulnerable people, so society should not condone it.

'Prostitution' doesn't exploit anyone, just as or 'nursing' or 'data entry' or any other profession doesn't exploit anyone. People exploit people - and by definition, exploitation is done by people with power to people they have power over. People are are intrinsically no more likely to exploit vulnerable people in the sex industries than in any other industry. Arguably vulnerable people are more likely to end up in sex work than other lines of work, but one of the things that enables exploitation is the fact that sex work is criminalised. If sex workers enjoyed the same legal protections as other workers, they would be at far less risk of exploitation.

2. If sex has a price, it loses its value.

Again, I can only unravel this one by looking at other lines of work. If a teacher is paid to teach, does that mean that the time and energy they put into bringing up their own children is worthless? If a cleaner is paid to clean, does that mean that it's worthless if they voluntarily do some housework for their partner? Of course not. The existence of sex work does not suddenly make all sex innately transactional. It can still be given for free, and is worth just as much as it always was to the person I'm sharing it with. If I have sex at work, it doesn't devalue the sex I have in my leisure time, just as being paid to appear in spanking films doesn't devalue the play I enjoy in private.

In addition, it's arguable that most sex is transactional, but in a less explicitly negotiated way - people have sex in exchange for all sorts of things, be it nice dinners, intimacy, someone to talk to or anything else. There's nothing wrong with that; a healthy human is inevitably selfish in many ways and most people make choices on the basis of what will benefit them. Arguably, a sex worker is more ethical than, say, a person who puts out in order to manipulate someone into doing something they want, because the transaction is explicitly negotiated and consensual. (This obviously only applies to consensual sex work, but forcing someone to have sex against their will is called rape, and there's already a law against that which has nothing to do with sex work legislation.)

3. If Britain legalised brothels, it would become a centre for seedy sex tourism. London can do without its own version of Amsterdam's red light district.

This is transparent NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). London is already a global centre for sex tourism, it's just mostly underground rather than officially sanctioned. This means that the workers enjoy far less protection and security. People who argue for criminalisation are essentially saying that they would rather enjoy a surface a veneer of 'morality' than make sex workers safe. No person with a shred of compassion should give this argument any credence.

I think the arguments given for 'prostitution as a business' are reasonably sound, if again inevitably simplistic. The only comment I would make is about the first one:



1. People should be allowed to buy or sell whatever they like, including their own bodies.

This stems from the association of liberatarian attitudes to decriminalisation of prostitution with libertarian attitudes to the decriminalisation of drugs. While many people, including myself, support both measures, I don't think you have to accept the latter to accept the former, and entangling them like this helps neither debate.

Mostly, though, this is simply an inaccurate description of prostitution. Sex work is not selling your body - it is hiring it out, for a pre-agreed time period and under strict terms and conditions. Selling your body would mean voluntarily selling yourself into slavery, and as far as I know no-one does that - even BDSM practitioners who enter slavery usually have time periods and terms written into their contracts. Selling someone else into slavery is a wholly different thing, and is a revolting human rights violation regardless of whether they are subsequently used as sex slaves or any other type of slave labourer. So "selling yourself" is, in fact, impossible. If we want this to be a rational debate, let's stop using language which is distracting and inaccurate.

--

In my next post in this mini-series, I'll talk a little more about the libertarian contribution to the debate, with reference to the most recent meeting of the Westminster Sceptics.

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Tags: other pictures, Politics, Sex worker rights

3 comments

Kinky Merit Badges

Posted at 15:38 on 5 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

Some friends of mine have recently launched an awesome new concept: kinky merit badges. I'm sure they're not the first to think of the idea, but as far as I know they're the first to actually implement it. Their initial range features 20 beautifully designed, embroidered cloth badges with gold trim to be earned or bestowed for excellence in the field.



Simple concept, but I'm really proud of where they've taken it. The badges are of as high a quality as any official scouting or guiding badge - gorgeous colours, pleasing to hold. The designs are brilliant - all designed to be as flexible and egalitarian as possible, with a range of skin tones, and without any gender prejudice. The Cross-dressing badge in particular is a work of genius, and could just as easily depict a man dressed as a woman or vice versa. Not an easy feat - I'm impressed. The only gender-specific badges are Deep Throat (in which the deep-throater could be male or female, but the recipient definitely has a cock), Shibari (in which the bondage bunny is obviously female-bodied) and Voyeurism (in which the voyeur is unspecified, but they're watching a heterosexual couple).

Not all of the initial range are ones I would be interested in owning, but well over half of them are. I was in the middle of trying to decide whether I should buy any of them to award to my Dom/mes, when my friends at Pernicious Deeds pre-empted me. They gave a full set of badges to D gratis, as a thankyou for his involvement in helping them set up the business, and suggested he award them to me one by one, and they thought I might like to blog each badge as I earned it. This way I get all the badges I'm interested in, some hot scenes and some material for the blog, and they get some publicity - which I would have given them anyway, but I'm not going to turn down an offer like that. :)

Because we're poly, of course, it immediately got much more complicated as D and I tried to work out which badges we were interested in earning together, which ones I might want to earn with Penny, and he and Tom colluded on which ones Tom was going to give me, bearing in mind factors like health and time constraints as well as which kinks I indulge with which partners. I still haven't negotiated any scenes with Tom or Penny, although I have ideas, and while I can guess which badges D and Tom have each claimed for themselves, I have no idea when or how I'll be asked to earn them. And none of us get the chance to play as often as we'd like, so it might take a while to work through them all. But that's no bad thing.

D has just awarded me the first Kinky Merit Badge of my collection. You can probably guess which one. But you'll have to wait until the next post to hear about how I earned it...

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Tags: kinky merit badges, making a scene

4 comments

Kinky Merit Badge I: Spanking

Posted at 19:02 on 6 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

D has a thing for high heels. It's very specific: he doesn't like worshipping or licking them or anything (so the merit badge, sadly, is not one for us), he just thinks most sexual encounters or scenes are improved by his partner wearing unfeasibly high heels. The smoother, shinier and slinkier the better. Always spike-heeled stilettos, not wedges or sturdy heels, and preferably round rather than pointy toes. I refuse to wear the things in the usual vanilla contexts, but I've developed quite a collection of shoes I can barely walk in which I only wear in bed. And I've caught the fetish - I now associate wearing ridiculously high heels with having fantastic sex, and I've developed a taste for the way they look on other people. So when I'm gearing up to visit him and he tells me to bring some shoes with me, I know we're going to have some fun.

I've been waiting all night for the instruction, and am ready when it comes. We agreed that it would be appropriate to start the collection with the Spanking badge, so I think I can guess what's coming. He busies himself in the bathroom while I undress in the bedroom. I'm still wiggling into the latest favourite pair of strappy heels when he comes back in, which always make me feel self-conscious, but then I've grown to like the imbalanced self-consciousness D's topping style tends to make me feel. It's a sort of humiliation-lite.

We're already feeling connected. When I look into his eyes the love shining from them makes my throat ache. He asks me to kneel, and I notice he's holding my collar. I haven't worn it in a long time - not because we haven't been playing, but just because that sort of formality has never really been D's thing, and it kind of fell off our radar. (Plus, it's kind of hard to give head in it, which has always been a big part of our play.)

"I'm not going to give you your Collared badge tonight," he murmurs, his lips almost brushing my ear as he fastens the collar around my neck. "But I thought you should get used to wearing it again." I can feel love and lust and affection filling me up as if it's being poured into me. I'm still kneeling; he moves to face me, takes my hand and kisses it, and I return the favour, never breaking eye contact.

Then I'm lying facedown on the bed - facing away from the big mirrors that line one wall of his room. He moves behind me and I peek over my shoulder. He's holding his black leather gloves, the soft Italian leather driving gloves I bought him years ago because in my opinion all dominants should own some. He puts them on, slowly. I can't help it - at this sight of those gloves I'm already wet. The incongruity of the dark leather against his bare arms just heightens the effect. I imagine his leather-clad hands on my skin, my nipples, my lips, enclosing my neck; the contrast between the satin-soft leather and his strong grip. I'm so aroused I give an involuntary whimper.

He obliges me with caresses, his hand wrapped around my throat like a warning, brushing against my cheek, my breasts. Then he starts to spank me.

We tried this once before, so I know that the gloves diffuse the sting rather than enhancing it. He's spanking me as hard as he can, though, using all his strength, and each spank thumps against my arse, jolting me forward. The sting is dispersed but the thud is lovely. After a little while I wonder if he realises he's partly wasting his strength, and (respectfully) comment that the leather always hurts less than you might hope. The next thing I feel is the snap of an empty glove against one cheek. Such a mocking little sting, almost no weight behind it; the opposite sensation. A few more smacks like insect bites, and then he starts using his hand. After the extremes of sensation caused by the leather the familar warm sting of his palm is welcome, and I buck to meet each spank.

He turns me round, and onto my back. My arms are tucked above my head. He moves my legs apart, and then further apart. I don't even notice my reflection - I'm completely absorbed in the sensation trip he's sending me on, his wordless power over me. He holds down one leg at a time and slowly, carefully, smacks up the inside of each thigh, hard, from my knee to the damp crease at the top. I bite my lip and yelp at each high-pitched flare of sting.

When he gets to the top my breathing quickens. I know he knows that cunt punishment is off-limits, and I know that he knows that I know, and I trust him not to cross that boundary but I'm still scared. He takes his time. I swallow my panic, try to breathe deeply. He pauses, and then swaps to the other leg. The next painful series of inner-thigh smacks come as a relief. No, of course he won't. He wouldn't. I knew that.

He flips me back over. We're communicating by touch rather than language, and I'm no longer thinking in words. I hang onto the headboard as he spanks my arse with his bare hands, hard and fast. He's really going for it. He straddles my thighs, pinning me down, and spanks harder. The cumulative sting is overwhelming but I'm turned on and warmed up and I'm not scared; the pain is all mixed up with pleasure.

After a while he suddenly stops. He trails his fingers lightly along my heated cheeks. I respond with a wordless sound. His caress dawdles along my bottom crease and I can feel my breath catch and I'm suddenly dizzy. Anal play has been off-limits for annoying health reasons for far too long; I've been desperate for it at the same time as knowing it would be too painful and damaging to contemplate. I still don't feel quite ready, but maybe it would be okay, and then I feel the slick, cool smoothness of a slender buttplug nuzzling between my cheeks, and oh my god, it's slipping in. I'm going mad with lust. I can't think. He leaves it in place, all my senses shrilling my awareness of it, and reaches underneath me to pleasure me with one hand while continuing to spank me with the other. With every slap I can feel the plug jolting in my arse and I think I might scream.

I want/don't want him to take the plug out and fuck me in the arse, but he doesn't. He leaves it in while he goes down on me, which is maddening - I can't concentrate on either sensation and although the pleasure is overwhelming it's hard for me to climax. But I do, eventually, with his cock deep inside me and the high heels crossed around his back, the plug slipped out and forgotten a while ago.

--

Hot scene, but later I wonder, was it enough to earn my badge? He hasn't given me one yet (apart from in the obvious sense) and we're spending the next day together as well. Do I have more to come? That hand spanking was one of the most furious he's ever given me, if not necessarily the hardest I've ever taken. Or maybe it was that hard, and I was so turned on I didn't notice? In the end I ask him the question while we're making breakfast the next day. He says yes, he intends to give me the badge. I joke that he's earned one, too. He smiles.

Later that day, he's at his desk and I'm on the sofa with my laptop. I'm watching Pixie's Cause for Paws video. First I'm giggling at it, and then as the over the knee paddling and hairbrushing from her husband goes on and on at that intensity and speed, I'm hopelessly turned on.

I consider. We're both usually horny in the afternoons and tired by the evenings; it's an inconvenience we've lamented before. Well, here we both are. Why not seize the opportunity?

So I tell him about the video. "It's simultaneously sweet, funny and strangely intense, especially the OTK paddling scene. Mm. I'm all a-flutter now." I can feel my blush rising. "So. Um." I bite my lip and plunge in: "If you decided that you wanted to add a few more strokes to make me earn this spanking badge, I wouldn't mind." I'm bright pink.

He grins, and stands up. "Ha. Come on then."

I feel suddenly guilty for being so demanding. "It - er, it doesn't have to be now if you're busy..."

"No, no," he replies facetiously, "the bottom has spoken, I couldn't possibly delay," and his hand is out and his eyes are smiling. I make an on-the-spot decision to shut up and let him make my fantasy come true. I take his hand.

Standing in the bedroom, I'm shy and uncertain. He whistles to himself as he rummages in the toybox, taking things out, considering them and tossing some of them onto the bed. Wooden oval paddle. Belt. "Just in case I get bored." Length of rope. Meanwhile I take my skirt off. He tells me to leave my top and knickers on.

Over his knee I go. He's sitting on the edge of the bed, facing the mirrors: I'm lying across his lap with the rest of my weight on the bed. He asks me to put my hands behind my back, checks I'm comfortable, and ties my wrists together with the rope. He reaches up and tucks my hair out of my face, treating me to one of his most charming smiles in the mirror. My heart flutters.

Hand spanks first. Solid, stinging, satisfying. Every time we make eye contact in the mirror, sparks fly. When he reaches for the paddle and rests it against my bottom, it feels so cool against my hot cheeks, and I'm conscious that my face, pressed into the pillows, is hot to match.

He starts to use the paddle, proper hard stinging spanks, exactly what I was craving, making me jump and wriggle over his lap. I'm owwing and laughing and loving him, but it hurts. I'm watching my face and bottom turn pinker in the mirror; the former is pleasing and the latter embarrassing. He finds his rhythm and for a while I'm in my happy place. The paddle hurts a lot, but this is my fantasy and every whack makes me more turned on.

After a while he puts the paddle down and uses his hand, the difference in sensation enlivening the sting in my bottom. Does that mean he's bored? Well, maybe not, but he does have the belt in his hand, and he's doubling it up twice to make it easier to aim. The twice-doubled belt is only a few inches long and each stroke is a tiny heavy punch of sensation, none of that licking warmth I usually associate with the belt. I submit to it willingly. Any impact is good with me right now.

I'm red and sore and wriggling when he stops. He helps me up, and there's an ungainly struggle until I'm kneeling next to him on the bed, still bound, tousled and pink-faced and horny. He arranges me facedown on the bed. More spanking! ... But no, he's unzipping, for a quick, rough and dirty fuck which I really, at that point, am not at all minded to complain about.





It was one of the most indulgently instant-gratification scenes I'd ever enjoyed, and it was supremely satisfying. Afterwards I felt very loved, very happy, and very much as if I'd earned my badge.

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Tags: D, dominance and submission, Fantasies, kink, kinky merit badges, other pictures, otk spanking, Photos

2 comments

School days: true memories and unfair punishments

Posted at 00:07 on 12 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

This evening I was brainstorming some scenarios for a new audio piece with one of my correspondents, and in my email I ended up going into more detail than I intended about my preferences and real school experiences. I didn't have time to write a proper blogpost this evening, but thought you might enjoy some notes on my preferred punishment scenarios, and revelations from my school days...



I'm a sucker for the emotional narratives of punishment, but get bored easily with the traditional transition from petulance to remorse. Two friends punished together, each feeling worse about their friend's suffering than their own, and trying to protect each other - always good. I love noble self-sacrifice, and boys or girls voluntarily taking on punishments to protect someone younger or more vulnerable. In fact, I was raised on the sort of virtuous Victorian melodrama in which the protagonist suffers dreadful, unfair misfortunes but manages to retain a sense of adventure regardless, so I love anything centred around unfair punishments. I don't really have a "bad girl" kink, so if someone else has got me into trouble and the authorities believe them over me, that's a perfect way into a punishment scenario without the victim having to lose face.

One of my most horrible days at school was in the second term of my first year, when a group of kids who liked stirring up trouble decided to tell our head of year that I'd been bullying someone. It was completely fabricated, but the teachers hadn't got to know me yet (a few years later it would have been immediately laughed off) and it took most of a day to untangle. I spent the entire time feeling sick to my stomach, heart pounding and palms sweating. Unpleasant to live through; ideal fantasy fodder in retrospect!

One other memory leaps out at me as something I really did at school which might have resulted in a whacking if I'd been at school fifteen years earlier. I had an ongoing feud with a girl in the year above me who hated me with a vicious passion. I have no idea why, except that I wasn't the most popular kid in my year - nerdy and a bit of a misfit. But who knows what I did to get this bully's attention. Anyway, it was your normal taunting - her backed up by a crowd of mates, usually - which I did my best to ignore. One day in my fourth year, I was having a really bad day for various reasons, and whatsherface in the year above had been really getting on my tits lately, always managing to pop up with the same pathetic old jeers at the worst possible moment. I was on my way from the Great Hall to somewhere on the ground floor and her and her mates cornered me on the spiral staircase, trying to get a rise out of me. Something snapped in me. I've never, ever been a violent person, and didn't even really fight back to the sort of subtle catfighting which went on in our first year - pinches and foot-stamping in the press between classes, nothing more overt - but this time I'd just had enough. I turned around and smacked her across the face.

The weird thing is that it worked. She was gasping "the bitch slapped me!" and they were all yelling insults after me, and I was pumped so full of adrenaline I was shaking, but I walked away and after that, she never bothered me again.

If a teacher had witnessed that they'd probably have thought I'd been massively overreacting, and if I'd tried to explain myself they'd have said verbal taunts were no excuse for violence. But they'd have been wrong. It was the best possible thing I could have done, and looking back, I'm proud of myself for having had the guts to do it. If I'd been whacked for it I'd have been angry and upset at the injustice, but it would also have been totally worth it.

I find the idea of a punishment which doesn't outweigh the choice which led to it really appealing. It lends the recipient a degree of strength and self-determination which I find it easy to identify with. I think if I have a "bad girl" fantasy, it's definitely not one that fits into a remorse narrative. If my fantasy self is to be punished for something she's actually done, it's much more interesting for me if she considers it a fair trade-off; if she would make the same choice, and earn her punishment again, given the chance.

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Tags: Fantasies, meta-analysis, other pictures

5 comments

The debt collectors

Posted at 23:30 on 15 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

This is definitely filed under "fantasies that wouldn't be hot in real life". I find the whole concept of professional debt collectors kind of dreadful - surely the worst sort of middlemen - but real-life scenarios in which it's plausible that strangers might enter your house and intimidate you are hard to come by. And everyone hates debt collectors, right? So they're the ideal sadistic villains; perfect fantasy fodder if you want anonymous thugs, straightforwardly scary and convincingly ruthless.



Gloriously sinister: the predator waiting patiently for their prey to wake up. By the time you realise they're there, you're already at their mercy.



In my head, of course, this is a CP fantasy. The debt collectors are there not only to bully payment out of you, they're there to punish, to claim their pound of flesh. But it's a rape fantasy too, inevitably. It wouldn't be convincing otherwise. These aren't the firm but fair, restrained disciplinarians of classic punishment tropes - they're baddies, and you can rely on them to be sleazy as well as brutal.



Mind you, any scenario that involves being manhandled by two strong chaps is likely to catch my interest. A bit of breathplay never goes amiss, either.

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Tags: Fantasies, other pictures, Sex and Submission

4 comments

The law and policy of sex work: II

Posted at 13:29 on 20 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

Continuing my discussion of the recent trend of sensible thinking regarding UK sex work legislation, it would be remiss not to mention the Westminster Skeptics talk on the subject by Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, with a reply by Dr Brooke Magnanti (AKA Belle de Jour). While prohibitionism still dominates the mainstream, it's pleasing to see researchers like Dr Brooks-Gordon given an audience at city debates. Her contribution can only aid the cause of those who wish to see a less ideological and more evidence-based approach to sex work legislation.

The talk was organised by blogger-turned-journalist David Allen Green, who recently wrote an article for the New Statesman arguing that our domestic laws regarding sex work are a mess, and putting a case for decriminalisation. I was heartened to see this argument presented by a male lawyer in a mainstream paper (albeit a left-leaning one). It does no harm to advocates of sex worker rights to have more privileged allies championing our cause - there are many who will take arguments presented by white, male, well-paid, City-bred writers far more seriously. It's generally useful to have the face of patriarchal respectability on side.

I missed the talk itself (one of the downsides of no longer being a London resident), but watched the twitter hashtag collect comments with interest. It was affirming to see the responses of audience members whose pre-conceptions of sex work were being challenged:

@taniaglyde Bungling inflation of trafficking figures. From tens to 100k! #westskep
@dnotice Govt position on Prostitution = War on Drugs. Simplistic; assumes criminal laws are correct & we just need to try harder to "win" #westskep
@zoeimogen Apparently the police have a *financial* interest in prosecuting sex work - they get to keep proceeds. How wrong is that? #westskep
@taniaglyde Fundamental human right of freedom of association is denied to sex workers. #westskep

Thanks to the powers of modern technology, my curiosity about what had been said was assuaged a few days later when a podcast of the event was posted online. The sound quality is a bit flaky, but it's well worth a listen. For the benefit of those who don't get the opportunity, and to put some legislative facts in a form that search engines can read, here are some key snippets from Dr Brooks-Gordon's overview of the current law and policy controlling sex work:

  • The current best guess of number of sex workers active in the UK is 48 393 (contrast with the 80 000 statistic you often see quoted by govt). Even if you believe sex work to be a social "problem", it's less of one than is claimed by legislators.
  • Current legislation includes controlling offences such as "Manage/Assist management of a brothel" brought in under the 2005 Amendment to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, for which the penalty is a fine or 7 years prison, and which criminalises workers operating under the same roof for safety's sake.
  • The offence "Causing, inciting or controlling prostitution for gain" (sections 52-54 of the Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation Sex Offences Act 2003) similarly threatens agents, administrators and employers who are as likely to be protecting sex workers as harming them, and carries a penalty of a fine or 7 years prison. The wording includes anyone who helps a sex worker find work in exchange for financial or emotional reward or goodwill.
  • Sections 57-59 of the same Act cover "arranging or facilitating travel" into, within or out of the UK and carries a fine or up to 14 years prison. This permits a ridiculously broad definition of "trafficking" which includes giving a sex worker a lift, and it's not uncommon for agency workers to rely on trusted chaffeurs to drive them to clients' houses and wait outside as security. Dr Brooks-Gordon argues that "Trafficking definitions need to align with the Palermo protocol so that the 'three Fs' of fear, force or fraud are incorporated into legislation. Sex workers have also campaigned for 'control' to be tightened up so the innocent maids and receptionists are not falsely imprisoned."
  • The Policing and Crime Act 2009 (commenced in 2010) includes Premises Closure Orders, which permit police to close down premises on suspicion of prostitution taking place now, in the past or in the future. On the basis of speculation about future acts, police are thereby empowered to evict a sex-worker from their home and confiscate their savings, with no legal recourse.
  • The Policing and Crime Act also includes the well-intentioned but highly unrealistic Engagement and Support Orders. Following police intervention, these prescribe three meetings between a sex worker and a supervisor to 'educate' them out of sex work. If after these three meetings the person exhibits no change or evidence of exiting sex work, they go back to court and are fed back into the criminal justice system at the expense of the state. This strategy completely ignores the varied context which might make sex work the best choice for that person. Even if the worker is highly vulnerable and does not have much opportunity for self-determination, this is hardly a viable structure for giving them the help they need to turn their life around. Vulnerable people who turn to sex work because their lives are in chaos require professional care, not a cursory "re-education". And sex workers who are content with their choice deserve the chance to live their life free from state intervention.
  • Pamphlets and posters distributed by police - intended to alert potential clients to the possibility that the sex worker they are visiting might be coerced or trafficked - have similarly broad, ambiguous wording. The slogan "walk in a punter, walk out a rapist" implies that no consensual commercial sex relationship is possible between sex worker and client. The myths propounded about trafficking (particularly in government-funded reports) make this implication particularly strongly if the worker in question is migrant.
  • Dr Brooks-Gordon said that "the law is replete with flawed and inadequate reports". For example, an original estimate of 4 000 trafficked sex workers in London (arising from the debunked Poppy Project estimation that 80% of sex workers who are foreign nationals are trafficked) was inflated further in a Home Office internal document; which was then further "rounded up" by some journalists to 25 000 or 100 000. Laura Agustin has some good analysis of this, and you may be familiar with the Guardian report on how trafficking figures were exaggerated.
  • Actual trafficking figures arising from police activity are far lower. No annual figure of migrant sex slaves found by police in the UK has been higher than 100. Police studies Pentameter 1 and 2 in 2007 and 2008 found 71 and 88 trafficked people respectively - less than 0.02% of the (actual) estimated total number of sex workers operating in the UK.
  • As Laura Agustin's research shows, far more common than trafficking are people who migrate to work in the sex trade for a reason. For instance, many migrant sex workers leave their own countries due to police violence. The UK has a minority population of trans or queer sex workers escaping homophobia or transphobia in e.g. Eastern Europe.
  • Discussing the type of person who chooses sex work, Dr Brooks-Gordon cites a study which suggests that 48% of off-street sex workers have a nursing, teaching or caring qualification.
  • One question often asked: is sex work demand driven, or supply led? (Speaking personally, my own experience is certainly the latter - I set out to explore things I wanted to do, at a deep level of personal fulfilment - creating kinky erotica is the culmination of all my prior experience of kink, performance and creative expression - and discovered to my surprise and pleasure that there was a market for it. My experience is privileged, but not unique.) Dr Brooks-Gorden floated the idea that with increased tuition fees coinciding with recorded higher numbers of students in sex work, government is in fact pushing supply rather than reducing demand.
  • Under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, police are entitled to keep 25% of proceeds from brothel raids. The state and its enforcers have a huge vested interest in keeping sex work criminalised.

Heresy Corner has an interesting analysis of the language used by both sides of the debate. The discussion is also worth reading, including contributions from Magnanti and Agustin.

While legislators claim to be acting in the best interests of vulnerable sex workers, the evidence suggests otherwise. Vested interests, inaccurate data, prejudiced reports and broad, ambiguous legislation create a climate in which moralistic rescuers have too much power to intervene and too many distorted reasons for doing so. If we really want to help vulnerable people exit the sex industry, we should be preventing them from entering the criminal justice system, offering integrated, long-term care, and not conflating them with the (far more numerous) independent people who are capable of self-determination, and have made a choice which seems best for them.

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Tags: Politics, Sex worker rights

2 comments

Miss

Posted at 21:22 on 22 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

This weekend I had the not inconsiderable pleasure of March Middleton's company. We enjoyed a stimulating evening together, during which March developed a liking for Tom's vicious little pocket-tawse, and demonstrated her ability to spank really quite hard when she knows she can get away with it. There was a lot of giggling (I do like sleeping with people who are inclined towards laughter during sex) and once my bottom was pink and tingling, we turned our attention to other pursuits which were just as satisfying.

The prefect/schoolgirl dynamic from the story she wrote me (now completed - and I not only have permission to include it in the members area of my site, but she's mulling over the possibility of appearing with me in an accompanying photoset...) persisted. At one point, as we sat facing each other crosslegged on the bed, winding down some conversational thread or other, March quipped, "Well, what should we tuck into first, the sardines or the fruitcake?" If I hadn't wanted to film a school dorm midnight feast scene before, I do now.

A couple of hours previously, by way of settling down to things, she showed me the "rude book" which was the star of her story: Miss, the 1912 (I think) novel by "Sadie Blackeyes" (otherwise known as the French author Pierre Dumarchey). I haven't read it, but skimming through it assured me that I wanted to; if anyone wants to buy me a Christmas present, the hardcover edition would be lovely. Mostly, though, I was distracted by the pictures - selected illustrations from various editions, many of which were beautiful, compelling and hot. I wanted to borrow it the next day to scan a couple of them in to show you, but we didn't get a chance; it'll just have to wait until I possess a copy of my own.

I'll leave you with another snippet from the story which kicked it all off, by March herself:

March's aim seemed devilishly accurate. The arc of the brush finished, again and again, on exactly the same spot. The hollow sound of the impact was startlingly loud in the quiet house.

Twelve, March! Pandora muttered, teeth gritted. If only she hadn't been such a fool as to move this might have been the last stroke. But there were two more to come and March seemed to be hitting harder every time. Why had she agreed to this?

March brought the brush down again, putting greater force into the stroke and matching the impact exactly to the red rectangle on Pandora's left buttock - a companion imprint graced the right-hand cheek. Thirteen, March!, she heard, in something that was almost a wail. The last stroke, then; March raised the brush and slammed it as hard as she could into the trembling girl's right buttock.

Fourteen, March! cried Pandora, and burst into tears.

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Tags: kink, March Middleton, other pictures, Short stories

83 comments

Love Me Like You Hate Me

Posted at 18:40 on 23 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake

Lust Films have an exciting new short film in the pipeline. Erika Lust is a pioneer of feminist and female-gaze pornography, but none of her early work was quite edgy enough to tick my boxes. Her 2009 short Handcuffs ticked many of my boxes, however, and to my delight she continues to explore kink themes in her 2010 film Love Me Like You Hate Me. Here's the trailer:


TEASER LOVE ME LIKE YOU HATE ME
Uploaded by lustfilms.

[Love Me Like You Hate Me] provides a modern perspective on a variety of practices that may be considered taboo for many women: to be tied up oneself or to tie someone else up, role-play and dressing up, giving pain or receiving it, being a strict dominatrix or being a submissive slave, punishing our partner or being punished by them... explore with Venus O'Hara and Erika Lust the seductive thrills of domination or the fear and excitement of submission.

Lust Films are beautiful, stylish and elegant with production values most spanking studios can only dream of. As a feminist pornographer, Erika Lust is one of my political rolemodels. I'm ridiculously excited that she's turned her talents to fetish; it's so rare to see the combination of progressive ethics, visually rich aesthetics and the female gaze with the sort of edgy fantasy that turns me on.

Discovering to my delight that both Handcuffs and Love Me Like You Hate Me are included as extras on Lust Film's newest DVD, Life Love Lust, I bought it like a shot. If this looks like your kind of thing, I'd strongly encourage you to do the same. I'm not making any money off this one; the world needs more imaginative, progressive pornographers like Lust Films and it's up to us to support them if we want them to continue. (Plus, if her fetish themed films are a huge success it'll encourage her to make more, which can only be a good thing). I'm really excited about my purchase, and can't wait for it to arrive. I'll be sure to write a full review once I've watched it!

Keep reading »

Tags: Gender politics, Lust Films, Videos

162 comments

Off to Finishing School

Posted at 13:24 on 26 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake



I'm on a train moving north through snow-covered fields, and when I think about where I'm going my stomach tightens in anticipation. My suitcase, as well as warm clothes and wellies for a few days in the Highlands next week, contains carefully-assembled items, ticked off the list I was sent earlier this week: smart daywear, white blouse, stockings, ladylike underwear, sensible shoes, high heels, evening gown and demure cocktail dress. I'm going to school, but it won't be like any school I've been to before.

This afternoon myself and a handful of others in need of "finishing" will enrol in Mrs Darling's prestigious academy for errant young ladies. The curious can discover more about this institution through the characterful Twitter accounts maintained by Mrs Darling herself (AKA Northern Spanking's Lucy McLean) and her capable deputy Miss Amelie Hammond-Grant (AKA Amy Hunter).

This will be my first foray into the world of immersive social roleplay, and I feel as if I'm jumping into the deep end. A dozen pupils, four tutors and half a dozen unknown "bachelors" whose role in all this is yet to be discovered. Two whole nights and days sleeping, waking and eating in character. I've only played short, small-scale roleplay scenes three or four times before.

My anxiety over the past couple of weeks has been off the scale. There's the practical concerns: Will I forget to bring anything? Will my health be up to it? (I've had a cold most of this week, but have had too much work to do before going away to be able to rest and recuperate.) How will I, a grown woman who prefers to manage her own schedule, cope with being told when to sleep, when and what to eat and drink? Will we be allowed tea and coffee? (I won't have much fun with caffeine withdrawal headaches all weekend.) Will the unfamiliar constraints be enjoyable, or will I just find the loss of independence annoying?

Then there's the whole reason, I guess, that most of us are there - the CP. My instinct, as a first timer, is to stay out of trouble as much as possible, observe until I feel comfortable participating. Will I have the opportunity, or will our tutors ensure that all of us are dealt with as a matter of course? Normally I strongly prefer unfair punishments to deliberately earning one through misbehaviour; will that be true this time, or will I want to reclaim some control over my fate? If everyone else embarks on a collective prank, do I suffer the embarrassment of being the goody-goody odd one out, or risk earning a punishment before I feel ready?

I wrote on my application form that I had no experience of hand tawsing, and if it were to happen it would be an extreme and intense experience not to be undertaken lightly. But in retrospect, I started to regret not putting it as a hard limit. What sort of behaviour would count as "extreme" in the rules of this unknown academy? The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that I'd set myself up. If I wanted to, say, steal intimate time with any of my attractive fellow students (including close friends I rarely get to see), I could probably expect the worst. With a disappointed sigh and a hard look at my comfort zone, I've decided it's not worth the risk. I'm resigned to being good - or at any rate, as good as possible.

Then there's the theme of the school itself. This isn't the comforting familiarity of a traditional school - it's an aristocratic finishing school for young adults, set in the modern world. Wearing stockings to class, smartphones not permitted outside the dormitory - it's a dizzying mix of old and new, and the unfamiliarity of it is scary and exhilarating.

I decided to apply as myself, Pandora, rather than a character, figuring that it would be easier to cope with assimilating so many news experiences without the added complication of presenting a new persona. My application was filled out with total honesty. Thanks to a privileged education I am, in traditional terms, relatively accomplished, and so the areas in which I need "finishing" are those relating to elegance, etiquette and social graces, the trimmings of class which few real people are trained in these days. Sounds like fun, I thought, and with luck I'll genuinely learn something. But as the event loomed closer I found things to fret about. What about posture and deportment? Would the tutors accept my real-life back problems as a valid excuse for imperfection? Would I be able to deal with a critique of my way of speaking and moving, or would it all be far too personal for comfort? Suddenly I began to regret not having a character to hide behind.

But I'm on my way, now, reassuring myself with the same things I've told myself all along. This is a fun event run my friends, who know my limits and aren't out to get me. I'm hardly going to be on my own, and once I'm there I bet I'll be disappointed if I don't get into trouble at least once.

It's weird, but right now my good girl kink and my eagerness to please feel like my own worst enemy. I may not be very submissive to most people on the planet - which is not proving helpful in accepting the loss of control for two days of my life - but my anxious perfectionism is rehearsing every possible way in which things might not go to plan.

Ultimately, of course, I don't know the plan - and I'm going to have to submit to the authority of the lovely, generous ladies running this weekend if I don't want to spend it champing at the bit. My difficulty in submitting to anyone other than my partners is why I've so rarely indulged in these group roleplay scenes in the past, and if I'm going to enjoy this one, I'm going to have to get over it enough to trust the tutors with my boundaries and person.

As the train crosses through blizzards into snowy Scotland, my anxieties slowly peel away along with the world I'm leaving behind. Underneath them is excitement and the happy anticipation of seeing friends old and new. Deep down I know that all my fears are daft, and I'm going to have the time of my life. Dressing up, shared world creation, watching others be punished - in many ways this experience is a dream come true.

I'm looking forward to getting so immersed in it that I forget my uncertainties. See you on the flipside.

Keep reading »

Tags: Amy Hunter, kink, learning curves, Lucy McLean, making a scene, meta-analysis

8 comments

The first night at Mrs Darling's Academy

Posted at 16:15 on 30 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake



On the way to Scotland on Friday, the new intake for Mrs Darling's Academy kept closely in touch via Twitter. It wasn't until Leia-Ann posted a message worrying that we'd be punished for traveling in jeans that it occurred to me that we might not be supposed to. We'd been told to bring smart, sensible and ladylike clothes, and it was made clear that jeans and trainers were expressly forbidden at the academy itself, but surely the rules would only apply once we arrived? The others, mostly traveling in warm and comfortable clothing like me, agreed. At least if we were going to get into trouble for wearing jeans when we arrived, I wouldn't be alone.

I wasn't as shocked as some of the others when we were met at the airport by an intimidating Miss Hammond-Grant rather than the friendly Amy Hunter we'd been led to expect. She put us straight into character, and I was happy to go along with it (although not entirely sure how to respond, since I wasn't really going as a character). Not only was there an actual school bus waiting for us, but the driver was in on it as well. The first thing that happened was our phones were confiscated, so there was nothing to do on the hour long drive to the unknown but talk.

Our chatting and joking had an edge of nervousness which I think made us a bit more manic. Discussion ranged from ferrets up trousers to normal, out-of-character gossip. Whenever Miss Hammond-Grant interjected with a reprimand about the inappropriate nature of our conversation I lapsed into silence, unsure how to respond. We giggled together in girlish solidarity, but I think I wasn't the only one to feel a bit nervous and uncertain. Was I meant to be conversing in character? What would that involve, anyway? And perhaps most importantly, would we all (except Catherine Thomas, impeccably dressed in a smart skirt and jumper) be in trouble on arrival for our comfy, unladylike attire?

My feelings about the prospect were mixed. Half of me was cross and indignant at the idea that we might be punished for breaking an unannounced rule, although given we hadn't been told we'd be put straight into role and immediately cut off from the outside world, it didn't seem impossible. And yet - I wasn't likely to get into trouble deliberately, so if I wanted to play I'd need my tutors to be mean. Wasn't this exactly the kind of unfair punishment I preferred?

It was an emotional tension that would characterise my experience of the weekend, as I slowly assimilated the realities of social CP roleplay, and its many differences from private, romantic D/s. My natural earnestness and obedience ceased to be an advantage as the naughtiest girls got to play the most, leaving me feeling excluded from the fun at times. But I never quite felt at home deliberately acting out, which tends to make me feel uncomfortable and attention-seeking. Trying to resolve my eagerness to please with my desire to be punished was a steep learning curve, and I think my real kinky self got as much out of Mrs Darling's Academy as nervous new girl Miss Blake did from her finishing school lessons.

In the end, we were only lectured for arriving in jeans. After the nervousness of the bus journey, we were treated to our first sight of the castle we'd be staying at for the weekend - the most luxuriously appointed roleplay venue I've ever heard of, which really enhanced the experience (even if it was painfully cold). Piling out of the bus with our scarves and suitcases, looking in awe at the snow-covered turrets of our new home, being greeted by the glamorous Mrs Darling and read the academy rules in the luscious oak-paneled drawing room - it was a treat for the mind and senses. I'd amused myself on the train north with the similarities between this and going to Hogwarts, and it was no less magical. Immersion in role was effortless as we were given a tour of the castle and shown to our dormitory rooms.

In fact, no-one was punished on that first night (except Leia-Ann Woods for smoking, but we only heard that story afterwards). Lucy and Amy decided not to push us too hard at first, given the intensity of our arrival experience, and especially since so many of my classmates were meeting them for the first time. They dropped out of role briefly during dinner, and the ease with which they switched in and out of character made the whole thing feel more natural for me. Our first lecture that evening on grooming and presentation felt very informal, almost not in role at all, except in the real sense in which my glamorous friends were sharing their expertise with us, and we genuinely wanted to learn. For all our tiredness (and I don't think any of the girls were tireder than our tutors) it was an interesting and informative lecture, and really helped my headspace. I didn't need to put on a role in this context; they actually knew more than me about these things, and I could accept their authority without any need for pretense.

--

I have huge amounts to say about the rest of the weekend, and I'll do my best to share as much as possible with you (it'll take several posts, I think, although I'm still wondering how to split it up into manageable chunks). For now, I'll leave you with some links to other posts from my fellow finishing school girls:

Adele/Haron: Finished off - or, To be a lady
Emma-Jane: To Darling's we are sent
Eliane: Eliane at Finishing School
Leia-Ann: Finishing School Part 1

Keep reading »

Tags: Finishing School, kink, learning curves, other pictures, Roleplay

1 comment

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