Posted at 17:41 on 4 Aug 2010 by Pandora / Blake
Kaelah has written a fascinating post on the subject of online exhibitionism, exploring what she is comfortable with, what she isn't, and why:
I'm not afraid of anyone looking at a picture or clip and just saying: Wow, this is beautiful. My fear is that someone uses or abuses me mentally. Which means first of all, I wouldn't have any problems with someone watching a picture or clip and maybe getting aroused by it, thinking: It's cool to watch what that kinky couple, Ludwig and Kaelah, are doing there. Because obviously that guy would just see himself as an observer and in his fantasies it would still be Ludwig and Kaelah doing things together. Interestingly, a group of viewers who wouldn't scare me, either, are those people who watch so much spanking porn that they can't remember the faces of the girls the next day. Even if someone like that would directly masturbate when watching the clip, focusing on the visual stimuli thinking about what he would like to do to that deserving bitch (I know I'm exaggerating!) it wouldn't be a problem. Because to that guy I wouldn't have any importance as a person, which makes me feel that this doesn't really have anything to do with me.
So, it comes down to the following: I'm obviously afraid that there might be males in general or male tops in particular who watch film clips or look at pictures showing me in a vulnerable position, placing themselves in the position of the top (or partner for vanilla sex), using the visual stimulus directly for the gratification of their sexual urges, imagining what they would do to me or with me if they got the chance.
The post is well worth reading, and she asked people to contribute to the discussion with how they watch porn, and the motivations of people who have decided to publish intimate material online. My comment was far too long to fit in the comment box, so I decided to answer her excellent questions here.
When I model for or produce internet porn, I am doing so both, like Kaelah, to "create beautiful and aesthetic images that should give others impulses for their own fantasies" (what a lovely way to phrase it!) and in the hope that people will directly use it as stimulus for their own gratification. I think human sexuality is a beautiful and healthy thing and that being taught to be ashamed of our desires is invariably damaging. Masturbation and respectful self-love are hugely important, and I genuinely believe that people should approach solo sex with the same compassion and respect that they should approach sex with others. I want to help people feel okay about what they're into, to be reassured that they aren't alone and it doesn't make them sick or disgusting or whatever; but I also want people to feel good about their sexuality, and to engage with it in an affirming way, whether alone or with others.
The other thing I want to do is try to help improve the general humanisation of erotica. Visual and verbal stimuli can be really important in a healthy sex life - which is where porn comes in - but I don't think it's so healthy for those stimuli to be consistently objectified and dehumanised. So if there's a film which has a concept that gets you hot, and an actor good looking enough that you want to imagine interacting with them directly, then I think it's more humane - and your attitude to sex will benefit - if your fantasies about that person include some aspect of their personhood, and not just their visual appearance. This isn't just down to the individual's response, it's down to the nature of the porn as well.
I'm not only presenting my ideas to stimulate people's library of fantasies; I'm also presenting a direct visual stimulus which is intended to be sexually appealing. Some people seem to find my appearance attractive, others don't; that's cool, everyone's different. When people do, it's useful to me because it gives me the opportunity to reach a wider audience in sharing my fantasies, which is my primary motivation in making porn. The more people think I'm "hot" or "spankable" or whatever, the more people will watch my material, which means I get to show my ideas and fantasies to more people. And as a creative type, communicating my ideas and inspiration to an appreciative audience is my motivation for most of the things I do in life.
Is there also a dollop of exhibitionism and vanity, where the knowledge that someone is finding my body arousing, as well as the fantasy I'm enacting, is pleasing to me? Yes. But my exhibitionism is of a specifically self-contained submissive type. When I'm by myself, I don't wank to fantasies of you lot masturbating over my videos. The idea isn't arousing in that way. My exhibitionism is closer to that of a performer: when I'm making spanking porn, the knowledge that I will have an online audience (and the immediate audience of the film crew and other actors) gives me an adrenaline surge and the desire to impress. It allows me to access my submission and masochism internally, without needing a specific dominant person to submit to. My masochism is very linked to my submission - it's hard for me to enjoy punishment if I'm not in a submissive headspace. My submission is too important and precious to me for me to be comfortable submitting to just anyone, and I'm not sufficiently in control of my responses enough to trigger those feelings in myself independently (hence not being very well suited to one to one spanking sessions). There is a sense in which my desire to please a director or producer contributes - but that's just professionalism, not sexual submission.
The internet offers me a way around this. I live online; I believe the internet is one of the most important things to happen to the human race; I'm genuinely passionate in its advocacy. I take the internet seriously, I'm familiar with its ways, I'm a digital native and very comfortable swimming its vast and varied waters. An online audience is big and broad and varied enough to suit my purposes. Not everyone will like my work - but some will, for loads of different reasons. I'm not submitting to a particular taste or desire, but a cloud of desires in which my own tastes are reflected. I can be eager to please an online audience without being constrained by the preferences of a single individual; effectively, it liberates me to please myself, comfortable in the knowledge that I will no doubt please a mixed bunch of other people for different reasons. An online audience gives me a reason to work hard to impress, and stops me feeling entirely inward-looking and self-indulgent.
Like Kaelah, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of someone wanking to my films while thinking "I'd love to fuck that bitch til she screams, the trashy little slut". But that response, if it exists in someone's head, is so distant from me, so utterly uncontrollable and unknowable, that it doesn't really affect me. The knowledge that out there, people are probably responding to my material in all sorts of ways I didn't intend doesn't really matter; it's the price I pay for the fulfilment that comes from sharing my fantasies, connecting with people and communicating ideas. And for every viewer thinking objectifying or abusive things while watching my material, there's someone who's just been introduced to a new aspect of their sexuality - or who has just been validated and reassured that something they find hot is normal and okay - or someone who has had a positive affirmation about their fantasies - or someone who's been prompted to start thinking about their desires in a new way - or someone who just really likes the idea that a woman like me would find such things arousing, and is aroused by that knowledge. There are a hundred ways in which my porn can positively affect someone, and that, for me, outweighs the fear that some watchers are responding in ways I would not be comfortable with.
What I'm not comfortable with is those people expressing their fantasies to me in such a way that their response ceases to be distant and unknown, and impinges on me directly. So for instance if someone commented on my blog saying "I'd love to fuck you til you scream, you trashy little slut", it would make me feel crappy and I would delete the comment. That's my boundary, and I'm comfortable with that.
One of the reasons I decided to put so much of my personhood online in writings and analysis, along with the visual erotica, is challenge people to respond in kind. By accompanying my violent porn with insights into my thoughts and feelings, I'm making it much harder for viewers to dehumanise me. (Which is the main thesis behind my idea that blogging plays a key role in producing ethical spanking porn.) My modelling/acting style itself is tailored with the same aim (e.g. choosing or writing stories with rounded characters and engaging narrative; lots of eye contact and emotional expression, etc). Of course as soon as someone is watching my material outside the context of my blog, they can respond however they like - but in that scenario the distance is maintained, and they're much less likely to force their response on me. And so far, it seems to have worked - the comments on my blog are amazingly respectful, a fact which continues to surprise and delight me. It seems that if you present yourself online as a fully rounded human being deserving of respect, people are that much more likely to treat you so. Which is kind of awesome, when you think about it.